Hubris among CEOs is generally considered to be undesirable: researchers in finance and in management have documented its unwelcome effects and the media ascribe many corporate failings to CEO hubris. However, the literature fails to provide a precise definition of CEO hubris and is mostly silent on how to prevent it. We use work on hubris in the fields of mythology, psychology, and ethics to develop a framework defining CEO hubris. Our framework describes a set of beliefs and behaviors, both (...) psycho-pathological and unethical in nature, which characterize the problematic relationship of the hubris-infected CEO towards his or her own self, others and the world at large. We then demonstrate how the development of authentic leadership may contribute to preventing or attenuating hubris by addressing its psycho-pathological nature through the true self and meaningful relationships with others. In addition to its psycho-pathological dimension, CEO hubris also contains an ethical dimension. We therefore propose that the development of the virtue of reverence might contribute to the prevention or attenuation of CEO hubris, because reverence makes the individual aware of his or her place in the world order and membership of the community of humans. (shrink)
Helen Steward argues that determinism is incompatible with agency itself--not only the special human variety of agency, but also powers which can be accorded to animal agents. She offers a distinctive, non-dualistic version of libertarianism, rooted in a conception of what biological forms of organisation might make possible in the way of freedom.
Helen Steward puts forward a radical critique of the foundations of contemporary philosophy of mind, arguing that it relies too heavily on insecure assumptions about the sorts of things there are in the mind--events, processes, and states. She offers a fresh investigation of these three categories, clarifying the distinctions between them, and argues that the category of state has been very widely and seriously misunderstood.
James Tabery Helen Longino’s Studying Human Behavior is an overdue effort at a nonpartisan evaluation of the many scientific disciplines that study the nature and nurture of human behavior, arguing for the acceptance of the strengths and weaknesses of all approaches. After years of conflict, Longino makes the pluralist case for peaceful coexistence. Her analysis of the approaches raises the following question: how are we to understand the pluralistic relationship among the peacefully coexisting approaches? Longino is ironically rather unpluralistic (...) about her pluralism, forcing a choice between integrative pluralism and her preferred ineliminative pluralism. I hope to show that the analysis of approaches she offers actually accommodates a pluralism that is both integrative and ineliminative.Approaches to studying human behaviorPhilosophy of biology took shape as a discipline in the 1970s. This disciplinary formation over. (shrink)
A computer can come to understand natural language the same way Helen Keller did: by using “syntactic semantics”—a theory of how syntax can suffice for semantics, i.e., how semantics for natural language can be provided by means of computational symbol manipulation. This essay considers real-life approximations of Chinese Rooms, focusing on Helen Keller’s experiences growing up deaf and blind, locked in a sort of Chinese Room yet learning how to communicate with the outside world. Using the SNePS computational (...) knowledge-representation system, the essay analyzes Keller’s belief that learning that “everything has a name” was the key to her success, enabling her to “partition” her mental concepts into mental representations of: words, objects, and the naming relations between them. It next looks at Herbert Terrace’s theory of naming, which is akin to Keller’s, and which only humans are supposed to be capable of. The essay suggests that computers at least, and perhaps non-human primates, are also capable of this kind of naming. (shrink)
The paper considers and opposes the view that processes are best thought of as continuants, to be differentiated from events mainly by way of the fact that the latter, but not the former, are entities with temporal parts. The motivation for the investigation, though, is not so much the defeat of what is, in any case, a rather implausible claim, as the vindication of some of the ideas and intuitions that the claim is made in order to defend — and (...) the grounding of those ideas and intuitions in a more plausible metaphysics than is provided by the continuant view. It is argued that in addition to a distinction between events and processes there is room and need for a third category, that of the individual process, which can be illuminatingly compared with the idea of a substance. Individual processes indeed share important metaphysical features with substantial continuants, but they do not lack temporal parts. Instead, it is argued that individual processes share with substantial continuants an important property I call ‘modal robustness in virtue of form’. The paper explains what this property is, and further suggests that the category of individual process, thus understood, might be of considerable value to the philosophy of action. (shrink)
In Studying Human Behavior, Helen E. Longino enters into the complexities of human behavioral research, a domain still dominated by the age-old debate of “nature versus nurture.” Rather than supporting one side or another or attempting..
The paper argues that actions should be thought of as processes and not events. A number of reasons are offered for thinking that the things that it is most plausible to suppose we are trying to cotton on to with the generic talk of ‘actions’ in which philosophy indulges cannot be events. A framework for thinking about the event-process distinction which can help us understand how we ought to think about the ontology of processes we need instead is then developed, (...) building on some excellent work already done by philosophers working at the intersection of philosophy and linguistics. (shrink)
The paper argues that it is possible for an incompatibilist to accept John Martin Fischer's plausible insistence that the question whether we are morally responsible agents ought not to depend on whether the laws of physics turn out to be deterministic or merely probabilistic. The incompatibilist should do so by rejecting the fundamentalism which entails that the question whether determinism is true is a question merely about the nature of the basic physical laws. It is argued that this is a (...) better option for ensuring the irrelevance of physics than the embrace of semi-compatibilism, since there are reasons for supposing that alternate possibilities are necessary for moral responsibility, despite Fischer's claims to the contrary. There are two distinct reasons for supposing that alternate possibilities might be necessary for moral responsibility—one of which is to do with fairness, the other to do with agency itself. It is suggested that if one focuses on the second of these reasons, Fischer's arguments for supposing that alternate possibilities are unnecessary for moral responsibility can be met by the incompatibilist. Some possible reasons for denying that alternate possibilities are necessary for the existence of agency are then raised and rejected. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the question what a continuant is, in the context of a very interesting suggestion recently made by Rowland Stout, as part of his attempt to develop a coherent ontology of processes. Stout claims that a continuant is best thought of as something that primarily has its properties at times, rather than atemporally—and that on this construal, processes should count as continuants. While accepting that Stout is onto something here, I reject his suggestion that we should (...) accept that processes are both occurrents and continuants; nothing, I argue, can truly occur or happen, which does not have temporal parts. I make an alternative suggestion as to how one might deal with the peculiar status of processes without jettisoning a very natural account of occurrence; and assess the consequences for the category of continuant. (shrink)
I have been asked to consider two questions: How Christian ‘oughts’ are related to Christian ‘is-es’, and, What does Christianity take flourishing to be? The background to these questions is that Christian ethics have traditionally been taken, both by supporters and opponents, as au ethic of creature-hood, sometimes quite crudely conceived. It is a sketch, but by no means a caricature, of a great deal of standard Christian thinking, to depict it as answering the two questions as follows: God is (...) your Creator: therefore you ought to obey him. The end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever. (shrink)
Most people believe that it is sometimes morally permissible for a person to use force to defend herself or others against harm. In Defensive Killing, Helen Frowe offers a detailed exploration of when and why the use of such force is permissible. She begins by considering the use of force between individuals, investigating both the circumstances under which an attacker forfeits her right not to be harmed, and the distinct question of when it is all-things-considered permissible to use force (...) against an attacker. Frowe then extends this enquiry to war, defending the view that we should judge the ethics of killing in war by the moral rules that govern killing between individuals. She argues that this requires us to significantly revise our understanding of the moral status of non-combatants in war. Non-combatants who intentionally contribute to an unjust war forfeit their rights not to be harmed, such that they are morally liable to attack by combatants fighting a just war. (shrink)
Helen Frowe has recently offered what she calls a “practical” account of self-defense. Her account is supposed to be practical by being subjectivist about permissibility and objectivist about liability. I shall argue here that Frowe first makes up a problem that does not exist and then fails to solve it. To wit, her claim that objectivist accounts of permissibility cannot be action-guiding is wrong; and her own account of permissibility actually retains an objectivist (in the relevant sense) element. In (...) addition, her attempt to restrict subjectivism primarily to “urgent” situations like self-defense contradicts her own point of departure and is either incoherent or futile. Finally, the only actual whole-heartedly objectivist account she criticizes is an easy target; while those objectivist accounts one finds in certain Western European jurisdictions are immune to her criticisms. Those accounts are also clearly superior to hers in terms of action-guidingness. (shrink)
This paper argues for the replacement of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities by an alternative principle, the Principle of Possible Non-Performance, which it is argued represents an important improvement on the Principle of Alternate Possibilities in the context of Frankfurt-style examples. The suggestion that the principle offers only the possibility of something insufficiently 'robust' to supply a decent replacement to PAP is countered.
This paper presents a dilemma which it has been alleged by Kim Frost must be faced by any defender of the notion of a two-way power and offers a solution to the dilemma which is distinct from Frost’s own. The dilemma is as follows: assuming that powers are to be individuated by what they are powers to do or undergo, then either there is a unified description of the manifestation-type which individuates the power, or there is not. If there is, (...) then two-way powers are revealed really to be one-way powers, after all. If there is not, then it is difficult to explain why the two-way power does not simply dissolve into a mere combination of two one-way powers. The paper offers an account of what a two-way power is that is distinct from the one Frost takes for granted, and argues that this different conception is the key to avoiding the dilemma. It is also argued that this alternative conception has several further advantages over its rival and also that it has no less of a claim than Frost’s notion to be prefigured in Aristotle’s original discussion. (shrink)
The aim of this literature review was to compose a narrative review supported by a systematic approach to critically identify and examine concerns about accountability and the allocation of responsibility and legal liability as applied to the clinician and the technologist as applied the use of opaque AI-powered systems in clinical decision making. This review questions if it is permissible for a clinician to use an opaque AI system in clinical decision making and if a patient was harmed as a (...) result of using a clinician using an AIS’s suggestion, how would responsibility and legal liability be allocated? Literature was systematically searched, retrieved, and reviewed from nine databases, which also included items from three clinical professional regulators, as well as relevant grey literature from governmental and non-governmental organisations. This literature was subjected to inclusion/exclusion criteria; those items found relevant to this review underwent data extraction. This review found that there are multiple concerns about opacity, accountability, responsibility and liability when considering the stakeholders of technologists and clinicians in the creation and use of AIS in clinical decision making. Accountability is challenged when the AIS used is opaque, and allocation of responsibility is somewhat unclear. Legal analysis would help stakeholders to understand their obligations and prepare should an undesirable scenario of patient harm eventuate when AIS were used. (shrink)
Are animals agents? This question demands a prior answer to the question of what an agent is. The paper argues that we ought not to think of this as merely a matter of choosing from a range of alternative definitional stipulations. Evidence from developmental psychology is offered in support of the view that a basic concept of agency is a very early natural acquisition, which is established prior to the development of any full-blown propositional attitude concepts. Then it is argued (...) that whatever one makes of the developmental evidence, it is in any case arguable on other grounds that the concept of agency as we have it in adulthood remains perfectly comprehensible independently of any reference to the more sophisticated propositional attitudes. Any reluctance we might feel to ascribe such things as beliefs to non-human animals, therefore, need not stand in the way of the claim that they are agents, nevertheless. The paper attempts to characterise the core of this basic agency concept, and discusses, albeit briefly, the question how we ought to decide which animals are to be thought of as falling under it. It concludes with some speculations about the nature of the intellectual currents which have made the shape of this important concept so hard for us to discern. (shrink)
This paper argues, by attention to the category of sub-intentional agency, that many conceptions of the nature of agency are 'over-mentalised', in that they insist that an action proper must be produced by something like an intention or a reason or a desire. Sub-intentional actions provide counterexamples to such conceptions. Instead, it is argued, we should turn to the concept of a two-way power in order to home in on the essential characteristics of actions.
Uncertainty is pervasive in ecology where the difﬁculties of dealing with sources of uncertainty are exacerbated by variation in the system itself. Attempts at classifying uncertainty in ecology have, for the most part, focused exclusively on epistemic uncertainty. In this paper we classify uncertainty into two main categories: epistemic uncertainty (uncertainty in determinate facts) and linguistic uncertainty (uncertainty in language). We provide a classiﬁcation of sources of uncertainty under the two main categories and demonstrate how each impacts on applications in (...) ecology and conservation biology. In particular, we demonstrate the importance of recognizing the effect of linguistic uncertainty, in addition to epistemic uncertainty, in ecological applications. The signiﬁcance to ecology and conservation biology of developing a clear understanding of the various types of uncertainty, how they arise and how they might best be dealt with is highlighted. Finally, we discuss the various general strategies for dealing with each type of uncertainty and offer suggestions for treating compounding uncertainty from a range of sources. (shrink)
The paper offers the outlines of a response to the often-made suggestion that it is impossible to see how indeterminism could possibly provide us with anything that we might want in the way of freedom, anything that could really amount to control, as opposed merely to an openness in the flow of reality that would constitute the injection of chance, or randomness, into the unfolding of the processes which underlie our activity. It is suggested that the best first move for (...) the libertarian is to make a number of important concessions to the compatibilist. It should be conceded, in particular, that certain sorts of alternative possibilities are neither truly available to real, worldly agents nor required in order that those agents act freely; and it should be admitted also that it is the compatibilist who tends to give the most plausible sorts of analyses of many of the 'can' and 'could have' statements which seem to need to be assertible of those agents we regard as free. But these concessions do not bring compatibilism itself in their wake. The most promising version of libertarianism, it is argued, is based on the idea that agency itself (and not merely some special instances of it which we might designate with the honorific appellation 'free') is inconsistent with determinism. This version of libertarianism, it is claimed, can avoid the objection that indeterminism is as difficult to square with true agential control as determinism can sometimes seem to be. (shrink)
The paper argues that the reconciliation of the Causal Theory of Perception with Disjunctivism requires the rejection of causal particularism – the idea that the ontology of causation is always and everywhere an ontology of particulars (e.g., events). The so-called ‘Humean Principle’ that causes must be distinct from their effects is argued to be a genuine barrier to any purported reconciliation, provided causal particularism is retained; but extensive arguments are provided for the rejection of causal particularism. It is then explained (...) how the reconciliation of the causal theory with disjunctivism can proceed on the basis of an ontology of facts. (shrink)
The paper attempts to explicate and justify the position I call `Agency Incompatibilism'- that is to say, the view that agency itself is incompatible with determinism. The most important part of this task is the characterisation of the conception of agency on which the position depends; for unless this is understood, the rationale for the position is likely to be missed. The paper accordingly proceeds by setting out the orthodox philosophical position concerning what it takes for agency to exist, before (...) going on to explain why and how that orthodoxy should be challenged. The relations between my own views and those of others writing on the issues of free will and moral responsibility, in three crucial and inter-connected areas are then explored. These are (1) the question how animals should figure in the philosophy of action; (2) the question what the lesson is of `Frankfurt-style' examples; and (3) the distinction between so-called `leeway' incompatibilism and `source' incompatibilism. The paper moves on to consider and respond to various objections to Agency Incompatibilism, including the claim that to embrace the conception of agency that makes incompatibilism plausible is to beg the question against the compatibilist, and also the worry that determinism is an empirical thesis which ought not to be straightforwardly falsifiable by such a priori reasoning as Agency Incompatibilism appears to involve. I also try to rebut the worry that Agency Incompatibilism is committed to the existence of an unintelligible and/or naturalistically impossible variety of irreducible agent causation. (shrink)
Medical and/or social gender transition need not involve denial of one's biological sex, but raises other taxing ethical issues. These range from sexual ethics issues narrowly understood to consideration of the claims of any spouse or children and indeed, of gender‐discordant younger people who may follow one's example. As with intersex conditions, not all crossdressing or use of cross‐sex hormones is excluded absolutely. Detransition, for example, could be rightly deferred for various reasons. However, as illustrated by the analogy of an (...) infertile woman wanting to present as the pregnant mother of a child she plans to adopt, there is a significant social value in accurate bodily and other outward communication of one's actual/predominant sex (and occupancy of key allied roles). (shrink)
Ali (Ethics and Information Technology 17:267–274, 2015) and McCormick (Ethics and Information Technology 3:277–287, 2001) claim that virtual murders are objectionable when they show inappropriate engagement with the game or bad sportsmanship. McCormick argues that such virtual murders cannot be wrong on Kantian grounds because virtual murders only violate indirect moral duties, and bad sportsmanship is shown across competitive sports in the same way. To condemn virtual murder on grounds of bad sportsmanship, we would need to also condemn other competitive (...) games. I argue, contra McCormick, that virtual murders performed within massively multiplayer online roleplaying games can be wrong on Kantian grounds when they are exploitative. Exploitation occurs when virtual murder treats the player controlling the victim in a way that they have no opportunity to consent to (i.e. as a mere means in Kantian terminology). I argue that some virtual murders involving inappropriate engagement (Ali, Ethics and Information Technology 17:267–274, 2015) and bad sportsmanship (McCormick, Ethics and Information Technology 3:277–287, 2001) are exploitative in this way and therefore also wrong on Kantian grounds. (shrink)
Infants are unable to make their own decisions or express their own wishes about medical procedures and treatments. They rely on surrogates to make decisions for them. Who should be the decision-maker when an infant’s biological parents are also minors? In this paper, we analyse a case in which the biological mother is a child. The central questions raised by the case are whether minor parents should make medical decisions on behalf of an infant, and if so, what are the (...) limits to this decision-making authority? In particular, can they refuse treatment that might be considered best for the infant? We examine different ethical arguments to underpin parental decision-making authority; we argue that provided that minor parents are capable of fulfilling their parental duties, they should have a right to make medical decisions for their infant. We then examine the ethical limits to minor parents’ decision-making authority for their children. We argue that the restricted authority that teenagers are granted to make medical decisions for themselves looks very similar to the restricted autonomy of all parents. That is, they are permitted to make choices, but not harmful choices. Like all parents, minor parents must not abuse or neglect their children and must also promote their welfare. They have a moral right to make medical decisions for their infants within the same ‘zone of parental discretion’ that applies to adult parents. We conclude that adult and minor parents should have comparable decision-making authority for their infants. (shrink)
The Ethics of War and Peace is a lively introduction to one of the oldest but still most relevant ethical debates. Focusing on the philosophical questions surrounding the ethics of modern war, Helen Frowe presents contemporary just war theory in a stimulating and accessible way. This 2nd edition includes new material on weapons and technology, and humanitarian intervention, in addition to: theories of self-defence and national defence jus ad bellum, jus in bello and jus post bellum the moral status (...) of combatants the principle of non-combatant immunity and the nature of terrorism and the moral status of terrorists. Each chapter uses examples and concludes with a summary, discussion questions and suggestions for further reading to aid student engagement, learning and revision. The glossary has been expanded to cover the full range of relevant terminology. This is the ideal textbook for students of philosophy and politics approaching this important area for the first time. (shrink)
''The authors' style is clear, making the book accessible to newcomers, and the illustrations are excellent. There can be no doubt that this book will remain the standard work in the subject, and it will appeal to readers of all types.'' -Sir Patrick Moore in the Times Higher Education Supplement ''It will surely be the standard work on the subject for many years to come and we await with interest the outcome of further research into this fascinating subject.'' -Society for (...) the History of AstronomyFor thousands of years, one scientific puzzle has fascinated and perplexed the greatest philosophers, mathematicians, physicists, and psychologists - why do the moon and sun appear so much larger on the horizon than when high up in the sky? Now, two leading psychologists have provided a compelling account of this fascinating illusion. Taking us through the history, the characters involved, the attempts made to explain the illusion, through to modern day studies of visual perception, the book is the most comprehensive account of this puzzle so far. This is a work which will remain, for some time to come, the definitive book on a mystery that has fascinated and tested the greatest minds throughout the ages. Accessibly written, it will appeal to readers of popular science, along with those within the disciplines of psychology, mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy, from undergraduate upwards. (shrink)
The presence of a human being/organism—a living human ‘whole’, with the defining tendency to promote its own welfare—has value in itself, as do the functions which compose it. Life is inseparable from health, since without some degree of healthy functionality the living whole would not exist. The value of life differs both within a single life and between lives. As with any other form of human flourishing, the value of life-and-health must be distinguished from the moral importance of human beings: (...) less fulfilled means not less important morally, but more in need of being fulfilled. That said, to say that life and health has value is not to say exactly what—if anything—that value requires by way of active promotion at a given time. Many factors must be taken into account in making health care decisions, even if the worth of all lives, and the dignity of all human beings, must in every case be acknowledged. (shrink)
Underdetermination arguments support the conclusion that no amount of empirical data can uniquely determine theory choice. The full content of a theory outreaches those elements of it (the observational elements) that can be shown to be true (or in agreement with actual observations).2 A number of strategies have been developed to minimize the threat such arguments pose to our aspirations to scientific knowledge. I want to focus on one such strategy: the invocation of additional criteria drawn from a pool of (...) cognitive or theoretical values, such as simplicity or generality, to bolster judgements about the worth of models, theories, and hypotheses. What is the status of such criteria? Larry Laudan, in Science and Values, argued that cognitive values could not be treated as self-validating, beyond justification, but are embedded in a three-way reticulational system containing theories, methods, and aims or values, which are involved in mutually supportive relationships (Laudan, 1984). My interest in this paper is not the purportedly self-validating nature of cognitive values, but their cognitive nature. Although Laudan rejects the idea that what he calls cognitive values are exempt from rational criticism and disagreement, he does seem to think that the reticulational system he identifies is independent of non-cognitive considerations. It is this cognitive/non-cognitive distinction that I wish to query in this paper. Let me begin by summarizing those of my own views about inquiry in which this worry about the distinction arises. (shrink)
Existing research highlights the role of partnerships between business and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in addressing poverty, climate change, disease and other challenges. But less is known about how such partnerships may also challenge our very understanding of the nature of those problems. This paper draws on Habermas' theoretical ideas about communicative action and deliberative democracy, applying them to an ethnographic study of Concern Universal, an international NGO with a particular focus on working collaboratively with business. The focus of the study (...) is the seam between two apparently different ‘worlds’, along which alternating processes of ‘colonisation’ and resistance are played out. Partnership emerges as an arena for both instrumental and communicative encounters, in which slow progress is occasionally punctuated by leaps in partners' understanding of both themselves and the challenges they seek to address. As such, despite the evolutionary ambitions of participants, partnership emerges as a potential catalyst of social change. (shrink)
The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has necessitated widespread adaptation of revised treatment regimens for both urgent and routine medical problems in patients with and without COVID-19. Some of these alternative treatments maybe second-best. Treatments that are known to be superior might not be appropriate to deliver during a pandemic when consideration must be given to distributive justice and protection of patients and their medical teams as well the importance given to individual benefit and autonomy. What is required of the doctor discussing (...) these alternative, potentially inferior treatments and seeking consent to proceed? Should doctors share information about unavailable but standard treatment alternatives when seeking consent? There are arguments in defence of non-disclosure; information about unavailable treatments may not aid a patient to weigh up options that are available to them. There might be justified concern about distress for patients who are informed that they are receiving second-best therapies. However, we argue that doctors should tailor information according to the needs of the individual patient. For most patients that will include a nuanced discussion about treatments that would be considered in other times but currently unavailable. That will sometimes be a difficult conversation, and require clinicians to be frank about limited resources and necessary rationing. However, transparency and honesty will usually be the best policy. (shrink)
There is a form of argument for a certain kind of essentialist conclusion which appears not to depend upon any appeal to intuition. Identity statements involving natural kind terms are often adverted to in the literature as examples of the necessary a posteriori, and it can appear as though the essentialist is on very strong ground with respect to these claims. It is not merely that they are apt to strike one as plausible in the light of philosophical arguments or (...) modal intuitions; rather, they appear to be provable, given only fairly trivial logical principles and uncontroversial scientific truths. This paper attempts to counter the claim, made particularly convincing by the work of Saul Kripke, that this indeed the case. (shrink)
Traits like simplicity and explanatory power have traditionally been treated as values internal to the sciences, constitutive rather than contextual. As such they are cognitive virtues. This essay contrasts a traditional set of such virtues with a set of alternative virtues drawn from feminist writings about the sciences. In certain theoretical contexts, the only reasons for preferring a traditional or an alternative virtue are socio-political. This undermines the notion that the traditional virtues can be considered purely cognitive.
Epistemic peer disagreement raises interesting questions, both in epistemology and in philosophy of science. When is it reasonable to defer to the opinion of others, and when should we hold fast to our original beliefs? What can we learn from the fact that an epistemic peer disagrees with us? A question that has received relatively little attention in these debates is the value of epistemic peer disagreement—can it help us to further epistemic goals, and, if so, how? We investigate this (...) through a recent case in paleoanthropology: the debate on the taxonomic status of Homo floresiensis remains unresolved, with some authors arguing the fossils represent a novel hominin species, and others claiming that they are Homo sapiens with congenital growth disorders. Our examination of this case in the recent history of science provides insights into the value of peer disagreement, indicating that it is especially valuable if one does not straightaway defer to a peer’s conclusions, but nevertheless remains open to a peer’s evidence and arguments. (shrink)