Anthony Everett gives a philosophical defence of the common-sense view that there are no such things as fictional people, places, and things. He argues that our talk and thought about such fictional objects takes place within the scope of a pretense, and that we gain little but lose much by accepting fictional realism.
Recent research has relied on trolley-type sacrificial moral dilemmas to study utilitarian versus nonutili- tarian modes of moral decision-making. This research has generated important insights into people’s attitudes toward instrumental harm—that is, the sacrifice of an individual to save a greater number. But this approach also has serious limitations. Most notably, it ignores the positive, altruistic core of utilitarianism, which is characterized by impartial concern for the well-being of everyone, whether near or far. Here, we develop, refine, and validate a (...) new scale—the Oxford Utilitarianism Scale—to dissociate individual differences in the ‘negative’ (permissive attitude toward instrumental harm) and ‘positive’ (impartial concern for the greater good) dimensions of utilitarian thinking as manifested in the general population. We show that these are two independent dimensions of proto-utilitarian tendencies in the lay population, each exhibiting a distinct psychological profile. Empathic concern, identification with the whole of humanity, and concern for future generations were positively associated with impartial beneficence but negatively associated with instrumental harm; and although instrumental harm was associated with subclinical psychopathy, impartial beneficence was associated with higher religiosity. Importantly, although these two dimensions were independent in the lay population, they were closely associated in a sample of moral philosophers. Acknowledging this dissociation between the instrumental harm and impartial beneficence components of utilitarian thinking in ordinary people can clarify existing debates about the nature of moral psychology and its relation to moral philosophy as well as generate fruitful avenues for further research. (shrink)
In recent years a number of authors sympathetic to Referentialistaccounts of proper names have argued that utterances containingempty names express `gappy,' or incomplete, propositions. In this paper I want to take issue with this suggestion.In particular, I argue versions of this approach developedby David Braun, Nathan Salmon, Ken Taylor, and by Fred Adams,Gary Fuller, and Robert Stecker.
Background Doctors sometimes encounter parents who object to prescribed treatment for their children, and request suboptimal substitutes be administered instead. Previous studies have focused on parental refusal of treatment and when this should be permitted, but the ethics of requests for suboptimal treatment has not been explored. Methods The paper consists of two parts: an empirical analysis and an ethical analysis. We performed an online survey with a sample of the general public to assess respondents’ thresholds for acceptable harm and (...) expense resulting from parental choice, and the role that religion played in their judgement. We also identified and applied existing ethical frameworks to the case described in the survey to compare theoretical and empirical results. Results Two hundred and forty-two Mechanical Turk workers took our survey and there were 178 valid responses. Respondents’ agreement to provide treatment decreased as the risk or cost of the requested substitute increased. More than 50% of participants were prepared to provide treatment that would involve a small absolute increased risk of death for the child and a cost increase of US$<500, respectively. Religiously motivated requests were significantly more likely to be allowed. Existing ethical frameworks largely yielded ambiguous results for the case. There were clear inconsistencies between the theoretical and empirical results. Conclusion Drawing on both survey results and ethical analysis, we propose a potential model and thresholds for deciding about the permissibility of suboptimal treatment requests. (shrink)
Philosophers and theorists have long been puzzled by humans' ability to talk about things that do not exist, or to talk about things that they think exist but, in fact, do not. _Empty Names, Fiction, and the Puzzles of Non-Existence_ is a collection of 13 new works concerning the semantic and metaphysical issues arising from empty names, non-existence, and the nature of fiction. The contributors include some of the most important researchers working in these fields. Some of the papers develop (...) and defend new positions on these matters, while others offer important new perspectives and criticisms of the existing approaches. The volume contains a comprehensive introductory essay by the editors, which provides a survey of the philosophical issues concerning empty names, the various responses to these issues, and the literature on the subject to date. (shrink)
This paper extends the discussion of business ethics by examining the issue of corruption, its definition, the solutions being proposed for dealing with it, and the ethical perspectives underpinning these proposals. The paper’s findings are based on a review of association, think-tank, and academic reports, books, and papers dealing with the topic of corruption, as well as the pronouncements, websites, and position papers of a number of important global organizations active in the fight. These organizations include the World Bank, the (...) International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Transparency International, USAID, the United Nations, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Organization of American States, and the Council of Europe. Our discussion departs from prior analyses by adopting a Foucaultian theoretical framing and by incorporating insights found in the virtue ethics literature. Implications are provided for international business organizations. (shrink)
I argue for the existence of intrinsic Finks, Masks, and Mimics, and argue that these undermine certain recent attempts to revive simple conditional analyses of dispositions. I present some examples of intrinsic Finks, Masks, and Mimics, and argue that the example of an intrinsic fink I present has certain advantages over the examples of intrinsic finks recently suggested by Randolph Clarke. I conclude that the existence of such Finks, Masks, and Mimics, undermine a recent attempt by Sungho Choi to distinguish (...) dispositional properties from categorical properties. (shrink)
There has recently been considerable interest in accounts of fiction which treat fictional characters as abstract objects. In this paper I argue against this view. More precisely I argue that such accounts are unable to accommodate our intuitions that fictional negative existentials such as “Raskolnikov doesn’t exist” are true. I offer a general argument to this effect and then consider, but reject, some of the accounts of fictional negative existentials offered by abstract object theorists. I then note that some of (...) the sort of data invoked by the abstract object theorist in fact cuts against her position. I concludle that we should not regard fictional characters as abstract objects but rather should adopt a make-believe theoretic account of fictional characters along the lines of those developed by Ken Walton and others. (shrink)
Why are we conscious? What does consciousness enable us to do that cannot be done by zombies in the dark? This paper argues that introspective consciousness probably co-evolved as a "spandrel" along with our more useful ability to represent the mental states of other people. The first part of the paper defines and motivates a conception of consciousness as a kind of "double vision" – the perception of how things seem to us as well as what they are – along (...) lines recently explored by Peter Carruthers. The second part explains the basic socioepistemic function of consciousness and suggests an evolutionary pathway to this cognitive capacity that begins with predators and prey. The third part discusses the relevance of these considerations to the traditional problem of other minds. (shrink)
Little is known with regard to the precise cognitive tools the self uses in acquiring and processing information about itself. In this article, we underline the possibility that inner speech might just represent one such cognitive process. Duval and Wicklund’s theory of self-awareness and the selfconsciousness, and self-knowledge body of work that was inspired by it are reviewed, and the suggestion is put forward that inner speech parallels the state of self-awareness, is more frequently used among highly self-conscious persons, and (...) represents an effective, if not indispensable, tool involved in the formation of the self-concept. The possibility is also raised that the extent to which one uses inner speech could partially explain individual differences in self-consciousness and self-knowledge. A selective review of the private and inner speech literature is presented, and some possible ways of testing the hypothesis by using pre-existing techniques are proposed in the hope of stimulating empirical investigations. Some implications are outlined in conclusion. (shrink)
David Sosa, Michael Nelson, and Jason Stanley have recently offered a series of interesting and provocative challenges to Kripke's modal arguments against Descriptivism. In this paper I explore these challenges and some of the issues to which they give rise. I argue that, in the end, all three challenges fail.
This article examines four leading multi-stakeholder labour monitoring organizations. All operating in the maquiladora industry, these organizations are viewed in light of the growing global trend toward industry self-regulation, or what has been referred to as the 'global out-sourcing of regulation'. Their Board compositions, codes of conduct and monitoring and enforcement strategies are all examined as a means of tentatively positioning these organizations along an 'egoist-instrumentalist-moralist' ethical culture continuum. Such a framing provides insights into the perceived salience of these organizations' (...) broader stakeholders, the effectiveness of codes of conduct on workplace practices more generally, and the role that ethics plays in the governance and accountability of these increasingly important types of organizations. (shrink)
Jonathan Berg’s insightful and lucid book Direct Belief develops a pragmatic account of our intuitions about Frege-cases. More precisely Berg argues that our practice of belief-reporting normally exhibits certain regularities. He argues that utterances of belief reports typically conversationally implicate that the reports adhere to these regularities. And he uses these implicatures to explain our intuitions about Frege-cases. I explore and unpack Berg’s pragmatic account, considering and offering responses to three natural worries that might be raised. In particular, I respond (...) to the objection that the regularities Berg invokes cannot generate the conversational implicatures he claims. I respond to the objection that the regularities Berg invokes do not, in fact, obtain. And I respond to the worry that Berg cannot explain how these regularities might arise in the first place. (shrink)
Gini coefficients, which measure gross inequalities rather than their unfair components, are often used as proxy measures of absolute or relative distributive injustice in Western societies. This presupposes that the fair inequalities in these societies are small and stable enough to be ignored. This article presents a model for a series of ideal, perfectly just societies, where comfortable lives are equally available to everyone, and calculates the Gini coefficients for each. According to this model, inequalities produced by age and other (...) demographic factors, together with reasonable choices under equal opportunity, can raise the Gini coefficients for perfectly just societies to levels at least as high as those of any current Western country, and can as easily account for differences in Gini coefficients between such societies or within one such society over time. If Gini coefficients at these levels are possible for ideal societies without distributive injustice, then they should not be used as proxy measures of distributive injustice in real societies. (shrink)
In a number of places Mark Sainsbury has recently developed an attractive irrealist account of fiction and intentionality, on which there are no fictional objects or exotic intentional entities. A central component of his account is an ambitious argument, which aims to establish that the truth of intensional transitives such as “I think about Holmes” and “Alexander feared Zeus” does not require the existence of fictional or intentional objects. It would be good news indeed for the irrealist if Sainsbury’s argument (...) worked. However, I argue that Sainsbury’s argument fails. I conclude by considering how Sainsbury’s irrealist might explain our intuitions about such sentences, drawing upon another component of Sainsbury’s irrealism. (shrink)
This paper presents a new solution to the problem of peer disagreement that distinguishes two principles of rational belief, here called probability and autonomy. When we discover that we disagree with peers, there is one sense in which we rationally ought to suspend belief, and another in which we rationally ought to retain our original belief. In the first sense, we aim to believe what is most probably true according to our total evidence, including testimony from peers and authorities. In (...) the second, we aim to base our beliefs only on objective evidence and argumentation, even if that lowers the probability of their being true. The first principle of rational belief tends to serve the short-term epistemic interests of individuals, while the second tends to serve the long-term epistemic interests of both individuals and groups. The best way to reconcile these principles in cases of peer disagreement is to associate them with two corresponding species of belief, here called perception and opinion. (shrink)
This study responds to suggestions that business-school faculty are promoting distorted views of human nature and out-dated notions of ethics. Specifically, the paper examines in-depth interviews with a sample of 15 faculty centrally-positioned within the field’s symbolic market, namely, academics who completed their Ph.D. programs in the same institutional space as the editors of five top accounting journals. The paper finds that ethics are for the most part important to these individuals, but that the field’s general adherence to the neoclassical (...) economic model creates pressures that militate against a deeper concern for and more adequate treatment of the topic. (shrink)
: Many environmentalists criticize as unecological the emphasis that animal liberationists and animal rights theorists place on preventing animal suffering. The strong form of their objection holds that both theories ab-surdly entail a duty to intervene in wild predation. The weak form holds that animal welfarists must at least regard predation as bad, and that this stance reflects an arrogance toward nature that true environmentalists should reject. This paper disputes both versions of the predation critique. Animal welfarists are not committed (...) to protecting the rabbit from the fox, nor do their principles implicitly deprecate nature. (shrink)
While rooted in careful study of Mead’s original writings and transcribed lectures and the historical context in which that work was carried out, the papers in this volume have brought Mead’s work to bear on contemporary issues in metaphysics, epistemology, cognitive science, and social and political philosophy.
Confucian ethics play a pivotal role in guiding Chinese thinking and behaviour. Aesthetic leadership is emerging as a promising paradigm in leadership studies. This study investigates the practice of aesthetic leadership in Chinese organizations on the basis of Chinese philosophical foundations. We adopt a process perspective to access the aesthetic constellation of meanings present in the Chinese understanding of leadership, linking normative Confucian values to a pragmatic value rational world view, that rests on an ontology of vaguely defined norms that (...) are malleable to different cultural contexts. Value rational pragmatism is explored in order to develop a deeper understanding of normative aesthetic leadership in China and to contrast it to instrumental aesthetic leadership. We empirically demonstrate the contextual specificity of aesthetic leadership in eight Chinese private- and state-owned enterprises (POEs and SOEs) through qualitative case studies. The findings provide a deeper insight into Chinese aesthetic leadership by proposing a dynamic leadership approach, from both ethical and instrumental perspectives, in the Chinese context. (shrink)
Ce texte propose une définition de la conscience de soi et explique en quoi cette capacité naît du monde social. Il est postulé que ce dernier permet un mouvement de recul - une «distanciation » - par rapport à soi, et que le cerveau reproduit ce mouvement grâce à certains processus cognitifs qui en ont été imprimés. Parmi ceux-ci, on retrouve le langage intérieur, qui, par analogie, agirait comme un miroir interne capable de confronter l'expérience subjective à elle-même; de cette (...) confrontation naîtrait le soi. Un argument est présenté en faveur de la supériorité du langage intérieur sur d'autres processus cognitifs impliqués dans la conscience de soi. Le problème de la conscience de soi chez les primates est abordé, et l'article conclut sur diverses réflexions ayant trait à la schizophrénie, la prière, la méditation, et les drogues psychodysleptiques.This text proposes a definition of self-awareness and explains its social origin. It is postulated that the social milieu permits a movement to a more objective perspective for self- perception, and that this movement is then reproduced in the brain by specific cognitive processes. It is suggested that inner speech represents one such cognitive processes, which acts like a mirror to reflect subjective experience back upon itself-, the self would be generated by this reflective activity. It is argued that inner speech has a pre-eminent position among the cognitive processes implicated in self-awareness. The problem of self-awareness in primates is discussed, and the article concludes with ideas concerning schizophrenia, prayer, medi- tation, and psychodysleptic drugs. (shrink)
In this paper I present two arguments against the thesis that we experience qualia. I argue that if we experienced qualia then these qualia would have to be essentially vague entities. And I then offer two arguments, one a reworking of Gareth Evans' argument against the possibility of vague objects, the other a reworking of the Sorites argument, to show that no such essentially vague entities can exist. I consider various objections but argue that ultimately they all fail. In particular (...) I claim that the stock responses to the Sorites argument fail against my reworking of the argument because they require us to make a distinction between a determinate reality and how that reality appears to us, whereas in the case of qualia we can make no such distinction. I conclude that there can be no such things as qualia. (shrink)
There are things of which it is true to say that there are no such things. How can we resolve this paradox? Panayot Butchvarov argues that there are objects of reference that are not also entities, where the former must merely be thinkable but the latter must be indefinitely re-identifiable. This paper argues that fictional and many other unreal objects are indeed indefinitely re-identifiable, so they must be counted as existing things on Butchvarov's theory. The paradox is best resolved by (...) distinguishing among domains of existence: Sherlock Holmes exists in the unrestricted domain of objects and in the fictional domain created by Conan Doyle, but not in the domain of the real world. Thus to exist and to be real are different things; all objects exist in some domain, but only real objects really exist. (shrink)
Why is science so rare and faith so common in human history? Traditional cultures persist because it is subjectively rational for each maturing child to defer to the unanimous beliefs of his elders, regardless of any personal doubts. Science is possible only when individuals promote new theories (which will probably be proven false) and forgo the epistemic advantages of accepting established views (which are more likely to be true). Hence, progressive science must rely upon the epistemic altruism of experimental thinkers, (...) while traditions of faith depend on the epistemic self-interest of their followers. (shrink)
When you and I seriously argue over whether a man of seventy is old enough to count as an "old man", it seems that we are appealing neither to our own separate standards of oldness nor to a common standard that is already fixed in the language. Instead, it seems that both of us implicitly invoke an ideal, shared standard that has yet to be agreed upon: the place where we ought to draw the line. As with other normative standards, (...) it is hard to know whether such borderlines exist prior to our coming to agree on where they are. But epistemicists plausibly argue that they must exist whether we ever agree on them or not, as this provides the only logically acceptable response to the sorites paradox. This paper argues that such boundaries do typically exist as hypothetical ideals, but not as determinate features of the present actual world. There is in fact no general solution to the paradox, but attention to practice in resolving vague disagreements shows that its instances can be dealt with separately, as they arise, in many reasonable ways. (shrink)
This article provide an intuitive semantic account of a new logic for comparisons (CL), in which atomic statements are assigned both a classical truth-value and a “how much” value or extension in the range [0, 1]. The truth-value of each comparison is determined by the extensions of its component sentences; the truth-value of each atomic depends on whether its extension matches a separate standard for its predicate; everything else is computed classically. CL is less radical than Casari’s comparative logics, in (...) that it does not allow for the formation of comparative statements out of truth-functional molecules. It is argued that CL provides a better analysis of predicate vagueness than classical logic, fuzzy logic or supervaluation theory. (shrink)
Research has shown that men and women are similar in their capabilities and management competence; however, there appears to be a glass ceiling which poses invisible barriers to their promotion to management positions. One explanation for the existence of these barriers lies in stereotyped, biased attitudes toward women in executive positions. This study supports earlier findings that attitudes of men toward women in executive positions are generally negative, while the attitudes of women are generally positive. Additionally, we found that an (...) individual's level of cognitive moral development correlates significantly with attitudes toward women executives. Limitations of the present study and implications for ethics and diversity training in organizations are discussed. (shrink)
In this paper I provide some formal schemas for the analysis of vague predicates in terms of a set of semantic relations other than classical synonymy, including weak synonymy (as between "large" and "huge"), antonymy (as between "large" and "small"), relativity (as between "large" and "large for a dog"), and a kind of supervenience (as between "large" and "wide" or "long"). All of these relations are representable in the simple comparative logic CL, in accordance with the basic formula: the more (...) something is F, the more (or less) it is G. I use Carnapian meaning postulates to define these relations as constraints on interpretations of the formal language of CL. (shrink)
Background Physicians face competing values of truth-telling and beneficence when deception may be employed in patient care. The purposes of this study were to assess resident physicians' attitudes towards lying, explore lie types and reported reasons for lying. Method After obtaining institutional review board review (OSR# 58013) and receiving exempt status, posts written by Loma Linda University resident physicians in response to forum questions in required online courses were collected from 2002 to 2007. Responses were blinded and manually coded by (...) two investigators using NVivo software. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of the data were performed with links to various attributes. A 95% binomial proportion CI was used to analyse the attribute data. Results The study found that the majority of residents (90.3%) would disclose the truth about medical errors. Similarly, many residents (55.7%) would disclose the truth regarding unanticipated events, especially if the error was serious enough to result in a malpractice suit (74.7%). However, many residents (40.9%) would not reveal a near miss event because they believe it has no impact on patient health. Some residents (47.3%) would deceive the insurance company for additional patient benefits. Of those willing to lie, only a small group (4.2%) gave self-serving reasons. Conclusions This study demonstrates that the ethical issues related to deception that trouble attending physicians also exist at the resident physician level. Residents primarily lie for altruistic reasons and rarely for egoistic or self-serving purposes that may or may not result in harm to patients, insurance companies and/or physicians themselves. (shrink)
Many environmentalists criticize as unecological the emphasis that animal liberationists and animal rights theorists place on preventing animal suffering. The strong form of their objection holds that both theories absurdly entail a duty to intervene in wild predation. The weak form holds that animal welfarists must at least regard predation as bad, and that this stance reflects an arrogance toward nature that true environmentalists should reject. This paper disputes both versions of the predation critique. Animal welfarists are not committed to (...) protecting the rabbit from the fox, nor do their principles implicitly deprecate nature. (shrink)
Solipsism can be refuted along fairly traditional, internalist lines, by means of a second-order induction. We are justified in believing in other minds, because other people tell us that they have minds, and we have good inductive reason to believe that whatever certain others say is likely to be true. This simple argument is sound, the author argues, even though we are in no prior position to believe that other thinking people exist as such, or that the sounds they make (...) have any meaning. The mere phenomenal surfaces of others' statements form sufficient grounds for the induction that the argument requires. (shrink)
Although nurses in almost every long-term care facility face daily challenges involving issues related to residents' sexual lives, guidelines for ethically supporting sexual activity are rare and inadequate. A decision-making framework was developed to guide care providers in responding to the sexual expression of residents in long-term care. The framework recommends that nurses should weigh the documented substantial benefits of having a sexual life against harm to the resident and others, and against offence to others. This article illustrates the use (...) of this ethical decision-making framework by using the example of nurses supporting a resident's expression of his sexuality. It is suggested that nurses use this framework to guide their practice when related ethical issues arise. (shrink)