Proposals for how health care ought to be allocated and delivered in the United States have been debated for at least the last 80 years. The last major effort at expanding health-care coverage in the US was the Affordable Care Act, which went into law in 2010. The ACA increased the number of Americans who have medical insurance, but it has nonetheless fallen short of providing universal coverage, and as of 2017, 8.8% of Americans, or 28.5 million, were uninsured. So (...) far, Republican efforts to fully repeal the ACA have failed, but Republican lawmakers have whittled away at crucial elements of the Act (including, importantly, the individual mandate that compels individuals to obtain insurance or... (shrink)
In their responses to my article “Epistemically Pernicious Groups and the Groupstrapping Problem” (Boyd, 2018), Bert Baumgaertner (“Groupstrapping, Boostrapping, and Oops-strapping: A Reply to Boyd”) and C. Thi Nguyen (“Group-strapping, Bubble, or Echo Chamber?”) have raised interesting questions and opened lines of inquiry regarding my discussion of what I hope to be a way to help make sense of how members of groups can continue to hold beliefs that are greatly outweighed by countervailing evidence (e.g. antivaxxers, climate-change deniers, (...) etc.). Here I respond to these arguments and suggestions by providing three new reasons to believe that groupstrapping as I describe it occurs in epistemically pernicious groups. (shrink)
Men have been talking of death from time immemorial - sometimes sublimely in prose and poetry, in painting and sculpture and in music - till silence seemed to fall in the recent past. Now men are again talking about death - interminably but colloquially. They talk on television, on the radio, in books and in pamphlets. Dr Kenneth Boyd therefore finds it entirely timely to offer this historical sketch of attitudes to death. The earlier part of his paper covers (...) fairly familiar ground but his final and longest section on the work of a social historian, Philippe Ariès, may be new to many. Ariès is reinterpreting the long history of attitudes to death in a form which may well interest those who today are concerned with helping modern man to accept his own death - death which still, for most people, is the death of another, not of oneself. (shrink)
: Humor seems uniquely human, but it has deep biological roots. Laughter, the best evidence suggests, derives from the ritualized breathing and open-mouth display common in animal play. Play evolved as training for the unexpected, in creatures putting themselves at risk of losing balance or dominance so that they learn to recover. Humor in turn involves play with the expectations we share-whether innate or acquired-in order to catch one another off guard in ways that simulate risk and stimulate recovery. An (...) evolutionary approach to three great literary humorists, Shakespeare, Nabokov and Beckett, shows that a species-wide explanation not only cuts deeper but in no way diminishes individual difference. (shrink)
This paper examines commonly offered arguments to show that human behavior is not deterministic because it is not predictable. These arguments turn out to rest on the assumption that deterministic systems must be governed by deterministic laws, and that these give rise to predictability "in principle" of determined events. A positive account of determinism is advanced and it is shown that neither of these assumptions is true. The relation between determinism, laws, and prediction in practice is discussed as a question (...) in scientific epistemology. (shrink)
In the late 1980s there was a series of sensational business scandals in the United Kingdom. There was particular public outrage at the plundering of pension funds by Robert Maxwell, at the failure of auditors to expose the impending bankruptcy of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, and at the apparently undeserved high pay raises received by senior business executives. The City of London responded by creating a special committee to examine the financial aspects of corporate governance. This paper (...) describes the resulting Code of Best Practice produced by the Cadbury Committee. To reduce the power of executive directors in the boardroom the Code recommends a greater role for non-executive directors, changes in board operations, and a more active role for auditors. The paper reviews the various published reactions to the Cadbury Report, and concludes that the Code is unlikely to halt the incidence of business scandals in the United Kingdom. (shrink)
The behavior of individuals currently living will generally have long-term consequences that affect the well-being of those who will come to live in the future. Intergenerational interdependencies of this nature raise difficult moral issues because only the current generation is in a position to decide on actions that will determine the nature of the world in which future generations will live. Although most are willing to attach some weight to the interests of future generations, many would argue that it is (...) not necessary to treat these interests as equivalent to those of the current generation. A common approach in this context is to use a system of discounting to evaluate future benefits and harms. This paper assesses the logic of discounting drawing on the writings of economists and philosophers. Much of the economic literature concerns the choice of an appropriate social discount rate. The social discount rate can be taken to reflect beliefs about the rights of future generations, a subject that has been extensively debated in the phioosophic literature. The writings of both economists and philosophers concerned with the weight to attach to the interests of future generations are reviewed and evaluated in this paper and the implications for environmental policy are discussed. (shrink)
It is almost 30 years since the sociobiology controversy burst into full bloom. The modern theory of the evolution of animal behavior was born in the mid 1960’s with Bill Hamilton’s seminal papers on inclusive fitness and George William’s book Adaptation and Natural Selection. The following decade saw an avalanche of important ideas on the evolution of sex ratio, animal conflicts, parental investment, and reciprocity, setting off a revolution our understanding of animal societies, a revolution that is still going on (...) today. By the mid-1970’s, Richard Alexander, E. O. Wilson, Napoleon Chagnon, Bill Irons, and Don Symons among others began applying these ideas to understand human behavior. Humans are evolved creatures, and quite plausibly the same evolutionary forces that shaped the behavior of other animals also molded our behavior. Moreover, the new theory of animal behavior—especially, kin selection, parental investment, and optimal foraging theory—seemed fit the data on human societies fairly well. (shrink)
Freedom of association holds an uneasy place in the pantheon of liberal freedoms. Whereas freedom of association and the abundant plurality of groups that accompany it have been embraced by modern and contemporary liberals, this was not always the case. Unlike more canonical freedoms of speech, press, property, petition, assembly, and religious conscience, the freedom of association was rarely extolled by classical liberal thinkers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Indeed Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Adam Smith, and others seem to (...) have regarded freedom of association with some trepidation because of the violent, irrational, and factional behavior of groups. This chapter illuminates these anti-associational assumptions in the writings of James Madison. Although Madison famously deplored political associations as sources of faction and civil dissension, he differed from other members of the Founding generation in his willingness to defend associational freedom. Madison's writings also shed light on the unenumerated status of the freedom of association in American constitutional law. (shrink)
The self-psychology theories used as motivational tools in work organizations during the past 20 years have collided with a confluence of societal changes. The individual has been enticed by more freedom in the work organization and an increasing array of life choices in a pluralistic society. At the same time, the economic environment has become hostile, threatening to limit the individual's choices. The confluence of expanding social choice and contracting economic resources has made it difficult for many individuals to make (...) life choices that may lead to personal self-fulfillment. As a result, employees may most need and most appreciate order and predictability from their work organizations at the very time when more flexible work organization structures are most needed for the wave of new products and production technologies that need to be explored and developed. Hope for a resolution to this dilemma may be found in strengthening society's more durable social institutions, such as the family, organized religion, and the local community. If individuals can find the stability their lives need in these institutions, they may respond better to change, challenge, and freedom in the work organization. (shrink)
Is the use of electrical stunners adequately discharging our moral obligations with respect to the humane slaughter of poultry? Below, three separate lines of investigation show that we cannot give an unequivocal answer to this question. First, five potentially humane methods of poultry slaughter are examined. Electrical stunning is found to be an acceptable method of rendering birds unconscious before slaughter. However, we lack sufficient evidence to claim that it is the most humane method currently available. Second, surveys of poultry (...) processing plants show that, with alarming frequency, a proper stun is not achieved. An investigation of the complexity of the electrical stun process shows the difficulties involved and suggests that under many on-the-floor slaughterhouse conditions, consistently proper stunning is likely to remain unachievable. Finally, the call to overcome inconsistent stun results by increasing current flow to levels that electrocute birds is investigated. Controversy surrounding the impact of electrocution on carcass quality and operator safety will continue to cause resistance to the adoption of this method of poultry slaughter. The conclusion offers four recommendations that follow from the cumulative results of these investigations. (shrink)
A thorough examination of John Wesley’s writings will show that he was not a biblical literalist or infallibilist, despite his own occasional suggestions to the contrary. His most important principles for interpreting the Bible were: We should take its words literally only if doing so is not absurd, in which case we should “look for a looser meaning;” and “No Scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” Eleven instances (...) of his not taking biblical texts literally are examined. His real view was something like this: Biblical language is infallibly and literally true if and only if it does not contradict more basic scriptures and is not absurd, that is, not construed literally when metaphorical, or not misleadingly metaphorical, or not oversimplified or exaggerated, or not culture bound, or not contrary to reason and experience, or not ethically unconscionable and unloving. (shrink)
The essay presents Saul Kripke's argument for mind/body-dualism and makes the suppositions explicit on which it rests. My claim, inspired by Richard Boyd, is that even if one of Kripke’s central suppositions - the principle of necessity of identities using rigid designators - is shared by the non-traditional identity theorist, it is still possible for her to rebut Kripke’s dualism.
John Wesley did not directly address the question, but he could have answered "Yes'" to "Was Jesus Ever Happy?" given his understanding of "happiness." His eudaimonistic understanding of happiness was that it consists in renewing and actualizing the image of God within us, especially the image of love. More particularly, it consists in actually living a life of moral virtue, love included, of spiritual fulfillment, of joy or pleasure taken in loving God, others, and self, and in minimizing unnecessary (...) pain and suffering, which we are morally obligated to do for others and even for ourselves. Jesus had it all most of the time, though not always, obviously not at the painful end of his life when he felt God-forsaken. -/- . (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Hume's Skepticism about Inductive Inference N. SCOTT ARNOLD IT HAS BEEN A COMMONPLACE among commentators on Hume's philosophy that he was a radical skeptic about inductive inference. In addition, he is alleged to have been the first philosopher to pose the so-called problem of induction. Until recently, however, Hume's argument in this connection has not been subject to very close scrutiny. As attention has become focused on this (...) argument, a debate has been shaping up concerning just what Hume intended to establish here. The principal purpose of this article is to settle this interpretive issue as decisively as the texts permit. I should also like to locate Hume's main argument about induction in the larger context of his discussion of skepti- cism in book 1 of the Treatise. I shall suggest that arguments for the radical skepticism commonly attributed to Hume can be found only very late in book 1 of the Treatise and that the most famous argument about inductive inference establishes and is intended to establish only a relatively modest form of skepticism. The argument under consideration can found in book l, part 3, section 6 of the Treatise. It can also be found in essays 4 and 5 of the Enquiries and in the abstract of the Treatise published anonymously by Hume. I shall concen- trate on the Treatise version since it is the first and perhaps most explicit formulation of the argument and because part of my purpose is to place this argument in the larger context of book 1 of the Treatise. The received opinion concerning Hume's argument has it that Hume was highly skeptical about the mind's claims to knowledge about the future (or, more generally, about the unobserved). All beliefs arrived at via inductive I should like to thank M. G. Anderson, John Bahde, Jon Nordy, and Robert Paul Wolff, as well as David Fate Norton and a referee for the Journal of the History of Philosophy, for helpful comments on earlier drafts on this article. 32 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY inferences are unreasonable or unjustified. The alternative interpretation, to be defended below, is that Hume held that no such belief is or can be rendered certain relative to past experience and that such beliefs are not, upon that account, unreasonable or unjustified. Something like this inter- pretation has been defended by Tom L. Beauchamp, Thomas Mappes, and Alexander Rosenberg. ~ My view differs from theirs in that I shall argue that Hume did offer arguments for the more radical skepticism commonly attri- buted to him (though it is unclear whether he regarded them as decisive). These arguments, however, come at the end of book ~ of the Treatise and are independent of the more famous argument to be discussed below. Defenders of the received view are both numerous and distinguished. Versions of this interpretation of the main argument can be found in the writings of Karl Popper, Wesley Salmon, F. L. Will, and Norman Kemp Smith; most recently a variation on the standard interpretation has been defended by Barry Stroud. The fullest and most elaborate defense of the standard interpretation can be found in a monograph by D. C. Stove. '~ Stove's discussion is perhaps the most impressive because of his painstaking efforts to lay bare the structure of Hume's reasoning and to give a line-by- line analysis of the argument. This has the effect of bringing more clearly into focus the main grounds for the standard view. If this standard interpre- tation is correct, then Hume's position is that scientific method is epistemically no better than "superstition" and "enthusiasm." And, Hume would be among those for whom this claim, if true, would be very bad news, because one of his primary purposes in the Treatise is to construct a science of man. Thus, this argument is of considerable internal significance because, if my opponents are correct, Hume appears to have cut the ground out from under what he took to be one of his most important projects -- the construc- tion of a science of man. The other feature of this argument that makes it worthy of serious con- sideration is that it is philosophically... (shrink)
Wesley Wildman is one of the foremost philosophers of religion calling for the evolution of the discipline from its present narrow focus on theistic beliefs to become a discipline concerned with religions in all their diversity. Towards this end, he proposes that philosophers of religion understand what they do as multidisciplinary comparative inquiry. This article assesses his proposal.
Isaac Levi is more interested in inquiry and how it progresses than he is in metaphysics. Questions concerning the role of disposition predicates in inquiry are more central to him than those concerning the nature and reality of dispositions. It has not stopped him from giving me and others very useful metaphysical advice. Currently, where empirical metaphysics is in vogue, there is every reason to see whether the two forms of philosophical interest might interlock substantially. Levi has stimulating ideas indeed (...) on the two forms of philosophical interest, and has recently summarized them in the slogan: “The reality of dispositions is a work in progress”. We can learn much about what kinds of dispositions are acceptable from tracing and comparing the histories of successful and less successful disposition predicates in scientific inquiry. Levi explores one route along which dispositions become real. His idea is that the introduction of dispositions facilitates covering law explanation by increasing the number of laws. The successful disposition predicate eventually becomes integrated in scientific theory, much like an ordinary theoretical term, whereas the unsuccessful does not. My impression is that Levi thinks that this is the only way a disposition can become real. To evaluate this claim, an alternative course suggested by Jon Elster is introduced. I then try to bring out the differences between Levi's and Elster's views on dispositions, partly by suggesting that they resemble two aspects of full explanations discussed by Wesley Salmon. But more about that below. (shrink)
Resumo Em 1747, John Wesley, spiritus rector do movimento metodista, publicou a primeira edição do seu guia medicinal Primitive Physic[k] . Qual era o seu propósito num mundo onde a academia real, herbalistas, curandeiros/as, exorcistas e charlatães competiam pela atenção da população? O artigo apresenta os diferentes grupos que atuaram, ou pretendiam atuar, em prol da saúde na Inglaterra do século 18, e compara o conteúdo do guia Primitive Physic[k] com suas propostas e estratégias terapêuticas. Conclua-se que uma parte (...) significativa do guia é composta por orientações da academia real de medicina, mas que sempre se favorecem remédios caseiros, com ingredientes acessíveis para as classes mais humildes. Quanto à chamada Spiritual Physick , menciona-se a oração como medida complementar, mas ignora-se plenamente a prática do exorcismo. Palavras-chave: John Wesley; saúde; Guia medicinal popular; Primitive Physic[k]; academia real de medicina; herbalismo; curandeirismo.In 1747, John Wesley, spiritus rector of the Methodist movement, published the first edition of his medical guide Primitive Physic[k] . What was its purpose in a world where the Royal Academy, herbalists, healers, exorcists and quacks competed for the attention of the population? The article introduces the different groups who promoted or pretended to promote health in 18th century England and compares the contents of the guide Primitive Physic[k] with their proposals and therapeutic strategies. The conclusion is that a significant portion of the guide consists of guidelines of the Royal Academy of Medicine, but that it always favors homemade remedies with ingredients available to humbler classes. In relation to the so called Spiritual Physick, prayer is mentioned as a complementary measure, but the practice of exorcism is totally ignored. Keywords: John Wesley; health; Popular Medicinal Guide; Primitive Physic[k]; Royal Academy of Medicine; herbalism; healers. (shrink)
In his "Materialism without Reductionism: What Materialism Does not Entail," Richard Boyd answers Kripke's challenge to materialists to come up with a way to explain away the apparent contingency of mind-brain identities. Boyd accuses Kripke of an imaginative myopia manifesting itself as a failure to realize that the more theoretical term in the identity is fixed by contingent descriptions - descriptions that might pick out otherworldly kinds of neural events where C-fibres are absent. If this is something we (...) can confuse in the imagination with actual C-fibre firings, then we have an explanation of the apparent contingency of the necessary identity 'Pain=C-fiber firings.' However, for this to succeed it must be the case that the reference of 'C-fiber firings' is fixed by some contingent description, which is false. Boyd, I submit, has failed to answer Kripke's challenge after all. (shrink)
This is a response to Wesley J. Wildman’s “Behind, Between, and Beyond Anthropomorphic Models of Ultimate Reality.” While I agree with much of what Wildman writes, I raise questions concerning standards for evaluating models of ultimate reality and the plausibility of ranking such models. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God.
This paper examines the contemplative techniques that comprised wesley's method of spiritual transformation. By employing a psychoanalytic perspective that explains the pastoral effectiveness of the method, I claim that Wesley's view of spiritual growth was therapeutic and transformative as measured by contemporary clinical standards. Wesley's developmental model involved a series of spiritual phases each characterized by techniques and meditations that culminated in sanctification, a cognitive-emotional transformation marked by the eradication of sinful temptations and the perfection of altruism. (...) Couched in a theological idiom, the method helped individuals to work through conflicts created by the three main traumata of British middle class childhood: authoritarian parenting and unresolved bereavement grief. This paper argues that religious-cultural symbolism may promote transformations of archaic affect and neurotic conflict that progressively reshape these pre-reflective materials into complex existential insights and convictions. (shrink)
En épistémologie des sciences sociales, Jon Elster est connu pour sa défense de l’individualisme méthodologique et sa critique des explications de haut niveau. Cette note critique la plus récente formulation de sa position . D’une part, nous montrons que les problèmes relatifs aux explications au niveau agrégé s’appliquent également aux explications en termes de mécanismes psychologiques, privilégiées par Elster. Si les mécanismes psychologiques contribuent à l’explication en sciences sociales, ce n’est pas parce qu’ils font explicitement référence à des états intentionnels, (...) mais parce qu’ils rendent mieux compte que les autres hypothèses de ce qui fait la différence entre deux faits ou événements. D’autre part, nous soutenons que l’individualisme ne doit pas servir d’idéal régulateur dans la recherche en sciences sociales. Si l’explication des comportements individuels est souvent essentielle pour produire une bonne explication, il existe des situations où elle est susceptible de nuire à la qualité de celle-ci en introduisant des éléments inadéquats.In epistemology of the social sciences, Jon Elster is well known for his defense of methodological individualism and his criticism of high-level explanations. This note criticizes the most recent version of his position . First, I argue that the problems related to explanations at the aggregate level also pertain to explanations in terms of psychological mechanisms, favored by Elster. If psychological mechanisms contribute to explanation in the social sciences, it is not because they explicitly refer to intentional states, but rather because they account better than alternative hypotheses for the difference between two facts or events. Second, I contend that individualism should not be taken as a regulative ideal for research in the social sciences. If accounts of individual behavior are often essential to good explanations, there are situations in which they are likely to be detrimental to them by encouraging the introduction of irrelevant factors. (shrink)
John Wesley was an incredible person both in what he did and what he thought. Viewed against the background of the Christian scholars of his day and those who went before him, his thinking was immensely creative, insightful, and at times downright radical. From this book readers will learn more about what he thought than about what he did, but both are explored. Most Methodists know a little bit about what he did, but almost nothing about what he thought. (...) When readers find out about them, they may be both astonished and very pleasantly surprised. (shrink)
Education as object of inquiry is susceptible to multiple interpretations, which -most of them- run the risk of falling only in the understanding of structural factors or in internalist aspects. Reason why one feels like exploring routes that do not engage in a determinist paradox of the type: soci..
Technical change, defined as the manufacture and modification of tools, is generally thought to have played an important role in the evolution of intelligent life on earth, comparable to that of language. In this volume, first published in 1983, Jon Elster approaches the study of technical change from an epistemological perspective. He first sets out the main methods of scientific explanation and then applies those methods to some of the central theories of technical change. In particular, Elster considers neoclassical, evolutionary, (...) and Marxist theories, whilst also devoting a chapter to Joseph Schumpeter's influential theory. (shrink)