The case outlined below will be the basis for the In That Case section in the next issue of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry (JBI). We invite interested readers to provide responses to the case for possible publication. Responses should be 500–700 words, and should be submitted as soon as possible after publication of this issue. The editors will select the responses to be published in the next issue of the JBI, and reserve the right to edit contributions to avoid (...) repetition. Editorial changes will be cleared with authors before going to press. Responses should be submitted on Editorial Manager. (shrink)
What is the role of conscious experience in the epistemology of perceptual knowledge: how should we characterise what is going on in seeing that o is F in order to illuminate the contribution of seeing o to their status as cases of knowing that o is F? My proposal is that seeing o involves conscious acquaintance with o itself, the concrete worldly source of the truth that o is F, in a way that may make it evident to the subject (...) that o is an instance of ‘x is F’ as she understands this, and hence evident that o is F. Seeing that o is F is thus a way of its being evident that o is F and is therefore a way of knowing that o is F. (shrink)
Physical objects are such things as stones, tables, trees, people and other animals: the persisting macroscopic constituents of the world we live in. therefore expresses a commonsense commitment to physical realism: the persisting macroscopic constituents of the world we live in exist, and are as they are, quite independently of anyone.
Bill Brewer presents an original view of the role of conscious experience in the acquisition of empirical knowledge. He argues that perceptual experiences must provide reasons for empirical beliefs if there are to be any determinate beliefs at all about particular objects in the world. This fresh approach to epistemology turns away from the search for necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge and works instead from a theory of understanding in a particular area.
The question I am interested in is this. What exactly is the role of conscious experience in the acquisition of knowledge on the basis of perception? The problem here, as I see it, is to solve simultaneously for the nature of this experience, and its role in acquiring and sustaining the relevant beliefs, in such a way as to vindicate what I regard as an undeniable datum, that perception is a basic source of knowledge about the mind-independent world, in a (...) sense of ‘basic’ which is also to be elucidated. I shall sketch the way in which I think that this should be done. In section I, I argue that perceptual experiences must provide reasons for empirical beliefs. In section II, I explain how they do so. My thesis is that a correct account of the sense in which perceptual experiences are experiences of mind-independent things is itself an account of the way in which they provide peculiarly basic reasons for beliefs about the world around the perceiver. (shrink)
We perceive things in the external world as spatially located both with respect to each other and to ourselves, such that they are in principle accessible from where we seem to be. I hear the door bang behind me; I feel the pen on the desk over to my right; and I see you walking beneath the line of pictures, from left to right in front of me. By displaying these spatial relations between its objects and us, the perceivers, perception (...) places us in the perceived world: our world and the world we perceive are one. Clearly this is not achieved by our continually perceiving ourselves along with the things around us, and thus recovering our position with respect to them. Indeed I shall argue that there are serious difficulties with the suggestion that this might be the basic mechanism for perceptual self- location. Furthermore, I shall argue that our existence as an element of the objective order cannot be inferred from the raw given in sense perception. Hence it cannot even be on the right lines as an answer to the question 'What is it for perception to represent its objects as environmental to the subject?', that it should present these objects, along with the perceiving subject himself, or along with something from which his existence in the perceived world could be deduced, in the very same frame so to speak. Nevertheless it yields him an awareness of himself as there in the wings of that scene, genuinely located with respect to the action, yet somehow not normally quite getting onto the stage. And I shall argue here, that perceptual contents succeed in being self-locating in this way in.. (shrink)
A taped conversational interview with Daniel Dennett and Bill Uzgalis covers a wide range of topics arising from Dennett’s thoughts about computing and human beings. The background of Dennett’s work is explored as are his views about mind-brain identity theory, artificial intelligence, functionalism, human exceptionalism, animal culture, language, pain, freedom and determinism, and quality of life.
Early modern empiricists thought that the nature of perceptual experience is given by citing the object presented to the mind in that experience. Hallucination and illusion suggest that this requires untenable mind-dependent objects. Current orthodoxy replaces the appeal to direct objects with the claim that perceptual experience is characterized instead by its representational content. This paper argues that the move to content is problematic, and reclaims the early modern empiricist insight as perfectly consistent, even in cases of illusion, with the (...) realist contention that these direct objects of perception are the persisting mind-independent physical objects we all know and love. (shrink)
Bill Cosby’s immorality has raised intriguing aesthetic and ethical issues. Do the crimes that he has been convicted of lessen the aesthetic value of his stand-up and, even if we can enjoy it, should we? This article first discusses the intimate relationship between the comedian and audience. The art form itself is structurally intimate, and at the same time the comedian claims to express an authentic self on stage. After drawing an analogy between the question of the moral character (...) of comedians and the aesthetic value of their stand-up and the debate over the ethical criticism of art, this article argues that it is reasonable to find a comedian’s performance less funny, because stand-up’s artistic success relies on this intimacy. It contrasts the comedy of Bill Cosby with that of Louis C.K. C.K.’s moral flaws are much more present in his comedy, and it is therefore more difficult to find him funny. Last, it is ethically permissible to enjoy their comedy, if no harm to others results, both because it does not corrupt the audience’s character and because amusement is valuable. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss a number of different relationships between two kinds of obligation: those which have individuals as their subject, and those which have groups of individuals as their subject. I use the name collective obligations to refer to obligations of the second sort. I argue that there are collective obligations, in this sense; that such obligations can give rise to and explain obligations which fall on individuals; that because of these facts collective obligations are not simply reducible (...) to individual obligations; and that collective obligations supervene on individual obligations, without being reducible to them. The sort of supervenience I have in mind here is what is sometimes called ‘global supervenience’. In other words, there cannot be two worlds which differ in respect of the collective obligations which exist in them without also differing in respect of the individual obligations which exist in them. (shrink)
It is close to current orthodoxy that perceptual experience is to be characterized, at least in part, by its representational content, roughly, by the way it represents things as being in the world around the perceiver. Call this basic idea the content view.
Many philosophers hold that punishment has an expressive dimension. Advocates of expressive theories have different views about what makes punishment expressive, what kinds of mental states and what kinds of claims are, or legitimately can be expressed in punishment, and to what kind of audience or recipients, if any, punishment might express whatever it expresses. I shall argue that in order to assess the plausibility of an expressivist approach to justifying punishment we need to pay careful attention to whether the (...) things which punishment is supposed to express are aimed at an audience. For the ability of any version of expressivism to withstand two important challenges, which I call the harsh treatment challenge’ and the ‘publicity challenge’ respectively. will depend on the way it answers them. The first of these challenges has received considerable discussion in the literature on expressive theories of punishment; the second considerably less. This is unfortunate. For careful consideration of the publicity challenge should lead us to favor a version of the expressive theory which has been under-discussed: the view on which punishment has an intended audience, and on which the audience is society at large, rather than—as on the most popular version of that view—the criminal. Furthermore, this view turns out to be better equipped to meet the harsh treatment challenge, and to be so precisely because of the way in which it meets the publicity challenge. (shrink)
The question how to account for illusion has had a prominent role in shaping theories of perception throughout the history of philosophy. Prevailing philosophical wisdom today has it that phenomena of illusion force us to choose between the following two options. First, reject altogether the early modern empiricist idea that the core subjective character of perceptual experience is to be given simply by citing the object presented in that experience. Instead we must characterize perceptual experience entirely in terms of its (...) representational content. Second, retain the early modern idea that the core subjective character of experience is simply constituted by the identity of its direct objects, but admit that these must be mind-dependent entities, distinct from the mind-independent physical objects we all know and love. I argue here that the early modern empiricists had an indispensable insight. The idea that the core subjective character of perceptual experience is to be given simply by citing the object presented in that experience is more fundamental than any appeal to perceptual content, and can account for illusion, and indeed hallucination, without resorting to the problematic postulation of any such mind-dependent objects. (shrink)
From time to time we explain what people do by referring to their habits. We explain somebody’s putting the kettle on in the morning as done through “force of habit”. We explain somebody’s missing a turning by saying that she carried straight on “out of habit”. And we explain somebody’s biting her nails as a manifestation of “a bad habit”. These are all examples of what will be referred to here as habit explanations. Roughly speaking, they explain by referring to (...) a pattern of a particular kind of behaviour which is regularly performed in characteristic circumstances, and has become automatic for that agent due to this repetition. (shrink)
It has recently been suggested that the fact that punishment involves an intention to cause suffering undermines expressive justifications of punishment. I argue that while punishment must involve harsh treatment, harsh treatment need not involve an intention to cause suffering. Expressivists should adopt this conception of harsh treatment.
We perceive a world of mind-independent macroscopic material objects such as stones, tables, trees, and animals. Our experience is the joint upshot of the way these things are and our route through them, along with the various relevant circumstances of perception; and it depends on the normal operation of our perceptual systems. How should we characterise our perceptual experience so as to respect its basis and explain its role in grounding empirical thought and knowledge? I offered an answer to this (...) question in Perception and its objects. Here I aim to clarify some of my central arguments and to develop and defend the position further in the light of subsequent critical discussion. (shrink)
I take it for granted that sense experiential states provide reasons for empirical beliefs; indeed this claim forms the first premise of my central argument for (CC). 1 The subsequent stages of the argument are intended to establish that a person has such a reason for believing something about the way things are in the world around him only if he is in some mental state or other with a conceptual content: a conceptual state. Thus, given that sense experiential states (...) do provide reasons for empirical beliefs, they must have conceptual content. (shrink)
Many authors hold that collectives, as well as individuals can be the subjects of obligations. Typically these authors have focussed on the obligations of highly structured groups, and of small, informal groups. One might wonder, however, whether there could also be collective obligations which fall on everyone – what I shall call ' global collective obligations '. One reason for thinking that this is not possible has to do with considerations about agency : it seems as though an entity can (...) only be the subject of obligations if it is an agent. In this paper, I try to show that the argument from agency is not a good reason for being sceptical about the existence of global collective obligations : it derives whatever plausibility it has from the idea that claims about obligation need to be addressable to some agent. My suggestion is that we should accept this principle about the addressability of obligations, but deny that the addressee of an obligation need be the subject of that obligation. The collective obligations of unstructured collections of individuals, including global collective obligations, meet the addressability requirement insofar as they require something of the individuals who make up the collective. (shrink)
Traditional ecocentric ethics relies on an ecology that emphasizes the stability and integrity of ecosystems. Numerous ecologists now focus on natural systems that are less clearly characterized by these properties. We use the elimination and restoration of wolves in Yellowstone to illustrate troubles for traditional ecocentric ethics caused by ecological models emphasizing instability in natural systems. We identify several other problems for a stability-integrity based ecocentrism as well. We show how an ecocentric ethic can avoid these difficulties by emphasizing the (...) value of the wildness of natural systems and we defend wildness value from a rising tide of criticisms. (shrink)
Nathan Hanna has recently argued against a position I defend in a 2013 paper in this journal and in my 2016 book on punishment, namely that we can punish someone without intending to harm them. In this discussion note I explain why two alleged counterexamples to my view put forward by Hanna are not in fact counterexamples to any view I hold, produce an example which shows that, if we accept a number of Hanna’s own assumptions, punishment does not require (...) an intention to harm, and discuss whether a definition and counter-example approach is the best way to proceed in the philosophy of punishment. I conclude with a brief exegetical discussion of H.L.A Hart’s Prolegomenon to the Principles of Punishment. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss a distinctively non-paradigmatic instance of punishment: the punishment of non-citizens. I shall argue that the punishment of non-citizens presents considerable difficulties for one currently popular account of criminal punishment: Antony Duff’s communicative expressive theory of punishment. Duff presents his theory explicitly as an account of the punishment of citizens - and as I shall argue, this is not merely an incidental feature of his account. However, it is plausible that a general account of the criminal (...) law of the kind of idealized state that Duff focusses on will need to say something about how that law deals with non-citizens. In particular, I claim, it will need to provide a justification for punishing them. Because Duff's account says nothing about the punishment of non-citizens, it cannot do so. Furthermore, although Duff's more recent suggestion that non-citizens should be thought of as being guests in the state on whose territory they are present may provide for an account of their criminalization, it cannot easily be extended into an account that provides a justification for their punishment. (shrink)
The Medical Innovation Bill continues its journey through Parliament. On 23 January 2015, it was debated for the final time in the House of Lords and with one final amendment, the House moved to support the Bill, which then moved to the House of Commons on 26 January. It will be debated again on 27 February 2015. The Bill’s purpose is to encourage responsible innovation in medical treatment. Although this goal is laudable, it is argued that the (...)Bill is unnecessary and has the potential to undermine the very cause it aims to advance. More useful for encouraging responsible innovation is the continued education of health-care professionals on how the law already supports practitioners who look to improve care through responsible innovation. (shrink)
According to Wringe 2006 we have good reasons for accepting the existence of Global Collective Obligations - in other words, collective obligations which fall on the world’s population as a whole. One such reason is that the existence of such obligations provides a plausible solution a problem which is sometimes thought to arise if we think that individuals have a right to have their basic needs satisfied. However, obligations of this sort would be of little interest – either theoretical or (...) practical – if they did not give rise, either directly or indirectly, to any kinds of reasons for individuals to behave in certain ways. -/- In this paper, I shall argue that in many situations, forward-looking global obligations give rise to an obligation on individuals to work towards bringing into existence and support an institutional system which will enable their obligations to be met. My argument for this conclusion involves two steps. In the first step, I address a general question about how collective obligations can give rise to individual obligations without being reducible to them, and which obligations they give rise to. Here I give a Kant-inspired argument, based on the principles that ‘ought implies can’ and that the content of the moral law is given by reflecting on how agents should legislate in a kingdom of ends, which is designed to show that collective obligations can give rise to individual obligations. In the second step I apply this principle to the case of global forward-looking obligations. (shrink)
Recent literature portrays caring as a psychological, social, and ethical orientation associated with female gender identity. This essay focuses on Giliigan's influential view that “care” is a broad theme of moral development which is under-represented in dominant theories of human development such as Kohlberg's theory. An alternative hypothesis is proposed portraying care development as a set of circumscribed coping strategies tailored to dealingwith sexism. While these strategies are practically effective and partially “liberated,” from the moral point of view, they also (...) reflect the debilitating influences of sexist socialization even at the highest level. Gilligan and her colleagues seem to misidentify these inadequacies of mature care. This alternative hypothesis is briefly related to the critical and feminist tradition. Then it is supported with Gilligan's own research and interpretive text. (shrink)
Several philosophers think there are important analogies between emotions and perceptual states. Furthermore, considerations about the rational assessibility of emotions have led philosophers—in some cases, the very same philosophers—to think that the content of emotions must be propositional content. If one finds it plausible that perceptual states have propositional contents, then there is no obvious tension between these views. However, this view of perception has recently been attacked by philosophers who hold that the content of perception is object-like. I shall (...) argue for a view about the content of emotions and perceptual states which will enable us to hold both that emotional content is analogous to perceptual content and that both emotions and perceptual states can have propositional contents. This will involve arguing for a pluralist view of perceptual content, on which perceptual states can have both contents which are proposition-like and contents which are object-like. I shall also address two significant objections to the claim that emotions can have proposition-like contents. Meeting one of these objections will involve taking on a further commitment: the pluralist account of perceptual content will have to be one on which the contents of perception can be non-conceptual. (shrink)
According to Kant, it is impermissible to treat humanity as a mere means. If we accept Kant's equation of humanity with rational agency, and are literalists about ascriptions of agency to collectives it appears to follow that we may not treat collectives as mere means. On most standard accounts of what it is to treat something as a means this conclusion seems highly implausible. I conclude that we are faced with a range of options. One would be to rethink the (...) equation of humanity with rationality. Another would be to abandon the prohibition on treating as a means. The last would be to abandon literalist construals of attribution of agency to collectives. (shrink)
In The Varieties of Reference (1982), Gareth Evans claims that considerations having to do with certain basic ways we have of gaining knowledge of our own physical states and properties provide "the most powerful antidote to a Cartesian conception of the self" (220). In this chapter, I start with a discussion and evaluation of Evans' own argument, which is, I think, in the end unconvincing. Then I raise the possibility of a more direct application of similar considerations in defence of (...) common sense anti-Cartesianism. Progress in this direction depends upon a far more psychologically informed understanding of normal and abnormal bodily awareness than is generally found in philosophical discussions of these issues. In the context of my attempt at some such understanding, I go on to assess the potential of this more direct line of argument. (shrink)
It is sometimes argued that non-agent collectives, including what one might call the ‘global collective’ consisting of the world’s population taken as a whole, cannot be the bearers of non-distributive moral obligations on pain of violating the principle that ‘ought implies can’. I argue that one prominent line of argument for this conclusion fails because it illicitly relies on a formulation of the ‘ought implies can’ principle which is inapt for contexts which allow for the possibility of non-distributive plural predications (...) of agency, which are precisely the contexts in which we might expect non-agents to be obligation-bearers. (shrink)
Psychiatry is unique in medicine in being on the border between science and the humanities. Science provides insight into the 'causes' of a problem, enabling us to formulate an 'explanation', while the humanities provide insight into its 'meanings' and helps with our 'understanding'. The new interdisciplinary field of 'philosophy of psychiatry' has developed to explore the range of issues relevant to this border country. The Oxford Textbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry is a unique textbook which provides a detailed introduction to (...) the field, a framework for study and skill development, and an overview of current research. It focuses on case studies in 5 key topic areas. Each case study is supported by selected readings from both philosophy and mental health, thinking skills exercises, self-test questions, key learning points and detailed guides to further reading. (shrink)
Virtuous actions seem to be both habitual and rational. But if we combine an intuitive understanding of habituality with the currently predominant paradigm of rational action, these two features of virtuous actions are hard to reconcile. Intuitively, acting habitually is acting as one has before in similar contexts, and automatically, that is, without thinking about it. Meanwhile, contemporary philosophers tend to assume the truth of what I call the reasons theory of rational action, which states that all rational actions are (...) actions for reasons. Whilst interpretations of this phrase are disputed, I argue that neither of the two leading views – which I call reasons internalism and reasons externalism – makes room for habitual actions to count as actions for reasons; by the reasons theory, they cannot be rational either. I suggest one way of effecting the reconciliation which, whilst it allows us to keep the reasons theory, requires us to conceive of reasons as even more radically external than current externalists believe them to be. (shrink)
Much of the current imaging literature either denies the existence of wakeful non-mental imagers, views non-imagers motivationally as 'repressors' or 'neurotic', or acknowledges them but does not fully incorporate them into their models. Neurobiologists testing for imaging loss seem to assume that visual recognition, describing objects, and free-hand drawing require the forming of conscious images. The intuition that 'the psyche never thinks without an image.... the reasoning mind thinks its ideas in the form of images' (Aristotle) has a long tradition (...) in philosophical psychology, from Aristotle through the British empiricists to the British-empiricist-inspired introspection paradigm of Titchener. The massive shift in early experimental psychology to the introspective-antagonistic paradigm of Watson's behaviourism, may have sprung from the contrary intuition that no one thinks in mental images. In both cases, people seemed to assume that what is in one's own mind is in everybody's mind. A third, mediating, intuition - that some people do not think with conscious mental imagery -- seems to be confirmed by empirical studies on many levels. From the early imagery interviews of Francis Galton through many modern surveys, including my own, a consistent diversity of self-reports on ones own mental imagery abilities suggests that some 2-5% of people are very poor- or non-visual- imagers who, yet, maintain normal visual recognition abilities. Comparable estimates have been made in auditory and other imagery modalities. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that a well-known objection to subsistence rights developed by Onora O'Neill - namely, that such rights would generate obligations without an obligation-bearer, can be answered if we take such rights to impose an obligation on the world's population, taken collectively.
When Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then head of the IMF, was arrested on charges of sexual assault arising from events that were alleged to have occurred during his stay in an up-market hotel in New York, a sizeable portion of French public opinion was outraged - not by the possibility that a well-connected and widely-admired politician had assaulted an immigrant hotel worker, but by the way in which the accused had been treated by the American authorities. I shall argue that in one (...) relatively minor respect, Strauss-Kahn’s defenders were correct. They were correct to argue that the parading of Strauss-Kahn before the press, in handcuffs - the so-called perp walk - constituted a form of punishment; and thus that it contravened the principle that criminal punishments should only be administered after a fair trial. So-called ‘expressive’ theorists of punishment hold that a form of harsh treatment can only constitute a form of punishment if it has an expressive role. Within the expressive family, we can distinguish between views on which the primary target of the communication to be the society of which either offender, or victim, or both are members—what I call ‘Denunciatory Views’, and views which take the principle target of penal communication to be the offender—such as Antony Duff’s Communicative View. I shall argue that on both a minimal account of punishment and on either kind of expressive view, ‘perp walks’ are a form of punishment. (shrink)
This chapter applies insights from the expressive theory of punishment to the case of the punishment of war criminals by international tribunals. Wringe argues that although such cases are not paradigmatic cases of punishment, the denunciatory account can still cast light on them. He argues that war criminals can be seen as members of an international community for which international tribunals can act as a spokesperson. He also argues that in justifying the punishment lof war criminals we should pay especial (...) attention to the expressive function of the trial. (shrink)
The authors argue that corporate philanthropy is far too important as a social instrument for good to depend on ethical egoism for its support. They claim that rule utilitarianism provides a more compelling, though not exclusive, moral foundation. The authors cite empirical and legal evidence as additional support for their claim.
Page generated Mon Jul 26 22:45:44 2021 on philpapers-web-84c8c567c7-mhfn6
cache stats: hit=34576, miss=28387, save= autohandler : 1216 ms called component : 1199 ms search.pl : 874 ms render loop : 525 ms addfields : 364 ms initIterator : 346 ms publicCats : 308 ms retrieve cache object : 247 ms autosense : 215 ms match_other : 190 ms next : 114 ms menu : 92 ms quotes : 41 ms search_quotes : 24 ms match_cats : 22 ms prepCit : 18 ms save cache object : 15 ms applytpl : 5 ms match_authors : 1 ms intermediate : 1 ms init renderer : 1 ms setup : 0 ms auth : 0 ms writelog : 0 ms