An efficient method of value assessment of a set of exchangeable alternatives A = a1,a2, ? ,an is presented. It particularly applies to situations where certain preferences may be easily evaluated or are already known, while other binary comparisons may not at once be available. Further applications are to ranking partial tournaments and the emergence and the characterisation of organisational hierarchy. By sequentially performing transitively efficient assessments of uncompared pairs, an initial weakly acyclical preference structure in A is transformed into (...) an ordering of A in echelons. We call these nicely surveyable preference structures echelon orders. Theoretical properties of echelon orders are investigated, including a characterisation and a numerical representation. (shrink)
This review confirms Herman’s work as a praiseworthy contribution to East-West and comparative philosophical literature. Due credit is given to Herman for providing English readers with access to Buber’s commentary on, a personal translation of, the Chuang-Tzu; Herman’s insight into the later influence of I and Thou on Buber’s understanding of Chuang-Tzu and Taoism is also appropriately commended. In latter half of this review, constructive criticisms of Herman’s work are put forward, such as formatting inconsistencies, a (...) tendency toward verbosity and jargon, and a neglect of seemingly important hermeneutical issues. Such issues, seemingly substantive but neglected by Herman, are the influence of Buber’s prior familiarity with Hasidic teachings on his encounter with Chuang-Tzu, as well as the prevalence of Hasidic and Taoist thought in Buber’s conception of good and evil. (shrink)
Making room for character -- Pluralism and the community of moral judgment -- A cosmopolitan kingdom of ends --Responsibility and moral competence --Can virtue be taught?: the problem of new moral facts -- Training to autonomy: Kant and the question of moral education -- Bootstrapping -- Rethinking Kant's hedonism -- The scope of moral requirement -- The will and its objects -- Obligatory ends -- Moral improvisation -- Contingency in obligation.
Richard Henson attempts to take the sting out of this view of Kant on moral worth by arguing (i) that attending to the phenomenon of the overdetermination of actions leads one to see that Kant might have had two distinct views of moral worth, only one of which requires the absence of cooperating inclinations, and (ii) that when Kant insists that there is moral worth only when an action is done from the motive of duty alone, he need not also (...) hold that such a state of affairs is morally better, all things considered, than one where supporting inclination is present. Henson's proposals seem to me both serious and plausible. I do not think that either of his models, in the end, can take on the role Kant assigns to moral worth in the argument of the Groundwork. But seeing the ways Henson's account diverges from Kant's makes clearer what Kant intended in his discussion of those actions he credits with moral worth. [...] An action has moral worth if it is required by duty and has as its primary motive the motive of duty. The motive of duty need not reflect the only interest the agent has in the action (or its effect); it must, however, be the interest that determines the agent's acting as he did. (shrink)
Most of us have been brought up on the idea that moral theories divide as they are, at the root, either deontological or consequentialist. A new point of division has been emerging that places deontological and consequentialist theories together against theories of virtue, or a conception of morality constrained at the outset by the requirements of the “personal.” In a series of important essays Bernard Williams has offered striking arguments for the significance of the personal in moral thought based on (...) the role of integrity in human activity and character. His criticisms of both Kantian and utilitarian theories for their deep-seated tendencies to undermine the integrity of persons brings to a new level of seriousness and subtlety long-standing complaints against these theories—the invasive do-gooding of utilitarianism, the coldness and severity toward normal human concerns of Kantian theory. Although Williams is inclined to find the sources of the attack on integrity in these different features of the two traditional theories, in the end his complaint against both of them turns on their demand that the moral agent submit himself to the authority of impartial value. (shrink)
If, as Kant says, "the will is practical reason", we should think of willing as a mode of reasoning, and its activity represented in movement from evaluative premises to intention by way of a validity-securing principle of inference. Such a view of willing takes motive and rational choice out of empirical psychology, thereby eliminating grounds for many familiar objections to Kant's account of morally good action. The categorical imperative provides the fundamental principle of valid practical inference; however, for good willing, (...) we also require correct premises. These come from specifications of the two obligatory ends - our own perfection and the happiness of others. Interpreting good willing as good reasoning not only fits well with Kant's metaphysics of free action, it also offers a sound method for reasoning to and about individual as well as role-dependent moral obligations. (shrink)
We dispute Penn et al.'s claim of the sharp functional discontinuity between humans and nonhumans with evidence in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) of higher-order generalizations: spontaneous integration of previously learned rules and concepts in response to novel stimuli. We propose that species-general explanations that are in approach are more plausible than Penn et al.'s innatist approach of a genetically prespecified supermodule.
Clinical experience suggests that adult survivors of childhood trauma arrive at their memories in a number of ways, with varying degrees of associated distress and uncertainty and, in some cases, after memory lapses of varying duration and extent. Among those patients who enter psychotherapy as a result of early abuse, three general patterns of traumatic recall are identified: relatively continuous and complete recall of childhood abuse experiences coupled with changing interpretations of these experiences, partial amnesia for abuse events, accompanied by (...) a mixture of delayed recall and delayed understanding, and delayed recall following a period of profound and pervasive amnesia. These patterns are represented by three composite clinical vignettes. Variations among them suggest that the phenomena underlying traumatic recall are continuous not dichotomous. Future research into the nature of traumatic memory should be informed by clinical observation. (shrink)
It is shown, in a large variety of manifestations, that the Aharonov—Bohm effect has classical counterparts in aspects concerning energy and momentum balance. No counterexamples are found in the cases considered, although whenever image charges shield the magnetic field region from the electric field of the passing electron the classical momentum effects, while present, would not be observable. Similarly, if the magnetic flux is maintained by superconductors, magnetic shielding will also render the classical energy effect unobservable. Partial shieldings of either (...) type will reduce but not totally eliminate the corresponding observable classical manifestations of these effects. (shrink)
Medicine has been said to be both a science and an art. Many practitioners regard this statement as containing an element of “either/or”. A brief look at what scientists and artists have written about their work and their world views, however, suggests that the two fields of endeavour form a complementary part of our attempts to understand ourselves and the world about us. Moreover, on occasion, each can perform some of the other's tasks. This paper quotes from the writings of (...) physicians, scientists and people active in the humanities in order to demonstrate how frequently their thoughts converge. It also presents a case report from general practice illustrative of the idea that there is much common ground between the “hard” and the “soft” in medicine. Indeed, the profession's art and science may really be one. (shrink)
The work ethic has been deeply challenged by two trends – the division of labor and the destruction of continuity in employment. Here a narrative model is proposed for reconstructing the work ethic. Narratives embody assumptions about the flow of time, and work becomes charged with meaning when "contractual time" is interrupted, when new functions are invented to cope with obstacles having to do human character and action. Content for this abstract model is provided by four historical movements in the (...) U.S. having to do with the reorganization of work or work relations: scientific management, the human-relations movement, the human-potential movement, and early management thought. (shrink)
Using Ian McEwan's 2007 novel On Chesil Beach as a case study, this paper seeks to enhance opportunities for dialogue between researchers in the cognitive sciences and scholars of story. More specifically, now that narrative alternatives to theories of mind have begun to shape debates about the nature and status of folk psychology, it is time to flesh out those alternatives by highlighting the action-modelling capacity built into the structure of stories. Narrative practices like McEwan's demonstrate how stories can be (...) used to configure and reconfigure characters'behaviour from different temporal, spatial, and evaluative standpoints, in the way that a complex molecule or architectural structure can be displayed and manipulated in virtual space with the help of an advanced computer graphics program. In turn, interpreting narrative as a system for building models of action underscores the relevance of narratology for the philosophy of mind -- and vice versa. (shrink)
In response to critical discussions of my book, Moral Literacy, by Stephen Engstrom, Sally Sedgwick and Andrews Reath, I offer a defence of Kant's formalism that is not only friendly to my claims for the moral theory's sensitivity to a wide range of moral phenomena and practices at the ground level, but also consistent with Kant's high rationalist ambitions.
Abstract In discussing the meaning of life in the Bhagavad Git? two obvious questions arise: first, what is the meaning of ?the meaning of life'?, and second, how does that meaning apply to the Bhagavad Git?? In Part I of this brief paper I will attempt to answer the first question by focusing on one of the common meanings of that phrase; in Part II, I will apply that very common meaning to the Bhagavad Git?; and in the third and (...) final part, I will point to a puzzle, the paradox of the jivanmukta, that would seem to follow from the discussion in the first two parts of this paper. My own feeling is that the concept of ?the meaning of life? is a Western invention . This being so, perhaps it would be wise to probe for that concept and its meaning among Western authors. We turn first, then, to one ancient writer, Aristotle of Stagira, and conclude Part I with a modern writer also concerned with the meaning of life, Albert Camus. (shrink)
Our starting point is a somewhat obscure incident which has lately attracted some attention. The year is 429 B.C., and the place is Athens in the third year of the Peloponnesian war. The plague, which had broken out only a year before, was still claiming its victims. Yet military operations were in full swing, and the general Phormio operating in the Corinthian gulf against a Peloponnesian fleet was able to score an impressive victory. The Lacedaemonians were deeply dissatisfied. This was (...) the first sea-fight they had been engaged in, and they found it hard to believe that their fleet was so much inferior to that of the Athenians. They dispatched three advisers to Knemos, the admiral in charge, instructing them to make better preparations for another sea-fight. Additional ships were solicited from the allies, and those already at hand were prepared for battle. It is at this point that the incident in question occurred. Not to prejudge the issue, I quote the text in full leaving the controversial phrases untranslated: 4. And Phormio on his part sent messengers to Athens to give information of the enemy's preparations and to tell about the battle which they had won, urging them also to send to him speedily as many ships as possible, since there was always a prospect that a battle might be fought any day. 5. So they sent him twenty ships, but gave τ δ κυμξοντι special orders to sail first to Crete. Nικας γρ Kρς Γορτνιος πρξενος ν persuaded them to sail against Cydonia, a hostile town, promising to bring it over to the Athenians; but he was really asking them to intervene to gratify the people of Polichne, who are neighbours of the Cydonians. 6. So μν λαβν τς νας. went to Crete, and helped the Polichnitans to ravage the lands of the Cydonians, and by reason of winds and stress of weather wasted not a little time. (shrink)
Because the propaganda model challenges basic premises and suggests that the media serve antidemocratic ends, it is commonly excluded from mainstream debates on media bias. Such debates typically include conservatives, who criticize the media for excessive liberalism and an adversarial stance toward government and business, and centrists and liberals, who deny the charge of adversarialism and contend that the media behave fairly and responsibly. The exclusion of the propaganda model perspective is noteworthy, for one reason, because that perspective is consistent (...) with long standing and widely held elite views that 'the masses are notoriously short-sighted' (Bailey 1948: 13) and are 'often poor judges of their own interests' (Lasswell 1933: 527), so that 'our statesmen must deceive them' (Bailey 1948: 13); and they 'can be managed only by a specialized class whose personal interests reach beyond the locality' (Walter Lippmann 1921: 310). In Lippmann's view, the 'manufacture of consent' by an elite class had already become 'a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government' by the 1920s (Lippman 1921: 248). (shrink)
Thucydides the Historian identifies himself as the son of a certain Oloros and, since Thucydides was by birth an Athenian , and Oloros is a Thracian name, the question arises how he acquired this Thracian patronymic. According to the view which has gained almost general acceptance, Thucydides of the deme Halimous in Attica owed his Thracian patronymic to a connexion by marriage. The hypothetical reconstruction of the family tree is that Thucydides' Athenian grandfather had married a daughter of Miltiades the (...) Athenian and Hegesipyle, daughter of the Thracian ruler Oloros, and a son of this marriage was called Oloros after his maternal great-grandfather. This Athenian Oloros became, as shown in Figure, the father of Thucydides the historian – an Athenian with a Thracian patronymic. (shrink)
The mechanisms for cultural transmission remain disputable and difficult to validate through observational field studies alone. If controlled experimental laboratory investigation reveals that a putative mechanism is demonstrable in the species under study, then inferences that the same mechanism is operating in the field observation are strengthened.