I am very happy indeed to contribute to this series of lectures, especially because I owe most of my training in philosophy to Elizabeth Anscombe, whose work has given the series its name. I am deeply indebted to the marvellous generosity of her teaching, to the example she set me of an unrelentingly thorough and serious thinker, to the unobtrusive way she introduced me to Wittgenstein's later philosophy. Through Elizabeth Anscombe I also made the acquaintance of my friend Philippa Foot, (...) whose work in moral philosophy has, over decades and more than anyone else's, influenced my own. I hope it will be possible to recognize in what I am going to say here not indeed the excellence but at least traces of the beneficial influence of both these philosophers. (shrink)
Do the virtues, as is often said, conflict with each other? The history of philosophy knows various attempts to conceive of them so as to exclude such conflict. Nicolai Hartmann ("Ethik", 1925) is the most prominent representative "and" critic of this tradition in our century. Each Aristotelian "mean", for him, represents a "synthesis" of "conflicting values"; but only the "one and only virtue" synthesizing "all" values would exclude all tragic conflict. In contrast, the Aristotelian and medieval conception of "connexio virtutum" (...) by "prudence" allows the virtues to "limit each other" and thus be "compatible" without merging into one super-virtue. (shrink)
In this article I assess the Invariance Principle, which states that only quantities that are invariant under the symmetries of our theories are physically real. I argue, contrary to current orthodoxy, that the variance of a quantity under a theory’s symmetries is not a sufficient basis for interpreting that theory as being uncommitted to the reality of that quantity. Rather, I argue, the variance of a quantity under symmetries only ever serves as a motivation to refrain from any commitment to (...) the quantity in question. (shrink)
The concept ‘hereditary breast cancer’ is commonly used to delineate a group of people genetically at risk for breast cancer—all of whom also having risk for other cancers. People carrying pathogenic variants of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are often referred to as those having predisposition for ‘hereditary breast cancer’. The two genes, however, are when altered, associated with different risks for and dying from breast cancer. The main risk for dying for carriers of both genes is from ovarian cancer. (...) These biological facts are of philosophical interest, because they are the facts underlying the public debate on BRCA1/2 genetic testing as a model for the discussion of how to implement genetic knowledge and technologies in personalized medicine. A contribution to this public debate describing inherited breast cancer as ‘biological citizenship’ recently printed in Med Health Care and Philos illustrated how fragmented and detached from the biological and socio-political facts this debate sometimes is. We here briefly summarize some of the biological facts and how they are implemented in today’s healthcare based on agreed philosophical, ethical and moral principles. The suggestion of a ‘biological citizenship’ defined by hereditary breast cancer is incorrect and ill-advised. ‘Identity politics’ focusing hereditary breast cancer patients as a group based on a bundle of ill-defined negative arguments is well known, but is supported neither by scientific nor philosophical arguments. To those born with the genetic variants described, the philosophical rule of not doing harm is violated by unbalanced negative arguments. (shrink)
There exists a common view that for theories related by a ‘duality’, dual models typically may be taken ab initio to represent the same physical state of affairs, i.e. to correspond to the same possible world. We question this view, by drawing a parallel with the distinction between ‘interpretational’ and ‘motivational’ approaches to symmetries.
In Kant’s Politics in Context, Reidar Maliks offers a compelling account of Kant’s political philosophy as part of a public debate on rights, citizenship, and revolution in the wake of the French Revolution. Maliks argues that Kant’s political thought was developed as a moderate middle ground between radical and conservative political interpretations of his moral philosophy. The book’s central thesis is that the key to understanding Kant’s legal and political thought lies in the public debate among Kant’s followers and that (...) in this debate we find the political challenges which Kant’s political philosophy is designed to solve. Kant’s Politics in Context raises crucial questions about how to understand political thinkers of the past and is proof that our understanding of the past will remain fragmented if we limit our studies to the great men of the established canon. (shrink)
Data-intensive science comes with increased risks concerning quality and reliability of data, and while trust in science has traditionally been framed as a matter of scientists being expected to adhere to certain technical and moral norms for behaviour, emerging discourses of open science present openness and transparency as substitutes for established trust mechanisms. By ensuring access to all available information, quality becomes a matter of informed judgement by the users, and trust no longer seems necessary. This strategy does not, however, (...) take into consideration the networks of professionals already enabling data-intensive science by providing high-quality data. In the life sciences, biological data- and knowledge bases managed by expert biocurators have become crucial for data-intensive research. In this paper, I will use the case of biocurators to argue that openness and transparency will not diminish the need for trust in data-intensive science. On the contrary, data-intensive science requires a reconfiguration of existing trust mechanisms in order to include those who take care of and manage scientific data after its production. (shrink)
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, his main work of theoretical philosophy, frequently uses metaphors from law. In this first book-length study in English of Kant's legal metaphors and their role in the first Critique, Sofie Møller shows that they are central to Kant's account of reason. Through an analysis of the legal metaphors in their entirety, she demonstrates that Kant conceives of reason as having a structure mirroring that of a legal system in a natural right framework. Her study shows (...) that Kant's aim is to make cognisers become similar to authorized judges within such a system, by proving the legitimacy of the laws and the conditions under which valid judgments can be pronounced. These elements consolidate her conclusion that reason's systematicity is legal systematicity. (shrink)
This article offers reinterpretation of the current economic and political crisis through the lens of Gramsci’s concept of “interregnum,” departing from the model of “punctured equilibrium” to analyze the specific political dynamics of nonhegemonic periods between the breakdown of one ideological order and the emergence of a new one. Although political science has a range theories about periods of hegemony and paradigmatic stability, the periods between stable hegemonies remain distinctly undertheorized. A theoretical concept describing periods of interregnum is offered and (...) applied to the changes in economic ideology and political alignments that followed the breakdown of the liberal order in the interwar period and the postwar Keynesian consensus of the 1970s. The concept is then applied to the current juncture, in which the hegemony of neoliberalism has been shaken by the 2008 financial crisis but no clear successor has emerged. (shrink)
: The aim of the present paper is to discuss how the legal metaphors in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason can help us understand the work’s transcendental argumentation. I discuss Dieter Henrich’s claim that legal deductions form a methodological paradigm for all three Critiques that exempts the deductions from following a stringent logical structure. I also consider Rüdiger Bubner’s proposal that the legal metaphors show that the transcendental deduction is a rhetorical argument. On the basis of my own reading of (...) the many different uses of legal analogies in the first Critique, I argue that they cannot form a consistent methodological paradigm as Henrich and Bubner claim. (shrink)
Pohl (Chinese studies, Trier U., Germany) and Muller (philosophy, Trier U.) present 16 contributions penned by U.S., German, Taiwanese, and Chinese scholars that explore the ethical viewpoints of their respective philosophical traditions. The collection is meant to be cross-cultural at the same time as it attends to the political/ideological rifts of the Western and Chinese regions. After exploring theoretical issues of understanding ethics in a global context, the contributors explore ethical and political values for Chinese and Western societies respectively. Final (...) papers offer a more explicitly comparative approach, looking at such ideas as morality and the family, medical ethics, and jurisprudential attitudes towards human rights. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR. (shrink)
It is commonly assumed that there are differences in physicians’ and caregivers’ ethical attitudes towards clinical situations. The assumption is that the difference is driven by different values, views and judgements in specific situations. At Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark, we aimed to investigate these assumptions by conducting a large quantitative study. The study design, based on the Factorial Survey Method, was a carefully constructed survey with 50 questions designed to test which factors influenced the respondents’ ethical reasoning. The factors were (...) clustered into three categories of ethical reasoning and values. The categories were formulated in terms of easily recognizable ethical positions: consequential ethics, deontological ethics and relational ethics. Based on 2129 respondents, we found significant support for the assumption of differences between physicians and caregivers. The group of caregivers favoured the relational ethics view in clinical ethical situations, and the group of ph... (shrink)
This collection of essays provides a reassessment of the question of sexual difference, taking into account important shifts in feminist thought, post-humanist theories, and queer studies. The contributors offer new and refreshing insights into the complex question of sexual difference from a post-feminist perspective, and how it is reformulated in various related areas of study, such as ontology, epistemology, metaphysics, biology, technology, and mass-media.
Understanding stakeholders’ perceptions and motivations is of significant importance in relation to conservation and protected area projects. The importance of stakeholder analysis is widely recognized as a necessary means for gaining insight into the complex systemic interactions between natural processes, management policies, and local people depending on the resource. Today, community and group-based participatory inquiry approaches are widely used for this purpose. Recently, participatory approaches have been critiqued for not considering power relations and conflict internal to the community. In this (...) article, we suggest that the five-step Rapid Stakeholder and Conflict Assessment methodology addresses this critique. The objective of the methodology is to provide a facilitator with a comprehensive foundation on which to plan and conduct subsequent participatory project development. The RSCA integrates elements of soft systems and critical systems thinking. Qualitative research interviews and cognitive mapping of stakeholders’ mental models are used for collection of empirical material and analysis. The RSCA methodology is demonstrated in a case study concerning buffer zone management in the coastal wetlands of southern Vietnam. The case study shows that the RSCA methodology can provide an efficient way of obtaining a holistic and critical understanding of a complex resource management situation, thus potentially enhancing project performance in an instrumental as well as an ethical sense. (shrink)
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