The paper examines the connection between identity crisis and Charles Taylor’s concept of strong evaluation. The latter is construed as one of the fundamental characteristics of human identity. It is argued that in the absence the ability of strong evaluation a specific form of identity crisis occurs. The main objective of the paper is to show the necessity of strong evaluation for “healthy identity” and for human capability “to cure” the identity already in crisis.
Ideas about heredity and evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. New findings in molecular biology challenge the gene-centered version of Darwinian theory according to which adaptation occurs only through natural selection of chance DNA variations. In Evolution in Four Dimensions, Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb argue that there is more to heredity than genes. They trace four "dimensions" in evolution -- four inheritance systems that play a role in evolution: genetic, epigenetic, behavioral, and symbolic. These systems, they argue, can all (...) provide variations on which natural selection can act. Evolution in Four Dimensions offers a richer, more complex view of evolution than the gene-based, one-dimensional view held by many today. The new synthesis advanced by Jablonka and Lamb makes clear that induced and acquired changes also play a role in evolution.After discussing each of the four inheritance systems in detail, Jablonka and Lamb "put Humpty Dumpty together again" by showing how all of these systems interact. They consider how each may have originated and guided evolutionary history and they discuss the social and philosophical implications of the four-dimensional view of evolution. Each chapter ends with a dialogue in which the authors engage the contrarieties of the fictional "I.M.," or Ifcha Mistabra -- Aramaic for "the opposite conjecture" -- refining their arguments against I.M.'s vigorous counterarguments. The lucid and accessible text is accompanied by artist-physician Anna Zeligowski's lively drawings, which humorously and effectively illustrate the authors' points. (shrink)
The author defends nonconceptualism, the claim that perceptual experience is nonconceptual and has nonconceptual content. Continuing the heated and complex debate surrounding this topic over the past two decades, she offers a sustained defense of a novel version of the view, Modest Nonconceptualism, and provides a systematic overview of some of the central controversies in the debate. -/- An explication of the notion of nonconceptual content and a distinction between nonconceptualist views of different strengths starts off the volume, then the (...) author goes on to defend participants in the debate over nonconceptual content against the allegation that their failure to distinguish between a state view and a content view of (non)conceptualism leads to fatal problems for their views. Next, she makes a case for nonconceptualism by refining some of the central arguments for the view, such as the arguments from fineness of grain, from contradictory contents, from animal and infant perception, and from concept acquisition. Then, two central objections against nonconceptualism are rebutted in a novel way: the epistemological objection and the objection from objectivity. -/- Modest Nonconceptualism allows for perceptual experiences to involve some conceptual elements. It emphasizes the relevance of concept employment for an understanding of conceptual and nonconceptual mental states and identifies the nonconceptual content of experience with scenario content. It insists on the possibility of genuine content-bearing perceptual experience without concept possession and is thus in line with the Autonomy Thesis. Finally, it includes an account of perceptual justification that relies on the external contents of experience and belief, yet is compatible with epistemological internalism. -/- . (shrink)
A key feature of facial behavior is its dynamic quality. However, most previous research has been limited to the use of static images of prototypical expressive patterns. This article explores the role of facial dynamics in the perception of emotions, reviewing relevant empirical evidence demonstrating that dynamic information improves coherence in the identification of affect (particularly for degraded and subtle stimuli), leads to higher emotion judgments (i.e., intensity and arousal), and helps to differentiate between genuine and fake expressions. The findings (...) underline that using static expressions not only poses problems of ecological validity, but also limits our understanding of what facial activity does. Implications for future research on facial activity, particularly for social neuroscience and affective computing, are discussed. (shrink)
Suppositions can be introduced in either the indicative or subjunctive mood. The introduction of either type of supposition initiates judgments that may be either qualitative, binary judgments about whether a given proposition is acceptable or quantitative, numerical ones about how acceptable it is. As such, accounts of qualitative/quantitative judgment under indicative/subjunctive supposition have been developed in the literature. We explore these four different types of theories by systematically explicating the relationships canonical representatives of each. Our representative qualitative accounts of indicative (...) and subjunctive supposition are based on the belief change operations provided by AGM revision and KM update respectively; our representative quantitative ones are offered by conditionalization and imaging. This choice is motivated by the familiar approach of understanding supposition as `provisional belief revision' wherein one temporarily treats the supposition as true and forms judgments by making appropriate changes to their other opinions. To compare the numerical judgments recommended by the quantitative theories with the binary ones recommended by the qualitative accounts, we rely on a suitably adapted version of the Lockean thesis. Ultimately, we establish a number of new results that we interpret as vindicating the often-repeated claim that conditionalization is a probabilistic version of revision, while imaging is a probabilistic version of update. (shrink)
'...a challenging and useful book, both because it provokes a careful scrutiny of one's own basic ideas regarding evolutionary theory, and because it cuts across so many biological disciplines.' -The Quarterly Review of Biology 'In my view, this work exemplifies Theoretical Biology at its best...here is rampant speculation that is consistently based on cautious reasoning from the available data. Even more refreshing is the absence of sloganeering, grandstanding, and 'isms'.' -Biology and Philosophy 'Epigenetics is fundamental to understanding both development and (...) gene expression, and not surprisingly, evolutionary biologists have long been fascinated with its proper place in evolutionary theory...Enter Jablonka and Lamb, who provide a thoughtful review of the recent molecular literature and suggest a number of potential consequences.' -EvolutionSince first publication of this controversial book, much of the initial opposition to the ideas it contained has been replaced by a general, although often grudging, acceptance of them. Advances in knowledge, especially at the molecular level, have enhanced general awareness and interest in epigenetics and the evolution of systems that store and transmit information and put any of the authors' speculations on a more solid basis. This paperback edition contains a new Preface that sets out the major changes in the scientific world and in the authors' own thinking that have occurred since the book was published. A new Appendix provides a selected bibliography of the many books and articles about epigenetic inheritance and its role in evolution that have appeared since first publication. (shrink)
The semantic concept of information is one of the most important, and one of the most problematical concepts in biology. I suggest a broad definition of biological information: a source becomes an informational input when an interpreting receiver can react to the form of the source (and variations in this form) in a functional manner. The definition accommodates information stemming from environmental cues as well as from evolved signals, and calls for a comparison between information‐transmission in different types of inheritance (...) systems—the genetic, the epigenetic, the behavioral, and the cultural‐symbolic. This comparative perspective highlights the different ways in which information is acquired and transmitted, and the role that such information plays in heredity and evolution. Focusing on the special properties of the transfer of information, which are very different from those associated with the transfer of materials or energy, also helps to uncover interesting evolutionary effects and suggests better explanations for some aspects of the evolution of communication. (shrink)
Socially responsible business and ethical behaviour of companies have been of interest to academia and practice for decades. But the focus has almost exclusively been on large corporations while small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) have not received as much attention. Thus, this paper focuses on socially responsible business practices of SME entrepreneurs or owner–managers in Germany. Based on the assumption that decision-makers in SMEs are the central point where all business activities start, members of a German entrepreneurs association were approached (...) in the course of a qualitative and quantitative survey. They were asked to assess in what way their social responsibility is expressed in specific management practices towards selected stakeholder groups. These practices in turn were assumed to result in perceived positive reactions of the respective stakeholders and subsequently to positively influence the firm's financial performance, i.e. cost reductions and increase in profits. In the paper, a research model is presented that elaborates the relationship between an SME executive's social responsibility and the value creation of a firm, i.e. whether (personal) values create (economic) value. It was found that socially responsible management practices towards employees, customers and to a lesser extent society have a positive impact on the firm and its performance. As such, values can create additional value. (shrink)
Temporal dynamics have been increasingly recognized as an important component of facial expressions. With the need for appropriate stimuli in research and application, a range of databases of dynamic facial stimuli has been developed. The present article reviews the existing corpora and describes the key dimensions and properties of the available sets. This includes a discussion of conceptual features in terms of thematic issues in dataset construction as well as practical features which are of applied interest to stimulus usage. To (...) identify the most influential sets, we further examine their citation rates and usage frequencies in existing studies. General limitations and implications for emotion research are noted and future directions for stimulus generation are outlined. (shrink)
Conscientious objection has spurred impassioned debate in many Western countries. Some Norwegian general practitioners (GPs) refuse to refer for abortion. Little is know about how the GPs carry out their refusals in practice, how they perceive their refusal to fit with their role as professionals, and how refusals impact patients. Empirical data can inform subsequent normative analysis.
Moral competence is important for soldiers who have to deal with complex moral dilemmas in practice. However, openly dealing with moral dilemmas and showing moral competence is not always easy within the culture of a military organization. In this article, based on analysis of experiences during a train the trainer course on military ethics, we will describe the tensions between military and personal values on the one hand and the challenges related to showing moral competence on the other hand. We (...) will explain these tensions and challenges by elaborating on various aspects of the military organization, such as being a soldier, group bonding, uniformity, hierarchy, lack of privacy and masculinity. Furthermore, we will demonstrate how moral competence can be addressed and fostered during the training by introducing specific interventions. (shrink)
In this article I examine the proposition that severe cognitive disability is an impediment to moral personhood. Moral personhood, as I understand it here, is articulated in the work of Jeff McMahan as that which confers a special moral status on a person. I rehearse the metaphysical arguments about the nature of personhood that ground McMahan’s claims regarding the moral status of the “congenitally severely mentally retarded” (CSMR for short). These claims, I argue, rest on the view that only intrinsic (...) psychological capacities are relevant to moral personhood: that is, that relational properties are generally not relevant. In addition, McMahan depends on an argument that species membership is irrelevant for moral consideration and a contention that privileging species membership is equivalent to a virulent nationalism (these will be discussed below). In consequence, the CSMR are excluded from moral personhood and their deaths are less significant as their killing is less wrong than that of persons. To throw doubt on McMahan’s conclusions about the moral status and wrongness of killing the CSMR I question the exclusive use of intrinsic properties in the metaphysics of personhood, the dismissal of the moral importance of species membership, and the example of virulent nationalism as an apt analogy. I also have a lot to say about McMahan’s empirical assumptions about the CSMR. (shrink)
In 2009, Tennie et al. proposed the theory of the Zone of Latent Solutions, defined as the range of behaviors an individual of a species can invent independently, i.e., which it can acquire without any form of social learning. By definition, species limited to their ZLS are unable to innovate and/or transmit behavioral traits outside their ZLS, i.e., they lack traits which go beyond the level of the individual—traits resulting from a gradual cultural evolution over successive transmission events [“cumulative culture”, (...) Boyd and Richerson ]. However, this does not exclude an influence of social learning on the population frequency of these behaviors: social learning can facilitate the acquisition of latent solutions and thus speed up and consolidate their spread within a population. Cultures—defined as behaviors at least influenced by social learning—are therefore still possible. Here, we elaborate on the ZLS account and relate it to the theories of Vygotsky who studied the role of social learning in human culture. We argue that the ZLS is a missing phylogenetic “baseline” of Vygotsky’s Zone of Actual Development. Vygotsky’s neglect of a need for a human “baseline ZAD” may have been due to his interpretation of Köhler’s work on great ape behaviors: Köhler used his observations on individual chimpanzees to draw conclusions about the chimpanzee species as a whole, stating that chimpanzees can only copy what they could have invented themselves, thus coming close to the ZLS concept. Vygotsky—studying the range of behaviors individuals could achieve independently—seemingly did not see that Köhler was suggesting a species “baseline”, upon which Vygotsky’s idea of an individual’s ZAD could develop. As a result, Vygotsky also did not see the need for a ZLS for his own study subjects: humans. Yet, there is no reason to assume that humans lack a ZLS, and in fact we present evidence for a human ZLS for tool-use behaviors. (shrink)
In his target article, Koonin discusses the insights into the evolution of bacterial genomes provided by the CRISPR-Cas system. This evolved defense system is based on intrinsic processes of genome engineering which, as he argues, enable Lamarckian inheritance. In this commentary I discuss some historical and conceptual issues that pertain to Koonin’s analysis of this aspect of the CRISPR-Cas system, extending and qualifying his discussion.
Ethical problems regularly arise during daily care in nursing homes. These include violation of patients' right to autonomy and to be treated with respect. The aim of this study was to investigate how caregivers emphasize daily dialogue and mutual reflection to reach moral alternatives in daily care. The data were collected by participant observation and interviews with seven caregivers in a Norwegian nursing home. A number of ethical problems linked to 10 patients were disclosed. Moral problems were revealed as the (...) caregivers acted in ways that they knew were against patients' interest. We used a theoretical interpretation according to Habermas' discourse ethics on the importance of dialogue when deciding moral courses of action for patients. This theory has four basic requirements: communicative competence, equality, self-determination, and openness about motives. (shrink)
A growing number of medical professionals claim a right of conscience, a right to refuse to perform any professional duty they deem immoral—and to do so with impunity. We argue that professionals do not have the unqualified right of conscience. At most they have a highly qualified right. We focus on the claims of pharmacists, since they are the professionals most commonly claiming this right.
The rediscovery in the mid-1970s of Ludwik Fleck's initially neglected monograph, Entstehung und Entwicklung einer Wissenschaftlichen Tatsache, published in 1935 and translated in 1979 as Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, has resulted in extensive, still ongoing, secondary writings, mainly within the humanities. Fleck has been interpreted as furthering a relativistic conception of science. Nowadays, he is often viewed as an important contributor to contemporary sociology of science and a forerunner to Thomas Kuhn. Fleck's account of the Wassermann reaction, (...) which forms the basis of his epistemology, has been praised as developed by a scientist well acquainted with the field in question. Because of the scarcity of available material on Fleck, however, the question of his sources has remained an unsolved issue. In the present article, an alternative reading is suggested. By focusing on the scientific content of the monograph, mainly neglected in the modern interpretations of Fleck, and on the so far overlooked sources of his writings traced back to their German origin, a better understanding of Fleck's account of the Wassermann reaction can be given. The consequences of this alternative reading for the conception of Fleck's monograph and for the impetus of his mission are discussed. (shrink)
This paper explores the possible impact of the recent legal developments on organizational whistleblowing on the autonomy and responsibility of whistleblowers. In the past thirty years numerous pieces of legislation have been passed to offer protection to whistleblowers from retaliation for disclosing organisational wrongdoing. An area that remains uncertain in relation to whistleblowing and its related policies in organisations, is whether these policies actually increase the individualisation of work, allowing employees to behave in accordance with their conscience and in line (...) with societal expectations or whether they are another management tool to control employees and protect organisations from them. The assumptions of whistleblower protection with regard to moral autonomy are examined in order to clarify the purpose of whistleblower protection at work. The two extreme positions in the discourse of whistleblowing are that whistleblowing legislation and policies either aim to enable individual responsibility and moral autonomy at work, or they aim to protect organisations by allowing them to control employees and make them liable for ethics at work. (shrink)
On 11 September 2019, the verdict was read in the first prosecution of a doctor for euthanasia since the Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide Act of 2002 was installed in the Netherlands. The case concerned euthanasia on the basis of an advance euthanasia directive for a patient with severe dementia. In this paper we describe the review process for euthanasia cases in the Netherlands. Then we describe the case in detail, the judgement of the Regional Review Committees (...) for Termination of Life on Request and Euthanasia and the judgement of the medical disciplinary court. Both the review committees and the disciplinary court came to the conclusion there were concerns with this case, which mainly hinged on the wording of the AED. They also addressed the lack of communication with the patient, the absence of oral confirmation of the wish to die and the fact that the euthanasia was performed without the patient being aware of this. However, the doctor was acquitted by the criminal court as the court found she had in fact met all due care criteria laid down in the act. We then describe what this judgement means for euthanasia in the Netherlands. It clarifies the power and reach of AEDs, it allows taking conversations with physicians and the testimony of the family into account when interpreting the AED. However, as a practical consequence the prosecution of this physician has led to fear among doctors about prosecution after euthanasia. (shrink)
According to the most important theories of justice, personal dignity is closely related to independence, and the care that people with disabilities receive is seen as a way for them to achieve the greatest possible autonomy. However, human beings are naturally subject to periods of dependency, and people without disabilities are only “temporarily abled.” Instead of seeing assistance as a limitation, we consider it to be a resource at the basis of a vision of society that is able to account (...) for inevitable dependency relationships between “unequals” ensuring a fulfilling life both for the carer and the cared for.**. (shrink)
As moral decision making in financial markets incorporates moral considerations into investment decisions, some rational decision theorists argue that moral considerations would introduce inefficiency to investment decisions. However, market demand for socially responsible investment is increasing, suggesting that investment decisions are influenced by both financial and moral considerations. Several models can be applied to explain moral behavior. We test the suitability of (a) multiple attribute utility theory (MAUT), (b) theory of planned behavior, and (c) issue-contingent model of ethical decision making (...) in organizations. In an experimental setting, 141 participants traded company shares in a computerized asset market. Over 12 periods, companies varied in morality (i.e., treatment of employees) and in profitability (i.e., expected dividends per share). Participants’ bids and asks for shares were recorded. Results indicate that moral considerations influence investment decisions, controlling for profit. Differences between the three models are discussed. (shrink)
Contrary to the widespread concern about over-treatment at the end of life, today, patient preferences for palliative care at the end of life are frequently respected. However, ethically challenging situations in the current healthcare climate are, instead, situations in which a competent patient requests active treatment with the goal of life-prolongation while the physician suggests best supportive care only. The argument of futility has often been used to justify unilateral decisions made by physicians to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment. However, (...) we argue that neither the concept of futility nor that of patient autonomy alone is apt for resolving situations in which physicians are confronted with patients' requests for active treatment. Instead, we integrate the relevant arguments that have been put forward in the academic discussion about ‘futile’ treatment into an ethical algorithm with five guiding questions: (1) Is there a chance that medical intervention will be effective in achieving the patient's treatment goal? (2) How does the physician evaluate the expected benefit and the potential harm of the treatment? (3) Does the patient understand his or her medical situation? (4) Does the patient prefer receiving treatment after evaluating the benefit-harm ratio and the costs? (5) Does the treatment require many resources? This algorithm shall facilitate approaching patients' requests for treatments deemed futile by the physician in a systematic way, and responding to these requests in an ethically appropriate manner. It thereby adds substantive considerations to the current procedural approaches of conflict resolution in order to improve decision making among physicians, patients and families. (shrink)
A caring approach to knowledge production has been portrayed as epistemologically radical, ethically vital and as fostering continuous responsibility between researchers and research-subjects. This article examines these arguments through focusing on the ambivalent role of care within the first large-scale experimental beagle colony, a self-professed ‘beagle utopia’ at the University of California, Davis. We argue that care was at the core of the beagle colony; the lived environment was re-shaped in response to animals ‘speaking back’ to researchers, and ‘love’ and (...) ‘kindness’ were important considerations during staff recruitment. Ultimately, however, we show that care relations were used to manufacture compliancy, preventing the predetermined ends of the experiment from being troubled. Rather than suggesting Davis would have been less ethically troubling, or more epistemologically radical, with ‘better’ care, however, we suggest the case troubles existing care theory and argue that greater attention needs to be paid to histories, contexts, and exclusions. (shrink)
In his theory of evolution, Darwin recognized that the conditions of life play a role in the generation of hereditary variations, as well as in their selection. However, as evolutionary theory was developed further, heredity became identified with genetics, and variation was seen in terms of combinations of randomly generated gene mutations. We argue that this view is now changing, because it is clear that a notion of hereditary variation that is based solely on randomly varying genes that are unaffected (...) by developmental conditions is an inadequate basis for evolutionary theories. Such a view not only fails to provide satisfying explanations of many evolutionary phenomena, it also makes assumptions that are not consistent with the data that are emerging from disciplines ranging from molecular biology to cultural studies. These data show that the genome is far more responsive to the environment than previously thought, and that not all transmissible variation is underlain by genetic differences. In Evolution in Four Dimensions (2005) we identify four types of inheritance (genetic, epigenetic, behavioral, and symbol-based), each of which can provide variations on which natural selection will act. Some of these variations arise in response to developmental conditions, so there are Lamarckian aspects to evolution. We argue that a better insight into evolutionary processes will result from recognizing that transmitted variations that are not based on DNA differences have played a role. This is particularly true for understanding the evolution of human behavior, where all four dimensions of heredity have been important. (shrink)
: Since its almost serendipitous rediscovery in the late seventies, Fleck's monograph, Entstehung und Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Tatsachee, initially published in 1935, translated into English in 1979 (Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact), has been met with increasing acclaim within the philosophy and the sociology of science. In historizing, sociologizing and relativizing science, Fleck is claimed to have expressed prescient views on the history, philosophy and sociology of science and in deeply influencing Kuhn. Though the neglect of Fleck by (...) his contemporaries has been difficult to account for, the basis of his epistemology has evoked little interest, partly due to the lack of apparent sources. Fleck's philosophical writings, published between 1927 and 1939, indicate, however, a polemic, deeply ingrained in an ongoing debate, on the standing of old established scientific disciplines versus new and emerging ones, occasioned by the rapid changes within the natural sciences. Most obvious to the lay community, and also reflected in the new positivist philosophy, were the revolutionary changes within physics. As a participant in the debate, eagerly striving for recognition, Fleck used modern physic heuristically as the basis of his epistemology. The tracing of his sources, and the voices of other contemporaneous scientists opposing his views, are attempted. (shrink)
6 and 14 recently proposed taxonomies that distinguish between four processing states, based on bottom-up stimulus strength and top-down attentional amplification. The aim of the present study was to empirically test these processing states using the priming paradigm. Our results showed that attention and stimulus strength significantly modulated priming effects: either receiving top-down attention or possessing sufficient bottom-up strength was a prerequisite for a stimulus to elicit priming. When both top-down attention and sufficient bottom-up strength were present, the priming effect (...) was boosted. The origins of the observed priming effects also varied between different processing states. We can conclude that our empirical study using the priming paradigm confirmed the presence of four processing states, which displayed a differential pattern of response priming effects and differential origins of the response priming effects. (shrink)
In the modern age, the political secret has acquired a bad reputation. With modern democracy’s ideal of transparency, political secrecy is identified with political crime or corruption. The article argues that this repression of secrecy in modern democracies falls short of a substantial understanding of the structure and workings of political secrecy. By outlining a genealogy of political secrecy, it elucidates the logic as well as the blind spots of a current culture of secrecy. It focuses on two fundamental logics (...) of secrecy, deduced from the Latin terms ‘ arcanum’ and ‘ secretum’. Whereas the logic of arcanum regards secrecy as a legitimate dimension of government, a modern logic of secretum is marked by an inextricable dialectics between the withdrawal and communication of knowledge, between secrecy and publicity. Here, the secret is not so much a piece of withheld knowledge as a ‘secrecy effect’ that binds the realm of secrecy to the public sphere by a dialectics of permanent suspicion and scandal. Instead of falling into the trap of this ‘secrecy effect’ it is worth taking a closer look at the tradition of thought on the arcana imperii, from Tacitus to early modern doctrines of raison d’état to Carl Schmitt. What this tradition deals with is the functionality of secrecy and its complicated relation to the law. The arcana tradition elaborates the crucial point of secrecy: its potential, but also its profound ambivalence. Secrecy opens up a discretionary space of action exempt from the rule of law, and, according to Carl Schmitt, ignores the law so as to allow it to become effective. Secrecy serves to protect and stabilize the state, but at the same time it opens a space of exception from the rule of law that breeds violence, corruption and oppression. Instead of seeing secrecy as the opposite of a political culture of transparency, it is more productive to regard secrecy as transparency's complement – a counterpart, however, that is marked by the profound paradox of being both a consolidation of and a threat to democracy. (shrink)