The aim of this paper is to revisit an ongoing controversy within the so called “Science Wars”; more specifically, I will address a particular topic within the “human nature” debate: the ontological and epistemological status of homosexuality. I claim that, in this particular chapter of the “Science Wars”, we are continually left in an explanatory impasse even when more data are collected, more rigorous experimental techniques are developed, more subtle arguments are offered and more pluralistic narratives are told. My diagnosis (...) of the source of this impasse leads me to the conclusion that here we are dealing with a structural problem that cannot be solved with an elaboration of new models and theories that maintain an on- tology and an epistemology that are no longer suited as an explanans of human nature in general, and homosexuality in particular. Nevertheless, my analysis of the structural features of the biological explanations and the constructivist counter-explanations also leads me to the belief that, although biologists do not fully understand the intricacies of subjects, neither constructivists understand the facticity of evolution and the challenge that it implies. If so, then the subject might be the right target of explanation. And, if so, constructivists might be right about the uniqueness of human homosexuality as a modern, western phenomenon explainable in terms of subjectivities and identities that mold and are molded by desires and institutions. But, if they are, evolution is not expendable because now we are facing a most intriguing question: How is that we humans became subjects? (shrink)
This paper addresses the general problem of how to rationally choose an algorithm for phylogenetic inference. Specifically, the controversy between maximum likelihood (ML) and maximum parsimony (MP) perspectives is reframed within the philosophical issue of theory choice. A Kuhnian approach in which rationality is bounded and value-laden is offered and construed through the notion of a Style of Modeling. A Style is divided into four stages: collecting remnant models, constructing models of taxonomical identity, implementing modeling algorithms, and finally inferring and (...) confirming evolutionary trees or cladograms. The identification and investigation of styles is useful for exploring sociological and epistemological issues such as individuating scientific communities and assessing the rationality of algorithm choice. Regarding the last point, this paper suggests that the values motivating ML and MP perspectives are justified but only contextually; these algorithms also have normative force because they can be therapeutic by allowing us to rationally choose among several competing trees, nonetheless this force is limited and cannot be used in order to decide the controversy tout court. (shrink)
En apéndice, se reproduce el programa completo del curso “Problemas éticos de la Filosofía de la Historia” dictado en 1939 por Guerrero en la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de Buenos Aires.
La fotografía que acompaña este dossier procede del acervo documental del Archivo General de la Nación y corresponde al curso “Problemática del trabajo en la Filosofía Moderna”, que Guerrero impartió en el Colegio Libre de Estudios Superiores en 1936. Fue reproducida en la revista Foro y Notariado de la ciudad de Bahía Blanca, ilustrando una nota que informaba del fallecimiento de Guerrero el 7 de febrero de 1957.
El tema de mi exposición aparece en la primera fila de un curso colectivo sobre la Revolución francesa. Pero debo comenzar declarando que no entraré, ni por un momento, en el análisis de ese conjunto extraordinario de acontecimientos históricos o en el estudio de sus causas y proyecciones. No es éste, por otra parte, un asunto de mi especialidad. Dentro del plan de nuestro curso colectivo, mi tarea es más modesta y aparece bien circunscripta. Me debo ocupar del sentido histórico (...) del siglo XVIII, para poder dilucidar si la voluntad revolucionaria de los hombres de 1789 proviene de la concepción de la vida histórica forjada por los pensadores de esa época o si, por el contrario, la niega o la transforma. En otras palabras, he de enfocar aquellos problemas que nos permitirán intentar, en último término, un análisis de las relaciones entre la conciencia histórica y la conciencia revolucionaria del siglo XVIII. (shrink)
This paper takes on several distinct but related tasks. First, I present and discuss what I will call the "Ignorance Thesis," which states that whenever an agent acts from ignorance, whether factual or moral, she is culpable for the act only if she is culpable for the ignorance from which she acts. Second, I offer a counterexample to the Ignorance Thesis, an example that applies most directly to the part I call the "Moral Ignorance Thesis." Third, I argue for a (...) principle--Don't Know, Don't Kill--that supports the view that the purported counterexample actually is a counterexample. Finally, I suggest that my arguments in this direction can supply a novel sort of argument against many instances of killing and eating certain sorts of animals. (shrink)
It is widely accepted that electoral representative democracy is better—along a number of different normative dimensions—than any other alternative lawmaking political arrangement. It is not typically seen as much of a competition: it is also widely accepted that the only legitimate alternative to electoral representative democracy is some form of direct democracy, but direct democracy—we are told—would lead to bad policy. This article makes the case that there is a legitimate alternative system—one that uses lotteries, not elections, to select political (...) officials— that would be better than electoral representative democracy. (shrink)
The interdisciplinary field of neurorobotics looks to neuroscience to overcome the limitations of modern robotics technology, to robotics to advance our understanding of the neural system’s inner workings, and to information technology to develop tools that support those complementary endeavours. The development of these technologies is still at an early stage, which makes them an ideal candidate for proactive and anticipatory ethical reflection. This article explains the current state of neurorobotics development within the Human Brain Project, originating from a close (...) collaboration between the scientific and technical experts who drive neurorobotics innovation, and the humanities and social sciences scholars who provide contextualising and reflective capabilities. This article discusses some of the ethical issues which can reasonably be expected. On this basis, the article explores possible gaps identified within this collaborative, ethical reflection that calls for attention to ensure that the development of neurorobotics is ethically sound and socially acceptable and desirable. (shrink)
This paper examines the most influential naturalist theory of health, Christopher Boorse’s ‘biostatistical theory’ . I argue that the BST is an unsuitable candidate for the rôle that Boorse has cast it to play, namely, to underpin medicine with a theoretical, value-free science of health and disease. Following the literature, I distinguish between “real” changes and “mere Cambridge changes” in terms of the difference between an individual’s intrinsic and relational properties and argue that the framework of the BST essentially implies (...) a Cambridge-change criterion. The examination reveals that this implicit criterion commits the BST to the troubling view that an individual could go from being diseased to healthy, or vice versa, without any physiological change in that individual. Two problems follow: the current framework of the BST is ill-equipped to formally embrace Cambridge changes and it is theoretically dubious. The arguments advanced here are not limited to the BST; I suggest they extend to any naturalist claim to underpin medical practice with a value-free theory of health and disease defined in terms of an evolutionary view of biological fitness. (shrink)
This paper connects the question of the rationality of voting to the question of what it is morally permissible for elected representatives to do. In particular, the paper argues that it is rational to vote to increase the strength of the manifest normative mandate of one's favored candidate. I argue that, due to norms of political legitimacy, how representatives ought to act while in office is tied to how much support they have from their constituents, where a representative’s “support” is (...) a function of the percentage of adults living in the political jurisdiction who voted for her. In a representative system, whether a particular law or policy is legitimate is in part a function of how much support the particular representative government has, rather than simply being a function of the governmental structure or the normative content of the law or policy. Representatives with more support can permissibly act more like trustees (doing what they think is best) and less like delegates (doing what their constituents presently prefer). I argue that this fact provides a reason for individuals to vote, even given the incredibly small chance an individual voter has of casting a pivotal vote. (shrink)
There has been a great deal of philosophical discussion about using people, using people intentionally, using people as a means to some end, and using people merely as a means to some end. In this paper, I defend the following claim about using people: NOT ALWAYS WRONG: using people—even merely as a means—is not always morally objectionable. Having defended that claim, I suggest that the following claim is also correct: NO ONE FEATURE: when it is morally objectionable to use people, (...) this is for many different kinds of reasons—there is no one wrong-making feature that every morally objectionable using has in common. After discussing these claims, I use them to present and motivate what I call the “precaution” theory of norms against using people. I conclude by considering a few cases from the criminal law context—cases that are naturally described as using people—to assess the moral appropriateness of this kind of use in these cases, and to demonstrate how the theory applies to the real world. (shrink)
In ‘Excusing Mistakes of Law’, Gideon Yaffe sets out to ‘vindicate’ the claim ‘that mistakes of law never excuse’ by ‘identifying the truth that is groped for but not grasped by those who assert that ignorance of law is no excuse’. Yaffe does not offer a defence of the claim that mistakes of law never excuse. That claim, Yaffe argues, is false. Yaffe’s article is, rather, an effort to assess what plausible thought might be behind the idea that mistakes of (...) law often should not excuse. (Yaffe is interested in more than just the descriptive claim that in Anglo-American legal jurisdictions mistakes of law routinely do not, in fact, excuse.) More particularly, Yaffe is interested in what plausible normative justification there might be for this asymmetric pattern: -/- Asymmetry: False beliefs about non-legal facts often excuse, but false beliefs about the law rarely excuse. -/- Yaffe offers a complex argument in support of Asymmetry. This paper is organised around my reconstruction of Yaffe’s argument. I argue that Yaffe’s argument does not succeed, but that his argument provides a template for an argument that could succeed. (shrink)
Although the individual mandate was upheld and the Commerce Clause may have been cabined, the decision to strike down a significant element of the “Medicaid expansion” may prove to be the most significant aspect of the Supreme Court’s decision in NFIB v. Sebelius. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), States were required to extend Medicaid coverage to all individuals under the age of 65 with incomes below 133 percent of the poverty line, a new “essential health benefits” package was required (...) for all new Medicaid recipients, and the increased costs due to the expansion would be entirely covered by the Federal government through 2016, with the Federal payment gradually decreasing to a minimum of 90 percent of the total cost from the expanded coverage. The element found to be unconstitutional was §1396c of the ACA, which permitted the withdrawal of all Federal Medicaid funds from those States that did not comply with the ACA’s requirements for Medicaid expansion. The effect on access to health care may be significant: roughly half of those expected to gain coverage under the ACA were going to gain it through the Medicaid expansion; it is unclear how many States will choose to opt into that expansion in the absence of §1396c.1 Additionally, the argument offered by the Court to strike down that provision might be used to attack other federal programs—concerning transportation, social services, environmental protection, and others—that have a similar structure. This paper will demonstrate that the argument rests on a theoretical mistake concerning the relationships between coercion, compulsion, and political accountability and that, further, this mistake is not one legally forced upon the Court. (shrink)
Even good lawyers get a bad rap. One explanation for this is that the professional rules governing lawyers permit and even require behavior that strikes many as immoral. The standard accounts of legal ethics that seek to defend these professional rules do little to dispel this air of immorality. The revisionary accounts of legal ethics that criticize the professional rules inject a hearty dose of morality, but at the cost of leaving lawyers unrecognizable as lawyers. This article suggests that the (...) problem with both the professional rules and the extant accounts of legal ethics is that they treat the role of lawyer as largely uniform, whereas lawyers actually serve several importantly different roles in different contexts. The central insight of the article is that legal ethics must be fundamentally context-sensitive: what lawyers are morally permitted or required to do depends on the background context in which they are working. Additionally, by taking context into account, this article is the first to present a theory of legal ethics as appropriately shaped and constrained by normative political philosophy and norms of political legitimacy. -/- Specifically, the article argues that people act as lawyers in three different contexts: State v. Individual (situations in which the State seeks to apply some general law to a particular individual), Individual v. Individual (situations in which private individuals are engaged in a dispute), and Individual v. State (situations in which individuals object to State conduct on constitutional or other grounds unrelated to the question of whether a general law applies to their particular case); that the value of lawyers, qua lawyers, stems from a different source in each of these contexts; and that a theory of legal ethics must take into account both of these first two claims. This article develops one such theory - the Multi-Context View. To demonstrate how the theory applies in practice, the article applies the Multi-Context View to two significant issues in legal ethics: the ethical issues involved in deciding whether to represent a client and the moral permissibility of the use of tactical delay. (shrink)
The first book consecrated to logic, written by an andalusian author is Ibn Hazm’s Kitªb al-taqrÌb li-Êadd al-manðiq (“Introduction to definition of logic”). Where, the author seeks to adapt the logic to the simple language of the jurists. Here it is pointed out how this important treatise can depend on the logical school of Bagdad.
Tras una breve semblanza del autor y de su obra, se incluye la traducción de un pasaje del Libro de los animales en el que al-Yâhiz alude a la versión de una lengua a otra y se comentan algunas cuestiones planteadas por la moderna teoría de la traducción en relación al mismo.
In “Publicity and Measurement,” Marie Collins Swabey writes that “if democracy is not to be abandoned, some attempt must be made to devise ways in which what is of genuine public concern may be made to concern the public." Her article grapples with the problem of democratic governance in an age of policy complexity and voter ignorance, a problem that remains arguably the core problem of democracy today, with policy issues having become, if anything, substantially more complex. Unfortunately, despite the (...) prominence and extent of her work on this topic—including four articles in Ethics and a widely reviewed book— her contributions to political philosophy have been entirely lost. In this piece, I aim to highlight the continuing importance of the problem with which Swabey is grappling, and the distinctiveness, prescience, and continuing interest of her response to that problem. (shrink)
What follows is but the attempt to draw the lessons from the mystical and visionary text of Teresa of Ávila in order to consider today issues that concern us, questions that are asked of Aesthetics, and not only as theoretical discipline that theorises on the arts and considers the beautiful, but as a reflection on aísthesis, of sensitivity, of the sensitive edge exposed by a constituent relationship which installs the human in a world. Consideration, then, of the happening, of entering (...) the world, creative experience. This essay seeks to consider the relationship between the image and the body via the visionary discourse of the mystics, because their writings question and lend shape to a large number of formulae of thought that can help us better understand the questions facing us today. Let us imagine that the mystics made of their body a frontier or a support where what by definition has no place could take place. Place: part of space occupied by a body, the boundary of a containing object. This then is what is addressed here, a question of boundaries. (shrink)
How does age matter to moral responsibility and criminal liability? Almost no one thinks that a 3-year old is morally responsible for what she does. No one would think an 8-year old should be held criminally liable for engaging in illegal criminal action—even for something seriously harmful such as intentionally setting fire to a building or badly harming another child. Something else should happen, certainly, but not criminal prosecution and conviction and State punishment. And that’s true even if we might (...) start to think that the 8-year old can be morally responsible, or at least somewhat morally responsible, for what she does. Disagreement might start to enter in as the age increases. What do we think of a 12-year old? A 15-year old? A 17-year old? Gideon Yaffe’s excellent book, The Age of Culpability, is focused on the question of why children—for these purposes, all people under the chronological age of 18—should be given a break, legally speaking, and why this should be done categorically. Yaffe argues that the fact that no one under 18 is eligible to vote is a key part of the explanation. In this paper, I raise two objections to Yaffe’s account. In particular, I raise several questions about the details of Yaffe’s account regarding what it is to “have a say over the law” and the way in which this makes a difference to criminal culpability. (shrink)
El primer libro consagrado a la lógica escrito por un autor andalusí que se nos ha conservado es el Kitªb al-taqrÌb li-Êadd al-manðiq ("Aproximación a la definición de la lógica") del cordobés Ibn ¿azm (m.1063). En él, su autor pretende adecuar la lógica al lenguaje sencillo de los juristas. Aquí se señala cómo este importante escrito puede depender de la escuela lógica de Bagdad.
Una de las principales aportaciones del siglo XII fue lo que M.-D. Chenu llamó l'éveil de la conscience, que implicaba la afirmación de la subjetividad a través del conocimiento de sí mismo. Artífices de este "despertar" fueron Pedro Abelardo y San Bernardo.
Este trabajo parte de la noción filosófica de alteridad, que se puede complementar con las aportaciones de la teoría feminista y su reflexión sobre la diferencia sexual. Hay, al menos, tres aspectos del pensamiento feminista que interesa destacar a propósito de la alteridad: en primer lugar, la crítica a la construcción de lo femenino como alteridad con respecto a lo masculino; en segundo lugar, y de la mano del feminismo de la diferencia, es interesante reflexionar sobre las experiencias físicas y (...) simbólicas de la maternidad, que proporcionan un nuevo modelo de ‘alteridad irreductible’ y nuevos contenidos para una ética del cuidado; en tercer lugar, y partiendo de las consideraciones de Ricoeur sobre la dialéctica entre identidad y mismidad, la alteridad sexual puede ser reformulada como una construcción dinámica articulada a partir de la tensión entre las dimensiones discursivas y performativas. (shrink)
Las Mil y una noches es una colección de cuentos. En muchos de ellos se exponen saberes que se han ido elaborando en diversos pueblos a lo largo de la historia. Uno de ellos recoge la concepción que sobre el amor como tendencia hacia el saber creó y desarrolló la filosofía griega desde Platón. En este artículo se recuerda brevemente este proceso de construcción a través de la filosofía griega, el mundo cristiano y el islam medieval para esbozar finalmente el (...) cuento de las Mil y una noches. (shrink)
Love has been present in several manifestations in that Islamic thought has been expressed. Avicena wrote a Treatise on Love that has been considered as a mystic writing. An attentive reading of this work shows that its content is not mystic neither gnostic, but it rather agrees with the Avicenna’s philosophical doctrines exposed on other of his most important works. The content of that Treatise is described on this paper.
La obra de Aristóteles determinó el desarrollo de las más importantes líneas de la filosofía árabe. Su metafísica tuvo una enorme fortuna en el mundo islámico y dio lugar a una hermenéutica de sus principales doctrinas, en especial de la propia concepción de la metafísica como ciencia. Ofrezco aquí una lectura de las principales interpretaciones de la metafísica en el mundo árabe y particularmente de la de Averroes.
Many of the doctrines expounded by Alfonso de la Torre have found their inspiration in Maimonides’s Guide of the Perplexed and, indirectly, in some Arab authors. Mention must be made of the Maimonidean doctrine of prophecy and that of his predecessor the Arabic philosopher al-Fârâbî. It is also indicated that some of Avicenna’s works could have influenced both Maimonides and Alfonso.
This essay begins with a Native American women's perspective on Early Feminism which came about as a result of Euroamerican patriarchy in U. S. society. It is followed by the myth of "tribalism," regarding the language and laws of U. S. colonialism imposed upon Native American peoples and their respective cultures. This colonialism is well documented in Federal Indian law and public policy by the U. S. government, which includes the state as well as federal level. The paper proceeds to (...) compare and contrast these Native American women's experiences with pre-patriarchal and pre-colonialist times, in what can be conceptualized as "indigenous kinship" in traditional communalism; today, these Native American societies are called "tribal nations" in contrast to the Supreme Court Marshall Decision which labeled them "domestic dependent nations." This history up to the present state of affairs as it affects Native American women is contextualized as "patriarchal colonialism" and biocolonialism in genome research of indigenous peoples, since these marginalized women have had to contend with both hegemonies resulting in a sexualized and racialized mindset. The conclusion makes a statement on Native American women and Indigensim, both in theory and practice, which includes a native Feminist Spirituality in a transnational movement in these globalizing times. The term Indigensim is conceptualized in a postcolonialist context, as well as a perspective on Ecofeminism to challenge what can be called a "trickle down patriarchy" that marks male dominance in tribal politics. A final statement calls for "Native Womanism" in the context of sacred kinship traditions that gave women respect and authority in matrilineal descendency and matrifocal decision making for traditional gender egalitarianism. (shrink)
El amor ha estado presente en las diversas manifestaciones en que se ha expresado el pensamiento del Islam. Avicena escribió una Epístola sobre el amor, que ha sido considerada como un escrito místico. Una lectura atenta de esta obra muestra que su contenido no es místico ni gnóstico, sino que coincide con las doctrinas filosóficas avicenianas expuestas en otras de sus más importantes obras. Se describe aquí el contenido de esa Epístola.