We maintain that in many contexts promising to try is expressive of responsibility as a promiser. This morally significant application of promising to try speaks in favor of the view that responsible promisers favor evidentialism about promises. Contra Marušić, we contend that responsible promisers typically withdraw from promising to act, and instead promise to try, in circumstances where they recognize that there is a significant chance that they will not succeed.
We maintain that in many contexts promising to try is expressive of responsibility as a promiser. This morally significant application of promising to try speaks in favor of the view that responsible promisers favor evidentialism about promises. Contra Berislav Marušić, we contend that responsible promisers typically withdraw from promising to act and instead promise to try, in circumstances in which they recognize that there is a significant chance that they will not succeed.
I challenge the common view that trust is characteristically risky compared to distrust by drawing attention to the moral and epistemic risks of distrust. Distrust that is based in real fear yet fails to target ill will, lack of integrity, or incompetence, serves to marginalize and exclude individuals who have done nothing that would justify their marginalization or exclusion. I begin with a characterization of the suite of behaviors characteristic of trust and distrust. I then survey the epistemic and moral (...) hazards of distrust, in particular, distrust’s propensity to bias interpretation, to perpetuate itself, to confirm itself, to dishonor, and to insult. Taking seriously these moral and epistemic hazards requires taking affirmative measures to respond to them. I elaborate one such response: “humble trust”. The practice of humble trust issues from skepticism about the warrant of one’s own felt attitudes of trust and distrust, curiosity about who might be unexpectedly responsive to trust and in which contexts, and commitment to abjure and to avoid distrust of the trustworthy. Humble trust enables individuals to trust that they will be trusted. (shrink)
Rationalization in the sense of biased self-justification is very familiar. It's not cheating because everyone else is doing it too. I didn't report the abuse because it wasn't my place. I understated my income this year because I paid too much in tax last year. I'm only a social smoker, so I won't get cancer. The mental mechanisms subserving rationalization have been studied closely by psychologists. However, when viewed against the backdrop of philosophical accounts of the regulative role of truth (...) in doxastic deliberation , rationalization can look very puzzling. Almost all contemporary philosophers endorse a version of the thesis of deliberative exclusivity—a thinker cannot in full consciousness decide whether to believe that p in a way that issues directly in forming a belief by adducing anything other than considerations that he or she regards as relevant to the truth of p. But, as I argue, rationalization involves the weighing of considerations that the thinker kn.. (shrink)
In this paper I distinguish the category of “rationalization” from various forms of epistemic irrationality. I maintain that only if we model rationalizers as pretenders can we make sense of the rationalizer's distinctive relationship to the evidence in her possession. I contrast the cognitive attitude of the rationalizer with that of believers whose relationship to the evidence I describe as “waffling” or “intransigent”. In the final section of the paper, I compare the rationalizer to the Frankfurtian bullshitter.
I argue for the existence of a category of practical reasons which I call "Deliberation-Volatile Reasons" or "DVRs". DVRs have the distinguishing feature that their status as reasons for action is diminished when they are weighed in deliberation by the agent. I argue that DVRs are evidence of "deliberative blind spots". I submit that an agent manifests a peculiar kind of practical irrationality in so far as she endeavours to find a deliberative path to what she has reason to do, (...) when the discovery of such a path renders the destination inaccessible. (shrink)
Nelson Goodman's distinction between autographic and allographic arts is appealing, we suggest, because it promises to resolve several prima facie puzzles. We consider and rebut a recent argument that alleges that digital images explode the autographic/allographic distinction. Regardless, there is another familiar problem with the distinction, especially as Goodman formulates it: it seems to entirely ignore an important sense in which all artworks are historical. We note in reply that some artworks can be considered both as historical products and as (...) formal structures. Talk about such works is ambiguous between the two conceptions. This allows us to recover Goodman's distinction: art forms that are ambiguous in this way are allographic. With that formulation settled, we argue that digital images are allographic. We conclude by considering the objection that digital photographs, unlike other digital images, would count as autographic by our criterion; we reply that this points to the vexed nature of photography rather than any problem with the distinction. (shrink)
Situationists such as John Doris, Gilbert Harman, and Maria Merritt suppose that appeal to reliable behavioral dispositions can be dispensed with without radical revision to morality as we know it. This paper challenges this supposition, arguing that abandoning hope in reliable dispositions rules out genuine trust and forces us to suspend core reactive attitudes of gratitude and resentment, esteem and indignation. By examining situationism through the lens of trust we learn something about situationism (in particular, the radically revisionary moral implications (...) of its adoption) as well as something about trust (in particular, that the conditions necessary for genuine trust include a belief in a capacity for robust dispositions). (shrink)
On what basis, and to what extent, are refugees obligated to obey the laws of their host countries? Consideration of the specific case of asylum-seekers generates, I think, two competing intuitions: the refugee has a prima facie obligation to obey the laws of her host country and none of the popularly canvassed substrates of political obligation—consent, tacit consent, fairness, or social role—is at all apt to explain the presence of this obligation. I contend that the unfashionable gratitude account of political (...) obligation does the best job of accounting for the intuitions. As has been noticed by other commentators, obligations of gratitude are difficult to specify and subject to numerous cancelling conditions. I analyze these conditions in detail and conclude that if one accepts that gratitude is the basis of the political obligation of the refugee, then one must face up to just how frangible the obligation is. In particular, the obligation is conditional on the fair and generous treatment of refugees that is consistent with their dignity as human beings. (shrink)
There have two recent challenges to the orthodoxy that ‘X trusts Y to ø’ is the fundamental notion of trust. Domenicucci and Holton maintain that trust, like love and friendship, is fundamentally two-place. Paul Faulkner argues to the more radical conclusion that the one-place ‘X is trusting’ is explanatorily basic. I argue that ‘X trusts Y in domain D’ is the explanatorily basic notion. I make the case that only by thinking of trust as domain-specific can we make sense of (...) the relationships between trust and belief in goodwill, trust and distrust, and trust and trustworthiness. In addition, by modeling trust as essentially domain-specific we can account for the way in which wise trust in others is finely discriminating. (shrink)
In making the case that “rationalization is rational,” Cushman downplays its signature liability: Rationalization exposes a person to the hazard of delusion and self-sabotage. In paradigm cases, rationalization undermines instrumental rationality by introducing inaccuracies into the representational map required for planning and effective agency.
Imaginative resistance refers to cases in which one’s otherwise flexible imaginative capacity is constrained by an unwillingness or inability to imaginatively engage with a given claim. In three studies, we explored which specific imaginative demands engender resistance when imagining morally deviant worlds and whether individual differences in emotion predict the degree of this resistance. In Study 1 (N = 176), participants resisted the notion that harmful actions could be morally acceptable in the world of a narrative regardless of the author’s (...) claims about these actions but did not resist imagining that a perpetrator of harm could believe their actions to be morally acceptable. In Study 2 (N = 167) we replicated the findings of Study 1 and showed that imaginative resistance is greatest among participants who experience more negative affect in response to imagining harm and are lower in either trait anxiety or trait psychopathy. In Study 3 (N = 210) we show that this is the case even when the harms assessed include both low-severity (i.e., emotional harm) and high-severity (i.e., killing) cases. Thus, people’s moral beliefs constrain their ability to imagine hypothetical moral alternatives, although this ability systematically varies on the basis of stable individual differences in emotion. (shrink)
Situationists in moral philosophy infer from empirical studies in social psychology that human beings lack cross-situational behavioral consistency: that is, for the most part, we human beings are not able to act in the same trait-relevant way across a range of distinct types of situations, because those situational differences trigger differences in behavior. In this paper we defend the following thesis: one who accepts this conclusion (that is, one who judges that human beings in general are not possessed of behavioral (...) consistency) cannot make a promise in good faith. This has important consequences for the ethical institution of promising and its associated reactive attitudes. (shrink)
Practical wisdom is the intellectual virtue that enables a person to make reliably good decisions about how, all-things-considered, to live. As such, it is a lofty and important ideal to strive for. It is precisely this loftiness and importance that gives rise to important questions about wisdom: Can real people develop it? If so, how? What is the nature of wisdom as it manifests itself in real people? I argue that we can make headway answering these questions by modeling wisdom (...) on expert skill. Presenting the main argument for this expert skill model of wisdom is the focus of this paper. More specifically, I’ll argue that wisdom is primarily the same kind of epistemic achievement as expert decision-making skill in areas such as firefighting. Acknowledging this helps us see that, and how, real people can develop wisdom. It also helps to resolve philosophical debates about the nature of wisdom. For example, philosophers, including those who think virtue should be modeled on skills, disagree about the extent to which wise people make decisions using intuitions or principled deliberation and reflection. The expert skill model resolves this debate by showing that wisdom includes substantial intuitive and deliberative and reflective abilities. (shrink)
Virtues, broadly understood as stable and robust dispositions for certain responses across morally relevant situations, have been a growing topic of interest in psychology. A central topic of discussion has been whether studies showing that situations can strongly influence our responses provide evidence against the existence of virtues (as a kind of stable and robust disposition). In this review, we examine reasons for thinking that the prevailing methods for examining situational influences are limited in their ability to test dispositional stability (...) and robustness; or, then, whether virtues exist. We make the case that these limitations can be addressed by aggregating repeated, cross-situational assessments of environmental, psychological and physiological variables within everyday life—a form of assessment often called ecological momentary assessment (EMA, or experience sampling). We, then, examine how advances in smartphone application (app) technology, and their mass adoption, make these mobile devices an unprecedented vehicle for EMA and, thus, the psychological study of virtue. We, additionally, examine how smartphones might be used for virtue development by promoting changes in thought and behavior within daily life; a technique often called ecological momentary intervention (EMI). While EMA/I have become widely employed since the 1980s for the purposes of understanding and promoting change amongst clinical populations, few EMA/I studies have been devoted to understanding or promoting virtues within non-clinical populations. Further, most EMA/I studies have relied on journaling, PDAs, phone calls and/or text messaging systems. We explore how smartphone app technology provides a means of making EMA a more robust psychological method, EMI a more robust way of promoting positive change, and, as a result, opens up new possibilities for studying and promoting virtues. (shrink)
In this highly original book, Jason Hill defends a strong form of moral cosmopolitanism and lays the groundwork for a new view of the self. To achieve a radical cosmopolitan identity, he argues it may be necessary to forget aspects of one's racial and ethnic socialization. The idea of forgetting where one came from demands that morally recreated persons disown parts or even all of their cultures if these cultures are oppressive or denigrate human life. Hill draws on existentialism, (...) developmental psychology, and his own experiences as a Caribbean immigrant to the United States to present a philosophy for the new millennium. (shrink)
This essay argues that an account of vocation that ties one’s work with divine calling stands counter to the biblical witness of calling in the New Testament. Rather than calling to a particular profession, the biblical account of calling is to a unique way of living that is to exemplify the followers of Christ. Therefore, the re-enchantment of medicine is not accomplished when one makes the practice itself sacred simply by imagining it as one’s divine calling. Rather, the sacredness of (...) medicine is rooted in the character of the physician whose daily decisions and patient interactions are the outcomes of virtues inculcated in worship, prayer, Bible study, and all other practices that mark the life of faith. Thus, the practitioner avoiding burnout asks not “Am I called to be a physician?” but “How as a physician in the daily practice of medicine might I exemplify my calling to Christ-likeness?”. (shrink)
According to the Social Security Administration, 98% of minor children are eligible to receive survivors benefits if a working parent dies. However, the eligibility of children born, and even conceived, after a working parent dies is less clear. In recent years, the Social Security Administration has received more than 100 applications for survivors benefits filed on behalf of children conceived after a parent's death, and one such case, Astrue v. Capato, was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012. In (...) that case, whether the child is eligible to inherit under state intestacy law was accepted as a reasonable — and is a common — approach for determining eligibility for Social Security survivors benefits. The purpose of this study is to examine attitudes concerning access to Social Security survivors benefits in the context of various reproductive pathways and varying state intestacy laws. (shrink)
Introduction -- Moral reasoning from a cosmopolitan perspective : the problem of culture -- Culturalism and moral reasoning -- Towards a moral conceptual base of culture -- Cosmopolitanism : a definition and the question of tolerance -- Who owns culture : a moral cosmopolitan inquiry -- Culture-faith : the mystification of culture -- Culture-faith applied : cultural privacy and the ownership of native culture -- Counter arguments against applied culture faith : the right to cultural privacy -- Representation without authorization (...) -- Who has the right to speak for whom? -- Ethnocide or culture killings : is it so bad? -- Dismantling the tribes from within : modernization and the capabilities approach -- Moral culture is public culture : cosmopolitanism and culture warfare -- Sylvia Plath : daddy and the creation of moral culture -- Moral incommensurability and the clash of cultures -- The anatomy of anti-assimilationism and the logic of contagion -- The cult of death and the worship of ancestry : the genesis of group arcissism -- The psychopathology of tribalism : an exposé -- The tribalist as moral appropriator -- Symbolic ethnicity -- Ethnic vs. ethnic : the problem of definition -- Tribalism, untouchability, and human slime -- The art of symbolic necrophilia -- Imagistic and emblematic representations : tribal epistemology and the impossibility of knowing the other -- Moral masochism and Black identity : a tragic tale -- Jim in Africa -- Theorizing post humanity : radical inclusion, Jews as the chosen people, and the identity politics of St. Paul -- Laissez-faire existential engagement -- Post human in the flesh : Jews and the fragility of chosennes -- How God became a cosmopolitan -- The identity politics of St. Paul. (shrink)
Increasing global competition has intensified the use of informal sector workforce worldwide. This phenomenon is true with regard to India, where 92% of the workers hold precarious jobs. Our study examines the dynamics of workplace dignity in the context of Indian security guards deployed as contract labour by private suppliers, recognising that security guards’ jobs were marked by easy access, low status, disrespect and precariousness. The experiences of guards serving bank ATMs were compared with those working in large reputed organisations. (...) The former reported loss of dignity though their inherent self-worth remained partially intact, whereas the latter reclaimed dignity despite the precarious working conditions and the absence of unions. Guards from large reputed organisations evolved strategies by which they took advantage of the client’s vulnerabilities, developed ‘thick’ relationships at work and immersed themselves in 'doing dignity work' to ensure that they are not disposable. ‘Doing dignity work’ was a visible device which involved actions that met or went beyond the norms laid down by the client and was used by security guards to limit the extent of their precariousness. Since the opportunity to reclaim dignity was facilitated by large reputed clients’ adherence to legal regulations, we see implications of the study for the moral economy. (shrink)
In this article, we shift the usual analytical attention of the GPN framework from lead firms to suppliers in the network and from production to IT services. Our focus is on how Indian IT suppliers embed in the Netherlands along the threefold characterization of societal, territorial and network embeddedness. We argue that Indian IT suppliers attempt to display societal embeddedness when they move to The Netherlands. Our findings reveal that the endeavour by Indian IT suppliers to territorially dis-embed from the (...) Dutch context is reinforced by their peripheral position in the network and their ability to offshore work in a bid to contain costs, in addition to the influence of client domination. Therefore, territorial embeddedness is considered to be secondary to societal embeddedness which is intertwined with client interest while neglecting the interest of other network members. Nonetheless, the inter-firm relationship is complex, given the tension between societal, territorial and network embeddedness. While preferring Indian IT suppliers because of their low pricing, Dutch clients also insist on compliance with the institutional context of the Netherlands especially when it comes to Dutch employees. This results in hybridization which means that Indian IT suppliers find ways to adhere to the institutional framework for Dutch nationals while simultaneously insulating Indian employees from the same. Consequently, a highly unfair segmented internal labour market develops, with Dutch nationals being treated more favourably as compared to Indian nationals. Nonetheless, to address these violations, Indian employees prefer individual strategies of resilience and rework rather than a collectivization response. (shrink)
Successful interactions between people are dependent on rapid recognition of social cues. We investigated whether head direction – a powerful social signal – is processed in the absence of conscious awareness. We used continuous flash interocular suppression to render stimuli invisible and compared the reaction time for face detection when faces were turned towards the viewer and turned slightly away. We found that faces turned towards the viewer break through suppression faster than faces that are turned away, regardless of eye (...) direction. Our results suggest that detection of a face with attention directed at the viewer occurs even in the absence of awareness of that face. While previous work has demonstrated that stimuli that signal threat are processed without awareness, our data suggest that the social relevance of a face, defined more broadly, is evaluated in the absence of awareness. (shrink)
Two studies of the categorisation of justifications for judgements of the morality of the actions of others were reported, using a scoring scheme not previously reported. Results showed that a reaspnable degree of inter-rater reliability was achieved, and that developmental trends detected weere robust both with respect to interviewer and interview content, although interview content had an expected and comprehensible influence on the frequency of items within content categories. Results were interpreted within the context of a model of the development (...) of moral reasoning that emphasizes the influence of the social focus of the interviewee and the process by which individuation occurs towards either a secular or a religious view of morality. (shrink)
It is widely believed that the semantic function of an ordinary proper name (e.g. 'Aristotle') is inexplicable in terms of the semantic function of an ordinary definite description (e.g. 'the last great ancient philosopher'), given a Russellian analysis of the latter. This paper questions this belief by suggesting a possible semantic explication. In brief, I propose that an ordinary proper name is a mere placeholder for an arbitrary ordinary definite description true of a given individual. The proposal is set out (...) and justified in detail, as well as compared with both traditional description theories of ordinary proper names and the theory that an ordinary proper name just means its referent. I contend that the proposed theory is better than the former sort of theory, and at least as good as the latter one. (shrink)
In Beyond Blood Identities, Jason D. Hill presents a bold defense of a form of cosmopolitanism according to which only individual persons—not cultures, races, or ethic groups—are the bearers of rights and the possessors of an inviolable status worthy of respect.
In Beyond Blood Identities, Jason D. Hill presents a bold defense of a form of cosmopolitanism according to which only individual persons_not cultures, races, or ethic groups_are the bearers of rights and the possessors of an inviolable status worthy of respect.
A viatical settlement (or viatical) is a transaction in which an investor purchases the life insurance policy from a terminally ill person for a lump sum so that the investor can receive those benefits at the time of death. While there is an ongoing debate in the insurance and financial planning industry about viaticals, including the ethics of this practice, the focus has been predominantly on abuses in the course of buying and selling viaticals and less on the fundamental ethicality (...) of the economic idea behind viaticals. This paper offers a systematic ethical analysis of viaticals that leverages the distinction between the ethicality of an economic idea and the ethicality of economic reality to isolate and discuss the fundamental ethical problems of viaticals. By unpacking the evaluative content of our negative emotional reactions to viaticals, we show that, even under ideal circumstances, the economic idea of viaticals is, at its core, unethical. (shrink)
Objective: Compassion has been associated with eudaimonia and prosocial behavior, and has been regarded as a virtue, both historically and cross-culturally. However, the psychological study of compassion has been limited to laboratory settings and/or standard survey assessments. Here, we use an experience sampling method (ESM) to compare naturalistic assessments of compassion with standard assessments, and to examine compassion, its variability, and associations with eudaimonia and prosocial behavior. -/- Methods: Participants took a survey which included standard assessments of compassion and eudaimonia. (...) Then, over four days, they were repeatedly asked about their level of compassion, eudaimonia, and situational factors within the moments of daily life. Finally, prosocial behavior was tested using the Dual Gamble Task and an opportunity to donate task winnings. -/- Results: Analyses revealed within-person associations between ESM compassion and eudaimonia. ESM compassion also predicted eudaimonia at the next ESM time point. While not impervious to situational factors, considerable consistency was observed in ESM compassion in comparison with eudaimonia. Further, ESM compassion along with eudaimonia predicted donating behavior. Standard assessments did not. -/- Conclusion: Consistent with virtue theory, some individual’s reports displayed a probabilistic tendency toward compassion, and ESM compassion predicted ESM eudaimonia and prosocial behavior toward those in need. (shrink)
One important aim of moral philosophy courses is to help students build the skills necessary to make their own well-reasoned decisions about moral issues. This includes the skill of determining when a particular moral reason provides a good answer to a moral question or not. Helping students think critically about religious reasons like “because God says so” and “because scripture explicitly says so” can be challenging because such lessons can be misperceived as coercive or anti-religious. I describe a framework for (...) teaching about religion and moral reasons that I have found overcomes these challenges while also building generalizable skill at analyzing and evaluating moral reasons. (shrink)
Most minor children are eligible for Social Security survivors benefits if a wage-earning parent dies, but eligibility of children not in utero at the time of death is more nuanced. The purpose of this study was to examine attitudes concerning access to Social Security survivors benefits in the context of posthumous reproduction. A probability sample of 540 Florida households responded to a multiple-segment factorial vignette designed to examine the effects of state intestacy laws and five reproductive pathways – normative, posthumous (...) birth, cryopreserved embryo, cryopreserved gametes, and posthumous gamete retrieval – on attitudes toward eligibility for the Social Security survivors benefits. Broad support was found for the survivors benefits following normative and posthumous birth pathways, but attitudes were decidedly less favorable when the child was not in utero at the time of parental death. In addition, in stark contrast to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Astrue v. Capato, the vast majority of respondents did not believe state intestacy laws should determine eligibility for Social Security survivors benefits. (shrink)