The debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists depends in large part on what ordinary people mean by ‘free will’, a matter on which previous experimental philosophy studies have yielded conflicting results. In Nahmias, Morris, Nadelhoffer, and Turner (2005, 2006), most participants judged that agents in deterministic scenarios could have free will and be morally responsible. Nichols and Knobe (2007), though, suggest that these apparent compatibilist responses are performance errors produced by using concrete scenarios, and that their abstract scenarios reveal the folk (...) theory of free will for what it actually is—incompatibilist. Here, we argue that the results of two new studies suggest just the opposite. Most participants only give apparent incompatibilist judgments when they mistakenly interpret determinism to imply that agents’ mental states are bypassed in the causal chains that lead to their behavior. Determinism does not entail bypassing, so these responses do not reflect genuine incompatibilist intuitions. When participants understand what determinism does mean, the vast majority take it to be compatible with free will. Further results indicate that most people’s concepts of choice and the ability to do otherwise do not commit them to incompatibilism, either, putting pressure on incompatibilist arguments that rely on transfer principles, such as the Consequence Argument. We discuss the implications of these findings for philosophical debates about free will, and suggest that incompatibilism appears to be either false, or else a thesis about something other than what most people mean by ‘free will’. (shrink)
We discuss recent work in experimental philosophy on free will and moral responsibility and then present a new study. Our results suggest an error theory for incompatibilist intuitions. Most laypersons who take determinism to preclude free will and moral responsibility apparently do so because they mistakenly interpret determinism to involve fatalism or “bypassing” of agents’ relevant mental states. People who do not misunderstand determinism in this way tend to see it as compatible with free will and responsibility. We discuss why (...) these results pose a challenge to incompatibilists. (shrink)
The standard view in epistemology is that propositional knowledge entails belief. Positive arguments are seldom given for this entailment thesis, however; instead, its truth is typically assumed. Against the entailment thesis, Myers-Schulz and Schwitzgebel (Noûs, forthcoming) report that a non-trivial percentage of people think that there can be propositional knowledge without belief. In this paper, we add further fuel to the fire, presenting the results of four new studies. Based on our results, we argue that the entailment thesis does not (...) deserve the default status that it is typically granted. We conclude by considering the alternative account of knowledge that Myers-Schulz and Schwitzgebel propose to explain their results, arguing that it does not explain ours. In its place we offer a different explanation of both sets of findings—the conviction account, according to which belief, but not knowledge, requires mental assent. (shrink)
Certification and labeling initiatives that seek to enhance environmental and social sustainability are growing rapidly. This article analyzes the expansion of these private regulatory efforts in the coffee sector. We compare the five major third-party certifications – the Organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Utz Kapeh, and Shade/Bird Friendly initiatives – outlining and contrasting their governance structures, environmental and social standards, and market positions. We argue that certifications that seek to raise ecological and social expectations are likely to be increasingly challenged (...) by those that seek to simply uphold current standards. The vulnerability of these initiatives to market pressures highlights the need for private regulation to work in tandem with public regulation in enhancing social and environmental sustainability. (shrink)
If someone brings about an outcome without intending to, is she causally and morally responsible for it? What if she acts intentionally, but as the result of manipulation by another agent? Previous research has shown that an agent's mental states can affect attributions of causal and moral responsibility to that agent, but little is known about what effect one agent's mental states can have on attributions to another agent. In Experiment 1, we replicate findings that manipulation lowers attributions of responsibility (...) to manipulated agents. Experiments 2–7 isolate which features of manipulation drive this effect, a crucial issue for both philosophical debates about free will and attributions of responsibility in situations involving social influence more generally. Our results suggest that “bypassing” a manipulated agent's mental states generates the greatest reduction in responsibility, and we explain our results in terms of the effects that one agent's mental states can have on the counterfactual relations between another agent and an outcome. (shrink)
Fair trade bananas are the latest inan increasing array of commodities that are beingpromoted by various organizations in an effort tocreate alternative production and consumption patternsto the environmentally destructive and sociallyinequitable patterns inherent in traditionalproduction and trade systems. Fair trade is touted asa strategy to achieve more sustainable developmentthrough linking environmentally and socially consciousconsumers in the North with producers pursuingenvironmentally sound and socially just productionpractices in the South. Promotion of fair tradebananas in Europe has achieved impressive initialgains on the consumer (...) end of the commodity chain,capturing 10 percent or more of the banana trade inseveral countries. Yet in spite of these gains, thefair trade banana initiative appears to beencountering serious obstacles to its further success.We argue that the primary challenge in creating atruly alternative trade in bananas stems from thedifficulties of upholding rigorous social andenvironmental standards in the face of increasinginroads into fair trade markets by transnationalcorporations producing under less rigorous conditions.We then develop a series of options for strengtheningfair trade banana initiatives in both Europe and NorthAmerica. We conclude by arguing that the case ofbananas illuminates the general question of how toachieve more progressive and sustainable productionand consumption systems within a global system thatdrives production and consumption toward greaterintegration and homogenization under the control oftransnational corporations. (shrink)
It is argued, on the basis of ideas derived from Wittgenstein's Tractatus and Husserl's Logical Investigations, that the formal comprehends more than the logical. More specifically: that there exist certain formal-ontological constants (part, whole, overlapping, etc.) which do not fall within the province of logic. A two-dimensional directly depicting language is developed for the representation of the constants of formal ontology, and means are provided for the extension of this language to enable the representation of certain materially necessary relations. The (...) paper concludes with a discussion of the relationship between formal logic, formal ontology, and mathematics. (shrink)
Virtue ethics prescribes cultivating global and behaviorally efficacious character traits, but John Doris and others argue that situationist social psychology shows this to be infeasible. Here, I show how certain versions of virtue ethics that ‘go mental’ can withstand this challenge as well as Doris’ further objections. The defense turns on an account of which psychological materials constitute character traits and which the situationist research shows to be problematically variable. Many situationist results may be driven by impulsive akrasia produced by (...) low-level , emotionally induced ignorance about one’s situation, and some may be driven by a further subtype: modal akrasia. Many subjects in the infamous Milgram experiments, e.g., seem to have recognized what the virtuous thing to do was and that they should do it, and only failed to do it because their emotions prevented them from seeing that they could. If the primary constituents of character traits are higher-level mental dispositions involved in deliberation, though, then the results don’t show that these psychological materials are problematically variable. (shrink)
Ethical consumption is on the rise, however little is known about the degree and the implications of the sometime conflicting sets of values held by the broad category of consumers who report consuming ethically. This paper explores convergence and divergence of ethical consumption values through a study of organic, fair trade, and local food consumers in Colorado. Using survey and focus group results, we first examine demographic and attitudinal correlates of ethical consumption. We then report evidence that while many organic, (...) fair trade, and local food consumers converge around similar values, some Colorado consumers support only local food, while opposing the consumption of organic and fair trade products. Next, we investigate how ethical consumers who converge and diverge frame their commitment to consuming ethically. The discussion and conclusion suggest that community development planners of projects that focus on ethical consumption will need to successfully traverse issues stemming from convergence and divergence to enjoy long-term sustained success. (shrink)
In 2007, Massachusetts instituted a universal coverage health plan that requires all citizens to purchase insurance. I argue that there is nothing wrong in principle with the use of an individual mandate to force citizens to secure health insurance. I argue that state neutrality is not tenable on this issue. Then I proceed to show that even if state neutrality were viable, it is not a violation of state neutrality (thought of as neutrality of intent) to force citizens to insure (...) themselves with the primary purpose of securing the normative good of health. I adapt recent work on universal medical coverage to demonstrate that such a mandate is in keeping with several principles of fairness shared in liberal democratic societies. This argument not only applies to the Massachusetts plan but likely to any other health care coverage schemes using individual mandates in the US political context, including recently passed federal health care reform measures. However, even though the Massachusetts plan may provide increased access to health care for many, there are still legitimate worries that it currently places disproportionate financial burdens on the working poor and thus will need refinement. (shrink)
While I may seem to be critical of Jecker’s (2008) article, most of this commentary is quite friendly excepting that 1) she needs to sharpen her focus on a couple of issues as Iexplain below, and that 2) she exaggerates the paucity of attention paid to her topics. That said, I believe that on Jecker’s view there is a need for a broader view of policy in healthcare.
‘Force and Understanding’ is the title, or part of the title, of the third section of Hegel's Phänomenologie des Geistes , his ‘phenomenology of spirit’. That was his first book; it was published in 1807 as Volume One of his System of Science . A second volume, he announced, would contain ‘the system of Logic as speculative philosophy, and of the other two parts of philosophy, the sciences of Nature and Spirit’. But no such volume appeared: although in 1812 his (...) Science of Logic was published as ‘the first sequel to the Phenomenology of Spirit in an expanded arrangement of the system’, Hegel added to the 1831 edition a note explaining that since then he had brought out his Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences ‘in place of the projected second part’. (shrink)
At least four conceptually distinct mechanisms may mediate relations between parasite-stress and cultural outcomes: genetic evolution, developmental plasticity, neurocognitive flexibility, and cultural transmission. These mechanisms may operate independently or in conjunction with one another. Rigorous research on specific mediating mechanisms is required to more completely articulate implications of parasite stress on human psychology and human culture.
Pesticides remain an integral part of development efforts to renew economic growth in Central America and lift the region out of a severe economic crisis. This paper analyzes the implications of the continued reliance on pesticides for heightening economic and ecological problems in the agrarian sector.Relying on a case study of export melon production in Choluteca, Honduras, the author argues that current development strategies, which rely heavily on pesticides, are generating ecological disruption that creates conditions biased against small producers. Lack (...) of knowledge of the hazards inherent in the technology and the resulting emergence of pesticide resistant pests, crop losses, environmental contamination, and public health problems, pose serious obstacles to the survival of small-scale producers. Meanwhile transnational and other flexible, large scale operations often adapt to such conditions, and on occasion may even turn such problems to their benefit. The author concludes that economic growth may only be sustainable when questions of social equity and ecological viability are brought to the forefront of U.S. development strategies. (shrink)
In this essay, we argue that the acceptance of gifts by health professionals from the pharmaceutical industry is morally problematic. We conclude that whether physicians view the receipt of items from drug detailers as entitlements or gifts, this practice is unacceptable, as it constitutes a conflict of interest. In addition, we argue that these gifts are particularly problematic in academic hospitals. Physicians-in-training are inculcated with the belief that receiving gifts is morally acceptable. The cumulative effect of these worries should be (...) sufficient to warrant the serious attention of medical associations worldwide. (shrink)