The treatment of identical particles in quantum mechanics rests on two (related) principles: the spin-statistics connection and the Symmetrization Postulate. In light of recent theories (such as q-deformed commutators) that allow for ‘small’ violations of the spin-statistics connection and the Symmetrization Postulate, we revisit the issue of how quantum mechanics deals with identical particles and how it supports or fails to support various philosophical stances concerning individuality. As a consequence of the expanded possibilities for quantum statistics, we argue that permutation (...) symmetry is best formulated as a formal property of the state function describing the system of particles rather than as a property of the individual particles. 1 Introduction 2 Philosophical background 2.1 Important terminology 2.1.1 Identity 2.1.2 Indistinguishability 2.1.3 Indiscernibility 2.2 When are particles indistinguishable? 2.3 The Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles and quantum mechanics 2.4 The Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles and logic 2.5 Particle history 2.6 Transcendental individuality 3 Some quantum formalism 3.1 The Principle of Permutation Invariance and the Symmetrization Postulate 3.2 The configuration-space approach 3.3 Commutators and anticommutators, and identical particle statistics 3.4 Q-mutators 4 Identical particle statistics: a holistic point of view 5 Conclusions. (shrink)
While the addiction treatment industry holds steadfast to the idea that addiction is a disease, and the choice theorists maintam to the contrary that it is justa choice, the truth is not as simple as either. The idea of addiction is a social construct that evolved over the 20th century to encompass increasingly morephenomena, while becoming increasingly conceptually less clear. Taking a complex dynamic systems approach, rather than relying on either the obscure disease notion or the naive choice concept allows (...) us to conceive of the organism, the mind, and the addiction as essentially temporal and emergent. From thisperspective, physical, mental, and social causes operate within one dynamic system, allowing for genetic, developmental, and environmental effects to be understood within a single framework. Such a framework offers much greater hope for successfully addressing the issue than does either the currently dominant disease paradigm or choice theory. (shrink)
Mark Johnson is widely regarded as a major figure in philosophical embodied cognition theory in the U.S., and as co-founder with George Lakoff of conceptual metaphor theory. These two theories, along with Johnson's deep rootedness in classical American Pragmatism, provide the themes for the analyses developed in both Embodied Mind, Meaning, and Reason: How our Bodies Give Rise to Understanding and The Aesthetics of Meaning and Thought: The Bodily Roots of Philosophy, Science, Morality and Art. The two texts together review (...) and expand Johnson's earlier work, in the case of the newest book by further elaborating and providing expanded empirical support for work that by necessity began as rather more speculative than... (shrink)
Is the civic duty to report crime and corruption a genuine moral duty? After clarifying the nature of the duty, I consider a couple of negative answers to the question, and turn to an attractive and commonly held view, according to which this civic duty is a genuine moral duty. On this view, crime and corruption threaten political stability, and citizens have a moral duty to report crime and corruption to the government in order to help the government’s law enforcement (...) efforts. The resulting duty is triply general in that it applies to everyone, everywhere, and covers all criminal and corrupt activity. In this paper, I challenge the general scope of this argument. I argue that that the civic duty to report crime and corruption to the authorities is much narrower than the government claims and people might think, for it only arises when the state (i) condemns genuine wrongdoing and serious ethical offenses as “crime” and “corruption,” and (ii) constitutes a dependable “disclosure recipient,” showing the will and power to hold wrongdoers accountable. I further defend a robust duty to directly report to the public—one that is weightier and wider than people usually assume. When condition (ii) fails to obtain, I submit, citizens are released of the duty to report crime and corruption to the authorities, but are bound to report to the public, even when the denunciation targets the government and is risky or illegal. (shrink)
The introduction of novel diagnostic techniques in clinical domains such as genomics and radiology has led to a rich ethical debate on how to handle unsolicited findings that result from these innovations. Yet while unsolicited findings arise in both genomics and radiology, most of the relevant literature to date has tended to focus on only one of these domains. In this article, we synthesize and critically assess similarities and differences between “scanning the body” and “sequencing the genome” from an ethical (...) perspective. After briefly describing the novel diagnostic contexts leading to unsolicited findings, we synthesize and reflect on six core ethical issues that relate to both specialties: terminology; benefits and risks; autonomy; disclosure of unsolicited findings to children; uncertainty; and filters and routine screening. We identify ethical rationales that pertain to both fields and may contribute to more ethically sound policies. Considerations of preserving public trust and ensuring that people perceive healthcare policies as fair also support the need for a combined debate. (shrink)
What is wrong with government whistleblowing and when can it be justified? In my view, ‘government whistleblowing’, i.e., the unauthorized acquisition and disclosure of classified information about the state or government, is a form of ‘political vigilantism’, which involves transgressing the boundaries around state secrets, for the purpose of challenging the allocation or use of power. It may nonetheless be justified when it is suitably constrained and exposes some information that the public ought to know and deliberate about. Government whistleblowing (...) should then be viewed, along the lines of civil disobedience, as a collective cognition- and legitimacy-enhancing device. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the principle of fairness can license both a duty of fair play, which is used to ground a moral duty to obey the law in just or nearly just societies, and a duty of resistance to unfair and unjust social schemes. The first part of the paper analyzes fairness’ demands on participants in mutually beneficial schemes of coordination, and its implications in the face of injustice. Not only fairness does not require complying with unfair (...) and unjust social schemes, but it also prohibits benefiting from such schemes. I use the case of racial segregation in the U.S. to illustrate this latter argument, and consider some objections to my investigation, given the availability and straightforwardness of justice. The second part of the paper elaborates the argument for the duty to resist. The Radical Reform argument first establishes, by elimination of the alternatives (exit and restitution), that the principal way for citizens to cease benefiting from an unfair and unjust social scheme is to radically reform it. The Resistance Argument then shows that resistance is crucial to bring about reform, so that one ought to resist unfair and unjust schemes from which one benefits. Next, I offer two arguments for collective resistance and political solidarity, one based on empirical considerations and the other based on fairness. Finally, I consider the costs of the resistance efforts which fairness may require. (shrink)
What are our responsibilities in the face of injustice? How far should we go to fight it? Many would argue that as long as a state is nearly just, citizens have a moral duty to obey the law. Proponents of civil disobedience generally hold that, given this moral duty, a person needs a solid justification to break the law. But activists from Henry David Thoreau and Mohandas Gandhi to the Movement for Black Lives have long recognized that there are times (...) when, rather than having a duty to obey the law, we have a duty to disobey it. -/- Taking seriously the history of this activism, A Duty to Resist wrestles with the problem of political obligation in real world societies that harbor injustice. Candice Delmas argues that the duty of justice, the principle of fairness, the Samaritan duty, and political association impose responsibility to resist under conditions of injustice. We must expand political obligation to include a duty to resist unjust laws and social conditions even in legitimate states. -/- For Delmas, this duty to resist demands principled disobedience, and such disobedience need not always be civil. At times, covert, violent, evasive, or offensive acts of lawbreaking can be justified, even required. Delmas defends the viability and necessity of illegal assistance to undocumented migrants, leaks of classified information, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, sabotage, armed self-defense, guerrilla art, and other modes of resistance. There are limits: principle alone does not justify law breaking. But uncivil disobedience can sometimes be not only permissible but required in the effort to resist injustice. (shrink)
Is hactivism the new civil disobedience? I argue that most recent hacktivism isn't, and shouldn't be shoehorned into the category of civil disobedience. I sketch instead a broad matrix of electronic resistance, attentive to the many shapes and goals of hacktivism and I locate five clusters on it, briefly sketching possible dimensions of normative assessment for each: vigilantism, whistleblowing, guerrilla communication, electronic humanitarianism, and electronic civil disobedience.
While philosophers usually agree that there is room for civil disobedience in democratic societies, they disagree as to the proper justification and role of civil disobedience. The field has so far been divided into two camps—the liberal approach on the one hand, which associates the justification and role of civil disobedience with the good of justice, and the democratic approach on the other, which connects them with the value and good of democracy. William Smith’s Civil Disobedience and Deliberative Democracy offers (...) a ‘deliberative’ theory, which constitutes an attractive synthesis of the two camps as it conceives of civil disobedience as a guardian of both justice and deliberative democracy. In this review essay, I first revisit the ‘problem’ of civil disobedience, examining in particular the two pillars of the case against civil disobedience as Smith depicts it, namely, the prohibition on legal disobedience established by the moral duty to comply, and the notion that civil disobedience strains the bonds of civic friendship. I suggest, contra, that the duty to comply as Smith defends it fails to be comprehensive because it is tightly bound to deliberative democratic procedures, which are involved in the making of only a portion of authoritative decisions; and, contra, that civil disobedience does not strain, but instead invigorates, civic friendship. Second, I entertain the possibility that citizens have a moral duty, not a mere right, to resist injustice. I show that Smith’s theory, in particular his account of the moral duty to comply, provides the resources to defend a general duty to resist injustice which, depending on the circumstances, can demand protesting the law or frustrating injustice. Third, I contend that Smith’s conception of the different contexts of injustice—he identifies three main ones—should be expanded to include what I call ‘official disrespect’ and ‘deliberative ignorance’. I argue that each context offers reasons to disobey the law but not necessarily in the civil manner determined by Smith. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend the existence of a moral duty to disobey the law and engage in civil disobedience on the basis of one of the grounds of political obligation—the Samaritan duty. Christopher H. Wellman has recently offered a ‘Samaritan account’ of state legitimacy and political obligation, according to which the state is justified in coercing each citizen in order to rescue all from the perilous circumstances of the state of nature; and each of us is bound to obey (...) the law, as the state demands, because we each have a responsibility to help rescue others when this assistance is not unreasonably costly. Though Wellman recognizes that there can be reasons for disobeying the law and resisting injustice in otherwise legitimate states, he overlooks the possibility that at least some of these reasons could be Samaritan in nature, grounded in the duty to rescue people from peril. As I shall argue, the Samaritan duty supports obligations to disobey the law, when the law prohibits Samaritan rescues, and to engage in civil disobedience, when unjust laws and practices contribute to endangering people. The discussion proceeds as follows. After a brief overview of the Samaritan duty, I articulate my case for Samaritan duties to disobey the law, and duties to engage in civil disobedience when unjust laws, institutions, or practices enable what I call ‘persistent Samaritan perils’. I then examine and respond to several objections to my account: first, that the costs of law-breaking are unreasonable, and thus cannot be morally required; second, that individuals’ particular acts of protest and civil disobedience do not appear to make any difference to the rescue, and thus cannot be required; third, that I stretch the Samaritan duty beyond recognition; and fourth, that the Samaritan duty binds us to help people in need or peril anywhere, not particularly at home. I consider in conclusion the advantages and limits of my account of citizens’ Samaritan duties in the face of injustice. (shrink)
Many historical and recent forms of protest usually referred to as civil disobedience do not fit the standard philosophical definition of “civil disobedience”. The moral and political importance of this point is explained in section 1, and two theoretical lessons are drawn: one, we should broaden the concept of civil disobedience, and two, we should start thinking about uncivil disobedience. Section 2 is devoted to the main objections against, and theorists' defenses of, civil disobedience.
On Christopher H. Wellman’s Samaritan account of political legitimacy, the state is justified in coercing its subjects because doing so is necessary to rescue them from the perils of the state of nature. Samaritanism – the principle that we are morally permitted to do what is necessary to rescue someone from serious peril if in doing so we do not impose unreasonable costs on others – only justifies a minimal state, in Wellman’s view. I argue contra Wellman that Samaritanism justifies (...) an extensive, liberal-egalitarian state. (shrink)
Joseph Raz’s much discussed service conception of practical authority has recently come under attack from Stephen Darwall, who proposes that we instead adopt a second- personal conception of practical authority.1 We believe that the best place to start understanding practical authority is with a pared back conception of it, as simply a species of normative authority more generally, where this species is picked out merely by the fact that the normative authority in question is authority in relation to action, rather (...) than belief. We do not wish to deny that there might be properties of practical authority (as distinct from the species of authority that is concerned with belief) that are peculiar to it, but, unlike both Raz and Darwall, we do not believe that such features play a role in defining or delimiting practical authority. (shrink)
Technological measures meant to change sexual orientation are, we have argued elsewhere, deeply alarming, even and indeed especially if they are safe and effective. Here we point out that this in part because they produce a distinctive kind of ‘clinical collective action problem’, a sort of dilemma for individual clinicians and researchers: a treatment which evidently relieves the suffering of particular patients, but in the process contributes to a practice that substantially worsens the conditions that produce this suffering in the (...) first place. We argue that the role obligations of clinicians to relieve the suffering of their patients put them in a poor position to solve this problem, though they can take measures to avoid complicity in the harms that would result from widespread use of individually safe and effective reorientation biotechnology. But in the end the medical community as a whole still seems obligated to provide these measures, if they become technologically feasible. Medical researchers are in a better position to prevent the harms that would result if reorientation techniques were safe, effective and widely available. We argue that the harms attendant on the development of safe and effective re-orientation techniques give researchers reason to avoid ‘applied‘ research aimed at developing these techniques, and to be careful in the conduct of basic orientation research which might be applied in this way. (shrink)
Addiction: A Philosophical Approach CHAPTER ABSTRACTS “Introduction: Dismantling the Catchphrase” by Candice Shelby Shelby dismantles the catchphrase “disease of addiction.” The characterization of addiction as a disease permeates both research and treatment, but that understanding fails to get at the complexity involved in human addiction. Shelby introduces another way of thinking about addiction, one that implies that is properly understood neither as a disease nor merely as a choice, or set of choices. Addiction is a phenomenon emergent from a (...) complex dynamic system that is at once physical, psychological, social, and more. “A Philosophical Analysis of Addiction” by Candice Shelby Shelby brings much-needed clarity to the discourse surrounding the topic of addiction. Arguing that addiction can neither properly be understood as a disease nor as merely a set of choices, Shelby exposes the weaknesses of both approaches. She shows that addicted persons do not exhibit the elements characteristic of compulsion, nor does an account of addiction in terms of weakness of will, or irrational choosing, provide a satisfying explanation. Instead, by replacing traditional substance ontology with process ontology, and accepting the reality of emergent entities, a coherent account of persons, minds, and addiction can be provided. A fundamental philosophical shift is necessary to see that bodies, minds, values, and addictions are all part of the natural world. “Addiction at the Individual Level” by Candice Shelby Shelby discusses the most influential accounts of addiction as it is understood at the purely individual level. From hedonic theories to incentive sensitization, to habit theories of addiction, to behavioral theories and the ego depletion theory, Shelby considers a variety of approaches to understanding addiction in individuals, as framed in both psychological and in neuroscientific terms. She notes some important caveats that should be considered before accepting the research regarding addiction at the individual level, namely that the scanning studies that are so popularly used to characterize addiction in neurobiological terms are ambiguous, and rely on numerous assumptions that may be false, and that certainly mislead. Shelby provides much-needed critique of both disease and choices models as they characterize addiction at the individual level. “Addiction and the Local Environment” by Candice Shelby Shelby argues that human addiction cannot be understood without serious consideration of the individual’s local environment, her home and family. From the gestational environment to interactions with caregivers during post-natal development to the adult environment in which people become addicted, Shelby shows that no one becomes an addict in a vacuum. Stress is a major influence in the environment throughout life, and has serious consequences for addictive vulnerability. Genetic influences as well are important to addictive vulnerability, but genes always express in interaction with their environment. Social acceptance or rejection is another particularly important factor in the local environment with respect to both coming to be addicted and transitioning out of it. “The Relation Between Addiction and Culture” by Candice Shelby Shelby provides a groundbreaking analysis of the relation between addicts and the cultures that breed them. In this cultural critique, Shelby shows that addictions to certain substances have historically been both the solution to the problem of how to grow economies and control people, and a problem for economic productivity and controlling citizens. Not all cultures have even the concept of addiction, while others, such as the contemporary Western world, and the U.S. in particular, seem to foster it. Shelby shows that addiction is both a cultural construct and, from another way of thinking about it, the result of conditions created by particular cultures. Social inequities, alienation, driving capitalism, and in particular the power of pharmaceutical companies, all contribute to the spiraling endemic of addiction. “Addiction and Meaning” by Candice Shelby Shelby provides a unique argument that understanding how meanings work is essential to a complete analysis of addiction. Individuals experiencing addiction and those who care about and for them often utterly fail to communicate. This is because their respective systems of meanings come to be significantly different. Meanings are not, Shelby argues, best understood in the symbolic terms that characterized the theory of language in the 20th century, but are better apprehended as emotion-rich prototypes carved from repeated interaction with the world. Becoming addicted essentially changes one’s entire system of meanings. Requisite to transitioning out of addiction is a Gestalt-type shift in one’s system of meanings. This holistic way of understanding meanings also provides one level of explanation of what happens when an addict relapses. “The Phenomenology of Addiction and its Implications” by Candice Shelby One way of judging theories of addiction is by how well they capture the phenomenal descriptions that addicts give of their own experiences. Shelby considers variations on 5 basic patterns of addictive experience through the eyes of particular individuals who lived through addictive periods, and shows how even the most influential theories of addiction fail to capture all of them. She argues that an important implication of taking the details of individuals’ addictive stories seriously is that addiction must be understood as a personal phenomenon emergent from a particular complex dynamic system. As her theory of addiction would lead one to expect, no two addicts are the same, and no single-focus theory can explain why not. “Possibilities for Transitioning Out of Addiction” by Candice Shelby Shelby provides numerous strategies for transitioning out of addiction. Given that the vast majority of addiction treatment programs currently available are 12-step based and only successful about 5-8% of the time, it is essential that other approaches be undertaken. Shelby canvasses a variety of options for helping addicted individuals to make the transition out of their troubled pattern of thinking and behaving. From direct brain interventions to drugs to trauma therapy to exercise and nutrition to habit reformation to use of narrative and changing one’s social context as ways of redefining the self, Shelby shows that the possibilities for transitioning out of addiction are legion. Perhaps the best approach is to understand addiction treatment in terms of providing physical, psychological, and social tool kits. “Addiction Emerges from a Complex Dynamic System” by Candice Shelby Shelby considers whether there truly exists such a thing as “an addict” or “addictive thinking” in the universal sense. She concludes that within the context of disruptive substance use or repetitive engagement in certain activities, ordinary human cognitive biases and behavior patterns are categorized as addictive. Addiction, she argues, is best understood as an irreducible human reality, emergent from a sufficiently complex dynamic system (an organism with self-awareness, within a particular cultural milieu) that is both shaped by and contributes to the shaping of its environment. Attempts to simplify addiction into one or a few dimensions may create a solvable problem, but by doing so they fail to solve the real one. (shrink)
Despite the fact that the reductio ad absurdum argument is a valid deductive form, while the slippery slope argument is most often presented as a fallacious form of inductive argument, the two argument types bear some striking similarities. Investigation of these similarities reveals some more universal difficulties in the teaching of informal logic, and, in particular the difference between strong informal arguments and fallacious ones.
This chapter examines the tension between the justification and the punishment of civil disobedience, and theorists’ common solutions to it, by focusing on two central questions: first, should the state punish civil disobedience? Second, should the civil disobedient accept punishment? It presents the theoretical lay of the land on each of these questions, with particular attention to American jurisprudence on civil disobedience. The third part takes a step back to ask anew, how should we think about civil disobedience? and uncovers (...) some problematic assumptions behind the common theoretical approach to the “problem” of civil disobedience. (shrink)
Society typically shows conscientious objectors more deference than civil disobedients, on the grounds that they appear more conscientious and less strategically minded than the latter. Kimberley Brownlee challenges this standard picture in Conscience and Conviction: The Case for Civil Disobedience, where she claims that civil disobedience is more conscientious than conscientious objection, in virtue of its communicativeness. Brownlee conceives of conscientious conviction as necessarily communicative, and distinguishes it from ‘conscience’—the set of practical moral skills involved in adequately responding to complex (...) situations. This review article argues that Brownlee’s account of conviction is too narrow, as it excludes many core beliefs which we would want to classify as convictions although they violate one or more of the criteria of communicativeness, while her account of conscience is incomplete, because it ignores some of the persistent obstacles for the development of conscience produced by structural injustice. The article identifies these obstacles and offers some strategies for protecting against them, namely, vigilance, self-scrutiny, empathy and collaborative ambivalence. (shrink)