The veil of ignorance has been used often as a tool for recommending what justice requires with respect to the distribution of wealth. We complete Harsanyi's model of the veil of ignorance by appending information permitting objective comparisons among persons. In order to do so, we introduce the concept of objective empathy. We show that the veil-of-ignorance conception of John Harsanyi, so completed, and Ronald Dworkin's, when modelled formally, recommend wealth allocations in conflict with the prominently espoused view that priority (...) should be given to the less able in wealth allocation. We finally argue that the veil of ignorance should be rejected as a tool for discovering what justice requires. (shrink)
This is a collection of twenty-five papers and reviews by the leading analytic philosopher of our time. It adds to the papers on metaphysics and epistemology to be found in his previous two-volume collection published by Oxford University Press. One previously unpublished paper—“Why Conditionalize?”—is included. Australasian philosophers may note with some pride that eleven of the pieces were first published in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
La nouvelle révolution copernicienne marquant la publication de la troisième Critique, un an après le choc de la Révolution française, offre trois pistes pour lire la philosophie du Droit de Kant : 1) la relation de l'universel et du particulier est liée à la conception de la liberté comme « clef de voûte » de tout l'édifice ébranlé par l'hétérogénéité du réel; 2) l'intersubjectivité de la communication humaine ressort de l'esthétique du beau en se rappelant, dans ce contexte, la mise (...) en abîme du sublime; 3) le corps organisé en relation avec la réflexion de Kant sur la République. Dans l'histoire, se pose le problème de la « destination » de l'humanité, puisque l'énigme du mal radical remet en question un développement pensé, par les Lumières, en terme de progrès. A year after the French Revolution, the third Critique creates a new Copernican Revolution by opening three ways of understanding Kant's Ph. of Right: 1) the relationship of the universal and the particular is linked to a conception of freedom as the keystone for the edifice, shaken by the recognition of the heterogeneity of the real; 2) the intersubjectivity results from the aesthetic of the beautiful, called into question by the experience of the sublime; 3) the human body in relation to Kant's thought on the Republic. Within history we are confronted with the question of human destiny, for the enigma of evil renders questionable the Enlightenment idea of human development as progress. (shrink)
This slim volume is sure to provoke. The topics include physicalism, the theory of color, and metaethics, but the primary focus is metaphilosophical: Jackson aims to defend the use of conceptual analysis as a tool for doing “serious metaphysics.”.
ABSTRACTIn A Theory of Moral Education, Michael Hand defends the importance of teaching children moral standards, even while taking seriously the fact that reasonable people disagree about morality. While I agree there are universal moral values based on the kind of beings humans are, I raise two issues with Hand’s account. The first is an omission that may be compatible with Hand’s theory; the role of virtues. A role for the cultivation of virtues and rational emotions such as compassion is (...) vital in accounting for the emotional aspect of morality. The second issue pertains to Hand’s foundational premise of human beings’ rough equality. Following Martha Nussbaum, I argue that contractarian approaches must be critically evaluated to ensure the social contract properly includes and accounts for the human dignity of those who are typically excluded from the benefits of society. Hand’s justificatory arguments rely upon a contractarian premise, and the contract itself needs scrutiny and adjustment if it is to support a viable theory of moral education. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Pierluigi Barrotta argues that Mises ‘ended up by defending an epistemological tenet very far from Kant's’, concluding that ‘Mises's apriorism cannot be vindicated through Kant's epistemology’. In contrast, I shall argue that certain of Mises's arguments can be reconstructed in Kantian terms, and thus the distance between Mises and Kant is not as extreme as Barrotta's argument may appear to suggest. Specifically, I shall argue that Mises, like Kant, seeks to establish the a priori nature of (...) the category of causality. To this extent at least, Mises's apriorism can be vindicated through Kant's epistemology. (shrink)
Basic liberty, according to Rawls's first principle of justice, is not to be sacrificed for other values such as wealth. And, according to his second principle of justice, the material well-being of the worst-off members of society is not to be sacrificed to benefit better-off members of society. These trade-offs would be unjust, according to Rawls, no matter how small the sacrifice or how large the offsetting benefit. A decision-maker conforming to Rawls's theory, who is unwilling to sacrifice some values (...) in favor of others, has lexical preferences. Lexical preferences, however, are not encountered in studies of consumer demand for market goods. Since goods trade off within the range of choices studied in demand theory, it seems to economists that political values ought to trade off as well. (shrink)
The path of those who would approach the study of Bentham's writings on Evidence has been considerably smoothed by the recent publication of William Twining's work on the evidence theories of Bentham and Wigmore. The material on evidence is now being tackled by the Bentham Project. It presents no easy task. The central core, The Rationale of Judicial Evidence, edited and published by John Stuart Mill in 1827, exists only in the printed version, the MSS from which Mill worked having (...) disappeared. But a substantial body of related material which survives has yet to be thoroughly investigated, though William Twining has made a gallant start. A new edition of the work hitherto known as ‘An Introductory View of the Rationale of Evidence’, first printed in full in the Bowring edition of the Works of Jeremy Bentham is in preparation. The first fruits of this endeavour is that the title of that work as it should appear in due course in the new Collected Works will be Introduction to the Rationale of Evidence: An Introductory View for the Use of Lawyers as well as Non-lawyers, the title in fact given to the work by Bentham. It is intended that what follows should similarly be of use to non-lawyers as well as lawyers. (shrink)
There has been a flood of scholarship over the years on whether there is a “right to privacy” in the Constitution of the United States. Griswold v. Connecticut was, of course, the Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates to this river of commentary. A subject search for “privacy, right of” in the College of William and Mary's on-line library catalog located 360 book titles. A perusal of the leading law review bibliographic indices turned up still more. Whether the Constitution (...) contains some sort of “right to be let alone” is plainly one of the central questions of contemporary constitutional discourse. (shrink)
Article III of the U.S. Constitution establishes an independent federal judiciary: federal courts constitute a separate branch of the national government, federal judges enjoy tenure during good behavior, and their salaries cannot be diminished while they hold office. The framers who drafted Article III in 1787 were not working from whole cloth. Rather, they were familiar with the preceding colonial and state practices, including those from New York. This essay provides a case study of New York's judicial history: the Dutch (...) period, 1621-1664; the Ducal proprietary period, 1664-1685; the Royal period, 1685-1776; and the early state period. As will be seen, New York—among the most significant of the original thirteen states—was a state groping towards a new ideal of judicial independence: an ideal that became a reality a decade after its own constitution was enacted in 1777 and at a different level of government. Significantly, the uncertain status of New York's judiciary had profound consequences for the ultimate expression of judicial independence, judicial review. (shrink)
It is sometimes believed that technical apects of a theorem have little to do with the policy implications of the theorem. On the contrary, in this paper we argue that for the Coase Theorem, the technical details are very important in understanding the potential policy implications, since the two interact in a way that leads to a dilemma: a formally correct version of the theorem that yields the usual conclusions requires assumptions that are too restrictive to give the theorem much (...) policy relevance. On the other hand, relaxing the assumptions of the theorem to be sufficiently plausible to be applicable in real world settings modifies the conclusions of the theorem. (shrink)
For one with libertarian sympathies, the official regulation of foods and drugs is presumptively a bad thing. One is most accustomed to seeing the argument in debates about legalizing marijuana and other hedonic drugs. And it remains a very good if by now well-trafficked question, which will be more well-trafficked still by the time this essay ends, why government should be in the business of telling people what sorts of chemical moodenhancers they may take. But as the criminologist James Jacobs (...) has pointed out, to ask this question is to put in play matters far larger and more important than marijuana. What business is it of government to say what medicines may be sold and by whom they may be sold? Why should certain chemical agents be available to willing buyers only with a doctor's scrip, and other agents, such as unproved drugs or devices, forbidden to all, even with medical permission? If libertarians answer these questions impatiently, then admirers of the administrative welfare state will be happy to play rope-a-dope with them, chattering on about the endearing eccentricities of libertarians' assumptions and avoiding the challenge to articulate and defend their own increasingly shabby-looking principles. Those principles are much in need of defense. Food and drug laws are among the most well-established offices of regulatory government. They are complicated, hypertechnical, mysterious, and expensive to administer and maintain. One is entitled to suspect that a number of them are carried on more out of habit and routine than out of any authentic conviction that they are the best way, or among the better ways, to provide for the welfare of citizens. (shrink)
Despite heroic efforts, philosophers have found it increasingly difficult to evade discussion of metaphysical topics. Take the philosophy of mind. Take, in particular, the mind-body problem in its latest guise: the problem of causal relevance. If mental properties are not reducible to physical properties, how can we reconcile the role such properties seem to have in producing bodily motions that constitute actions with the apparent fact that the very same motions are entirely explicable on the basis of purely physical properties (...) of purely physical events in the nervous system? Familiar approaches to the problem include appeals to “supervenient causation,” to “higher-level” laws governing putatively higher-level entities and events, and to “realizing” relations that make room in objects for overlapping properties. (shrink)
D. W. Mertz provides a "new" competitor in the universals debate by reviving, developing, and defending the medieval doctrine of Moderate Realism. This book is a substantial contribution to ontology and logic, combining interesting new arguments for polyadic relations and unit attributes, careful and thorough historical studies, and a logic that could solve many old problems.
This is part of a three-volume collection of most of David Lewis' papers in philosophy, except for those that previously appeared in his Philosophical Papers (Oxford University Press, 1983 and 1986). They are now offered in a readily accessible form. This second volume is devoted to Lewis' work in metaphysics and epistemology. The purpose of this collection, and the volumes that precede and follow it, is to disseminate more widely the work of an eminent and influential contemporary philosopher. The volume (...) will serve as a useful work of reference for teachers and students of philosophy. (shrink)
The paper is divided in two parts. In the first I consider the nature of Ryle's attack on Collingwood's appropriation of the ontological argument and Collingwood's defence in the unpublished correspondence. In the second, I go beyond the confines of the Ryle-Collingwood exchange in the mid 'thirties to say something much more general about the nature of Collingwood's metaphysics as well as to advance an explanation of the compatibility of Collingwood's combined defence of descriptive metaphysics and the ontological proof.
From its title, which since antiquity has occasioned interpretations of varying ingenuity and implausibility and which the book under review is probably right to judge both inauthentic and inappropriate, to its final chapter, thought to be post-Aristotelian or an exercise by Porphyry and the Greek commentators who followed him, On Interpretation has long been considered one of Aristotle’s most puzzling works. Brief as it is, this treatise was divided into four main parts by Ammonius, dealing with the principles of the (...) assertoric sentence, the proposition consisting of subject and predicate terms only, the proposition which contains an “added predicate”, and modal propositions. Modern commentators tend to find in the work important, but isolated, discussions of general semantic theory, the elements of grammar, and modality and fatalism, but not much else of interest. (shrink)
The content and style of this book differ from those of most recent works on the topics listed in its title. In its first part, Cockburn does indeed address the current debate between advocates of tensed and tenseless views of time. Not however to try and settle it—God and Wittgenstein forbid!—but to argue that we who do try mistake for a metaphysical issue what is really an ethical one, namely the “place which tense should occupy in our justifications of action (...) and feeling”. In part 2 he provides what he calls “three extended, and moderately independent, discussions of the present, future and past.” In part 3 he rounds off the discussion of part 1 in the light of part 2. (shrink)
Michael Dummett begins The Logical Basis of Metaphysics by noting that most of the work done in analytic philosophy seems disconcertingly remote from any concern with the “deep questions of great import for an understanding of the world” that the non-professional expects it to answer. In part, he says, this is because modern analytic philosophy is founded upon a more penetrating analysis of the general structure of our thoughts than was available to past ages, namely, the apparatus of modern logic, (...) beginning with Frege’s Begriffsschrift in 1879. Analytic philosophers take for granted the principles of semantic analysis embodied in the notation of modern logic. Even if they do not make use of a technical vocabulary, having taken these principles for granted is itself often enough to render their approach opaque to the layperson. Appearances aside, he claims, analytic philosophy is still concerned with the “deep questions.” And, to his credit, Dummett keeps an eye focused on some of the central questions of philosophy, those concerning metaphysical realism, throughout the book. (shrink)
A theory of cognitive systems individuation is presented and defended. The approach has some affinity with Leonard Talmy's Overlapping Systems Model of Cognitive Organization, and the paper's first section explores aspects of Talmy's view that are shared by the view developed herein. According to the view on offer -- the conditional probability of co-contribution account (CPC) -- a cognitive system is a collection of mechanisms that contribute, in overlapping subsets, to a wide variety of forms of intelligent behavior. Central to (...) this approach is the idea of an integrated system. A formal characterization of integration is laid out in the form of a conditional-probabilitybased measure of the clustering of causal contributors to the production of intelligent behavior. I relate the view to the debate over extended and embodied cognition and respond to objections that have been raised in print by Andy Clark, Colin Klein, and Felipe de Brigard. (shrink)
Bioethical research has tended to focus on theoretical discussion of the principles on which the analysis of ethical issues in biomedicine should be based. But this discussion often seems remote from biomedical practice where researchers and physicians confront ethical problems. On the other hand, published empirical research on the ethical reasoning of health care professionals offer only descriptions of how physicians and nurses actually reason ethically. The question remains whether these descriptions have any normative implications for nurses and physicians? In (...) this article, we illustrate an approach that integrates empirical research into the formulation of normative ethical principles using the moral-philosophical method of Wide Reflective Equilibrium (WRE). The research method discussed in this article was developed in connection with the project ‘Bioethics in Theory and Practice’. The purpose of this project is to investigate ethical reasoning in biomedical practice in Denmark empirically. In this article, we take the research method as our point of departure, but we exclusively discuss the theoretical framework of the method, not its empirical results. We argue that the descriptive phenomenological hermeneutical method developed by Lindseth and Norberg (2004) and Pedersen (1999) can be combined with the theory of WRE to arrive at a decision procedure and thus a foundation for the formulation of normative ethical principles. This could provide health care professionals and biomedical researchers with normative principles about how to analyse, reason and act in ethically difficult situations in their practice. We also show how to use existing bioethical principles as inspiration for interpreting the empirical findings of qualitative studies. This may help researchers design their own empirical studies in the field of ethics. (shrink)
It is natural for those with permissive attitudes toward abortion to suppose that, if they have examined all of the arguments they know against abortion and have concluded that they fail, their moral deliberations are at an end. Surprisingly, this is not the case, as I argue. This is because the mere risk that one of those arguments succeeds can generate a moral reason that counts against the act. If this is so, then liberals may be mistaken about the morality (...) of abortion. However, conservatives who claim that considerations of risk rule out abortion in general are mistaken as well. Instead, risk-based considerations generate an important but not necessarily decisive reason to avoid abortion. The more general issue that emerges is how to accommodate fallibilism about practical judgment in our decision-making. (shrink)
The human world is replete with narratives – narratives of our making that are uniquely appreciated by us. Some thinkers have afforded special importance to our capacity to generate such narratives, seeing it as variously enabling us to: exercise our imaginations in unique ways; engender an understanding of actions performed for reasons; and provide a basis for the kind of reflection and evaluation that matters vitally to moral and self development. Perhaps most radically, some hold that narratives are essential for (...) the constitution of human selves. This volume brings together nine original contributions in which the individual authors advance, develop and challenge proposals of these kinds. They critically examine the place and importance of narratives in human lives and consider the underlying capacities that permit us to produce and utilise these special artifacts. All of the papers are written in a non-technical and accessible style. (shrink)
Suffering is a ubiquitous yet elusive concept in health care. In a field devoted to the pursuit of objective data, suffering is a phenomenon with deep ties to subjective experience, moral values, and cultural norms. Suffering’s tie to subjective experience makes it challenging to discern and respond to the suffering of others. In particular, the question of whether a child with profound neurocognitive disabilities can suffer has generated a robust discourse, rooted in philosophical conceptualizations of personhood as well as the (...) academic and experiential expertise of practiced health-care professionals. The issue remains unresolved because it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to ever truly know an infant’s lived experience. But what if this is not the best question? What if instead of asking “can this infant suffer?” the discourse is broadened to ask “is there suffering here?” This latter question demands attention to patients’ subjective experiences of suffering, but also to the web of relationships that envelop them. Without losing sight of the importance of patients’ experiences, consideration of their relationships may elucidate the presence of suffering when the patients themselves are unable to provide the same clarity. In this essay, care ethics frames an examination of how suffering manifests in the loving and caring relationships that surround an infant with profound neurocognitive disabilities, changing those relationships and affecting the individuals within them. Exploring suffering through these relationships may offer clarity on the presence and content of suffering for infants with profound cognitive disabilities, in turn offering moral guidance for responding to suffering and supporting flourishing in this context. (shrink)
Prior studies have demonstrated that social-cognitive factors such as children’s false-belief understanding and parenting style are related to children’s lie-telling behaviors. The present study aimed to investigate how earlier forms of theory-of-mind understanding contribute to children’s lie-telling as well as how parenting practices are related to children’s antisocial lie-telling behaviors. Seventy-three three-year-olds from Hangzhou, P. R. China were asked not to peek at a toy in the experimenter’s absence. The majority of children who peeked, lied about it. Children’s lies were (...) positively related to performance on the knowledge-ignorance theory-of-mind task. Additionally, Control parenting, characterized by high levels of monitoring and demanding, unquestioning obedience, was negatively related to three-year-olds’ lying. The relation between Control parenting and lie-telling was partially mediated by children’s theory-of-mind understanding. These findings suggest that children’s early lie-telling behaviors are influenced by social and social-cognitive factors. (shrink)
According to the truth-conduciveness problem of coherentism, the coherence theory of justification can hardly show that coherentist justification is truth-conducive. This problem is generally conceived as the most recalcitrant problem with the coherence theory. The purpose of this paper is to show that it does not pose a serious problem for a certain version of coherentism, namely a Sellarsian explanatory coherence theory of justification combined with the deflationary theory of truth. On this version of coherentism, our epistemic goal is to (...) gradually improve our conceptual framework so as to maximize its explanatory coherence, and there is no substantial norm of truth independent of the norms of justification, so that we cannot evaluate the truth-conduciveness of a belief independently of the norms of justification. I argue that this version of coherentism can cope with the truth-conduciveness problem. (shrink)
The selection of wanted from unwanted messages requires discriminatory mechanisms of as great a complexity as those in normal perception, as is indicated by behavioral evidence. The results of neurophysiology experiments on selective attention are compatible with this supposition. This presents a difficulty for Filter theory. Another mechanism is proposed, which assumes the existence of a shifting reference standard, which takes up the level of the most important arriving signal. The way such importance is determined in the system is further (...) described. Neurophysiological evidence relative to this postulation is discussed. (shrink)
This study examined health professionals’ (HPs) experience, beliefs and attitudes towards brain death (BD) and two types of donation after circulatory death (DCD)—controlled and uncontrolled DCD. Five hundred and eighty-seven HPs likely to be involved in the process of organ procurement were interviewed in 14 hospitals with transplant programs in France, Spain and the US. Three potential donation scenarios—BD, uncontrolled DCD and controlled DCD—were presented to study subjects during individual face-to-face interviews. Our study has two main findings: (1) In the (...) context of organ procurement, HPs believe that BD is a more reliable standard for determining death than circulatory death, and (2) While the vast majority of HPs consider it morally acceptable to retrieve organs from brain-dead donors, retrieving organs from DCD patients is much more controversial. We offer the following possible explanations. DCD introduces new conditions that deviate from standard medical practice, allow procurement of organs when donors’ loss of circulatory function could be reversed, and raises questions about “death” as a unified concept. Our results suggest that, for many HPs, these concerns seem related in part to the fact that a rigorous brain examination is neither clinically performed nor legally required in DCD. Their discomfort could also come from a belief that irreversible loss of circulatory function has not been adequately demonstrated. If DCD protocols are to achieve their full potential for increasing organ supply, the sources of HPs’ discomfort must be further identified and addressed. (shrink)
This article argues that William James's thinking in The Varieties and elsewhere contains the view that social institutions, such as religious congregations and schools, are mediators between the private and public spheres of life, and are necessary for transforming personal feelings, ideals and beliefs into moral action. The Exercises of St Ignatius and the Just Community moral education approach serve as examples. Criticisms of the more commonly held view that James recognised only individual personal experiences as valid religious expressions are (...) marshalled. Furthermore, we argue that moral action or saintliness, the ultimate expression of religious faith according to James, is fundamentally social. The commonalities that the phenomenologies of moral action of St Ignatius and Lawrence Kohlberg have with William James's view are used to support the argument. (shrink)