In this article the question is raised whether artificial intelligence has any psychological relevance, i.e. contributes to our knowledge of how the mind/brain works. It is argued that the psychological relevance of artificial intelligence of the symbolic kind is questionable as yet, since there is no indication that the brain structurally resembles or operates like a digital computer. However, artificial intelligence of the connectionist kind may have psychological relevance, not because the brain is a neural network, but because connectionist networks (...) exhibit operating characteristics which mimic operant behavior. Finally it is concluded that, since most of the work done so far in AI and Law is of the symbolic kind, it has as yet contributed little to our understanding of the legal mind. (shrink)
Some of the commentators on Intricate Ethics complain of my method. One finds the main ideas ‘Kammouflaged’ because the relevant causal distinctions are so fine-grained and the cases that illustrate them so numerous. Some say that they do not have the intuitions about many cases that I have, that I concoct dubious and ad hoc distinctions and invest them with moral significance; I am Ptolemaic in that new crystalline spheres and epicycles are constantly being added in an attempt to fix (...) the appearances. (shrink)
Peter Unger’s book has both substantive and methodological aims. Substantively, it aims to prove the following four claims in the following order: we must, in general, suffer great losses of property to prevent suffering and death; we may, in general, impose such losses on others for the same goals; we may, in general, kill others to prevent more deaths; and we must, in general, kill ourself to prevent more deaths. Methodologically, it aims to show that intuitive judgments about cases that (...) would be presented as evidence against the four substantive claims—the standard technique of nonconsequentialists arguing against consequentialists—are worthless because we can construct cases that generate the opposite intuitive judgment; further, we can show that the factors that distinguish the cases yielding such different intuitions are not morally significant; and hence, we must decide which judgments are correct by consulting such general moral values as the importance of reducing suffering and death. Thus, Unger offers an error theory of nonconsequentialist restrictions on harming others and prerogatives not to make large sacrifices to aid. This error theory is based on the psychological effects of morally insignificant factors. (shrink)
The following are not among the least puzzling remarks in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations : 572. Expectation is, grammatically, a state; like: being of an opinion, hoping for something, knowing something, being able to do something. But in order to understand the grammar of these states it is necessary to ask: ‘What counts as a criterion for anyone's being in such a state?’ 573.… What, in particular cases, do we regard as criteria for someone's being of such and such an opinion? (...) When do we say: he reached this opinion at that time? When he has altered his opinion? And so on. The picture which the answers to these questions give us shews what gets treated grammatically as a state here. (shrink)
It is a curious thing about the philosophy of mind, that it includes surprisingly little about minds. In an average anthology on the subject, or a book like Ryle's, one finds discussions of thinking, imagining, believing, willing, remembering, and so on, but not of minds. It seems to be assumed that investigating these topics is investigating minds; but whether that is true is not itself made a topic for investigation.
In this article, I critically examine Peter Unger's arguments for the claim that there is a duty to cause physical harm to oneself and others in order to save lives. This includes discussion of his view that when the method of cases involves several rather than merely two options our intuitive judgements support his radical thesis. In conclusion, I consider his attempt to reconcile his claims with common sense moral judgements.
Bioethical Prescriptions collects F.M. Kamm's articles on bioethics -- revised for publication in book form -- which have appeared over the last 25 years and which have made her among the most widely-respected philosophers working in this field.
This volume continues the examination of issues of life and death which F.M. Kamm began in Morality, Mortality, Volume I. Kamm continues her development of a non-consequentialist ethical theory and its application to practical ethical problems. She looks at the distinction between killing and letting die, and between intending and foreseeing, and also at the concepts of rights, prerogatives, and supererogation. She shows that a sophisticated non-consequentialist theory can be modelled which copes convincingly with practical ethical issues, and throws considerable (...) light on some of the key distinctions and concepts of ethical discourse. (shrink)
Ethics for Enemies comprises three original philosophical essays on torture, terrorism, and war. F. M. Kamm deploys ethical theory in her challenging new treatments of these most controversial practical issues. First she considers the nature of torture and the various occasions on which it could occur, in order to determine why it might be wrong to torture a wrongdoer held captive, even if this were necessary to save his victims. In the second essay she considers what makes terrorism wrong--whether it (...) is the intention to harm civilians, rather than harm to them being 'collateral damage,' or something else--and whether terrorism is always wrong. The third essay discusses whether having a right reason, in the sense of a right intention, is necessary in order for a war to be just. Kamm then examines ways in which the harms of war can be proportional to the achievement of the just cause and other goods that war can bring about, so as to make the declaration of war permissible. (shrink)
Why is death bad for us, even on the assumption that it involves the absence of experience? Whom should we save from death if we cannot save everyone? Kamm considers these questions, critically examining some answers other philosophers have given. She also examines specifically what differences between persons are relevant to the distribution of any scarce resources, e.g. bodily organs for transplantation.
I begin by reconsidering the arguments of John Taurek and Elizabeth Anscombe on whether the number of people we can help counts morally. I then consider arguments that numbers should count given by F. M. Kamm and Thomas Scanlon, and criticism of them by Michael Otsuka. I examine how different conceptions of the moral method known as pairwise comparison are at work in these different arguments and what the ideas of balancing and tie-breaking signify for decision-making in various types of (...) cases. I conclude by considering how another moral method that I call virtual divisibility functions and what it helps reveal about an argument by Otsuka against those who do not think numbers count. (shrink)
Dominick T. Armentano 's book, Antitrust and Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure, 2nd ed., has serious limitations as a scholarly work. Monopolistic price?raising is even more objectionable under plausible interpretations of Armentano 's subjectivist criterion than in the standard case, which assumes equal subjective value for all consumers? dollar expenditures. Armentano 's historical review of leading antitrust cases is also faulty. His evidence on the alleged failure of price?fixing schemes is defective, and his approach to judging whether monopoly power (...) existed proceeds from an inappropriately static theory. (shrink)
Based on a non-consequentialist ethical theory, this book critically examines the prevalent view that if a fetus has the moral standing of a person, it has a right to life and abortion is impermissible. Most discussion of abortion has assumed that this view is correct, and so has focused on the question of the personhood of the fetus. Kamm begins by considering in detail the permissibility of killing in non-abortion cases which are similar to abortion cases. She goes on to (...) consider the case for the permissibility of abortion in many types of pregnancies, including ones resulting from rape, voluntary pregnancy, and pregnancy resulting from a voluntary sex act, even if the fetus is considered a person. This argument emerges as part of a broader theory of creating new people responsibly. Kamm explores the implications of this argument for informed consent to abortion; responsibilities in pregnancy that is not aborted, and the significance of extra-uterine gestation devices for the permissibility of abortion. (shrink)