Although risk and uncertainty are inevitable aspects of the sustainability problem, they are often neglected in the sustainability discourse, especially in the economic analysis of sustainable development. We argue that this deprives the sustainability discourse of interesting connections to risk management. We show that defining sustainability as the obligation to limit the risk of harming future individuals provides a framework in which tools from risk management, like mean-variance analysis, can be employed to analyze planning decisions and to calculate a risk-minimizing (...) policy mix. Furthermore, we discuss whether such a notion of sustainability can be an ethically tenable sustainability concept and how a positive probability of harming future individuals might be defended. (shrink)
The rise of appeals to intuitive theories in many areas of cognitive science must cope with a powerful fact. People understand the workings of the world around them in far less detail than they think. This illusion of knowledge depth has been uncovered in a series of recent studies and is caused by several distinctive properties of explanatory understanding not found in other forms of knowledge. Other experimental work has shown that people do have skeletal frameworks of expectations that constrain (...) richer ad hoc theory construction on the fly. These frameworks are supplemented by an ability to evaluate and rely on the division of cognitive labour in one's culture, an ability shown to be present even in young children. (shrink)
Research on corporate social responsibility has traditionally focused on managerial discretion and stakeholders’ influence. This study extends current research by addressing the effect of family firms and institutional owners on CSR performance, namely, CSR strengths and concerns. Based on stewardship theory and the socioemotional wealth perspective, we propose that family firms are more likely to value CSR performance. Next, drawing from multiple agency theory, we predict that institutional owners, unlike family owners, will influence a firm’s CSR performance differently. We tested (...) our hypotheses using a sample of 153 firms from 1994 to 2006 and found general support for our hypotheses. A higher percentage of family owned equity and the presence of a family CEO are found to increase CSR strengths, whereas transient institutional owners have an opposite effect. The presence of a family CEO and founding family are found to reduce CSR concerns. Contrary to our predictions, dedicated institutional owners are positively associated with CSR concerns. (shrink)
Virtue and Psychology: Pursuing Excellence in Ordinary Practices by Fowers represents the most extensive effort to date to mine the resources of virtue ethics for theory and practice in psychology. Building on this work, I explore some of the implications of the virtue ethics perspective for the fields of psychology and psychotherapy, including helping to overcome individualism and instrumentalism, elaborating a conception of “internal” as opposed to merely “external” goods, clarifying the nature of “character strengths,” developing further the idea of (...) “strong relationality” in the sphere of human action, and aiding psychology in general in the effort to characterize a good or successful life. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Psychology may have to get seriously political as human aims in living and selfhood itself are increasingly influenced in a deleterious manner by the vicissitudes of living in a neoliberal political economy and one-sided “enterprise culture” (Martin & McLellan, 2013; Sugarman, 2015). This article reviews recent writings of several social critics, including Jackson Lears (2015), Sebastion Junger (2015), Philip Blond (2010), and Christopher Lasch (1995), who richly flesh out the picture of this detrimental state of affairs. We note that many (...) of these critics have little to say about credible alternatives to neoliberalism. The article then seeks to identify resources within theoretical and philosophical psychology, including hermeneutic philosophy and interpretive social science, for helping to overcome neoliberalism. They might help clarify and nurture a renewed democratic populism or engaged democratic politics and contribute to gaining what Lasch termed a much-needed “wisdom of limits” in today’s society. (shrink)
"Amongst the human mind's proudest accomplishments is the invention of a science dedicated to understanding itself: cognitive science. ... This volume is an authoritative guide to this exhilarating new body of knowledge, written by the experts, edited with skill and good judment. If we were to leave a time capsule for the next millennium with records of the great achievements of civilization, this volume would have to be in it."--Steven Pinker.
If folk science means individuals having well worked out mechanistic theories of the workings of the world, then it is not feasible. Laypeople’s explanatory understandings are remarkably coarse, full of gaps, and often full of inconsistencies. Even worse, most people overestimate their own understandings. Yet recent views suggest that formal scientists may not be so different. In spite of these limitations, science somehow works and its success offers hope for the feasibility of folk science as well. The success of science (...) arises from the ways in which scientists learn to leverage understandings in other minds and to outsource explanatory work through sophisticated methods of deference and simplification of complex systems. Three studies ask whether analogous processes might be present not only in laypeople but also in young children and thereby form a foundation for supplementing explanatory understandings almost from the start of our first attempts to make sense of the world. (shrink)
Stakeholder theory is widely recognized as a management theory, yet very little research has considered its implications for individual managerial decision-making. In the two studies reported here, we used stakeholder theory to examine managerial decisions about balancing stakeholder interests. Results of Study 1 suggest that indivisible resources and unequal levels of stakeholder saliency constrain managers’ efforts to balance stakeholder interests. Resource divisibility also influenced whether managers used a within-decision or an across-decision approach to balance stakeholder interests. In Study 2 we (...) examined instrumental and normative implications of these two approaches. We conclude by considering the contributions of this research. (shrink)
Objective The President's Council on Bioethics in 2008 reaffirmed the necessity of the dead donor rule and the legitimacy of the current criteria for diagnosing both neurological and cardiac death. In spite of this report, many have continued to express concerns about the ethics of donation after circulatory death, the validity of determining death using neurological criteria and the necessity for maintaining the dead donor rule for organ donation. I analysed the dead donor rule for its effect on the virtuous (...) practice of medicine by physicians caring for potential organ donors.Results The dead donor rule consistently impedes physicians in fulfilling their primary duty to act for the good of their prospective donor patients. This compromises the virtue of fidelity. It also weakens many other virtues necessary for physicians to provide excellent end-of-life care.Conclusions The dead donor rule, while ethically powerful in theory, loses its force during translation to the bedside. This is so because the rule mandates simultaneous life and death within the same body for organ donation, a biological status that is inherently contradictory. The rule should be rejected as an ethical norm governing vital organ transplantation at the end of life. Its elimination will strengthen the doctor–patient relationship and foster trustworthiness in organ procurement. (shrink)
At the most general level I am interested in how we come to make sense of the world around us. Much of this research involves asking how intuitive explanations and understandings emerge in development and how they are related to notions of cause, mechanism and agency. These relations are linked to broader questions of what concepts are, how they change with development and increasing expertise and how they are structured in adults.
Several studies demonstrate that an intuitive link between agents and order emerges within the first year of life. This appreciation seems importantly related to similar forms of inference, such as the Argument from Design. We suggest, however, that infants and young children may be more accurate in their tendencies to infer agents from order than older children and adults, who often infer intentional agents when there are none. Thus, the earliest inferences about intentional agents based on order may be quite (...) accurate and resistant to non-intentional foils, but with further cognitive development and overgeneralization, links between order and agents may emerge that, with the right socio-cultural prompts, can lead to the Argument from Design. (shrink)
Philip E. Tetlock's finding that "hedgehog" experts are worse predictors than "foxes" offers fertile ground for future research. Are experts as likely to exhibit hedgehog- or fox-like tendencies in areas that call for explanatory, diagnostic, and skill-based expertise-as they did when Tetlock called on experts to make predictions? Do particular domains of expertise curtail or encourage different styles of expertise? Can we trace these different styles to childhood? Finally, can we nudge hedgehogs to be more like foxes? Current research can (...) only grope at the answers to these questions, but they are essential to gauging the health of expert political judgment. (shrink)
The present studies investigated children’s and adults’ intuitive beliefs about the physical nature of essences. Adults and children (ranging in age from 6 to 10 years old) were asked to reason about two different ways of determining an unknown object’s category: taking a tiny internal sample from any part of the object (distributed view of essence), or taking a sample from one specific region (localized view of essence). Results from three studies indicated that adults strongly endorsed the distributed view, and (...) children showed a developmental shift from a localized to distributed view with increasing age. These results suggest that even children go beyond mere placeholder notions of essence, committing to conceptual frameworks of how essences might be physically instantiated. (shrink)
It is not a particularly hard thing to want or seek explanations. In fact, explanations seem to be a large and natural part of our cognitive lives. Children ask why and how questions very early in development and seem genuinely to want some sort of answer, despite our often being poorly equipped to provide them at the appropriate level of sophistication and detail. We seek and receive explanations in every sphere of our adult lives, whether it be to understand why (...) a friendship has foundered, why a car will not start, or why ice expands when it freezes. Moreover, correctly or incorrectly, most of the time we think we know when we have or have not received a good explanation. There is a sense both that a given, successful explanation satisfies a cognitive need, and that a questionable or dubious explanation does not. There are also compelling intuitions about what make good explanations in terms of their form, that is, a sense of when they are structured correctly. (shrink)
What would it be like to have never learned English, but instead only to know Hopi, Mandarin Chinese, or American Sign Language? Would that change the way you think? Imagine entirely losing your language, as the result of stroke or trauma. You are aphasic, unable to speak or listen, read or write. What would your thoughts now be like? As the most extreme case, imagine having been raised without any language at all, as a wild child. What—if anything—would it be (...) like to be such a person? Could you be smart; could you reminisce about the past, plan the future? (shrink)
The more carefully we look, the more impressive the repertoire of infant concepts seems to be. Across a wide range of tasks, infants seem to be using concepts corresponding to surprisingly high-level and abstract categories and relations. It is tempting to try to explain these abilities in terms of a core capacity in spatial cognition that emerges very early in development and then gets extended beyond reasoning about direct spatial arrays and events. Although such a spatial cognitive capacity may indeed (...) form one valuable basis for later cognitive growth, it seems unlikely that it can be the sole or even primary explanation for either the impressive conceptual capacities of infants or the ways in which concepts develop. (shrink)
Children and adults may not realize how much they depend on external sources in understanding word meanings. Four experiments investigated the existence and developmental course of a “Misplaced Meaning” effect, wherein children and adults overestimate their knowledge about the meanings of various words by underestimating how much they rely on outside sources to determine precise reference. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that children and adults show a highly consistent MM effect, and that it is stronger in young children. Study 3 (...) demonstrates that adults are explicitly aware of the availability of outside knowledge, and that this awareness may be related to the strength of the MM effect. Study 4 rules out general overconfidence effects by examining a metalinguistic task in which adults are well calibrated. (shrink)
Many readers dismiss James Joyce’s final novel as impossible to wade through, with its multilingual puns, songs, jokes, portmanteau words, allusions, scientific references, myths and legends. Given the kinetic elements of any reading experience, features particularly evident in Finnegans Wake, reading inevitably becomes synonymous with interpretation. To that end, this article focuses on the use of Enquiry-Based Learning, or EBL, by one upper-division English literature module, as an opportune methodology with which to encourage students to explore the myriad possible readings (...) which the Wake could support. Joyce created by invention, by collection, and by accident, all of which underscore the value of working together. Particularly because EBL moves away from traditional styles of lecturing and into the realm of deeper, autonomous learning, fostered by collaboration above individual ownership, and motivation above accumulation, it works well with the fluid and amazingly complex and associative constructs inherent in Joyce’s text. (shrink)
A key to the shortcomings and confusions afflicting 20th century social science seems to be problematic moral underpinnings or "disguised ideologies" that drive much of its research and theory. Philosophical hermeneutics shows great promise for diagnosing this condition and reorienting human science inquiry in helpful ways. However, it has been suggested by a number of thoughtful critics that hermeneutics has not yet taken the full measure of the kinds of "power" that can imbue and distort human communication, including social theory (...) and research. This paper addresses several of these critiques, finds merit in them, but argues that such concerns about power may be able to be addressed more adequately by a hermeneutic approach than by the viewpoints from which they are raised. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Rogers & McClelland's (R&M's) précis represents an important effort to address key issues in concepts and categorization, but few of the simulations deliver what is promised. We argue that the models are seriously underconstrained, importantly incomplete, and psychologically implausible; more broadly, R&M dwell too heavily on the apparent successes without comparable concern for limitations already noted in the literature.
Does expertise within a domain of knowledge predict accurate self-assessment of the ability to explain topics in that domain? We find that expertise increases confidence in the ability to explain a wide variety of phenomena. However, this confidence is unwarranted; after actually offering full explanations, people are surprised by the limitations in their understanding. For passive expertise, miscalibration is moderated by education; those with more education are accurate in their self-assessments. But when those with more education consider topics related to (...) their area of concentrated study, they also display an illusion of understanding. This “curse of expertise” is explained by a failure to recognize the amount of detailed information that had been forgotten. While expertise can sometimes lead to accurate self-knowledge, it can also create illusions of competence. (shrink)
This article examines deception possibilities for two players in simple three-person voting games. An example of one game vulnerable to (tacit) deception by two players is given and its implications discussed. The most unexpected findings of this study is that in those games vulnerable to deception by two players, the optimal strategy of one of them is always to announce his (true) preference order. Moreover, since the player whose optimal announcement is his true one is unable to induce a better (...) outcome for himself by misrepresenting his preference, while his partner can, this player will find that possessing a monopoly of information will not give him any special advantage. In fact, this analysis demonstrates that he may have incentives to share his information selectively with one or another of his opponents should he alone possess complete information at the outset. (shrink)
Research on the division of cognitive labor has found that adults and children as young as age 5 are able to find appropriate experts for different causal systems. However, little work has explored how children and adults decide when to seek out expert knowledge in the first place. We propose that children and adults rely on “mechanism metadata,” information about mechanism information. We argue that mechanism metadata is relatively consistent across individuals exposed to similar amounts of mechanism information, and it (...) is applicable to a wide range of causal systems. In three experiments, we show that adults and children as young as 5 years of age have a consistent sense of the causal complexity of different causal systems, and that this sense of complexity is related to decisions about when to seek expert knowledge, but over development there is a shift in focus from procedural information to internal mechanism information. (shrink)