Believing that p, assuming that p, and imagining that p involve regarding p as true—or, as we shall call it, accepting p. What distinguishes belief from the other modes of acceptance? We claim that conceiving of an attitude as a belief, rather than an assumption or an instance of imagining, entails conceiving of it as an acceptance that is regulated for truth, while also applying to it the standard of being correct if and only if it is true. We argue (...) that the second half of this claim, according to which the concept of belief includes a standard of correctness, is required to explain the fact that the deliberative question whether to believe that p is transparent to the question whether p. This argument raises various questions. Is there such a thing as deliberating whether to believe? Is the transparency of the deliberative question whether to believe that p the same as the transparency of the factual question whether I do believe that p? We will begin by answering these questions and then turn to a series of possible objections to our argument. (shrink)
Contemporary Kantianism is often regarded as both a position within normative ethics and as an alternative to metaethical moral realism. We argue that it is not clear how contemporary Kantianism can distinguish itself from moral realism. There are many Kantian positions. For reasons of space we focus on the position of one of the most prominent, contemporary Kantians, Christine Korsgaard. Our claim is that she fails to show either that Kantianism is different or that it is better than realism. Our (...) strategy is to argue that what are supposed to be claims that conflict with realism in fact do not. (shrink)
The maturing of metaethics has been accompanied by widespread, but relatively unarticulated, discontent that mainstream metaethics is fundamentally on the wrong track. The malcontents we have in mind do not simply champion a competitor to the likes of noncognitivism or realism; they disapprove of the supposed presuppositions of the existing debate. Their aim is not to generate a new theory within metaethics, but to go beyond metaethics and to transcend the distinctions it draws between metaethics and normative ethics and between (...) cognitivism and non-cognitivism. In our experience, the differences with traditional metaethics go deep enough that it can feel as if two different paradigms are talking past each other. We attempt to bring clarity and focus to this rather inchoate debate by simultaneously articulating the general issues involved and engaging in a detailed case study of one of the prominent representatives of this discontent, Christine Korsgaard. We argue that Korsgaard fails to go beyond metaethics–indeed, fails even to provide a theory within metaethics. Our strategy for showing this is to argue that her claims are compatible with both cognitivism and non-cognitivism. We have argued elsewhere that her distinctive claims are compatible with realism. Here we focus on the crucial role that claims about agency and the will seem to play her in work and, according to our interpretation, in her attempts to go beyond mainstream metaethics. We show in detail that these claims are actually compatible with non-cognitivism. Though our discussion often focuses on her work in particular, it has clear implications for other attempts to obviate the debates of traditional metaethics. (shrink)
The Declaration of Helsinki and the Council of the International Organization of Medical Sciences provide guidance on standards of care and prevention in clinical trials. In the current and increasingly challenging research environment, the ethical status of a trial design depends not only on protection of participants, but also on social value, feasibility, and scientific validity. Using the example of a study assessing efficacy of a vaccine to prevent human papilloma virus in HIV-1 infected adolescent girls in low resource countries (...) without access to the vaccine, we compare several trial designs which rank lower on some criteria and higher on others, giving rise to difficult trade-offs. This case demonstrates the need for developing more nuanced guidance documents to help researchers balance these often conflicting criteria. (shrink)
Comparative Political Philosophy: Studies Under the Upas Tree examines four major traditions of political philosophy and discusses similarities in their key ideas and assumptions. An intellectually daring enterprise, this fascinating volume focuses on key texts from Chinese, Indian, Western and Islamic political philosophy.
From his return to Cambridge in 1929 to his death in 1951, Ludwig Wittgenstein, who published only one work in his lifetime, influenced philosophy almost exclusively through teaching and discussion. These lecture notes, therefore, are an important record of the development of Wittgenstein's thought; they indicate the interests he maintained in his later years and signal what he considered the salient features of his thinking. Further, the notes from an enlightening addition to his posthumously published writings. P. T. Geach, A. (...) C. Jackson, and K. J. Shah kept meticulous notes from the last formal course that Wittgenstein taught at Cambridge. In order to reconstruct as accurately as possible the words of Wittgenstein, this volume compiles all three sets of notes with no attempt to conflate or edit them beyond rendering them into lucid English. Topics covered by the notes in this volume include the private language argument, the grammar of sensation statements, certainty and experimentation in psychology, and, in general, the same set of concerns as are to be found in his Last Writings and Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology . The source material provided in these lecture notes is vital to Wittgenstein scholarship. (shrink)