Behavioural scientists show altruism to exist as a distinctive personality. Yet when subjected to philosophical scrutiny, and altruistic personality is prima facie paradoxical. To motivate herself to help others, the altruist needs ?extensivity?, the capacity to compassionately identify with others. To aid others effectively, however, the altruist must have individuation, the possession of highly developed autonomy and self-efficacy. We assert that a better understanding of the relationship between concern for others and concern for self reveals the paradox to be merely (...) apparent. We find that, in extending themselves in caring behaviours, altruists actually enhance their individuality. Moreover, given the differences between compassion and empathy and the way empathy medicates between compassionate co-feeling and individuation, extensivity and individuation do not necessarily conflict. We conclude therefore that despite appearances the altruistic personality is a coherent construct. (shrink)
Most agree that when it comes to so-called 'first-order' normative ethics and political philosophy, constructivist views are a powerful family of positions. When it comes to metaethics, however, there is serious disagreement about what, if anything, constructivism has to contribute. In this paper I argue that constructivist views in ethics include not just a family of substantive normative positions, but also a distinct and highly attractive metaethical view. I argue that the widely accepted 'proceduralist characterization' of constructivism in ethics is (...) inadequate, and I propose what I call the 'practical standpoint characterization' in its place. I then offer a general taxonomy of constructivist positions in ethics. Since constructivism's standing as a family of substantive normative positions is relatively uncontested, I devote the remainder of the paper to addressing skeptics' worries about the distinctiveness of constructivism understood as a metaethical view. I compare and contrast constructivism with three other standard metaethical positions with which it is often confused or mistakenly thought to be compatible: realism; naturalist reductions in terms of an ideal response; and expressivism. In discussing the contrast with expressivism, I explain the sense in which, according to the constructivist, the distinction between substantive normative ethics and metaethics breaks down. I conclude by distinguishing between two importantly different debates about the mind-dependence of value. I argue that a failure to make this distinction is part of what explains why the possibility of constructivism as a metaethical view is often overlooked. (shrink)
While people’s lives continue to be put at risk by the dearth of organs available for transplantation, we must give urgent consideration to any option that may make up the shortfall. A market in organs from living donors is one such option. The market should be ethically supportable, and have built into it, for example, safeguards against wrongful exploitation. This can be accomplished by establishing a single purchaser system within a confined marketplace.Statistics can be dehumanising. The following numbers, however, have (...) more impact than most: as of 24th November, during 2002 in the United Kingdom, 667 people have donated organs, 2055 people have received transplants, and 5615 people are still awaiting transplants.1 It is difficult to estimate how many people die prematurely for want of donor organs. “In the world as a whole there are an estimated 700 000 patients on dialysis . . . . In India alone 100 000 new patients present with kidney failure each year”2 . Almost “three million Americans suffer from congestive heart failure . . . deaths related to this condition are estimated at 250 000 each year . . . …. (shrink)
Philosophie in der Islamischen Welt, Band 1, 8.-10. Jahrhundert, edited by Ulrich Rudolph, is the first in a series of four volumes devoted to the history of philosophy in the Islamic world from earliest times down to today.1 Part of a larger project that has been under way, in one way or another, for 150 years, this volume marks an epochal moment in the study of Arabic philosophy. Never before in the field has there been a summary exposition so comprehensive, (...) bibliographically rich, and conceptually well-defined. This volume will henceforth be the first port of call for those setting out to work on the three centuries that saw the inception of Arabic philosophy. The series could not have had a more promising .. (shrink)
Most people working on linguistic meaning or communication assume that semantics and pragmatics are distinct domains, yet there is still little consensus on how the distinction is to be drawn. The position defended in this paper is that the semantics/pragmatics distinction holds between (context-invariant) encoded linguistic meaning and speaker meaning. Two other ‘minimalist’ positions on semantics are explored and found wanting: Kent Bach’s view that there is a narrow semantic notion of context which is responsible for providing semantic values for (...) a small number of indexicals, and Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore’s view that semantics includes the provision of values for all indexicals, even though these depend on the speaker’s communicative intentions. Finally, some implications are considered for the favoured semantics/pragmatics distinction of the fact that there are linguistic elements (lexical and syntactic) which do not contribute to truth-conditional content but rather provide guidance on pragmatic inference. (shrink)
Despite the recent emergence of many new ethical decision making models, there has been minimal emphasis placed on the impact of escalating commitment on the ethical decision making process. In this paper a new variable is introduced into the ethical decision making literature. This variable, exposure to escalation situations, is posited to increase the likelihood that individuals will choose unethical decision alternatives. Further, it is proposed that escalation situations should be included as a variable in Jones's (1991) comprehensive model of (...) ethical decision making. Finally, research propositions are provided based on the relationship between escalating commitment and the ethical decision making process. (shrink)
To give priority to the young over the elderly has been labelled ‘ageism’. People who express ‘ageist’ preferences may feel that, all else equal, an individual has greater right to enjoy additional life years the fewer life years he or she has already had. We shall refer to this asegalitarian ageism. They may also emphasise the greater expected duration of health benefits in young people that derives from their greater life expectancy. We may call thisutilitarian ageism. Both these forms of (...) ageism were observed in an empirical study of social preferences in Australia. The study lends some support to the assumptions in the QALY approach that duration of benefits, and hence old age, should count in prioritising at the budget level in health care. (shrink)
Janet Radcliffe Richards is as always to the point and radical. We agree with her that “if it is presumptively bad to prevent sales altogether because lives will be lost . . . it is for the same reason presumptively bad to restrict the selling of organs”. Her complaint against our paper is that we are unnecessarily restrictive. John Harris indeed has argued that there are no sound ethical or philosophical reasons for objecting on principle to the sale of live (...) tissue and organs.1 If a scheme can be devised …. (shrink)
This article summarizes a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) workshop that was convened to address the ethical and methodological issues that arise when conducting controlled psychosocial interventions research and introduces 6 thoughtful and inspiring papers prepared by workshop participants. These papers, on topics ranging from informed consent to ethnic minority issues, reflect the depth and breadth of expertise represented by the multidisciplinary group of scientists and ethicists present at the meeting. More extensive follow-up, particularly from federal research applications and (...) publications, of how investigators balance the need for strong research design with ethical considerations may help advance the science of psychosocial intervention research. (shrink)
T?s?, a thirteenth century logician writing in Arabic, uses two logical connectives to build up molecular propositions: ?if-then?, and ?either-or?. By referring to a dichotomous Tree, T?s? shows how to choose the proper disjunction relative to the terms in the disjuncts. He also discusses the disjunctive propositions which follow from a conditional proposition.
Objectives—To investigate the factors considered by staff, and the practicalities involved in the decision making process regarding the withdrawal or withholding of potential life-sustaining treatment in a children's hospital. To compare our current practice with that recommended by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health guidelines, published in 1997.Design—A prospective, observational study using self-reported questionnaires.Setting—Tertiary paediatric hospital.Patients and participants—Consecutive patients identified during a six-month period, about whom a formal discussion took place between medical staff, nursing staff and family regarding (...) the withholding or withdrawal of potentially life-sustaining treatments. The primary physician and primary nurse involved in the discussion were identified.Method—Two questionnaires completed independently by the primary physician and nurse.Results—Twenty-two patients were identified . In 20 cases treatment was withdrawn or withheld, in two cases treatment was continued. Nursing staff considered family wishes and family perceptions of patient suffering as significantly more important factors in decision making than medical staff, who considered prognostic factors as most important. In only two cases were the patient's expressed wishes apparently available. In most cases staff considered the patient's best interests were served and the process would not be enhanced by the involvement of an independent ethics committee. The exceptions were those cases in which treatment was continued following disagreement between parties.Conclusions—Our current practice is consistent with that recommended by the RCPCH. The contribution of the patient, provision of staff counselling and general practitioner involvement were identified as areas for improvement. (shrink)
Avicenna (d. 1037) and T?s? (d. 1274) have different doctrines on the contradiction and conversion of the absolute proposition. Following Avicenna's presentation of the doctrine in Pointers and reminders, and comparing it with what is given in T?s?'s commentary, allow us to pinpoint a major reason why Avicenna and T?s? have different treatments of the modal syllogistic. Further comparison shows that the syllogistic system Rescher described in his research on Arabic logic more nearly fits T?s? than Avicenna. This in turn (...) has consequences for analysing Avicenna's logic, and for writing the history of a fascinating period of change and diversity in the discipline in the medieval Islamic world. (shrink)
Avicenna refers on a number of occasions in his Book of the Syllogism to “the eminent later scholar” . At least three recent studies have argued or assumed that this eminent later scholar is Alexander of Aphrodisias. It is argued in this article that Avicenna is in fact referring to Alfarabi. This has consequences for reconstructing the lost first part of Alfarabi's Great Commentary on the Prior Analytics , for highlighting certain aspects of Alfarabi's logical doctrines, and for understanding more (...) about the relation between Avicenna and Alfarabi in matters logical. (shrink)
The generative grammar approach to language seeks a fully explicit account of the modular systems of knowledge (competence) that underlies the human language capacity. Similarly, the relevance-theoretic approach to pragmatics attempts an explicit characterisation of the sub-personal systems involved in utterance interpretation. As an on-line performance system, however, it is subject to certain additional constraints; this is demonstrated by the way in which matters of computational (processing effort) economy are currently employed in the two types of theory. A sub-module of (...) “discourse competence” is shown to be compatible with and complementary to the wider system of pragmatic processes. (shrink)
The Expected Shortfall or Conditional Value-at-Risk (CVaR) has been playing the role of main risk measure in the recent years and paving the way for an enormous number of applications in risk management due to its very intuitive form and important coherence properties. This work aims to explore this measure as a probability-dependent utility functional, introducing an alternative view point for its Choquet Expected Utility representation. Within this point of view, its main preference properties will be characterized and its utility (...) representation provided through local utilities with an explicit dependence on the assessed revenue’s distribution (quantile) function. Then, an intuitive interpretation for the related probability dependence and the piecewise form of such utility will be introduced on an investment pricing context, in which a CVaR maximizer agent will behave in a relativistic way based on his previous estimates of the probability function. Finally, such functional will be extended to incorporate a larger range of risk-averse attitudes and its main properties and implications will be illustrated through examples, such as the so-called Allais Paradox. (shrink)
The dimension of spatial representations can be assessed by above-chance performance in novel shortcut or spatial reasoning tasks independent of accuracy levels, systematic biases, mosaic/segmentation across space, separate coding of individual dimensions, and reference frames. Based on this criterion, humans and some other animals exhibited sufficient evidence for the existence of three-dimensional and/or four-dimensional spatial representations.