Engineering the Climate: The Ethics of Solar Radiation Management is a wide-ranging and expert analysis of the ethics of the intentional management of solar radiation. This book will be a useful tool for policy-makers, a provocation for ethicists, and an eye-opening analysis for both the scientist and the general reader with interest in climate change.
According to the powerful qualities view, properties are both powerful and qualitative. Indeed, on this view the powerfulness of a property is identical to its qualitativity. Proponents claim that this view provides an attractive alternative to both the view that properties are pure powers and the view that they are pure qualities. It remains unclear, however, whether the claimed identity between powerfulness and qualitativity can be made coherent in a way that allows the powerful qualities view to constitute this sort (...) of alternative. I argue here that this can be done, given a particular conception of both the qualitativity and powerfulness of properties. On this conception, a property is qualitative just in the sense that its essence is fixed independently of any distinct properties, and it is powerful just if its essence grounds its dispositional role. (shrink)
Ashley J. Bohrer argues that it is only by considering race, gender, sexuality, and ability within the structures of capitalism and imperialism that we can understand power relations. Bohrer explains how the purported incompatibilities between Marxism and intersectionality arise more from miscommunication than a fundamental conceptual antagonism.
It is often taken for granted that our desires can contribute to what it is rational for us to do. This paper examines an account of desire—the ‘guise of the good’— that promises an explanation of this datum. I argue that extant guise-of-the-good accounts fail to provide an adequate explanation of how a class of desires—basic desires— contributes to practical rationality. I develop an alternative guise-of-the-good account on which basic desires attune us to our reasons for action in virtue of (...) their biological function. This account emphasises the role of desire as part of our competence to recognise and respond to normative reasons. (shrink)
The ‘Ashley treatment’ has raised much ethical controversy. This article starts from the observation that this debate suffers from a lack of careful philosophical analysis which is essential for an ethical assessment. I focus on two central arguments in the debate, namely an argument defending the treatment based on quality of life and an argument against the treatment based on dignity and rights. My analysis raises doubts as to whether these arguments, as they stand in the debate, are philosophically (...) robust. I reconstruct what form good arguments for and against the treatment should take and which assumptions are needed to defend the according positions. Concerning quality of life, I argue that to make a discussion about quality of life possible, it needs to be clear which particular conception of the good life is employed. This has not been sufficiently clear in the debate. I fill this lacuna. Regarding rights and dignity, I show that there is a remarkable absence of references to general philosophical theories of rights and dignity in the debate about the Ashley treatment. Consequently, this argument against the treatment is not sufficiently developed. I clarify how such an argument should proceed. Such a detailed analysis of arguments is necessary to clear up some confusions and ambiguities in the debate and to shed light on the dilemma that caretakers of severely disabled children face. (shrink)
The story of Ashley, a nine-year-old from Seattle, has caused a good deal of controversy since it appeared in the Los Angeles Times on January 3, 2007.1 Ashley was born with a condition called static encephalopathy, a severe brain impairment that leaves her unable to walk, talk, eat, sit up, or roll over. According to her doctors, Ashley has reached, and will remain at, the developmental level of a three-month-old.
Musical collaboration emerges from the complex interaction of environmental and informational constraints, including those of the instruments and the performance context. Music improvisation in particular is more like everyday interaction in that dynamics emerge spontaneously without a rehearsed score or script. We examined how the structure of the musical context affords and shapes interactions between improvising musicians. Six pairs of professional piano players improvised with two different backing tracks while we recorded both the music produced and the movements of their (...) heads, left arms, and right arms. The backing tracks varied in rhythmic and harmonic information, from a chord progression to a continuous drone. Differences in movement coordination and playing behavior were evaluated using the mathematical tools of complex dynamical systems, with the aim of uncovering the multiscale dynamics that characterize musical collaboration. Collectively, the findings indicated that each backing track afforded the emergence of different patterns of coordination with respect to how the musicians played together, how they moved together, as well as their experience collaborating with each other. Additionally, listeners’ experiences of the music when rating audio recordings of the improvised performances were related to the way the musicians coordinated both their playing behavior and their bodily movements. Accordingly, the study revealed how complex dynamical systems methods can capture the turn-taking dynamics that characterized both the social exchange of the music improvisation and the sounds of collaboration more generally. The study also demonstrated how musical improvisation provides a way of understanding how social interaction emerges from the structure of the behavioral task context. (shrink)
Desire satisfaction has not received detailed philosophical examination. Yet intuitive judgments about the satisfaction of desires have been used as data points guiding theories of desire, desire content, and the semantics of ‘desire’. This paper examines desire satisfaction and the standard propositional view of desire. Firstly, I argue that there are several distinct concepts of satisfaction. Secondly, I argue that separating them defuses a difficulty for the standard view in accommodating desires that Derek Parfit described as ‘implicitly conditional on their (...) own persistence’, a problem posed by Shieva Kleinschmidt, Kris McDaniel, and Ben Bradley. The solution undercuts a key motivation for rejecting the standard view in favour of more radical accounts proposed in the literature. (shrink)
This “current controversies” contribution describes the recent case of a severely disabled six year old girl who has been subjected to a range of medical interventions at the request of her parents and with the permission of a hospital clinical ethics committee. The interventions prescribed have become known as “the Ashley treatment” and involve the performance of invasive medical procedures (eg, hysterectomy) and oestrogen treatment. A central aim of the treatment is to restrict the growth of the child and (...) thus make it easier for her parents to care for her at home. The paper below discusses the main objections to the treatment. It concludes that the most serious concern raised by the case is that it may set a worrying precedent if the moral principle employed in justification of the treatment is applied again to endorse it in similar circumstances. Finally, it raises the possibility that that same moral principle may even be invoked to justify more radical interventions than those that were actually performed in the Ashley treatment. (shrink)
Discussions about the nature of essence and about the inference problem for non-Humean theories of nomic modality have largely proceeded independently of each other. In this article I argue that the right conclusions to draw about the inference problem actually depend significantly on how best to understand the nature of essence. In particular, I argue that this conclusion holds for the version of the inference problem developed and defended by Alexander Bird. I argue that Bird’s own argument that this problem (...) is fatal for David Armstrong’s influential theory of the laws of nature but not for dispositional essentialism is seriously flawed. In place of this argument, I develop an argument that whether Bird’s inference problem raises serious difficulties for Armstrong’s theory depends on the answers to substantial questions about how best to understand essence. The key consequence is that considerations about the nature of essence have significant, underappreciated implications for Armstrong’s theory. (shrink)
The rise of technology in controlling and performing legal processes has created a new digital legality, signalling a transformation of law from an analog paper-based interpretative activity to an autonomous system governed by the rigidity and speed of code. This emerging digital legality converts life and living to data to be processed and catalogued. This process is exemplified and normalised within video games making them important cultural artefacts through which to identify the features and anxieties of digital legality. While video (...) games have so far gone unrepresented in cultural legal theory, this article uses the iconic video game franchise of Super Mario to unlock the emerging features and anxieties of digital legality as involving rigidity, speed and the normalisation of self as data. (shrink)
This book offers a major reassessment of Leibniz's metaphysics. Christia Mercer has exposed the underlying doctrines of Leibniz's philosophy. By analysing Leibniz's early works she demonstrates that the metaphysics of pre-established harmony developed many years earlier than previously believed and for reasons which have not been understood. As a result of this analysis she has unearthed a philosophical school that Leibniz scholars have not recognized. A much deeper understanding of some of Leibniz's key doctrines emerges. Moreover, since the Leibniz (...) that is revealed here does not fit neatly into the standard accounts of the history of philosophy and science, Christia Mercer's study will prompt scholars to reconsider their basic assumptions about early modern philosophy and science. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that ethics and evidence are intricately intertwined within the clinical practice of differential diagnosis. Too often, when a disease is difficult to diagnose, a physician will dismiss it as being “not real” or “all in the patient’s head.” This is both an ethical and an evidential problem. In the paper my aim is two-fold. First, via the examination of two case studies (late-stage Lyme disease and Addison’s disease), I try to elucidate why this kind of (...) dismissal takes place. Then, I propose a potential solution to the problem. I argue that instead of dismissing a patient’s illness as “not real,” physicians ought to exercise a compassionate suspension of judgment when a diagnosis cannot be immediately made. I argue that suspending judgment has methodological, epistemic, and ethical virtues and therefore should always be preferred to patient dismissal in the clinical setting. (shrink)
The use of nonhuman animals as models in research and drug testing is a key route through which contemporary scientific knowledge is certified. Given ethical concerns, regulation of animal research promotes the use of less “sentient” animals. This paper draws on a documentary analysis of legal documents and qualitative interviews with Named Veterinary Surgeons and others at a commercial laboratory in the UK. Its key claim is that the concept of animal sentience is entangled with a particular imaginary of how (...) the general public or wider society views animals. We call this imaginary societal sentience. Against a backdrop of increasing ethnographic work on care encounters in the laboratory, this concept helps to stress the wider context within which such encounters take place. We conclude that societal sentience has potential purchase beyond the animal research field, in helping to highlight the affective dimension of public imaginaries and their ethical consequences. Researching and critiquing societal sentience, we argue, may ultimately have more impact on the fate of humans and nonhumans in the laboratory than focusing wholly on ethics as situated practice. (shrink)
This article traces the centrality of capitalism in the work of three decolonial feminists: María Lugones, Sylvia Wynter, and Sayek Valencia. Elaborating on the role of capitalism in each of their work separately, I argue that each of these thinkers conceptualizes capitalism in a novel and urgent way, charting new directions for both theory and social movement practice. I thus argue that the decolonial feminist tradition holds crucial philosophical and historical resources for understanding the emergence of capitalism and its endurance.
while no one was looking, contextualism replaced rational reconstructionism as the dominant methodology among English-speaking early modern historians of philosophy. In this paper, I expose the contours of this silent revolution, show that rational reconstructionism is a thing of the past among early modern historians, and examine the current state of early modern scholarship.1 As the contextualist revolution has increasingly widened our perspective and revealed the period’s philosophical diversity, it has encouraged early modernists to develop new skills and expertise. I (...) propose here that current early modern historians are devoted to maximize... (shrink)
Despite what you have heard over the years, the famous evil deceiver argument in Meditation One is not original to Descartes. Early modern meditators often struggle with deceptive demons. The author of the Meditations is merely giving a new spin to a common rhetorical device. Equally surprising is the fact that Descartes’ epistemological rendering of the demon trope is probably inspired by a Spanish nun, Teresa of Ávila, whose works have been ignored by historians of philosophy, although they were a (...) global phenomenon during Descartes’ formative years. In this paper, I first answer the obvious question as to why previous early modernists have missed something so important as the fact that Descartes’ most famous publication relies on a well-established genre and that his deceiver argument bears a striking similarity to ideas in Teresa’s final work, El Castillo Interior? I discuss the meditative tradition at the end of which Descartes’ Meditations stands, present evidence to support the claim that Descartes was familiar with Teresa’s proposals, contrast their meditative goals, and make a point-by-point comparison between the meditative steps in Teresa’s Interior Castle and those in Descartes’ Meditations which constitute their common deceiver strategy. My conclusion makes a case for a broader and more inclusive history of philosophy. (shrink)
The educational aims described by educational philosophers rarely embrace the full range of differences in intellectual ability, adaptive behavior, or communication that children exhibit. Because envisioned educational aims have significant consequences for how educational practices, pedagogy, and curricula are conceptualized, the failure to acknowledge and embrace differences in ability leaves open the question of the extent to which students with intellectual disabilities are subject to the same aims as their “typically-developing” peers. In articulating and defending valued aims of education, educational (...) philosophers tacitly or expressly concede that particular aims will be ill suited to many children with intellectual disabilities, and that separate aims will therefore apply to them. This paper evaluates the philosophical reasoning behind this conclusion that some people, by necessity, must be governed by separate educational aims, to be decided separately and secondarily. The author calls this the “deferral stance.” First, the paper outlines concerns about a particular ability-biased social and epistemic context in which theorizing about educational aims takes place. The author then examines assumptions that underpin the logic of deferral, arguing that the logic proves flawed when subjected to conceptual and empirical scrutiny. The paper concludes by outlining an inclusive approach—the affirmative stance—to theorizing about educational aims that resists the logic of exclusion and deferral. (shrink)
In recent years, there has been renewed interest in conceptualising the relationship between oppression and capitalism as well as intense debate over the precise nature of this relationship. No doubt spurred on by the financial crisis, it has become increasingly clear that capitalism, both historically and in the twenty-first century, has had particularly devastating effects for women and people of colour. Intersectionality, which emerged in the late twentieth century as a way of addressing the relationship between race, gender, sexuality and (...) class, has submitted orthodox Marxism to critique for its inattention to the complex dynamics of various social locations; in turn Marxist thinkers in the twenty-first century have engaged with intersectionality, calling attention to the impoverished notion of class and capitalism on which it relies. As intersectionality constitutes perhaps the most common way that contemporary activists and theorists on the left conceive of identity politics, an analysis of intersectionality’s relationship to Marxism is absolutely crucial for historical materialists to understand and consider. This paper looks at the history of intersectionality’s and Marxism’s critiques of one another in order to ground a synthesis of the two frameworks. It argues that in the twenty-first century, we need a robust, Marxist analysis of capitalism, and that the only robust account of capitalism is one articulated intersectionally, one which treats class, race, gender and sexuality as fundamental to capitalist accumulation. (shrink)
This paper critically examines Deleuze’s treatment of the Nietzschean problem of nihilism. Of all the major figures in contemporary continental thought, Deleuze is at once one of the most luminous, and practically a lone voice in suggesting that nihilism may successfully be overcome. Whether or not he is correct on this point is thus a commanding question in relation to our understanding of the issue. Many commentators on Nietzsche have argued that his project of overcoming nihilism is destined to failure (...) because of the affinity between the problem of nihilism and the logic of negation. While Nietzsche wants an absolute affirmation of life, Spinoza’s principle that “all determination is negation,” as well as Hegel’s dialectical conception of negation, suggest that affirmation free of negation is not possible. However, some commentators indicate that Deleuze successfully shows how overcoming nihilism is possible because his “logic of difference” allows for an affirmation which is not dialectically reappropriated by negation. This paper argues that beyond such logical considerations, there are metaphysical and existential reasons why Deleuze’s interpretation of nihilism fails to show that it can be overcome. For Deleuze, the overcoming of nihilism hinges not just on a logic of difference, but on a radical interpretation of Nietzsche’s doctrine of eternal return as “selective being.” Drawing on recent scholarship and on Nietzsche’s own writings I argue that this is not a tenable interpretation, and also, more importantly, that the metaphysical and existential implications of this understanding of eternal return reinstate nihilism at the very point where it is supposedly overcome. Moreover, I argue that there are attendant ethical and political dangers to Deleuze’s position on nihilism. (shrink)
Perspectives on global warming Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-29 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9639-9 Authors Steven Yearley, ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum, University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AQ UK David Mercer, Science and Technology Studies Program, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia Andy Pitman, Climate Change Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia Naomi Oreskes, Department of History, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0104, USA Erik Conway, (...) Caltech, 1200 East California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
Camus published an essay entitled ‘Nietzsche and Nihilism,’ which was later incorporated into The Rebel . Camus' aim was to assess Nietzsche's response to the problem of nihilism. My aim is to do the same with Camus. The paper explores Camus' engagement with nihilism through its two major modalities: with respect to the individual and the question of suicide in The Myth of Sisyphus , and with respect to the collective and the question of murder in The Rebel . While (...) a Nietzschean influence thoroughly suffuses both books, it is in the second that Camus' most explicit, and most critical, engagement with the German philosopher takes place. The crux of Camus' critique of Nietzsche is that the absolute affirmation of existence he proposes as a response to nihilism cannot say ‘no’ to murder. In the terms of Camus' discussion in The Rebel , Nietzsche's philosophy is thus culpable in the straying of rebellion from its own foundations and its slide into bloody revolution. First, the paper argues that Camus' criticisms of Nietzsche are misplaced. Camus focuses his analysis on sections of the problematic text The Will to Power and misses important sections of Nietzsche's published texts which in fact support the condemnation of revolution which is the project of The Rebel . However, the paper argues that Camus moves beyond Nietzsche in radically democratizing the response to nihilism. While Nietzsche's hopes for the creation of meaning are focused on exceptional individuals, Camus insists that any response to nihilism needs to be accessible to the average person. Such a move is laudable, but it raises a number of questions and challenges regarding the type of problem nihilism is, and how these might be addressed. (shrink)
Jean-François Lyotard's work remains a largely untapped resource for film-philosophy. This article surveys four fundamental concepts which indicate the fecundity of this work for current studies and debates. While Lyotard was generally associated with the “theory” of the 1980s which privileged language, signs, and cultural representations, much of his work in fact resonates more strongly with the new materialisms and realisms currently taking centre stage. The concepts examined here indicate the relevance of Lyotard's work in four related contemporary contexts: the (...) renewed interest in the dispositif, new materialism, the affective turn, and speculative realism. The concept of the dispositif is being rehabilitated in the contemporary context because it shows a way beyond the limiting notion of mise en scène which has dominated approaches to film, and Lyotard's prevalent use of this concept feeds into this renewal. While matter is not an explicit theme in Lyotard's writings on film, it is nevertheless one at the heart of his aesthetics, and it may be extended for application to film. Affect was an important theme for Lyotard in many contexts, including his approaches to film, where it appears to subvert film's “seductive” effects. Finally, the Real emerges as a central concept in Lyotard's last essay on cinema, where, perhaps surprisingly, it intimates something close to a speculative realist aesthetics. Each of the fundamental concepts of Lyotard's film-philosophy are introduced in the context of the current fields and debates to which they are relevant, and are discussed with filmic examples, including Michael Snow's La Région centrale, Roberto Rossellini's Stromboli, Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, and neo-realist cinema. (shrink)