A medical information commons is a networked data environment utilized for research and clinical applications. At three deliberations across the U.S., we engaged 75 adults in two-day facilitated discussions on the ethical and social issues inherent to sharing data with an MIC. Deliberants made recommendations regarding opt-in consent, transparent data policies, public representation on MIC governing boards, and strict data security and privacy protection. Community engagement is critical to earning the public's trust.
On September 9, 2013, diplomats and civil society activists gathered in a ballroom in New York to welcome Jennifer Welsh as the UN Secretary-General's new Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect. In her first public appearance in that role, Special Adviser Welsh explained that one of her top priorities would be “to take prevention seriously and to make it meaningful in practice.” “In the context of RtoP,” Welsh added during the discussion, “we are talking about crimes, and crimes (...) have implications in terms of how we deal with them. You'll hear me say that a lot.” Welsh's approach of treating RtoP as a principle that is primarily concerned with prevention and is firmly linked to international crimes neatly captures the evolution of RtoP since its formal acceptance by states at the 2005 UN World Summit. Paragraphs 138 to 140 of the World Summit's Outcome Document not only elevated the element of prevention to a prominent place within the principle of RtoP but also restricted the scope of RtoP to four specific crimes under international law: genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. The crime and prevention–focused version of RtoP has subsequently been defended and promoted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and by UN member states. This article seeks to systematically explore some of the implications of linking RtoP to the concept of international crimes, with a particular focus on the preventive dimension of RtoP, the so-called responsibility to prevent. What, then, are the consequences of approaching the responsibility to prevent as the prevention of international crimes?In order to systematically examine this question, this article turns to literature from criminology. While the criminological perspective has so far been neglected in debates on RtoP, the prominent criminologists John Hagan and Wenona Rymond-Richmond argue vehemently that “criminology is crucially positioned to contribute understanding and direction to what the United Nations has mandated as the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ groups that are threatened with mass atrocities.” For the purpose of this article, the label “criminology” comprises domestic criminology, supranational criminology, and international criminal law. While insights from supranational criminology and international criminal law are directly applicable to international crimes, translating knowledge generated in relation to crimes at the domestic level to atrocity crimes at the international level is, of course, not without challenges. Reasoning by analogy is an important method in this regard, though given the anarchical nature of international society some analogies will inevitably be imperfect. The benefits of such an approach, if carefully employed, however, outweigh the risks. (shrink)
Modern epistemology has run into several paradoxes in its efforts to explain how knowledge acquisition can be both socially based and still able to determine objective facts about the world. In this important book, Richmond Campbell attempts to dispel some of these paradoxes, to show how they are ultimately just "illusions of paradox," by developing ideas central to two of the most promising currents in epistemology: feminist epistemology and naturalized epistemology. Campbell's aim is to construct a coherent theory of (...) knowing that is feminist and "naturalized." Illusions of Paradox will be valuable for students and scholars of epistemology and women's studies. (shrink)
We present a unified empirical and philosophical account of moral consistency reasoning, a distinctive form of moral reasoning that exposes inconsistencies among moral judgments about concrete cases. Judgments opposed in belief or in emotion and motivation are inconsistent when the cases are similar in morally relevant respects. Moral consistency reasoning, we argue, regularly shapes moral thought and feeling by coordinating two systems described in dual process models of moral cognition. Our empirical explanation of moral change fills a gap in the (...) empirical literature, making psychologically plausible a defensible new model of justified moral change and a hybrid theory of moral judgment. (shrink)
Following on from Nick Bostrom's discussion of the Doomsday argument, Alasdair Richmond considers how anthropic reasoning can lead from Doomsday to some odd conclusions about computation and our place in reality.
Moral knowledge appears to require moral judgments to be states of belief, yet they must at the same time be states of desire and feeling if they embody the motivation that we feel when we make moral judgments. How can the same judgment be a state of belief and a state of desire or feeling, simultaneously? [...] This problem may be resolved, I shall contend, by understanding moral judgments to be complex, multifunctional states that normally comprise both states of belief (...) that represent possible moral truths and states of emotion and motivation. (shrink)
In Kitcher’s ‘pragmatic naturalism’ moral evolution consists in pragmatically motivated moral changes in response to practical difficulties in social life. No moral truths or facts exist that could serve as an ‘external’ measure for moral progress. We propose a psychologically realistic conception of moral objectivity consistent with this pragmatic naturalism yet alive to the familiar sense that moral progress has an objective basis that transcends convention and consensus in moral opinion, even when these are products of serious, extended and collaborative (...) reflection. (shrink)
The premises that a four foot man is short and that a man one tenth of an inch taller than a short man is also short entail by universal instantiation and "modus ponens" that a seven foot man is short. The negation of the second premise seems to entail there are virtually no borderline cases of short men, While to deny the second premise and its negation conflicts with the principle of bivalence, If not excluded middle. But the paradox can (...) be dissolved without resort to degrees of truth or any non-Classical system of logic. If some true predications can be semantically uncertain in a sense suitable for defining borderline cases, The second premise can be denied without denying the vagueness of "short" or reintroducing a sorites paradox along with higher order borderline cases. (shrink)
It is more than a half-century since Nelson Goodman  applied what we call the Reflective Equilibrium model of justification to the problem of justifying induction, and more than three decades since Rawls  and Daniels  applied celebrated extensions of this model to the problem of justifying principles of social justice. The resulting Wide Reflective Equilibrium model (WRE) is generally thought to capture an acceptable way to reconcile inconsistency between an intuitively plausible general principle and an intuitively plausible judgment (...) about a particular case. Recently a different model for reconciling moral inconsistency has emerged: Moral Consistency Reasoning [Campbell and Kumar 2012, 2013a; Kumar and Campbell 2012; Campbell 2009: 86?7; Campbell and Woodrow 2003; Wong 2002]. MCR applies when two moral judgments give opposing assessments of (what appear to be) relevantly similar particular cases. Though WRE and MCR are strikingly different, each arguably captures a rationally acceptable method for reconciling moral inconsistency. Moreover, as will be shown, they function in complementary ways. Are they parts of a more comprehensive model of moral reasoning in the face of inconsistency that would explain the attractions of each? This essay first spells out the relevant differences between the models and then formulates a more general model of moral reasoning in the face of inconsistency. ?1 reviews the emergence of Goodman's model that he offers in the spirit of epistemology naturalized, almost a decade before Quine coined the term [1969a]. ?2 analyses six salient features of WRE to be compared with six contrasting features of MCR in ?3. ?4 presents the general model. (shrink)
Testimony is an invaluable source of knowledge. We rely on the reports of those around us for everything from the ingredients in our food and medicine to the identity of our family members. Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in the epistemology of testimony. Despite the multitude of views offered, a single thesis is nearly universally accepted: testimonial knowledge is acquired through the process of transmission from speaker to hearer. In this book, Jennifer Lackey shows that this (...) thesis is false and, hence, that the literature on testimony has been shaped at its core by a view that is fundamentally misguided. She then defends a detailed alternative to this conception of testimony: whereas the views currently dominant focus on the epistemic status of what speakers believe, Lackey advances a theory that instead centers on what speakers say. The upshot is that, strictly speaking, we do not learn from one another's beliefs - we learn from one another's words. Once this shift in focus is in place, Lackey goes on to argue that, though positive reasons are necessary for testimonial knowledge, testimony itself is an irreducible epistemic source. This leads to the development of a theory that gives proper credence to testimony's epistemologically dual nature: both the speaker and the hearer must make a positive epistemic contribution to testimonial knowledge. The resulting view not only reveals that testimony has the capacity to generate knowledge, but it also gives appropriate weight to our nature as both socially indebted and individually rational creatures. The approach found in this book will, then, represent a radical departure from the views currently dominating the epistemology of testimony, and thus is intended to reshape our understanding of the deep and ubiquitous reliance we have on the testimony of those around us. (shrink)
A familiar position regarding the evolution of ethics is that biology can explain the origin of morals but that in doing so it removes the possibility of their having objective justification. This position is set fourth in detail in the writings of Michael Ruse but it is also taken by many others, notably, Jeffrie Murphy, Andrew Oldenquist, and Allan Gibbard, I argue the contrary view that biology provides a justification of the existence of morals which is objective in the sense (...) of being independent of people's moral views and their particular desires and preferences. Ironically, my argument builds on the very premises which are supposed to undermine the objectivity of morals. But my argument stops short of claiming that biology can give us a basis for justifying some particular system of morals. Drawing on an analogy with social contract theory, I offer a general reason why this more ambitious project cannot be expected to succeed if the argument is pursued along the same lines. Finally, I give reasons why the possibility of objective justification for a particular morality cannot be ruled out in general on evolutionary grounds. (shrink)
Despite the emergence of new forms of feminist empiricism, there continues to be resistance to the idea that feminist political commitment can be integral to hypothesis testing in science when that process adheres strictly to empiricist norms and is grounded in a realist conception of objectivity. I explore the virtues of such feminist empiricism, arguing that the resistance is, in large part, due to the lingering effects of positivism.
My chief aim has been to convey the thought that the application of model theoretic techniques to natural languages needn't force a distortion of intentional phenomena. I hope that at least I have succeeded in accomplishing this.
Like those famous nations divided by a single tongue, my paper (this volume) and Professor P.M. Churchland's deep and engaging reply offer different spins on a common heritage. The common heritage is, of course, a connectionist vision of the inner neural economy- a vision which depicts that economy in terms of supra-sentential state spaces, vector-to-vector transformations, and the kinds of skillful pattern-recognition routine we share with the bulk of terrestrial intelligent life-forms. That which divides us is, as ever, much harder (...) to isolate and name. Clearly, it has something to do with the role of moral talk and exchange, and something to do with the conception of morality itself (and, correlatively, with the conception of moral progress). Most of this Reply will be devoted to clarifying the nature of the disputed territory. First, though (as a prophylactic against misunderstanding) I shall rehearse some points of agreement concerning moral talk and progress. (shrink)
In this paper, I take a critical look at the Davidsonian argument that metaphorical sentences do not express propositions because of the phenomenological experience—seeing one thing as another thing—involved in understanding them as metaphors. According to Davidson, seeing-as is not seeing-that. This verdict is aimed at dislodging metaphor from the position of being assessed with the semantic notions of propositions, meaning, and truth. I will argue that the phenomenological or perceptual experience associated with metaphors does not determine the propositional contentfulness (...) or truth-evaluability of metaphors. Truth-evaluability is not inconsistent but compatible with a perceptual model for metaphors. I argue for this partly by showing that seeing-as does not constitute understanding of metaphors when understanding is appropriately construed in terms of being able to use an expression. (shrink)
Testimony is a crucial source of knowledge: we are to a large extent reliant upon what others tell us. It has been the subject of much recent interest in epistemology, and this volume collects twelve original essays on the topic by some of the world's leading philosophers. It will be the starting point for future research in this fertile field. Contributors include Robert Audi, C. A. J. Coady, Elizabeth Fricker, Richard Fumerton, Sanford C. Goldberg, Peter Graham, Jennifer Lackey, Keith (...) Lehrer, Richard Moran, Frederick F. Schmitt, Ernest Sosa, and James Van Cleve. (shrink)
The theory I want to refute is sometime called Impersonal Ethical Egoism : the view that everyone ought to do what will benefit him the most in any given situation. It might be thought that this view can be distinguished from Personal Ethical Egoism : the view that I ought to do what will benefit me the most in any given situation. But to whom does “I” refer in PEE? To any person who states the view? And is the view (...) supposed to be true no matter who states it? If the answers to the last two questions are Yes, then PEE and IEE come to the same thing. To distinguish the views, we might take “I” to refer to a specific person, say, the person who just stated the view. Put unambiguously, without the personal pronoun, PEE then becomes: RC ought to do what will benefit RC the most in any given situation. IEE would then logically imply PEE, but not conversely. But the reason why PEE would not imply IEE is not that it would be a conflicting, or even an alternative and competing, form of ethical egoism; it is simply that PEE would be formulated much less generally than IEE. In fact, since PEE would concern only what one particular person ought to do, it would not be obvious that the view itself should be called a form of egoism. For if anyone else subscribed to the view, that would hardly make him an egoist; so there would seem to be nothing inherently egoistic about the view. But, in any case, what I aim to refute is a general theory about what anyone ought to do in a given situation, not a theory limited in scope to the actions of only one individual. (shrink)
Experimental research in moral psychology can be used to generate debunking arguments in ethics. Specifically, research can indicate that we draw a moral distinction on the basis of a morally irrelevant difference. We develop this naturalistic approach by examining a recent debate between Joshua Greene and Selim Berker. We argue that Greene's research, if accurate, undermines attempts to reconcile opposing judgments about trolley cases, but that his attempt to debunk deontology fails. We then draw some general lessons about the possibility (...) of empirical debunking arguments in ethics. (shrink)