Affirmative action programs remain controversial, I suspect, partly because the familiar arguments for and against them start from significantly different moral perspectives. Thus I want to step back for a while from the details of debate about particular programs and give attention to the moral viewpoints presupposed in different types of argument. My aim, more specifically, is to compare the “messages” expressed when affirmative action is defended from different moral perspectives. Exclusively forward-looking arguments, I suggest, tend to express the wrong (...) message, but this is also true of exclusively backward-looking arguments. However, a moral outlook that focuses on cross-temporal narrative values suggests a more appropriate account of what affirmative action should try to express. Assessment of the message, admittedly, is only one aspect of a complex issue, but it is a relatively neglected one. My discussion takes for granted some common-sense ideas about the communicative function of action, and so I begin with these. Actions, as the saying goes, often speak louder than words. There are times, too, when only actions can effectively communicate the message we want to convey and times when giving a message is a central part of the purpose of action. What our actions say to others depends largely, though not entirely, upon our avowed reasons for acting; and this is a matter for reflective decision, not something we discover later by looking back at what we did and its effects. The decision is important because “the same act” can have very different consequences, depending upon how we choose to justify it. (shrink)
This essay first distinguishes different questions regarding moral objectivity and relativism and then sketches a broadly Kantian position on two of these questions. First, how, if at all, can we derive, justify, or support specific moral principles and judgments from more basic moral standards and values? Second, how, if at all, can the basic standards such as my broadly Kantian perspective, be defended? Regarding the first question, the broadly Kantian position is that from ideas in Kant's later formulations of the (...) Categorical Imperative, especially human dignity and rational autonomous law-making, we can develop an appropriate moral perspective for identifying and supporting more specific principles. Both the deliberative perspective and the derivative principles can be viewed as “constructed,” but in different senses. In response to the second question, the essay examines two of Kant's strategies for defending his basic perspective and the important background of his arguments against previous moral theories. (shrink)
Epistemology, as I understand it, is a branch of philosophy especially concerned with general questions about how we can know various things or at least justify our beliefs about them. It questions what counts as evidence and what are reasonable sources of doubt. Traditionally, episte-mology focuses on pervasive and apparently basic assumptions covering a wide range of claims to knowledge or justified belief rather than very specific, practical puzzles. For example, traditional epistemologists ask “How do we know there are material (...) objects?” and not “How do you know which are the female beetles?” Similarly, moral epistemology, as I understand it, is concerned with general questions about how we can know or justify our beliefs about moral matters. Its focus, again, is on quite general, pervasive, and apparently basic assumptions about what counts as evidence, what are reasonable sources of doubt, and what are the appropriate procedures for justifying particular moral claims. (shrink)
Ancient moral philosophers, especially Aristotle and his followers, typically shared the assumption that ethics is primarily concerned with how to achieve the final end for human beings, a life of “happiness” or “human flourishing.” This final end was not a subjective condition, such as contentment or the satisfaction of our preferences, but a life that could be objectively determined to be appropriate to our nature as human beings. Character traits were treated as moral virtues because they contributed well toward this (...) ideal life, either as means to it or as constitutive aspects of it. Traits that tended to prevent a “happy” life were considered vices, even if they contributed to a life that was pleasant and what a person most wanted. The idea of “happiness” was central, then, in philosophical efforts to specify what we ought to do, what sort of persons we should try to become, and what sort of life a wise person would hope for. (shrink)
Philosophers have debated for millennia about whether moral requirements are always rational to follow. The background for these debates is often what I shall call “the self-interest model.” The guiding assumption here is that the basic demand of reason, to each person, is that one must, above all, advance one's self-interest. Alternatively, debate may be framed by a related, but significantly different, assumption: the idea that the basic rational requirement is to develop and pursue a set of personal ends in (...) an informed, efficient, and coherent way, whether one's choice of ends is based on self-interested desires or not. For brevity I refer to this as “the coherence-and-efficiency model.” Advocates of both models tend to think that, while it is sufficiently clear in principle what the rational thing to do is, what remains in doubt is whether it is always rational to be moral. They typically assume that morality is concerned, entirely or primarily, with our relations to others, especially with obligations that appear to require some sacrifice or compromise with the pursuit of self-interest. (shrink)
What, if anything, are we morally required to do on behalf of others besides respecting their rights? And why is such regard for others a reasonable moral requirement? These two questions have long been major concerns of ethical theory, but the answers that philosophers give tend to vary with their beliefs about human nature. More specifically, their answers typically depend on the position they take on a third-question: To what extent, if any, is it possible for us to act altruistically?
This book presents a comprehensive theory of consciousness. The initial chapter distinguishes six main forms of consciousness and sketches an account of each one. Later chapters focus on phenomenal consciousness, consciousness of, and introspective consciousness. In discussing phenomenal consciousness, Hill develops the representational theory of mind in new directions, arguing that all awareness involves representations, even awareness of qualitative states like pain. He then uses this view to undercut dualistic accounts of qualitative states. Other topics include visual awareness, visual (...) appearances, emotional qualia, and meta-cognitive processing. This important work will interest a wide readership of students and scholars in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
Thomas Hill, a leading figure in the recent development of Kantian moral philosophy, presents a set of essays exploring the implications of basic Kantian ideas for practical issues. The first part of the book provides background in central themes in Kant's ethics; the second part discusses questions regarding human welfare; the third focuses on moral worth -- the nature and grounds of moral assessment of persons as deserving esteem or blame. Hill shows moral, political, and social philosophers just (...) how valuable moral theory can be in addressing practical matters. (shrink)
Respect, Pluralism, and Justice is a series of essays which sketches a broadly Kantian framework for moral deliberation, and then uses it to address important social and political issues. Hill shows how Kantian theory can be developed to deal with questions about cultural diversity, punishment, political violence, responsibility for the consequences of wrongdoing, and state coercion in a pluralistic society.
This stimulating collection of essays in ethics eschews the simple exposition and refinement of abstract theories. Rather, the author focuses on everyday moral issues, often neglected by philosophers, and explores the deeper theoretical questions which they raise. Such issues are: Is it wrong to tell a lie to protect someone from a painful truth? Should one commit a lesser evil to prevent another from doing something worse? Can one be both autonomous and compassionate? Other topics discussed are servility, weakness of (...) will, suicide, obligations to oneself, snobbery, and environmental concerns. A feature of the collection is the contrast of Kantian and utilitarian answers to these problems. The essays are crisply and lucidly written and will appeal to both teachers and students of philosophy. (shrink)
The algorithm, a building block of computer science, is defined from an intuitive and pragmatic point of view, through a methodological lens of philosophy rather than that of formal computation. The treatment extracts properties of abstraction, control, structure, finiteness, effective mechanism, and imperativity, and intentional aspects of goal and preconditions. The focus on the algorithm as a robust conceptual object obviates issues of correctness and minimality. Neither the articulation of an algorithm nor the dynamic process constitute the algorithm itself. Analysis (...) for implications in computer science and philosophy reveals unexpected results, new questions, and new perspectives on current questions, including the relationship between our informally construed algorithms and Turing machines. Exploration in terms of current computational and philosophical thinking invites further developments. (shrink)
Thomas Hill, a leading figure in the recent development of Kantian moral philosophy, presents a set of essays exploring the implications of basic Kantian ideas for practical issues. The first part of the book provides background in central themes in Kant's ethics; the second part discusses questions regarding human welfare; the third focuses on moral worth-the nature and grounds of moral assessment of persons as deserving esteem or blame. Hill shows moral, political, and social philosophers just how valuable (...) moral theory can be in addressing practical matters. (shrink)
The first and more important section of this article lists all the known treatises in Arabic on Fine Technology – water-clocks, automata, pumps, trick vessels, fountains, etc. The ideas, techniques and components in these treatises are of great importance in the history of machine technology. For each treatise information is given on the provenance of MSS, editions in Arabic and translations, paraphrases or commentaries in modern European languages. In addition to treatises by Arabic writers, similar information is also given on (...) Greek mechanical treatises if these have survived only in Arabic versions. The second section deals with utilitarian machines such as mills and water-raising machines. The various sources of information about these machines is discussed, including Arabic works on geography and travel, iconography and archaeology. La première section de cet article et la plus importante énumère tous les traités connus en arabe portant sur la technologie d'agrément – horloges à eau, automates, pompes, ‘vases merveilleux’, fontaines, etc. Les idées, les techniques et les mécanismes que l'on rencontre dans ces traités sont d'une grande importance pour l'histoire de la technologie. Pour chacun de ces traités, des renseignements sont donnés concernant la localisation des manuscrits, les éditions en arabe et les traductions, paraphrases et commentaires existant en langues européennes. On trouvera en outre des renseignements similaires sur les traités de mécanique grecs qui n'ont survécu que dans des versions arabes. La seconde section traite des machines utilitaires telles que les moulins et les machines à élever l'eau. Les diverses sources d'information concernant ce type de machines sont discutées, y compris les livres de géographie et de voyages, l'iconographie et l'archeologie. (shrink)
This volume presents a selection of essays by the leading philosopher Christopher S. Hill. Together, they address central philosophical issues related to four key concerns: the nature of truth; the relation between experiences and brain states; the relation between experiences and representational states; and problems concerning knowledge.
Thomas E. Hill, Jr., interprets and extends Kant's moral theory in a series of essays that highlight its relevance to contemporary ethics. He introduces the major themes of Kantian ethics and explores its practical application to questions about revolution, prison reform, and forcible interventions in other countries for humanitarian purposes.
There is an important family of semantic notions that we apply to thoughts and to the conceptual constituents of thoughts - as when we say that the thought that the Universe is expanding is true. Thought and World presents a theory of the content of such notions. The theory is largely deflationary in spirit, in the sense that it represents a broad range of semantic notions - including the concept of truth - as being entirely free from substantive metaphysical and (...) empirical presuppositions. At the same time, however, it takes seriously and seeks to explain the intuition that there is a metaphysically or empirically 'deep' relation linking thoughts to reality. Thus, the theory represents a kind of compromise between deflationism and versions of the correspondence theory of truth. This book will appeal to students and professionals interested in the philosophy of logic and language. (shrink)
In the first chapter of his Knowledge and Lotteries, John Hawthorne argues that thinkers do not ordinarily know lottery propositions. His arguments depend on claims about the intimate connections between knowledge and assertion, epistemic possibility, practical reasoning, and theoretical reasoning. In this paper, we cast doubt on the proposed connections. We also put forward an alternative picture of belief and reasoning. In particular, we argue that assertion is governed by a Gricean constraint that makes no reference to knowledge, and that (...) practical reasoning has more to do with rational degrees of belief than with states of knowledge. (shrink)
Few thinkers of the latter half of the twentieth century have so profoundly and radically transformed our understanding of writing and literature as Jacques Derrida. Derridian deconstruction remains one of the most powerful intellectual movements of the present century, and Derrida's own innovative writings on literature and philosophy are crucially relevant for any understanding of the future of literature and literary criticism today. Derrida's own manner of writing is complex and challenging and has often been misrepresented or misunderstood. In this (...) book, Leslie Hill provides an accessible introduction to Derrida's writings on literature which presupposes no prior knowledge of Derrida's work. He explores in detail Derrida's relationship to literary theory and criticism, and offers close readings of some of Derrida's best known essays. This introduction will help those coming to Derrida's work for the first time, and suggests further directions to take in studying this hugely influential thinker. (shrink)
As the subtitle indicates, this book is concerned with the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. It recommends a novel and disturbingly pessimistic view about this topic that it calls “naturalistic mysterianism.” The view is naturalistic because it maintains that states of consciousness are reducible to physical properties of the brain. It counts as “mysterian” because it asserts that the physical properties in question are entirely beyond our ken—that they lie well beyond the scope of contemporary neuroscience, and quite (...) likely beyond the scope of any body of scientific knowledge that we might develop in the future. Naturalistic mysterianism thus affirms the unity of consciousness with the physical world, while also claiming that the nature of that unity will forever elude us, due to inherent limits of our cognitive capacities. (shrink)
In recent years, much work has been dedicated by logicians, computer scientists and economists to understanding awareness, as its importance for human behaviour becomes evident. Although several logics of awareness have been proposed, little attention has been explicitly dedicated to change in awareness. However, one of the most crucial aspects of awareness is the changes it undergoes, which have countless important consequences for knowledge and action. The aim of this paper is to propose a formal model of awareness change, and (...) to derive from it logics of awareness change. In the first part of the paper, the model of epistemic states of bounded agents proposed in Hill (Stud Log 89(1):81–109, 2008a ) is extended with operations modelling awareness change. In the second part of the paper, it is shown how this model naturally extends the “standard” logic of awareness to yield a logic of awareness change. (shrink)
This collection of Geoffrey Hill's criticism spans the length of his career as a pre-eminent poet-critic. Three previously published books of criticism are reprinted, sometimes with substantial revisions, and two new works added.
This research examines the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and company stock valuation across three regions of the world. After a brief introduction, the article gives an overview of the evolving definition of CSR as well as a discussion of the ways in which this construct has been operationalized. Presentation of the potential impact of corporate social performance on firm financial performance follows, including investor characteristics, the rationale behind their choices, and their influence on the marketplace for securities worldwide. (...) The unique method used to select socially responsible investments is then provided that also includes a description of the quantitative techniques employed in the analyses. Results are offered subsequently, and the close describes implications for global enterprises as socially responsible investments. (shrink)
Kevin Hill presents a highly original study of Nietzsche's thought, the first book to examine in detail his debt to the work of Kant. Hill argues that Nietzsche is a systematic philosopher who knew Kant far better than is commonly thought, and that he can only be properly understood in relation to him. Nietzsche's Critiques will be of great value to scholars and students with interests in either of these philosophical giants, or in the history of ideas generally.
Objectives: To explore how subjects in a placebo-controlled vitamin A supplementation trial among Ghanaian women aged 15–45 years perceive the trial and whether they know that not all trial capsules are the same, and to identify factors associated with this knowledge.Methods: 60 semistructured interviews and 12 focus groups were conducted to explore subjects’ perceptions of the trial. Steps were taken to address areas of low comprehension, including retraining fieldworkers. 1971 trial subjects were randomly selected for a survey measuring their knowledge (...) that not all trial capsules are the same. The subjects’ fieldworkers were also interviewed about their characteristics and trial knowledge. Factors associated with knowledge were explored using multi-level modeling.Results: Although subjects knew they were taking part in research, most thought they were receiving an active and beneficial medication. Variables associated with knowledge were education and district of residence. Radio broadcasts benefited those with some schooling. Fieldworkers’ characteristics were not associated with subjects’ knowledge.Conclusions: Research and debate on new or improved consent procedures are urgently required, particularly for subjects with little education. (shrink)
In maintaining that virtue is a legitimate concept worthy of empirical study, a strong situationist approach to the study of behavior is countered. An earlier analysis is then drawn upon to maintain that virtue has the capability of integrating several themes in positive psychology: ethics and health, embodied character, strength and resilience, communally embedded, meaningful purpose, and capacity for wisdom. The six themes are used to provide a framework for considering the unique case of moral and intellectual humility as a (...) virtue. (shrink)
For any essential property God has, there is an ability He does not have. He is unable to bring about any state of affairs in which He does not have that property. Such inabilities seem to preclude omnipotence. After making trouble for the standard responses to this problem, I offer my own solution: God is not omnipotent. This may seem like a significant loss for the theist. But I show that it is not. The theist may abandon the doctrine that (...) God is omnipotent without scaling back the extent of His power and without denying that He has all perfections. (shrink)
Psychologists' emerging interest in spirituality and religion as well as the relevance of each phenomenon to issues of psychological importance requires an understanding of the fundamental characteristics of each construct. On the basis of both historical considerations and a limited but growing empirical literature, we caution against viewing spirituality and religiousness as incompatible and suggest that the common tendency to polarize the terms simply as individual vs. institutional or ′good′ vs. ′bad′ is not fruitful for future research. Also cautioning against (...) the use of restrictive, narrow definitions or overly broad definitions that can rob either construct of its distinctive characteristics, we propose a set of criteria that recognizes the constructs' conceptual similarities and dissimilarities. Rather than trying to force new and likely unsuccessful definitions, we offer these criteria as benchmarks for judging the value of existing definitions. (shrink)
This paper examines social network size in contemporary Western society based on the exchange of Christmas cards. Maximum network size averaged 153.5 individuals, with a mean network size of 124.9 for those individuals explicitly contacted; these values are remarkably close to the group size of 150 predicted for humans on the basis of the size of their neocortex. Age, household type, and the relationship to the individual influence network structure, although the proportion of kin remained relatively constant at around 21%. (...) Frequency of contact between network members was primarily determined by two classes of variable: passive factors (distance, work colleague, overseas) and active factors (emotional closeness, genetic relatedness). Controlling for the influence of passive factors on contact rates allowed the hierarchical structure of human social groups to be delimited. These findings suggest that there may be cognitive constraints on network size. (shrink)