Do responsibility voids exist? That is, are there situations in which the group is collectively morally responsible for some outcome although no member can be held individually morally responsible for it? To answer these questions, I draw a distinction between competitive and cooperative decision contexts based on the team-reasoning account of cooperation. Accordingly, I provide a reasoning-based analysis of cooperation, competition, moral responsibility, and, last, potential responsibility voids. I then argue that competitive decision contexts are free of responsibility voids. The (...) conditions for the existence of responsibility voids in cooperative decision contexts depend on the type of uncertainty the group faces, either external or coordination uncertainty. (shrink)
Many philosophers are convinced that rationality dictates that one’s overall set of intentions be consistent. The starting point and inspiration for our study is Bratman’s planning theory of intentions. According to this theory, one needs to appeal to the fulfilment of characteristic planning roles to justify norms that apply to our intentions. Our main objective is to demonstrate that one can be rational despite having mutually inconsistent intentions. Conversely, it is also shown that one can be irrational despite having a (...) consistent overall set of intentions. To overcome this paradox, we argue that it is essential for a successful planning system that one’s intentions are practically consistent rather than being consistent or applying an aggregation procedure. Our arguments suggest that a new type of norm is needed: whereas the consistency requirement focuses on rendering the contents of one’s intentions consistent, our new practical consistency requirement demands that one’s intentions be able to simultaneously and unconditionally guide one’s action. We observe that for intentions that conform to the ‘own-action condition’, the practical consistency requirement is equivalent to the traditional consistency requirement. This implies that the consistency requirement only needs to be amended in scenarios of choice under uncertainty. (shrink)
Digital tracing technologies are heralded as an effective way of containing SARS-CoV-2 faster than it is spreading, thereby allowing the possibility of easing draconic measures of population-wide quarantine. But existing technological proposals risk addressing the wrong problem. The proper objective is not solely to maximise the ratio of people freed from quarantine but to also ensure that the composition of the freed group is fair. We identify several factors that pose a risk for fair group composition along with an analysis (...) of general lessons for a philosophy of technology. Policymakers, epidemiologists, and developers can use these risk factors to benchmark proposal technologies, curb the pandemic, and keep public trust. (shrink)
If group members aim to fulfill a collective obligation, they must act in such a way that the composition of their individual actions amounts to a group action that fulfills the collective obligation. We study a strong sense of joint action in which the members of a group design and then publicly adopt a group plan that coordinates the individual actions of the group members. We characterize the conditions under which a group plan successfully coordinates the group members' individual actions, (...) and study how the public adoption of a plan changes the context in which individual agents make a decision about what to do. (shrink)
We use a deontic logic of collective agency to study reducibility questions about collective agency and collective obligations. The logic that is at the basis of our study is a multi-modal logic in the tradition of *stit* logics of agency. Our full formal language has constants for collective and individual deontic admissibility, modalities for collective and individual agency, and modalities for collective and individual obligations. We classify its twenty-seven sublanguages in terms of their expressive power. This classification enables us to (...) investigate reducibility relations between collective deontic admissibility, collective agency, and collective obligations, on the one hand, and individual deontic admissibility, individual agency, and individual obligations, on the other. (shrink)
This paper examines two strands of literature regarding economic models of cooperation. First, payoff transformation theories assume that people may not be exclusively motivated by self-interest, but also care about equality and fairness. Second, team reasoning theorists assume that people might reason from the perspective of the team, rather than an individualistic perspective. Can these two theories be unified? In contrast to the consensus among team reasoning theorists, I argue that team reasoning can be viewed as a particular type of (...) payoff transformation. However, I also demonstrate that many payoff transformations yield actions that team reasoning rules out. (shrink)
Should one trust experts? My answer to this question is a qualified ‘no’. In this paper I explore the conditions under which it is rational to trust and defer to experts, and those under which it may be rational to refrain from doing so. I draw on two important factors for an actor’s trust in a partner: trust depends on the partner’s competence and on the partner’s interests. I propose that the conditions under which it is rational to trust and (...) defer to experts depend on the competences of the layperson and the expert, and the degree of interest alignment. I present a model that demonstrates that it can be practically infeasible and even logically impossible to determine the expert’s level of competence and the degree of interest alignment. Although it may sound pessimistic that one can rationally refrain from trusting experts, I will also explore some more optimistic conclusions. (shrink)
Methodological individualists often claim that any social phenomenon can ultimately be explained in terms of the actions and interactions of individuals. Any Nagelian version of methodological individualism requires that there be bridge laws that translate social statements into individualistic ones. We show that Nagelian individualism can be put to logical scrutiny by making the relevant social and individualistic languages fully explicit and mathematically precise. In particular, we prove that the social statement that a group of agents performs a deontically admissible (...) group action cannot be expressed in a well-established deontic logic of agency that models every combination of actions, omissions, abilities, and obligations of finitely many individual agents. (shrink)
This paper explores the analysis of ability, where ability is to be understood in the epistemic sense—in contrast to what might be called a causal sense. There are plenty of cases where an agent is able to perform an action that guarantees a given result even though she does not know which of her actions guarantees that result. Such an agent possesses the causal ability but lacks the epistemic ability. The standard analysis of such epistemic abilities relies on the notion (...) of action types—as opposed to action tokens—and then posits that an agent has the epistemic ability to do something if and only if there is an action type available to her that she knows guarantees it. We show that these action types are not needed: we present a formalism without action types that can simulate analyzes of epistemic ability that rely on action types. Our formalism is a standard epistemic extension of the theory of “seeing to it that”, which arose from a modal tradition in the logic of action. (shrink)
Behavioral scientists routinely publish broad claims about human psychology and behavior in the world's top journals based on samples drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. Researchers assume that either there is little variation across human populations, or that these are as representative of the species as any other population. Are these assumptions justified? Here, our review of the comparative database from across the behavioral sciences suggests both that there is substantial variability in experimental results across (...) populations and that WEIRD subjects are particularly unusual compared with the rest of the species hence, there are no obvious a priori grounds for claiming that a particular behavioral phenomenon is universal based on sampling from a single subpopulation. Overall, these empirical patterns suggests that we need to be less cavalier in addressing questions of human nature on the basis of data drawn from this particularly thin, and rather unusual, slice of humanity. We close by proposing ways to structurally re-organize the behavioral sciences to best tackle these challenges. (shrink)
This article suggests reading Theodor Adorno not as a notoriously pessimistic sociologist but as a committed public educator. Partly drawing on still unpublished transcripts of lectures, public talks and radio broadcasts from the 1950s and ’60s, the article offers an account of Adorno’s concept and practice of a ‘democratic pedagogy’. The key question is how we should understand the difference between Adorno the social philosopher, on the one hand, and Adorno the educator, on the other. It is argued that Adorno’s (...) pedagogical interventions are not a footnote to his social theory, but a key to understanding his entire oeuvre. (shrink)
The results of an empirical study intoperceptions of the treatment of farm animals inthe Netherlands are presented. A qualitativeapproach, based on in-depth interviews withmeat livestock farmers and consumers was chosenin order to assess motivations behindperceptions and to gain insight into the waypeople deal with possible discrepancies betweentheir perceptions and their daily practices.Perceptions are analyzed with the help of aframe of reference, which consists ofvalues, norms, convictions, interests, andknowledge.The perceptions of the interviewed farmersare quite consistent and without exceptionpositive: according to them, (...) nothing is wrongwith animal welfare in livestock breeding. Theperceptions of the consumers we interviewed aremore divergent, but generally negative. Bothgroups show ambivalence as a result ofdiscrepancies between perceptions and behavior.Although the consumers share the impressionthat the living conditions of livestock animalsare far from optimal, most of them still buyand eat meat from the meat industry. Thefarmers believe the welfare of their animals isgood, but, as frequent defensive utterancesshow, they feel uncomfortable with expressed orunexpressed accusations of mistreating animals.The ways the respondents deal with thisambivalence were analysed by drawing ontheories of dissonance reduction and distancing devices. (shrink)
This volume presents a colourful and entertaining overview of German intellectual history by a central figure in its development. Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), famous poet, journalist, and political exile, studied with Hegel and was personally acquainted with the leading figures of the most important generation of German writers and philosophers. In his groundbreaking History he discusses the history of religion, philosophy, and literature in Germany up to his time, seen through his own highly opinionated, politically aware, philosophically astute, and always ironic (...) perspective. This work, and other writings focussing especially on Heine's rethinking of Hegel's philosophy, are presented here in a new translation by Howard Pollack-Milgate. The volume also includes an introduction by Terry Pinkard which examines Heine both in relation to Hegel and Nietzsche and as a thinker in his own right. (shrink)
This volume presents a colourful and entertaining overview of German intellectual history by a central figure in its development. Heinrich Heine, famous poet, journalist, and political exile, studied with Hegel and was personally acquainted with the leading figures of the most important generation of German writers and philosophers. In his groundbreaking History he discusses the history of religion, philosophy, and literature in Germany up to his time, seen through his own highly opinionated, politically aware, philosophically astute, and always ironic perspective. (...) This work, and other writings focussing especially on Heine's rethinking of Hegel's philosophy, are presented here in a new translation by Howard Pollack-Milgate. The volume also includes an introduction by Terry Pinkard which examines Heine both in relation to Hegel and Nietzsche and as a thinker in his own right. (shrink)
Kant is well known for his restrictive conception of proper science. In the present paper I will try to explain why Kant adopted this conception. I will identify three core conditions which Kant thinks a proper science must satisfy: systematicity, objective grounding, and apodictic certainty. These conditions conform to conditions codified in the Classical Model of Science. Kant’s infamous claim that any proper natural science must be mathematical should be understood on the basis of these conditions. In order to substantiate (...) this reading, I will show that only in this way it can be explained why Kant thought (1) that mathematics has a particular foundational function with respect to the natural sciences and (2) as such secures their scientific status. (shrink)
The Curry-Howard isomorphism states an amazing correspondence between systems of formal logic as encountered in proof theory and computational calculi as found in type theory. For instance, minimal propositional logic corresponds to simply typed lambda-calculus, first-order logic corresponds to dependent types, second-order logic corresponds to polymorphic types, sequent calculus is related to explicit substitution, etc. The isomorphism has many aspects, even at the syntactic level: formulas correspond to types, proofs correspond to terms, provability corresponds to inhabitation, proof normalization corresponds to (...) term reduction, etc. But there is more to the isomorphism than this. For instance, it is an old idea---due to Brouwer, Kolmogorov, and Heyting---that a constructive proof of an implication is a procedure that transforms proofs of the antecedent into proofs of the succedent; the Curry-Howard isomorphism gives syntactic representations of such procedures. The Curry-Howard isomorphism also provides theoretical foundations for many modern proof-assistant systems (e.g. Coq). This book give an introduction to parts of proof theory and related aspects of type theory relevant for the Curry-Howard isomorphism. It can serve as an introduction to any or both of typed lambda-calculus and intuitionistic logic. Key features - The Curry-Howard Isomorphism treated as common theme - Reader-friendly introduction to two complementary subjects: Lambda-calculus and constructive logics - Thorough study of the connection between calculi and logics - Elaborate study of classical logics and control operators - Account of dialogue games for classical and intuitionistic logic - Theoretical foundations of computer-assisted reasoning · The Curry-Howard Isomorphism treated as the common theme. · Reader-friendly introduction to two complementary subjects: lambda-calculus and constructive logics · Thorough study of the connection between calculi and logics. · Elaborate study of classical logics and control operators. · Account of dialogue games for classical and intuitionistic logic. · Theoretical foundations of computer-assisted reasoning. (shrink)
Historically, blatantly untrue and defamatory conspiracy theories had disastrous consequences for those who were portrayed in them as evil-doers. At the same time, conspiratorial agreements at the expense of the common good between powerful groups in society do exist and have occasionally been uncovered. Against this background, the article describes different ways in which critical theory has looked at conspiracies. First, an attempt is made to show that Max Horkheimer's notes on `rackets' are an ambitious but flawed attempt to theorize (...) conspiracy. It is argued that Horkheimer's theory is imbued by the very conspiracy thinking that he proposed to criticize. Second, the author suggests recovering Franz Neumann's concept of `political alienation' as a more appropriate starting point to think critically about the ethical and epistemological questions raised by conspiracy theories. (shrink)
The results of an empirical study intoperceptions of the treatment of farm animals inthe Netherlands are presented. A qualitativeapproach, based on in-depth interviews withmeat livestock farmers and consumers was chosenin order to assess motivations behindperceptions and to gain insight into the waypeople deal with possible discrepancies betweentheir perceptions and their daily practices.Perceptions are analyzed with the help of aframe of reference, which consists ofvalues, norms, convictions, interests, andknowledge.
Biology in the Critical Philosophy and the Opus postumum Hein van den Berg. Parts of Chap. 2 have been previously published in Hein van den Berg (2011), “ Kant's Conception of Proper Science.” Synthese 183 (1): 7–26. Parts of Chap.
For decades, the discussion on children’s competence to consent to medical issues has concentrated around normative concerns, with little progress in clinical practices. Decision-making competence is an important condition in the informed consent model. In pediatrics, clinicians need to strike a proper balance in order to both protect children’s interests when they are not fully able to do so themselves and to respect their autonomy when they are. Children’s competence to consent, however, is currently not assessed in a standardized way. (...) Moreover, the correlation between competence to give informed consent and age in children has never been systematically investigated, nor do we know which factors exactly contribute to children’s competence. (shrink)
BackgroundFor many decades, the debate on children’s competence to give informed consent in medical settings concentrated on ethical and legal aspects, with little empirical underpinnings. Recently, data from empirical research became available to advance the discussion. It was shown that children’s competence to consent to clinical research could be accurately assessed by the modified MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Clinical Research. Age limits for children to be deemed competent to decide on research participation have been studied: generally children of 11.2 (...) years and above were decision-making competent, while children of 9.6 years and younger were not. Age was pointed out to be the key determining factor in children’s competence. In this article we reflect on policy implications of these findings, considering legal, ethical, developmental and clinical perspectives.DiscussionAlthough assessment of children’s competence has a normative character, ethics, law and clinical practice can benefit from research data. The findings may help to do justice to the capacities children possess and challenges they may face when deciding about treatment and research options. We discuss advantages and drawbacks of standardized competence assessment in children on a case-by-case basis compared to application of a fixed age limit, and conclude that a selective implementation of case-by-case competence assessment in specific populations is preferable. We recommend the implementation of age limits based on empirical evidence. Furthermore, we elaborate on a suitable model for informed consent involving children and parents that would do justice to developmental aspects of children and the specific characteristics of the parent-child dyad.SummaryPrevious research outcomes showed that children’s medical decision-making capacities could be operationalized into a standardized assessment instrument. Recommendations for policies include a dual consent procedure, including both child as well as parents, for children from the age of 12 until they reach majority. For children between 10 and 12 years of age, and in case of children older than 12 years in special research populations of mentally compromised patients, we suggest a case-by-case assessment of children’s competence to consent. Since such a dual consent procedure is fundamentally different from a procedure of parental permission and child assent, and would imply a considerable shift regarding some current legislations, practical implications are elaborated. (shrink)
The field of global health has reached a critical juncture, where both its visibility and the complexity of its challenges are unprecedented. The World Health Organization, as the only global health actor possessing both democratic and formal legal legitimacy, is best positioned to capitalize on this new, precarious situation in public health and respond with the governance innovation that is needed to bring the increasingly chaotic network of activities and entities affecting health outcomes under the fold of a centralized, standard-setting (...) agency. One such proposed innovation to guide normative and strategic coordination in global health is the creation of a Committee C of the World Health Assembly that would promote consensus building and multi-stakeholder decision-making within the unique convening power of the World Health Organization. (shrink)
Kant’s views on animals have received much attention in recent years. According to some, Kant attributed the capacity for objective perceptual awareness to non-human animals, even though he denied that they have concepts. This position is difficult to square with a conceptualist reading of Kant, according to which objective perceptual awareness requires concepts. Others take Kant’s views on animals to imply that the mental life of animals is a blooming, buzzing confusion. In this article I provide a historical reconstruction of (...) Kant’s views on animals, relating them to eighteenth-century debates on animal cognition. I reconstruct the views of Buffon and Reimarus and show that (i) both Buffon and Reimarus adopted a conceptualist position, according to which concepts structure the cognitive experience of adult humans, and (ii) that both described the mental life of animals as a blooming, buzzing confusion. Kant’s position, I argue, is virtually identical to that of Reimarus. Hence Kant’s views on animals support a conceptualist reading of Kant. The article further articulates the historical antecedents of the Kantian idea that concepts structure human cognitive experience and provides a novel account of how the ideas of similarity and difference were conceptualized in eighteenth-century debates on animal cognition. (shrink)
In January 2010 the Director General of the World Health Organization called for an “informal consultation on the future of financing for WHO” and in her opening remarks expressed the need to make the WHO fit for purpose given the unique health challenges of the 21st century.Margaret Chan referred to the constitutional role that WHO has to “act as the directing and co-ordinating authority on international health work” and stated clearly that global health leadership today and for the future must (...) be earned through strategic and selective engagement. She said, “WHO can no longer aim to direct and coordinate all of the activities and policies in multiple sectors that influence public health today.” This is a clear challenge that she has put to the global health community in recognition that WHO’s role must be clarified in the face of major change. (shrink)
Ernst Mayr argued that the emergence of biology as a special science in the early nineteenth century was possible due to the demise of the mathematical model of science and its insistence on demonstrative knowledge. More recently, John Zammito has claimed that the rise of biology as a special science was due to a distinctive experimental, anti-metaphysical, anti-mathematical, and anti-rationalist strand of thought coming from outside of Germany. In this paper we argue that this narrative neglects the important role played (...) by the mathematical and axiomatic model of science in the emergence of biology as a special science. We show that several major actors involved in the emergence of biology as a science in Germany were working with an axiomatic conception of science that goes back at least to Aristotle and was popular in mid-eighteenth-century German academic circles due to its endorsement by Christian Wolff. More specifically, we show that at least two major contributors to the emergence of biology in Germany—Caspar Friedrich Wolff and Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus—sought to provide a conception of the new science of life that satisfies the criteria of a traditional axiomatic ideal of science. Both C.F. Wolff and Treviranus took over strong commitments to the axiomatic model of science from major philosophers of their time, Christian Wolff and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, respectively. The ideal of biology as an axiomatic science with specific biological fundamental concepts and principles thus played a role in the emergence of biology as a special science. (shrink)
The book provides a thematic account of the changing political thought of critical theorists from Adorno to Habermas and Honneth. Its purpose is to establish the relevance of this tradition for contemporary political theory and philosophy.
By considering the museum itself as art, rather than as a receptacle, Hein's Public Art: Thinking Museums Differently argues for an improved understanding of the role museums play in shaping public discourse.
In the present paper I investigate the role that analogy plays in eighteenth-century biology and in Kant’s philosophy of biology. I will argue that according to Kant, biology, as it was practiced in the eighteenth century, is fundamentally based on analogical reflection. However, precisely because biology is based on analogical reflection, biology cannot be a proper science. I provide two arguments for this interpretation. First, I argue that although analogical reflection is, according to Kant, necessary to comprehend the nature of (...) organisms, it is also necessarily insufficient to fully comprehend the nature of organisms. The upshot of this argument is that for Kant our understanding of organisms is necessarily limited. Second, I argue that Kant did not take biology to be a proper science because biology was based on analogical arguments. I show that Kant stemmed from a philosophical tradition that did not assign analogical arguments an important justificatory role in natural science. Analogy, according to this conception, does not provide us with apodictically certain cognition. Hence, sciences based on analogical arguments cannot constitute proper sciences. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to explore the potential contribution of Axel Honneth's critical theory of recognition to empirical and normative debates on global justice. I first present, very briefly, an overview of recent theories of global distributive justice. I argue that theorists of distributive justice do not pay enough attention to sources of self-respect and conditions for identity formation, and that they are blind toward the danger of harming people's sense of self even by well-intentioned redistributive policies. Honneth's (...) theory suffers from complementary shortcomings; it is anti-technocratic but largely oblivious to the global nature of many contemporary justice claims. Given this situation, I seek to broaden the theory's scope by outlining transnational extensions of the recognition principles of love, rights and solidarity identified by Honneth. In conclusion, I show how utilizing a broadened conceptualization of the struggle for recognition allows us to better understand the changing logic of justice-oriented foreign policies. (shrink)