What form does power take in situations of retaliation against whistleblowers? In this article, we move away from dominant perspectives that see power as a resource. In place, we propose a theory of normative power and violence in whistleblower retaliation, drawing on an in-depth empirical study. This enables a deeper understanding of power as it circulates in complex processes of whistleblowing. We offer the following contributions. First, supported by empirical findings we propose a novel theoretical framing of whistleblower retaliation and (...) the role of mental health, which draws upon poststructuralist psychoanalytic thinking. Specifically, we highlight how intra- and inter-psychic affective and ambivalent attachments to organizations influence the use of normative violence in cases of whistleblower retaliation. The second contribution is empirical and builds upon the existing literature on whistleblower retaliation by highlighting how organizations position whistleblower subjects as mentally unstable and unreliable individuals, to undermine their claims. We conclude by highlighting the implications of normative power for the outcomes of whistleblower struggles. (shrink)
What makes an external whistleblower effective? Whistleblowers represent an important conduit for dissensus, providing valuable information about ethical breaches and organizational wrongdoing. They often speak out about injustice from a relatively weak position of power, with the aim of changing the status quo. But many external whistleblowers fail in this attempt to make their claims heard and thus secure change. Some can experience severe retaliation and public blacklisting, while others are ignored. This article examines how whistleblowers can succeed in bringing (...) their claims to the public’s attention. We draw on analyses of political struggle by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Specifically, we propose that through the raising of a demand, the whistleblowing subject can emerge as part of a chain of equivalences, in a counter-hegemonic movement that challenges the status quo. An analysis of a high-profile case of tax justice whistleblowing-that of Rudolf Elmer-illustrates our argument. Our proposed theoretical framing builds upon and contributes to literature on whistleblowing as organizational parrhesia by demonstrating how parrhesiastic demand might lead to change in public perception through the formation of alliances with other disparate interests—albeit that the process is precarious and complex. Practically, our article illuminates a persistent concern for those engaged in dissensus via whistleblowing, and whose actions are frequently ignored or silenced. We demonstrate how such actions can move towards securing public support in order to make a difference and achieve change. (shrink)
The ethics of whistleblowing are complex and challenging. On the one hand, there are a strong set of moral reasons why someone ought to blow the whistle when he or she learns of wrongdoing. On the other hand, such actions typically come at a significant cost to the whistleblower and may not bring about any significant change. Both aspects prompt us to ask, why would I be a whistleblower? Emanuela Ceva and Michele Bocchiola's Is Whistleblowing a Duty? answers that question (...) by arguing that one has an organizational duty to blow the whistle. KateKenny's Whistleblowing: Toward a New Theory reframes the question, showing how hard it has been for members of the international financial industry to blow the whistle and bring about any effective change to that industry. In this review essay, I suggest that analyses of whistleblowing need to take into account evolving technologies, the importance of loyalty, and special contexts such as whistleblowing in the national security sector. (shrink)
Socrates famously compares himself to a midwife in Plato's Theaetetus. Much less well known is the developed metaphor of pregnancy at the centre of the initiation ritual that begins Brahmanical education. In this ritual, called Upanayana, the teacher is presented as becoming pregnant with the student. The Arthavaveda states: The teacher leads the student towards himself, makes him an embryo within; he bears him in his belly three nights.
Bill D'Alessandro talks to Kenny Easwaran about fractal music, Zoom conferences, being a good referee, teaching in math and philosophy, the rationalist community and its relationship to academia, decision-theoretic pluralism, and the city of Manhattan, Kansas.
Oregon is the only state in the United States where a physician may legally prescribe a lethal dose of barbiturate for a patient intending suicide. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act was passed by voters in 1994 and came into effect after much legal wrangling in October of 1997. At the same time, a cabinetmaker named Pat Matheny was struggling with progressive weakness from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. I met with Pat and his family for a lengthy interview in (...) October 1998 in Coos Bay, Oregon, for a television news report on his decision to get a lethal prescription. Below is an extract from that interview. On the day this introduction was written, 10 March 1999, Pat took the prescribed lethal overdose of barbiturates and died at home. His illness was taking his voice, he could not move his hands or legs, and breathing was becoming very difficult. His mother told me he knew that was for him. (shrink)
What is mind? This book attempts to give a philosophical answer to that question in language accessible to the layperson, but with a rigor acceptable to the specialist. Published on the centenary of the birth of Wittgenstein and the 40th anniversary of the publication of Gilbert Ryle 's classic The Concept of Mind, this work testifies to the influence of those thinkers on Kenny's own work in the philosophy of mind, and assembles Kenny's ideas on philosophical psychology into (...) a systematic whole. (shrink)
Down Girl is a broad, original, and far ranging analysis of what misogyny really is, how it works, its purpose, and how to fight it. The philosopher Kate Manne argues that modern society's failure to recognize women's full humanity and autonomy is not actually the problem. She argues instead that it is women's manifestations of human capacities -- autonomy, agency, political engagement -- is what engenders misogynist hostility.
Action, Emotion and Will was first published in 1963, when it was one of the first books to provoke serious interest in the emotions and philosophy of human action. Almost forty years on, Anthony Kenny's account of action and emotion is still essential reading for anyone interested in these topics. The first part of the book takes an historical look at the emotions in the work of Descartes, Locke and particularly Hume. In the second part, Kenny moves on (...) to discuss some of the experimental work on the emotions by 20th Century psychologists like William James. Separate chapters cover feelings, motives, desire and pleasure. This edition features a brand new preface by the author. (shrink)
Many philosophers have argued that "degree of belief" or "credence" is a more fundamental state grounding belief. Many other philosophers have been skeptical about the notion of "degree of belief", and take belief to be the only meaningful notion in the vicinity. This paper shows that one can take belief to be fundamental, and ground a notion of "degree of belief" in the patterns of belief, assuming that an agent has a collection of beliefs that isn't dominated by some other (...) collection in terms of the overall balance of truth and falsity that it could contain. (shrink)
Many philosophers have become worried about the use of standard real numbers for the probability function that represents an agent's credences. They point out that real numbers can't capture the distinction between certain extremely unlikely events and genuinely impossible ones—they are both represented by credence 0, which violates a principle known as “regularity.” Following Skyrms 1980 and Lewis 1980, they recommend that we should instead use a much richer set of numbers, called the “hyperreals.” This essay argues that this popular (...) view is the result of two mistakes. The first mistake, which this essay calls the “numerical fallacy,” is to assume that a distinction that isn't represented by different numbers isn't represented at all in a mathematical representation. In this case, the essay claims that although the real numbers do not make all relevant distinctions, the full mathematical structure of a probability function does. The second mistake is that the hyperreals make too many distinctions. They have a much more complex structure than credences in ordinary propositions can have, so they make distinctions that don't exist among credences. While they might be useful for generating certain mathematical models, they will not appear in a faithful mathematical representation of credences of ordinary propositions. (shrink)
This revised edition of Sir Anthony Kenny’s classic work on Wittgenstein contains a new introduction which covers developments in Wittgenstein scholarship since the book was first published. Widely praised for providing a lucid and historically informed account of Wittgenstein’s core philosophical concerns. Demonstrates the continuity between Wittgenstein’s early and later writings. Provides a persuasive argument for the unity of Wittgenstein’s thought. Kenny also assesses Wittgenstein’s influence in the latter part of the twentieth century.
Expected accuracy arguments have been used by several authors (Leitgeb and Pettigrew, and Greaves and Wallace) to support the diachronic principle of conditionalization, in updates where there are only finitely many possible propositions to learn. I show that these arguments can be extended to infinite cases, giving an argument not just for conditionalization but also for principles known as ‘conglomerability’ and ‘reflection’. This shows that the expected accuracy approach is stronger than has been realized. I also argue that we should (...) be careful to distinguish diachronic update principles from related synchronic principles for conditional probability. (shrink)
Wittgenstein was unreliable as an historian of philosophy. When he criticised other philosophers he rarely gave chapter and verse for his criticism, and on the rare occasions on which he quoted verbatim he did not always do justice to the authors quoted. I will illustrate this first in the comparatively unimportant case of Augustine and then in the more serious case of Frege.
Based on the Wilde Lectures in Natural Religion given by Anthony Kenny at Oxford from 1970 to 1972, here revised in light of recent discussion and reflection, this provocative book examines some of the principal attributes traditionally ascribed to God in western theism, particularly omniscience and omnipotence. From his discussion of a number of related topics, including a comprehensive treatment of the problem of the relations between divine foreknowledge and human freedom, Kenny concludes that there can be no (...) such being as the God of traditional natural theology. (shrink)
To the extent that we have reasons to avoid these “bad B -properties”, these arguments provide reasons not to have an incoherent credence function b — and perhaps even reasons to have a coherent one. But, note that these two traditional arguments for probabilism involve what might be called “pragmatic” reasons (not) to be (in)coherent. In the case of the Dutch Book argument, the “bad” property is pragmatically bad (to the extent that one values money). But, it is not clear (...) whether the DBA pinpoints any epistemic defect of incoherent agents. The same can be said for Representation Theorem arguments, since they involve the structure of an agent’s preferences. (shrink)
We introduce a family of rules for adjusting one's credences in response to learning the credences of others. These rules have a number of desirable features. 1. They yield the posterior credences that would result from updating by standard Bayesian conditionalization on one's peers' reported credences if one's likelihood function takes a particular simple form. 2. In the simplest form, they are symmetric among the agents in the group. 3. They map neatly onto the familiar Condorcet voting results. 4. They (...) preserve shared agreement about independence in a wide range of cases. 5. They commute with conditionalization and with multiple peer updates. Importantly, these rules have a surprising property that we call synergy - peer testimony of credences can provide mutually supporting evidence raising an individual's credence higher than any peer's initial prior report. At first, this may seem to be a strike against them. We argue, however, that synergy is actually a desirable feature and the failure of other updating rules to yield synergy is a strike against them. (shrink)
Internalists about reasons following Bernard Williams claim that an agent’s normative reasons for action are constrained in some interesting way by her desires or motivations. In this paper, I offer a new argument for such a position—although one that resonates, I believe, with certain key elements of Williams’ original view. I initially draw on P.F. Strawson’s famous distinction between the interpersonal and the objective stances that we can take to other people, from the second-person point of view. I suggest that (...) we should accept Strawson’s contention that the activity of reasoning with someone about what she ought to do naturally belongs to the interpersonal mode of interaction. I also suggest that reasons for an agent to perform some action are considerations which would be apt to be cited in favor of that action, within an idealized version of this advisory social practice. I then go on to argue that one would take leave of the interpersonal stance towards someone—thus crossing the line, so to speak—in suggesting that she do something one knows she wouldn’t want to do, even following an exhaustive attempt to hash it out with her. An internalist necessity constraint on reasons is defended on this basis. (shrink)
Anthony Kenny offers a critical examination of Thomas Aquinas's influential account of being, arguing that it suffers from systematic confusion. Because of the centrality of the doctrine, this has implications for other parts of Aquinas's philosophical system. Kenny's clear and incisive study dispels the confusion and offers philosophers and theologians a guide through the labyrinth of Aquinas's ontology.
Bayesianism is a collection of positions in several related fields, centered on the interpretation of probability as something like degree of belief, as contrasted with relative frequency, or objective chance. However, Bayesianism is far from a unified movement. Bayesians are divided about the nature of the probability functions they discuss; about the normative force of this probability function for ordinary and scientific reasoning and decision making; and about what relation (if any) holds between Bayesian and non-Bayesian concepts.
Naive versions of decision theory take probabilities and utilities as primitive and use expected value to give norms on rational decision. However, standard decision theory takes rational preference as primitive and uses it to construct probability and utility. This paper shows how to justify a version of the naive theory, by taking dominance as the most basic normatively required preference relation, and then extending it by various conditions under which agents should be indifferent between acts. The resulting theory can make (...) all the decisions of classical expected utility theory, plus more in cases where expected utilities are infinite or undefined. Although the theory requires similarly strong assumptions to classical expected utility theory, versions of the theory can be developed with slightly weaker assumptions, without having to prove a new representation theorem for the weaker theory. This alternate foundation is particularly useful if probability is prior to preference, as suggested by the recent program to base probabilism on accuracy and alethic considerations rather than pragmatic ones. (shrink)
An authoritative exposition of Aristotle's teaching on the subject of happiness, which is of vital importance to the question of the relevance of his ethics today. Kenny helped to set the terms of the debate 25 years ago. In his latest book, he refines his view on the relationship between the Nichomachean Ethics and the Eudemian Ethics.
According to proper functionalist theories of warrant, a belief is warranted only if it is formed by cognitive faculties that are properly functioning according to a good, truth-aimed design plan, one that is often thought to be specified either by intentional design or by natural selection. A formidable challenge to proper functionalist theories is the Swampman objection, according to which there are scenarios involving creatures who have warranted beliefs but whose cognitive faculties are not properly functioning, or are poorly designed, (...) or are not aimed at truth. In this paper, we draw lessons from cognitive science in order to develop a novel argument for the conclusion that the Swampman objection fails against proper functionalist theories of warrant. Our argument not only shows that the underlying, central intuition motivating Swampman-like scenarios is false but also motivates proper function as a necessary condition for warrant, thereby lending support to the claim that any theory of knowledge that lacks a proper function requirement is false. (shrink)
Sir Anthony Kenny presents a fascinating and authoritative new history of Western philosophy. Specially written for a broad popular readership, Kenny's lucid and stimulating history will become the definitive work for anyone interested in the people and ideas that shaped the course of Western thought.
In the first paper, I discussed the basic claims of Bayesianism (that degrees of belief are important, that they obey the axioms of probability theory, and that they are rationally updated by either standard or Jeffrey conditionalization) and the arguments that are often used to support them. In this paper, I will discuss some applications these ideas have had in confirmation theory, epistemol- ogy, and statistics, and criticisms of these applications.
This reissue was first published in 1978. Anthony Kenny, one of the most distinguished philosophers in England, explores the notion of responsibility and the precise place of the mental element in criminal actions. Bringing the insights of recent philosophy of mind to bear on contemporary developments in criminal law, he writes with the general reader in mind, no specialist training in philosophy being necessary to appreciate his argument. Kenny shows that abstract distinctions drawn by analytic philosophers are relevant (...) to decisions in matters of life and death, and illustrates the philosophical argument throughout by reference to actual legal cases. The topics he covers are of wide general interest and include: _mens rea_ and mental health, strict liability, freedom and determinism, duress and necessity, intoxication and irresistible impulse, intention and purpose, murder and rape, punishment and deterrence, witchcraft and supernatural beliefs. (shrink)
In a series of papers, Don Fallis points out that although mathematicians are generally unwilling to accept merely probabilistic proofs, they do accept proofs that are incomplete, long and complicated, or partly carried out by computers. He argues that there are no epistemic grounds on which probabilistic proofs can be rejected while these other proofs are accepted. I defend the practice by presenting a property I call ‘transferability’, which probabilistic proofs lack and acceptable proofs have. I also consider what this (...) says about the similarities between mathematics and, on the one hand natural sciences, and on the other hand philosophy. (shrink)
Cross-situational learning is a mechanism for learning the meaning of words across multiple exposures, despite exposure-by-exposure uncertainty as to the word's true meaning. We present experimental evidence showing that humans learn words effectively using cross-situational learning, even at high levels of referential uncertainty. Both overall success rates and the time taken to learn words are affected by the degree of referential uncertainty, with greater referential uncertainty leading to less reliable, slower learning. Words are also learned less successfully and more slowly (...) if they are presented interleaved with occurrences of other words, although this effect is relatively weak. We present additional analyses of participants’ trial-by-trial behavior showing that participants make use of various cross-situational learning strategies, depending on the difficulty of the word-learning task. When referential uncertainty is low, participants generally apply a rigorous eliminative approach to cross-situational learning. When referential uncertainty is high, or exposures to different words are interleaved, participants apply a frequentist approximation to this eliminative approach. We further suggest that these two ways of exploiting cross-situational information reside on a continuum of learning strategies, underpinned by a single simple associative learning mechanism. (shrink)
Fine has shown that assigning any value to the Pasadena game is consistent with a certain standard set of axioms for decision theory. However, I suggest that it might be reasonable to believe that the value of an individual game is constrained by the long-run payout of repeated plays of the game. Although there is no value that repeated plays of the Pasadena game converges to in the standard strong sense, I show that there is a weaker sort of convergence (...) it exhibits, and use this to define a notion of ‘weak expectation’ that can give values to the Pasadena game and many others, though not to all games that fail to have a strong expectation in the standard sense. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In this book, renowned philosopher Anthony Kenny focuses on one of the central questions in the philosophy of religion: is the belief in God and faith in the divine word rational? Surveying what has been said on the topic by such major recent thinkers as Wittgenstein and Platinga, Kenny contructs his own account of what he calls "the intellectual virtue of reasonable belief which stands between skepticism and credulity," which he then applies to the Christian doctrine of faith. (...)Kenny also addresses related questions such as the existence and nature of God and the problem of evil in a world created by an omnipotent being. A fascinating exploration of a subject presented in clear, accessible language, What is Faith? is essential reading for anyone who hopes to understand a debate that has now raged for two thousand years. (shrink)