Abstract Moral development in both the Old and the New Testament is outlined. It is shown that the basis of morality for both Hebrews and Christians lies in their unique idea of God and that for them religion and morality are essentially one. The moral authority is God and though there is a sense in which moral obligation is imposed by God, the relationship between God and man overcomes the paradox between the externality of moral motivation and autonomy. Brief mention (...) is made of certain inner motivation, conscience, reason and justice, in order to show that they are inadequate in themselves and that moral motivation needs the religious dimension. The article then outlines a philosophy of spirit seeking to show how true morality flows from the essential nature of persons who are in harmony with objective divine reality. (shrink)
We first discuss Michael Dummett’s philosophy of mathematics and Robert Brandom’s philosophy of language to demonstrate that inferentialism entails the falsity of Church’s Thesis and, as a consequence, the Computational Theory of Mind. This amounts to an entirely novel critique of mechanism in the philosophy of mind, one we show to have tremendous advantages over the traditional Lucas-Penrose argument.
This paper examines the claim made by certain virtue epistemologists that intellectual character virtues like fair-mindedness, open-mindedness and intellectual courage merit an important and fundamental role in epistemology. I begin by considering whether these traits merit an important role in the analysis of knowledge. I argue that they do not and that in fact they are unlikely to be of much relevance to any of the traditional problems in epistemology. This presents a serious challenge for virtue epistemology. I go on (...) to examine the work of two other virtue epistemologists in light of this challenge and then sketch an alternative approach that reveals how the intellectual virtues might merit a substantial role in epistemology even if not a role in connection with more traditional epistemological projects. (shrink)
An important disagreement in contemporary debates about free will hinges on whether an agent must have alternative possibilities to be morally responsible. Many assume that notions of alternative possibilities are ubiquitous and reflected in everyday intuitions about moral responsibility: if one lacks alternatives, then one cannot be morally responsible. We explore this issue empirically. In two studies, we find evidence that folk judgments about moral responsibility call into question two popular principles that require some form of alternative possibilities for moral (...) responsibility. Survey participants given scenarios involving agents that fail to satisfy these principles nonetheless found these agents to be morally responsible, blameworthy, deserving of blame, and at fault for morally bad actions and consequences. We defend our interpretation of this evidence against objections and explore some implications of these findings for the free will debate. (shrink)
Nursing is frequently described as practical or pragmatic and there are many parallels between nursing and pragmatism, the school of thought. Pragmatism is often glancingly referenced by nursing authors, but few have conducted in-depth discussions about its applicability to nursing; and few have identified it as a significant theoretical basis for nursing research. William James's pragmatism has not been discussed substantially in the nursing context, despite obvious complementarities. James's theme of pluralism fits with nursing's diversity and plurality; his emphasis on (...) social conscience in our actions matches nursing's fundamental purpose of improving the lives of others; his continuous testing of pluralistic truths in critically reflective practice pairs well with nursing's focus on developing best-available, holistic evidence; and his conceptualization of truth as being born in practice and becoming an instrument in practice is entirely compatible with nursing's theory–practice identity. The oft-discussed theory–practice gap is seen to hinder the development of nursing knowledge. If nursing is to find its identity in knowledge development and potentiate the knowledge developed, it is imperative to identify and address that which is impeding progress. By way of the pragmatic tenets of William James, I will argue that a significant part of the theory–practice gap lies in how nursing knowledge development is operationalized, creating a false dichotomy between practice and research. I will also argue that the research–practice schism has been widened by continued philosophical and methodological infighting in the research community. I will describe how Jamesian pragmatism can be 'what works' for rebuilding relationships and supporting an engaged plurality within nursing research and bring research and practice together into a collaborative and iterative process of developing nursing knowledge. (shrink)
Experts identified water quality, manure, good handling practices (including personal hygiene and equipment sanitation), and traceability as critical farm problem areas that, if addressed, are likely to decrease risk associated with microbial contamination of fresh produce from all scales of agriculture. However, the diverse nature of production strategies used by produce farmers presents multiple options for addressing foodborne illness issues while simultaneously creating potential complications. We use a mental models methodology to enhance our understanding of the underlying factors and assumptions (...) of small, medium, and large produce growers that influence their decision-making processes for contamination prevention and control. This empirical evidence demonstrates how challenges and opportunities to food safety are related to the scale of production and marketing strategies. We believe that refining the development of standards and existing extension and outreach food safety programs are important to both consumer protection and supporting agricultural communities. Additionally, this approach will help develop and refine food safety programs that will result in empirically grounded recommendations based on identified grower information needs. (shrink)
The terms "a priori" and "a posteriori" refer primarily to how or on what basis a proposition might be known. A proposition is knowable a priori if it is knowable independently of experience. A proposition is knowable a posteriori if it is knowable on the basis of experience. The a priori/a posteriori distinction is epistemological and should not be confused with the metaphysical distinction between the necessary and the contingent or the semantical or logical distinction between the analytic and the (...) synthetic. Two aspects of the a priori/a posteriori distinction require clarification: the conception of experience on which the distinction turns; and the sense in which a priori knowledge is independent of such experience. The latter gives rise to important questions regarding the positive basis of a priori knowledge. (shrink)
Norman's aim to reconcile two longstanding and seemingly opposed philosophies of perception, the constructivist and the ecological, by casting them as approaches to complementary subsystems within the visual brain is laudable. Unfortunately, Norman overreaches in attempting to equate direct perception with dorsal/unconscious visual processing and indirect perception with ventral/conscious visual processing. Even a cursory review suggests that the functional and neural segregation of direct and indirect perception is not as clear as the target article would suggest.
My concern is with the epistemological role of traits like inquisitiveness, attentiveness, fair-mindedness, open-mindedness, intellectual carefulness, thoroughness, tenacity, and caution. I argue for two main claims, one negative and the other positive. ;Negatively, I argue that considerations of intellectual virtue do not have an important role to play in connection with any of the more traditional epistemological problems. I show that if considerations of intellectual virtue were to play such a role, it would have to be in connection with the (...) analysis of knowledge, but that any view which makes an exercise of intellectual virtue a necessary condition for knowledge is bound to fail. ;Positively, I argue that there nevertheless remain a number of interesting and important philosophical questions and issues concerning the nature and value of virtuous intellectual character which are of considerable importance to epistemology. I defend this claim in two steps. First, I argue that virtuous intellectual character is both a constituent of and a highly important means to intellectual flourishing. It follows from this that since epistemology is concerned broadly with the more important or valuable philosophical dimensions of the intellectual life, insofar as there are philosophical questions and issues to be pursued in connection with the intellectual virtues, these have an important role to play in epistemology. Second, I go on to elucidate and discuss a number of these questions and issues, most of which are concerned with the nature and value of virtuous intellectual character as such. ;I conclude, then, that considerations of intellectual virtue do have an important role to play in epistemology, even if not in connection with any of the more traditional epistemological projects. (shrink)
We hypothesise that some influenza virus adaptations to poultry may explain why the barrier for human‐to‐human transmission is not easily overcome once the virus has crossed from wild birds to chickens. Since the cluster of human infections with H5N1 influenza in Hong Kong in 1997, chickens have been recognized as the major source of avian influenza virus infection in humans. Although often severe, these infections have been limited in their subsequent human‐to‐human transmission, and the feared H5N1 pandemic has not yet (...) occurred. Here we examine virus adaptations selected for during replication in chickens and other gallinaceous poultry. These include altered receptor binding and increased pH of fusion of the haemagglutinin as well as stalk deletions of the neuraminidase protein. This knowledge could aid the delivery of vaccines and increase our ability to prioritize research efforts on those viruses from the diverse array of avian influenza viruses that have greatest human pandemic potential. (shrink)
Are free will and determinism compatible? Philosophical focus on this deceptively simple `compatibility question' has historically been so pervasive that the entire free will debate is now standardly framed in its terms - that is, as a dispute between compatibilists, who answer the question affirmatively, and incompatibilists, who respond in the negative. This dissertation, in contrast, adopts a position that I call `descriptive variantism,' according to which prevailing notions of free will exhibit significant aspects of both compatibilism and incompatibilism. My (...) formulation and defense of this position provides a framework for considering several important issues that cannot be adequately addressed on the traditional conception of the free will debate. The theoretical advantages of descriptive variantism become apparent, I argue, only after adopting needed refinements to the compatibility question itself. As it stands, this question conflates at least two distinct issues: whether free will, as ordinarily understood, does in fact conflict with determinism, and whether free will should be taken to involve such a conflict. The vast majority of work in this area, I maintain, implies that (a) the shared notion of free will exemplified in everyday usage conforms exclusively to either compatibilism or incompatibilism, and (b) the (singular) position suggested by this shared notion constitutes the most adequate response to the compatibility question. This is a mistake: it ignores several other possibilities, among them the prospect that multiple `shared notions' are implicated in the complex network of judgments, attitudes, and social practices related to free will. Having reformulated various aspects of the free will debate in ways that address these issues, I go on to argue that no single account of free will can underwrite the broad range of phenomena associated with this notion. Most importantly, I maintain that contextual features, especially those related to abstraction and concreteness, engender significantly different notions of free will: abstract contexts tend to elicit judgments and other behaviors conducive to incompatibilism, while concreteness often promotes tendencies best captured by compatibilist theories. I support these empirical claims primarily by drawing out the conceptual implications of recent experimental work on these topics in a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, and defend my interpretation against alternative accounts that purport to `explain away' the contextual differences exhibited in the experimental data. If these claims are correct, then the fundamental conflicts inherent in prevailing notions of free will have the potential to manifest themselves in some highly problematic ways. For example, criminal laws enacted in abstract contexts may presuppose constraints on free agency deeply at odds with those implicitly adopted by jurors evaluating concrete violations of these laws. I attempt to make some preliminary progress on these vexing, but vital, issues by suggesting that revision towards compatibilism represents an initially appealing method of resolving some of these practical difficulties. Importantly, though, this suggestion is tentative, particularly insofar as the extent to which such revision is ultimately desirable, feasible, or even psychologically possible remains unclear. Further consideration of these issues thus constitutes an important avenue for future research. (shrink)
This article follows the 14th national STS meeting in Baltimore. The original paper was a Major Qualifying Project, equivalent to a senior thesis, at Worcester Polytechnic Institute titled “Control of Mount Wachusett.” The conclusions of the case study of a rather local event have implications in policy, ethics, the environment, and education that are more far-reaching than one might expect.
Given that Lucretius offers a systematic and cohesive explanation of the workings of nature, we should not expect inconsistencies in his poem. The explanation presented by Lucretius emphatically rejects any interventionist divine machinery of the cosmos, offering in its place the eminently regular dynamics of atomic configuration and dissolution, which can explain everything that pertains to natural philosophy without necessitating the activity of any divinity. The reader who understands the basics of Lucretius’ philosophy, therefore, should be surprised that theDRNbegins with (...) an anthropomorphic description of the goddess Venus, whom the poet petitions to intervene actively in human affairs. Lucretius gradually refines this initial presentation of the goddess’ essence throughout the poem, suggesting that the Venus who inaugurates the poem must be nuanced once one has learned the basic principles of Epicurean philosophy. At the end ofDRN4, Venus is presented not as a divine being but as nothing more than the sexual drive shared by all creatures in nature. Historically scholars have been keen to ‘correct’ perceived inconsistencies such as this, either by arguing that such imperfections derive from later interpolators or by appealing to the incomplete nature of the text as we possess it. Of course, no one has suggested that Lucretius would have changed or removed the proem, so the Venus problem remains an issue. One major aim of this article is to show that the process we witness with Lucretius’ Venus is not inconsistent but programmatic, a point grasped by many with regard to Venus herself but not in respect to theDRNas a whole. In other words, this article extends this insight about Lucretius’ Venus, whose providential attributes are only provisionally attached to her at the outset of the poem and, in due course, are completely removed. In fact, I will argue that the technique of gradually redefining initial propositions—a process I will refer to as provisional argumentation—fundamentally informs Lucretius’ famous metaphor of the honeyed cup, and I will suggest that we ought to recognize this technique as a major aspect of Lucretius’ discursive method throughout theDRN. (shrink)
Here, Bob Hale and Crispin Wright assemble the key writings that lead to their distinctive neo-Fregean approach to the philosophy of mathematics. In addition to fourteen previously published papers, the volume features a new paper on the Julius Caesar problem; a substantial new introduction mapping out the program and the contributions made to it by the various papers; a section explaining which issues most require further attention; and bibliographies of references and further useful sources. It will be recognized as (...) the most powerful presentation yet of a neo-Fregean program. (shrink)
Research ethicists have recently declared a new ethical imperative: that researchers should communicate the results of research to participants. For some analysts, the obligation is restricted to the communication of the general findings or conclusions of the study. However, other analysts extend the obligation to the disclosure of individual research results, especially where these results are perceived to have clinical relevance. Several scholars have advanced cogent critiques of the putative obligation to disclose individual research results. They question whether ethical goals (...) are served by disclosure or violated by non-disclosure, and whether the communication of research results respects ethically salient differences between research practices and clinical care. Empirical data on these questions are limited. Available evidence suggests, on the one hand, growing support for disclosure, and on the other, the potential for significant harm. (shrink)
This article makes a case for the capacity of "social practice" accounts of agency and freedom to criticize, resist, and transform systemic forms of power and domination from within the context of religious and political practices and institutions. I first examine criticisms that Michel Foucault's analysis of systemic power results in normative aimlessness, and then I contrast that account with the description of agency and innovative practice that pragmatist philosopher Robert Brandom identifies as "expressive freedom." I argue that Brandom can (...) provide a normative trajectory for Foucault's diagnoses of power and domination, helping to resolve its apparent lack of ethical direction. I demonstrate that Foucault, in turn, presents Brandom with insights that might overcome the charges of abstraction and conservatism that his pragmatic inferentialism frequently encounters. The result is a vindication of social practice as an analytical lens for social criticism that is at once both immanent and radical. (shrink)
Those familiar with Ayn Rand's ethical writings may know that she discusses issues in metaethics, and that she defended the objectivity of morality during the heyday of early non-cognitivism. But neither her metaethics, in general, nor her views on moral objectivity, in particular, have received wide study. This article elucidates some aspects of her thought in these areas, focusing on Rand's conception of the way in which moral values serve a biologically based human need, and on her account of moral (...) values as both essentially practical and epistemically objective in a sense fundamentally continuous with the objectivity of science. The bearing of her epistemological writings on her ethical thought is emphasized throughout, and her epistemology is defended against a line of criticism inspired by John McDowell's criticism of the so-called “myth of the given.”. (shrink)