More than 2,200 years have passed since a group of sober people gathered in a covered colonnade, or stoa, in the marketplace of Athens to discuss the good life – a life of virtue and honor. They became known as Stoics, and their ancient creed is enjoying a renaissance today in, of all things, popular culture.
Recent scientific findings about human decision making would seem to threaten the traditional concept of the individual conscious will. The will is threatened from "below" by the discovery that our apparently spontaneous actions are actually controlled and initiated from below the level of our conscious awareness, and from "above" by the recognition that we adapt our actions according to social dynamics of which we are seldom aware. In Distributed Cognition and the Will, leading philosophers and behavioral scientists consider how much, (...) if anything, of the traditional concept of the individual conscious will survives these discoveries, and they assess the implications for our sense of freedom and responsibility. The contributors all take science seriously, and they are inspired by the idea that apparent threats to the cogency of the idea of will might instead become the basis of its reemergence as a scientific subject. They consider macro-scale issues of society and culture, the micro-scale dynamics of the mind/brain, and connections between macro-scale and micro-scale phenomena in the self-guidance and self-regulation of personal behavior. Contributors: George Ainslie, Wayne Christensen, Andy Clark, Paul Sheldon Davies, Daniel C. Dennett, Lawrence A. Lengbeyer, Dan Lloyd, Philip Pettit, Don Ross, Tamler Sommers, Betsy Sparrow, Mariam Thalos, Jeffrey B. Vancouver, Daniel M. Wegner, Tadeusz W. ZawidzkiDon Ross is Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Finance, Economics, and Quantitative Methods at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. David Spurrett is Professor of Philosophy at the Howard College Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Harold Kincaid is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Ethics and Values in the Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. G. Lynn Stephens is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. (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)
The impact of Stoicism on Roman culture and early Christianity was considerable. Unfortunately, little survives of the early writings on Stoicism. Our knowledge of it comes largely from a few later Stoics. In this unique book, William O. Stephens explores the moral philosophy of the late Stoic Epictetus, a former slave and dynamic Stoic teacher. His philosophy, as recorded by one of his students, is the most earnest and most compelling defense of ancient Stoicism that exists. Epictetus' teachings dramatically (...) capture the optimistic spirit of Stoicism by examining our greatest human challenges, such as the death of a loved one. Stephens shows how, for Epictetus, happiness results from concerning ourselves with what is up to us while not worrying about what is beyond our control. He concludes that the strength of Epictetus' philosophy lies in his conception of happiness as freedom from anger, fear, worry, grief, and dependence upon luck. (shrink)
Discusses the psychological self-knowledge of philosopher G. Lynn Stephens who contends that both the overarching assertion that humans have psychological stress at all and each specific ascription of a psychological state to oneself requires justification by inference. Objectivity of moral and aesthetic values and the analysis of modal discourse; Role of certain qualities of objects in interactions among objects; Irrefragable reasons requirement of each psychological self-ascription.
This book is a clear and concise introduction to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. His one major surviving work, often titled 'meditations' but literally translated simply as 'to himself', is a series of short, sometimes enigmatic reflections divided seemingly arbitrarily into twelve books and apparently written only to be read by him. For these reasons Marcus is a particularly difficult thinker to understand. His musings, framed as 'notes to self' or 'memoranda', are the exhortations of an earnest, conscientious Stoic (...) burdened with the onerous responsibilities of ruling an entire, enormous empire. -/- William O. Stephens lucidly sketches Marcus Aurelius' upbringing, family relations, rise to the throne, military campaigns, and legacy, situating his philosophy amidst his life and times, explicating the factors shaping Marcus' philosophy, and clarifying key themes in the Memoranda. Specifically designed to meet the needs of students seeking a thorough understanding of this key figure and his major work, Marcus Aurelius: A Guide for the Perplexed is the ideal guide for understanding this Stoic author - the only philosopher who was also an emperor. (shrink)
Recently, several philosophers have challenged the view that evolutionary theory is usefully understood by way of an analogy with Newtonian mechanics. Instead, they argue that evolutionary theory is merely a statistical theory. According to this alternate approach, natural selection and random genetic drift are not even causes, much less forces. I argue that, properly understood, the Newtonian analogy is unproblematic and illuminating. I defend the view that selection and drift are causes in part by attending to a pair of important (...) distinctions—that between process and product and that between natural selection and fitness. (shrink)
As every philosopher knows, “the design argument” concludes that God exists from premisses that cite the adaptive complexity of organisms or the lawfulness and orderliness of the whole universe. Since 1859, it has formed the intellectual heart of creationist opposition to the Darwinian hypothesis that organisms evolved their adaptive features by the mindless process of natural selection. Although the design argument developed as a defense of theism, the logic of the argument in fact encompasses a larger set of issues. William (...) Paley saw clearly that we sometimes have an excellent reason to postulate the existence of an intelligent designer. If we find a watch on the heath, we reasonably infer that it was produced by an intelligent watchmaker. This design argument makes perfect sense. Why is it any different to claim that the eye was produced by an intelligent designer? Both critics and defenders of the design argument need to understand what the ground rules are for inferring that an intelligent designer is the unseen cause of an observed effect. (shrink)
The conscious feeling of exercising ‘free-will’ is fundamental to our sense of self. However, in some psychopathological conditions actions may be experienced as involuntary or unwilled. We have used suggestion in hypnosis to create the experience of involuntariness in normal participants. We compared a voluntary finger movement, a passive movement and a voluntary movement suggested by hypnosis to be ‘involuntary.’ Hypnosis itself had no effect on the subjective experience of voluntariness associated with willed movements and passive movements or on time (...) estimations of their occurrence. However, subjective time estimates of a hypnotically-suggested, ‘involuntary’ finger movement were more similar to those for passive movements than for voluntary movements. The experience of anomalous control is qualitatively and quantitatively different from the normal conscious experience of a similar act produced intentionally. The experience of anomalous control may be produced either by pathology, or, in our case, by suggestion. (shrink)
Several philosophers have argued that natural selection will favor reliable belief formation; others have been more skeptical. These traditional approaches to the evolution of rationality have been either too sketchy or else have assumed that phenotypic plasticity can be equated with having a mind. Here I develop a new model to explore the functional utility of belief and desire formation mechanisms, and defend the claim that natural selection favors reliable inference methods in a broad, but not universal, range of circumstances.
This study provides a comparative analysis of students' self-reported beliefs and behaviors related to six analogous pairs of conventional and digital forms of academic cheating. Results from an online survey of undergraduates at two universities (N = 1,305) suggest that students use conventional means more often than digital means to copy homework, collaborate when it is not permitted, and copy from others during an exam. However, engagement in digital plagiarism (cutting and pasting from the Internet) has surpassed conventional plagiarism. Students (...) also reported using digital "cheat sheets" (i.e., notes stored in a digital device) to cheat on tests more often than conventional "cheat sheets." Overall, 32% of students reported no cheating of any kind, 18.2% reported using only conventional methods, 4.2% reported using only digital methods, and 45.6% reported using both conventional and digital methods to cheat. "Digital only" cheaters were less likely than "conventional only" cheaters to report assignment cheating, but the former was more likely than the latter to report engagement in plagiarism. Students who cheated both conventionally and digitally were significantly different from the other three groups in terms of their self-reported engagement in all three types of cheating behavior. Students in this "both" group also had the lowest sense of moral responsibility to refrain from cheating and the greatest tendency to neutralize that responsibility. The scientific and educational implications of these findings are discussed in this study. (shrink)
This paper is a conceptual essay rooted in two basic observations. First, felt dignity—the subjective sense people have of their own autonomy and self-worth—ultimately emerges from, and is thus most evident in the connective space between people. Second, stories are everyday works of art that afford unique insight into the subtle complexities of the socio-emotional realities of work. Building on these observations, we describe how personal stories about episodes of interpersonal connections and disconnections at work—moments in which we feel mutual (...) appreciation and empowerment or a sense of separation and distancing from another—can help us better understand the felt experience of dignity at work. In attending to such personal stories as art, we become more attuned to their felt, aesthetic qualities, which then helps us develop a more holistic and visceral appreciation of how actors experience, make sense of, and claim felt dignity. In support of our ideas, we present a few illustrative story excerpts and briefly consider how a select few aesthetic qualities—the way the stories’ elements are configured, the stories’ acuity or sharpness, and their rawness—enhance the felt impact of the stories and help to remind us of their and the storytellers’ intrinsic value. (shrink)
A sloppy, smug, conceptually muddled, and tendentious Christian apologist's comparison of narrowly selected texts from Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Paul, Luke, and Justin Martyr. Following Alasdair MacIntyre, Rowe defends the traditionist view according to which Spirit-enhanced ‘supernatural’ discourse is intelligible only to those on the inside of Christian faith. Rowe argues that morality and religion are abstractions. Rowe presents his translations of Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus, Paul, Luke, and Justin into modern English while also being committed to the traditionist view that (...) such translations are doomed to inaccuracy and distortion. His views invite relativism and skepticism about all kinds of inquiry, including MacIntyre’s traditioned approach. (shrink)
The past several decades of research has produced many important insights into prevalence and correlates of academic dishonesty. While these studies have offered important contributions to our understanding of such cheating, we are in need of research that allows us to hear what students have to say about it. This paper begins to fill the relative void of student voices by presenting results from individual interviews with a sample of adolescents who acknowledge cheating despite believing that is wrong to do (...) so. Specifically, the present investigation uses a multi‐case research design to explore the phenomenon of belief–behaviour incongruity, as it relates to academic dishonesty, among a demographically and academically diverse group of high school students. Four distinct cases of BBI are presented, each representing a complex configuration of psychological, social, cultural and situational factors: unable, under‐interested, under pressure and unrepentant. Educational implications and suggestion for further research are discussed. (shrink)
This paper contends that rationality is more properly evaluated as a property of an organization’s relationships with its stakeholders than of the organization itself. We predicate our approach on the observation that stakeholders can hold goals quite distinct from those of owners and top managers, and these too can be rationally pursued. We build upon stakeholder theory and Weber’s classic distinction between wertrationalitat and zweckrationalitat, adding to them the “new institutionalist” concept of the organization field . Stakeholders employ a variety (...) of direct and indirect mechanisms to rationalize relations with the firm. We discuss four: internal subunits, legislated stakeholder participation, legislated access to information, and direct stakeholder activism. Thesedevelopments are blurring the distinction between the environment and the organization by importing the values and goals of external stakeholders into the internal organization. They are also precipitating a more structured set of relationships among the actors who comprise the field. To the extent that the zweckrationalitat values of managers and owners as well as the wertrationalitat concerns of stakeholders are met, the firm is more rational. (shrink)
This research project examines the dispossession of animal companions by loving owners. The results of two data collections reveal six highly interrelated themes: Love and Friendship, Joy in Life versus Sorrow in Death, Pets as Family Members, Vividness of Unexpected Death, Good-bye Rituals, and Return to Nature. The article closes with a brief discussion of the implications of these themes for service providers and for the education of potential pet owners.
A synthesis of the two theoretical bases of business ethics-normative philosophy and descriptive social science-is called for. Examples from the literature are used to demonstrate that to ignore the descriptive aspects of moral behavior is to risk unreal philosophy, and that to ignore the normative aspects is to risk amoral social science. Business ethics is portrayed as a single unified field, in which fact-value distinctions are inappropriate.
Philosophers and behavioral scientists discuss what, if anything, of the traditionalconcept of individual conscious will can survive recent scientific discoveries that humandecision-making is distributed across different brain processes and ...
Standard defences of preservationism, and of the intrinsic value of nature more generally, are vulnerable to at least three objections. The first of these comes from social constructivism, the second from the claim that it is incoherent to argue that nature is both 'other' and something with which we can feel unity, whilst the third links defences of nature to authoritarian objectivism and dangerously misanthropic normative dichotomies which set pure nature against impure humanity. I argue that all these objections may (...) be answered by recasting the relationship between man and nature into a tripartite spectrum of ontological form between nature and artifact, with the key question being the extent to which nature has been humanised in accordance with certain modes of strongly instrumental rationality, these in turn being defined by reference to the split between abstract reason and natural feeling which was exacerbated by specific elements in the Enlightenment period. This new model may grant normative force by linking external nature to a broader conception of human psychological wellbeing than that offered by the quantitatively orientated models of human rationality and agency. (shrink)
Five different arguments for vegetarianism are discussed: the system of meat production deprives poor people of food to provide meat for the wealthy, thus violating the principle of distributive justice; the world livestock industry causes great and manifold ecological destruction; meat-eating cultures and societal oppression of women are intimately linked and so feminism and vegetarianism must both be embraced to transform our patriarchal culture; both utilitarian and rights-based reasoning lead to the conclusion that raising and slaughtering animals is immoral, and (...) so we ought to boycott meat; meat consumption causes many serious diseases and lowers life expectancy, and so is unhealthy. Objections to each argument are examined. The conclusion reached is that the cumulative case successfully establishes vegetarianism as a virtuous goal. (shrink)
This article uses concepts from sociology, history, and philosophy to explore the shifting relationship between moral values and business in the Western world. We examine the historical roots and intellectual underpinnings of two major business-society paradigms in ideal-type terms. In pre-industrial Western society, we argue that business activity was linked to society’s values of morality . Armed with this understanding of the intellectual history of the moral unity and amoral business-society paradigms, we suggest that some variant of the moral unity (...) paradigm may be recurring in post-industrial society. (shrink)
William James’s radical empiricism and pragmatism constitutes a philosophy that can reconcile the split between intrinsic value theorists, who stress the development and relevance of theoretical axiology, and pragmatists who have favored a more direct emphasis on environmental policy and application. By distinguishing James’s emphasis on direct personal experience from John Dewey’s more socialized approach, James’s distinctive emphasis on the transformative possibilities of pure experience and his links to romantic sensibility enable us to articulate and validate the noninstrumental aspects of (...) experienced environmental values that anti-pragmatists habitually regard pragmatism as unable to speak for. Using James’s framework to explicate and support Anthony Weston’s radically noninstrumental “immediate values” better expresses the felt noninstrumental worth of nature than intrinsic value theory can. Nonetheless, a rapprochement between the two sides is possible: although James’s pragmatic naturalism is the framework that can best capture nature’s experienced noninstrumental worth and link it to wider human values, intrinsic value theory has real practical application in the realm of law, and pragmatists can support it in that domain, thus upholding the primary emphasis on practicality and policy that is usually seen as pragmatism’s main strength. (shrink)
This article uses concepts from sociology, history, and philosophy to explore the shifting relationship between moral values and business in the Western world. We examine the historical roots and intellectual underpinnings of two major business-society paradigms in ideal-type terms. In pre-industrial Western society, we argue that business activity was linked to society’s values of morality (the moral unity paradigm}-for good or for ill. With the rise of industrialism, we contend that business was freed from moral constraints by the alleged “invisible (...) hand” of efficient markets (the amoral theory of business). Armed with this understanding of the intellectual history of the moral unity and amoral business-society paradigms, we suggest that some variant of the moral unity paradigm may be recurring in post-industrial society. (shrink)
HIV stigma and fears surrounding the disease pose a challenge for public health interventions, particularly those that target pregnant women. In order to reduce stigma and improve the lives of vulnerable populations, researchers have recognized a need to integrate different types of support at various levels. To better inform HIV interventions, the current study draws on social-ecological and evolutionary theories of reproduction to predict stigma and fear of contracting HIV among pregnant women in South India. The aims of this study (...) were twofold: compare the social-ecological model to a modified maternal-fetal protection model and test a combined model that included strong predictors from each model. The study took place in 2008–2011 in Mysore District, Karnataka, India. Using data from a cross-sectional survey and biological indicators of health, we statistically modeled social-ecological variables representing individual, interpersonal, and community/institutional levels. Participants were 645 pregnant women. The social-ecological and combined models were the best-fitting models for HIV-related stigma, and the combined model was the best fit for HIV-related fear. Our findings suggest that combining reproductive life history factors along with individual, interpersonal, and community/institutional factors are significant indicators of HIV-related stigma and fear. Results of this study support a multifaceted approach to intervention development for HIV-related stigma and fear. The combined model in this study can be used as a predictive model for future research focused on HIV stigma and fear, with the intent that dual consideration of social-ecological and evolutionary theories will improve public health communication efforts. (shrink)
Whipple disease is a rare, infectious, disease first described from a single case by Whipple in 1907. As well as characterising the clinical and pathological features of the condition, Whipple made two suggestions regarding its aetiology. These were either than the disease was caused by an infectious agent, or that it was of metabolic origin. As the disease is now thought to be caused by infection with the bacterium Tropheryma whipplei, historical reviews of the history of the disease typically mention (...) only the first of these suggestions. In this paper, we therefore revisit Whipple’s other theory. We argue that a diverse and often successful research programme was developed around this mechanism of disease causation which gave rise to many useful findings on the condition. In the later parts of this article, we then turn to discuss the surprising neglect of this period of Whipple disease research in the current literature, and conclude by offering a brief reconstruction of this early history suitable for use in a technical context. (shrink)