It is commonly argued that cultural objects ought to be returned to their place of origin in order to remedy injustices committed in the past. In this paper, it is shown that significant challenges attach to this way of arguing. Although there is considerable intuitive appeal in the idea that if somebody wrongs another person then she ought to compensate for that injustice, the principle is difficult to apply to wrongdoings committed many decades or centuries ago. It is not clear (...) that historic injustices can meaningfully be corrected, or compensated for, and there are several arguments why, even in cases where there is a prima facie moral case for compensation, repatriation might not be a legitimate means of remedy. In order to bring analytical clarity to the issue, this paper discusses the various steps of the argument that must be addressed in order to ground a valid repatriation claim based on historic injustices. (shrink)
Sustainable development is a common goal in the public sector but may be difficult to implement due to epistemic uncertainties and the long time frames required. This paper proposes that some of these problems can be solved by formulating cautious utopias, entailing a relationship between means and goals differing from both utopian and realistic goal-setting. Cautiously utopian goals are believed, but not certain, to be achievable and to remain desirable, but are open to future adjustments due to changing desires and/or (...) factual circumstances. Quality criteria for such goals are suggested. (shrink)
Opposition against greenhouse gas emissions reductions is strong among some conservative Christian groups, especially in the United States. In this paper, we identify five scripture-based arguments against greenhouse gas mitigation put forward by a core group of Christian conservatives : the anti-paganism argument, the enrichment argument, the omnipotence argument, the lack of moral relevance argument and the cost-benefit argument. We evaluate to what extent the arguments express positions that can be characterised as climate science denialist and to what degree they (...) are consistent with support for climate adaptation. Using Stefan Rahmstorf's taxonomy of climate science denial, we conclude that the Cornwallists could be labelled climate change deniers. However, their opposition is not only based on denial of climate science but often rests on premises that render the science irrelevant, a position we term 'relevance denialism'. (shrink)
The normative criterion of attainability, or non-utopianism, is often referred to in discussions of goal-setting rationality. Goals should be realistic, it is argued, since it is unreasonable to adopt goals that cannot be achieved and that are of no use in the selection of means toward their realization. However, despite the proposed requirement of attainability, utopian or semi-utopian goals are often adopted in political contexts, the Swedish Vision Zero for trafflc safety being one example. This paper develops and analyzes four (...) objections that can be raised against the use of utopian goals and to support the normative criterion of attainability: that utopian goals are (1) too imprecise and (2) too far-reaching to guide action effectively, (3) counterproductive, and (4) morally objectionable. A tentative defense of utopian goal-setting is built on the counter-arguments that can be put forward to weaken each of the four objections. (shrink)
In recent years, the EU legislation on genetically modified crops has come under severe criticism. Among the arguments are that the present legislation is inconsistent, disproportionate, obsolete from a scientific point of view, and vague in terms of its scope. In this paper, the EU GM legislation is analysed based on five proposed criteria: legal certainty, non-discrimination, proportionality, scientific adaptability, and inclusion of non-safety considerations. It is argued that the European regulatory framework does not at present satisfy the criteria of (...) legal certainty, non-discrimination, and scientific adaptability. Two ways of reforming the present legislation toward greater accommodation of the values expressed through the proposed criteria are briefly introduced and discussed. (shrink)
The overall aim of this thesis is to present a model for rational goal-setting and to illustrate how it can be applied in evaluations of public policies, in particular policies concerning sustainable development and environmental quality. The contents of the thesis are divided into two sections: a theoretical section (Papers I-IV) and an empirical section (Papers V-VII). Paper I identifies a set of rationality criteria for single goals and discusses them in relation to the typical function of goals. It is (...) argued that goals are typically set to enhance goal achievement. A goal that successfully furthers its achievement is “achievement-inducing”. It holds for each of the identified criteria that, ceteris paribus, improved satisfaction of a criterion makes a goal better in the achievement-inducing sense.Paper II contains an analysis of the notion of goal system coherence. It is argued that the coherence of a goal system is determined by the relations that hold among the goals in the system, in particular the relations of operationalization, means and ends, support, and conflict. Paper III investigates the rationality of utopian goals. The paper analyzes four arguments that support the normative criterion of attainability: that utopian goals are (1) too imprecise and (2) too far-reaching to guide action effectively, (3) counterproductive, and (4) morally objectionable. A tentative defence of utopian goal-setting is built on counter-arguments that can be put forward to weaken each of the four objections. Paper IV investigates the nature of self-defeating goals. The paper identifies three types of situations in which self-defeating mechanisms obstruct goal achievement: (1) situations in which the goal itself carries the seeds of its own non-fulfilment (self-defeating goals), (2) situations in which the activity of goal-setting contributes to goal failure (self-defeating goal-setting), and (3) situations in which disclosure of the goal interferes with progress (self-defeating goal disclosure). Paper V provides a brief description of the Swedish system of environmental objectives and a preliminary inventory of the management difficulties that attach to this goal system.Paper VI contains an investigation into the rationality of five Swedish environmental objectives through an application of the rationality criteria identified in Papers I-II. The paper identifies and discusses some difficulties that are associated with management by objectives and the use of goals in environmental policy. Paper VII analyses the rationality of the Swedish environmental quality objective A good built environment. Among the conclusions drawn in the paper are that some of the sub-goals to the objective are formulated in terms that are unnecessarily vague from an action-guiding standpoint and that others are problematic from the viewpoint of evaluability. (shrink)
The normative criterion of attainability, or non-utopianism, is often referred to in discussions of goal-setting rationality. Goals should be realistic, it is argued, since it is unreasonable to adopt goals that cannot be achieved and that are of no use in the selection of means toward their realization. However, despite the proposed requirement of attainability, utopian or semi-utopian goals are often adopted in political contexts, the Swedish Vision Zero for trafflc safety being one example. This paper develops and analyzes four (...) objections that can be raised against the use of utopian goals and to support the normative criterion of attainability: that utopian goals are too imprecise and too far-reaching to guide action effectively, counterproductive, and morally objectionable. A tentative defense of utopian goal-setting is built on the counter-arguments that can be put forward to weaken each of the four objections. (shrink)
The typical function of goals is to regulate action in a way that furthers goal achievement. Goals are typically set on the assumption that they will help bring the agent closer to the desired state of affairs. However, sometimes endorsement of a goal, or the processes by which the goal is set, can obstruct its achievement. When this happens, the goal is self-defeating. Self-defeating goals are common in both private and social decision-making but have not received much attention by decision (...) theorists. In this paper, we investigate different variants of three major types of self-defeating mechanisms: The goal can be an obstacle to its own fulfilment, goal-setting activities can impede goal achievement, and disclosure of the goal can interfere with its attainment. Different strategies against self-defeasance are tentatively explored, and their efficiency against different types of self-defeasance is investigated. (shrink)
Dieser Beitrag bietet eine umfassende Diskussion des Textes “Humanismus und Christentum” des dänischen Philosophen und Theologen Knud E. Løgstrup. Er verortet den Text in seinem geistesgeschichtlichen Kontext und analysiert seine wichtigsten Argumente wie auch seine zentrale These, der zufolge Humanismus und Christentum einen entscheidenden Grundsatz teilen, insofern beide die Ethik als “stumm“ oder “unausgesprochen“ verstehen. Darüber hinaus wird dargelegt, wie Løgstrups Text zentrale Überlegungen in dessen späteren Publikationen, besonders in dem Hauptwerk Die ethische Forderung, vorwegnimmt.
First century Chinese, fifth century Indian, and Arabic documents from the 9th century onwards, contain similar tabular procedures to extract square and cube roots on place-value numeration systems. Moreover, an 11th century Chinese astronomer, Jia Xian, as well as al-Samaw'al, a 12th century Arab mathematician, extracted roots of higher order with the so-called Ruffini-Horner procedure. This article attempts to define a textual method to organize this corpus, by distinguishing relevant criteria for identifying similarities and differences from a historical as well (...) as conceptual point of view. The first part analyses three different states of the descriptions of algorithms in China between the 1st and the 11th centuries, all of which exhibit a definite historical stability. The rewriting which allows one to proceed progressively from one state to the next shows a uniformity in the components of the algorithm, which culminates in procedures of the type Ruffini-Horner. Textual criteria demonstrate a greater affinity of certain algorithms, such as those described by Kūshyār ibn Labbān with Chinese rather than with Indian texts, which are in turn closer to algorithms described by al-Khwārizmī. Criteria of the same kind link the algorithms of Jia Xian and al-Samaw'al on the one hand, and those of Kūshyār and al-Samaw'al on the other. Les documents chinois, depuis le I er siècle, indiens, depuis le V e siècle, et arabes, depuis le IX e siècle, contiennent des procédures tabulaires similaires pour l'extraction de racines carrées et cubiques avec des systèmes de numération positionnels. Par ailleurs tant Jia Xian, astronome chinois du XI e siècle, qu'al-Samaw'al, mathématicien arabe du XII e siècle, ont extrait des racines de degré plus élevé par la procédure dite de Ruffini-Horner. L'article tente de définir une méthode textuelle pour organiser ce corpus, en y distinguant des axes pertinents qui permettent de dégager similarités et différences, d'un point de vue tant historique que conceptuel. Une première partie analyse trois états différents des descriptions d'algorithmes entre le I er siècle et le XI e siècle en Chine, qui présentent chacun une stabilité historique certaine. La réécriture qui fait passer d'un état au suivant laisse émerger progressivement une uniformité dans les composantes de l'algorithme, laquelle culmine avec des procédures du type Ruffini-Horner. Des critères textuels font apparaître une affinité plus grande de certains algorithmes, tels ceux décrits par Kūshyār ibn Labbān, avec les textes chinois qu'avec les textes indiens, plus proches, eux, des algorithmes décrits par al-Khwārizmī. Des critères de même nature lient, d'une part, les algorithmes de Jia Xian et d'al-Samaw'al, d'autre part les algorithmes de Kūshyār et d'al-Samaw'al. (shrink)
We demonstrate how to validly quantify into hyperintensional contexts involving non-propositional attitudes like seeking, solving, calculating, worshipping, and wanting to become. We describe and apply a typed extensional logic of hyperintensions that preserves compositionality of meaning, referential transparency and substitutivity of identicals also in hyperintensional attitude contexts. We specify and prove rules for quantifying into hyperintensional contexts. These rules presuppose a rigorous method for substituting variables into hyperintensional contexts, and the method will be described. We prove the following. First, it (...) is always valid to quantify into hyperintensional attitude contexts and over hyperintensional entities. Second, factive empirical attitudes validate, furthermore, quantifying over intensions and extensions, and so do non-factive attitudes, both empirical and non-empirical , provided the entity to be quantified over exists. We focus mainly on mathematical attitudes, because they are uncontroversially hyperintensional. (shrink)
In the debate on conscientious objection in healthcare, proponents of conscience rights often point to the imperative to protect the health professional’s moral integrity. Their opponents hold that the moral integrity argument alone can at most justify accommodation of conscientious objectors as a “moral courtesy”, as the argument is insufficient to establish a general moral right to accommodation, let alone a legal right. This text draws on political philosophy in order to argue for a legal right to accommodation. The moral (...) integrity arguments should be supplemented by the requirement to protect minority rights in liberal democracies. Citizens have a right to live in accordance with their fundamental moral convictions, and a right to equal access to employment. However, this right should not be unconditional, as that would unduly infringe on the rights of other citizens. The right must be limited to cases where the moral basis is more fundamental in a sense that all reasonable citizens in a liberal democracy should accept, such as the constitutive role of the inviolability of human life in liberal democracies. There should be a legal, yet circumscribed, right to accommodation for conscientious objectors refusing to provide healthcare services that they reasonably consider to involve the intentional killing of a human being. (shrink)
Classical conceptual distinctions in philosophy of education assume an individualistic subjectivity and hide the learning that can take place in the space between child (as educator) and adult (as learner). Grounded in two examples from experience I develop the argument that adults often put metaphorical sticks in their ears in their educational encounters with children. Hearers’ prejudices cause them to miss out on knowledge offered by the child, but not heard by the adult. This has to do with how adults (...) view education, knowledge, as much as child, and is even more extreme when child is also black. The idea is what Miranda Fricker calls ‘epistemic injustice’ which occurs when someone is wronged specifically in their capacity as a knower. Although her work concerns gender and race, I extrapolate her radical ideas to (black) child. Awareness of the epistemic injustice that is done to children and my proposal for increased epistemic modesty and epistemic equality could help transform pedagogical spaces to include child subjects as educators. A way forward is suggested that involves ‘cracking’ the concept of child and a different nonindividualised conception of education. (shrink)
Medicalization is frequently defined as a process by which some non-medical aspects of human life become to be considered as medical problems. Overdiagnosis, on the other hand, is most often defined as diagnosing a biomedical condition that in the absence of testing would not cause symptoms or death in the person’s lifetime. Medicalization and overdiagnosis are related concepts as both expand the extension of the concept of disease. They are both often used normatively to critique unwarranted or contested expansion of (...) medicine and to address health services that are considered to be unnecessary, futile, or even harmful. However, there are important differences between the concepts, as not all cases of overdiagnosis are medicalizations and not all cases of medicalizations are overdiagnosis. The objective of this article is to clarify the differences between medicalization and overdiagnosis. It will demonstrate how the subject matter of medicalization traditionally has been non-medical phenomena, while the subject matter of overdiagnosis has been biological or biomolecular conditions or processes acknowledged being potentially harmful. They also refer to different types of uncertainty: medicalization is concerned with indeterminacy, while overdiagnosis is concerned with lack of prognostic knowledge. Medicalization is dealing with sickness while overdiagnosis with disease. Despite these differences, medicalization and overdiagnosis are becoming more alike. Medicalization is expanding, encompassing the more “technical” aspects of overdiagnosis, while overdiagnosis is becoming more ideologized. Moreover, with new trends in modern medicine, such as P4 medicine, medicalization will become all-encompassing, while overdiagnosis more or less may dissolve. In the end they may converge in some total “iatrogenization.” In doing so, the concepts may lose their precision and critical sting. (shrink)
In this article we discuss what we call the deliberative division of epistemic labor. We present evidence that the human tendency to engage in motivated reasoning in defense of our beliefs can facilitate the occurrence of divisions of epistemic labor in deliberations among people who disagree. We further present evidence that these divisions of epistemic labor tend to promote beliefs that are better supported by the evidence. We show that promotion of these epistemic benefits stands in tension with what extant (...) theories in epistemology take rationality to require in cases of disagreement. We argue that the epistemic benefits that result from the deliberative division of epistemic labor can provide epistemic reason to maintain confidence in cases of disagreement. We then show that the deliberative division of epistemic labor constitutes a distinct kind of epistemic dependence. (shrink)
The degree of doxastic revision required in response to evidence of disagreement is typically thought to be a function of our beliefs about (1) our interlocutor’s familiarity with the relevant evidence and arguments, and their intellectual capacities and virtues, relative to our own, or (2) the expected probability of our interlocutor being correct, conditional on our disagreeing. While these two factors are typically used interchangeably, I show that they have an inverse correlation in cases of disagreement about politically divisive propositions. (...) This presents us with a puzzle about the epistemic impact of disagreement in these cases. The most significant disagreements on (1) are the least significant disagreements on (2), and vice versa. I show that assessing the epistemic status of an interlocutor by reference to either (1) or (2) has uncomfortable consequences in these cases. I then argue that this puzzle cannot be escaped by claiming that we usually have dispute-independent reason to reject the significance of politically charged disagreement altogether. (shrink)
This paper addresses the mereological problem of the unity of structured propositions. The problem is how to make multiple parts interact such that they form a whole that is ultimately related to truth and falsity. The solution I propose is based on a Platonist variant of procedural semantics. I think of procedures as abstract entities that detail a logical path from input to output. Procedures are modeled on a function/argument logic, but are not functions. Instead they are higher-order, fine-grained structures. (...) I identify propositions with particular kinds of molecular procedures containing multiple sub-procedures as parts. Procedures are among the basic entities of my ontology, while propositions are derived entities. The core of a structured proposition is the procedure of predication, which is an instance of the procedure of functional application. The main thesis I defend is that procedurally conceived propositions are their own unifiers detailing how their parts interact so as to form a unit. They are not unified by one of their constituents, e.g., a relation or a sub-procedure, on pain of regress. The relevant procedural semantics is Transparent Intensional Logic, a hyperintensional, typed λ-calculus, whose λ-terms express four different kinds of procedures. While demonstrating how the theory works, I place my solution in a wider historical and systematic context. (shrink)
Demographical changes in high income counties will increase the need of health care services but reduce the number of people to provide them. Welfare technology is launched as an important measure to meet this challenge. As with all types of technologies we must explore its ethical challenges. A literature review reveals that welfare technology is a generic term for a heterogeneous group of technologies and there are few studies documenting their efficacy, effectiveness and efficiency. Many kinds of welfare technology break (...) with the traditional organization of health care. It introduces technology in new areas, such as in private homes, and it provides new functions, e.g. offering social stimuli and entertainment. At the same time welfare technology is developed for groups that traditionally have not been extensive technology users. This raises a series of ethical questions with regard to the development and use of welfare technologies, which are presented in this review. The main challenges identified are: (1) Alienation when advanced technology is used at home, (2) conflicting goals, as welfare technologies have many stakeholders with several ends, (3) respecting confidentiality and privacy when third-party actors are involved, (4) guaranteeing equal access and just distribution, and (5) handling conflicts between instrumental rationality and care in terms of respecting dignity and vulnerability. Addressing these issues is important for developing and implementing welfare technologies in a morally acceptable manner. (shrink)
Overdiagnosis and disease are related concepts. Widened conceptions of disease increase overdiagnosis and vice versa. This is partly because there is a close and complex relationship between disease and overdiagnosis. In order to address the problems with overdiagnosis, we may benefit from a closer understanding this relationship. Accordingly, the objective of this article is to elucidate the relationship between disease and overdiagnosis. To do so, the article starts with scrutinizing how overdiagnosis can explain the expansion of the concept of disease. (...) Then it investigates how definitions of disease address various challenges of overdiagnosis. The article specifically investigates recent attempts to clarify the relationship between the concepts of disease and overdiagnosis. Several shortcomings are identified and lead to a closer analysis of overdiagnosis in the diagnostic process. Contrary to recent contributions to the field, it is argued that cases of overdiagnosis are not cases of disease. They are non-verified labelling of disease. It is revealed how overdiagnosis establishes an unwarranted link between indicative phenomena, such as polyps or cell changes, and harm, and thereby generates a link to disease. One implication of this study is that we should stop attributing disease language to indicative phenomena. That is, we should stop calling it “cancer screening” when we are actually searching for polyps. Another implications is that we should strive for scientific progress in differentiating phenomena that are of negative value to us from those that are not. In overdiagnosis we diagnose something that is not disease: it is over-diagnosis. (shrink)
This book is an introduction to and interpretation of the philosophy of language devised by Donald Davidson over the past 25 years. The guiding intuition is that Davidson's work is best understood as an ongoing attempt to purge semantics of theoretical reifications. Seen in this light the recent attack on the notion of language itself emerges as a natural development of his Quinian scepticism towards "meanings" and his rejections of reference-based semantic theories. Linguistic understanding is, for Davidson, essentially dynamic, arising (...) only through a continuous process of theory construction and reconstruction. The result is a conception of semantics in which the notion of interpretation and not the notion of knowing a language is fundamental. In the course of his book Bjorn Ramberg provides a critical discussion of reference-based semantic theories, challenging the standard accounts of the principle of charity and elucidating the notion of radical interpretation. The final chapter on incommensurability ties in with the discussions of Kuhn's work in the philosophy of science and suggests certain links between Davidson's analytic semantics and hermeneutic theory. (shrink)
The concept of disease has been the subject ofa vast, vivid and versatile debate. Categoriessuch as ``realist'', ``nominalist'', ``ontologist'',``physiologist'', ``normativist'' and``descriptivist'' have been applied to classifydisease concepts. These categories refer tounderlying theoretical frameworks of thedebate. The objective of this review is toanalyse these frameworks. It is argued that thecategories applied in the debate refer toprofound philosophical issues, and that thecomplexity of the debate reflects thecomplexity of the concept itself: disease is acomplex concept, and does not easily lenditself to definition.
We analyze the developments in mathematical rigor from the viewpoint of a Burgessian critique of nominalistic reconstructions. We apply such a critique to the reconstruction of infinitesimal analysis accomplished through the efforts of Cantor, Dedekind, and Weierstrass; to the reconstruction of Cauchy’s foundational work associated with the work of Boyer and Grabiner; and to Bishop’s constructivist reconstruction of classical analysis. We examine the effects of a nominalist disposition on historiography, teaching, and research.
The Scandinavian welfare states have public health care systems which have universal coverage and traditionally low influence of private insurance and private provision. Due to raises in costs, elaborate public control of health care, and a significant technological development in health care, priority setting came on the public agenda comparatively early in the Scandinavian countries. The development of health care priority setting has been partly homogeneous and appears to follow certain phases. This can be of broader interest as it may (...) shed light on alternative models and strategies in health care priority setting. Some general trends have been identified: from principles to procedures, from closed to open processes, and from experts to participation. Five general approaches have been recognized: The moral principles and values based approach, the moral principles and economic assessment approach, the procedural approach, the expert based practice defining approach, and the participatory practice defining approach. There are pros and cons with all of these approaches. For the time being the fifth approach appears attractive, but its lack of true participation and the lack of clear success criteria may pose significant challenges in the future. (shrink)
In her book Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing , Miranda Fricker introduces the helpful notion of “identity prejudice” as “a label for prejudices against people qua social type” . She focuses on race, class and gender, and Michael Hand in his article What Do Kids Know? A response to Karin Murris is indeed correct when he states that I have applied her arguments to age as a category of epistemic exclusion.I argue that among the usual contenders (...) of epistemic prejudices, we also need to be cognisant of adults’ implicit and explicit assumptions and prejudices about child and childhood. However, Hand incorrectly uses Fricker’s ideas to reject my proposal to include child as being on the receiving end of epistemic injustice. A close reading of some passages about stereotyping will show why this is the case and why his own claim that “children typically are immature, ill-informed and endearing” will turn out to .. (shrink)
Aim of the paper is to present a new logic of technical malfunction. The need for this logic is motivated by a simple-sounding philosophical question: Is a malfunctioning corkscrew, which fails to uncork bottles, nonetheless a corkscrew? Or in general terms, is a malfunctioning F, which fails to do what Fs do, nonetheless an F? We argue that ‘malfunctioning’ denotes the modifier Malfunctioning rather than a property, and that the answer depends on whether Malfunctioning is subsective or privative. If subsective, (...) a malfunctioning F is an F; if privative, a malfunctioning F is not an F. An intensional logic is required to raise and answer the question, because modifiers operate directly on properties and not on sets or individuals. This new logic provides the formal tools to reason about technical malfunction by means of a logical analysis of the sentence “a is a malfunctioning F”. (shrink)
This article presents and evaluates arguments supporting that an approval procedure for genome-edited organisms for food or feed should include a broad assessment of societal, ethical and environmental concerns; so-called non-safety assessment. The core of analysis is the requirement of the Norwegian Gene Technology Act that the sustainability, ethical and societal impacts of a genetically modified organism should be assessed prior to regulatory approval of the novel products. The article gives an overview how this requirement has been implemented in the (...) regulatory practice, demonstrating that such assessment is feasible and justified. Even in situations where genome-edited organisms are considered comparable to non-modified organisms in terms of risk, the technology may have—in addition to social benefits—negative impacts that warrant assessments of the kind required in the Act. The main reason is the disruptive character of the genome editing technologies due to their potential for novel, ground-breaking solutions in agriculture and aquaculture combined with the economic framework shaped by the patent system. Food is fundamental for a good life, biologically and culturally, which warrants stricter assessment procedures than what is required for other industries, at least in countries like Norway with a strong tradition for national control over agricultural markets and breeding programs. (shrink)
We present here the papers selected for the volume on the Unity of Propositions problems. After summarizing what the problems are, we locate them in a spectrum from those aiming to provide substantive, reductive explanations, to those with a more deflationary take on the problems.
This article attempts to rehabilitate the concept of fetishism and to contribute to the debate on the social role of objects as well as to fashion theory. Extrapolating from Michel Serres’ theory of the quasi-objects, I distinguish two phenomenologies possessing almost opposite characteristics. These two phenomenologies are, so I argue, essential to quasi-object theory, yet largely ignored by Serres’ sociological interpreters. They correspond with the two different theories of fetishism found in Marx and Durkheim, respectively. In the second half of (...) the article, I introduce the fashion object as a unique opportunity for studying the interchange between these two forms of fetishism and their respective phenomenologies. Finally, returning to Serres, I briefly consider the theoretical consequences of introducing the fashion object as a quasi-object. (shrink)
Logical semantics includes once again structured meanings in its repertoire. The leading idea is that semantic and syntactic structure are more or less isomorphic. A key motive for reintroducing sensitivity to semantic structure is to obtain fine‐grained meanings, which are individuated more finely than in possible‐world semantics, namely up to necessary equivalence. Just getting the truth‐conditions right is deemed insufficient for a full semantic analysis of sentences. This paper surveys some of the most recent contributions to the program of structured (...) meaning, while providing historical background. I suggest that to make substantial advances the program needs to solve the problem of propositional unity and develop an intensional mereology of abstract objects. (shrink)
The topic of this paper is the notion of technical (as opposed to biological) malfunction. It is shown how to form the property being a malfunctioning F from the property F and the property modifier malfunctioning (a mapping taking a property to a property). We present two interpretations of malfunctioning. Both interpretations agree that a malfunctioning F lacks the dispositional property of functioning as an F. However, its subsective interpretation entails that malfunctioning Fs are Fs, whereas its privative interpretation entails (...) that malfunctioning Fs are not Fs. We chart various of their respective logical consequences and discuss some of the philosophical implications of both interpretations. (shrink)
The philosophy for children curriculum was specially written by Matthew Lipman and colleagues for the teaching of philosophy by non-philosophically educated teachers from foundation phase to further education colleges. In this article I argue that such a curriculum is neither a necessary, not a sufficient condition for the teaching of philosophical thinking. The philosophical knowledge and pedagogical tact of the teacher remains salient, in that the open-ended and unpredictable nature of philosophical enquiry demands of teachers to think in the moment (...) and draw on their own knowledge and experience of academic philosophy. Providing specialist training or induction in the P4C curriculum cannot and should not replace undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in academic philosophy at universities. However, although for academic philosophers the use of the P4C curriculum could be beneficial, I will argue that its use poses the risk of wanting to form children into the ideal ‘abnormal’ child, the thinking child—the adult philosopher’s child positioned as such by the Lipman novels. The notion of narrativity is central in my argument. With the help of two picturebooks—The Three Pigs by David Weisner and Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne—I illustrate my claim that philosophy as ‘side-shadowing’ or meta-thinking can only be generated in the space ‘in between’ text, child and educator, thereby foregrounding a ‘pedagogy of exposure’ rather than ‘teacher proof’ texts. (shrink)
Philosophy with children (P4C) 1 presents significant positive challenges for educators. Its 'community of enquiry' pedagogy assumes not only an epistemological shift in the role of the educator, but also a different ontology of 'child' and balance of power between educator and learner. After a brief historical sketch and an outline of the diversity among P4C practitioners, epistemological uncertainty in teaching P4C is crystallised in a succinct overview of theoretical and practical tensions that are a direct result of the implementation (...) of P4C in mainstream education. These recurring pedagogical tensions in my practice as P4C teacher, teacher educator and mentor of teacher educators cause disequilibrium that opens up rich opportunities for philosophy of education in supporting novice P4Cers. Disequilibrium is a positive force that opens up a space in which educators need to reflect upon their values, their beliefs about learning and teaching, and ultimately encourages educators to rethink their own role. Plato's metaphor of the stingray highlights the role of the P4C teacher educator as model of the P4C teacher in any setting: 'to numb and to be numbed'. The P4C community and its institutions need to address the questions arising from these pedagogical tensions; and this needs to be done with integrity, that is, in communities of enquiry that include children. If not, in the long term, a more instrumental version of P4C may prevail. (shrink)
Fairness, the notion that people deserve or have rights to certain resources or kinds of treatment, is a fundamental dimension of moral cognition. Drawing on recent evidence from economics, psychology, and neuroscience, we ask whether self-interest is always intuitive, requiring self-control to override with reasoning-based fairness concerns, or whether fairness itself can be intuitive. While we find strong support for rejecting the notion that self-interest is always intuitive, the literature has reached conflicting conclusions about the neurocognitive systems underpinning fairness. We (...) propose that this disagreement can largely be resolved in light of an extended Social Heuristics Hypothesis. Divergent findings may be attributed to the interpretation of behavioral effects of ego depletion or neurostimulation, reverse inference from brain activity to the underlying psychological process, and insensitivity to social context and inter-individual differences. To better dissect the neurobiological basis of fairness, we outline how future research should embrace cross-disciplinary methods that combine psychological manipulations with neuroimaging, and that can probe inter-individual, and cultural heterogeneities. (shrink)
New emerging biotechnologies, such as gene editing, vastly extend our ability to alter the human being. This comes together with strong aspirations to improve humans not only physically, but also mentally, morally, and socially. These conjoined ambitions aggregate to what can be labelled “the gene editing of super-ego.” This article investigates a general way used to argue for new biotechnologies, such as gene-editing: if it is safe and efficacious to implement technology X for the purpose of a common good Y, (...) why should we not do so? This is a rhetorical question with a conditional, and may be dismissed as such. Moreover, investigating the question transformed into a formal argument reveals that the argument does not hold either. Nonetheless, the compelling force of the question calls for closer scrutiny, revealing that this way of arguing for biotechnology is based on five assumptions. Analysis of these assumptions shows their significant axiological, empirical, and philosophical challenges. This makes it reasonable to claim that these kinds of question based promotions of specific biotechnologies fail. Hence, the aspirations to make a super-man with a super-ego appear fundamentally flawed. As these types of moral bioenhancement arguments become more prevalent, a revealing hype test is suggested: What is special with this technology, compared to existing methods, that makes it successful in improving human social characteristics in order to make the world a better place for all? Valid answers to this question will provide good reasons to pursue such technologies. Hence, the aim is not to bar the development of modern biotechnology, but rather to ensure good developments and applications of highly potent technologies. So far, we still have a long way to go to make persons with goodness gene. (shrink)
There is a tendency in the business ethics literature to think of ethics in restrictive terms: what one should not do, and how to control this. Drawing on Lawrence Kohlberg''s theory of moral development, the paper focuses on, and draws attention to, another more positive aspect of ethics: the capacity of ethics to inspire and empower individuals, as well as groups. To understand and facilitate such empowerment, it is argued that it is necessary to move beyond Kohlberg''s justice reasoning so (...) as to appreciate the value and importance of feeling and care. Accordingly, we draw upon case study material to review the meaning of Kohlberg''s higher stages — 5, 6 and 7 — to question the meaning of ethical reasoning. With such deeper understanding of particular ethical codes or practices, it is thought that members of organisations may come closer to thespirit, as opposed to the letter, of ethical conduct in organisations. This, we argue, is consistent with the degree of trust and integrity demanded by leaner, post-bureaucratic ways of organizing and conducting business as well as being personally beneficial to the people involved. (shrink)
Obstetric ultrasound has become a significant tool in obstetric practice, however, it has been argued that its increasing use may have adverse implications for women’s reproductive freedom. This study aimed to explore Australian obstetricians’ experiences and views of the use of obstetric ultrasound both in relation to clinical management of complicated pregnancy, and in situations where maternal and fetal health interests conflict.
The long ongoing and partly heated debate on the concept of disease has not led to any consensus on the status of this apparently essential concept for modern health care. The arguments range from claims that the disease concept is vague, slippery, elusive, or complex, and to statements that the concept is indefinable and unnecessary. The unsettled status of the concept of disease is challenging not only to health care where diagnosing, treating, and curing disease are core aims, but also (...) to the branch of philosophy that tries to clarify concepts. This article discusses three claims about the concept of disease: that it is vague, complex, and that it is indefinable. It investigates (a) what is meant by these claims (b) what their implications are, and (c) whether the claims are sound or not. It is argued that some of the arguments are flawed and miss important points about concept analysis. This does not mean, however, that disease is a clear concept with a crisp definition. It only rules out speculative claims that disease necessarily is vague, complex, and indefinable. It appears at least as hard to show that disease is indefinable as it is to define it. (shrink)
Trust can be understood as a precondition for a well-functioning society or as a way to handle complexities of living in a risk society, but also as a fundamental aspect of human morality. Interactions on the Internet pose some new challenges to issues of trust, especially connected to disembodiedness. Mistrust may be an important obstacle to Internet use, which is problematic as the Internet becomes a significant arena for political, social and commercial activities necessary for full participation in a liberal (...) democracy. The Categorical Imperative lifts up trust as a fundamental component of human ethical virtues – first of all, because deception and coercion, the antitheses of trust, cannot be universalized. Mistrust is, according to Kant, a natural component of human nature, as we are social beings dependent on recognition by others but also prone to deceiving others. Only in true friendships can this tendency be overcome and give room for unconditional trust. Still we can argue that Kant must hold that trustworthy behaviour as well as trust in others is obligatory, as expressions of respect for humanity. The Kantian approach integrates political and ethical aspects of trust, showing that protecting the external activities of citizens is required in order to act morally. This means that security measures, combined with specific regulations are important preconditions for building online trust, providing an environment enabling people to act morally and for trust-based relationships. (shrink)