This article describes how a unique high school programme, not formally designed to teach moral principles or character lessons, contributed substantially to the character education of its students. Graduates over 20 years old were interviewed ( n =106) and completed a questionnaire ( n =204). Findings suggest the programme teachers helped students develop character attributes by providing a desirable character education environment. A majority of students reported that the programme was personalised, practical and, in many cases, life changing. A majority (...) of the students also indicated that the programme helped them develop an appreciation and respect for others and the environment, while helping them prepare for higher education. We present this programme as a model for character education at the high school level. Details are presented so that the programme can be replicated in other settings. We conclude that the success of this programme can be understood in terms of teachers' willingness to encourage students to take responsibility for their lives, and their learning through modeling of high character values, use of an integrated and experiential curriculum, and employment of a dialogical perspective on active education. (shrink)
This paper views Bernard Williams through the lens of the pragmatist tradition. The central insight of pragmatism is that philosophy must start with human practice, in contrast to high theory or metaphysics. Williams was one of the twentieth century’s most able proponents of this insight, especially when considering the topics of ethics and the law. Williams never saw himself as a pragmatist, because he took Richard Rorty’s radical relativism to be the exemplar of the position. But I shall suggest that (...) had Williams seen himself as a more objective pragmatist, along the lines of C. S. Peirce, C. I. Lewis, or Frank Ramsey, he might have had the resources to settle vital issues on which he wavered, issues having to do with whether there is anything objective underpinning our deliberations. (shrink)
In The American Pragmatists (2013), Cheryl Misak casts Peirce and Lewis as the heroes of American pragmatism. She establishes an impressive continuity between pragmatism and both logical empiricism and contemporary analytic philosophy. However, in casting James and Dewey as the villains of American pragmatism, she underplays the pragmatists' interest in action.
A central theme of Cheryl Misak’s important new history is that there are two markedly different strands of the pragmatist tradition. One pragmatism traces back to Peirce, she thinks, and it takes seriously the ideals of logical precision, truth, and objectivity. This tradition had its insights carried through later analytic philosophy by figures like C. I. Lewis, Quine, and Davidson, among others. The second pragmatism has its roots in James’s (allegedly) more subjectivistic outlook and after Dewey’s death was (...) revived by Goodman, Rorty, and other so-called “neo-pragmatists.”Misak recommends the Peircean strain because it is “committed to doing justice to the objective dimension of human inquiry” (Misak 2013: 3). .. (shrink)
Cheryl Misak presents a history of the great American philosophical tradition of pragmatism, from its inception in the 1870s to the present day. She traces the connections between classical American pragmatism and contemporary analytic philosophy, and draws out the continuing influence of pragmatist ideas in the recent history of philosophy.
Cheryl Misak offers a strikingly new view of the development of philosophy in the twentieth century. Pragmatism, the home-grown philosophy of America, thinks of truth not as a static relation between a sentence and the believer-independent world, but rather, a belief that works. The founders of pragmatism, Peirce and James, developed this idea in more and less objective ways. The standard story of the reception of American pragmatism in England is that Russell and Moore savaged James's theory, and that (...) pragmatism has never fully recovered. An alternative, and underappreciated, story is told here. The brilliant Cambridge mathematician, philosopher and economist, Frank Ramsey, was in the mid-1920s heavily influenced by the almost-unheard-of Peirce and was developing a pragmatist position of great promise. He then transmitted that pragmatism to his friend Wittgenstein, although had Ramsey lived past the age of 26 to see what Wittgenstein did with that position, Ramsey would not have liked what he saw. (shrink)
Cheryl Misak argues that truth ought to be reinstated to a central position in moral and political philosophy. She argues that the correct account of truth is one found in a certain kind of pragmatism: a true belief is one upon which inquiry could not improve, a belief which would not be defeated by experience and argument. This account is not only an improvement on the views of central figures such as Rawls and Habermas, but it can also make (...) sense of the idea that, despite conflict, pluralism, and the expression of difference, our moral and political beliefs aim at truth and can be subject to criticism. Anyone interested in a fresh discussion of political theory and philosophy will find this a fascinating read. (shrink)
Frank Ramsey was a brilliant Cambridge philosopher, mathematician, and economist who died in 1930 at 26 having made landmark contributions to decision theory, game theory, mathematics, logic, semantics, philosophy of science, and the theory of truth. This rich biography tells the story of his extraordinary life and intellectual achievement.
Because factory-farmed meat production inflicts gratuitous suffering upon animals and wreaks havoc on the environment, there are morally compelling reasons to become vegetarian. Yet industrial plant agriculture causes the death of many field animals, and this leads some to question whether consumers ought to get some of their protein from certain kinds of non factory-farmed meat. Donald Bruckner, for instance, boldly argues that the harm principle implies an obligation to collect and consume roadkill and that strict vegetarianism is thus immoral. (...) But this argument works only if the following claims are true: all humans have access to roadkill, roadkill would go to waste if those who happen upon it don’t themselves consume it, it’s impossible to harvest vegetables without killing animals, the animals who are killed in plant production are all-things-considered harmed by crop farming, and the best arguments for vegetarianism all endorse the harm principle. As I will argue in this paper, each claim is deeply problematic. Consequently, in most cases, humans ought to strictly eat plants and save the roadkill for cats. (shrink)
Counterfactuals is David Lewis' forceful presentation of and sustained argument for a particular view about propositions which express contrary to fact conditionals, including his famous defense of realism about possible worlds and his theory of laws of nature.
This book is a defense of modal realism; the thesis that our world is but one of a plurality of worlds, and that the individuals that inhabit our world are only a few out of all the inhabitants of all the worlds. Lewis argues that the philosophical utility of modal realism is a good reason for believing that it is true.
Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914), the founder of pragmatism, is generally considered the most significant American philosopher. Popularized by William James and John Dewey, pragmatism advocates that our philosophical theories be linked to experience and practice. The essays in this volume reveal how Peirce developed this concept.
This study investigates professional tax practitioners' ethical judgments and behavioral intentions in cases involving client pressure to adopt aggressive reporting positions, an issue that has been identified as the most difficult ethical/moral problem facing public accounting practitioners. The multidimensional ethics scale (MES) was used to measure the extent to which a hypothetical behavior was consistent with five ethical philosophies (moral equity, contractualism, utilitarianism, relativism, and egoism). Responses from a sample of 67 tax professionals supported the existence of all dimensions of (...) the MES other than egoism. Regressions of ethical judgments and behavioral intentions on the MES dimensions indicate that ethical decision making is most heavily influenced by the moral equity dimension, followed by the contractualism dimension. In contrast, the utilitarianism and relativism dimensions were only related to ethical judgments and behavioral intentions in isolated instances. (shrink)
For many philosophical thinkers down through the centuries, the notion of a creation out of sheer nothing has been found to be quite unintelligible. Nevertheless the idea of creation preserves an important insight and needs to be freed from the difficulties of this traditional formulation. Alfred North Whitehead has offered an alternative theory of creation worth exploring: each individual actuality creates itself out of prior creative acts. God then serves to direct this creative process.
Climate change harms health and damages and diminishes environmental resources. Gradually it will cause health systems to reduce services, standards of care, and opportunities to express patient autonomy. Prominent public health organizations are responding with preparedness, mitigation, and educational programs. The design and effectiveness of these programs, and of similar programs in other sectors, would be enhanced by greater understanding of the values and tradeoffs associated with activities and public policies that drive climate change. Bioethics could generate such understanding by (...) exposing the harms and benefits in different cultural, socioeconomic, and geographic contexts, and through interdisciplinary risk assessments. Climate change is a bioethics problem because it harms everyone and involves health, values, and responsibilities. This article initiates dialog about the responsibility of bioethics to promote transparency and understanding of the social values and conflicts associated with climate change, and the actions and public policies that allow climate change to worsen. (shrink)
We discuss the impact of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) on phylogenetic reconstruction and taxonomy. We review the power of HGT as a creative force in assembling new metabolic pathways, and we discuss the impact that HGT has on phylogenetic reconstruction. On one hand, shared derived characters are created through transferred genes that persist in the recipient lineage, either because they were adaptive in the recipient lineage or because they resulted in a functional replacement. On the other hand, taxonomic patterns in (...) microbial phylogenies might also be created through biased gene transfer. The agreement between different molecular phylogenies has encouraged interpretation of the consensus signal as reflecting organismal history or as the tree of cell divisions; however, to date the extent to which the consensus reflects shared organismal ancestry and to which it reflects highways of gene sharing and biased gene transfer remains an open question. Preferential patterns of gene exchange act as a homogenizing force in creating and maintaining microbial groups, generating taxonomic patterns that are indistinguishable to those created by shared ancestry. To understand the evolution of higher bacterial taxonomic units, concepts usually applied in population genetics need to be applied. (shrink)
_ Convention_ was immediately recognized as a major contribution to the subject and its significance has remained undiminished since its first publication in 1969. Lewis analyzes social conventions as regularities in the resolution of recurring coordination problems-situations characterized by interdependent decision processes in which common interests are at stake. Conventions are contrasted with other kinds of regularity, and conventions governing systems of communication are given special attention.
The pragmatist view of politics is at its very heart epistemic, for it treats morals and politics as a kind of deliberation or inquiry, not terribly unlike other kinds of inquiry. With the exception of Richard Rorty, the pragmatists argue that morals and politics, like science, aim at the truth or at getting things right and that the best method for achieving this aim is a method they sometimes call the scientific method or the method of intelligence – what would (...) now be termed deliberative democracy. Hence, the pragmatists offer an argument for democracy which appeals to the quality of the decisions supplied by democratic procedure. Why should we value decisions that are the products of voting after open debate over private decision-making and then voting, over bargaining, or over elimination of those who disagree with us? We should value them because the deliberative democratic method is more likely to give us true or right or justified answers to our questions. Rorty, of course, thinks that no inquiry aims at the truth and that nothing about pragmatism speaks in democracy's favor. This paper will show how his brand of pragmatism betrays what is good and deeply interesting in the pragmatist tradition. (shrink)
David Lewis (1941-2001) was Class of 1943 University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. His contributions spanned philosophical logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, metaphysics, and epistemology. In On the Plurality of Worlds, he defended his challenging metaphysical position, "modal realism." He was also the author of the books Convention, Counterfactuals, Parts of Classes, and several volumes of collected papers.
After 1900, the selective breeding of a few standard animals for research in the life sciences changed the way science was done. Among the pervasive changes was a transformation in scientists' assumptions about relationship between diversity and generality. Examination of the contents of two prominent physiology journals between 1885 and 1900, reveals that scientists used a diverse array of organisms in empirical research. Experimental physiologists gave many reasons for the choice of test animals, some practical and others truly comparative. But, (...) despite strong philosophical differences in the approaches they represented, the view that it was best to incorporate as many species as possible into research on physiological processes was widespread in both periodicals. Authors aimed for generality, but they treated it as a conclusion that would or would not follow from the examination of many species. After 1900, an increasing emphasis on standardization, the growth of the experimental method and the growing industrialization of the life sciences led to a decline in the number of species used in research. In this context, the selective breeding of animals for science facilitated a change in assumptions about the relationship between generality and diversity. As animals were increasingly viewed as things that were assumed to be fundamentally similar, scientific generality became an a priori assumption rather than an empirical conclusion. (shrink)
One manifestation of climate change is the increasingly severe extreme weather that causes injury, illness and death through heat stress, air pollution, infectious disease and other means. Leading health organisations around the world are responding to the related water and food shortages and volatility of energy and agriculture prices that threaten health and health economics. Environmental and climate ethics highlight the associated challenges to human rights and distributive justice but rarely address health or encompass bioethical methods or analyses. Public health (...) ethics and its broader umbrella, bioethics, remain relatively silent on climate change. Meanwhile global population growth creates more people who aspire to Western lifestyles and unrestrained socioeconomic growth. Fulfilling these aspirations generates more emissions; worsens climate change; and undermines virtues and values that engender appreciation of, and protections for, natural resources. Greater understanding of how virtues and values are evolving in different contexts, and the associated consequences, might nudge the individual and collective priorities that inform public policy toward embracing stewardship and responsibility for environmental resources necessary to health. Instead of neglecting climate change and related policy, public health ethics and bioethics should explore these issues; bring transparency to the tradeoffs that permit emissions to continue at current rates; and offer deeper understanding about what is at stake and what it means to live a good life in today's world. (shrink)
An underappreciated fact in the history of analytic philosophy is that American pragmatism had an early and strong influence on the Vienna Circle. The path of that influence goes from Charles Peirce to Frank Ramsey to Ludwig Wittgenstein to Moritz Schlick. That path is traced in this paper, and along the way some standard understandings of Ramsey and Wittgenstein, especially, are radically altered.
First part of the translation into Spanish of David Lewis' "New Work for a Theory of Universals", corresponding to the introduction and the first two sections of the original paper. || Primera parte de la traducción al español del trabajo de David Lewis "New Work for a Theory of Universals", correspondiente a la introducción y las dos primeras secciones del artículo original. Artículo original publicado en: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 61, No. 4, Dec. 1983, pp. 343-377.
Second part of the translation into Spanish of David Lewis' "New Work for a Theory of Universals", corresponding to the last sections of the original paper. || Segunda parte de la traducción al español del trabajo de David Lewis "New Work for a Theory of Universals", correspondiente a últimas secciones del artículo original. Artículo original publicado en: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 61, No. 4, Dec. 1983, pp. 343-377.
This study examined how the number and types of consequences considered are related to forecasting and ethical decision making. Undergraduate participants took on the role of the key actor in several ethical problems and were asked to forecast potential outcomes and make a decision about each problem. Performance pressure was manipulated by ostensibly making rewards contingent on good problem-solving performance. The results indicated that forecast quality was associated with decision ethicality, and the identification of the critical consequences of the problem (...) and consequences for others were associated with both higher quality forecasts and more ethical decisions. In addition, the identification of a larger number of consequences was negatively associated with ethical decision making. Performance pressure did not impact forecast quality or ethicality of decisions. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
Australia is restricted by the academic, social and administrative mechanisms of financialization. Exaggerated critiques about the adequacy of learner-centered approaches to education have been used to support a retrogressive shift from curriculum informed by contemporary educational theories, towards curriculum informed by management theories based on the dehumanizing educational theory of behaviourism. I therefore suggest a return to pre-1987 learning-centered educational theories, which include face-to-face relations, compassion and civility. This call is not new, but it has been largely ignored by powerful (...) agents in society: politicians, and regulatory-body representatives. It is therefore necessary to embark on an alternative approach to agential change. In this case, I appeal not to the powerful agents, but to all of us involved in VET. Since VET subsists on our activities, that is, since we daily reproduce it with our activities, it should be possible for us to withdraw those activities that reproduce the marketized approach to VET. (shrink)
This paper reframes the futility debate, moving away from the question “Who decides when to end what is considered to be a medically inappropriate or futile treatment?” and toward the question “How can society make policy that will best account for the multitude of values and conflicts involved in such decision-making?” It offers a pragmatist moral epistemology that provides us with a clear justification of why it is important to take best standards, norms, and physician judgment seriously and a clear (...) justification of why ample opportunity must be made for patients, families, and society to challenge those standards and norms. (shrink)
The pragmatist view of politics is at its very heart epistemic, for it treats morals and politics as a kind of deliberation or inquiry, not terribly unlike other kinds of inquiry. With the exception of Richard Rorty, the pragmatists argue that morals and politics, like science, aim at the truth or at getting things right and that the best method for achieving this aim is a method they sometimes call the scientific method or the method of intelligence – what would (...) now be termed deliberative democracy. Hence, the pragmatists offer an argument for democracy which appeals to the quality of the decisions supplied by democratic procedure. Why should we value decisions that are the products of voting after open debate over private decision-making and then voting, over bargaining, or over elimination of those who disagree with us? We should value them because the deliberative democratic method is more likely to give us true or right or justified answers to our questions. Rorty, of course, thinks that no inquiry aims at the truth and that nothing about pragmatism speaks in democracy’s favor. This paper will show how his brand of pragmatism betrays what is good and deeply interesting in the pragmatist tradition. (shrink)
Convinced of the importance of framing, many environmentalists have begun emphasizing positive visions of a happy and healthy green future rather than gloomy pictures of deprivation and sacrifice. ?Gloom and doom? discourses foster despair and resistance, they worry, instead of hope and motivation to change. While positive visions are crucial, though, it is ineffective to deny that living more sustainably will involve any loss. Since people value many incompatible things, living more sustainably will inevitably entail both sacrifice and reward. Environmentalists (...) must help articulate new possibilities of a greener future without dismissing the value of what must be given up. (shrink)
Abstract: Some first person statements, such as ‘I am in pain’, are thought to be immune to error through misidentification (IEM): I cannot be wrong that I am in pain because—while I know that someone is in pain—I have mistaken that person for myself. While IEM is typically associated with the self-ascription of psychological properties, some philosophers attempt to draw anti-Cartesian conclusions from the claim that certain physical self-ascriptions are also IEM. In this paper, I will examine whether some physical (...) self-ascriptions are in fact IEM, and—if they are—what role that fact is supposed to play in arguments for the anti-Cartesian claim that self-consciousness is consciousness of oneself as a material object. I will argue that if we accept the assumptions required to show that physical self-ascriptions are IEM, then IEM cannot play the role it needs to play in these anti-Cartesian arguments. (shrink)
This is the second volume of philosophical essays by one of the most innovative and influential philosophers now writing in English. Containing thirteen papers in all, the book includes both new essays and previously published papers, some of them with extensive new postscripts reflecting Lewis's current thinking. The papers in Volume II focus on causation and several other closely related topics, including counterfactual and indicative conditionals, the direction of time, subjective and objective probability, causation, explanation, perception, free will, and (...) rational decision. Throughout, Lewis analyzes global features of the world in such a way as to show that they might turn out to supervene on the spatiotemporal arrangement of local qualities. (shrink)
This commentary explores the disagreement between Alex Klein and Cheryl Misak about the core insights of American Pragmatism, against a background of agreement. Both take the history of early American pragmatism to be a vital part of the history of analytic philosophy, not a radical break with it. But Misak argues that James seeks to loosen the usual epistemic standards so that religious and scientific belief can both be justified by a unitary set of evidentiary rules, and Klein argues (...) that James’s aim is not primarily to seek a rationale or justification for religious belief. At the heart of the debate is a matter still very much alive in philosophy of science: the nature and status of indispensability arguments or arguments purporting to show that we need to assume some things in order to conduct inquiry. (shrink)
This study examined the role of temporal orientation and affective frame in the execution of ethical decision-making strategies. In reflecting on a past experience or imagining a future experience, participants thought about experiences that they considered either positive or negative. The participants recorded their thinking about that experience by responding to several questions, and their responses were content-analyzed for the use of ethical decision-making strategies. The findings indicated that a future temporal orientation was associated with greater strategy use. Likewise, a (...) positive affective frame was associated with greater strategy use. Future orientation may permit better strategy execution than a past orientation because it facilitates more objective, balanced contemplation of the reflected-upon situation and minimizes potential self-threat associated with past behavior. A positive affective frame likely improves strategy execution because it facilitates active analysis of the experience. Future directions and implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)