This study considers customer characteristics as situational influences on a salesperson'sethical judgment formation. Specifically, customer gender, income, and propensity to buy were considered as factors which may bias these judgments. Additionally, the gender of the salesperson and their moral value structure were examined as moderating effects. An experiment using real estate agents reading hypothetical sales scenarios revealed differences across customer gender, customer income, and level of the respondent'sidealism. Significant interactive effects with these factors were also found involving respondent gender and (...) level of idealism. These and previous findings which consider situational effects on ethical decision-making, indicate that a more contingent approach to ethics studies is warranted. (shrink)
The authors demonstrate that ethical judgments can be biased when previous judgments serve as a point of reference against which a current situation is judged. Scenarios describing ethical or unethical sales practices were used in an experiment to prime subjects who subsequently rated the ethics of an ethically ambiguous target scenario. The target tended to be rated as more ethical by subjects primed with unethical scenarios, and less ethical by subjects primed with ethical scenarios. This "contrast effect," however, is contingent (...) upon individual differences. Specifically, subjects with high (versus low) needs for cognition are more likely to process and use the information presented in the priming scenarios as a point of reference against which to judge the target situation, and hence more prone to the contrastive bias. Implications for avoiding unintentional moral relativism in business decision-making are discussed. (shrink)
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has proposed substantial changes to the current regulatory system governing human subjects research in its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, entitled “Human Subjects Research Protections: Enhancing Protections for Research Subjects and Reducing Burden, Delay, and Ambiguity for Investigators.” Some of the most significant proposed changes concern the use of biospecimens in research. Because research involving biological materials begins with an initial interaction with an individual, such research falls squarely within the human subjects (...) research regulatory framework known as the “Common Rule,” which applies to research conducted or funded by the HHS and the other signatory agencies and departments. However, as described in detail below, much biospecimen research may fall within exemptions and exceptions under the Common Rule and, thus, may be conducted without consent. The ANPRM proposes requiring written consent for research use of biospecimens, even if the biospecimens were initially collected for a purpose other than research or have been stripped of identifiers. (shrink)
I distinguish two ways of explaining our capacity for ‘transparent’ knowledge of our own present beliefs, perceptions, and intentions: an inferential and a reflective approach. Alex Byrne (2011) has defended an inferential approach, but I argue that this approach faces a basic difficulty, and that a reflective approach avoids the difficulty. I conclude with a brief sketch and defence of a reflective approach to our transparent self-knowledge, and I show how this approach is connected with the thesis that we must (...) distinguish between a kind of self-knowledge that is of oneself as agent and another kind that is of oneself as patient. (shrink)
Answering important public health questions often requires collection of sensitive information about individuals. For example, our understanding of how HIV is transmitted and how to prevent it only came about with people's willingness to share information about their sexual and drug-using behaviors. Given the scientific need for sensitive, personal information, researchers have a corresponding ethical and legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of data they collect and typically promise in consent forms to restrict access to it and not to publish (...) identifying data.The interests of others, however, can threaten researchers' promises of confidentiality when legal demands are made to access research data. In some cases, the subject of the litigation is tightly connected to the research questions, and litigants' interest in the data is not surprising. Researchers conducting studies on tobacco or occupational or other chemical exposures, for example, are relatively frequent targets of subpoenas. (shrink)
The method of the philosophers of the future that Nietzsche heralds, but does not self-identify with, has not received the attention it deserves in the secondary literature. In this essay, I address this lacuna with an interpretation of the roles of the philosophers of the future that explains in what sense they are and are not tempters. As free spirits, cultural physicians, and legislators, the philosophers of the future undertake experiments to acquire knowledge; hence, the philosophers of the future are (...) attempters. Nevertheless, it is also wrong to call them attempters; as educators, the philosophers of the future are tempters. (shrink)
Robert Boyle thought that his scientific achievements in pneumatics and chemistry depended on, and thus provided support for, his mechanical philosophy. In a recent article in this journal, Alan Chalmers has challenged this view. This paper consists of a reply to Chalmers on two fronts. First it tries to specify precisely what ‘the mechanical philosophy’ meant for Boyle. Then it goes on to defend, against Chalmers, the view that Boyle's science does support his natural philosophy.Keywords: Robert (...) class='Hi'>Boyle; Mechanical philosophy; Reductionism. (shrink)
The second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason contains several major and myriad minor emendations. The revision of the mode of presentation is apparent in four sections of the Critique: the Aesthetic; the Doctrine of the Concepts of the Understanding; the Principles of Pure Understanding; and ‘the paralogisms advanced against rational psychology’ . A new refutation of psychological idealism begins at B274. Perhaps most importantly, a new Preface frames the Critique.
Robert Boyle, one of the most important intellectuals of the seventeenth century, was a gifted experimenter, an exceptionally able philosopher, and a dedicated Christian. In Boyle's two Excellencies, The Excellency of Theology Compared with Natural Philosophy and About The Excellency and Grounds of the Mechanical Hypothesis, he explains and justifies his new philosophy of science while reconciling it with Christian theology. These pioneering works of early science and theology are now available in a modernized and accessible new edition. (...) This Broadview edition brings spelling and punctuation into line with current conventions and includes notes and references to set the works in their historical and philosophical context. The appendices include works by Boyle's predecessors in the philosophy of science, other philosophical writings by Boyle, and an appendix of the other figures mentioned in the texts. (shrink)
In 2003, the concept of precarity emerged as the central organizing platform for a series of social struggles that would spread across the space of Europe. Four years later, almost as suddenly as the precarity movement appeared, so it would enter into crisis. To understand precarity as a political concept it is necessary to go beyond economistic approaches that see social conditions as determined by the mode of production. Such a move requires us to see Fordism as exception and precarity (...) as the norm. The political concept and practice of translation enables us to frame the precarity of creative labour in a broader historical and geographical perspective, shedding light on its contestation and relation to the concept of the common. Our interest is in the potential for novel forms of connection, subjectivization and political organization. Such processes of translation are themselves inherently precarious, transborder undertakings. (shrink)
Why can I not appropriately utter ‘It must be raining’ while standing outside in the rain, even though every world consistent with my knowledge is one in which it is raining? The common response to this problem is to hold that epistemic must, in addition to quantifying over epistemic possibilities, carries some additional evidential information concerning the source of one'S evidence. I argue that this is a mistake: epistemic modals are mere quantifiers over epistemic possibilities. My central claim is that (...) the seeming anomaly of the data above arises from a mistaken conception of what a possibility is. Instead of conceiving of possibilities as possible worlds, I argue that we should conceive of possibilities as answers to open questions. (shrink)
When epistemologists talk about knowledge, the discussions traditionally include only a small class of other epistemic notions: belief, justification, probability, truth. In this paper, we propose that epistemologists should include an additional epistemic notion into the mix, namely the notion of assuming or taking for granted.
Additive theories of rationality, as I use the term, are theories that hold that an account of our capacity to reflect on perceptually-given reasons for belief and desire-based reasons for action can begin with an account of what it is to perceive and desire, in terms that do not presuppose any connection to the capacity to reflect on reasons, and then can add an account of the capacity for rational reflection, conceived as an independent capacity to ‘monitor’ and ‘regulate’ our (...) believing-on-the-basis-of-perception and our acting-on-the-basis-of-desire. I show that a number of recent discussions of human rationality are committed to an additive approach, and I raise two difficulties for this approach, each analogous to a classic problem for Cartesian dualism. The interaction problem concerns how capacities conceived as intrinsically independent of the power of reason can interact with this power in what is intuitively the right way. The unity problem concerns how an additive theorist can explain a rational subject's entitlement to conceive of the animal whose perceptual and desiderative life he or she oversees as ‘I’ rather than ‘it’. I argue that these difficulties motivate a general skepticism about the additive approach, and I sketch an alternative, ‘transformative’ framework in which to think about the cognitive and practical capacities of a rational animal. (shrink)
Every day, new warnings emerge about artificial intelligence rebelling against us. All the while, a more immediate dilemma flies under the radar. Have forces been unleashed that are thrusting humanity down an ill-advised path, one that's increasingly making us behave like simple machines? In this wide-reaching, interdisciplinary book, Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger examine what's happening to our lives as society embraces big data, predictive analytics, and smart environments. They explain how the goal of designing programmable worlds goes hand (...) in hand with engineering predictable and programmable people. Detailing new frameworks, provocative case studies, and mind-blowing thought experiments, Frischmann and Selinger reveal hidden connections between fitness trackers, electronic contracts, social media platforms, robotic companions, fake news, autonomous cars, and more. This powerful analysis should be read by anyone interested in understanding exactly how technology threatens the future of our society, and what we can do now to build something better. (shrink)
This paper describes a pattern of explanation prevalent in the biological sciences that I call a ‘lineage explanation’. The aim of these explanations is to make plausible certain trajectories of change through phenotypic space. They do this by laying out a series of stages, where each stage shows how some mechanism worked, and the differences between each adjacent stage demonstrates how one mechanism, through minor modifications, could be changed into another. These explanations are important, for though it is widely accepted (...) that there is an ‘incremental constraint’ on evolutionary change, in an important class of cases it is difficult to see how to satisfy this constraint. I show that lineage explanations answer important questions about evolutionary change, but do so by demonstrating differences between individuals rather than invoking population processes, such as natural selection. Introduction Turning a ‘Scale’ into a ‘Plume’ Lineage Explanations in Biology 3.1 The evolution of eyes 3.2 The evolution of feathers The Two Dimensions of a Lineage Explanation 4.1 The production dimension 4.2 The continuity dimension 4.3 The dual role of the parts Constraining the Explanations Operational and Generative Lineages Explaining Change Without Populations Conclusion. (shrink)
One recent topic of debate in Bayesian epistemology has been the question of whether imprecise credences can be rational. I argue that one account of imprecise credences, the orthodox treatment as defended by James M. Joyce, is untenable. Despite Joyce’s claims to the contrary, a puzzle introduced by Roger White shows that the orthodox account, when paired with Bas C. van Fraassen’s Reflection Principle, can lead to inconsistent beliefs. Proponents of imprecise credences, then, must either provide a compelling reason to (...) reject Reflection or admit that the rational credences in White’s case are precise. (shrink)
Recent work by Brian Skyrms offers a very general way to think about how information flows and evolves in biological networks—from the way monkeys in a troop communicate to the way cells in a body coordinate their actions. A central feature of his account is a way to formally measure the quantity of information contained in the signals in these networks. In this article, we argue there is a tension between how Skyrms talks of signalling networks and his formal measure (...) of information. Although Skyrms refers to both how information flows through networks and that signals carry information, we show that his formal measure only captures the latter. We then suggest that to capture the notion of flow in signalling networks, we need to treat them as causal networks. This provides the formal tools to define a measure that does capture flow, and we do so by drawing on recent work defining causal specificity. Finally, we suggest that this new measure is crucial if we wish to explain how evolution creates information. For signals to play a role in explaining their own origins and stability, they can’t just carry information about acts; they must be difference-makers for acts. _1_ Signalling, Evolution, and Information _2_ Skyrms’s Measure of Information _3_ Carrying Information versus Information Flow _3.1_ Example 1 _3.2_ Example 2 _3.3_ Example 3 _4_ Signalling Networks Are Causal Networks _4.1_ Causal specificity _4.2_ Formalizing causal specificity _5_ Information Flow as Causal Control _5.1_ Example 1 _5.2_ Examples 2 and 3 _5.3_ Average control implicitly ‘holds fixed’ other pathways _6_ How Does Evolution Create Information? _7_ Conclusion Appendix >. (shrink)
This review of Wimsatt’s book Re-engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings focuses on analysing his use of robustness, a central theme in the book. I outline a family of three distinct conceptions of robustness that appear in the book, and look at the different roles they play. I briefly examine what underwrites robustness, and suggest that further work is needed to clarify both the structure of robustness and the relation between it various conceptions.
Summary Robert Boyle did not subordinate chemistry to mechanical philosophy. He was in fact reluctant to explain chemical phenomena by having recourse to the mechanical properties of particles. For him chemistry provided a primary way of penetrating into nature. In his chemical works he employed corpuscles endowed with chemical properties as his explanans. Boyle's chemistry was corpuscular, rather than mechanical. As Boyle's views of seminal principles show, his corpuscular philosophy cannot be described as a purely mechanical theory (...) of matter. Boyle's classification of corpuscles allowed him to connect his corpuscular views of matter with chemistry. Boyle did not rule out the possibility of a classification of chemical substances based on their properties: his aim was to reform the received classification. (shrink)
A venerable philosophical tradition holds that we rational creatures are distinguished by our capacity for a special sort of mental agency or self-determination: we can “make up” our minds about whether to accept a given proposition. But what sort of activity is this? Many contemporary philosophers accept a Process Theory of this activity, according to which a rational subject exercises her capacity for doxastic self-determination only on certain discrete occasions, when she goes through a process of consciously deliberating about whether (...) P and concludes by “making a judgment”, thereby bringing about a change in what she believes. I argue that this conception of our control over our beliefs implies an unacceptable picture of the agency we exercise in judging, and of the relation of such agency to the condition of belief itself. I suggest that the beliefs of a rational creature are themselves “acts of reason”, which reflect the capacity for doxastic self-determination in their very nature, not merely in certain facts about how they can originate. (shrink)
While research has focused on why certain entrepreneurs elect to create innovative solutions to social problems, very little is known about why some social entrepreneurs choose to scale their solutions while others do not. Research on scaling has generally focused on organizational characteristics often overlooking factors at the individual level that may affect scaling decisions. Drawing on the multidimensional construct of moral intensity, we propose a theoretical model of ethical decision making to explain why a social entrepreneur’s perception of moral (...) intensity of the social problem, coupled with their personal desire for control, can significantly influence scaling decisions. Specifically, we propose that higher levels of perceived moral intensity will positively influence the likelihood of scaling through open as opposed to closed modes in order to achieve greater speed and scope of social impact. However, we also propose this effect will be negatively moderated by a social entrepreneur’s higher levels of desire for control. Our model has implications for research and practice at the interface of ethics and social entrepreneurship. (shrink)
I argue that a variety of influential accounts of self-knowledge are flawed by the assumption that all immediate, authoritative knowledge of our own present mental states is of one basic kind. I claim, on the contrary, that a satisfactory account of self-knowledge must recognize at least two fundamentally different kinds of self-knowledge: an active kind through which we know our own judgments, and a passive kind through which we know our sensations. I show that the former kind of self-knowledge is (...) in an important sense fundamental, since it is intimately connected with the very capacity for rational reflection, and since it must be present in any creature that understands the first-person pronoun. Moreover, I suggest that these thoughts about self-knowledge have a Kantian provenance. (shrink)
Jakob von Uexküll's theories of life -- Biography and historical background -- Nature's conformity with plan -- Umweltforschung -- Biosemiotics -- Concluding remarks -- Marking a path into the environments of animals -- The essential approach to the organism -- Heidegger and the biologists -- Paths to the world -- Disruptive behavior : Heidegger and the captivated animal -- The worldless stone -- The poor animal -- For example, three bees and a lark -- Animal morphology -- A shocking wealth (...) -- A fine line in the rupture of time -- An affected body -- The theme of the animal melody : Merleau-Ponty and the umwelt -- The structure of behavior -- A pure wake, a quiet force -- A leaf of being -- Interanimality -- The-animal-stalks-at-five-oclock : Deleuze's affection for Uexküll -- Problematic organisms -- Uexküll's ethology of affects -- The body without organs, the embryonic egg, and prebiotic soup -- Nature's refrain sung across milieus and territories -- The animal stalks. (shrink)
I use some recent formal work on measuring causation to explore a suggestion by James Woodward: that the notion of causal specificity can clarify the distinction in biology between permissive and instructive causes. This distinction arises when a complex developmental process, such as the formation of an entire body part, can be triggered by a simple switch, such as the presence of particular protein. In such cases, the protein is said to merely induce or "permit" the developmental process, whilst the (...) causal "instructions" for guiding that process are already prefigured within the cells. I construct a novel model that expresses in a simple and tractable way the relevant causal structure of biological development and then use a measure of causal specificity to analyse the model. I show that the permissive-instructive distinction cannot be captured by simply contrasting the specificity of two causes as Woodward proposes, and instead introduce an alternative, hierarchical approach to analysing the interaction between two causes. The resulting analysis highlights the importance of focusing on gene regulation, rather than just the coding regions, when analysing the distinctive causal power of genes. (shrink)
'the whole work is remarkably fresh, vivid and attractively written psychologists will be grateful that a work of this kind has been done ... by one who has the scholarship, science, and philosophical training that are requisite for the task' - Mind This renowned three-volume collection records chronologically the steps by which psychology developed from the time of the early Greek thinkers and the first writings on the nature of the mind, through to the 1920s and such modern preoccupations as (...) criminal and animal psychology. It is only in relatively recent times that psychology has been considered an empirical science independent of philosophy. Brett's account is thus concerned with the broadest definition of psychology, taking in such philosophical aspects as the relation of mind and body, thought processes, etc. For each period he gives an account of the state of the sciences which influenced psychology, the state of psychology itself, the influence psychology had on other areas, and the applications of psychological theories. Examining a huge range of figures, he describes their attitudes on fundamental questions and their contribution to the progress of the subject, as well as the history of the different methods of inquiry. The thinkers he discusses range from Aristotle, Democritus, Socrates, Plato, and Xenocrates to Proclus, the Arabian teachers, Magnus, Duns Scotus, and Ockham from Galileo, Descartes, Gassendi, and Cudworth to Locke, Berkeley, Condillac, and Kant from Reid, Stewart, Herbart, and Schopenhauer to Bain, Spencer, Mill and Darwin. Surprisingly clear and easy to read, Brett's account succeeds in illuminating the nature of psychology as well as its history. It remains a classic overview of the subject from its broad roots in philosophy through to the independent empirical science of the modern era. --a scarce work, rarely found as a complete set --a classic work - all historians of psychology and philosophy should have A History of Psychology. (shrink)
Recent work by Brian Skyrms offers a very general way to think about how information flows and evolves in biological networks — from the way monkeys in a troop communicate, to the way cells in a body coordinate their actions. A central feature of his account is a way to formally measure the quantity of information contained in the signals in these networks. In this paper, we argue there is a tension between how Skyrms talks of signalling networks and his (...) formal measure of information. Although Skyrms refers to both how information flows through networks and that signals carry information, we show that his formal measure only captures the latter. We then suggest that to capture the notion of flow in signalling networks, we need to treat them as causal networks. This provides the formal tools to define a measure that does capture flow, and we do so by drawing on recent work defining causal specificity. Finally, we suggest that this new measure is crucial if we wish to explain how evolution creates information. For signals to play a role in explaining their own origins and stability, they can’t just carry information about acts: they must be difference-makers for acts. (shrink)
Like Laland et al., I think Mayr’s distinction is problematic, but I identify a further problem with it. I argue that Mayr’s distinction is a false dichotomy, and obscures an important question about evolutionary change. I show how this question, once revealed, sheds light on some debates in evo-devo that Laland et al.’s analysis cannot, and suggest that it provides a different view about how future integration between biological disciplines might proceed.
Comparing engineering to evolution typically involves adaptationist thinking, where well-designed artifacts are likened to well-adapted organisms, and the process of evolution is likened to the process of design. A quite different comparison is made when biologists focus on evolvability instead of adaptationism. Here, the idea is that complex integrated systems, whether evolved or engineered, share universal principles that affect the way they change over time. This shift from adaptationism to evolvability is a significant move for, as I argue, we can (...) make sense of these universal principles without making any adaptationism claims. Furthermore, evolvability highlights important aspects of engineering that are ignored in the adaptationist debates. I introduce some novel engineering examples that incorporate these key neglected aspects, and use these examples to challenge some commonly cited contrasts between engineering and evolution, and to highlight some novel resemblances that have gone unnoticed. (shrink)
Biologists frequently draw on ideas and terminology from engineering. Evolutionary systems biology—with its circuits, switches, and signal processing—is no exception. In parallel with the frequent links drawn between biology and engineering, there is ongoing criticism against this cross-fertilization, using the argument that over-simplistic metaphors from engineering are likely to mislead us as engineering is fundamentally different from biology. In this article, we clarify and reconfigure the link between biology and engineering, presenting it in a more favorable light. We do so (...) by, first, arguing that critics operate with a narrow and incorrect notion of how engineering actually works, and of what the reliance on ideas from engineering entails. Second, we diagnose and diffuse one significant source of concern about appeals to engineering, namely that they are inherently and problematically metaphorical. We suggest that there is plenty of fertile ground left for a continued, healthy relationship between engineering and biology. (shrink)
I argue that cognitively mature human beings have an important sort of control or discretion over their own beliefs, but that to make good sense of this control, we must reject the common idea that it consists in a capacity to act on our belief-state by forming new beliefs or modifying ones we already hold. I propose that we exercise agential control over our beliefs, not primarily in doing things to alter our belief-state, but in holding whatever beliefs we hold. (...) Our beliefs are thus not normally things on which we act; they are themselves our acts, in a sense I seek to explicate. (shrink)