Those who have had the benefit of a reasonably lengthy familiarity with the philosophy of religion, and more particularly with the God question, may be so kind to a speaker long in exile from philosophy and only recently returned, as to subscribe, initially at least, to the following rather enormous generalization: meaning and truth, which to most propositions are the twin forces by which they are maintained, turn out in the case of claims about God, to be the centrifugal forces (...) by which they disintegrate. In simpler language, the greater the amount of intelligible meaning that can be given to the idea of God, the less grounds there would appear to be for assuming let alone asserting, that God exists, at least as a being distinguishable from all the things in this empirical world which are the source of the range of meanings available to us; on the other hand, the more we insist that God exists, a being over and above the things that make up this empirical world the less the amount of commonly available meaning we appear to be able to apply to God. Or, to put this in a manner which might obviate an obvious objection to it; either everything we know is tout ensemble , God, and then nothing in the world that we know is distinctively divine; or else nothing in this world is God, and then nothing that we appear to be able to know is God. That same formulation will work, it should be noted, even if we substitute for ‘things in the world’, ‘an aspect or aspects of things in the world’. (shrink)
James P. Sterba offers something that philosophers have long sought: an argument showing that morality is rationally required. Furthermore he argues that morality requires substantial equality. Even libertarian perspectives, which would seem to require minimal enforcement of morality, are shown to lead to a requirement of equality.
In this unique work, James P. Sterba argues that traditional ethics has yet to confront the three significant challenges posed by environmentalism, feminism, and multiculturalism. He maintains that while traditional ethics has been quite successful at dealing with the problems it faces, it has not addressed the possibility that its solutions to these problems are biased in favor of humans, men, and Western culture. In Three Challenges to Ethics: Environmentalism, Feminism, and Multiculturalism, Sterba examines each of these challenges. In (...) the case of environmentalism, he argues that traditional ethics must incorporate conflict resolution principles that favor nonhumans over humans in a significant range of cases. In terms of feminism, he maintains that traditional ethics should rule out gendered family structures and implement an ideal of androgyny. In regard to multiculturalism, he contends that traditional ethics must endorse an ethics that is secular in character and that can survive an extensive comparative evaluation of both Western and non-Western moral ideals and cultures. The only textbook devoted to this topic, Three Challenges to Ethics is an engaging text for introductory courses in ethics and moral problems and is also interesting and provocative reading for scholars and general readers. (shrink)
This book conveys the breadth and interconnectedness of questions of justice - a rarity in contemporary moral and political philosophy. James P. Sterba argues that a minimal notion of rationality requires morality, and that a minimal libertarian morality requires the welfare and equal opportunity endorsee by welfare liberals and the equality endorsed by socialists, as well as a full feminist agenda. Feminist, racial, homosexual, and multicultural justice, are also shown to be mutually supporting. The author further shows the compatibility (...) between anthropocentric and biocentric environmental ethics, as between just war and pacifist theories. Finally, he spells out when normal politics, legal protest, civil disobedience, revolutionary action, and criminal disobedience are morally permitted by justice for here and now. This highly original and potentially controversial book is ideal for courses in moral and political philosophy, applied ethics, women's studies, environmental studies, and peace studies. (shrink)
Four ethical values — maximizing benefits, treating equally, promoting and rewarding instrumental value, and giving priority to the worst off — yield six specific recommendations for allocating medical resources in the Covid-19 pandemic: maximize benefits; prioritize health workers; do not allocate on a first-come, first-served basis; be responsive to evidence; recognize research participation; and apply the same principles to all Covid-19 and non–Covid-19 patients.
In this introduction, I summarize the main themes of my book, particularly those that my critics have focused on in their papers that follow. I also argue that I could not have reached the conclusions that I have if I hadn’t employed a peacemaking rather than a warmaking way of doing philosophy. I provide a characterization of a peacemaking way of doing philosophy and show how the conclusions of my book depend on doing philosophy in that way.
BackgroundPlagiarism is common and threatens the integrity of the scientific literature. However, its detection is time consuming and difficult, presenting challenges to editors and publishers who are entrusted with ensuring the integrity of published literature.MethodsIn this study, the extent of plagiarism in manuscripts submitted to a major specialty medical journal was documented. We manually curated submitted manuscripts and deemed an article contained plagiarism if one sentence had 80 % of the words copied from another published paper. Commercial plagiarism detection software (...) was utilized and its use was optimized.ResultsIn 400 consecutively submitted manuscripts, 17 % of submissions contained unacceptable levels of plagiarized material with 82 % of plagiarized manuscripts submitted from countries where English was not an official language. Using the most commonly employed commercial plagiarism detection software, sensitivity and specificity were studied with regard to the generated plagiarism score. The cutoff score maximizing both sensitivity and specificity was 15 %.ConclusionsPlagiarism was a common occurrence among manuscripts submitted for publication to a major American specialty medical journal and most manuscripts with plagiarized material were submitted from countries in which English was not an official language. The use of commercial plagiarism detection software can be optimized by selecting a cutoff score that reflects desired sensitivity and specificity. (shrink)
This chapter discusses some of the most engaging natural phenomena, those in which highly structured collective behavior emerges over time from the interaction of simple subsystems. Emergence is generally understood to be a process that leads to the appearance of structure not directly described by the defining constraints and instantaneous forces which control a system. Over time “something new” appears at scales not directly specified by the equations of motion. An emergent feature also cannot be explicitly represented in the initial (...) and boundary conditions. A feature emerges when the underlying system puts some effort into its creation. These observations form an intuitive definition of emergence. For it to be useful, however, one must specify what the “something” is and in what manner it is “new.” Otherwise, the notion has little or no content, since almost any time-dependent system would exhibit emergent features. (shrink)
Drawing on and inspired by Paul Taylor’s Respect for Nature, I develop a view which I call “biocentric pluralism,” which, I claim, avoids the major criticisms that have been directed at Taylor’s account. In addition, I show that biocentric pluralism has certain advantages over biocentric utilitarianism (VanDeVeer) and concentric circle theories (Wenz and Callicott).
As with the first edition, Utilitarian, Kantian, and Aristotelian viewpoints are all well represented here, and this second edition features updated sections throughout—including eighteen new readings—and an entirely new section on multiculturalism. Presents students with a unique focus on three main challenges to ethics: feminism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism Pedagogical focus on the 'big questions' motivates student interest Collects readings on all key traditional theoretical and practical questions in ethics.
Feminism was born in controversy and it continues to flourish in controversy. The distinguished contributors to this volume provide an array of perspectives on issues including: universal values, justice and care, a feminist philosophy of science, and the relationship of biology to social theory.
ABSTRACT I explore the viability of a Galilean relational theory of space-time—a theory that includes a three-place collinearity relation among its stock of basic relations. Two formal results are established. First, I prove the existence of a class of dynamically possible models of Newtonian mechanics in which collinearity is uninstantiated. Second, I prove that the dynamical properties of Newtonian systems fail to supervene on their Galilean relations. On the basis of these two results, I argue that Galilean relational space-time is (...) too weak of a structure to support a relational interpretation of classical mechanics. 1.Introduction 2.Completeness 3.Leibnizian Relationalism 4.Galilean Relationalism 5.Inverse-Cube Force Laws 5.1Warm-up 5.2Model 1: Zero angular momentum 5.3Model 2: Non-zero angular momentum 6.Supervenience 7.Incompleteness 8.Conclusion. (shrink)
Philosophers who hold that religious considerations should play some role in public debate over fundamental issues have criticized Rawls’s ideal of public reason for being too restrictive in generally ruling out such considerations. In response, Rawls has modified his ideal so as to explicitly allow a role for religious considerations in public debate (others, such as Robert Audi, have also offered accounts of public reason along similar lines). Nevertheless, some critics of Rawls’s ideal of public reason, such as Nicholas Wolterstorff, (...) remain unsatisfied. In this paper, I will argue that once Rawls’s ideal of public reason is correctly interpreted, it will be possible to reconcile that ideal with much of the role its critics want religion to have in public debate. (shrink)
Dynamics is not enough for cognition, nor it is a substitute for information-processing aspects of brain behavior. Moreover, dynamics and computation are not at odds, but are quite compatible. They can be synthesized so that any dynamical system can be analyzed in terms of its intrinsic computational components.
Drawing on and inspired by Paul Taylor’s Respect for Nature, I develop a view which I call “biocentric pluralism,” which, I claim, avoids the major criticisms that have been directed at Taylor’s account. In addition, I show that biocentric pluralism has certain advantages over biocentric utilitarianism and concentric circle theories.
We investigate the notion of relevance as it pertains to ‘commonsense’, subjunctive conditionals. Relevance is taken here as a relation between a property (such as having a broken wing) and a conditional (such as birds typically fly). Specifically, we explore a notion of ‘causative’ relevance, distinct from ‘evidential’ relevance found, for example, in probabilistic approaches. A series of postulates characterising a minimal, parsimonious concept of relevance is developed. Along the way we argue that no purely logical account of relevance (even (...) at the metalevel) is possible. Finally, and with minimal restrictions, an explicit definition that agrees with the postulates is given. (shrink)