Recently there has been a renewed interest in moral inquiry among American scholars in a variety of disciplines. This collection of accessible essays by scholars in philosophy, political theory, psychology, history, literary studies, sociology, religious studies, anthropology, and legal studies affords a view of the current state of moral inquiry in the American academy, and it offers fresh departures for ethically informed, interdisciplinary scholarship. Seeking neither to reduce values to facts nor facts to values, these essays aim to foster discussion (...) about inquiry and moral judgment, and demonstrate that moral inquiry need not be either dispassionate and value-free or moralistic and preachy. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Martin Hackl and I identified a variety of circumstances where scalar implicatures, questions, definite descriptions, and sentences with the focus particle only are absent or unacceptable (Fox and Hackl 2006, henceforth F&H). We argued that the relevant effect is one of maximization failure (MF): an application of a maximization operator to a set that cannot have the required maximal member. We derived MF from our hypothesis that the set of degrees relevant for the semantics of degree (...) constructions is always dense (the Universal Density of Measurement, UDM). The goal of this paper is to present an apparent shortcoming of F&H and to argue that it is overcome once certain consequences of the proposal are shown to follow from more general properties of MF. Specifically, the apparent problem comes from evidence that the core generalizations argued for in F&H extend to areas for which an account in terms of density is unavailable. Nevertheless, I will argue that the account could still be right. Certain dense sets contain "too many alternatives" for there to be a maximal member, thus leading to MF. But, there are other sets that lead to the same predicament. My goal will be to characterize a general signature of MF in the hope that it could be used to determine the identity of alternatives in areas where their identity is not clear on independent grounds. (shrink)
In 1986, philosopher-bioethicist Samuel Gorovitz published an essay entitled “Baiting Bioethics,” in which he reported on various criticisms of bioethics that were “in print, or voiced in and around … the field” at that time, and set forth his assessment of their legitimacy. He gave detailed attention to what he judged to be the particularly fierce and “irresponsible attacks” on “the moral integrity” and soundness of bioethics contained in two papers: “Getting Ethics” by philosopher William Bennett and “Medical Morality Is (...) Not Bioethics,” coauthored by us. Gorovitz attributed some of the criticisms that bioethics was eliciting to the fact that this new, rapidly rising, and increasingly visible field had brought “scholars and practitioners together who otherwise would have little exposure to one another's disciplines. Their interactions are mutually enriching at times,” he declared, “but mutually baffling and even infuriating at other times.” In this latter regard, he suggested that “perhaps” Fox and Swazey's characterization of bioethics in the article he dissected “reflects a general revulsion at endeavors they see as inadequately like the social sciences or insufficiently respectful of them.” He went on to say that despite his objections to our “complaints” about bioethics—especially to our claim that “autonomy [had] been an unduly emphasized value” in the field—he had “a lingering sense” that there might be “a grain of truth” in them. Gorovitz ended his essay with an affirmation about the “benefit” that bioethics can derive from “responsible” and even from “irresponsible” criticism. “The unexamined discipline invites the philosopher's critical scrutiny no less than the unexamined life,” he aphoristically concluded. a. (shrink)
With A Theory of General Ethics Warwick Fox both defines the field of General Ethics and offers the first example of a truly general ethics. Specifically, he develops a single, integrated approach to ethics that encompasses the realms of interhuman ethics, the ethics of the natural environment, and the ethics of the built environment. Thus Fox offers what is in effect the first example of an ethical "Theory of Everything."Fox refers to his own approach to General Ethics as the "theory (...) of responsive cohesion." He argues that the best examples in any domain of interest--from psychology to politics, from conversations to theories--exemplify the quality of responsive cohesion, that is, they hold together by virtue of the mutual responsiveness of the elements that constitute them. Fox argues that the relational quality of responsive cohesion represents the most fundamental value there is. He then develops the theory of responsive cohesion, central features of which include the elaboration of a "theory of contexts" as well as a differentiated model of our obligations in respect of all beings. In doing this, he draws on cutting-edge work in cognitive science in order to develop a powerful distinction between beings who use language and beings that do not.Fox tests his theory against eighteen central problems in General Ethics--including challenges raised by abortion, euthanasia, personal obligations, politics, animal welfare, invasive species, ecological management, architecture, and planning--and shows that it offers sensible and defensible answers to the widest possible range of ethical problems. (shrink)
Rory Fox challenges the traditional understanding that Thomas Aquinas believed that God exists totally outside of time. His study investigates the work of several mid-thirteenth-century writers, and thus provides access to a wealth of material on medieval concepts of time and eternity.
In this comprehensive study, Marvin Fox offers an approach to Moses Maimonides that illuminates the intersections of his philosophical, religious, and Jewish visions—ideas that have embattled readers of Maimonides since the twelfth century.
Thomas Edison's incandescent lamp was one of four that were displayed at the first international exhibition of electricity in Paris in 1881. By the end of the exhibition, most observers believed that Edison had taken a clear lead over his rivals: Maxim, Swan, and Lane-Fox. In reality, his victory was a narrow one that owed much to the skilful management of public opinion by his aides in Paris. Nevertheless, it reinforced Edison's view of Paris as the natural starting point for (...) the implantation of his system in continental Europe. Almost immediately, however, the three companies that he established for the purpose in Paris were in difficulties as the financial crash of January 1882 hardened into sustained recession. Quickly Edison's favour turned to Milan and, more particularly, Berlin, leaving the once central Parisian venture to become a minor element in his European strategy. (shrink)
Michael W. Fox, the respected Vice President of the Humane Society of the United States, here looks at the biogenetic controversy and draws some troubling conclusions. Biogenetic research is capable of producing new life forms whose effects may alter the intricate balance of Nature in ways no one can foretell. "Superpigs" that grow larger than any pig before, cows that breed on an accelerated cycle, "new" vegetables, tomatoes that won't freeze - such new life forms can now be patented, making (...) them potential sources of enormous profits for biotech companies. And the record of government, academia, and industry is spotty at best at protecting the earth - yet these same forces are in control of the biogenetic future. Superpigs and Wondercorn is at once an eye-opening survey of a dramatic, sometimes frightening new technology and an impassioned plea to use these new tools in the long-term interests of the global ecosystem. (shrink)
Fox, Patricia The first time I heard the words 'Never waste a catastrophe!', they were spoken with an Australian accent during a hearing at the United Nations, in New York, May 2013. The topic was 'Sustainability and the Future of the Planet'. The speaker was describing how a recent catastrophic drought in Australia had provided an unexpected opportunity: it had enabled the disastrous state of the entire Murray-Darling River System to begin to be restored to health. He argued that such (...) had been the political stasis on this critical issue that only a mammoth disaster such as this was able to begin the processes necessary to unlock it. (shrink)
This essay is in three Parts. Part 1 surveys some ideas about what water is - as a substance in its own right, and as an entity of major significance and symbolic importance. Part 2 explores basic considerations about the value of nature and its components. Part 3 applies findings from Parts 1 and 2 to thinking about water, with reference to water management issues facing humanity today.
: Puritanism and Confucianism have little in common in terms of their substantive teachings, but they do share an emphasis on bounded, authoritative, localized human arrangements, and this profoundly challenges the dominant presumptions of contemporary globalization. It is not enough to say that these worldviews are ‘‘communitarian’’ alternatives to globalism, for that defines away what needs to be explained. This article compares the ontology of certain elements of the Puritan and Confucian worldviews, and, by focusing on the role of both (...) authority and activity in these systems, assesses (with the assistance of Max Weber) the theories of harmony that each invoke. It concludes by identifying the distinct options that these two modes of human existence suggest for those who wish to defend the relevance of boundedness and authority, and thus the very possibility of a human-scaled politics, in today’s world. (shrink)
My purpose there [in the Discourse] was not to provide a full [Latin: accurate] treatment, but merely to offer a sample, and learn from the views of my readers how I should handle these topics at a later date. ² But now that I have, after a fashion, taken an initial sample of people's opinion, I am again tackling the same questions concerning God and the human mind; and this time I am also going to deal with the foundations of (...) First Philosophy in its entirety. . (shrink)
Religion has become a vital resource for attempts to rethink the meaning of the political. This article rehearses the efforts of two recent figures, René Girard and Giorgio Agamben, to transform the political by renewing its connection to religion. Both thinkers struggle to escape politics as defined by Carl Schmitt's friend/enemy distinction. Girard and Agamben do clash ideologically, but their inquiries into sacrifice and messianism take similar courses. Regarding origins, Girard argues for the sacrificial crisis as the common parent to (...) religion and politics. Conversely, for Agamben, the Roman figure of homo sacer distinguishes politics from religion. With respect to the future, Girard's messianism installs Christian belief as the only way to move beyond violence. By contrast, Agamben steers Pauline messianism toward the efforts to displace sovereignty and reopen the political. I conclude that Agamben breaks with Schmitt while Girard reinscribes his politics at a higher level. Key Words: Giorgio Agamben Rey Chow Christianity René Girard homo sacer messianism politics sacred sacrifice Carl Schmitt. (shrink)
This paper details a three-credit-hour undergraduate ethics course that was delivered using traditional, distance, and compressed formats. OLS 263: Ethical Decisions in Leadership is a 200-level course offered by the Department of Organizational Leadership and Supervision in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Students in engineering, technology, business, nursing, and other majors take the course. In an effort to determine student perceptions of course and instructor effectiveness, end-of-course student survey data were compared (...) using data from traditional, distance, and compressed sections of the course. In addition, learning outcomes from the final course project were evaluated using a standardized assessment rubric and scores on the course project. (shrink)
Much philosophy of science is methodology of science. How should one go about doing and evaluating it? The question is one of the methodology of methodology, i.e. of metamethodology. There is a vague thesis common to Descartes and more recent philosophers such as Quine and Lakatos: that what is good methodology, good evidence, good reason for accepting, rejecting or revising beliefs in mathematics and in the sciences properly so called, does not differ in significant kind from what is good methodology, (...) evidence or reason elsewhere, even in epistemology and ethics; and further, that mathematics and the natural sciences provide good paradigms for methodology generally. Following von Hayek,1 I call this form of epistemological and methodological monism: Scientism. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between North American beef consumption and deforestation in South and Central America. Some writers have argued that consumption of hamburgers in North America, particularly hamburgers consumed in fast food restaurants, contributes to the depletion of the rainforest in South and Central America. We survey the published policy literature on the causes of rainforest depletion in the region. We also review the published estimates of the rate and extent of clearing of rainforest that has occurred in (...) South and Central America since 1970. Finally, we review the data on beef imports and consumption in Canada and the United States in a effort to assess the importance of South and Central America as suppliers of beef to the North American market. We conclude that the relationship between beef consumption in North America should not be considered an important cause of forest depletion in South and Central America. Domestic policies and market forces in the countries where rainforests are located are the leading causes of rainforest depletion in this region. This lesson seems to have been lost on some popular and even some textbook writers on this subject. (shrink)
The likeness of sound between rhyming words is arbitrary, but words have meanings. Thus rhyme schemes carry an implicit meaning over against the explicit meaning of the lines in which they occur. The use of "death" and "breath" and other rhymes in Swinburne illustrates this duality, especially in his great sonnet addressed to Death. This prompts a discussion of the role of meter and rhyme in the physiology of dreams and memory, the human propensity to make rules, translations of Dante, (...) the comic rhymes of Noel Coward, and the real meaning of Seinfeld. (shrink)
In his book "Walden", Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) describes an experiment intended to determine what is essential in life. His analysis includes a critique of the excesses of material culture, concluding that the most important concerns for human beings revolve around the retention of what he calls "heat." I suggest that there are a number of interesting parallels between this analysis and a cluster of ideas generally describable as "protodaoist" and often attributed to the legendary and obscure figure known as (...) Yang Zhu or Yangzi. In particular, both of these models can be seen to relate one's efficient preservation of life force to the accomplishment of what I am calling one's "natural destiny," and both include a concomitant critique of material culture. In this essay I will define the concept of natural destiny and articulate and compare the two models' common concern with achieving it through properly economizing one's resources in the face of the diversion provoked by material attachments. (shrink)
Points of criticism of the target include: the extreme violence of females in defence of young despite high potential cost, the reality of female dominance striving, differences in male and female ritualization of aggression, the real existence of institutionalized female instrumental aggression, and the uselessness of “patriarchy” as defined as a category for differential analysis. It is concluded that it may in fact be the decline of patriarchy in the strict sense that leads to the female use of exculpatory explanations (...) for aggression, thus reversing Campbell's proposed causal sequence. (shrink)
We investigated the impact of emotions on learning vocabulary in an unfamiliar language to better understand affective influences in foreign language acquisition. Seventy native English speakers learned new vocabulary in either a negative or a neutral emotional state. Participants also completed two sets of working memory tasks to examine the potential mediating role of working memory. Results revealed that participants exposed to negative stimuli exhibited difficulty in retrieving and correctly pairing English words with Indonesian words, as reflected in a lower (...) performance on the prompted recall tests and the free recall measure. Emotional induction did not change working memory scores from pre to post manipulation. This suggests working memory could not explain the reduced vocabulary learning in the negative group. We argue that negative mood can adversely affect language learning by suppressing aspects of native-language processing and impeding form-meaning mapping with second language words. (shrink)
Using Dewey's critics' own arguments that purport to show Dewey intentionally, or naively, disregarded the role of power in the relations of communities, Westbrook brings examples to reinforce the contrary view.
Using testosterone alone as a measure of dominance presents problems, especially when dominance is loosely defined to include a range of behaviors that may arise from multiple causes. Testosterone should be examined in relation to other hormonal and neurotransmitter factors, such as serotonin. Various hypotheses about the relationship between high and low levels of testosterone with serotonin and with impulse control are suggested for future study.
Recently there has been a lively revival of interest in implicatures, particularly scalar implicatures. Building on the resulting literature, our main goal in the present paper is to establish an empirical generalization, namely that SIs can occur systematically and freely in arbitrarily embedded positions. We are not so much concerned with the question whether drawing implicatures is a costly option (in terms of semantic processing, or of some other markedness measure). Nor are we specifically concerned with how implicatures come about (...) (even though, to get going, we will have to make some specific assumptions on this matter). The focus of our discussion is testing the claim of the pervasive embeddability of SIs in just about any context, a claim that remains so far controversial. While our main goal is the establishment of an empirical generalization, if we succeed, a predominant view on the division of labor between semantics and pragmatics will have to be revised. A secondary goal of this paper is to hint at evidence that a revision is needed on independent grounds. But let us first present, in a rather impressionistic way, the reasons why a revision would be required if our main generalization on embedded SIs turns out to be correct. In the tradition stemming from Grice (1989), implicatures are considered a wholly pragmatic phenomenon and SIs are often used as paramount examples. Within such a tradition, 㳊 semantics is taken to deal with the compositional construction of sentence meaning (a term which we are using for now in a loose, non technical way), while pragmatics deals with how sentence meaning is actually put to use (i.e. enriched and possibly modified through reasoning about speakers’ intentions, contextually relevant information, etc.). Simply put, on this view pragmatics takes place at the level of complete utterances and pragmatic enrichments are a root phenomenon (something that happens globally to sentences) rather than a compositional one.. (shrink)
This paper will be concerned with the conjunctive interpretation of a family of disjunctive constructions. The relevant conjunctive interpretation, sometimes referred to as a “free choice effect,” (FC) is attested when a disjunctive sentence is embedded under an existential modal operator. I will provide evidence that the relevant generalization extends (with some caveats) to all constructions in which a disjunctive sentence appears under the scope of an existential quantifier, as well as to seemingly unrelated constructions in which conjunction appears under (...) the scope of negation and a universal quantifier. (shrink)
This exploratory study examines how managers and professionals regard the ethical and social responsibility reputations of 60 well-known Australian and International companies, and how this in turn influences their attitudes and behaviour towards these organisations. More than 350 MBA, other postgraduate business students, and participants in Australian Institute of Management (Western Australia) management education programmes were surveyed to evaluate how ethical and socially responsible they believed the 60 organisations to be. The survey sought to determine what these participants considered ‘ethical’ (...) and ‘socially responsible’ behaviour in organisations to be. The survey also examined how the participants’ beliefs influenced their attitudes and intended behaviours towards these organisations. The results of this survey indicate that many managers and professionals have clear views about the ethical and social responsibility reputations of companies. This affects their attitudes towards these organisations which in turn has an impact on their intended behaviour towards them. These findings support the view in other research studies that well-educated managers and professionals are, to some extent, taking into account the ethical and social responsibility reputations of companies when deciding whether to work for them, use their services or buy shares in their companies. (shrink)
To promote ethical practices, healthcare managers must understand the ethical challenges encountered by key stakeholders. To characterize ethical challenges in Veterans Administration (VA) facilities from the perspectives of managers, clinicians, patients, and ethics consultants. We conducted focus groups with patients (n = 32) and managers (n = 38); semi-structured interviews with managers (n = 31), clinicians (n = 55), and ethics committee chairpersons (n = 21). Data were analyzed using content analysis. Managers reported that the greatest ethical challenge was fairly (...) distributing resources across programs and services, whereas clinicians identified the effect of resource constraints on patient care. Ethics committee chairpersons identified end-of-life care as the greatest ethical challenge, whereas patients identified obtaining fair, respectful, and caring treatment. Perspectives on ethical challenges varied depending on the respondent's role. Understanding these differences can help managers take practical steps to address these challenges. Further, ethics committees seemingly, are not addressing the range of ethical challenges within their institutions. (shrink)
To quote Yogi Berra, writing this editorial is a “déja vu all over again” experience for us. It entails not only collaborating once more as coauthors but also reiterating some of the criticisms and concerns that have figured prominently in virtually all our previous publications about bioethics—most recently in our book Observing Bioethics.
Schools are ideal settings for implementing multi-component programs to prevent and control childhood obesity. Thoughtful improvements to proven strategies, coupled with careful evaluation, can contribute to accumulation of evidence needed to design and implement the next generation of optimal interventions.
The neural basis of human memory is incredibly complex. We argue that the diversity of neural systems underlying various forms of memory suggests that any discussion of enhancing ‘memory’ per se is too broad, thus obfuscating the biopolitical debate about human enhancement. Memory can be differentiated into at least four major systems with largely dissociable neural substrates. We outline each system, and discuss both the practical and the ethical implications of these diverse neural substrates. In practice, distinct neural bases imply (...) the possibility, and likely the necessity, of specific approaches for the safe and effective enhancement of various memory systems. In the debate over the ethical and social implications of enhancement technologies, this fine-grained perspective clarifies—and may partially mitigate—certain common concerns in enhancement debates, including issues related to safety, fairness, coercion, and authenticity. While many researchers certainly appreciate the neurobiological complexity of memory, the political debate tends to revolve around a monolithic one-size-fits-all conception. The overall project—exploring how human enhancement technologies affect society – stands to benefit from a deeper appreciation of memory’s neurobiological diversity. (shrink)
Strangers to Nature brings together many of the leading scholars who are working to redefine and expand the discourse on animal ethics. This volume will engage both scholars and lay-people by revealing the breadth of theorizing about the human/non-human animal relationship that is currently taking place.
In this paper, we investigate the ‘ought implies can’ thesis, focusing on explanations and interpretations of OIC, with a view to clarifying its uses and relevance to legal philosophy. We first review various issues concerning the semantics and pragmatics of OIC; then we consider how OIC may be incorporated in Hartian and Kelsenian theories of the law. Along the way we also propose a taxonomy of OIC-related claims.
It is well-known that constructions involving ellipsis share many properties with constructions that involve phonological reduction. The similarity between ECs and PRCs is semantic: the interpretation of both is constrained by the interpretation of an antecedent. Rooth and Tancredi have pointed out that this similarity follows from an independently needed theory of focus.
The volume documents, and makes an original contribution to, an astonishing period in twentieth-century philosophy—the progress of Arne Naess's ecophilosophy from its inception to the present. It includes Naess's most crucial polemics with leading thinkers, drawn from sources as diverse as scholarly articles, correspondence, TV interviews and unpublished exchanges. The book testifies to the skeptical and self-correcting aspects of Naess's vision, which has deepened and broadened to include third world and feminist perspectives. Philosophical Dialogues is an essential addition to the (...) literature on environmental philosophy. (shrink)
This Article considers the moral and legal status of practices that aim to modify traits in human offspring. As advancements in reproductive biotechnology give parents greater power to shape the genetic constitution of their children, an emerging school of legal scholars has ushered in a privatized paradigm of genetic control. Commentators defend a constitutionally protected right to prenatal engineering by appeal to the significance of procreative liberty and the promise of producing future generations who are more likely to have their (...) lives go well. This 'new eugenics,' however, confronts us with ethical challenges that neither liberal arguments about autonomy, fairness, and consent, nor utilitarian arguments about preferences, happiness, and equality, are able to capture. I begin by analyzing the Supreme Court's modern substantive due process jurisprudence, as it bears on recent advancements and controversies in genetic science. After developing a doctrinal framework that could support an asserted right to genetic engineering, I draw on empirical research in behavioral psychology to examine the influence of eugenic norms on egalitarian attitudes and institutions. I predict that if parents become accustomed to choosing the genes of their children, it would be radically more difficult to give an influential account for why the successful should adopt a charitable posture toward those who are less fortunate. I argue that by shifting control over offspring DNA from chance to choice, enhancement will inflate a sense of individual entitlement for social and economic outcomes. I conclude that increasing willingness to prevent the birth of abnormal children distracts attention from institutions that fail to accommodate the limitations of imperfect people. Some may reply that producing people who better fit the roles society chooses to reward need not deter us from providing for people whose abilities fail to meet the demands of modern society. However, this reply misses the way that changes in reproductive practices can bring about changes in the way that we understand our identities and relationships. Eugenic solutions to social problems such as poverty, crime, and unemployment reshape the challenge of genetic disadvantage so that it is no longer one we address through collective measures such as public education, social services, and income redistribution, and instead becomes one for individual parents to prevent through donor screening, embryo discard, or selective abortion. (shrink)