This volume is a direct result of a conference held at Princeton University to honor George A. Miller, an extraordinary psychologist. A distinguished panel of speakers from various disciplines -- psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and artificial intelligence -- were challenged to respond to Dr. Miller's query: "What has happened to cognition? In other words, what has the past 30 years contributed to our understanding of the mind? Do we really know anything that wasn't already clear to William James?" Each (...) participant tried to stand back a little from his or her most recent work, but to address the general question from his or her particular standpoint. The chapters in the present volume derive from that occasion. (shrink)
Earlier in the pages of this journal (p 481), Wendler and Miller offered the "net risks test" as an alternative approach to the ethical analysis of benefits and harms in research. They have been vocal critics of the dominant view of benefit-harm analysis in research ethics, which encompasses core concepts of duty of care, clinical equipoise and component analysis. They had been challenged to come up with a viable alternative to component analysis which meets five criteria. The alternative must (...) (1) protect research subjects; (2) allow clinical research to proceed; (3) explain how physicians may offer trial enrolment to their patients; (4) address the challenges posed by research containing a mixture of interventions and (5) define ethical standards according to which the risks and potential benefits of research may be consistently evaluated. This response argues that the net risks test meets none of these criteria and concludes that it is not a viable alternative to component analysis. (shrink)
We are often warned against stepping onto ‘slippery slopes’ — dangerously slick slides leading down to where the really bad stuff lies. But, as Arthur Miller here explains, these warnings often exaggerate the risk of a slip.
My initial hope when I first saw Miller’s book was that here at least would be a work which satisfies the long standing need for a comprehensive introduction to contemporary metaethics which is accessible enough to be employed in advanced undergraduate courses and introductory graduate seminars. This hope was only partially realized, however, as Miller ends up oscillating between clear presentations of extant debates in the recent literature and his own extended attempts to determine where the truth of (...) the matter lies. The result is an interesting book that likely will appeal both to those looking for a classroom text in metaethics as well as to experts on the relevant issues. (shrink)
I present an original model in judgment aggregation theory that demonstrates the general impossibility of consistently describing decision-making purely at the group level. Only a type of unanimity rule can guarantee a group decision is consistent with supporting reasons, and even this possibility is limited to a small class of reasoning methods. The key innovation is that this result holds when individuals can reason in different ways, an allowance not previously considered in the literature. This generalizes judgment aggregation to subjective (...) decision situations, implying that the discursive dilemma persists without individual agreement on the logical constraints. Notably, the model mirrors the typical method of choosing political representatives, and thus suggests that no voting procedure other than unanimity rule can guarantee representation that reflects electorate opinion. Finally, I apply the results to a normative argument for unanimity rule in contract theory and juries, as well as to problems posed for deliberative democratic theory and the concept of representation. (shrink)
Sayre finds deep connections between collection and division, the two kinds of measure distinguished in the Statesman, the conceptions of Limit and Unlimited in the Philebus, and the Dyad that Aristotle reports was a key principle in the "unwritten teachings." The Stranger's dialectical account of statesmanship practices due measure; by "cutting down the middle," the Stranger shows how Forms — understood as Limits as, in turn, "numbers in the sense of measures" — "mark off a middle ground between [the] extremes (...) [implied by] the Unlimited" and, thus, preserve the mean. I suggest a number of critical reconfigurations of these seminal insights. (shrink)
In his “Theology and Falsification” Professor Antony Flew challenges the sophisticated religious believer to state under what conceivable occurrences he would concede that there really is no God Who loves mankind: ‘Just what would have to happen not merely to tempt but also, logically and rightly, to entitle us to say “God does not love us” or even “God does not exist”? I therefore put…the simple central questions, “What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you (...) a disproof of the love of, or of the existence of, God”?’. (shrink)
Clearly, Marx thought he was promoting democratic values. In the Manifesto, the immediate goal of socialism is summed up as “to win the battle of democracy.” Marx sees the reduction of individuality as one of the greatest injuries done by a system in which most people buy and sell their labor power on terms over which they have little control. As they supervised translations and re-issues of the Manifesto, Marx and Engels singled out just one point as a major topic (...) on which their view in 1848 had been superseded. The forms of government needed to be changed to give people more control over the state, a change in structure pioneered by the Paris Commune. (shrink)
According to David Miller, we have stronger obligations towards our co-nationals than we have towards non-nationals. While a principle of equality governs our obligations of justice within the nation-state, our obligations towards non-nationals are governed by a weaker principle of sufficiency. In this paper, I critically assess Miller’s objection to a traditional argument for global egalitarianism, according to which nationalist and other deviations from equality rely on factors that are arbitrary from a moral point of view. Then I (...) critically discuss Miller’s claim that there is no culturally neutral currency with respect to which we may reasonably claim that people should be equally well off on a global scale. Furthermore, I critically discuss Miller’s claim that cosmopolitanism undermines national responsibility. And finally, I turn to Miller’s own sufficientarian account of global justice and argue that it exhibits too little concern for the plight of the globally worse off. Keywords: equality; cosmopolitanism; David Miller; nationalism (Published: 16 September 2011) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 4 , No. 3, 2011, pp. 147-163. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v4i3.5873. (shrink)
Many authors writing about global justice seem to take national responsibility more or less for granted. Most of them, however, offer very little argument for their position. One of the few exceptions is David Miller. He offers two models of collective responsibility: the like-minded group model and the cooperative practice model. While some authors have criticized whether these two models are applicable to nations, as Miller intends, my criticism is more radical: I argue that these two models fail (...) as accounts of collective responsibility as such. This result should not surprise us (liberals): there simply is no such thing as collective responsibility (in a strict sense), there is only individual responsibility. Thus individuals are not automatically responsible for the actions of their groups, nations or states, not even if they do not actively dissociate themselves from those actions. (shrink)
In National Responsibility and Global Justice, David Miller defends the view that a member of a nation can be collectively responsible for an outcome despite the fact that: (i) she did not control it; (ii) she actively opposed those of her nation’s policies that produced the outcome; and (iii) actively opposing the relevant policy was costly for her. I argue that Miller’s arguments in favor of this strong externalist view about responsibility and control are insufficient. Specifically, I show (...) that Miller’s two models of synchronic collective responsibility*the like-minded group model and the cooperative practice model*ground neither synchronic nor diachronic national responsibility, nor apply in the case of nations generally speaking. Keywords: collective responsibility; David Miller; nations; historical responsibility; national responsibility (Published: 19 May 2009) Citation: Ethics & Global Politics, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2009, pp. 109-130. DOI: 10.3402/egp.v2i2.1935. (shrink)
A prominent approach in the debate on territorial rights claims that a group may have jurisdictional rights over a particular land if that land has become a repository of value for the group. This justification relies on a premise which has remained largely unsubstantiated, namely that having jurisdictional rights should be our preferred means for ensuring the group’s retaining of the land’s embedded value. This article discusses a recent attempt to fill this gap. David Miller acknowledges that the value (...) could be retained by the group if it has private property rights. However, he argues that because such rights can be changed at will by the holder of jurisdictional rights the group’s retaining of value is unacceptably insecure. I argue that this attempt fails. Miller’s argument is briefly stated so I start with some reconstructive work. Most importantly, I suggest that the argument relies on a descriptive claim about empirical probabilities, namely that the group’s having jurisdictional rights (in international law) provides the largest feasible reduction of insecurity. I then provide some tentative suggestions about expected state behavior which challenge the validity of that descriptive claim; I argue that a reform of international law which confers internationally enforced property rights on the relevant groups—rather than jurisdiction—may provide a similar (or even relatively larger) reduction of insecurity. My tentative conclusion is that Miller’s appeal to insecurity fails to provide the “embedded value” approach (favored by him and others) with the needed bridge from property rights to rights of jurisdiction. (shrink)
David Miller, Professor of Politics at Oxford University, has long been one of the most important and interesting contributors to political theory and philosophy. He is well known for insisting on the mutual relevance of philosophical reflection and political practice, an approach well captured by the title of his recent book, Justice for Earthlings. In his most recent book, Strangers in our Midst: The Political Philosophy of Immigration, Miller revises and extends the work he has been doing for (...) several years now on immigration. The result is a short yet rich defense of the right of states to control their own immigration policy. (shrink)
In his most recent book, National Responsibility and Global Justice, David Miller presents an account of human rights grounded on the idea of basic human needs. Miller argues that his account can overcome what he regards as a central problem for human rights theory: the need to provide a ‘non-sectarian’ justification for human rights, one that does not rely on reasons that people from non-liberal societies should find objectionable. The list of human rights that Miller’s account generates (...) is, however, minimal when compared to those found in human rights documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. This article argues that contrary to what Miller claims, his account is ‘sectarian’, since it relies on reasons that some non-liberals should find objectionable given their divergent values. It goes on to question whether ‘sectarianism’, as Miller defines it, is, in any case, a problem for human rights theory. The article concludes that Miller provides us with no reason to abandon commitment to a more extensive list of human rights. (shrink)
D. Miller considère que sa théorie de la connexion peut se révéler précieuse en soulignant la complexité de l’attribution de la responsabilité réparatrice afin de soulager la misère du monde. L’auteur apprécie à sa juste valeur cette exploration des moyens permettant d’envisager la responsabilité réparatrice entre États, il considère néanmoins que ce point de vue soulève davantage de questions qu’il n’en résout.
In their recent books, National Responsibility and Global Justice (2007) and Intricate Ethics (2007), David Miller and Frances Kamm give two similar arguments aimed at preventing their favoured accounts of the moral justification of rights from justifying an excess of demanding assistance rights. Both arguments appeal to the fact that a proliferation of assistance rights would conflict with other rights. In this paper, I show that these arguments fail. As Miller recognises in a footnote, the failure of such (...) arguments appears to support an alternative holistic approach to the moral justification of rights. But I will show that, without significant further argument that Miller and Kamm do not provide, this holistic approach offers no better support for Miller's and Kamm's claim that there are few demanding assistance rights. (shrink)