In this essay, we provide an overview of how production systems can be re-engineered to improve the welfare of the animals involved. At least three potential options exist: engineering their environments to better fit the animals, engineering the animals themselves to better fit their environments, and eliminating the animals from the system by growing meat in vitro rather than on farms. The morality of consuming animal products and the conditions under which agricultural animals are maintained remain highly contentious, and when (...) concerns about animal welfare are coupled with concerns about sustainability and global food security, the problem of welfare in animal agriculture constitutes “a wicked problem,” because it is unlikely that any proposed solution will simultaneously address all the issues of concern. In the final section of this essay, we offer some observations on how debate over reforms in animal agriculture could proceed going forward. (shrink)
The ability of two Panepinto micro pigs and two Yorkshire pigs to acquire a joystick-operated video-game task was investigated. Subjects were trained to manipulate a joystick that controlled movement of a cursor displayed on a computer monitor. The pigs were required to move the cursor to make contact with three-, two-, or one-walled targets randomly allocated for position on the monitor, and a reward was provided if the cursor collided with a target. The video-task acquisition required conceptual understanding of the (...) task, as well as skilled motor performance. Terminal performance revealed that all pigs were significantly above chance on first attempts to contact one-walled targets. These results indicate that despite dexterity and visual constraints, pigs have the capacity to acquire a joystick-operated video-game task. Limitations in the joystick methodology suggest that future studies of the cognitive capacities of pigs and other domestic species may benefit from the use of touchscreens or other advanced computer-interfaced technology. (shrink)
One prevailing objection to consequentialism holds that the consequentialist cannot promote both agent-neutral value and her own personal friendships: the consequentialist cannot be a genuine friend. Several versions of this objection have been advanced, but an even more sophisticated version of the charge is available. However, even this more sophisticated version fails, as it assumes a traditional, context-insensitive, account of character traits. In this article, I develop and defend a novel account of character traits that is context-sensitive and also supports (...) a novel account of what friendship consists in. Application of the more plausible, contextual, account of character traits resolves the debate in favor of the friendly consequentialist. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to advance a new understanding of gender as a routine accomplishment embedded in everyday interaction. To do so entails a critical assessment of existing perspectives on sex and gender and the introduction of important distinctions among sex, sex category, and gender. We argue that recognition of the analytical independence of these concepts is essential for understanding the interactional work involved in being a gendered person in society. The thrust of our remarks is toward theoretical (...) reconceptualization, but we consider fruitful directions for empirical research that are indicated by our formulation. (shrink)
This article investigates the contradictions between public health protocols and infection containment efforts concerning Zika virus and reproductive rights. In El Salvador, for example, women are being advised to avoid pregnancy until 2018, at which time local authorities hope that the virus will be under control. This is not so easy, however, as there is limited access to contraception, abortion is illegal in all instances, and women tend to have little household authority. In this article, I examine the policy, legal, (...) and political contradictions related to the global proliferation of Zika virus in the context of ongoing debates about stratified reproduction. This term conceptualizes the phenomenon that accords different values to reproductive tasks undertaken by women in different socioeconomic, cultural, and national contexts. Whereas reproduction and reproductive autonomy tend to be highly respected and protected for relatively privileged women in the Global North, they tend to be much less so for women of the Global South. Furthermore, the adherence to public and private divisions in both national and transnational contexts segregates reproductive rights from the mainstream of political negotiation and public health intervention, and in doing so frustrates progress toward the realization of global reproductive rights. (shrink)
Is unethical conduct necessarily irrational? Answering this question requires giving an account of practical reason, of practical good, and of the source or point of wrongdoing. By the time most contemporary philosophers have done the first two, they have lost sight of the third, chalking up bad action to rashness, weakness of will, or ignorance. In this book, Candace Vogler does all three, taking as her guides scholars who contemplated why some people perform evil deeds. In doing so, she (...) sets out to at once engage and redirect contemporary debates about ethics, practical reason, and normativity. -/- Staged as a limited defense of a standard view of practical reason (an ancestor of contemporary instrumentalist views), Vogler's essay develops Aquinas's remark about three ways an action might be desirable into an exhaustive system for categorizing reasons for acting. Drawing on Elizabeth Anscombe's pioneering work on intention, Vogler argues that one sort (means/end or calculative reasons for acting) sets the terms for all sound work on practical rationality. -/- She takes up Aquinas's work on evil throughout, arguing that he provides us with a systematic theory of immorality that takes seriously the goods at issue in wrongdoing and the reasons for unethical conduct. Vogler argues that, shorn of its theological context, this theory leaves us with no systematic, uncontroversial way of arguing that wrongdoing is necessarily contrary to reason. (shrink)
Different opinions are expressed in the literature regarding when children and adolescents can start to make decisions to participate in research and give informed consent. Nurses are frequently involved in research, either as investigators or caregivers, and must therefore have a thorough understanding of consent and related issues. In this article the issues are explored from a Canadian perspective. The argument is put forward that adolescents may be capable of a greater involvement in the research consent process than is the (...) norm. Increasing adolescents’ involvement in research has the potential to enhance their growing autonomy and capabilities. Adolescents appreciate being treated with respect and dignity by adults. This can be achieved in an environment in which protection from harm does not also mean prevention from decision making. The use of empowering processes by nurses to enhance adolescent involvement will provide benefit to adolescents in their transition to adult levels of responsibility. (shrink)
In this article, we advance a new understanding of “difference” as an ongoing interactional accomplishment. Calling on the authors' earlier reconceptualization of gender, they develop the further implications of this perspective for the relationships among gender, race, and class. The authors argue that, despite significant differences in their characteristics and outcomes, gender, race, and class are comparable as mechanisms for producing social inequality.
This paper examines the ethical implications of the Clean Development Mechanism, the United Nation’s climate change initiative that provides incentives to countries and firms in developed countries to motivate investments in greenhouse gas reduction projects in developing countries. Using the tenets of agency theory, we present a solid waste management project in El Salvador as an illustrative example of how the CDM can produce a disproportionately high social cost for the most marginalized populations in the developing world. We suggest that (...) the UN needs to reformulate the CDM so that it more effectively aligns the divergent goals of multiple actors and upholds the UN’s principles for sustainable development, including ethical firm-level behavior. By providing incentives for environmental, economic, and social value creation, the CDM would not only promote ethical norms for profit-seeking firms that participate in the program but also reinforce the UN’s twin pro-poor and environmental objectives. (shrink)
This article contributes to the development of a professional responsibility theory of public relations ethics. Toward that end, we examine the roles of a public relations practitioner as a professional, an institutional advocate, and the public conscience of institutions served. In the article, we review previously suggested theories of public relations ethics and propose a new theory based on the public relations professional's dual obligations to serve client organizations and the public interest.
The principle of respect for autonomy is increasingly under siege as a valuable component of healthcare ethics. Its critics charge that it has been elevated to a position out of proportion to its contribution, so that the individual's wishes and rights have come to dominate healthcare decisionmaking, while obligations and responsibilities are ignored or devalued. If we are to salvage respect for autonomy we must find a way to reconnect the individual and the community, rights and responsibilities, in the way (...) we think about, discuss, and make healthcare decisions. (shrink)
While philosophers of mind have devoted abundant time and attention to questions of content and consciousness, philosophical questions about the nature and scope of mental action have been relatively neglected. Galen Strawson’s account of mental action, arguably the most well-known extant account, holds that cognitive mental action consists in triggering the delivery of content to one’s field of consciousness. However, Strawson fails to recognize several distinct types of mental action that might not reduce to triggering content delivery. In this paper, (...) we argue that meditation provides a useful model for understanding a wider range of types of mental action than heretofore recognized. Conclusions yielded by two distinct bodies of current psychological research on meditation and cognition, and meditation and introspection, buttress meditation’s suitability for this role. (shrink)
The current interest in and discussion of virtue ethics suggests that this approach to moral decisionmaking has several distinct advantages as applied to ethical issues in healthcare delivery. For the most part, calls to incorporate the virtues of the healthcare provider in discussions of these issues have sought to supplement rather than totally replace traditional ethical theories, such as the utilitarian focus on maximizing the best overall consequences and the Kantian concern to act on the duty of respect for persons. (...) Including virtue-based ethics in such discussions allows for a more eclectic view of what should be considered in resolving difficult moral problems. As many critics of the purely principle-based approach have noted, real moral dilemmas are usually quite messy and are not easily susceptible to satisfactory resolution solely on the basis of abstract moral theories or principles. (shrink)
Our study highlights specific ways in which race and gender create inequality in the workplace. Using in-depth interviews with 67 biology PhD students, we show how engagement with research and service varies by both gender and race. By considering the intersection between gender and race, we find not only that women biology graduate students do more service than men, but also that racial and ethnic minority men do more service than white men. White men benefit from a combination of racial (...) and gender privilege, which places them in the most advantaged position with respect to protected research time and opportunities to build collaborations and networks beyond their labs. Racial/ethnic minority women emerge as uniquely disadvantaged in terms of their experiences relative to other groups. These findings illuminate how gendered organizations are also racialized, producing distinct experiences for women and men from different racial groups, and thus contribute to theorizing the intersectional nature of inequality in the workplace. (shrink)
In a 2012 review article, Anthony P. Maingot made a case for each generation rewriting history according to its own needs and preoccupations. Everyone, he suggested, has their own C.L.R. James. Everyone, perhaps, except students of international relations and international history, where references to James’s copious and critical body of work are less common. In the spirit of finding one’s own James, this article employs The Black Jacobins and James’s other magnum opus, World Revolution,1917–1936: The Rise and Fall of the (...) Communist International, to think historically about two interrelated processes of the twentieth century: the rise of the state, and the relationship between nationalisms and internationalisms. Along with encounters with revolutionary Marxism and pan-Africanism, James bore witness to the challenges of the state, and the tensions between nationalism and internationalism that were so central to understanding the twentieth century. (shrink)
Through the comparative study of non-Anglophone translations of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, we can achieve the progressive goals of Emily Apter's “translational transnationalism” and Edward Said's “cosmopolitan humanism.” Both translation and humanism were intrinsic to Chaucer's initial composition of the Tales, and in turn, both shaped Chaucer's later reception, often in ways that did a disservice to his reputation and his verse. In this essay, Candace Barrington argues that comparative translation provides a means whereby new modes of translation, (...) like Apter's, can promote a different version of humanism, like Said's; she demonstrates this process in a brief philological study of Nazmi Ağıl's Turkish translation of The Squire's Tale. While we can see the infusion of Turkish values and perspectives in the new text, we can also see that the Turkish reveals new insights into Chaucer's subtle and nuanced use of language. (shrink)
At the center of contemporary neo-Aristotelian naturalism is the thought that we can account for a great deal of ethics by thinking about what is needful in human life generally. When we think about practices like promising, virtues like justice or courage, and institutions that serve to produce, maintain, and help to reproduce well-ordered social life we can make some headway we consider the sense in which our topic makes some forms of human good possible and even, in some cases, (...) actualizes the very good made possible thereby. G.E.M. Anscombe introduced this kind of thinking about ethics, which Philippa Foot named ‘Aristotelian Necessity'. In this essay, I take a hard Look at Anscombe’s work on the topic, and then consider her later insistence that crucial aspects of ethics could not be understood in these terms. (shrink)
We argue that ritual is not a by-product as Boyer & Lienard (B&L) claim, but rather an evolved adaptation for social communication that facilitates non-agonistic social interactions among non-kin. We review the neurophysiological effects of ritual and propose neural structures and networks beyond the cortical-striato-pallidal-thalamic circuit (CSPT) likely to be implicated in ritual. The adaptationist approach to ritual offers a more parsimonious model for understanding these effects as well as the findings B&L present. (Published Online February 8 2007).
Concerns about the welfare of agricultural animals in corporate or “factory farming” systems are growing. Increasingly, it is suggested that modern farm animal production practices are morally objectionable, causing physical and mental suffering to animals. Such criticisms are premised on beliefs about the mental capacities of farm animals that are not wholly supported by scientific evidence, for little is known about farm animal cognition. Some animal scientists, realizing that concerns about the treatment of agricultural animals cannot be addressed in absence (...) of knowledge about farm animal mentality, have begun cognitive studies of farm animals. Subsequently, several ethical problems have emerged. In this paper it is argued that while farm animal cognition studies are needed, scientists must consider the moral problems and implications of the research, and must devise empirically testable hypotheses about those aspects of cognitive behavior that are relevant to discussions about moral treatment of farm animals. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend a local account of character traits that posits traits like close-friend-honesty and good-mood-compassion. John Doris also defends local character traits, but his local character traits are indistinguishable from mere behavioral dispositions, they are not necessary for the purpose which allegedly justifies them, and their justification is only contingent, depending upon the prevailing empirical situation. The account of local traits I defend posits local traits that are traits of character rather than behavioral dispositions, local traits that (...) are necessary to satisfy one of their central purposes, and local traits whose justification is dependent upon theoretical rather than empirical considerations. (shrink)
The American Medical Association has provided a list of patient responsibilities, said to be derived from patient autonomy, without providing any justification for this derivation. In this article, the virtue of moral responsibility is proposed as a way to justify these kinds of limits on respect for individual autonomy. The need for such limits is explained by examining the traditional principles of health care ethics. What is missing in health care decision making, and can be provided by the virtue of (...) moral responsibility, is a careful consideration of the impact of individual decisions on particular others and the community, as a whole. The concept of moral responsibility as a virtue is then developed and examples of its application to health care decision making are provided. Finally, the roles of both physicians and health care ethicists in promoting the morally responsible exercise of individual autonomy are explored. (shrink)
In this article I provide an overview of philosophical conceptions of privacy and suggest 3 models to assist with the ethical analysis of privacy invasion by the news media. The models are framed by respect for persons, the comparison of harms and benefits, and the transfer of power. After describing the models, I demonstrate how they can be applied to news reporting that invades the privacy of public figures.
Parallels between the mathematics of tiling, which describes geometries of visual space, and neo-Riemannian theory, which describes geometries of musical space, make it possible to show that certain paradoxes featured in the visual artworks of M. C. Escher also appear in the pitch space modelled by the neo-Riemannian Tonnetz . This article makes these paradoxes visually apparent by constructing an embodied model of triadic pitch space in accordance with principles drawn from the mathematics of tiling, on the one hand, and (...) from cognitive science, on the other – specifically, the notion that our experience of pitch relationships is governed in part by the metaphorical projection of patterns abstracted from embodied experience known as image schemas. These paradoxes are illustrated with reference to passages drawn from four compositions to whose expressive character such paradoxes contribute: the fifteenth-century motet 'Absalon fili mi'; the finale of Haydn's String Quartet in G major, Op. 76 No. 1; Brahms's Intermezzo in B minor, Op. 119 No. 1; and Wagner's Parsifal. (shrink)
: The principle of respect for autonomy has come under increasing attack both within health care ethics, specifically, and as part of the more general communitarian challenge to predominantly liberal values. This paper will demonstrate the importance of respect for autonomy for the social practice of assigning moral responsibility and for the development of moral responsibility as a virtue. Guided by this virtue, the responsible exercise of autonomy may provide a much-needed connection between the individual and the community.
The virtues are under fire. Several decades’ worth of social psychological findings establish a correlation between human behavior and the situation moral agents inhabit, from which a cadre of moral philosophers concludes that most moral agents lack the virtues. Mark Alfano and Christian Miller introduce novel versions of this argument, but they are subject to a fatal dilemma. Alfano and Miller wrongly assume that their requirements for virtue apply universally to moral agents, who vary radically in their psychological, physiological, and (...) personal situations; I call this the ‘content problem.’ More troubling, however, the content problem leads to what I call the ‘structural problem:’ Alfano and Miller each structure their argument against the virtues as a modus tollens argument and, owing to the breadth of the content problem, each must constrain their argument with a ceteris paribus clause. But the ceteris paribus clause precludes each argument’s validity. More important, however, the resulting conception of virtue implicitly endorsed by Alfano and Miller holds that virtues are idealized models; but since idealized models do not even purport accurately to describe the world, neither novel version of EAV gains any empirical traction against the virtues. The upshot is an old story whose moral has yet, within the empirical study of the virtues, adequately to be internalized: it is imperative that the empirical observation of character traits proceed via longitudinal studies. (shrink)
In recent decades, social psychology has produced an expansive array of studies wherein introducing a seemingly morally innocuous feature into the situation a subject inhabits often yields morally questionable, dubious, or even appalling behavior. Several fascinating lines of philosophical enquiry issue from this research, but the most pragmatically salient question concerns how we ought most effectively to develop and maintain the virtues so that such putatively morally problematic behavior is less likely to occur. In this paper, I examine four empirically (...) embedded accounts of virtue cultivation: Hagop Sarkissian’s social signaling, Mark Alfano’s virtue labeling, Nancy Snow’s self-punishment, and Peter Railton’s implementation intentions. But none of these accounts of virtue cultivation provides adequate resources for regulating our affective states, whose attention-constricting and behavior-priming functional roles are likely at the root of much of our less than virtuous behavior. Instead, I defend an account of virtue cultivation that proceeds via meditation, which can help us to identify and regulate our emotions and moods. Further, meditation enables us to develop the attentional focus, emotional intelligence, and sense of social connection that ground the virtues and, thus, our virtuous behavior. (shrink)
This paper connects celibacy to autonomy, which is derived from economic, emotional, and sexual self-determination. Although society attempts to control and define women's sexuality, the celibate woman who masturbates can retrieve her sexuality without the massive social rearrangements which are necessary for economic and emotional liberation. Because masturbation is accessible and singular, sexual autonomy is available to a woman who chooses celibacy, regardless of the other exigencies in her life, as illustrated in the example here from popular literature.