This research focuses upon tracing the acculturative trends of the Hui Muslim community in Xi’an. It suggests that the existence of Muslims in China is a dialectical process between the adaptation to the Chinese culture and the retention of essentially Islamic religious traits. It is exclusively based upon ethnography and aims to investigate qualitatively the patterns of acculturation/retention of the Hui in the light of four socio-religious variables, i.e. identity, dietary habits, religious festivals and life passage rituals, social networking and (...) marital homogamy. This is a small scale qualitative research based on participant observation, interviews, and an analysis of historic, archival, and documentary material. The sample consists of Hui people of Xi’an both from within and outside the Muslim Quarter without any restriction of age and gender. The archival and qualitative data is derived from the iconography and fieldwork in Xi’an between November 2011 and December 2014. Applying Gans’ definitions of acculturation and assimilation, this paper concludes that the Hui are acculturated in the Han society but not assimilated, as they exhibit retention of ethnic religious traits. (shrink)
Muslim communities in principally non-Muslim nation states (e.g. South Africa, United States of America, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands) established a plethora of Muslim theological institutions. They have done so with the purpose of educating and reinforcing their Muslim identity. These educational structures have given rise to numerous questions that one encounters as one explores the rationale for their formation. Some are: have these institutions contributed towards the growth of Muslim extremism as argued by American and European Think Tanks? (...) If so, then in which and why did they do so? If not, then why have they been falsely accused, and how should Muslims counter these erroneous criticisms? And, more importantly, have some of these educational institutions—as agents of ‘social change’—contributed towards the ‘common good’ of the society? In response, the article attempts to investigate the reasons for the formation of these Muslim educational institutions within a broad Southern Africa democratic context. It prefaces the discussion by first constructing ‘social change’ as a viable theoretical frame and it thereafter places the madrasas and Dar ul-‘Ulums within the mentioned context prior to reflecting upon the notion of the ‘common good.’ It then proceeds by making reference to the Dar ul-‘Ulum curriculum that plays a significant role in shaping and moulding the theologians’ thinking and behaviour. It concludes by questioning to what extent the type of theological curriculum that they constructed assists them to contribute towards the ‘common good’ of Southern Africa’ societies. (shrink)
Nature exhibits a rich variety of adaptations. Cells contain complex biomolecular structures, such as proteins, that are exquisitely adapted to perform specific biological functions. Evolutionary biology explains how biomolecular structures evolve. Intelligent design creationists reject evolutionary explanations. They want to believe that all adaptations in nature are the handiwork of God. Their critics aver that “it ain't necessarily so.” The anthology under review is an excellent display of the issues between intelligent design creationists and their critics. I agree with the (...) critics. (shrink)
The best-known argument for Evidential Decision Theory (EDT) is the ‘Why ain’cha rich?’ challenge to rival Causal Decision Theory (CDT). The basis for this challenge is that in Newcomb-like situations, acts that conform to EDT may be known in advance to have the better return than acts that conform to CDT. Frank Arntzenius has recently proposed an ingenious counter argument, based on an example in which, he claims, it is predictable in advance that acts that conform to EDT will do (...) less well than acts that conform to CDT. We raise two objections to Arntzenius’s example. We argue, first, that the example is subtly incoherent, in a way that undermines its effectiveness against EDT; and, second, that the example relies on calculating the average return over an inappropriate population of acts. (shrink)
Andy Clark and David Chalmers have recently argued that the world beyond our skin can constitute part of the mind. That is, our minds can and sometimes do extend beyond our heads and bodies. Clark and Chalmers refer to this claim as the 'Extended Mind'. After illustrating the Extended Mind via a thought-experiment I turn to consider a criticism made by Lawrence Shapiro. After outlining Shapiro's claim I will show that in fact this does little to call into to doubt (...) the Extended Mind. However, Clark holds that the Extended Mind does face a serious criticism from the threat of 'Mental Bloat'; the worry here is that arguing that the mind extends beyond the skin quickly leads to absurdities. I consider Clark's response to this worry but find it to be unconvincing. However, I go on to show that there is in fact little to fear from Mental Bloat. Therefore, it will be my conclusion that there is some reason to hold that the mind ain't just in the head. (shrink)
Qualia internalism is the thesis that qualia are intrinsic to their subjects: the experiences of intrinsic duplicates have the same qualia. Content externalism is the thesis that mental representation is an extrinsic matter, partly depending on what happens outside the head. 1 Intentionalism comes in strong and weak forms. In its weakest formulation, it is the thesis that representationally identical experiences of subjects have the same qualia. 2.
There are many ways to avoid responsibility, for example, explaining what happens as the work of the gods, fate, society, or the system. For engineers, “technology” or “the organization” will serve this purpose quite well. We may distinguish at least nine (related) senses of “responsibility”, the most important of which are: (a) responsibility-as-causation (the storm is responsible for flooding), (b) responsibility-as-liability (he is the person responsible and will have to pay), (c) responsibility-as-competency (he’s a responsible person, that is, he’s rational), (...) (d) responsibility-as-office (he’s the responsible person, that is, the person in charge), and (e) a responsibility-as-domain-of-tasks (these are her responsibilities, that is, the things she is supposed to do). For all but the causal sense of responsibility, responsibility may be taken (in a relatively straightforward sense)—and generally is. Why then would anyone want to claim that certain technologies make it impossible to attribute responsibility to engineers (or anyone else)? In this paper, I identify seven arguments for that claim and explain why each is fallacious. The most important are: (1) the argument from “many hands”, (2) the argument from individual ignorance, and (3) the argument from blind forces. Each of these arguments makes the same fundamental mistake, the assumption that a certain factual situation, being fixed, settles responsibility, that is, that individuals, either individually or by some group decision, cannot take responsibility. I conclude by pointing out the sort of decisions (and consequences) engineers have explicitly taken responsibility for and why taking responsibility for them is rational, all things considered. There is no technological bar to such responsibility. (shrink)
Fictionalism and deflationism are two moderate meta-ontological positions that try to occupy a middle ground between the extremes of heavy-duty realism and hard-line eliminativism. Deflationists believe that the existence of certain entities (e.g.: numbers) can be established by means of ‘easy’ arguments—arguments that, supposedly, rely solely on uncontroversial premises and trivial inferences. Fictionalists, however, find easy arguments unconvincing. Amie Thomasson has recently argued that, in their criticism of easy arguments, fictionalists beg the question against deflationism and that the fictionalist alternative (...) interpretation of easy arguments is untenable. In this paper, I argue that both charges are unsubstantiated. Properly understood, the fictionalist’s objection to ‘easy’ arguments takes the form of a dilemma—either the premises of ‘easy’ arguments are not truly uncontroversial or the inferences on which they rely are not truly trivial. Moreover, I argue not only that, contrary to what Thomasson claims, the fictionalist’s interpretation of easy argument is tenable but that the fictionalist might, in fact, have a better explanation of the seemingly trivial nature of the inferences involved in easy arguments than the deflationist’s. (shrink)
No single moral theory can instruct us as to whether and to what extent we are confronted with legal loopholes, e.g. whether or not new legal rules should be added to the system in the criminal law field. This question on the primary rules of the law appears crucial for today’s debate on roboethics and still, goes beyond the expertise of robo-ethicists. On the other hand, attention should be drawn to the secondary rules of the law: The unpredictability of robotic (...) behaviour and the lack of data on the probability of events, their consequences and costs, make hard to determine the levels of risk and hence, the amount of insurance premiums and other mechanisms on which new forms of accountability for the behaviour of robots may hinge. By following Japanese thinking, the aim is to show why legally de-regulated, or special, zones for robotics, i.e. the secondary rules of the system, pave the way to understand what kind of primary rules we may want for our robots. (shrink)
There are two no-change objections that can be raised against the B-theory of time. One stems from the observation that in a B-theoretic scenario changes of determinations can only be represented by propositions which have eternal truth values. The other derives from the principle that nothing can vary over a period of time if it doesn’t instantiate a state of change at all the instants of time which compose it. Here I argue that both objections apply to all comparative conceptions (...) of change, regardless of whether they take tense seriously or not. It follows that, contrary to what is widely believed, A-theoretic accounts of time are not immune to no-change objections, just in virtue of being realist about tense. A-theorists must either accept the conclusion that time, according to their account, does not flow, or put forward an account of flow that is not comparative. A number of difficulties with both of these options are discussed. (shrink)
A remarkable theorem by Clifton, Bub and Halvorson (2003) (CBH) characterizes quantum theory in terms of information--theoretic principles. According to Bub (2004, 2005) the philosophical significance of the theorem is that quantum theory should be regarded as a ``principle'' theory about (quantum) information rather than a ``constructive'' theory about the dynamics of quantum systems. Here we criticize Bub's principle approach arguing that if the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics remains intact then there is no escape route from solving the measurement (...) problem by constructive theories. We further propose a (Wigner--type) thought experiment that we argue demonstrates that quantum mechanics on the information--theoretic approach is incomplete. (shrink)
The computer revolution can beusefully divided into three stages, two ofwhich have already occurred: the introductionstage and the permeation stage. We have onlyrecently entered the third and most importantstage – the power stage – in which many ofthe most serious social, political, legal, andethical questions involving informationtechnology will present themselves on a largescale. The present article discusses severalreasons to believe that future developments ininformation technology will make computerethics more vibrant and more important thanever. Computer ethics is here to stay!
David Chalmers distinguishes the hard problem of consciousness -- why should a physical system give rise to conscious experiences at all -- with what he calls the easy problems, the explanation of how cognitive systems, including human brains, perform various cognitive functions. He argues that the easy problems are easy because the performance of any function can be explained by specifying a mechanism that performs the function. This article argues that conscious experiences have a role in the performance by human (...) beings of some cognitive functions, that can't be realised by mechanisms of the kind studied by the objective sciences; and that accordingly some of Chalmers’ easy problems will not be fully solved unless and until the hard problem is solved. (shrink)
I argue against various versions of the ‘attitude’ view of consent and of the ‘action’ view of consent: I show that neither an attitude nor an action is either necessary or sufficient for consent. I then put forward a different view of consent based on the idea that, given a legitimate epistemic context, absence of dissent is sufficient for consent: what is crucial is having access to dissent. In the latter part of the paper I illustrate my view of consent (...) by applying it to the case of consenting to being an organ donor. (shrink)
Debate about legal and policy reform has been haunted by a pernicious confusion about human nature, the idea that it is a set of rigid dispositions, today generally conceived as genetic, that is manifested the same way in all circumstances. Opponents of egalitarian alternatives argue that we cannot depart far from the status quo because human nature stands in the way. Advocates of such reforms too often deny the existence of human nature because, sharing this conception, they think it would (...) prevent changes they deem desirable. Both views rest on deep errors about what it is to have a nature and how genetics works. Human nature, like the nature of anything else, is a set of potentials to behave certain ways in given environments, not a nonsocial genetic something that inevitably produces the same result in any environment. To say that existing inequalities, are due to our genes, inalterable because heritable, ignores that genetic propensities may be differently manifested in different environments. Heritability has meaning only relative to an environment and a population and implies nothing about inevitability. A better sort of inegalitarian argument is that a proposed reform, given our nature, would be too costly even if possible. However, this sort of argument is too rarely supported by evidence and generally ignores the costs of existing inequalities. But egalitarians err in supposing that, if behavior is unconstrained by biology, the status quo is easily alterable. The environment may be extremely hard to change. Legal and policy debate should adopt a correct understanding of human nature as a set of propensities and ask of any proposed reform agreed to be otherwise desirable what and how alterable are its causes, genetic, environmental, or more accurately both. (shrink)
Generic chaplaincy is the result of a devaluing of religious worship and belief to the merely instrumental and experiential. It is an expectable consequence of non-belief in the unique object that would render religious worship intrinsically meaningful and valuable. Generic chaplaincy has no place because all desire God, yet not all have found Him in the fullness with which He has revealed Himself to us, or even in the fullness with which we may be aware of Him through natural reason. (...) In consequence, not all are equally aware of God. A chaplaincy that challenges patients respectfully, and encourages spiritual growth and awareness, including the overcoming of sin and error, is appropriate. (shrink)
While Neo-Aristotelians argue quite plausibly that it is hard to get to eudaemonia if one is wicked, I argue that they fail to show that the seeker of flourishing has a reason to become virtuous (as opposed to morally mediocre).
This paper attempts a critical examination of scholarly understanding of the historical event referred to as "the Darwinian Revolution." In particular, it concentrates on some of the major scholarly works that have appeared since the publication in 1979 of Michael Ruse's "The Darwinian Revolution: Nature Red in Tooth and Claw." The paper closes by arguing that fruitful critical perspectives on what counts as this event can be gained by locating it in a range of historiographic and disciplinary contexts that include (...) the emergence of the discipline of evolutionary biology (following the "evolutionary synthesis"), the 1959 Darwin centenary, and the maturation of the discipline of the history of science. Broader perspectives on something called the "Darwinian Revolution" are called for that include recognizing that it does not map a one-to-one correspondence with the history of evolution, broadly construed. (shrink)
John R. Searle has recently observed that something might instantiate a Chinese??understanding? computer program without having any understanding of Chinese. He thinks that this implies that instantiating such a program is ?never by itself a sufficient condition of intentionality?. I show that this phrase is incoherent, and that all that follows is that instantiating such a program is not in every case a sufficient condition for the given intentionality. But the conclusion to Searle's argument, thus revised, is neither new nor (...) significant; Searle's arguments merely raise old issues in new clothing. (shrink)
Most firms have taken substantive actions to improve their environmental performance, but much more still needs to be done to mitigate serious environmental degradation that threatens the planet. What can drive firms to further improve their environmental performance? Drawing from an attention-based view of the firm, we develop two hypotheses that predict that because they disrupt established patterns of organizational attention and shift managerial focus, regulatory fines and leadership turnover lead to improvements in corporate environmental performance. We test our hypotheses (...) on a sample of North American firms over the period of 2006-13. Surprisingly, we find a positive but not statistically significant relationship between regulatory fines and environmental improvement. Even more surprising, we find that when large fines are followed by CEO turnover or high turnover in board membership, environmental improvement is dampened. However, when a large fine is followed by high turnover in environmental-related leadership positions, then firms do significantly improve their environmental performance. We thus conclude that when firms are "shaken, not stirred" -- that is, they are shaken by a shock from a major regulatory fine, but it is not followed by stirring up the topmost leadership positions -- then they are most likely to improve their environmental performance. (shrink)
The dual-code proposal of number representation put forward by Cohen Kadosh & Walsh (CK&W) accounts for only a fraction of the many modes of numerical abstraction. Contrary to their proposal, robust data from human infants and nonhuman animals indicate that abstract numerical representations are psychologically primitive. Additionally, much of the behavioral and neural data cited to support CK&W's proposal is, in fact, neutral on the issue of numerical abstraction.
This paper attempts a critical examination of scholarly understanding of the historical event referred to as "the Darwinian Revolution." In particular, it concentrates on some of the major scholarly works that have appeared since the publication in 1979 of Michael Ruse's "The Darwinian Revolution: Nature Red in Tooth and Claw." The paper closes by arguing that fruitful critical perspectives on what counts as this event can be gained by locating it in a range of historiographic and disciplinary contexts that include (...) the emergence of the discipline of evolutionary biology, the 1959 Darwin centenary, and the maturation of the discipline of the history of science. Broader perspectives on something called the "Darwinian Revolution" are called for that include recognizing that it does not map a one-to-one correspondence with the history of evolution, broadly construed. (shrink)
It seems we have some obligation to aid some others, but it's unclear why, to whom, and to what extent. Many consequentialists claim that we are obligated to help everyone to the marginal utility point but they do so without examining why we are obligated to aid others at all. I argue that we must investigate the basis of our duty to aid others in order to determine the nature and extent of our obligation. Although some consequentialists, notably, Kagan, Singer (...) and Unger, present arguments intended to justify some of consequentialism's most counter-intuitive demands, they take the less counter-intuitive demands for granted and justify the steeper demands on the basis of their relevant similarity to the more palatable ones. The result of this strategy is that many of consequentialism's steeper demands free-ride on a superficial similarity with less taxing demands. This allows consequentialism to broaden our obligations beyond the reach of justification. I examine three possible explanations of our duty to aid others, namely, intuition, fairness and self-interest, and argue that none of them justify consequentialism's runaway demands. (shrink)
According to a classical view in the philosophy of language, the reference of a term is determined by a property of the term which supervenes on the history of its use. A contrasting view is that a term's reference is determined by how it is properly interpreted, in accordance with certain constraints or conditions of adequacy on interpretations. Causal theories of reference of the sort associated with Hilary Putnam, Saul Kripke and Michael Devitt are versions of the first view, while (...) defenders of determination by interpretation theories include Donald Davidson, Daniel Dennett and John Haugeland. I use a variant of Putnam's Twin Earth thought experiment to argue against the first view generally, and causal theories of reference in particular, then go on to argue that properly-formulated version of the principle of charity can account for the intuitions that seem to support causal theories. Finally, I apply my version of interpretationism to the problem of reference to abstract objects and compare it with some of Wittgenstein's and Quine's views about language. (shrink)