The central theme of this paper is that the development of a technology that is predicted to have a major impact on the way we transact with each other should be a matter where the needs of society at large are taken into account. Where the technology is one that emerges from the domain of the Internet, inclusivity becomes even more acute in order to avoid widening the already existing gap in reaping the “digital dividend.” With blockchain, the obligation could (...) even be seen as a moral one, as blockchain is said to have the potential to negate the scope for the abuse of trust by states and institutions. This could be a game changer in areas such as public procurement and the conduct of elections where abuse can lead to the denial of essential resources and a concomitant loss of life, or to conflict and mass killings. Blockchain presents an opportunity for the Internet development community to claim a degree of recognition in the human rights realm by aiding civil intervention in areas where military intervention has been deemed inappropriate. (shrink)
The theory of personal identity should illuminate and be illuminated by the theory of personality, of which it is a part. I believe that Locke's theory succeeds in this more than that of any other great philosopher, and the modifications which it may need are not fundamental ones. The problems raised by Butler and Flew can be made to disappear.
Increasingly the body is a possession that does not belong to us. It is bought and sold, bartered and stolen, marketed wholesale or in parts. The professions - especially reproductive medicine, transplant surgery, and bioethics but also journalism and other cultural specialists - have been pliant partners in this accelerating commodification of live and dead human organisms. Under the guise of healing or research, they have contributed to a new 'ethic of parts' for which the divisible body is severed from (...) the self, torn from the social fabric, and thrust into commercial transactions -- as organs, secretions, reproductive capacities, and tissues -- responding to the dictates of an incipiently global marketplace. Breaking with established approaches which prioritize the body as 'text', the chapters in this book examine not only images of the body-turned-merchandise but actually existing organisms considered at once as material entities, semi-magical tokens, symbolic vectors and founts of lived experience. The topics covered range from the cultural disposal and media treatment of corpses, the biopolitics of cells, sperm banks and eugenics, to the international trafficking of kidneys, the development of 'transplant tourism', to the idioms of corporeal exploitation among prizefighters as a limiting case of fleshly commodity. This insightful and arresting volume combines perspectives from anthropology, law, medicine, and sociology to offer compelling analyses of the concrete ways in which the body is made into a commodity and how its marketization in turn remakes social relations and cultural meanings. (shrink)
This volume succeeds the same authors' well-known An Introduction to Modal Logic and A Companion to Modal Logic. We designate the three books and their authors NIML, IML, CML and H&C respectively. Sadly, George Hughes died partway through the writing of NIML.
Recently, dramatic price increases by several pharmaceutical companies have provoked public outrage. These scandals raise questions both about how pharmaceutical firms should be regulated and about how pharmaceutical executives ethically ought to make pricing decisions when drug prices are largely unregulated. Though there is an extensive literature on the regulatory question, the ethical question has been largely unexplored. This article defends a Kantian approach to the ethics of pharmaceutical pricing in an unregulated market. To the extent possible, pharmaceutical companies must (...) price drugs so that those who genuinely need them can get them without financial ruin. This requirement is an ethical side constraint, like the moral prohibitions on deception and theft, that takes precedence over a business’s interest in maximizing profit. That said, the requirement’s application is sensitive to the need to recoup the costs of research and to produce a return that financially justifies the original investment. It may not be either feasible or desirable for government to attempt to enforce the ethical requirements concerning just pharmaceutical pricing. Either price regulation or subsidy could fulfill government’s obligation to protect patients from being objectionably vulnerable to pricing decisions by private companies. (shrink)
This article introduces the topic of body and commerce commodification as an effort to return sociological and anthropological thinking to a consideration of bodies as tangible, palpable and real material objects as well as semi-magical and symbolic representations. It argues for an enlarged conception of commodification as encompassing all monetized relations in which human bodies are the token of economic exchanges that are often masked as something else love, pleasure, altruism, kindness.
A general account of modeling in physics is proposed. Modeling is shown to involve three components: denotation, demonstration, and interpretation. Elements of the physical world are denoted by elements of the model; the model possesses an internal dynamic that allows us to demonstrate theoretical conclusions; these in turn need to be interpreted if we are to make predictions. The DDI account can be readily extended in ways that correspond to different aspects of scientific practice.
In this paper, I shall be arguing for what I hope is a modern version of a very traditional view, which is that God can explain two very basic phenomena: the first is the existence of the universe as we know it: the second is the particular way in which the universe is organised. I shall also, though briefly, try to counter the view that the totally unwelcome features of our universe make it impossible to reconcile the universe as it (...) is with anything like traditional theistic belief. This project, however, is quite a daunting one. So I would wish to make it clear right at the start that, while I would claim that my views are reasonable, and indeed more reasonable than belief in the denial of these views would be, I still do not hold that it is unreasonable for someone to reject each of the conclusions for which I shall argue. For plainly anyone, whether myself or any opponent, can be both reasonable and mistaken. (shrink)
R.I.G. Hughes presents a series of eight philosophical essays on the theoretical practices of physics. The first two essays examine these practices as they appear in physicists' treatises (e.g. Newton's Principia and Opticks ) and journal articles (by Einstein, Bohm and Pines, Aharonov and Bohm). By treating these publications as texts, Hughes casts the philosopher of science in the role of critic. This premise guides the following 6 essays which deal with various concerns of philosophy of physics such (...) as laws, disunities, models and representation, computer simulation, explanation, and the discourse of physics. (shrink)
Saul Kripke, in a series of classic writings of the 1960s and 1970s, changed the face of metaphysics and philosophy of language. Christopher Hughes offers a careful exposition and critical analysis of Kripke's central ideas about names, necessity, and identity. He clears up some common misunderstandings of Kripke's views on rigid designation, causality and reference, and the necessary a posteriori and contingent a priori. Through his engagement with Kripke's ideas Hughes makes a significant contribution to ongoing debates on, (...) inter alia, the semantics of natural kind terms, the nature of natural kinds, the essentiality of origin and constitution, the relative merits of 'identitarian' and counterpart-theoretic accounts of modality, and the identity or otherwise of mental types and tokens with physical types and tokens. No specialist knowledge in either the philosophy of language or metaphysics is presupposed; Hughes's book will be valuable for anyone working on the ideas which Kripke made famous in the philosophy world. (shrink)
Hyman (1999, 2006) argues that knowledge is best conceived as a kind of ability: S knows that p iff S can φ for the reason that p. Hyman motivates this thesis by appealing to Gettier cases. I argue that it is counterexampled by a certain kind of Gettier case where the fact that p is a cause of the subject’s belief that p. One can φ for the reason that p even if one does not know that p. So knowledge (...) is not best conceived as an ability of this kind. (shrink)
Transhumanism, the belief that technology can transcend the limitations of the human body and brain, is part of the family of Enlightenment philosophies. As such, transhumanism has also inherited the internal tensions and contradictions of the broad Enlightenment tradition. First, the project of Reason is self-erosive and requires irrational validation. Second, although most transhumanists are atheist, their belief in the transcendent power of intelligence generates new theologies. Third, although most transhumanists are liberal democrats, their belief in human perfectibility and governance (...) by reason can validate technocratic authoritarianism. Fourth, transhumanists are divided on the balance between democracy and the market. Fifth, teleological expectations of unstoppable progress are in tension with awareness of the indeterminacy of the future. Sixth, transhumanists are divided between advocates of ethical universalism and ethical relativism. Seventh, the rational materialist denial of discrete persistent selves calls into question the transhumanist project of individual longevity and enhancement. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that foreign sponsors of research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are morally required to ensure that their research benefits the broader host community. There is no agreement, however, about how much benefit or what type of benefit research sponsors must provide, nor is there agreement about what group of people is entitled to benefit. To settle these questions, it is necessary to examine why research sponsors have an obligation to benefit the broader host community, not (...) only their subjects. Justifying this claim is not straightforward. There are three justifications for an obligation to benefit host communities that each apply to some research, but not to all. Each requires a different amount of benefit, and each requires benefit to be directed toward a different group. If research involves significant net risk to LMIC subjects, research must provide adequate benefit to people in LMICs to avoid an unjustified appeal to subjects’ altruism. If research places significant burdens on public resources, research must provide fair compensation to the community whose public resources are burdened. If research is for profit, research sponsors must contribute adequately to the upkeep of public goods from which they benefit in order to avoid the wrong of free-riding, even if their use of these public goods is not burdensome. (shrink)
John Buridan was a fourteenth-century philosopher who enjoyed an enormous reputation for about two hundred years, was then totally neglected, and is now being 'rediscovered' through his relevance to contemporary work in philosophical logic. The final chapter of Buridan's Sophismata deals with problems about self-reference, and in particular with the semantic paradoxes. He offers his own distinctive solution to the well-known 'Liar Paradox' and introduces a number of other paradoxes that will be unfamiliar to most logicians. Buridan also moves on (...) from these problems to more general questions about the nature of propositions, the criteria of their truth and falsity and the concepts of validity and knowledge. This edition of that chapter is intended to make Buridan's ideas and arguments accessible to a wider range of readers. The volume should interest many philosophers, linguists and logicians, who are increasingly finding in medieval work striking anticipations of their own concerns. (shrink)
Locke thought that it was impossible for there to be two things of the same kind in the same place at the same time. I offer (what looks to me like) a counterexample to that principle, involving two ships in the same place at the same time. I then consider two ways of explaining away, and one way of denying, the apparent counterexample of Locke's principle, and I argue that none is successful. I conclude that, although the case under discussion (...) does not refute Locke's principle, it constitutes a serious challenge to it. (shrink)
This paper canvasses recent arguments in favor of commercial markets in human transplant kidneys, raising objections to those arguments on grounds of the role of injustice, exploitation, and coercion in compromising the autonomy of those most likely to sell a kidney, namely, the least well off members of society.
Drawing on resources from both the analytical and continental traditions, this book argues that a comprehension of Immanuel Kant's aesthetics is necessary for grasping the scope and force of his epistemology. It draws on phenomenological and aesthetic resources to bring out the continuing relevance of Kant's project. One of the difficulties faced in reading ‘The Critique of Pure Reason’ is finding a way of reading the text as one continuous discussion. This book offers a reading at each stage of Kant's (...) epistemological argument, showing how various elements of Kant's argument, often thought of as extraneous or indefensible, can be integrated. Arguing for the centrality of aesthetics in philosophy, and within experience in general, it challenges a blind spot in the Anglo-American tradition of philosophy and will contribute to a growing interest in the general significance of aesthetic culture. (shrink)
_Transcendence and History_ is an analysis of what philosopher Eric Voegelin described as “the decisive problem of philosophy”: the dilemma of the discovery of transcendent meaning and the impact of this discovery on human self-understanding. The explicit recognition and symbolization of transcendent meaning originally occurred in a few advanced civilizations worldwide during the first millennium?.?.e. The world’s major religious and wisdom traditions are built upon the recognition of transcendent meaning, and our own cultural and linguistic heritage has long since absorbed (...) the postcosmological division of reality into the two dimensions of “transcendence” and “immanence.” But the last three centuries in the West have seen a growing resistance to the idea of transcendent meaning; contemporary and “postmodern” interpretations of the human situation—both popular and intellectual—indicate a widespread eclipse of confidence in the truth of transcendence. In _Transcendence and History_, Glenn Hughes contributes to the understanding of transcendent meaning and the problems associated with it and assists in the philosophical recovery of the legitimacy of the notion of transcendence. Depending primarily on the treatments of transcendence found in the writings of twentieth-century philosophers Eric Voegelin and Bernard Lonergan, Hughes explores the historical discovery of transcendent meaning and then examines what it indicates about the structure of history. Hughes’s main focus, however, is on clarifying the problem of transcendence in relation to historical _existence_. Addressing both layreaders and scholars, Hughes applies the insights and analyses of Voegelin and Lonergan to considerable advantage. _Transcendence and History_ will be of particular value to those who have grappled with the notion of transcendence in the study of philosophy, comparative religion, political theory, history, philosophical anthropology, and art or poetry. By examining transcendent meaning as the key factor in the search for ultimate meaning from ancient societies to the present, the book demonstrates how “the decisive problem of philosophy” both illuminates and presents a vital challenge to contemporary intellectual discourse. (shrink)
This essay examines the function of the concept of human dignity (both as an inherent feature of human existence and as an ideal achievement) in the United Nations's 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It explains why the key framers of the document affirmed an inherent human dignity in order to provide an explanatory basis for the validity of universal human rights while eschewing any religious or metaphysical justification for this affirmation. It argues that the key framers, while aware of (...) the Christian anthropology informing the modern Western concept of the dignity of the person, grasped (1) that the Declaration, to be ratifiable, would need to be free of religious reference, and also (2) that the notion of inherency suffices to suggest heuristically not only a universal human nature but also, crucially, a transcendent reality in which all persons participate. (shrink)
Because much of the recent philosophical interest in functions has been motivated by their application in biology and other sciences, most of the ensuing discussions have focused on functional explanations to the neglect of the practical role of functional knowledge. This practical role is essential for understanding how users form plans involving artifacts. We introduce the concept of instrumental function which is intended to capture the features of functional claims that are relevant to practical—in particular, instrumental—reasoning. We discuss the four (...) primary features of an instrumental function ascription, the teleological component of such ascriptions and give a clear definition of malfunction in terms of incapability to perform as well as “normal” tokens of the same type. (shrink)
A recent argument in favor of a free market in human organs claims that such a market enhances personal autonomy. I argue here that such a market would, on the contrary, actually compromise the autonomy of those most likely to sell their organs, namely, the least well off members of society. A Marxian-inspired notion of exploitation is deployed to show how, and in what sense, this is the case.
Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of ‘passivity’ is a key to his account of perception. For Merleau-Ponty, perception is the way in which we are involved in the world, and it is on perception that the functions of understanding, reason, and reflection ultimately rest. While in his Phenomenology of Perception it is already clear that passive and active are intertwined, from a series of lectures he gave in 1954–5 we learn that inauguration or ‘institution’ arises out of a passivity that is not merely (...) an absence of activity. I show how the thoroughly temporal status of the subject as ‘instituting’ distinguishes it from a certain model of the ‘constituting’ subject. Next, I argue that, to grasp the sense in which Merleau-Ponty intends ‘passivity’, we must recognize its mediating or transitional status. Specifically, I examine terms that arise repeatedly in his analysis of the Freudian account of the unconscious — namely, ‘pivot’ and ‘enjambment’ — to show how they reveal the peculiar status of a passivity that operates through a dialectic focused on its transitional terms rather than on opposing poles. Finally, I suggest the exchange between passivity and institution that Merleau-Ponty has in mind can be illuminated through consideration of late Palaeolithic cave paintings, where the rock itself seems to begin an expression that the artist completes. (shrink)
This paper will discuss the origin of the human mind, and the qualitative discontinuity between human and animal cognition. We locate the source of this discontinuity within the language faculty, and thus take the origin of the mind to depend on the origin of the language faculty. We will look at one such proposal put forward by Hauser et al. (Science 298:1569-1579, 2002), which takes the evolution of a Merge trait (recursion) to solely explain the differences between human and animal (...) cognition. We argue that the Merge-only hypothesis fails to account for various aspects of the human mind. Instead we propose that the process of lexicalisation is also unique to humans, and that this process is key to explaining the vast qualitative differences. We will argue that lexicalisation is a process through which concepts are reformatted to be able to take on semantic features and to take part in grammatical relations. These are both necessary conditions for a grammatical mind and the increased ability to express conceptual content. We therefore propose a possible explanans for the discontinuity between humans and animals, namely that merge with lexicalisation (and consequently semantic features and grammatical relations) is a minimal requirement for the human mind. (shrink)
Dementia affects millions of people throughout the world. Thinking through Dementia offers a critique of the main models used to understand dementia-the biomedical, neuropsychological, and social constructionist. It discusses clinical issues and cases, together with philosophical work that might help us to better understand and treat this illness.
I have argued that forgiveness paradigmatically involves overcoming moral anger, of which resentment is the central case. I have argued, as well, that forgiveness may involve overcoming any form of anger so long as the belief that you have been wrongfully harmed is partially constitutive of it, and that overcoming other negative emotions caused by a wrongdoer's misdeed may, given appropriate qualifications, count as forgiveness. Those qualifications indicate, however, significant differences between moral anger and other negative emotions; differences which must (...) be taken into account when determining whether overcoming negative emotions other than moral anger count as forgiveness. I have proposed, too, that forgiveness requires neither overcoming all negative feelings (other than moral anger) nor the judgment that the offender is a wrongdoer.I must acknowledge that my analysis is incomplete, focusing as it does on the forgiver rather than on the person forgiven. After all, there are two sides to forgiveness. Not all forgiving involves a struggle to overcome negative feelings; sometimes it is a social transaction of a more casual sort that is effected by the simple speech act “I forgive you.” My analysis is incomplete insofar as it treats exclusively of forgiveness as a process and fails to offer an analysis of forgiveness as an act. Finally, a complete theory of forgiveness requires an account of the conditions under which forgiveness qualifies as a moral virtue, and such an account is beyond the scope of this essay. Though I have not offered a complete theory of forgiveness, my effort to clarify a dimension of what is involved in a common type of forgiveness may clear the way for answering related questions about it, and thereby lead to a fuller account of forgiveness as a moral phenomenon. (shrink)