Bruce Janz, Jessica Locke, and Cynthia Willett interact in this exchange with different aspects of Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad’s book Human Being, Bodily Being. Through “constructive inter-cultural thinking”, they seek to engage with Ram-Prasad’s “lower-case p” phenomenology, which exemplifies “how to think otherwise about the nature and role of bodiliness in human experience”. This exchange, which includes Ram-Prasad’s reply to their interventions, pushes the reader to reflect more about different aspects of bodiliness.
Jessica Flanigan defends patients' rights of self-medication on the grounds that same moral reasons against medical paternalism in clinical contexts are also reasons against paternalistic pharmaceutical policies, including prohibitive approval processes and prescription requirements.
The debate about the ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence dates from the 1960s :741–742, 1960; Wiener in Cybernetics: or control and communication in the animal and the machine, MIT Press, New York, 1961). However, in recent years symbolic AI has been complemented and sometimes replaced by Neural Networks and Machine Learning techniques. This has vastly increased its potential utility and impact on society, with the consequence that the ethical debate has gone mainstream. Such a debate has primarily focused on principles—the (...) ‘what’ of AI ethics —rather than on practices, the ‘how.’ Awareness of the potential issues is increasing at a fast rate, but the AI community’s ability to take action to mitigate the associated risks is still at its infancy. Our intention in presenting this research is to contribute to closing the gap between principles and practices by constructing a typology that may help practically-minded developers apply ethics at each stage of the Machine Learning development pipeline, and to signal to researchers where further work is needed. The focus is exclusively on Machine Learning, but it is hoped that the results of this research may be easily applicable to other branches of AI. The article outlines the research method for creating this typology, the initial findings, and provides a summary of future research needs. (shrink)
Technologies to rapidly alert people when they have been in contact with someone carrying the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 are part of a strategy to bring the pandemic under control. Currently, at least 47 contact-tracing apps are available globally. They are already in use in Australia, South Korea and Singapore, for instance. And many other governments are testing or considering them. Here we set out 16 questions to assess whether — and to what extent — a contact-tracing app is ethically justifiable.
According to Ian Hacking, some human kinds are subject to a peculiar type of classificatory instability: individuals change in reaction to being classified, which in turn leads to a revision of our understanding of the kind. Hacking’s claim that these ‘human interactive kinds’ cannot be natural kinds has been vehemently criticized on the grounds that similar patterns of instability occur in paradigmatic examples of natural kinds. I argue that the dialectic of the extant debate misses the core conceptual problem of (...) human interactive kinds. The problem is not that these kinds are particularly unstable but ‘capricious’—their members behave in wayward, unexpected manners that defeats existing theoretical understanding. The reason for that, I argue, is that human interactive kinds are often ‘hybrid kinds’ consisting of a base kind and an associated status, which makes mechanisms that support patterns of change and stability systematically difficult to understand and predict. 1Introduction2The Extant Discussion 2.1Hacking’s account of interactive kinds2.2Classificatory feedback in non-human kinds3Natural kinds and Ontological Instability 3.1Understanding instability3.2The problem of stabilizing feedback3.3Summary4Capricious Kinds 4.1Biased conceptualization4.2Studying social status5Conclusion. (shrink)
According to the naïve, pre-theoretic conception, lying seems to be characterized by the intent to deceive. However, certain kinds of bald-faced lies appear to be counterexamples to this view, and many philosophers have abandoned it as a result. I argue that this criticism of the naïve view is misplaced; bald-faced lies are not genuine instances of lying because they are not genuine instances of assertion. I present an additional consideration in favor of the naïve view, which is that abandoning it (...) comes at an extremely high price; alternative accounts which eschew the intent-to-deceive condition on lying have difficulty distinguishing lies from non-literal speech. (shrink)
Increased technological and pharmacological interventions in patient care when patient outcomes are uncertain have been linked to the escalation in moral and ethical dilemmas experienced by health care providers in acute care settings. Health care research has shown that facilities that are able to attract and retain nursing staff in a competitive environment and provide high quality care have the capacity for nurses to process and resolve moral and ethical dilemmas. This article reports on the findings of a systematic review (...) of the empirical literature (1980 — February 2007) on the effects of unresolved moral distress and poor ethical climate on nurse turnover. Articles were sought to answer the review question: Does unresolved moral distress and a poor organizational ethical climate increase nurse turnover? Nine articles met the criteria of the review process. Although the prevailing sentiment was that poor ethical climate and moral distress caused staff turnover, definitive answers to the review question remain elusive because there are limited data that confidently support this statement. (shrink)
The history of emotions is notably fraught with semantic anxiety, and a great deal of ink has been spilt in attempts to clarify emotion terminology, with respect to both historical and contemporary usage. Because the 16th century is both a momentous time of linguistic change for European languages, and often for some reason neglected by historians of emotion trying to tell a longer story about emotion terminology, this article provides an overview of how 16th-century lexicons and prominent humanist authors handle (...) the basic Latin emotion terms affectus and passio. It suggests further that 16th-century usage confounds Thomas Dixon’s assertion that “classical Christian” usage consists of a generally firm distinction between the two terms. (shrink)
ABSTRACT A number of examples of studies from the field ‘The Philosophy of Mathematical Practice’ are given. To characterise this new field, three different strands are identified: an agent-based, a historical, and an epistemological PMP. These differ in how they understand ‘practice’ and which assumptions lie at the core of their investigations. In the last part a general framework, capturing some overall structure of the field, is proposed.
I årtusenden har människan försökt definiera livet – hur levande djur och växter skiljer sig från död materia. Problemet är dock att livet är mångfacetterat, och varje regel har sitt undantag. Vi försöker möta kommande utmaningar med nya livsformer, genom att lyfta fram en ny definition av liv.
Pt. I. The apparent good. Evaluative cognition -- Perceiving the good -- Phantasia and the apparent good -- pt. II. The apparent good and non-rational motivation. Passions and the apparent good -- Akrasia and the apparent good -- pt. III. The apparent good and rational motivation. Phantasia and deliberation -- Happiness, virtue, and the apparent good -- Practical induction -- Conclusion : Aristotle's practical empiricism.
The term "fake news" ascended rapidly to prominence in 2016 and has become a fixture in academic and public discussions, as well as in political mud-slinging. In the flurry of discussion, the term has been applied so broadly as to threaten to render it meaningless. In an effort to rescue our ability to discuss—and combat—the underlying phenomenon that triggered the present use of the term, some philosophers have tried to characterize it more precisely. A common theme in this nascent philosophical (...) discussion is that contemporary fake news is not a new kind of phenomenon, but just the latest iteration of a broader kind of phenomenon that has played out in different ways across the history of human information-dissemination technologies. While we agree with this, we argue that newer sorts of fake news reveal substantial flaws in earlier understandings of this notion. In particular, we argue that no deceptive intentions are necessary for fake news to arise; rather, fake news arises when stories which were not produced via standard journalistic practice are treated as though they had been. Importantly, this revisionary understanding of fake news allows us to accommodate and understand the way that fake news is plausibly generated and spread in a contemporary setting, as much by non-human actors as by ordinary human beings. (shrink)
did plato and aristotle have anything to say about belief? The answer to this question might seem blindingly obvious: of course they did. Plato distinguishes belief from knowledge in the Meno, Republic, and Theaetetus, and Aristotle does so in the Posterior Analytics. Plato distinguishes belief from perception in the Theaetetus, and Aristotle does so in the De anima. They talk about the distinction between true and false beliefs, and the ways in which belief can mislead and the ways in which (...) it can steer us aright. Indeed, they make belief a central component of their epistemologies.The view underlying these claims—one so widespread these days as to remain largely unquestioned—is that when Plato and Aristotle talk... (shrink)
Contextualists such as Cohen and DeRose claim that the truth conditions of knowledge attributions vary contextually, in particular that the strength of epistemic position required for one to be truly ascribed knowledge depends on features of the attributor's context. Contextualists support their view by appeal to our intuitions about when it's correct (or incorrect) to ascribe knowledge. Someone might argue that some of these intuitions merely reflect when it is conversationally appropriate to ascribe knowledge, not when knowledge is truly ascribed, (...) and so try to accommodate these intuitions even on an invariantist view. DeRose (Blackwell Guide to Epistemology, 1998; Philosophical Review, 2002) argues that any such 'warranted assertibility manoeuvre', or 'WAM', against contextualism is unlikely to succeed. Here, I argue that his objections to a WAM against contextualism are not persuasive and offer a pragmatic account of the data about ascriptions of knowledge. (shrink)
In response to Habgood-Coote (2019) and a growing number of scholars who argue that academics and journalists should stop talking about fake news and abandon the term, we argue that the reasons which have been offered for eschewing the term 'fake news' are not sufficient to justify such abandonment. Prima facie, then, we take ourselves and others to be justified in continuing to talk about fake news.
When subjects violate epistemic standards or norms, we sometimes judge them blameworthy rather than blameless. For instance, we might judge a subject blameworthy for dogmatically continuing to believe a claim even after receiving evidence which undermines it. Indeed, the idea that one may be blameworthy for belief is appealed to throughout the contemporary epistemic literature. In some cases, a subject seems blameworthy for believing as she does even though it seems prima facie implausible that she is morally blameworthy or professionally (...) blameworthy. Such cases raise the question of whether one can be blameworthy for a belief in a specifically epistemic sense rather than in some already recognised sense, such as being morally or professionally blameworthy. A number of authors have recently argued that there is a moral or social sense in which one ought to conform one’s beliefs to the evidence. In this paper, I argue that even while accepting that there are moral and social norms governing belief, there are cases in which a subject is blameworthy for a belief but isn’t plausibly morally or socially blameworthy. If this latter view is correct, then we may need to develop a new account of blame which can be applied to beliefs which are not morally or socially blameworthy. (shrink)
An essentialist theory of modality claims that the source of possibility and necessity lies in essence, where essence is then not to be defined in terms of necessity. Hence such theories owe us an account of why it is that the essences of things give rise to necessities in the way required. A new approach to understanding essence in terms of the notion of generalized identity promises to answer this challenge by appeal to the necessity of identity. I explore the (...) prospects for this approach, and argue that it fails. If one favours an account of essence in terms of generalized identity, then one will not, I argue, be able to satisfactorily defend an essentialist theory of modality against the challenge; if one wishes to defend an essentialist theory of modality, and thereby to give an explanation of how necessity arises from essence, one should not understand essence in terms of generalized identity. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Many phenomena appear to be indeterminate, including material macro-object boundaries and certain open future claims. Here I provide an account of indeterminacy in metaphysical, rather than semantic or epistemic, terms. Previous accounts of metaphysical indeterminacy have typically taken this to involve its being indeterminate which of various determinate states of affairs obtain. On my alternative account, MI involves its being determinate that an indeterminate state of affairs obtains. I more specifically suggest that MI involves an object's having a determinable (...) property, but not having any unique determinate of that determinable. I motivate the needed extension of the traditional understanding of determinables, then argue that a determinable-based account of MI accommodates, in illuminating fashion, both ‘glutty’ and ‘gappy’ cases of MI, while satisfactorily treating concerns about MI stemming from Evans’ argument and the problem of the many. (shrink)
Typically, fair machine learning research focuses on a single decision maker and assumes that the underlying population is stationary. However, many of the critical domains motivating this work are characterized by competitive marketplaces with many decision makers. Realistically, we might expect only a subset of them to adopt any non-compulsory fairness-conscious policy, a situation that political philosophers call partial compliance. This possibility raises important questions: how does partial compliance and the consequent strategic behavior of decision subjects affect the allocation outcomes? (...) If k% of employers were to voluntarily adopt a fairness-promoting intervention, should we expect k% progress (in aggregate) towards the benefits of universal adoption, or will the dynamics of partial compliance wash out the hoped-for benefits? How might adopting a global (versus local) perspective impact the conclusions of an auditor? In this paper, we propose a simple model of an employment market, leveraging simulation as a tool to explore the impact of both interaction effects and incentive effects on outcomes and auditing metrics. Our key findings are that at equilibrium: (1) partial compliance by k% of employers can result in far less than proportional (k%) progress towards the full compliance outcomes; (2) the gap is more severe when fair employers match global (vs local) statistics; (3) choices of local vs global statistics can paint dramatically different pictures of the performance vis-a-vis fairness desiderata of compliant versus non-compliant employers; (4) partial compliance based on local parity measures can induce extreme segregation. Finally, we discuss implications for auditors and insights concerning the design of regulatory frameworks. (shrink)
Proponents of evolutionary debunking arguments aim to show that certain genealogical explanations of our moral faculties, if true, undermine our claim to moral knowledge. Criticisms of these arguments generally take the debunker’s genealogical explanation for granted. The task of the anti-debunker is thought to be that of reconciling the truth of this hypothesis with moral knowledge. In this paper, I shift the critical focus instead to the debunker’s empirical hypothesis and argue that the skeptical strength of an evolutionary debunking argument (...) is dependent upon the evidence for that hypothesis—evidence which, upon further inspection, proves far from compelling. Following that, however, I suggest that the same considerations which spell trouble for the empirical hypotheses of traditional debunking arguments can also be taken to give rise to an alternative—and better supported—style of debunking argument. (shrink)
Hypocrites invite moral opprobrium, and charges of hypocrisy are a significant and widespread feature of our moral lives. Yet it remains unclear what hypocrites have in common, or what is distinctively bad about them. We propose that hypocrites are persons who have undermined their claim to moral authority. Since this self-undermining can occur in a number of ways, our account construes hypocrisy as multiply realizable. As we explain, a person’s moral authority refers to a kind of standing that they occupy (...) within a particular moral community. This status is both socially important and normatively precarious. Hence, moral agents are right to be vigilant when it comes to hypocrisy, and are often justified in their outrage when they detect it. We further argue that our view can preserve what is attractive in rival accounts, while avoiding their associated problems. (shrink)
Making sense of Kant’s claim that it is morally necessary for us to believe in the immortal soul is a historically fraught issue. Commentators typically reject it, or take one of two paths: they either restrict belief in the immortal soul to our subjective psychology, draining it of any substantive rational grounding; or make it out to be a rational necessity that morally interested beings must accept on pain of contradiction. Against these interpreters, I argue that on Kant’s view, belief (...) in our immortality is necessary because it further determines and enriches the cognitive content contained in the concept of the highest good. Through this sharpened conceptual content, we acquire the resources to withstand theoretical skepticism about our moral vocation. (shrink)
Although pride has been central to philosophical and religious discussions of emotion for thousands of years, it has largely been neglected by psychologists. However, in the past decade a growing body of psychological research on pride has emerged; new theory and findings suggest that pride is a psychologically important and evolutionarily adaptive emotion. In this article we review this accumulated body of research and argue for a naturalist account of pride, which presumes that pride emerged by way of natural selection. (...) In this view, pride is prevalent in human life because of the functional and adaptive role it has played in the attainment, maintenance, and communication of social status throughout our evolutionary history. (shrink)
Most people have a clear sense of what they mean by disability, and have little trouble identifying conditions they consider disabling. Yet providing a clear and consistent definition of disability is far from straightforward. Standardly, disability is understood as the restriction in our abilities to perform tasks, as a result of an impairment of normal physical or cognitive human functioning. However, which inabilities matter? We are all restricted by our bodies, and are all incapable of performing some tasks, but most (...) of these inabilities are not considered disabilities. If, then, we are to avoid the category of disability becoming overly broad—and thus politically and practically useless—we need some way of picking out the specific inabilities that are disabling. I argue that our answer should be informed by an account of the opportunities individuals are entitled to be able to perform as a matter of justice. Thus, to be disabled is to have these opportunities restricted, and not to deviate from the species norm or lack any ability that might improve our well-being. (shrink)
It is commonly recognized that one can act rightly without being praiseworthy for doing so. Those who act rightly from ignoble motives, for instance, do not strike us as fitting targets of moral praise; their actions seem to lack moral worth. Though there is broad agreement that only certain kinds of motives confer moral worth on our actions, there is disagreement as to which ones are up to the task. Many theorists confine themselves to two possibilities: praiseworthy agents are thought (...) to be motivated by either the consideration that their actions are morally right, or the considerations that explain why their actions are morally right. Though there is an important element of truth in these proposals, each has limited explanatory purchase. In this paper, I develop a pluralist conception of moral worth that acknowledges both sorts of motives as grounds for moral praise. (shrink)
Friedrich Hayek’s account of “spontaneous order” has generated increasing interest in recent decades. His argument for the superiority of the market in distributing knowledge without the need for central oversight has appealed to progressive democratic theorists, who are wary of the hubris of state planning and attracted to possibilities for self-organization, and to Foucaultians, who have long counseled political theory to cut off the King’s head. A spontaneous social order, organized by an invisible hand, would appear to dispense with arbitrary (...) power and foster creativity and individual liberty. This article challenges this view by highlighting the centrality of submission to Hayek’s account of spontaneous order. It shows that Hayek struggles to obscure the providentialism underpinning the account of social order he derives from Adam Ferguson and the Scottish Enlightenment. Nonetheless, his own account of spontaneous order relies on faith in the workings of the market, and submission to unintelligible market forces. (shrink)
Liv är ett centralt begrepp inom många forskningsområden, exempelvis inom biologi, astrobiologi, kemi och medicin, såväl som inom juridik, teologi och filosofi. Liv är också ett centralt tema i konsten. Det behandlas och begrundas i åtskilliga konstverk, i dikt, roman och film. Hur vi skall förstå, värdera och skydda livet, är oerhört fundamentala frågor. I framtiden kommer dessa frågor att bli än svårare och om möjligt ännu viktigare. Forskargrupper från hela världen arbetar idag med att skapa liv i laboratoriet, leta (...) efter liv i rymden och förse maskiner med egenskaper som tidigare bara har varit förunnade levande varelser, och utvecklingen går fort. Det är viktigt att vi samtidigt funderar över de utmaningar som detta innebär. Det kommer att ta tid att hitta sätt att leva i en värld där liv finns i former vi idag knappt kan föreställa oss och där gränsen mellan levande varelser och maskiner blir alltmer suddig. De beslut vi fattar idag kommer också att påverka utvecklingen inom samhälle, forskning och utveckling under lång tid framöver. -/- Den här boken är ett resultat av ett tvärvetenskapligt projekt vid Pufendorfinstitutet, Lunds universitet. Tolv forskare från lika många discipliner har ingått i projektet. Syftet har varit att belysa utmaningar som följer med utomjordiskt, artificiellt och syntetiskt liv. Det tvärvetenskapliga angreppssättet har gett oss möjlighet att belysa frågorna från alla upptänkliga vinklar, men också att hitta helt nya kombinationer av metoder och synsätt. Med tanke på livets mångsidighet och stora betydelse ur så många olika perspektiv, har detta grepp varit helt nödvändigt. -/- Vår förhoppning är att boken skall inspirera till nya tankar och diskussioner om liv. Boken vänder sig både till de som redan är intresserade och de som ännu inte har börjat fundera kring de utmaningar som utomjordiskt, artificiellt och syntetiskt liv innebär. (shrink)
Something Aristotle calls ‘right logos’ plays a crucial role in his theory of virtue. But the meaning of ‘logos’ in this context is notoriously contested. I argue against the standard translation ‘reason’, and—drawing on parallels with Plato’s work, especially the Laws—in favor of its being used to denote what transforms an inferior epistemic state into a superior one: an explanatory account. Thus Aristotelian phronēsis, like his and Plato’s technē and epistēmē, is a matter of grasping explanatory accounts: in this case, (...) accounts that identify the right action and say why it is right. Arguably, Aristotelian rationality is a matter of being able to grasp accounts in general. (shrink)
According to evolutionary accounts of distinct emotions, these emotions are shaped by natural selection to adjust the physiological, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral parameters of an organism to facilitate its capacity to respond adaptively to threats and opportunities present in the environment. This account has a number of implications, most notably: each distinct emotion serves, or served, an adaptive function, and emotions are comprised of multiple components, all of which should be functional. In this article, I briefly outline an evolutionary approach (...) to understanding distinct emotions, then explain how this approach could be falsified, how one’s own emotion experience differs from the observation of an emotion experience in someone else, and why variability in emotional responding should be expected. (shrink)
Perception of temporal patterns is fundamental to normal hearing, speech, motor control, and music. Certain types of pattern understanding are unique to humans, such as musical rhythm. Although human responses to musical rhythm are universal, there is much we do not understand about how rhythm is processed in the brain. Here, I consider findings from research into basic timing mechanisms and models through to the neuroscience of rhythm and meter. A network of neural areas, including motor regions, is regularly implicated (...) in basic timing as well as processing of musical rhythm. However, fractionating the specific roles of individual areas in this network has remained a challenge. Distinctions in activity patterns appear between "automatic" and "cognitively controlled" timing processes, but the perception of musical rhythm requires features of both automatic and controlled processes. In addition, many experimental manipulations rely on participants directing their attention toward or away from certain stimulus features, and measuring corresponding differences in neural activity. Many temporal features, however, are implicitly processed whether attended to or not, making it difficult to create controlled baseline conditions for experimental comparisons. The variety of stimuli, paradigms, and definitions can further complicate comparisons across domains or methodologies. Despite these challenges, the high level of interest and multitude of methodological approaches from different cognitive domains (including music, language, and motor learning) have yielded new insights and hold promise for future progress. (shrink)
In this "for and against" book, ethicists Lori Watson and Jessica Flanigan debate the criminalization of sex work. Watson argues for a sex equality approach to prostitution in which buyers are criminalized and sellers are decriminalized, known as the Nordic Model. Flanigan argues that sex work should be fully decriminalized because decriminalization ensures respect for sex workers' and clients' rights, and is more effective than alternative policies.
An approach to explaining the nature and source of logic and its laws with a rich historical tradition takes the laws of logic to be laws of thought. This view seems intuitively compelling, after all, logic seems to be intimately related with how we think. But how exactly should we understand it? And what arguments can we give in favour? I will propose one line of argument for the claim that the laws of logic are laws of thought. I will (...) motivate the claim that there is a certain phenomenon, namely, that there are logical principles which are immune to rational doubt. I will then give an argument to the best explanation; I will argue that the best explanation of this phenomenon is to take the laws of logic to be constitutive-normative laws of thought. The proposal, and some responses to potential objections, will have a notably Kantian flavour. (shrink)
In this special section, Ekman and Cordaro (2011); Izard (2011); Levenson (2011); and Panksepp and Watt (2011) have each outlined the latest instantiation of each lead author’s theoretical model of basic emotions. We identify four themes emerging from these models, and discuss areas of agreement and disagreement. We then briefly evaluate the models’ usefulness by examining how they would account for an emotion that has received considerable empirical attention but does not fit clearly within or outside of the basic emotion (...) category: pride. Finally, we compare the central themes covered by the four models with themes emerging from current emotion research, to conclude that, for the most part, the models are comprehensive; they largely converge with the current state of affective science research. (shrink)
As the range of potential uses for Artificial Intelligence (AI), in particular machine learning (ML), has increased, so has awareness of the associated ethical issues. This increased awareness has led to the realisation that existing legislation and regulation provides insufficient protection to individuals, groups, society, and the environment from AI harms. In response to this realisation, there has been a proliferation of principle-based ethics codes, guidelines and frameworks. However, it has become increasingly clear that a significant gap exists between the (...) theory of AI ethics principles and the practical design of AI systems. In previous work , we analysed whether it is possible to close this gap between the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of AI ethics through the use of tools and methods designed to help AI developers, engineers, and designers translate principles into practice. We concluded that this method of closure is currently ineffective as almost all existing translational tools and methods are either too flexible (and thus vulnerable to ethics washing) or too strict (unresponsive to context). This raised the question: if, even with technical guidance, AI ethics is challenging to embed in the process of algorithmic design, is the entire pro-ethical design endeavour rendered futile? And, if no, then how can AI ethics be made useful for AI practitioners? This is the question we seek to address here by exploring why principles and technical translational tools are still needed even if they are limited, and how these limitations can be potentially overcome by providing theoretical grounding of a concept that has been termed ‘Ethics as a Service’. (shrink)
Vaccine refusal harms and risks harming innocent bystanders. People are not entitled to harm innocents or to impose deadly risks on others, so in these cases there is nothing to be said for the right to refuse vaccination. Compulsory vaccination is therefore justified because non-vaccination can rightly be prohibited, just as other kinds of harmful and risky conduct are rightly prohibited. I develop an analogy to random gunfire to illustrate this point. Vaccine refusal, I argue, is morally similar to firing (...) a weapon into the air and endangering innocent bystanders. By re-framing vaccine refusal as harmful and reckless conduct my aim is to shift the focus of the vaccine debate from non-vaccinators’ religious and refusal rights to everyone else’s rights against being infected with contagious illnesses. Religious freedom and rights of informed consent do not entitle non-vaccinators to harm innocent bystanders, and so coercive vaccination requirements are permissible for the sake of the potential victims of the anti-vaccine movement. (shrink)
Recently, a debate has developed between those who claim that essence can be explained in terms of de re modality (modalists), and those who claim that de re modality can be explained in terms of essence (essentialists). The aim of this paper is to suggest that we should reassess. It is assumed that either necessity is to be accounted for in terms of essence, or that essence is to be accounted for in terms of necessity. I will argue that we (...) should assume neither. I discuss what role these key notions – essence and necessity – can reasonably be thought to contribute to our understanding of the world, and argue that, given these roles, there is no good reason to think that we should give an account of one in terms of the other. I conclude: if we can adequately explain de re modality and essence at all, we should aim to do so separately. (shrink)
Recently scholars have been claiming that Aristotle’s biological explanations treat “facts about matter”—facts such as the degree of heat or amount of fluidity in an organism’s material constitution—as explanatorily basic or “primitive.” That is, these facts about matter are taken to be unexplained, brute facts about organisms, rather than ones that are explained by the organism’s form or essence, as we would have expected from Aristotle’s general commitment to the causal and explanatory priority of form over matter. In this paper, (...) I present three considerations for rejecting the view that facts about matter are primitive. First, there is evidence that those putative unexplained facts about degrees of heat, dryness, fluidity, etc. are, in fact, explained. Second, there are certain cases, such as human intelligence, where it would be quite implausible to consider the explanation in terms of degrees of heat to be starting from what Aristotle considers primitive facts. Third, the idea that facts about matter are as explanatorily primitive as facts about form requires a particular conception of the causal processes that the explanations mirror. But this conception of the causal processes conflicts with the way Aristotle characterizes them in Generation of Animals. There, heat is not treated as a causal factor that works “independently” of soul. In my view, these three considerations provide compelling reason to reject the claim that Aristotle’s biology treats facts about matter as primitive. (shrink)
It has become recently popular to suggest that knowledge is the epistemic norm of practical reasoning and that this provides an important constraint on the correct account of knowledge, one which favours subject-sensitive invariantism over contextualism and classic invariantism. I argue that there are putative counterexamples to both directions of the knowledge norm. Even if the knowledge norm can be defended against these counterexamples, I argue that it is a delicate issue whether it is true, one which relies on fine (...) distinctions among a variety of relevant notions of propriety which our intuitions may reflect. These notions variously apply to the agent herself, her character traits, her beliefs, her reasoning and any resultant action. Given the delicacy of these issues, I argue that the knowledge norm is not a fixed point from which to defend substantive and controversial views in epistemology. Rather, these views need to be defended on other grounds. (shrink)