Religion has in the past, it may be truefully admitted, done more than its share of fostering the spirit of ‘we’ over against ‘they’. Economic and political factors have unfortunately, throughout history, clogged the channels of communication between men of one faith and those of another. The most unhappy aspect of the relation between religion and society has been the way in which the former has fostered the distinction between the insider and the outsider. Typical of this is the fact (...) that most religious communities have a word which describes the religious outsider and the word is never a flattering one. That there should be religious diversity in the first place should occasion no surprise. Diversification is the order of things in the biological realm and we would not expect to find a sudden departure from this, that is, a move towards convergence, in the sphere of religion. But unless diversification is matched with understanding and with communication we face the future at our peril. It is for this reason that the question of inter-religious communication, the ground of its possibility, can be regarded not only as the most pressing of problems for the student of comparative religion but as a matter of pressing urgency for all. (shrink)
The Aesthetic Brain takes readers on an exciting journey through the world of beauty, pleasure, and art. Using the latest advances in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, Anjan Chatterjee investigates how an aesthetic sense is etched into our minds, and explains why artistic concerns feature centrally in our lives. Along the way, Chatterjee addresses such fundamental questions as: What is beauty? Is it universal? How is beauty related to pleasure? What is art? Should art be beautiful? Do we have (...) an instinct for art?Early on, Chatterjee probes the reasons why we find people, places, and even numbers beautiful, highlighting the important relationship between beauty and pleasure. Examining our pleasures allows him to reveal why we enjoy things like food, sex, and money, and how these rewards relate to our aesthetic encounters. Chatterjee's detailed discussion of beauty and pleasure equips readers to confront essential questions about the nature of art, the problems of defining it, and the challenges of interpreting its modern, non-traditional forms. Replete with facts, anecdotes, and analogies, this lively empirical guide to aesthetics offers scientific answers to fundamental questions without deflating the intrinsic wonders of beauty and art in an affordable paperback edition. (shrink)
In this unique monograph, based on years of extensive work, Chatterjee presents the historical evolution of statistical thought from the perspective of various approaches to statistical induction. Developments in statistical concepts and theories are discussed alongside philosophical ideas on the ways we learn from experience.
Margaret Chatterjee's new work Hinterlands and Horizons—a collection of nine phenomenological essays ranging across cultures and time periods—studies the historical and cultural evolution of the idea of amity and the concomitant concepts of fraternity, friendship, and tolerance. The work starts with the Enlightenment's idea of fraternity and its destruction during the fratricide of the French Terror. It includes chapters focusing upon the encounters between colonizers and missionaries, the impact of the Holocaust on the search for amity, the prospect for (...) amity in contemporary multiculturalism, and the potential of religion to deepen the experience of amity. An incisive interdisciplinary analysis of the bases of discord and harmony, of history and memory, Hinterlands and Horizons will be an enduring contribution to the history of ideas. (shrink)
In the remainder of this article, we will disarm an important motivation for epistemic contextualism and interest-relative invariantism. We will accomplish this by presenting a stringent test of whether there is a stakes effect on ordinary knowledge ascription. Having shown that, even on a stringent way of testing, stakes fail to impact ordinary knowledge ascription, we will conclude that we should take another look at classical invariantism. Here is how we will proceed. Section 1 lays out some limitations of previous (...) research on stakes. Section 2 presents our study and concludes that there is little evidence for a substantial stakes effect. Section 3 responds to objections. The conclusion clears the way for classical invariantism. (shrink)
Recent experimental research has revealed surprising patterns in people's intuitions about free will and moral responsibility. One limitation of this research, however, is that it has been conducted exclusively on people from Western cultures. The present paper extends previous research by presenting a cross-cultural study examining intuitions about free will and moral responsibility in subjects from the United States, Hong Kong, India and Colombia. The results revealed a striking degree of cross-cultural convergence. In all four cultural groups, the majority of (...) participants said that (a) our universe is indeterministic and (b) moral responsibility is not compatible with determinism. (shrink)
Does the Ship of Theseus present a genuine puzzle about persistence due to conflicting intuitions based on “continuity of form” and “continuity of matter” pulling in opposite directions? Philosophers are divided. Some claim that it presents a genuine puzzle but disagree over whether there is a solution. Others claim that there is no puzzle at all since the case has an obvious solution. To assess these proposals, we conducted a cross-cultural study involving nearly 3,000 people across twenty-two countries, speaking eighteen (...) different languages. Our results speak against the proposal that there is no puzzle at all and against the proposal that there is a puzzle but one that has no solution. Our results suggest that there are two criteria—“continuity of form” and “continuity of matter”— that constitute our concept of persistence and these two criteria receive different weightings in settling matters concerning persistence. (shrink)
In this article, we present evidence that in four different cultural groups that speak quite different languages there are cases of justified true beliefs that are not judged to be cases of knowledge. We hypothesize that this intuitive judgment, which we call “the Gettier intuition,” may be a reflection of an underlying innate and universal core folk epistemology, and we highlight the philosophical significance of its universality.
We identify the ways the policies of leading international bioethics journals limit the participation of researchers working in the resource-constrained settings of low- and middle-income countries in the development of the field of bioethics. Lack of access to essential scholarly resources makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many LMIC bioethicists to learn from, meaningfully engage in, and further contribute to the global bioethics discourse. Underrepresentation of LMIC perspectives in leading journals sustains the hegemony of Western bioethics, limits the (...) presentation of diverse moral visions of life, health, and medicine, and undermines aspirations to create a truly “global” bioethics. Limited attention to this problem indicates a lack of empathy and moral imagination on the part of bioethicists in high-income countries, raises questions about the ethics of bioethics, and highlights the urgent need to find ways to remedy this social injustice. (shrink)
This article examines whether people share the Gettier intuition (viz. that someone who has a true justified belief that p may nonetheless fail to know that p) in 24 sites, located in 23 countries (counting Hong-Kong as a distinct country) and across 17 languages. We also consider the possible influence of gender and personality on this intuition with a very large sample size. Finally, we examine whether the Gettier intuition varies across people as a function of their disposition to engage (...) in “reflective” thinking. (shrink)
The field of bioethics continues to struggle with the problem of cultural diversity: can universal principles guide ethical decision making, regardless of the culture in which those decisions take place? Or should bioethical principles be derived from the moral traditions of local cultures? Ten Have and Gordijn and Bracanovic defend the universalist position, arguing that respect for cultural diversity in matters ethical will lead to a dangerous cultural relativity where vulnerable patients and research subjects will be harmed. We challenge the (...) premises of moral universalism, showing how this approach imports and imposes moral notions of Western society and leads to harm in non-western cultures. (shrink)
Is behavioral integration (i.e., which occurs when a subjects assertion that p matches her non-verbal behavior) a necessary feature of belief in folk psychology? Our data from nearly 6,000 people across twenty-six samples, spanning twenty-two countries suggests that it is not. Given the surprising cross-cultural robustness of our findings, we suggest that the types of evidence for the ascription of a belief are, at least in some circumstances, lexicographically ordered: assertions are first taken into account, and when an agent sincerely (...) asserts that p, non-linguistic behavioral evidence is disregarded. In light of this, we take ourselves to have discovered a universal principle governing the ascription of beliefs in folk psychology. (shrink)
Advances in cognitive neuroscience make cosmetic neurology in some form inevitable and will give rise to extremely difficult ethical issuesConsider the following hypothetical case study. A well heeled executive walks into my cognitive neurology clinic because he is concerned that he is becoming forgetful. It turns out that he is going through a difficult divorce and my clinical impression is that his memory problems stem from the stress he is experiencing. I place him on a selective seratonin reuptake inhibitor, sertraline, (...) and in a few weeks he feels better. Around this time his 13 year old daughter has difficulty at school and is diagnosed by the school psychologist as having attention deficit disorder. I place her on adderall, a stimulant combination drug, which seems to help with her behaviour in school. My patient then comes to me because he is experiencing the “tip of the tongue” phenomena more frequently. He is concerned that his word finding difficulty interferes with his ability to function in high level meetings. I suggest we try a cholinesterase inhibitor to see if this helps. I am careful to explain that the Food and Drug Administration does not approve such a use for this medication. He wants to try it and is pleased with the results.A few months later, this patient visits me with his 16 year old son, a talented middle distance runner. His father thinks if he were just a bit better, among the elite high school runners in the state, he would be far more competitive as an applicant for selective colleges. We discuss various options. Because of a recent report that sildenafil, which is used conventionally for male impotence, may improve oxygen carrying capacity, I prescribe this medication. The son does not object.Encouraged by these pharmacologic successes, my patient …. (shrink)
This article examines whether people share the Gettier intuition in 24 sites, located in 23 countries and across 17 languages. We also consider the possible influence of gender and personality on this intuition with a very large sample size. Finally, we examine whether the Gettier intuition varies across people as a function of their disposition to engage in “reflective” thinking.
This paper reviews the relationship between organisational leadership, corporate governance and business ethics, and considers the implications for management. Business ethics is defined, and the causes and consequences of unethical behavior are discussed. Issues pertaining to leadership, subordinate and organisation responsibility for business ethics are considered. The changing role of business leaders and the new concept of ''corporate governance'' are examined, with an increasing importance being placed on ethical and socially responsible attitudes towards business. Organisational effectiveness and organisational efficiency, formerly (...) central issues for practising managers, with directors thinking in terms of goal achievement for their respective organisations, have now been augmented by an awareness of issues in business ethics, and a requirement for members of the corporate governance to behave in more socially responsible ways. A secondary aim of the paper is to introduce an approach which illustrates how corporate governance and management could deal with some of the moral dilemmas that they may have to face. (shrink)
This research focuses on the similarities and differences in the cognitive moral development of business professionals and graduate business students in two countries, India and the United States. Factors that potentially influence cognitive moral development, namely, culture, education, sex and gender are analyzed and discussed. Implications for ethics education in graduate business schools and professional associations are considered. Future research on the cognitive moral development of graduate business students and business professionals is recommended.
Modern bioethics was born in the West and thus reflects, not surprisingly, the traditions of Western moral philosophy and political and social theory. When the work of bioethics was confined to the West, this background of socio-political theory and moral tradition posed few problems, but as bioethics has moved into other cultures – inside and outside of the Western world – it has become an agent of moral imperialism. We describe the moral imperialism of bioethics, discuss its dangers, and suggest (...) that global bioethics will succeed only to the extent that it is local. (shrink)
Since at least Hume and Kant, philosophers working on the nature of aesthetic judgment have generally agreed that common sense does not treat aesthetic judgments in the same way as typical expressions of subjective preferences—rather, it endows them with intersubjective validity, the property of being right or wrong regardless of disagreement. Moreover, this apparent intersubjective validity has been taken to constitute one of the main explananda for philosophical accounts of aesthetic judgment. But is it really the case that most people (...) spontaneously treat aesthetic judgments as having intersubjective validity? In this paper, we report the results of a cross‐cultural study with over 2,000 respondents spanning 19 countries. Despite significant geographical variations, these results suggest that most people do not treat their own aesthetic judgments as having intersubjective validity. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for theories of aesthetic judgment and the purpose of aesthetics in general. (shrink)
Culture creates the context within which individuals experience life and comprehend moral meaning of illness, suffering and death. The ways the patient, family and the physician communicate and make decisions in the end-of-life care are profoundly influenced by culture. What is considered as right or wrong in the healthcare setting may depend on the socio-cultural context. The present article is intended to delve into the cross-cultural perspectives in ethical decision making in the end-of-life scenario. We attempt to address the dynamics (...) of the roles of patient, family and physician therein across two countries from East and West, namely, India and Germany. In India, where illness is more a shared family affair than an individual incident, a physician is likely to respect the family’s wishes and may withhold the ‹naked truth’ about the diagnosis of a fatal disease to the patient. In Germany, a physician is legally required to inform the patient about the disease. In India, advance directive being virtually non-existent, the family acts as the locus of the decision-making process, taking into account the economic cost of available medical care. In Germany, advance directive is regarded as mandatory and healthcare is covered by insurance. Family and the physician appear to play larger roles in ethical decision making for patients in India than for those in Germany, who place greater emphasis on autonomy of the individual patient. Our study explicates how culture matters in ethical decision-making and why the bioethical discourse is necessary in the concrete realities of the socio-cultural context. To explore the possibility of finding a common ground of morality across different cultures while acknowledging and respecting cultural diversity, thus remains a formidable challenge for the bioethicists. (shrink)
As our knowledge of the functional and pharmacological architecture of the nervous system increases, we are getting better at treating cognitive and affective disorders. Along with the ability to modify cognitive and affective systems in disease, we are also learning how to modify these systems in health. “Cosmetic neurology,” the practice of intervening to improve cognition and affect in healthy individuals, raises several ethical concerns. However, its advent seems inevitable. In this paper I examine this claim of inevitability by reviewing (...) the evolution of another medical practice, cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery also enhances healthy people and, despite many critics, it is practiced widely. Can we expect the same of cosmetic neurology? The claim of inevitability poses a challenge for both physicians and bioethicists. How will physicians reconsider their professional role? Will bioethicists influence the shape of cosmetic neurology? But first, how did cosmetic surgery become common? (shrink)
Ashapurna Devi, a prominent Bengali woman novelist (1909–1995) focused on women’s creativity and enlightenment during the colonial and postcolonial period in Bengal, India. She herself displayed immense will power, tenacity and an indomitable spirit which enabled her to eke out a prominent place for herself in the world of creative writing. Her life spanned both colonial India and independent India and these diverse experiences shaped her mind and persona and helped her to portray the emerging face of the enlightened Bengali (...) middle-class woman. Her writings trace the evolution of the Bengali woman as an enlightened and empowered individual struggling against the shackles of discriminatory norms imposed upon her by society. She traces the extremely conservative upbringing that the female members of her generation were subjected to and goes on to show how different individuals responded to these structures in different ways. Some would comply unquestioningly, some would comply simply because they did not dare to protest, while others would break free and find their own niche in the outside world. These issues are addressed by Ashapurna Devi in many short stories as well, but a critical analysis of her trilogy Pratham Pratisruti (1964), Subarnalata (1967) and Bokulkatha (1974) enables us to experience this struggle against a gradually unfolding backdrop where India moves on from being a British colony to an independent country. The trilogy traces the life of three generations of a family — Satyabati, Subarna and finally Bokul and establishes Ashapurna Devi as a path-breaking champion of women’s emancipation in an era when such endeavours were few and far between. (shrink)
As globalization has deepened worldwide economic integration, moral and political philosophers have become increasingly concerned to assess duties to help needy people in foreign countries. The essays in this volume present ideas on this important topic by authors who are leading figures in these debates. At issue are both the political responsibility of governments of affluent countries to relieve poverty abroad and the personal responsibility of individuals to assist the distant needy. The wide-ranging arguments shed light on global distributive justice, (...) human rights and their implementation, the varieties of community and the obligations they generate, and the moral relevance of distance. This provocative volume will interest scholars in ethics, political philosophy, political theory, international law and development economics, as well as policy makers, aid agencies, and general readers interested in the moral dimensions of poverty and affluence. (shrink)
Who are the gatekeepers in bioethics? Does editorial bias or institutional racism exist in leading bioethics journals? We analyzed the composition of the editorial boards of 14 leading bioethics journals by country. Categorizing these countries according to their Human Development Index (HDI), we discovered that approximately 95 percent of editorial board members are based in (very) high-HDI countries, less than 4 percent are from medium-HDI countries, and fewer than 1.5 percent are from low-HDI countries. Eight out of 14 leading bioethics (...) journals have no editorial board members from a medium- or low-HDI country. Eleven bioethics journals have no board members from low-HDI countries. This severe underrepresentation of bioethics scholars from developing countries on editorial boards suggests that bioethics may be affected by institutional racism, raising significant questions about the ethics of bioethics in a global context. (shrink)
This book is a collection of original essays by some of the leading moral and political thinkers of our time on the ethical and legal implications of humanitarian military intervention. As the rules for the 'new world order' are worked out in the aftermath of the Cold War, this issue is likely to arise more and more frequently, and the moral implications of such interventions will become a major focus for international law, the United Nations, regional organizations such as NATO, (...) and the foreign policies of nations. The essays collected here present a variety of normative perspectives on topics such as the just-war theory and its limits, secession and international law, and new approaches toward the moral legitimacy of intervention. They form a challenging and timely volume that will interest political philosophers, political theorists, readers in law and international relations, and anyone interested in moral dimensions of international affairs. (shrink)
Abstract: Each affective state has distinct motor-expressions, sensory perceptions, autonomic, and cognitive patterns. Panksepp (1998) proposed seven neural affective systems of which the SEEKING system, a generalized approach-seeking system, motivates organisms to pursue resources needed for survival. When an organism is presented with a novel stimulus, the dopamine (DA) in the nucleus accumbens septi (NAS) is released. The DA circuit outlines the generalized mesolimbic dopamine-centered SEEKING system and is especially responsive when there is an element of unpredictability in forthcoming rewards. (...) We propose that when the outcome of this interaction is unexpected or unanticipated then Panksepp’s “cognitive or expectancy reset” mechanism involving the cognitive dissonance would yield the subjective emotion of surprise. In order to appropriately react to the environment’s stimuli one needs fundamental processes that would enable one to distinguish between what is novel and what has been already experienced, as well as the different degrees of novelty. Novel events are those whose essential features of the representation (visceral and perceptual) are altered and being discrepant provoke more sustained attention. Novelty arises from salient and arousing events and the organism experiences surprise, as coming out of a habitual state. In this framework, we shall look at established theories of emotions and propose a different approach to their taxonomy. (shrink)
Liberal nationalists have been hard pressed to respond to the normative demands of human rights and global impartiality in justifying special redistributive requirements for fellow citizens in a democratic polity. In general, they tend to support disparate standards of distributive justice for insiders and outsiders by favoring a relational approach to justice that affirms co-national preferences while not denying the importance of global impartiality. Following Sen and critiquing Rawls, I re-frame the debate by re-configuring the notion of relationality with a (...) globalist tilt, with the hope of rescuing the discourse on global justice from its current stalemate. (shrink)
In this article I present a critique of the moral permissibility of preventive war. Preventive intervention is a murky issue in the just-war thinking, so just-war doctrine does not provide moral clarity in this debate. By invoking the concept of a just peace, I discuss prevention from a non-interventionist perspective and show how it can be an effective measure for national security and humanitarian policies. I draw on Amartya Sen’s idea of justice to reconstruct a justice-based, non-interventionist platform where, instead (...) of enabling the act of warfare, as is the case if we start from a just-war approach, we are encouraged to devise an option that would make the case for preventive war redundant. I claim that it is high time that we shift our discourse from finding security in resorting to a just war to building security via a just peace. (shrink)
This volume shows how Gandhi's thought and action-oriented approach are significant, relevant, and urgently needed for addressing major contemporary problems and concerns, including issues of violence and nonviolence, war and peace, religious conflict and dialogue, terrorism, ethics, civil disobedience, injustice, modernism and postmodernism, oppression and exploitation, and environmental destruction. Appropriate for general readers and Gandhi specialists, this volume will be of interest for those in philosophy, religion, political science, history, cultural studies, peace studies, and many other fields.
The placenta invades the adjacent uterus and controls the maternal immune system, like a cancer invades surrounding organs and suppresses the local immune response. Intriguingly, placental and cancer cells are globally hypomethylated and share an epigenetic phenomenon that is not well understood – they fail to silence repetitive DNA sequences that are silenced in healthy somatic cells. In the placenta, hypomethylation of retrotransposons has facilitated the evolution of new genes essential for placental function. In cancer, hypomethylation is thought to contribute (...) to activation of oncogenes, genomic instability, and retrotransposon unsilencing; the latter, we postulate, is possibly the most important consequence. Activation of placental retrotransposon-derived genes in cancer underpins our hypothesis that hypomethylation of these genes drives cancer cell invasion. This alludes to an interesting paradox, that while placental retrotransposon-derived genes are essential for promoting early hominid life, the same genes promote disease-susceptibility and death through cancer. Placental and cancer cells fail to silence retrotransposons that are normally silenced in healthy tissues. This has created new genes that are essential for placental function, yet they are also expressed in cancer. We hypothesize that active retrotransposons are a double-edged sword, contributing both adaptive and deleterious functions to biology. (shrink)
Henry Molaison, aged eighty-two, died at the end of 2008, and just after noon on exactly the first anniversary of his death, December 2, 2009, scientists began slicing his brain into 2,500 tissue samples. Known primarily in his lifetime as only H.M., he left his brain to science so that it could be dissected and digitally mapped – a gift much beloved by many scientists. An amnesiac in life, H.M. first rose to prominence in 1962 when Dr. Brenda Milner, a (...) pioneer in the field of neuropsychology, demonstrated that though H.M. was severely amnesic and could not remember past activities, he could nevertheless learn certain habits. The experiment involved the now famous mirror drawing. This article, written by a philosopher/artist and a neuroscientist/neuroaesthetician, argues that artists are unable to verbally articulate thoughts about their own art practice for reasons similar to why H.M. could not. All memories are not stored in the same part of the brain. Different categories of memories i.e., semantic memory or procedural memory, are stored in different parts of the brain. We argue that the procedural memory is not readily accessible to semantic memory. (shrink)
This issue of The Monist is devoted to the question of how we should gauge the moral significance of distance. “Moral distance,” by analogy with “aesthetic distance,” may signify degrees of moral indifference, but that is not the theme we are concerned with here. The problem of distance in morality is not the same as that of moral indifference; it is about boundar ies.