A familiar feature of moral life is the distinctive anxiety that we feel in the face of a moral dilemma or moral conflict. Situations like these require us to take stands on controversial issues. But because we are unsure that we will make the correct decision, anxiety ensues. Despite the pervasiveness of this phenomenon, surprisingly little work has been done either to characterize this “ moral anxiety” or to explain the role that it plays in our moral (...) lives. This paper aims to address this deficiency by developing an empirically informed account of what moral anxiety is and what it does. (shrink)
Do we apply higher epistemic standards to subjects with high stakes? This paper argues that we expect different outward behavior from high-stakes subjects—for example, we expect them to collect more evidence than their low-stakes counterparts—but not because of any change in epistemic standards. Rather, we naturally expect subjects in any condition to think in a roughly adaptive manner, balancing the expected costs of additional evidence collection against the expected value of gains in accuracy. The paper reviews a body of empirical (...) work on the automatic regulation of cognitive effort in response to stakes, and argues that we naturally see high- and low-stakes subjects as experiencing different levels of ‘epistemic anxiety’, and anticipate different levels of cognitive effort from them for this reason. If unresolved epistemic anxiety always bars an ascription of knowledge, then we can explain our responses to cases involving shifting stakes without positing any variation in the standards of intuitive knowledge ascription. (shrink)
Emotion plays an important role in securing social stability. But while emotions like fear, anger, and guilt have received much attention in this context, little work has been done to understand the role that anxiety plays. That’s unfortunate. I argue that a particular form of anxiety—what I call ‘practical anxiety’—plays an important, but as of yet unrecognized, role in norm-based social regulation. More specifically, it provides a valuable form of metacognition, one that contributes to social stability by (...) helping individuals negotiate the challenges that come from having to act in the face of unclear norms. (shrink)
The use of placebo as a control condition in clinical trials of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders continues to be an area of ethical concern. Typically, opponents of placebo controls argue that they violate the beneficent-based, “best proven diagnostic and therapeutic method” that the original Helsinki Declaration of 1964 famously asserted participants are owed. A more consequentialist, oppositional argument is that participants receiving placebo might suffer enormously by being deprived of their usual medication(s). Nevertheless, recent findings of potential (...) for suicidality in young people treated with antidepressants, along with meta-analyses suggesting that antidepressants add no significant clinical benefit over placebos, warrant a re-evaluation of the arguments against placebo. Furthermore, the nature of placebo treatment in short-term clinical trials is often not well understood, and lack of understanding can foster opposition to it. This paper will show how scientific justifications for placebo use are morally relevant. The fundamental ethical importance of placebo controls is discussed in relation to several aspects of clinical trials, including detection of adverse events, accurate assessment of clinical benefit, advancing understanding of the heterogeneity of depression and anxiety disorders and respecting informed consent requirements. Prohibiting the use of placebo controls is morally concerning in that such prohibitions allow for the possibility of serious adverse public health consequences. Moral worries that research participants receiving placebo are being unduly jeopardised will be shown to be exaggerated, especially in relation to the net benefits for end-users to be gained from the quality of data resulting from using placebo controls. (shrink)
This study intends to explore the effects of political, social and cultural values on consumers’ ethical beliefs regarding questionable consumption behaviors. The variables examined include status anxiety, social Darwinism perception, perceived trust of people, and cultural orientation. Based on a field survey in Taiwan, the results showed that consumers with low ethical beliefs have higher perception of social Darwinism and status anxiety than consumers possess neutral and high ethical beliefs. The result also showed that the neutral ethics group (...) had higher trust on people than the low ethics groups. Finally, the high ethics group expressed significantly higher perception of vertical collectivism than those consumers of the low and neutral ethics group. (shrink)
Every university student has his or her nemesis. Biology and social science students anticipate with great apprehension their required statistics course, while many philosophy students live in fear of formal logic. Math anxiety is the common thread uniting all of them. This article argues that since formal logic is an algebra requiring similar kinds of symbol-manipulation skills needed to succeed in a basic mathematics course, then if logic students have math anxiety, this can impede their progress. Further, it (...) argues that math anxiety is primarily caused by and exacerbated by poor instruction. Formal logic instructors who employ effective instructional techniques for reducing it can help their students overcome math anxiety to foster learning. Methods of instruction leading to anxiety reduction and evidence supporting their efficacy are discussed, including co-operative learning, the mastery goal approach, and self-paced learning. None of these methods holds back more advanced students. (shrink)
In his very last, now famous, interview, Michel Foucault states that his philosophical thought was shaped by his reading of Heidegger, even though he does not specify what aspects of Heidegger’s philosophy inspired him in the first place. However, his last interview is not the only place where Foucault refers to Heidegger as his intellectual guide. In his 1981/1982 lecture course, The Hermeneutics of the Subject, Foucault confesses that the way Heidegger conceptualized the relationship between subject and truth was a (...) starting point for him for thinking about the relationship between truth, subject, subjective-transformation, and freedom. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to reconstruct the Foucault-Heidegger encounter from the perspective of subject-truth relation. I will ask how Heidegger and Foucault conceptualized the relationship between truth, self-transformation, and freedom. And I will claim that for both Foucault and Heidegger, freedom lies in constantly and creatively repeating the traditional possibilities of existence in order to question the reified patterns of interpretation, and in order to reveal the anxiety–engendering–truth that what is regarded as natural and inevitable in human life is historically contingent and transformable. (shrink)
In this study, three individual descriptions of anxiety as experienced in social situations were analyzed so that a general structure representing social anxiety could potentially be obtained. The descriptions analyzed produced results that not only overlapped with already existing literature from various perspectives on the topic, but also highlighted certain key factors that have largely been unaccounted for by prior studies. By utilizing the Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology , these factors were brought to light in more depth (...) and clarity than if the same phenomenon were studied using a third person approach. Specifically, six constituents of social anxiety were revealed; including factors related to inter-subjectivity, the relationship between fear and anxiety, and the relationship between desire and self-lack. (shrink)
In this paper I use a distinction between the "anxiety of strangers" and the "fear of enemies" to show how uncertainty and tension experienced in the face of what is other and different need not lead to a nationalist insularity, but can be the occasion for an existential philosophical education - an education in which the resolute acceptance of strangeness allows us to reflect on our taken-for-granted about the everyday.
Human-animal interactions often have positive physiological and psychological outcomes for humans. The current study extended research in this area by studying three variables that have never directly been examined together within a laboratory setting: task difficulty level , the human-animal interaction , and participants’ companion-animal guardianship status to determine whether a companion dog would reduce self-reported state anxiety. The participants were undergraduate students from a large western university in the United States who performed timed paper-and-pencil tasks either with or (...) without the presence of a companion dog under varying degrees of task difficulty. Spielberger’s State/Trait anxiety measures were used to assess reactions to the work setting. Results indicated that although the mere presence of a dog is not enough to lower state anxiety for all participants, the interaction of companion-animal guardianship status and task difficulty was significant. Companion animals may assist in stress relief for people in average-stress jobs who already have positive feelings toward companion animals but may have no effect for people in high-stress jobs or who do not already enjoy the company of animals. (shrink)
The present study tested the assumption that self-ratings, such as those used for measuring state anxiety, do not measure a one-dimensional transcendent entity but involve decisions based on a multi-dimensional judgment. Two groups of subjects were presented with a balanced nine-item state anxiety questionnaire. Each group received a different set of instructions (a standard set and an altered instruction set suggesting unidimensionality of the questions in the questionnaire). It was hypothesized that this change in instructions would impact the (...) structure of the data. The impact of the instructions was detectable at the level of the observed correlation between the negative and positive composites, Cohen's (1988) q=-0.27$. A multigroup confirmatory factor analysis showed that positive and negative wording factors correlated more strongly when unidimensionality was suggested than when standard instructions were used, q=-0.54. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed. (shrink)
This paper utilizes a humanistic psychology theoretical framework and pays attention to the rampancy of anxiety affecting youth in the United States. This paper intends to explore the phenomena of anxiety and discuss how it could be perceived as an opportunity for growth if approached in a constructive way. Specifically, we argue that youth need to be able to meet their inner self in the phenomena of anxiety in an empowering way, rather than unconsciously fleeting its destructive (...) affects. (shrink)
Tanner uses Kierkegaard's thought, in particular his theory of anxiety, to enrich a bold new reading of Milton's Paradise Lost. He argues that for Milton and Kierkegaard, the path to sin and to salvation lies through anxiety, and that both writers include anxiety within the compass of paradise. The first half of the book explores anxiety in Eden before the Fall, original sin, the aetiology of evil, and prelapsarian knowledge. The second half examines anxiety after (...) the Fall, offering original insights into such issues as the demonic personality, remorse, despair, and faith. (shrink)
W. H. Auden and Hannah Arendt belonged to a generation that experienced the catastrophic events of the mid-twentieth century, and they both sought to respond to the enormity of the novel phenomena they witnessed.
The relationship of workers to management has traditionally been one of control. However, the introduction of increasingly sophisticated technology as a means of supervision in the modern workplace has dramatically altered the contours of this relationship, giving workers much less privacy and making workers much more visible than previously possible. The purpose of this paper is to examine the current state of technological control of workers and how it has altered the relationship of worker to organization, through the impact upon (...) self as perceived by the worker. (shrink)