Jacqueline Taylor presents an original reconstruction of Hume's social theory, which examines the passions and imagination in relation to institutions such as government and the economy. She goes on to examine Hume's system of ethics, and argues that the principle of humanity is the central concept of Hume's Enlightenment philosophy.
This is the first volume in which an account of personal autonomy is developed that both captures the contours of this concept as it is used in social philosophy and bioethics, and is theoretically grounded in, and a part of, contemporary autonomy theory. James Stacey Taylor’s account is unique as it is explicitly a political one, recognizing that the attribution of autonomy to agents is dependent in part on their relationships with others and not merely upon their own mental states. (...) The volume is distinctive in its examples, which touch on the ethics of using inducements to encourage persons to participate in medical research, the ethical issues associated with the use of antibiotics, and the ethical basis for both patient confidentiality and informed consent. (shrink)
Autonomy has recently become one of the central concepts in contemporary moral philosophy and has generated much debate over its nature and value. This 2005 volume brings together essays that address the theoretical foundations of the concept of autonomy, as well as essays that investigate the relationship between autonomy and moral responsibility, freedom, political philosophy, and medical ethics. Written by some of the most prominent philosophers working in these areas, this book represents research on the nature and value of autonomy (...) that will be essential reading for a broad swathe of philosophers as well as many psychologists. (shrink)
Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethics offers a highly distinctive and original approach to the metaphysics of death and applies this approach to contemporary debates in bioethics that address end-of-life and post-mortem issues. Taylor defends the controversial Epicurean view that death is not a harm to the person who dies and the neo-Epicurean thesis that persons cannot be affected by events that occur after their deaths, and hence that posthumous harms are impossible. He then extends this argument by asserting that the (...) dead cannot be wronged, finally presenting a defence of revisionary views concerning posthumous organ procurement. (shrink)
Normativism holds that there is a close conceptual link between disease and disvalue. We challenge normativism by advancing an argument against a popular normativist theory, Jerome Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction account. Wakefield maintains that medical disorders are breakdowns in evolved mechanisms that cause significant harm to the organism. We argue that Wakefield’s account is not a promising way to distinguish between disease and health because being harmful is neither necessary nor sufficient for a dysfunction to be a disorder. Counterexamples to the (...) harmful dysfunction account are considered, such as mild infections, perceptual deficits, and beneficial illnesses. Then we consider two ways of amending the harmful dysfunction account to address these cases and argue that the proposed amendments raise even more serious problems for this account. These problems apply generally to any normativist theory and raise doubts about the entire normative approach to the philosophy of health and disease. (shrink)
_Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethics_ offers a highly distinctive and original approach to the metaphysics of death and applies this approach to contemporary debates in bioethics that address end-of-life and post-mortem issues. Taylor defends the controversial Epicurean view that death is not a harm to the person who dies and the neo-Epicurean thesis that persons cannot be affected by events that occur after their deaths, and hence that posthumous harms are impossible. He then extends this argument by asserting that the (...) dead cannot be wronged, finally presenting a defence of revisionary views concerning posthumous organ procurement. (shrink)
We offer a particularist defense of conspiratorial thinking. We explore the possibility that the presence of a certain kind of evidence—what we call "fortuitous data"—lends rational credence to conspiratorial thinking. In developing our argument, we introduce conspiracy theories and motivate our particularist approach (§1). We then introduce and define fortuitous data (§2). Lastly, we locate an instance of fortuitous data in one real world conspiracy, the Watergate scandal (§3).
If pressed to identify the philosophical foundations of contemporary bioethics, most bioethicists would cite the four-principles approach developed by Tom L Beauchamp and James F Childress,1 or perhaps the ethical theories of JS Mill2 or Immanuel Kant.3 Few would cite Aristotle's metaphysical views surrounding death and posthumous harm.4 Nevertheless, many contemporary bioethical discussions are implicitly grounded in the Aristotelian views that death is a harm to the one who dies, and that persons can be harmed, or wronged, by events that (...) occur after their deaths. The view that death is a harm to the one who dies infuses, for example, the debates over abortion and euthanasia, while the view that persons could be harmed or wronged after their deaths informs much of the debate over, for example, policies for the posthumous procurement of transplant and the ethics of research on the dead.In Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethics, I argue that we should reject this cluster of influential Aristotelian thanatological claims, and instead endorse a trio of views that together constitute what I term full-blooded epicureanism: That death is not a harm to the person who dies, and that persons can neither be harmed nor wronged by events that occur after their deaths. …. (shrink)
The ontology of ‘powerful qualities’ is gaining an increasing amount of attention in the literature on properties. This is the view that the so-called categorical or qualitative properties are identical with ‘dispositional’ properties. The position is associated with C.B. Martin, John Heil, Galen Strawson and Jonathan Jacobs. Robert Schroer ( 2012 ) has recently mounted a number of criticisms against the powerful qualities view as conceived by these main adherents, and has also advanced his own (radically different) version of the (...) view. In this paper I have three main aims: firstly, I shall defend the ontology from his critique, arguing that his criticisms do not damage the position. Secondly, I shall argue that Schroer’s own version of the view is untenable. Thirdly, the paper shall serve to clear up some conceptual confusions that often bedevil the powerful qualities view. (shrink)
In Bohmian mechanics elementary particles exist objectively, as point particles moving according to a law determined by a wavefunction. In this context, questions as to whether the particles of a certain species are real---questions such as, Do photons exist? Electrons? Or just the quarks?---have a clear meaning. We explain that, whatever the answer, there is a corresponding Bohm-type theory, and no experiment can ever decide between these theories. Another question that has a clear meaning is whether particles are intrinsically distinguishable, (...) i.e., whether particle world lines have labels indicating the species. We discuss the intriguing possibility that the answer is no, and particles are points---just points. (shrink)
In many theories in contemporary philosophy of mind, attention is constitutively linked to phenomenal consciousness. Ned Block has recently argued that ‘identity crowding’ provides an example of subjects consciously seeing something to which they are unable to attend. Here I examine the reasons that Block gives for thinking that this is a case of a consciously perceived item that we are unable to attend to, and I offer a different interpretation.
The ontology of ‘powerful qualities’ is gaining an increasing amount of attention in the literature on properties. This is the view that the so-called categorical or qualitative properties are identical with ‘dispositional’ properties. The position is associated with C.B. Martin, John Heil, Galen Strawson and Jonathan Jacobs. Robert Schroer has recently mounted a number of criticisms against the powerful qualities view as conceived by these main adherents, and has also advanced his own version of the view. In this paper I (...) have three main aims: firstly, I shall defend the ontology from his critique, arguing that his criticisms do not damage the position. Secondly, I shall argue that Schroer’s own version of the view is untenable. Thirdly, the paper shall serve to clear up some conceptual confusions that often bedevil the powerful qualities view. (shrink)
Background:Data representing people’s behaviour, attitudes, feelings and relationships are increasingly being harvested from social media platforms and re-used for research purposes. This can be ethically problematic, even where such data exist in the public domain. We set out to explore how the academic community is addressing these challenges by analysing a national corpus of research ethics guidelines and published studies in one interdisciplinary research area.Methods:Ethics guidelines published by Research Councils UK, its seven-member councils and guidelines cited within these were reviewed. (...) Guidelines referring to social media were classified according to published typologies of social media research uses and ethical considerations for social media mining. Using health research as an exemplar, PubMed was searched to identify studies using social media data, which were assessed according to their coverage of ethical considerations and guidelines.Results:Of the 13 guidelines published or recom... (shrink)
There have recently been a number of attempts to put forth a philosophical account of the nature of attention. Many such theories aim at giving necessary and sufficient conditions for something to be attention. In this paper I will argue that any such theory must meet two criteria. Then I shall examine four prominent accounts of attention in some detail, and argue that all of them face problems meeting one or the other of the criteria. I propose an alternative view, (...) which involves taking seriously a pluralistic approach to attention. If the position I advocate is correct, then much of the philosophical work currently carried out on attention is fundamentally misguided, as most of the prominent theories of attention currently available are based upon assumptions which should be rejected. (shrink)
The Metaphysics and Ethics of Death brings together original essays that both address the fundamental questions of the metaphysics of death and explore the relationship between those questions and some of the areas of applied ethics in which they play a central role.
A standard objection to a market in political votes is that it will enable the rich politically to dominate the poor. If a market in votes was allowed then the poor would be the most likely sellers and the rich the most likely buyers. The rich would thus accumulate the votes of the poor, and so the candidates elected and the policies passed would represent only their interests and not those of the electorate as a whole. To ensure that the (...) poor do not become de facto disenfranchised, then, markets in votes should be disallowed. This objection seems so straightforward and compelling that it has received almost no critical scrutiny. This is unfortunate, for close examination reveals that this argument is not as straightforward as it initially appears. Indeed, there are four different ways of understanding this objection. It could be understood as expressing: the concern that markets in votes would enable candidates to win elections who would otherwise lose them; the concern that they would enable the election of candidates opposed by the majority of the electorate; the concern that they would lead to the poor having disproportionately low political influence; and the concern that they would lead to the rich having disproportionately high political influence. I will argue in this paper that only and could plausibly ground objections to markets in votes. Moreover, these will only plausibly ground objections to unrestricted markets in votes; they will not ground objections to markets in votes per se. Thus, if we are to continue to object to markets in political votes we will have to do this on grounds other than that were they to be allowed the rich will politically dominate the poor. (shrink)
Cognitive Grammar offers a radical alternative to mainstream linguistic theories. This book introduces the theory in clear, non-technical language, relates it to current debates about the nature of linguistic knowledge, and applies it to in-depth analyses of a range of topics in semantics, syntax, morphology, and phonology. Study questions and suggestions for further reading accompany each of the main chapters.
Pluralist and eliminativist positions in philosophy – and other disciplines – have proliferated in recent decades. This paper emphasises the sheer scale of this movement: we start by summarising twenty debates which have been affected, thus illustrating how often debates have been transformed by the introduction of pluralist and/or eliminativist thinking. We then provide an explanation of why this shift of philosophical terrain has occurred, an explanation which in turn predicts that its reach will extend to other debates currently unaffected, (...) and for good reasons. We go on to detail the landscape of various different pluralist and eliminativist positions one may favour. We ultimately argue for pluralism at the meta-level: whether one should implement pluralism or eliminativism depends on the context of discussion and the details of the debate at hand. We use this analysis to dissolve debates between ‘pluralists’ and ‘eliminativists’ in various domains. (shrink)
The aim of this review is to show the fruitfulness of using images of facial expressions as experimental stimuli in order to study how neural systems support biologically relevant learning as it relates to social interactions. Here we consider facial expressions as naturally conditioned stimuli which, when presented in experimental paradigms, evoke activation in amygdala–prefrontal neural circuits that serve to decipher the predictive meaning of the expressions. Facial expressions offer a relatively innocuous strategy with which to investigate these normal variations (...) in affective information processing, as well as the promise of elucidating what role the aberrance of such processing might play in emotional disorders. (shrink)
Priority Monism—the position that what is fundamental is one object, the Cosmos—has recently been brought to the fore by Jonathan Schaffer, who has put forward a variety of arguments in its favour. However, Priority Monism has been criticised on the grounds that junk—where for some structure to be junky is for every object in it to be a proper part of another object in the structure—is metaphysically possible. The aim of this paper is to investigate how the monist can deal (...) with this problem. I argue they can successfully argue against junk's possibility, but their response leaves a new problem for monism. To address this problem, they need to develop a new version of Priority Monism, on which the Cosmos is identical to all its parts taken collectively. I denote this version of monism as Weak Priority Monism. Contra Schaffer, I think a Priority Monist can and should hold to the thesis that Composition is Identity. (shrink)
This paper offers the first moral defense of markets in votes in a democratic electoral system based on majority rule where there are no moral restrictions on how votes can be cast. In Part 1 I outline the type of vote buying that I defend in this paper, and defend my methodological assumption. In Part 2 I criticize Freiman’s arguments for legalizing vote buying. In Part 3 I outline and reply to some responses that could be made to my criticisms (...) of Freiman’s arguments. In Part 4 I draw from the flaws in Freiman’s arguments to argue that vote buying is morally permissible and defend these arguments against objections. (shrink)
Many still oppose legalizing markets in human organs on the grounds that they are morally repugnant. I will argue in this paper that the repugnance felt by some persons towards sales of human organs is insufficient to justify their prohibition. Yet this rejection of the view that markets in human organs should be prohibited because some persons find them to be morally repugnant does not imply that persons’ feelings of distress at the possibility of organ sales are irrational. Eduardo Rivera-Lopez (...) argues that such instinctive distress is an appropriate response to the perception that certain kinds of arguments that are offered in favor of legalizing organ sales are “in an important sense, illegitimate.” Having argued that repugnance should not ground the prohibition of markets in human organs, I will also argue that the moral distress that some feel towards certain arguments that favor such markets is not rationally defensible, either. (shrink)
The U.S. National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Mental Health have a new research priority: inclusion of terminally ill persons living with HIV in HIV cure-related research. For example, the Last Gift is a clinical research study at the University of California San Diego for PLWHIV who have a terminal illness, with a prognosis of less than 6 months. As end-of-life HIV cure research is relatively new, the scientific community has a timely opportunity to (...) examine the related ethical challenges. Following an extensive review of the EOL and HIV cure research ethics literature, combined with deliberation from various stakeholders and our experience with the Last Gift study to date, we outline considerations to ensure that such research with terminally ill PLWHIV remains ethical, focusing on five topics: 1) protecting autonomy through informed consent, 2) avoiding exploitation and fostering altruism, 3) maintaining a favorable benefits/risks balance, 4) safeguarding against vulnerability through patient-participant centeredness, and 5) ensuring the acceptance of next-of-kin/loved ones and community stakeholders. EOL HIV cure-related research can be performed ethically and effectively by anticipating key issues that may arise. While not unique to the fields of EOL or HIV cure-related research, the considerations highlighted can help us support a new research approach. We must honor the lives of PLWHIV whose involvement in research can provide the knowledge needed to achieve the dream of making HIV infection curable. (shrink)
Many people attempt to give meaning to their lives by pursuing projects that they believe will bear fruit after they have died. Knowing that their death will preclude them from protecting or promoting such projects people who draw meaning from them will often attempt to secure their continuance by securing promises from others to serve as their caretakers after they die. But those who rely on such are faced with a problem: None of the four major accounts that have been (...) developed to explain directed promissory obligation support the view that we are obligated to keep our promises to persons who are now dead. But I will provide hope for those who wish to use such promises to protect the meaning with which they have endowed their lives. I will argue that while we cannot wrong a person who is now dead by breaking a promise made to her during her life, we could wrong the living by so doing. We thus have reason to keep the promises that we made to those who are now dead. (shrink)
A common criticism of plurality voting is that it fails to reflect the degree of intensity with which voters prefer the candidate or policy that they vote for. To rectify this, many critics of plurality voting have argued that vote buying should be allowed. Persons with more intense preferences for a candidate could buy votes from persons with less intense preferences for the opposing candidate and then cast them for the candidate that they intensely support. This paper argues that instead (...) of better reflecting voters’ weighted preferences, vote buying will lead to electoral outcomes that reflect them less accurately. (shrink)
In this paper I develop and defend my arguments in favor of the moral permissibility of a legal market for human body parts in response to the criticisms that have been leveled at them by Paul M. Hughes and Samuel J. Kerstein.
There has recently been a flurry of interest over how attention and phenomenal consciousness interact. Felipe De Brigard and Jesse Prinz have made the bold claim that attention is necessary and sufficient for phenomenal consciousness. If this turns out to be true, then we will have taken significant steps toward naturalizing the mind, which is a particularly exciting prospect. Against this position, several thinkers have presented empirical data which apparently show that consciousness is possible in the absence of attention, and (...) vice versa. In this paper I argue that these results do not harm De Brigard and Prinz's position, but that this is unsurprising because they use a definition of 'attention'which makes their view empirically self-sealing. I shall also argue that the argument in favour of this definition of attention is unsuccessful. I shall close with some comments on what should be done for the debate to progress. I have three main aims in this paper: firstly to give an overview of the debate, secondly to thoroughly analyse De Brigard and Prinz's position, and thirdly to point out some general and troublesome methodological issues that beset the debate, which have gone largely unacknowledged in the literature. Particularly, I will highlight the cross-purposes which stem from participants using definitions of the key terms in different ways. (shrink)
Historical foundations rooted in reproductive oppression have implications for how racism has been integrated into the structures of society, including public policies, institutional practices, and cultural representations that reinforce racial inequality in maternal health. This article examines these connections and sheds light on how they perpetuate both racial disparities in maternal health and high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity among Black women.
In an important and provocative paper Christopher Freiman recently has defended the view that vote-buying should be legal in democratic societies. Freiman offers four arguments in support of this claim: that vote buying would be ex ante beneficial to both the buyers and sellers of votes; that voters enjoy wide discretion in how they use their votes, and so this should extend to selling them; that vote markets would lead to electoral outcomes that better reflect voters’ preferences; and that vote-buying (...) is relevantly similar to other democratic practices that are currently legal, such as logrolling and earmarking. In this paper I will address the last of Freiman’s arguments. I will argue that there are significant disanalogies between vote buying and both logrolling and earmarking, and that these differences justify the legal prohibition of the former practice while legally permitting the latter two. (shrink)
In Markets Without Limits Brennan and Jaworski defend the view that there are “no legitimate worries about what we buy, trade, and sell.” But rather than being a unified defense of this position Brennan and Jaworski unwittingly offer three distinct pro-commodification views—two of which are subject to counterexamples. This Commentary will clarify what should be the thesis of their volume and identify the conditions that any counterexample to this must meet.
In recent years, there has been a considerable increase in the degree of philosophical attention devoted to the question of the morality of offering financial compensation in an attempt to increase the medical supply of human body parts and products, such as plasma. This paper will argue not only that donor compensation is ethically acceptable, but that plasma donors should not be prohibited from being offered compensation if they are to give their informed consent to donate. Regulatory regimes that prohibit (...) donor compensation thus unethically prevent the typical donor from being able to give her informed consent to donate. (shrink)
For the past three decades philosophical discussions of both personal autonomy and what it is for a person to “identify” with her desires have been dominated by the “hierarchical” analyses of these concepts developed by Gerald Dworkin and Harry Frankfurt. The longevity of these analyses is owed, in part, to the intuitive appeal of their shared claim that the concepts of autonomy and identification are to be analyzed in terms of hierarchies of desires, such that it is a necessary condition (...) for a person to be autonomous with respect to a desire that moves her to act, that she desires that this desire so move her. Despite the intuitive appeal of these analyses, however, Irving Thalberg has argued that they should be rejected. This is because, he argues, a person who is forced to perform an action by being subjected to duress of a certain degree of harshness will desire to be moved by her desire to submit. Thus, he continues, the proponents of hierarchical analyses of autonomy and identification will be forced to hold that such a person acted willingly, and did not suffer from any impairment in her autonomy. This, Thalberg concludes, is so counterintuitive as to justify rejecting hierarchical analyses. (shrink)