Plato's Cretan City is a thorough investigation into the roots of Plato's Laws and a compelling explication of his ideas on legislation and social institutions. A dialogue among three travelers, the Laws proposes a detailed plan for administering a new colony on the island of Crete. In examining this dialogue, Glenn Morrow describes the contemporary Greek institutions in Athens, Crete, and Sparta on which Plato based his model city, and explores the philosopher's proposed regulations concerning property, the family, government, (...) and the administration of justice, education, and religion. He approaches the Laws as both a living document of reform and a philosophical inquiry into humankind's highest earthly duty. (shrink)
A Textbook, with Readings, for Ethics and Contemporary Moral Issues courses -/- * Includes clear and comprehensive discussions by David Morrow of moral reasoning, ethical theory, and contemporary moral issues along with a thorough set of readings in these areas * Readings include both standards of moral theory and classic and contemporary sources in applied ethics from an uncommonly diverse set of authors; nearly one-third of the readings are authored by women *Offers coverage of standard contemporary moral issues along (...) with more cutting-edge topics like race, sex, and climate change *Illustrates aspects of moral reasoning using actual arguments from the applied ethics literature *Explains the use of analogical reasoning, thought experiments, and counterexamples in ethics *Includes dozens of detailed case studies drawn from real events, fiction, and film Incorporates Chinese and African ethics *Provides "guiding questions" to help students understand primary sources, discussion questions for each chapter and reading, and a detailed appendix on writing an ethics paper. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’, which is the view that ideal primary positive conceivability entails primary metaphysical possibility, is self-defeating. To this end, we outline two reductio arguments against ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’. The first reductio shows that, from supposing that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is true, it follows that conceivability both is and is not conclusive evidence for possibility. The second reductio shows that, from supposing that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is true, it follows that it is possible (...) that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is necessarily false, and hence that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is false. We then argue that adopting a weaker position according to which conceivability is merely prima facie evidence for possibility provides limited protection from our criticism of conceivability arguments. (shrink)
The strongest arguments for the permissibility of geoengineering (also known as climate engineering) rely implicitly on non-ideal theory—roughly, the theory of justice as applied to situations of partial compliance with principles of ideal justice. In an ideally just world, such arguments acknowledge, humanity should not deploy geoengineering; but in our imperfect world, society may need to complement mitigation and adaptation with geoengineering to reduce injustices associated with anthropogenic climate change. We interpret research proponents’ arguments as an application of a particular (...) branch of non-ideal theory known as “clinical theory.” Clinical theory aims to identify politically feasible institutions or policies that would address existing (or impending) injustice without violating certain kinds of moral permissibility constraints. We argue for three implications of clinical theory: First, conditional on falling costs and feasibility, clinical theory provides strong support for some geoengineering techniques that aim to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Second, if some kinds of carbon dioxide removal technologies are supported by clinical theory, then clinical theory further supports using those technologies to enable “overshoot” scenarios in which developing countries exceed the cumulative emissions caps that would apply in ideal circumstances. Third, because of tensions between political feasibility and moral permissibility, clinical theory provides only weak support for geoengineering techniques that aim to manage incoming solar radiation. (shrink)
Solar radiation management (SRM), a form of climate engineering, would offset the effects of increased greenhouse gas concentrations by reducing the amount of sunlight absorbed by the Earth. To encourage support for SRM research, advocates argue that SRM may someday be needed to reduce the risks from climate change. This paper examines the implications of two moral constraints?the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, and the Doctrine of Double Effect?on this argument for SRM and SRM research. The Doctrine of Doing and (...) Allowing, and perhaps the Doctrine of Double Effect, shows that the argument is weaker than it appears. (shrink)
Antonio Gramsci is one of the major social and political theorists of the 20th century whose work has had an enormous influence on several fields, including educational theory and practice. Gramsci and Education demonstrates the relevance of Antonio Gramsci's thought for contemporary educational debates. The essays are written by scholars located in different parts of the world, a number of whom are well known internationally for their contributions to Gramscian scholarship and/or educational research. The collection deals with a broad range (...) of topics, including schooling, adult education in general, popular education, workers' education, cultural studies, critical pedagogy, multicultural education, and the role of intellectuals in contemporary society. (shrink)
Some types of solar radiation management (SRM) research are ethically problematic because they expose persons, animals, and ecosystems to significant risks. In our earlier work, we argued for ethical norms for SRM research based on norms for biomedical research. Biomedical researchers may not conduct research on persons without their consent, but universal consent is impractical for SRM research. We argue that instead of requiring universal consent, ethical norms for SRM research require only political legitimacy in decision-making about global SRM trials. (...) Using Allen Buchanan & Robert Keohane's model of global political legitimacy, we examine several existing global institutions as possible analogues for a politically legitimate SRM decision-making body. (shrink)
Medical care of critically ill and injured infants and children globally should be based on best research evidence to ensure safe, efficacious treatment. In South Africa and other low and middle-income countries, research is needed to optimise care and ensure rational, equitable allocation of scare paediatric critical care resources.
One central question of climate justice is how to fairly allocate the global emissions budget. Some commentators hold that the concept of fairness is hopelessly equivocal on this point. Others claim that we need a complete theory of distributive justice to answer the question. This paper argues to the contrary that, given only weak assumptions about fairness, we can show that fairness requires an allocation that is at least as prioritarian as the equal per capita view. Since even the equal (...) per capita view is more prioritarian than is politically feasible, fairness is univocal enough for all practical purposes. (shrink)
Although many scientists and engineers insist that technologies are value-neutral, philosophers of technology have long argued that they are wrong. In this paper, I introduce a new argument against the claim that technologies are value-neutral. This argument complements and extends, rather than replaces, existing arguments against value-neutrality. I formulate the Value-Neutrality Thesis, roughly, as the claim that a technological innovation can have bad effects, on balance, only if its users have “vicious” or condemnable preferences. After sketching a microeconomic model for (...) explaining or predicting a technology’s impact on individuals’ behavior, I argue that a particular technological innovation can create or exacerbate collective action problems, even in the absence of vicious preferences. Technologies do this by increasing the net utility of refusing to cooperate. I also argue that a particular technological innovation can induce short-sighted behavior because of humans’ tendency to discount future benefits too steeply. I suggest some possible extensions of my microeconomic model of technological impacts. These extensions would enable philosophers of technology to consider agents with mixed motives—i.e., agents who harbor some vicious preferences but also some aversion to acting on them—and to apply the model to questions about the professional responsibilities of engineers, scientists, and other inventors. (shrink)
Traditional representations of philosophy have tended to prize the role of reason in the discipline. These accounts focus exclusively on ideas and arguments as animating forces in the field. But anecdotal evidence and more rigorous sociological studies suggest there is more going on in philosophy. In this article, we present two hypotheses about social factors in the field: that social factors influence the development of philosophy, and that status and reputation—and thus social influence—will tend to be awarded to philosophers who (...) offer rationally compelling arguments for their views. In order to test these hypotheses, we need a more comprehensive grasp on the field than traditional representations afford. In particular, we need more substantial data about various social connections between philosophers. This investigation belongs to a naturalized metaphilosophy, an empirical study of the discipline itself, and it offers prospects for a fuller and more reliable understanding of philosophy. (shrink)
Climate engineering (CE), the intentional modification of the climate in order to reduce the effects of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, is sometimes touted as a potential response to climate change. Increasing interest in the topic has led to proposals for empirical tests of hypothesized CE techniques, which raise serious ethical concerns. We propose three ethical guidelines for CE researchers, derived from the ethics literature on research with human and animal subjects, applicable in the event that CE research progresses beyond computer (...) modeling. The Principle of Respect requires that the scientific community secure the global public's consent, voiced through their governmental representatives, before beginning any empirical research. The Principle of Beneficence and Justice requires that researchers strive for a favorable risk–benefit ratio and a fair distribution of risks and anticipated benefits, all while protecting the basic rights of affected individuals. Finally, the Minimization Principle requires that researchers minimize the extent and intensity of each experiment by ensuring that no experiments last longer, cover a greater geographical extent, or have a greater impact on the climate, ecosystem, or human welfare than is necessary to test the specific hypotheses in question. Field experiments that might affect humans or ecosystems in significant ways should not proceed until a full discussion of the ethics of CE research occurs and appropriate institutions for regulating such experiments are established. (shrink)
Many commentators fear that climate engineering research might lead policy-makers to reduce mitigation efforts. Most of the literature on this so-called ‘moral hazard’ problem focuses on the prediction that climate engineering research would reduce mitigation efforts. This paper focuses on a related ethical question: Why would it be a bad thing if climate engineering research obstructed mitigation? If climate engineering promises to be effective enough, it might justify some reduction in mitigation. Climate policy portfolios involving sufficiently large or poorly planned (...) reductions in mitigation, however, could lead to an outcome that would be worse than the portfolio that would be chosen in the absence of further climate engineering research. This paper applies three ethical perspectives to describe the kinds of portfolios that would be worse than that ‘baseline portfolio’. The literature on climate engineering identifies various mechanisms that might cause policy-makers to choose these inferior portfolios, but it is difficult to know in advance whether the existence of these mechanisms means that climate engineering research really would lead to a worse outcome. In the light of that uncertainty, a precautionary approach suggests that researchers should take measures to reduce the risk of mitigation obstruction. Several such measures are suggested. (shrink)
In this study, we used a word search puzzle paradigm to investigate age differences in the rate of information gain and the cues used to make patch-departure decisions in information foraging. The likelihood of patch departure increased as the profitability of the patch decreased generally. Both younger and older adults persisted past the point of optimality as defined by the marginal value theorem, which assumes perfect knowledge of the foraging ecology. Nevertheless, there was evidence that adults were rational in terms (...) of being sensitive to the change in RG for making the patch-departure decisions. However, given the limitations in cognitive resources and knowledge about the ecology, the estimation of RG may not be accurate. Younger adults were more likely to leave the puzzle as the long-term RG incrementally decreased, whereas older adults were more likely to leave the puzzle as the local RG decreased. However, older adults with better executive control were more likely to adjust their likelihood of patch-departure decisions to the long-term change in RG. Thus, age-dependent reliance on the long-term or local change in RG to make patch-departure decisions might be due to individual differences in executive control. (shrink)
Recent work in various branches of philosophy has reinvigorated debate over the psychology behind moral judgment. Using Marc Hauser's categorization of theories as “Kantian,” “Humean,” or “Rawlsian” to frame the discussion, I argue that the existing evidence weighs against the Kantian model and partly in favor of both the Humean and the Rawlsian models. Emotions do play a causal role in the formation of our moral judgments, as the Humean model claims, but there are also unconscious principles shaping our moral (...) judgments, as the Rawlsian model predicts. Thus, Hauser's tripartite division of possible models of moral psychology is inadequate. Drawing on research in cognitive neuroscience, clinical and behavioral psychology, and psychopathology, I sketch a new, developmental sentimentalist model of moral psychology. I call it a “Mencian” model, after the Confucian philosopher Mencius. On this model, moral judgments are caused by emotions, but because of the way emotions are mapped onto particular actions, moral judgments unconsciously reflect certain principled distinctions. (shrink)
In this paper we set out the context in which experiences of mental distress occur with an emphasis on the contributions of social and structural factors and then make a case for the use of intersectionality as an analytic and methodological framework for understanding these factors. We then turn to the political urgency for taking up the concept of recovery and argue for the importance of research and practice that addresses professional domination of the field, and that promotes ongoing engagement (...) and dialogue about recovery as both a personal and social experience. To this end, we describe a unique project that sought to deepen our understanding of how recovery is being thought about and applied in the current context of mental health care in Vancouver, BC, with a specific focus on how, and whether, people are taking up and addressing dimensions of power that we see as critical to the operationalization of recovery within a social justice framework. Emerging from our research and discussion is a set of critical questions about whether or not the political moment in Canada with respect to re-invigorating recovery should be embraced, versus a rejection of the concept of recovery as too limiting in its scope and too vulnerable to professional co-optation. (shrink)
Stephen Gardiner argues that geoengineering does not meet the “canonical technical definition” of a global public good, and that it is misleading to frame geoengineering as a public good. A public good is something that is nonrival and nonexcludable. Contrary to Gardiner’s claims, geoengineering meets both of these criteria. Framing geoengineering as a public good is useful because it allows commentators to draw on the existing economic, philosophical, and social scientific literature on the governance of public goods.
Disagreements about morally appropriate mitigation policies arise in part from implicit disagreements about the nature and moral significance of needs. One key question is what, if anything, distinguishes “needs” from “mere wants.” One approach, prominent in economics and implemented in existing integrated assessment models of climate change, rejects a hard distinction between needs and wants. An alternative approach, prominent in the philosophical literature on needs, identifies needs with the requirements for autonomous agency, which is the capacity to set and pursue (...) one’s own goals. A second key question is in what sense, if any, the satisfaction of needs should take precedence over the satisfaction of wants. Those who reject the distinction between wants and needs can say only that some desires should be weighted more heavily than others. Those who endorse the distinction can say that, given certain ethical assumptions, it is wrong to frustrate one person’s needs in order to satisfy others’ mere wants. Thus, rejecting the distinction between wants and needs tends to justify less aggressive mitigation policies, in which satisfying the so-called “wants” of present generations compensates for frustrating the so-called “needs” of future generations. Endorsing the distinction between wants and needs, along with certain ethical assumptions, tends to justify more aggressive mitigation policies. Both positions are intellectually defensible; understanding them helps illuminate disagreements over mitigation policy. (shrink)
This article contrasts St. Thomas More's theoretical work on the role of faith and history in biblical exegesis with that of Fr. Richard Simon. I argue that, although Simon's work appears to be a critique of his more skeptical contemporaries like Hobbes and Spinoza, in reality he is carrying their work forward. I argue that More's union of faith and reason, theology and history, is more promising than Simon's for Catholic theological biblical exegesis.
"A Workbook for Arguments" builds on Anthony Weston's "Rulebook for Arguments" to provide a complete textbook for a course in critical thinking or informal logic. "Workbook" includes: The entire text of "Rulebook," supplemented with extensive further explanations and exercises. Homework exercises adapted from a wide range of arguments from newspapers, philosophical texts, literature, movies, videos, and other sources. Practical advice to help students succeed when applying the "Rulebook's" rules to the examples in the homework exercises. Suggestions for further practice, outlining (...) activities that students can do by themselves or with classmates to improve their skills. Detailed instructions for in-class activities and take-home assignments designed to engage students. An appendix on mapping arguments, giving students a solid introduction to this vital skill in constructing complex and multi-step arguments and evaluating them. Model answers to odd-numbered problems, including commentaries on the strengths and weaknesses of selected sample answers and further discussion of some of the substantive intellectual, philosophical, or ethical issues they raise. (shrink)
Why do some groups succeed where others fail? We hypothesise that collaborative success is achieved when the relationship between the dyad's prior expertise and the complexity of the task creates a situation that affords constructive and interactive processes between group members. We call this state the zone of proximal facilitation in which the dyad's prior knowledge and experience enables them to benefit from both knowledge-based problem-solving processes (e.g., elaboration, explanation, and error correction) andcollaborative skills (e.g., creating common ground, maintaining joint (...) attention to the task). To test this hypothesis we conducted an experiment in which participants with different levels of aviation expertise, experts (flight instructors), novices (student pilots), and non-pilots, read flight problem scenarios of varying complexity and had to identify the problem and generate a solution with either another participant of the same level of expertise or alone. The non-pilots showed collaborative inhibition on problem identification in which dyads performed worse than their predicted potential for both simple and complex scenarios, whereas the novices and experts did not. On solution generation the non-pilot and novice dyads performed at their predicted potential with no collaborative inhibition on either simple or complex scenarios. In contrast, expert dyads showed collaborative gains, withdyads performing above their predicted potential, but only for the complex scenarios. On simple scenarios the expert dyads showed collaborative inhibition and performed worse than their predicted potential. We discuss the implications of these results for theories of collaborative problem solving. (shrink)
Socrates' dream puts in generalized form the difficulty that plato saw in the mathematician's procedure of hypothesis, I.E., Of positing undemonstrated first principles ("prota") or elements ("stoicheia") as starting-Points of demonstration. If the elements are unknown, How can what is constructed from them be known?--A difficulty to which plato had earlier called attention in the 'republic' (510cd, 533cd.) this interpretation accords with the mathematical setting and personages of the dialogue, And explains why the explicit refutation of theaetetus' third proposal, That (...) knowledge be defined as true belief accompanied by a logos, Is so perfunctory and unconvincing. Furthermore, The dilemma thus brought to light is reflected in 'posterior analytics' (book i, Chap. 3), Which was presumably written during aristotle's residence in the academy in association with plato and the other mathematicians gathered around him. (shrink)
In his final original book, Battling to the End, Girard could hardly have been clearer: "Violence" he wrote, "can no longer be checked. From this point of view we can say that the apocalypse has begun."1Faced with the rise of global Islamist terror and the declaration of a "war against terror," Girard observed the collapse of politics as a mechanism to contain violence. History is not inevitably and dialectically converging on a rational Hegelian Aufhebung but has the pattern of a (...) duel, as observed by the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz after the defeat of the Prussian army by Napoleon's revolutionary French army at Jena. Far from converging on reconciliation, the logic of mimetic rivalry predicts... (shrink)