It is often argued that higher-level special-science properties cannot be causally efficacious since the lower-level physical properties on which they supervene are doing all the causal work. This claim is usually derived from an exclusion principle stating that if a higherlevel property F supervenes on a physical property F* that is causally sufficient for a property G, then F cannot cause G. We employ an account of causation as differencemaking to show that the truth or falsity of this principle is (...) a contingent matter and derive necessary and sufficient conditions under which a version of it holds. We argue that one important instance of the principle, far from undermining non-reductive physicalism, actually supports the causal autonomy of certain higher-level properties. (shrink)
We propose a principle of sustainability to complement established principles used for justifying healthcare resource allocation. We argue that the application of established principles of equal treatment, need, prognosis and cost-effectiveness gives rise to what we call negative dynamics: a gradual depletion of the value possible to generate through healthcare. These principles should therefore be complemented by a sustainability principle, making the prospect of negative dynamics a further factor to consider, and possibly outweigh considerations highlighted by the other principles. We (...) demonstrate how this principle may take different forms, and show that a commitment to sustainability is supported by considerations internal to the ethical principles already guiding healthcare resource allocation. We also consider two objections. The first of these, we argue, is either based on implausible assumptions or begs the question, whereas the second can be adequately accommodated by the principle we propose. (shrink)
Consumption--the flow of physical materials in human lives--is an important ethical issue. Be it fair trade coffee or foreign oil, North Americans' consumption choices affect the well-being of humans around the globe, in addition to impacting the natural world and consumers themselves. In this book, Laura Hartman seeks to formulate a coherent Christian ethic of consumption.
From the perspective of philosophy and political science it is often pointed out that trust is of central value for democracy. The paper critically examines this claim and argues that we should not overestimate the role of trust in democracy. In order to do that, I argue for a specific understanding of the notion of trust that appropriately accounts for the distinction between trust and mere reliance. In a second step, I argue that we have no reason to put this (...) kind of trust in our elected officials and representatives, but should instead focus on legislative and institutional ways to make sure that they are reliable in particular respects. After contrasting my suggestion with the position of Hardin, I point to two advantages of my account: The avoidance of political analysis through the lens of trust allows us to react more flexibly to unforeseen circumstances and resist populist attempts to emotionalize public debates; at the same time, diffusing the tension between trust and civic vigil... (shrink)
American society has a history of turning to physicians during times of extreme need, from plagues in the past to recent outbreaks of communicable diseases. This public instinct comes from a deep seated trust in physician duty that has been earned over the centuries through dedicated and selfless care, often in the face of personal risks. As dangers facing our communities include terroristic events physicians must be adequately prepared to respond, both medically and ethically. While the ethical principles that govern (...) physician behavior—beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and social justice—are unchanging, fundamental doctrines must change with the new risks inherent to terroristic events. Responding to mass casualty disasters caused by terrorists, natural calamities, and combat continue to be challenging frontiers in medicine. Preparing physicians to deal with the consequences of a terroristic disease must include understanding the ethical challenges that can occur. (shrink)
Contemporary Christian ethics encounters the challenge to communicate genuinely Christian normative orientations within the scientific debate in such a way as to render these orientations comprehensible, and to maintain or enhance their plausibility even for non-Christians. This essay, therefore, proceeds from a biblical motif, takes up certain themes from the Christian tradition (in particular the idea of social justice), and connects both with a compelling contemporary approach to ethics by secular moral philosophy, i.e. with Axel Honneth's reception (...) of Hegel, as based on Hegel's theory of recognition. As a first step, elements of an ethics of recognition are developed on the basis of an anthropological recourse to the conditions of intersubjective encounters. These conditions are then brought to bear on the idea of social justice, as developed in the social-Catholic tradition, and as systematically explored in the Pastoral Letter of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice For All (1986). Proceeding from this basis, aspects of a Christian ethics of community service with regard to long-term care can be defined. (shrink)
Stephens and Grahamset themselves an apparently modest task, to understand why people who experience alien voices and inserted thoughts do not believe that they themselves are the source of these experiences. However, it soon becomes clear that there are many connected issues here. In eight short chapters, they address the phenomenology and ontology of consciousness, the phenomenology of alien voices, inserted thoughts, obsessive-compulsive thoughts and feelings, and other cases of unusual experience often associated with psychopathology, including brief discussion of multiple (...) personality disorder. They survey some of the main empirical explanations of the phenomenology, set out the shortcomings of these theories, and end by proposing their own schematic account. (shrink)
I pursue three of the many lines of thought that were raised in my mind by Kristjánsson’s engaging book. In the first section, I try to get clearer on what exactly Aristotelian character education (ACE) is, and suggest areas where I hope the view is developed in more detail. In the second and longest section, I draw some lessons from social psychology about the pervasive role of what I call ‘Surprising Dispositions,’ and invite Kristjánsson to take up the difficult challenge (...) of clarifying how ACE would help to address their influence on our thought and action. Finally, in section three I consider whether there is any robust empirical support for ACE, and if not, where that leaves us. (shrink)
There appears to be a widespread belief that the social sciences during the 1950s and 1960s can be characterized by an almost unquestioned faith in a positivist philosophy of science. In contrast, the article shows that even within the narrower segment of Cold War social science, positivism was not an unquestioned doctrine blindly followed by everybody, but that quite divergent views coexisted. The article analyses two ‘techniques of prospection’, the Delphi technique and political gaming, from the perspective of a comprehensive (...) set of ideas attributed to ‘positivism’. Both techniques were developed in the early 1950s by researchers at the RAND Corporation, a Californian think tank with tight relations to the US Air Force. Despite the closeness of origin, the two techniques show considerable differences in their basic epistemologies. The article thus concludes that more important than positivism in uniting US Cold War social science was the shared sense of urgency and of the potential of social science to put decision-making in foreign policy on a rational basis. In this sense, as far as the Cold War social sciences were of a piece, they were made so by the sense of danger and urgency of action evoked by the image of the Iron Curtain. (shrink)
Genetic predispositions often concern not only individual persons, but also other family members. Advances in the development of genetic tests lead to a growing number of genetic diagnoses in medical practice and to an increasing importance of genetic counseling. In the present article, a number of ethical foundations and preconditions for this issue are discussed. Four different models for the handling of genetic information are presented and analyzed including a discussion of practical implications. The different models’ ranges of content reach (...) from a strictly autonomous position over self-governed arrangements in the practice of genetic counseling up to the involvement of official bodies and committees. The different models show a number of elements which seem to be very useful for the handling of genetic data in families from an ethical perspective. In contrast, the limitations of the standard medical attempt regarding confidentiality and personal autonomy in the context of genetic information in the family are described. Finally, recommendations for further ethical research and the development of genetic counseling in families are given. (shrink)
In this book George Marsden responds to critics of his The Soul of the American University, and attempts to explain how, without heavy-handed dogmatism or moralizing, Christian faith can be of great relevance to contemporary scholarship of the highest standards.
What is a Reformed Christian Bioethics? This issue of Christian Bioethics attempts to begin a scholarly answer to this question. Most of the papers are offered by Reformed Protestants. They present a diversity of Reformed thought but at least tend to agree on the primacy of scripture as an authority, the relative authority of historical Reformed figures, and the insufficiency of a purely secular bioethics. As counterpoints to help further define the boundaries of the field two essays by (...) Orthodox Christians bring critiques and questions. This essay provides an overview and context for the issue and the development of the field of Reformed Christian Bioethics. (shrink)
How does Christian ethics begin? This pioneering study explores the grammar of the Christian life as it is embodied and learned in worship as the formative experience of Christian communities. In a careful analysis of biblical and traditional conceptions of worship, Wannenwetsch demonstrates how worship challenges the deepest antagonisms in political thought and social practice. Particular worship practices are examined and their ethical and political significance is explored.
ZusammenfassungTrotz seiner großen Verbreitung in den Lebenswissenschaften wurde dem Aquarium bisher wenig wissenschafts- und technikhistorische Aufmerksamkeit zuteil. Dies ist nicht zuletzt durch den Umstand begründet, dass das Aquarium und seine Geschichte bisher größtenteils als außerwissenschaftlich aufgefasst wurden. Dabei spielen so unterschiedliche Kontexte wie Akklimatisierung, Amateurnaturkunde und bürgerliche Populärkultur eine wichtige Rolle. Gleichzeitig ist die Entwicklung des Aquariums aber auch eng mit der Geschichte der Lebenswissenschaften verbunden. Mit Blick auf die zweite Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts verstehe ich das Aquarium als techno-natural (...) assemblage, in der Technologie, Kultur und Natur zu einem künstlichen Naturraum verbunden sind. Seine Geschichte beginnt in der britischen Amateurnaturkunde und der französischen Akklimatisierungsbewegung. Im Deutschland des späten 19. Jahrhunderts entwickelte sich das Aquarium zu einem Massenphänomen. Gleichzeitig hielt es Einzug in die Lebenswissenschaften, wo es als Einfallstor, Instrument und Umwelt Verwendung fand. Wie sich zeigt, ist das Aquarium eine hochgradig konstruierte Technologie, die sich aus einer Verbindung unterschiedlicher Traditionen herausgebildet und das Leben in die Lebenswissenschaften gebracht hat. (shrink)
Are companies, churches, and states genuine agents? Or are they just collections of individuals that give a misleading impression of unity? This question is important, since the answer dictates how we should explain the behaviour of these entities and whether we should treat them as responsible and accountable on the model of individual agents. Group Agency offers a new approach to that question and is relevant, therefore, to a range of fields from philosophy to law, politics, and the social sciences. (...)Christian List and Philip Pettit argue that there really are group or corporate agents, over and above the individual agents who compose them, and that a proper approach to the social sciences, law, morality, and politics must take account of this fact. Unlike some earlier defences of group agency, their account is entirely unmysterious in character and, despite not being technically difficult, is grounded in cutting-edge work in social choice theory, economics, and philosophy. (shrink)
De-domestication is the deliberate establishment of a population of domesticated animals or plants in the wild. In time, the population should be able to reproduce, becoming self-sustainable and incorporating 'wild' animals. Often de-domestication is part of a larger nature restoration scheme, aimed at creating landscapes anew, or re-creating former habitats . De-domestication is taken up in this paper because it both engages and raises questions about the major norms governing animals and nature. The debate here concerns whether animals undergoing de-domestication (...) should be looked upon as wild or non-wild and the effect this has on questions about how they should be treated. It also concerns the value of nature, and the kind and degree of nature management considered appropriate. The paper first describes actual de-domestication practices and considers the character of human duties to animals in process of de-domestication. Secondly, the paper explores the implications of de-domestication for nature management, focusing on notions of naturalness and wildness. Finally, because the current division of ethical topics, with its dependence upon whether animals and nature are domesticated, hampers rather than helps, a new perspective is offered on the issues raised by de-domestication. More 'thinking outside the box' with regard to animals and nature is recommended. (shrink)
ABSTRACTAugustine's ontology, ecclesiology, and soteriology have recently been mined to help Christian realists and liberals respond to the problems that pluralism and conflict create for democratic societies. The results challenge those secularists who object to the late antique prelate's “moralizing” as well as others who insist that “public reason”—not religious traditions—makes for more meaningful political conversations and for collaboration “across differences.” But the results also raise the question whether Augustine would have gone along with the realists and liberals he (...) has inspired and outfitted. (shrink)
Demons have the power to cause temptations in us, and Christian materialism implies the supervenience of temptations on brain states. This in turn implies that demons bring about temptations by causally interfering with our brains. But if they have such an ability to affect the physical world, it is mysterious why they do not wreak more havoc than they do both to our brains and in the world more generally. Substance dualism provides an elegant solution: demonic temptation is not (...) a species of soul-to-brain causation, but soul-to-soul, and we don’t need to suppose demons have the power to directly affect the physical world. Materialist solutions, in contrast, are ad hoc. (shrink)
Love is religious love to the degree that it cooperates with God's love. Interpretations of God's love and what it would mean to participate in God's love rest on deeper and sometimes divergent conceptualizations of God and God's relation to the world. Agape is an essential feature of Christian life, but it does not follow that it is the distinctive form of Christian love. It is not equally privileged in all Christian theological traditions. Within the framework of (...) Roman Catholic theology, a full understanding of God's love requires appeal to all three relationships that we know under the names of philia, agape, and eros. The most inclusive of these is not agape but philia. (shrink)
This is the third volume in Alvin Plantinga's trilogy on the notion of warrant, which he defines as that which distinguishes knowledge from true belief. In this volume, Plantinga examines warrant's role in theistic belief, tackling the questions of whether it is rational, reasonable, justifiable, and warranted to accept Christian belief and whether there is something epistemically unacceptable in doing so. He contends that Christian beliefs are warranted to the extent that they are formed by properly functioning cognitive (...) faculties, thus, insofar as they are warranted, Christian beliefs are knowledge if they are true. (shrink)
In this paper we present some metapredicative subsystems of analysis. We deal with reflection principles, $\omega-model$ existence axioms (limit axioms) and axioms asserting the existence of hierarchies. We show several equivalences among the introduced subsystems. In particular we prove the equivalence of $\sum_1^1$ transfinite dependent choice and $\prod_2^1$ reflection on $\omega-models$ of $\sum_1^1-DC$.
. European constitutional traditions share a commitment to freedom of conscience and religion, but differ on their interpretation of whether such freedoms do or do not require a clear cut separation of state and church. Weiler has advocated that the writing of a Constitution for the European Union is a very apt moment to reconsider the conceptualization of freedom of conscience and religion. On constitutional and historical grounds, he has advocated that a reference to Christian values should be made (...) in the preamble of the European fundamental law, and that this will be the alternative most respectful to the pluralistic national solutions, ranging from republican non‐confessionality to the establishment of an official church. But contrary to what Weiler argues, the drafting of the constitution of the European Union is not bound by the present shape of European constitutional traditions; moreover, it is hard to conclude that the present common constitutional traditions require an explicit reference to Christianity to be included in the text. Furthermore, the claim that the individual and collective identities of Europeans are unavoidably shaped by Christian values is only tenable if we uphold a rather simplistic relation between history, memory, and identity. Finally, once one moves from law and history to practical reasoning, one finds that there are good substantive reasons why our collective identity should not contain reference to Christian values. (shrink)
Perinatal palliative and hospice care is a novel approach to addressing a family’s varied needs following an adverse in utero diagnosis. Christian defenses of perinatal hospice tend to focus on its role as an ethical alternative to abortion. Although these analyses are important, they do not provide adequate grounds to characterize the wide range of goods realized through this compassionate form of care. This essay draws on an analysis of the Christian virtue of humility to highlight the ways (...) a Christian virtue-based defense of perinatal hospice can account for these goods. I argue that humility can play an important facilitating role in helping Christian physicians to meet the needs of families in profoundly difficult circumstances. (shrink)
Among the various descriptions of the Christian life in Newman’s Parochial and Plain Sermons, the metaphor of war is prominent. This essay examines Newman’s extensive use of the metaphor of war from the viewpoint of cognitive semantics, which assumes that transcendental reality can only be conceived of and described in language that uses such conceptual mechanisms as image schemata, metaphor, metonymy, and conceptual blending. Analyzing the conceptual phenomena inherent in the metaphor of war provides both a better understanding of (...) Newman’s Parochial and Plain Sermons as well as a better appreciation of Newman’s understanding of the Christian life. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne is one of the most influential contemporary proponents of the analytical philosophy of religion. He is, above all, a traditional theist. However, his interests are very wide-ranging. He has written about nearly all central theological and philosophical issues such as epistemology, metaphysics, theory of mind and ethics. During the “Münstersche Vorlesungen 2007” students and faculty members of the Department of Philosophy at Münster University entered into a skilful and interesting discussion concerning most of Swinburne’s positions. This volume presents (...) their contributions as well as Swinburne's replies. (shrink)
This article challenges the negative image that, since the late 19th century, has been associated with crowds, and it does so by focusing on a number of bodilyanatomic aspects of crowd behavior. I first demonstrate that the work of one of the leading crowd psychologists, Gustave Le Bon, instigated a racist body politics. As a contrast to Le Bon's political program, I examine Walt Whitman's poetry and argue that the crowd may embody a democratic vision that emphasizes the social and (...) political import of sexuality and body -to- body contact. Further, I dispute classical crowd theory's idea of an antagonistic relationship between crowds and individuality. Following Elias Canetti, I claim instead that the bodily compression of crowds in fact liberates individuals and creates a democratic transformation. The analysis results in a rehabilitation of crowds and briefly suggests how a reinterpretation of crowd behavior may inform current debates in social theory. (shrink)
What is a person? This fundamental question is a perennial concern of philosophers and theologians. But, Christian Smith here argues, it also lies at the center of the social scientist’s quest to interpret and explain social life. In this ambitious book, Smith presents a new model for social theory that does justice to the best of our humanistic visions of people, life, and society. Finding much current thinking on personhood to be confusing or misleading, Smith finds inspiration in critical (...) realism and personalism. Drawing on these ideas, he constructs a theory of personhood that forges a middle path between the extremes of positivist science and relativism. Smith then builds on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens, and William Sewell to demonstrate the importance of personhood to our understanding of social structures. From there he broadens his scope to consider how we can know what is good in personal and social life and what sociology can tell us about human rights and dignity. Innovative, critical, and constructive,_ What Is a Person?_ offers an inspiring vision of a social science committed to pursuing causal explanations, interpretive understanding, and general knowledge in the service of truth and the moral good. (shrink)
This paper aims to introduce the German Romantic poet Novalis into the discussion of the modern ecological crisis. In particular we examine Novalis' unique philosophy of nature as a You in which he deals with both of the two aspects of the relationship between humans and nature: their original identity as well as the distinction between them. We analyse the way in which Novalis understood the relationship between nature and humankind dynamically, and show the significance of his concept of poetry (...) for this question. This concept is analysed and described in respect to its principal features: creativity and love. The former is regarded by Novalis as a general capacity of humans as well as an expression of nature itself. Together with love it forms the base for a possible harmonious relationship between humans and nature. We furthermore interpret Novalis' economic thought against the general background of his philosophy of nature and his understanding of humankind. Novalis recognises the crucial role economic action plays in the relationship between nature and humankind and he offers some important insights into this issue. Finally, we discuss the relevance of Novalis' concept of nature as a You for environmental philosophy. By comparison with other concepts of nature in the modern environmental debate, we show how Novalis' thought offers a new perspective on the human–nature relationship and thus fruitful stimulation for today's environmental philosophy. (shrink)
Four-dimensionalism and eternalism are theories on time, change, and persistence. Christian philosophers and theologians have adopted four-dimensional eternalism for various reasons. In this paper I shall attempt to argue that four-dimensional eternalism conflicts with Christian thought. Section I will lay out two varieties of four-dimensionalism—perdurantism and stage theory—along with the typically associated ontologies of time of eternalism and growing block. I shall contrast this with presentism and endurantism. Section II will look at some of the purported theological benefits (...) of adopting four-dimensionalism and eternalism. Section III will examine arguments against four-dimensional eternalism from the problem of evil. Section IV will argue that four-dimensional eternalism causes problems for Christian eschatology. (shrink)