Peer review is a widely accepted instrument for raising the quality of science. Peer review limits the enormous unstructured influx of information and the sheer amount of dubious data, which in its absence would plunge science into chaos. In particular, peer review offers the benefit of eliminating papers that suffer from poor craftsmanship or methodological shortcomings, especially in the experimental sciences. However, we believe that peer review is not always appropriate for the evaluation of controversial hypothetical science. We argue that (...) the process of peer review can be prone to bias towards ideas that affirm the prior convictions of reviewers and against innovation and radical new ideas. Innovative hypotheses are thus highly vulnerable to being “filtered out” or made to accord with conventional wisdom by the peer review process. Consequently, having introduced peer review, the Elsevier journal Medical Hypotheses may be unable to continue its tradition as a radical journal allowing discussion of improbable or unconventional ideas. Hence we conclude by asking the publisher to consider re-introducing the system of editorial review to Medical Hypotheses. (shrink)
A data provenance framework is subject to security threats and risks, which increase the uncertainty, or lack of trust, in provenance information. Information assurance is challenged by incomplete information; one cannot exhaustively characterize all threats or all vulnerabilities. One technique that specifically incorporates a probabilistic notion of uncertainty is subjective logic. Subjective logic allows belief and uncertainty, due to incomplete information, to be specified and operated upon in a coherent manner. A mapping from the standard definition of information assurance to (...) a more quantitative subjective logic framework is suggested with a focus on the specific application of data provenance. Finally, specific consideration is given to the notion of uncertainty within subjective logic and its relation to information entropy. Information entropy is an alternative measure of uncertainty and a fundamental relationship is hypothesized between uncertainty in subjective logic and entropy. (shrink)
Here's an interesting question: what are we? David Barnett has claimed that reflection on consciousness suggests an answer: we are simple. Barnett argues that the mereological simplicity of conscious beings best explains the Datum: that no pair of persons can itself be conscious. In this paper, I offer two alternative explanations of the Datum. If either is correct, Barnett's argument fails. First, there aren't any such things as pairs of persons. Second, consciousness is maximal; no conscious thing (...) is a proper part of another conscious thing. I conclude by showing how both moves comport with materialist theories of what we are and then apply them to another anti-materialist argument. (shrink)
I. Introduction Two kinds of remedies have traditionally been employed for breach of contract: legal relief and equitable relief. Legal relief normally takes the form of money damages. Equitable relief normally consists either of specific performance or an injunction – that is, the party in breach may be ordered to perform an act or to refrain from performing an act. In this article I will use a “consent theory of contract” to assess the choice between money damages and specific performance. (...) According to such a theory, contractual obligation is dependent on more fundamental entitlements of the parties and arises as a result of the parties' consent to transfer alienable rights. My thesis will be that the normal rule favoring money damages should be replaced with one that presumptively favors specific performance unless the parties have consented to money damages instead. The principal obstacle to such an approach is the reluctance of courts to specifically enforce contracts for personal services. The philosophical distinction between alienable and inalienable rights bolsters this historical reticence, since a right to personal services may be seen as inalienable. I will then explain why, if the subject matter of a contract for personal services is properly confined to an alienable right to money damages for failure to perform, specific enforcement of such contracts is no longer problematic. Finally, I shall consider whether the subject matter of contracts for corporate services is properly confined to money damages like contracts for personal services, or whether performance of corporate services can be made the subject of a valid rights transfer and judicially compelled in the same manner as contracts for external resources. (shrink)
Should we believe our controversial philosophical views? Recently, several authors have argued from broadly conciliationist premises that we should not. If they are right, we philosophers face a dilemma: If we believe our views, we are irrational. If we do not, we are not sincere in holding them. This paper offers a way out, proposing an attitude we can rationally take toward our views that can support sincerity of the appropriate sort. We should arrive at our views via a certain (...) sort of ‘insulated’ reasoning – that is, reasoning that involves setting aside certain higher-order worries, such as those provided by disagreement – when we investigate philosophical questions. (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.
Suppose you are on a commercial airplane that is flying at 35,000 feet. Next to you sits a man who appears to be sleeping. In fact, this man has been drugged and put upon the plane without his knowledge or consent. He has never flown on a plane before and, indeed, has no idea what an airplane is. Suddenly the man awakes and looks around him. Terrified by the alien environment in which he finds himself, he searches for a door (...) or window from which to make an escape. As luck would have it, he is seated right next to a window exit and he begins to pull the handle that will open the window. You are aware that opening the window exit at this altitude will cause the cabin to quickly depressurize and that this man, you, and probably several other passengers will be sucked out the window to your deaths. You desperately want to stop him from opening the window. Now assume that for some reason it is impossible to prevent him physically from performing the deadly act. Your only option is to rationally persuade him to leave the window exit alone. You cry out to him and, with both hands on the handles, he turns to face you and waits to hear what you have to say. What sort of argument would you make? (shrink)
Dimensions of the ethical work climate, as conceptualized by Victor and Cullen, are potentially important influences on individual ethical decision-making in the organizational context. The present study examined the direct and indirect effects of individuals' perceptions of work climate on their ethical judgments and behavioral intentions regarding an ethical dilemma. A national sample of marketers was surveyed in a scenario-based research study. The results indicated that, although perceived climate dimensions did not have a direct effect on behavioral intentions, there were (...) significant moderating effects. Climates perceived as emphasizing social responsibility and rules/codes moderated the individual ethical judgment-behavioral intentions relationship such that individuals were less likely to say that they would engage in a questionable selling practice even when they themselves did not believe the practice to be unethical. Respondents were somewhat more likely to form intentions consistent with their judgment that the questionable practice was morally acceptable when the ethical climate was characterized by an emphasis on team/friendship. (shrink)
The present study extends the study of individuals' ethical ideology withinthe context of marketing ethics issues. A national sample of marketing professionals participated. Respondents' ethical ideologies were classified as absolutists, situationists, exceptionists, or subjectivists using the Ethical Position Questionnaire (Forsyth, 1980). Respondents then answered questions about three ethically ambiguous situations common to marketing and sales. The results indicated that marketers' ethical judgments about the situations differed based on their ethical ideology, with absolutists rating the actions as most unethical. The findings (...) are consistent with those of two earlier studies that utilized samples of business students (Barnett et al., 1994, 1995). The results suggest that personal moral philosophy is an important influence on ethical decision making that should be considered in empirical studies of business ethics. The results also support the utility of the Ethical Position Questionnaire (Forsyth, 1980) as a means for researchers and practitioners to assess individuals' ethical ideology. (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)
Dimensions of the ethical work climate, as conceptualized by Victor and Cullen (1988), are potentially important influences on individual ethical decision-making in the organizational context. The present study examined the direct and indirect effects of individuals' perceptions of work climate on their ethical judgments and behavioral intentions regarding an ethical dilemma. A national sample of marketers was surveyed in a scenario-based research study. The results indicated that, although perceived climate dimensions did not have a direct effect on behavioral intentions, there (...) were significant moderating effects. Climates perceived as emphasizing social responsibility and rules/codes moderated the individual ethical judgment-behavioral intentions relationship such that individuals were less likely to say that they would engage in a questionable selling practice even when they themselves did not believe the practice to be unethical. Respondents were somewhat more likely to form intentions consistent with their judgment that the questionable practice was morally acceptable when the ethical climate was characterized by an emphasis on team/friendship. (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)
If the reliability of a source of testimony is open to question, it seems epistemically illegitimate to verify the source’s reliability by appealing to that source’s own testimony. Is this because it is illegitimate to trust a questionable source’s testimony on any matter whatsoever? Or is there a distinctive problem with appealing to the source’s testimony on the matter of that source’s own reliability? After distinguishing between two kinds of epistemically illegitimate circularity—bootstrapping and self-verification—I argue for a qualified version of (...) the claim that there is nothing especially illegitimate about using a questionable source to evaluate its own reliability. Instead, it is illegitimate to appeal to a questionable source’s testimony on any matter whatsoever, with the matter of the source’s own reliability serving only as a special case. (shrink)
On some accounts of vagueness, predicates like “is a heap” are tolerant. That is, their correct application tolerates sufficiently small changes in the objects to which they are applied. Of course, such views face the sorites paradox, and various solutions have been proposed. One proposed solution involves banning repeated appeals to tolerance, while affirming tolerance in any individual case. In effect, this solution rejects the reasoning of the sorites argument. This paper discusses a thorny problem afflicting this approach to vagueness. (...) In particular, it is shown that, on the foregoing view, whether an object is a heap will sometimes depend on factors extrinsic to that object, such as whether its components came from other heaps. More generally, the paper raises the issue of how to count heaps in a tolerance-friendly framework. (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)
On two standard views of vagueness, vagueness as to whether Harry is bald entails that nobody knows whether Harry is bald—either because vagueness is a type of missing truth, and so there is nothing to know, or because vagueness is a type of ignorance, and so even though there is a truth of the matter, nobody can know what that truth is. Vagueness as to whether Harry is bald does entail that nobody clearly knows that Harry is bald and that (...) nobody clearly knows that Harry is not bald. But it does not entail that nobody knows that Harry is bald or that nobody knows that Harry is not bald. Hence, the two standard views of vagueness are mistaken. (shrink)
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.
Although the condition known as synaesthesia is currently undergoing a scientific resurgence, to date the literature has largely focused on the heterogeneous nature of synaesthesia across individuals. In order to provide a better understanding of synaesthesia, however, general characteristics need to be investigated. Synaesthetic experiences are often described as occurring ‘internally’ or in the ‘mind’s eye’, which is remarkably similar to how we would describe our experience of visual mental imagery. We assessed the role of visual imagery in synaesthesia by (...) sampling a large group of synaesthetes and found that they report experiencing more vivid mental images than controls. These findings have important implications for our general understanding of synaesthesia and, in particular, emphasize the need to control for visual imagery in behavioural and neuroimaging paradigms. (shrink)
Milk, sand, plastic, uranium, wood, carbon, and oil are kinds of stuff. The sand in Hawaii, the uranium in North Korea, and the oil in Iraq are portions of stuff. Not everyone believes in portions of stuff.1 Those who do are likely to agree that, whatever their more specific natures, portions of stuff can at least be identified with mereological sums of their subportions.2 It seems after all trivial that a given portion of stuff just is all of its subportions (...) combined—not by a spatiotemporal or any other substantive unifying relation, but by a mere principle of summation, a principle requiring that, if some things exist, there exists the sum, or collection, of those things. (shrink)
The “scientiﬁc essentialist” doctrine asserts that the following are examples of a posteriori necessary identities: water is H2O; gold is the element with atomic number 79; and heat is the motion of molecules. Evidence in support of this assertion, however, is difﬁcult to ﬁnd. Both Hilary Putnam and Saul Kripke have argued convincingly for the existence of a posteriori necessities. Furthermore, Kripke has argued for the existence of a posteriori necessary identities in regard to a particular class of statements involving (...) proper names. Neither Kripke nor Putnam, however, has argued convincingly that sentences containing syntactically complex terms or descriptive phrases can express a posteriori necessary identities. I will argue by way of a hypothetical example that ‘water is H2O’ does not express a necessary identity. My argument is unique in that it attacks the relevant sufﬁciency claim needed to underwrite this putative necessary identity.1 That is, even if we grant that water is necessarily composed of H2O, we should not accept that H2O necessarily forms water. (shrink)
I aim to show that standard theories of counterfactuals are mistaken, not in detail, but in principle, and I aim to say what form a tenable theory must take. Standard theories entail a categorical interpretation of counterfactuals, on which to state that, if it were that A, it would be that C is to state something, not relative to any supposition or hypothesis, but categorically. On the rival suppositional interpretation, to state that, if it were that A, it would be (...) that C is to state that it would be that C relative to the supposition that it were that A. The two interpretations make incompatible predictions concerning the correct evaluation of counterfactuals. I argue that the suppositional interpretation makes the correct prediction. (shrink)
Roger White (2015) sketches an ingenious new solution to the problem of induction. He argues from the principle of indifference for the conclusion that the world is more likely to be induction- friendly than induction-unfriendly. But there is reason to be skeptical about the proposed indifference-based vindication of induction. It can be shown that, in the crucial test cases White concentrates on, the assumption of indifference renders induction no more accurate than random guessing. After discussing this result, the paper explains (...) why the indifference-based argument seemed so compelling, despite ultimately being unsound. (shrink)
Prevailing opinion—defended by Jason Brennan and others—is that voting to change the outcome is irrational, since although the payoffs of tipping an election can be quite large, the probability of doing so is extraordinarily small. This paper argues that prevailing opinion is incorrect. Voting is shown to be rational so long as two conditions are satisfied: First, the average social benefit of electing the better candidate must be at least twice as great as the individual cost of voting, and second, (...) the chance of casting the decisive vote must be at least 1/N, where N stands for the number of citizens. It is argued that both of these conditions are often true in the real world. (shrink)
In Time Deposits, Dimension, and Fraud (2009), William Barnett and Walter Block argue that by borrowing short and lending long there is an over issuance of property rights. Their article, however, does not fully extend the consequences of their contribution. Once this is done, it becomes clearer that their argument suits a great impediment to banking, becoming a possible reason to support rather than to oppose fractional reserve banking. Bagus and Howden (J Bus Ethics 90(3):399–406, 2009) comment on (...) class='Hi'>Barnett and Block (J Bus Ethics 88(4):711–716, 2009), the authors claim that while maintaining the illegitimacy of fractional reserve deposits, borrowing short and lending long it is actually not illegitimate. An extension on Bagus and Howden (2009) will show that their line of argumentation can be applied as a defense of fractional reserve banking as well. (shrink)
Andrew Sayer undertakes a fundamental critique of social science's difficulties in acknowledging that people's relation to the world is one of concern. As sentient beings, capable of flourishing and suffering, and particularly vulnerable to how others treat us, our view of the world is substantially evaluative. Yet modernist ways of thinking encourage the common but extraordinary belief that values are beyond reason, and merely subjective or matters of convention, with little or nothing to do with the kind of beings (...) people are, the quality of their social relations, their material circumstances or well-being. The author shows how social theory and philosophy need to change to reflect the complexity of everyday ethical concerns and the importance people attach to dignity. He argues for a robustly critical social science that explains and evaluates social life from the standpoint of human flourishing. (shrink)
In this provocative and engaging new book, Randy Barnett outlines a powerful and original theory of liberty structured by the liberal conception of justice and the rule of law. Drawing on insights from philosophy, political theory, economics, and law, he shows how this new conception of liberty can confront, and solve, the central societal problems of knowledge, interest, and power.
Materialists about human persons think that we are material through and through—wholly material beings. Those who endorse materialism more widely think that everything is material through and through. But what is it to be wholly material? In this article, I answer that question. I identify and defend a definition or analysis of ‘wholly material’.
This paper is about how to aggregate outside opinion. If two experts are on one side of an issue, while three experts are on the other side, what should a non-expert believe? Certainly, the non-expert should take into account more than just the numbers. But which other factors are relevant, and why? According to the view developed here, one important factor is whether the experts should have been expected, in advance, to reach the same conclusion. When the agreement of two (...) (or of twenty) thinkers can be predicted with certainty in advance, their shared belief is worth only as much as one of their beliefs would be worth alone. This expectational model of belief dependence can be applied whether we think in terms of credences or in terms of all-or-nothing beliefs. (shrink)
Most large companies and many smaller ones have adopted ethics codes, but the evidence is mixed as to whether they have a positive impact on the behavior of employees. We suggest that one way that ethics codes could contribute to ethical behavior is by influencing the perceptions that employees have about the ethical values of organizations. We examine whether a group of sales professionals in organizations with ethics codes perceive that their organizational context is more supportive of ethical behavior than (...) sales professionals in companies without codes. After accounting for the effect of several covariates, our results indicated that sales professionals employed in organizations with codes of ethics perceived their work environments to have more positive ethical values than did other sales professionals. (shrink)
A posteriori Moral Naturalism posits a posteriorimoral/naturalistic identities. Versions of this view thatposit necessary identities purport to rely on theKripke/Putnam doctrine of scientific essentialism.Versions that posit only contingent identities requirethat moral terms are non-rigid designators. I argue thatmetaethics does not fall within the scope of scientificessentialism and that moral terms are not non-rigid designators.
Science as Practice and Culture explores one of the newest and most controversial developments within the rapidly changing field of science studies: the move toward studying scientific practice--the work of doing science--and the associated move toward studying scientific culture, understood as the field of resources that practice operates in and on. Andrew Pickering has invited leading historians, philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists of science to prepare original essays for this volume. The essays range over the physical and biological sciences and (...) mathematics, and are divided into two parts. In part I, the contributors map out a coherent set of perspectives on scientific practice and culture, and relate their analyses to central topics in the philosophy of science such as realism, relativism, and incommensurability. The essays in part II seek to delineate the study of science as practice in arguments across its borders with the sociology of scientific knowledge, social epistemology, and reflexive ethnography. (shrink)
In this paper, I present and defend a novel account of doubt. In Part 1, I make some preliminary observations about the nature of doubt. In Part 2, I introduce a new puzzle about the relationship between three psychological states: doubt, belief, and confidence. I present this puzzle because my account of doubt emerges as a possible solution to it. Lastly, in Part 3, I elaborate on and defend my account of doubt. Roughly, one has doubt if and only if (...) one believes one might be wrong; I argue that this is superior to the account that says that one has doubt if and only if one has less than the highest degree of confidence. (shrink)