Four ethical values — maximizing benefits, treating equally, promoting and rewarding instrumental value, and giving priority to the worst off — yield six specific recommendations for allocating medical resources in the Covid-19 pandemic: maximize benefits; prioritize health workers; do not allocate on a first-come, first-served basis; be responsive to evidence; recognize research participation; and apply the same principles to all Covid-19 and non–Covid-19 patients.
I distinguish two ways of explaining our capacity for ‘transparent’ knowledge of our own present beliefs, perceptions, and intentions: an inferential and a reflective approach. Alex Byrne (2011) has defended an inferential approach, but I argue that this approach faces a basic difficulty, and that a reflective approach avoids the difficulty. I conclude with a brief sketch and defence of a reflective approach to our transparent self-knowledge, and I show how this approach is connected with the thesis that we must (...) distinguish between a kind of self-knowledge that is of oneself as agent and another kind that is of oneself as patient. (shrink)
"Why should we care about having true beliefs? And why do demonstrably false beliefs persist and spread despite consequences for the people who hold them? Philosophers of science Cailin O’Connor and James Weatherall argue that social factors, rather than individual psychology, are what’s essential to understanding the spread and persistence of false belief. It might seem that there’s an obvious reason that true beliefs matter: false beliefs will hurt you. But if that’s right, then why is it irrelevant to (...) many people whether they believe true things or not? In an age riven by "fake news," "alternative facts," and disputes over the validity of everything from climate change to the size of inauguration crowds, the authors argue that social factors, not individual psychology, are what’s essential to understanding the persistence of false belief and that we must know how those social forces work in order to fight misinformation effectively."–Publisher’s description. (shrink)
This provocative book refurbishes the traditional account of freedom of will as reasons-guided "agent" causation, situating its account within a general metaphysics. O'Connor's discussion of the general concept of causation and of ontological reductionism v. emergence will specially interest metaphysicians and philosophers of mind.
This study presents a substantial and often radical reinterpretation of some of the central themes of Locke's thought. Professor Alexander concentrates on the Essay Concerning Human Understanding and aims to restore that to its proper historical context. In Part I he gives a clear exposition of some of the scientific theories of Robert Boyle, which, he argues, heavily influenced Locke in employing similar concepts and terminology. Against this background, he goes on in Part II to provide an account of (...) Locke's views on the external world and our knowledge of it. He shows those views to be more consistent and plausible than is generally allowed, demonstrating how they make sense and enable scientific explanations of nature. In examining the views of Locke and Boyle together, the book throws light both on the development of philosophy and the beginnings of modern science, and in particular it makes a considerable and original contribution to our understanding of Locke's philosophy. (shrink)
I critically discuss the account of self-knowledge presented in Dorit Bar-On’s Speaking My Mind (OUP 2004), focusing on Bar-On’s understanding of what makes our capacity for self-knowledge puzzling and on her ‘neo-expressivist’ solution to the puzzle. I argue that there is an important aspect of the problem of self-knowledge that Bar-On’s account does not sufficiently address. A satisfying account of self-knowledge must explain not merely how we are able to make accurate avowals about our own present mental states, but how (...) we can reasonably regard ourselves as entitled to claim self-knowledge. Addressing this aspect of the problem of self-knowledge requires confronting questions about the metaphysical nature of mental states, questions that Bar-On’s approach seeks to avoid. (shrink)
Bruner shows that in cultural interactions, members of minority groups will learn to interact with members of majority groups more quickly—minorities tend to meet majorities more often as a brute fact of their respective numbers—and, as a result, may come to be disadvantaged in situations where they divide resources. In this paper, we discuss the implications of this effect for epistemic communities. We use evolutionary game theoretic methods to show that minority groups can end up disadvantaged in academic interactions like (...) bargaining and collaboration as a result of this effect. These outcomes are more likely, in our models, the smaller the minority group. They occur despite assumptions that majority and minority groups do not differ with respect to skill level, personality, preference, or competence of any sort. Furthermore, as we will argue, these disadvantaged outcomes for minority groups may negatively impact the progress of epistemic communities. (shrink)
This paper provides an analysis of Robert Boyle's most detailed discussion of the Baconian method of natural history. In a long letter to Henry Oldenburg dated 13 June 1666 and in ancillary manuscript material, Boyle spells out the method or 'Designe' by which he believes experimental programs in natural philosophy should be written up. The 'Designe' is enormously important in giving a clear statement of the precise contours of Boyle's Baconian methodology and providing a key to understanding (...) the rationale, composition and format for many of his published histories. Works such as New Experiments and Considerations Touching Cold, Memoirs for the Natural History of Human Blood and even his more speculative writings such as An Introduction to the History of Particular Qualities are best understood in terms of Boyle's overall method as articulated in his “Designe about Natural History”. (shrink)
Robert Boyle thought that his scientific achievements in pneumatics and chemistry depended on, and thus provided support for, his mechanical philosophy. In a recent article in this journal, Alan Chalmers has challenged this view. This paper consists of a reply to Chalmers on two fronts. First it tries to specify precisely what ‘the mechanical philosophy’ meant for Boyle. Then it goes on to defend, against Chalmers, the view that Boyle's science does support his natural philosophy.Keywords: Robert (...) class='Hi'>Boyle; Mechanical philosophy; Reductionism. (shrink)
William Newman construes the Scientific Revolution as a change in matter theory, from a hylomorphic, Aristotelian to a corpuscular, mechanical one. He sees Robert Boyle as making a major contribution to that change by way of his corpuscular chemistry. In this article it is argued that it is seriously misleading to identify what was scientific about the Scientific Revolution in terms of a change in theories of the ultimate structure of matter. Boyle showed, especially in his pneumatics, how (...) empirically accessible, intermediate causes, as opposed to ultimate, mechanical ones can be explored and identified by experiment. Newman is right to observe that Boyle constantly sought intimate links between chemistry and the mechanical philosophy. However, by doing so he did not thereby significantly aid the cause of attaining experimental knowledge of chemical phenomena and the support that Boyle’s chemistry provided for the mechanical philosophy was weaker than both Boyle and Newman imply. Boyle was intent on articulating and defending a strict, mechanical account of the ultimate structure of matter to be sure, but his contributions to the new experimental science in general, and chemistry in particular, are best seen as distinct from that endeavour.Keywords: Chemistry; Mechanical philosophy; Corpuscular philosophy; Experiment; Robert Boyle; William Newman. (shrink)
An expansive, yet succinct, analysis of the Philosophy of Religion – from metaphysics through theology. Organized into two sections, the text first examines truths concerning what is possible and what is necessary. These chapters lay the foundation for the book’s second part – the search for a metaphysical framework that permits the possibility of an ultimate explanation that is correct and complete. A cutting-edge scholarly work which engages with the traditional metaphysician’s quest for a true ultimate explanation of the most (...) general features of the world we inhabit Develops an original view concerning the epistemology and metaphysics of modality, or truths concerning what is possible or necessary Applies this framework to a re-examination of the cosmological argument for theism Defends a novel version of the Leibnizian cosmological argument. (shrink)
This is a critical theoretical investigation of Hubert Dreyfus’ ‘phenomenology of everyday expertise’ (PEE). Operating mainly through the critical perspective of the ‘emancipatory interest’ the article takes issue with the contention that when engaged in expert action human beings are in non-deliberative, reason-free absorption. The claim of PEE that absorbed actions are not amenable to reconstruction places those actions outside the space of reasons. The question of acting under the wrong reasons – the question upon which the emancipatory interest rests (...) – is thereby rendered groundless. A further difficulty for the emancipatory interest is the elimination by PEE of reflective agency. Framing expert action as perception- and affordance-driven, PEE diminishes practical reasoning. Furthermore, it understands freedom – consistently with its notion of action as affordance – as primarily the capacity of human beings to submit themselves to processes rather than to step back reflectively from them. Several criticisms of the philosophical delimitations created by methodology of PEE – phenomenology – are also developed. (shrink)
The study of social justice asks: what sorts of social arrangements are equitable ones? But also: how do we derive the inequitable arrangements we often observe in human societies? In particular, in spite of explicitly stated equity norms, categorical inequity tends to be the rule rather than the exception. The cultural Red King hypothesis predicts that differentials in group size may lead to inequitable outcomes for minority groups even in the absence of explicit or implicit bias. We test this prediction (...) in an experimental context where subjects divided into groups engage in repeated play of a bargaining game. We ran 14 trials involving a total of 112 participants. The results of the experiments are statistically significant and suggestive: individuals in minority groups in these experiments end up receiving fewer resources than those in majority groups. Combined with previous theoretical findings, these results give some reason to think that the cultural Red King may occur in real human groups. (shrink)
Background: The right of children to have their voice heard has been accepted by researchers, and there are increasing numbers of qualitative health studies involving children. The ethical and methodological issues of including children in research have caused worldwide concerns, and many researchers have published articles sharing their own experiences. Objectives: To systematically review and synthesise experts’ opinions and experiences about ethical and methodological issues of including children in research, as well as related solution strategies. Research design: The research design (...) was a systematic review of opinion-based evidence, based on the guidelines by Joanna Briggs Institute. Methods: A search of five computerised databases has been conducted in April 2014 and 2271 articles were found. After screening the titles, abstracts, full texts and appraising the quality, 30 articles were finally included in the review. A meta-aggregative approach was applied in the data analysis and synthesis process. Ethical considerations: Ethical approval is not needed as it is a systematic review of published literature. Results: Six themes were identified, including evaluating potential risks and benefits, gaining access, obtaining informed consent/assent, protecting confidentiality and privacy, building rapport and collecting rich data. The similarities and differences between research involving children and that involving adults were indicated. Conclusion: All potential incentives should be justified when designing the study. Further studies need to research how to evaluate individual capacity of children and how to balance protecting children’s right to participate and their interests in the research. Cultural differences related to researching children in different regions should also be studied. (shrink)
Theodor W. Adorno was one of the foremost philosophers and social theorists of the post-war period. Crucial to the development of Critical Theory, his highly original and distinctive but often difficult writings not only advance questions of fundamental philosophical significance, but provide deep-reaching analyses of literature, art, music sociology and political theory. In this comprehensive introduction, Brian O’Connor explains Adorno’s philosophy for those coming to his work for the first time, through original new lines of interpretation. Beginning with an (...) overview of Adorno’s life and key philosophical views and influences, which contextualizes the intellectual environment in which he worked, O’Connor assesses the central elements of Adorno’s philosophy. He carefully examines Adorno’s distinctive style of analysis and shows how much of his work is a critical response to the various forms of identity thinking that have underpinned the destructive forces of modernity. He goes on to discuss the main areas of Adorno’s philosophy: social theory, the philosophy of experience, metaphysics, morality and aesthetics; setting out detailed accounts of Adorno’s notions of the dialectic of Enlightenment, reification, totality, mediation, identity, nonidentity, experience, negative dialectics, immanence, freedom, autonomy, imitation and autonomy in art. The final chapter considers Adorno’s philosophical legacy and importance today. Including a chronology, glossary, chapter summaries, and suggestions for further reading, _Adorno_ is an ideal introduction to this demanding but important thinker, and essential reading for students of philosophy, literature, sociology and cultural studies. (shrink)
Robert Boyle, one of the most important intellectuals of the seventeenth century, was a gifted experimenter, an exceptionally able philosopher, and a dedicated Christian. In Boyle's two Excellencies, The Excellency of Theology Compared with Natural Philosophy and About The Excellency and Grounds of the Mechanical Hypothesis, he explains and justifies his new philosophy of science while reconciling it with Christian theology. These pioneering works of early science and theology are now available in a modernized and accessible new edition. (...) This Broadview edition brings spelling and punctuation into line with current conventions and includes notes and references to set the works in their historical and philosophical context. The appendices include works by Boyle's predecessors in the philosophy of science, other philosophical writings by Boyle, and an appendix of the other figures mentioned in the texts. (shrink)
Many philosophers are persuaded by familiar arguments that free will is incompatible with causal determinism. Yet, notoriously, past attempts to articulate how the right type of indeterminism might secure the capacity for autonomous action have generally been regarded as either demonstrably inadequate or irremediably obscure. This volume gathers together the most significant recent discussions concerning the prospects for devising a satisfactory indeterministic account of freedom of action. These essays give greater precision to traditional formulations of the problems associated with indeterministic (...) accounts and to the range of theoretical avenues for pursuing resolutions. The first four essays set out different challenges (from both compatibilists and those skeptical of the possibility of free will) to the adequacy of standard indeterministic theories. The next seven essays meet one or more of these challenges. Each of the fundamental types of approach--simple indeterminism, causal indeterminism, and agent causation--is represented in these novel and sophisticated proposals. The collection finishes with two essays that debate whether compatibilism entails that freedom of choice is a comparatively rare phenomenon within an individual's life. Eloquently presenting some of the most compelling and accessible arguments surrounding this central philosophical issue, Agents, Causes, and Events makes a valuable contribution to courses in free will/action theory and metaphysics. (shrink)
In this study of Robert Boyle's epistemology, Jan W. Wojcik reveals the theological context within which Boyle developed his views on reason's limits. After arguing that a correct interpretation of his views on 'things above reason' depends upon reading his works in the context of theological controversies in seventeenth-century England, Professor Wojcik details exactly how Boyle's three specific categories of things which transcend reason - the incomprehensible, the inexplicable, and the unsociable - affected his conception of what (...) a natural philosopher could hope to know. Also covered in detail is Boyle's belief that God had deliberately limited the human intellect in order to reserve a full knowledge of both theology and natural philosophy for the afterlife. (shrink)
This work aims to clarify the nature of the philosophy of education, intending to indicate both the limits and the uses of philosophical criticism of educational aims and concepts. It is based upon the fact that education is a subject full of unexamined presumptions.
This paper argues that, contrary to the claims of Alan Chalmers, Boyle understood his experimental work to be intimately related to his mechanical philosophy. Its central claim is that the mechanical philosophy has a heuristic structure that motivates and gives direction to Boyle's experimental programme. Boyle was able to delimit the scope of possible explanations of any phenomenon by positing both that all qualities are ultimately reducible to a select group of mechanical qualities and that all explanations (...) of natural phenomena are to be in terms of the operations of machines and are to appeal only to qualities that are already familiar. This is illustrated by his investigations into the Torricellian experiment. Boyle's explanation of the elevation of the mercurial cylinder by appeal to the spring of the air was an intermediate mechanical explanation. Boyle was convinced that the spring of the air was ultimately reducible to the mechanical qualities. This in turn had implications for his research into the cause of respiration. In a move that was both parsimonious and consistent with the broad requirements of the mechanical philosophy, Boyle was able to solve the problem of the cause of the inflow of air into the lungs by appeal to his research in pneumatics. This application of a mechanical explanation in pneumatics to physiology is just what one would expect if the mechanical philosophy was as universal as Boyle claimed it to be. Therefore, far from Boyle's experiments having a life of their own, they were clearly directed by and understood in terms of the mechanical philosophy.Keywords: Air-pump; Boyle; Chalmers; Experiment; Explanation; Mechanism. (shrink)
Various early modern philosophers affirm the traditional distinction between ‘things above reason’ and ‘things contrary to reason.’ However, it is Robert Boyle who goes furthest to rework and defend the division, and to explore its ramifications in detail. My aim here is to examine the logical structure of Boyle’s version of the distinction, and his concomitant account of the sphere of truths beyond human understanding. I also weigh the philosophical merits of the account and clarify the relationship between (...)Boyle’s characterization of things above reason and his alleged dialethism. (shrink)
The current consensus in Locke scholarship is that Robert Boyle anticipated Locke's thesis that classification into species is the arbitrary work of the understanding. In fact, according to Michael Ayers, inter alia, not only did Boyle and Locke both think that classification is the workmanship of the understanding but that this thesis follows directly from the mechanical hypothesis itself. In this paper I argue that this reading of Boyle is mistaken: Locke's thesis on classification was not anticipated (...) by Boyle. I will do this by showing that Boyle's account of classification is not Locke's, but is a more realist view of natural species employing a mechanically respectable account of natural forms. (shrink)
A good deal of attention has been given in recent philosophy of religion to the question of whether we can sensibly attribute to God a form of knowledge which the 16th-century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina termed "middle knowledge". Interest in the doctrine has been spurred by a recognition of its intimate connection to certain conceptions of providence, prophecy, and response to petitionary prayer. According to defenders of the doctrine, which I will call "Molinism", the objects of middle knowledge are (...) all the true counterfactuals of the form, 'If C were to occur, then S would freely do A', where C specifies a particular set of circumstances. (Such propositions are usually referred to as "counterfactuals of freedom" - hereafter "CFs".)' I will try to assess the current status of two distinct questions: (1) Are there true CFs? and (2) Could God know true CFs if there are any? Obviously, Molinism must answer both questions affirmatively. Most of the discussion has focused on the first question. I hope to show that this approach has been a dialectical mistake on the part of critics of Molinism, for the difficulties of giving an affirmative answer to question (2) are, I believe, far easier to state clearly and convincingly. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the research field of machine ethics and how it relates to a technological singularity—a hypothesized, futuristic event where artificial machines will have greater-than-human-level intelligence. One problem related to the singularity centers on the issue of whether human values and norms would survive such an event. To somehow ensure this, a number of artificial intelligence researchers have opted to focus on the development of artificial moral agents, which refers to machines capable of moral reasoning, judgment, and decision-making. (...) To date, different frameworks on how to arrive at these agents have been put forward. However, there seems to be no hard consensus as to which framework would likely yield a positive result. With the body of work that they have contributed in the study of moral agency, philosophers may contribute to the growing literature on artificial moral agency. While doing so, they could also think about how the said concept could affect other important philosophical concepts. (shrink)
This study considers customer characteristics as situational influences on a salesperson'sethical judgment formation. Specifically, customer gender, income, and propensity to buy were considered as factors which may bias these judgments. Additionally, the gender of the salesperson and their moral value structure were examined as moderating effects. An experiment using real estate agents reading hypothetical sales scenarios revealed differences across customer gender, customer income, and level of the respondent'sidealism. Significant interactive effects with these factors were also found involving respondent gender and (...) level of idealism. These and previous findings which consider situational effects on ethical decision-making, indicate that a more contingent approach to ethics studies is warranted. (shrink)
New Zealand fisheries management reforms are being conducted in terms of 'balancing' of interests and reconciliation of conflicting claims over ownership and use. Fisheries legislation seeks efficient levels of fishing effort, while establishing 'environmental bottom lines' for stock conservation; resource management law requires, alongside efficiency of resource use, consideration for species diversity and 'the intrinsic values of ecosystems' ; and the Treaty of Waitangi safeguards customary practices and life-support requirements for the Maori people. This paper analyses these antinomies in terms (...) of contrasting ethical positions – utilitarian rationality, versus an ethic of reciprocal hospitality – and shows how fisheries management policies can be formulated on this basis. (shrink)
I distinguish restrictive and permissive multiverse solutions to the problems of evil and no best world. Restrictive multiverses do not admit a single instance of gratuitous evil and they are not improvable. I show that restrictive multiverses unacceptably entail that all modal distinctions collapse. I consider Timothy O’Connor’s permissive multiverse. I show that a perfect creator minimizes aggregative suffering in permissive multiverses only if the actual universe is not included in any actualizable multiverse. I conclude that permissive multiverses do (...) not offer a credible solution to the problems of evil and no best world. (shrink)
We show that previous results from epistemic network models showing the benefits of decreased connectivity in epistemic networks are not robust across changes in parameter values. Our findings motivate discussion about whether and how such models can inform real-world epistemic communities. As we argue, only robust results from epistemic network models should be used to generate advice for the real-world, and, in particular, decreasing connectivity is a robustly poor recommendation.
In this essay, I examine Robert Boyle's strategies for making imperceptible entities accessible to the senses. It is well known that, in his natural philosophy, Boyle confronted the challenge of making imperceptible particles of matter into objects of sensory experience. It has never been noted, however, that Boyle confronted a strikingly similar challenge in his natural theology – he needed to make an equally imperceptible God accessible to the senses. Taking this symmetrical difficulty as my starting point, (...) I propose a new approach to thinking about the interconnections between Boyle's natural philosophy and natural theology. For the most part, studies of science and religion in the early modern period work by seeking out the influence of explicitly stated religious beliefs on scientific ideas. I argue, by contrast, that we need to focus on Boyle's representational practices, using his attempts to represent imperceptible entities as a means of uncovering metaphysical and theological presuppositions that he did not always articulate when stating his religious beliefs. With new interpretations of bothA Discourse of Things Above Reason andSome Physico-Theological Considerations about the Possibility of the Resurrection, I show that there were crucial similarities between Boyle's practices for representing both God and atoms. I go on to show, moreover, that Boyle used these practices to enact an ontological stance at odds with one of his most important professed beliefs. (shrink)
Collaboration is increasingly popular across academia. Collaborative work raises certain ethical questions, however. How will the fruits of collaboration be divided? How will the work for the collaborative project be split? In this paper, we consider the following question in particular. Are there ways in which these divisions systematically disadvantage certain groups? -/- We use evolutionary game theoretic models to address this question. First, we discuss results from O'Connor and Bruner (unpublished). In this paper, we show that underrepresented groups (...) in academia can be disadvantaged in such situations by dint of their small numbers. Second, we present novel results exploring how the hierarchical structure of academia can lead to bargaining disadvantage. We investigate models where one actor has a higher baseline of academic success, less to lose if collaboration goes south, or greater rewards for non-collaborative work. We show that in these situations, the less powerful partner is disadvantaged in bargaining over collaboration. (shrink)
In this paper we use an experimental approach to investigate how linguistic conventions can emerge in a society without explicit agreement. As a starting point we consider the signaling game introduced by Lewis. We find that in experimental settings, small groups can quickly develop conventions of signal meaning in these games. We also investigate versions of the game where the theoretical literature indicates that meaning will be less likely to arise—when there are more than two states for actors to transfer (...) meaning about and when some states are more likely than others. In these cases, we find that actors are less likely to arrive at strategies where signals have clear conventional meaning. We conclude with a proposal for extending the use of the methodology of experimental economics in experimental philosophy. (shrink)
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