Many problems of inequality in developing countries resist treatment by formal egalitarian policies. To deal with these problems, we must shift from a distributive to a relational conception of equality, founded on opposition to social hierarchy. Yet the production of many goods requires the coordination of wills by means of commands. In these cases, egalitarians must seek to tame rather than abolish hierarchy. I argue that bureaucracy offers important constraints on command hierarchies that help promote the equality of workers in (...) bureaucratic organizations. Bureaucracy thus constitutes a vital if limited egalitarian tool applicable to developing and developed countries alike. (shrink)
In his article ‘Saints and Heroes’, Urmson argues that traditional moral theories allow at most for a threefold classification of actions in terms of their worth, and that they are therefore unsatisfactory. Since the conclusion of his argument has led to the widespread use of the term ‘acts of supererogation’, and since I do not believe that such acts exist, I propose to argue that the actions with which he is concerned not only can, but should, be contained within the (...) traditional classification. (shrink)
A common justification for retributive views of punishment is the idea that injustice is intolerable and must be answered. For instance F. H. Bradley writes: Why … do I merit punishment? It is because I have been guilty. I have done ‘wrong’… Now the plain man may not know what he means by ‘wrong’, but he is sure that, whatever it is, it ‘ought’ not to exist, that it calls and cries for obliteration; that, if he can remove it, it (...) rests also upon him, and that the destruction of guilt, whatever be the consequences, and even if there be no consequences at all, is still a good in itself; and this, not because a mere negation is a good, but because the denial of wrong is the assertion of right. A wrong is something that ought not to exist and calls to be obliterated. If anyone is able to remove it, he is obligated to do so or the wrong will also be partly his. To deny or obliterate a wrong is to assert right, Bradley says—as if the two things were counterpoised, one able to cancel the other. It reminds us of the balance held by the figure of Justice, and of debts and credits in accounts. Paying a debt erases it; the debt no longer exists. In a similar way punishment is supposed to erase wrong. (shrink)
What is the proper role of politics in higher education? Many policies and reforms in the academy, from affirmative action and a multicultural curriculum to racial and sexual harassment codes and movements to change pedagogical styles, seek justice for oppressed groups in society. They understand justice to require a comprehensive equality of membership: individuals belonging to different groups should have equal access to educational opportunities; their interests and cultures should be taken equally seriously as worthy subjects of study, their persons (...) treated with equal respect and concern in communicative interaction. Conservative critics of these egalitarian movements represent them as dangerous political meddling into the disinterested pursuit of knowledge. They cast the pursuit of equality as a threat to freedom of speech and academic standards. In response, some radical advocates of such programs agree that the quest for equality clashes with free speech, but view this as an argument for sacrificing freedom of speech. (shrink)
Although the theme of these papers is ‘Contemporary Moral Problems’ my paper is partly about Aristotelian ideas. I had originally intended to apologize for this, but I find there is no need: many other contributors have found Aristotle to be timelessly relevant, as I myself have.
A misleading and apparently addictive practice is now prevalent in discussions of philosophy in general, and moral philosophy in particular. This is the habit of dichotomizing. We are led to believe that we have to choose between reason and sentiment as the basis of morality, that facts and values are to be found on either side of an unbridgeable gulf, and so on. This practice is harmful because it leads philosophers to take sides in unnecessary conflicts which cannot be won (...) by either side, and thus prevents progress in the discussion of extremely important issues. (shrink)
Psychology's fascination with memory and its imperfections dates back further than we can remember. The first careful experimental studies of memory were published in 1885 by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, and tens of thousands of memory studies have been conducted since. What has been learned, and what might the future of memory be?
It surely would lighten the tasks of feminism tremendously if we could cut to the quick of women's lives by focusing on some essential "woman- ness." However, though all women are women, no woman is only a woman. Those of us who have ...
Complex cognitive skills such as reading and calculation and complex cognitive achievements such as formal science and mathematics may depend on a set of building block systems that emerge early in human ontogeny and phylogeny. These core knowledge systems show characteristic limits of domain and task specificity: Each serves to represent a particular class of entities for a particular set of purposes. By combining representations from these systems, however human cognition may achieve extraordinary flexibility. Studies of cognition in human infants (...) and in nonhuman primates therefore may contribute to understanding unique features of human knowledge. 2020 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Elizabeth Schechter explores the implications of the experience of people who have had the pathway between the two hemispheres of their brain severed, and argues that there are in fact two minds, subjects of experience, and intentional agents inside each split-brain human being: right and left. But each split-brain subject is still one of us.
In 2017, a Philadelphia research team revealed the closest thing to an artificial womb the world had ever seen. The ‘biobag’, if as successful as early animal testing suggests, will change the face of neonatal intensive care. At present, premature neonates born earlier than 22 weeks have no hope of survival. For some time, there have been no significant improvements in mortality rates or incidences of long-term complications for preterms at the viability threshold. Artificial womb technology, that might change these (...) odds, is eagerly anticipated for clinical application. We need to understand whether AWT is an extension of current intensive care or something entirely new. This question is central to determining when and how the biobag should be used on human subjects. This paper examines the science behind AWT and advances two principal claims. First, AWT is conceptually different from conventional intensive care. Identifying why AWT should be understood as distinct demonstrates how it raises different ethico-legal questions. Second, these questions should be formulated without the ‘human being growing in the AW’ being described with inherently value laden terminology. The ‘human being in an AW’ is neither a fetus nor a baby, and the ethical tethers associated with these terms could perpetuate misunderstanding and confusion. Thus, the term ‘gestateling’ should be adopted to refer to this new product of human reproduction: a developing human being gestating ex utero. While this paper does not attempt to solve all the ethical problems associated with AWT, it makes important clarifications that will enable better formulation of relevant ethical questions for future exploration. (shrink)
The Dynamics of Social Practice -- Introducing Theories of Practice -- Materials and Resources -- Sequence and Structure -- Making and Breaking Links -- Material, Competence and Meaning -- Car-Driving: Elements and Linkages Making Links -- Breaking Links -- Elements Between Practices -- Standardization and Diversity -- Individual and Collective Careers -- The Life of Elements -- Modes of Circulation -- Transportation and Access: Material -- Abstraction, Reversal and Migration: Competence -- Association and Classification: Meaning -- Packing and Unpacking -- (...) Emergence, Disappearance and Persistence -- Recruitment, Defection and Reproduction -- First Encounters: Networks and Communities -- Capture and Commitment: Careers and Carriers -- Collapse and Transformation: The Dynamics of Defection -- Daily Paths, Life Paths and Dominant Projects -- Connections Between Practices -- Bundles and Complexes -- Collaboration and Competition -- Selection and Integration -- Coordinating Daily Life -- Circuits of Reproduction -- Monitoring Practices-as-Performances -- Monitoring Practices-as-Entities -- Cross-Referencing Practices-as-Performances -- Cross-Referencing Practices-as-Entities -- Aggregation -- Elements of Coordination -- Intersecting Circuits -- Representing the Dynamics of Social Practice -- Representing Elements and Practices -- Characterizing Circulation -- Competition, Transformation and Convergence -- Reproducing Elements, Practices and Relations between Them -- Time and Practice -- Space and Practice -- Dominant Projects and Power -- Promoting Transitions in Practice -- Climate Change and Behaviour Change -- Basis of Action -- Processes of Change -- Positioning Policy -- Transferable Lessons -- Practice Theory and Climate Change Policy -- Configuring Elements of Practice -- Configuring Relations between Practices -- Configuring Careers: Carriers and Practices -- Configuring Connections -- Practice Oriented Policy Making. (shrink)
'Free will skepticism' refers to a family of views that all take seriously the possibility that human beings lack the control in action - i.e. the free will - required for an agent to be truly deserving of blame and praise, punishment and reward. Critics fear that adopting this view would have harmful consequences for our interpersonal relationships, society, morality, meaning, and laws. Optimistic free will skeptics, on the other hand, respond by arguing that life without free will and so-called (...) basic desert moral responsibility would not be harmful in these ways, and might even be beneficial. This collection addresses the practical implications of free will skepticism for law and society. It contains eleven original essays that provide alternatives to retributive punishment, explore what changes are needed for the criminal justice system, and ask whether we should be optimistic or pessimistic about the real-world implications of free will skepticism. (shrink)
This new and important study of semantic change examines how new meanings arise through language use, especially the various ways in which speakers and writers experiment with uses of words and constructions in the flow of strategic interaction with addressees. In the last few decades there has been growing interest in exploring systemicities in semantic change from a number of perspectives including theories of metaphor, pragmatic inferencing, and grammaticalization. Like earlier studies, these have for the most part been based on (...) data taken out of context. This book is the first detailed examination of semantic change from the perspective of historical pragmatics and discourse analysis. Drawing on extensive corpus data from over a thousand years of English and Japanese textual history, Traugott and Dasher show that most changes in meaning originate in and are motivated by the associative flow of speech and conceptual metonymy. (shrink)
Neural Geographies draws together recent feminist and deconstructive theories, early Freudian neurology and contemporary connectionist theories of cognition. In this original work, Elizabeth A. Wilson explores the convergence between Derrida, Freud and recent cognitive theory to pursue two important issues: the nature of cognition and neurology, and the politics of feminist and critical interventions into contemporary scientific psychology. This book seeks to reorient the usual presumptions of critical studies of the sciences by addressing the divisions between the static and (...) the changeable; the natural and the political; the neuro-cognitive and the cultural that have been traditional to both scientific and critical accounts of neurology and cognition. (shrink)
Advances in neuroscience might make it possible to develop techniques for directly altering offenders’ brains, in order to make offenders more responsible and law-abiding. The idea of using such techniques within the criminal justice system can seem intuitively troubling, even if they were more effective in preventing crime than traditional methods of rehabilitation. One standard argument against this use of brain interventions is that it would undermine the individual’s free will. This paper maintains that ‘free will’ (at least, as that (...) notion is understood by those who adopt the influential compatibilist approach) is an inadequate basis for explaining what is problematic about some direct brain interventions. This paper then defends an alternative way of objecting to certain kinds of direct brain interventions, focusing on the relationship between the offender and the state rather than the notion of free will. It opposes the use of interventions which aim to enhance ‘virtue responsibility’ (by instilling particular values about what is right and wrong), arguing that this would objectify offenders. In contrast, it argues that it may be acceptable to use direct brain interventions to enhance ‘capacity responsibility’ (i.e. to strengthen the abilities necessary for the exercise of responsible agency, such as self-control). Finally it considers how to distinguish these different kinds of responsibility enhancement. (shrink)
English law is unambiguous that legal personality, and with it all legal rights and protections, is assigned at birth. This rule is regarded as a bright line that is easily and consistently applied. The time has come, however, for the rule to be revisited. This article demonstrates that advances in fetal surgery and (anticipated) artificial wombs do not marry with traditional conceptions of birth and being alive in law. These technologies introduce the possibility of ex utero gestation, and/or temporary existence (...) ex utero, and consequently developing human beings that are novel to the law. Importantly, therefore, the concepts of birth and born alive no longer distinguish between human beings deserving of legal protection in the way originally intended. Thus, there is a need for reform, for a new approach to determining the legal significance of birth and what being legally alive actually encompasses. Investigating the law of birth is of crucial importance, because of the implications of affording or denying the subjects of new reproductive technologies rights and protections. A determination of the legal status of the subject of fetal surgery or an artificial womb will determine what can and cannot be done to each entity. Moreover, the status afforded to these entities will drastically impact on the freedoms of pregnant women. (shrink)
What leads humans to divide the social world into groups, preferring their own group and disfavoring others? Experiments with infants and young children suggest these tendencies are based on predispo- sitions that emerge early in life and depend, in part, on natural language. Young infants prefer to look at a person who previously spoke their native language. Older infants preferentially accept toys from native-language speakers, and preschool children preferentially select native-language speakers as friends. Variations in accent are sufﬁcient to evoke (...) these social preferences, which are observed in infants before they produce or comprehend speech and are exhibited by children even when they comprehend the foreign-accented speech. Early-developing preferences for native-language speakers may serve as a foundation for later-developing preferences and conﬂicts among social groups. (shrink)
The current assessment of behaviors in the inventories to diagnose autism spectrum disorders (ASD) focus on observation and discrete categorizations. Behaviors require movements, yet measurements of physical movements are seldom included. Their inclusion however, could provide an objective characterization of behavior to help unveil interactions between the peripheral and the central nervous systems. Such interactions are critical for the development and maintenance of spontaneous autonomy, self-regulation and voluntary control. At present, current approaches cannot deal with the heterogeneous, dynamic and stochastic (...) nature of development. Accordingly, they leave no avenues for real-time or longitudinal assessments of change in a coping system continuously adapting and developing compensatory mechanisms. We offer a new unifying statistical framework to reveal re-afferent kinesthetic features of the individual with ASD. The new methodology is based on the non-stationary stochastic patterns of minute fluctuations (micro-movements) inherent to our natural actions. Such patterns of behavioral variability provide re-entrant sensory feedback contributing to the autonomous regulation and coordination of the motor output. From an early age, this feedback supports centrally driven volitional control and fluid, flexible transitions between intentional and spontaneous behaviors. We show that in ASD there is a disruption in the maturation of this form of proprioception. Despite this disturbance, each individual has unique adaptive compensatory capabilities that we can unveil and exploit to evoke faster and more accurate decisions. Measuring the kinesthetic re-afference in tandem with stimuli variations we can detect changes in their micro-movements indicative of a more predictive and reliable kinesthetic percept. Our methods address the heterogeneity of ASD with a personalized approach grounded in the inherent sensory-motor abilities that the individual has already developed. (shrink)
A new method was devised to test object permanence in young infants. Fivemonth-old infants were habituated to a screen that moved back and forth through a 180-degree arc, in the manner of a drawbridge. After infants reached habituation, a box was centered behind the screen. Infants were shown two test events: a possible event and an impossible event. In the possible event, the screen stopped when it reached the occluded box; in the impossible event, the screen moved through the space (...) occupied by the box. The results indicated that infants looked reliably longer at the impossible than at the possible event. This hnding suggested that infants (1) understood that the box continued to exist, in its same location, after it was occluded by the screen, and (2) expected the screen to stop against the occluded box and were surprised, or puzzled, when it failed to do so. A control experiment in which the box was placed next to the screen provided support for this interpretation of the results. Together, the results of these experiments indicate that, contrary to Piaget’s (1954) claims, infants as young as 5 months of age understand that objects continue to exist when occluded. The results, also indicate that 5-month-old infants realize that solid objects do not move through the space occupied by other solid objects. (shrink)
In this brief interview, Jordan B. Kinder discusses Thunderbird Strike with Anishinaabe, Métis, and settler-Irish media theorist and artist Elizabeth LaPensée. Thunderbird Strike is a multiplatform, two-dimensional sidescrolling video game created by LaPensée in collaboration with Adrian Cheater and Aubrey Jane Scott, NÀHGĄ a.k.a. Casey Koyczan, and Kaitlin Rose Lenhard. The conversation is centred on the inspiration for Thunderbird Strike, its reception, and its possibilities as a pedagogical medium.
(1999). Princess Elizabeth and Descartes: The union of soul and body and the practice of philosophy. British Journal for the History of Philosophy: Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 503-520. doi: 10.1080/09608789908571042.
Medical interventions such as methadone treatment for drug addicts or “chemical castration” for sex offenders have been used in several jurisdictions alongside or as an alternative to traditional punishments, such as incarceration. As our understanding of the biological basis for human behaviour develops, our criminal justice system may make increasing use of such medical techniques and may become less reliant on incarceration. Academic debate on this topic has largely focused on whether offenders can validly consent to medical interventions, given the (...) coercive environment of the criminal justice system. Both sides in this debate share the assumption that administering medical interventions to offenders without their valid consent would be unethical. Recently, Thomas Douglas has mounted a formidable challenge to this “consent requirement”. Essentially, his argument rests on a comparison between prison and medical interventions. Douglas asks: if the state is entitled to impose a prison sentence on a criminal without the criminal’s consent, why is consent required for the imposition of a medical intervention? The most obvious way of defending the consent requirement against Douglas’s challenge appeals to the fact that incarceration merely interferes with the right to free movement, but medical interventions interfere with the right to bodily integrity. This argument rests on what Douglas calls the “robustness claim”—the claim that the right to bodily integrity is more robust than the right to freedom of movement. In other words, the right to freedom of movement loses its protective force in a wider range of circumstances than the right to bodily integrity. Douglas’s article seeks to undermine the robustness claim, by arguing that neither case-based intuitions, nor theoretical considerations support this claim. In this article, I will attempt to raise some doubts about Douglas’s challenge to the consent requirement and the robustness claim. (shrink)
The importance of food in our individual lives raises moral questions from the debate over eating animals to the prominence of gourmet cookery in the popular media. Through philosophy, Elizabeth Telfer discusses issues including our obligations to those who are starving; the value of the pleasure of food; food as art; our duties to animals; and the moral virtues of hospitableness and temperance. Elizabeth Telfer shows how much traditional philosophy, from Plato to John Stuart Mill, has to say (...) to illuminate this everyday yet complex subject. (shrink)
In a recent publication, I argued that there is a conceptual difference between artificial womb technology, capable of facilitating gestation ex utero, and neonatal intensive care, providing incubation to neonates born prematurely. One of the reasons I provided for this distinction was that the subjects of each process are different entities. The subject of the process of gestation ex utero is a unique human entity: a ‘gestateling’, rather than a fetus or a newborn preterm neonate. Nick Colgrove wrote a response (...) to my paper, claiming that my distinction between the subject of an AW and a newborn was false. He claims that I have not accounted for the proper definition of ‘birth’ and that gestatelings are not a distinct product of human reproduction. Further, Colgrove posits that even if I can successfully distinguish gestatelings from preterms, such a distinction is morally irrelevant because the entities would have the same moral status. In this paper, I address the three challenges raised and defend the claim that gestatelings are unique entities. Moreover, I argue that moral status should not be considered ipso facto determinative in the debate about AWs. (shrink)
One of the alleged advantages of a constructivist theory in metaethics is that the theory avoids the epistemological problems with moral realism while reaping many of realism's benefits. According to evolutionary debunking arguments, the epistemological problem with moral realism is that the evolutionary history of our moral beliefs makes it hard to see how our moral beliefs count as knowledge of moral facts, realistically construed. Certain forms of constructivism are supposed to be immune to this argument, giving the view a (...) key advantage. This paper considers the challenge that evolutionary debunking arguments pose for the possibility of moral knowledge and concludes that such arguments do not reveal any advantages for constructivism. Furthermore, once we consider how defenders of moral knowledge should best respond to this epistemological objection, constructivists may face more difficulties, not less, explaining how our moral beliefs represent moral knowledge. (shrink)
This article considers 3 claims that cognitive sex differ- ences account for the differential representation of men and women in high-level careers in mathematics and sci- ence: (a) males are more focused on objects from the beginning of life and therefore are predisposed to better learning about mechanical systems; (b) males have a pro- ﬁle of spatial and numerical abilities producing greater aptitude for mathematics; and (c) males are more variable in their cognitive abilities and therefore predominate at the upper (...) reaches of mathematical talent. Research on cogni- tive development in human infants, preschool children, and students at all levels fails to support these claims. Instead, it provides evidence that mathematical and scientiﬁc rea- soning develop from a set of biologically based cognitive capacities that males and females share. These capacities lead men and women to develop equal talent for mathe- matics and science. (shrink)