Two decades have passed since the first attempts were made to establish systematic ethical review of human research in the Baltic States. Legally and institutionally much has changed. In this paper we provide an historical and structural overview of ethical review of human research and identify some problems related to the role of ethical review in establishing quality research environment in these countries. Problems connected to (a) public availability of information, (b) management of conflicts of interest, (c) REC composition and (...) motivation of REC members, and (d) differing levels of stringency of ethical review for different types of studies, are identified. Recommendations are made to strengthen cooperation among the Baltic RECs. (shrink)
The old duality that eventually came to produce the mind/body-problem indicates the problem of transcendental subjectivity. The enduring significance of this problem shows itself in a provocation of any paradigm that has become too objectivistic, too naturalistic – even too idealistic in a certain sense – and too forgetful of its own departure from a perspective always presumed. Analytic philosophy bears a tendency towards such a ‘view from nowhere’ which denies a fundamental subjective connection. The rebuttal of this position entails (...) accepting the interrelation between first- and third-person-perspective; we call this the ‘view from somewhere’. Tracing the tension between the subjective and the objective we find this “view” embraced in the phenomenological tradition. At the same time we find the mind/body-problem seemingly dissolved through, among other key concepts, the introduction of the ‘lived body’. We will see, however, that this is no thorough solution; a fundamental mind/world polarity escapes the phenomenological framework and ends up mounting a critical threat to its own stability. A demonstration is attempted of how both the process of objectification and the process of subjectification falls into regressive patterns. This is due to the interplay of the gaze and the source, the ‘from’ and the ‘towards’: Ajin. Later this argumentation calls for a discussion of the pre-reflective sphere of consciousness. Finally we show the alignment between conclusions driven forth in our own dialectic and the ones found in the philosophy of Nāgārjuna. The transcendental interconstitution of subjectivity and objectivity, perspective and world, has a name in emptiness. (shrink)
We advocate an analysis of meaning that departs from the pragmatic slogan that “meaning is use”. However, in order to avoid common missteps, this claim is in dire need of qualification. We argue that linguistic meaning does not originate from language use as such; therefore we cannot base a theory of meaning only on use. It is important not to neglect the fact that language is ultimately reliant on non-linguistic factors. This might seem to oppose the aforementioned slogan, but it (...) will be made clear how this opposition is chimerical. We propose that meaning traces back to the relation between subjectivity and intersubjectivity, which is at the heart of the matter by inducing strong interdependency between intention and interpretation. But to base a full-fledged analysis of meaning in communicative dyads alone is also insufficient. What needs to be further acknowledged is that meaning sharing becomes regulated by the interactions of a community. This we call consensus and it is at play in framing all communicative acts. Hence arises a triadic structure – we call this the meaningsharing network. The main motivation behind this model is to capture that meaning is not “in the head”, nor is it autonomous of the individual members that constitute it. (shrink)
To an increasing extent ethical controversies affect and sometimes obstruct public health work and epidemiological research. In order to improve communication between the concerned parties a model for identification and analysis of ethical conflicts in individual-based research has been worked out in co-operation between epidemiologists and moral philosophers. The model has two dimensions. One dimension specifies relevant ethical principles (as beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy and justice). The other dimension specifies the groups of persons involved in the conflict under consideration (for example: (...) the study-population, individuals who may benefit from the results, the researchers and their personnel, the community at large). The model has been applied to the problem of legitimacy of case-register research and to problems in psychiatric health services research as well as epidemiological research. (shrink)
In this paper, we are mainly concerned with coherentism as an approach to ethical dialog in school. We have two different but connected aims with the paper. The first aim is to say something about general philosophical questions relating to coherentism as a theory in metaethics, and especially in relation to value education; the second aim is to explore some possible implications of coherentism as a method in studying the enterprise of discussing ethical issues and questions with children as well (...) as the study of the actual ethical discussion in school. Furthermore, we evaluate the connection between a coherentistic approach to justification and the methodological parts of a Philosophy with Children, or Community of Inquiry, approach to ethics in school. Related to this, we scrutinize what implications this has for evaluating ethical learning within Philosophy with Children, or Community of Inquiry, as well as implications for evaluation of the Philosophy with Children, or Community of Inquiry, approaches as methods for dealing with ethical matters in school. (shrink)
This essay first outlines a philosophical theory of concepts and then applies it to two areas of relevance to psychiatrists, especially forensic psychiatrists. In the philosophical theory, the respective roles of verbal and non-verbal definitions are illuminated, and the importance of the phenomenon of division of semantic labour is stressed. It is pointed out that vagueness and ambiguity of a term often result when the term is used for several practical purposes at the same time. Such multi-purpose uses of terms (...) may explain both the current problems associated with the Swedish forensic-psychiatric concept of a severe mental disorder and some of the shortcomings of DSM-IV. 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
This article is about a coming project concerning a coherentist approach to ethics in school. The project has two main parts; one theoretical and one empirical. The former focuses on philosophical problems and issues concerning coherentism as a metaethical position in general, and particularly when applied to the field of value education, and the latter aims to study some consequences of a coherentist approach to the study of discussing ethical matters with children.Metaethical coherentism is a position in the discussion about (...) justification of moral judgements. According to coherentism, we build some kind of web in which different moral judgements are connected by some justification‐relation or the like. Some judgements might be more central than others, but these can be justified by the more particular and peripheral ones, and vice versa. Coherentism differs from foundationalism, according to which there are some foundational judgements that are not justified by any other judgements. The rest of our judgements are justified if they are justified by this foundation. We wish to study what benefits a coherentist approach might have in the study of ethical discussions in school. In Sweden, the educational system has as one of its main purposes to mediate a "value foundation" based on "Christian ethical tradition and western humanism" to the pupils. Suppose now that you have a foundationalist approach to ethical discussion in schools, as many seem to have had historically, and that some pupil expresses the judgement that some of his classmates have a lower value than him, due to the colour of their skin. This judgement conflicts with the judgement that the colour of ones skin does not have any bearing of ones value, included in the value foundation of the school. According to a foundationalist, we here have a conflict between foundational values, or so we can suppose. In this case, there is nothing obvious to do to resolve this conflict, because the foundational values cannot be justified; it is supposed that we simply realise the correctness of them by our moral intuition, or the like. A coherentist, on the other side, could point to how these two different judgements gain different amount of justification from other judgements, and thereby hopefully find consensus, and hence dissolve the conflict.Coherentism is not theoretically unproblematic, though. One problem is how to understand the justification‐relation. What does it mean that two propositions justify each other? Philosophers have discussed several different proposals. We give a new proposal, based on some of Arne Naess' theories. With regard to methods for ethical discussion in relation to a coherentistic approach, it seems as a "philosophy with children" approach will seem as a natural choice. (shrink)
Review of Kristina Stoeckl, Ingeborg Gabriel, Aristotle Papanikolau, eds., Political Theologies in Orthodox Christianity. Common Challenges – Divergent Positions,, Edinburgh: T&T Clark and Bloomberg, 2017.
In this book, Kristina Musholt offers a novel theory of self-consciousness, understood as the ability to think about oneself. Traditionally, self-consciousness has been central to many philosophical theories. More recently, it has become the focus of empirical investigation in psychology and neuroscience. Musholt draws both on philosophical considerations and on insights from the empirical sciences to offer a new account of self-consciousness—the ability to think about ourselves that is at the core of what makes us human. -/- Examining theories (...) of nonconceptual content developed in recent work in the philosophy of cognition, Musholt proposes a model for the gradual transition from self-related information implicit in the nonconceptual content of perception and other forms of experience to the explicit representation of the self in conceptual thought. A crucial part of this model is an analysis of the relationship between self-consciousness and intersubjectivity. Self-consciousness and awareness of others, Musholt argues, are two sides of the same coin. -/- After surveying the philosophical problem of self-consciousness, the notion of nonconceptual content, and various proposals for the existence of nonconceptual self-consciousness, Musholt argues for a non-self-representationalist theory, according to which the self is not part of the representational content of perception and bodily awareness but part of the mode of presentation. She distinguishes between implicitly self-related information and explicit self-representation, and describes the transitions from the former to the latter as arising from a complex process of self–other differentiation. By this account, both self-consciousness and intersubjectivity develop in parallel. (shrink)
Collected and edited by Noah Levin -/- Table of Contents: -/- UNIT ONE: INTRODUCTION TO CONTEMPORARY ETHICS: TECHNOLOGY, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, AND IMMIGRATION 1 The “Trolley Problem” and Self-Driving Cars: Your Car’s Moral Settings (Noah Levin) 2 What is Ethics and What Makes Something a Problem for Morality? (David Svolba) 3 Letter from the Birmingham City Jail (Martin Luther King, Jr) 4 A Defense of Affirmative Action (Noah Levin) 5 The Moral Issues of Immigration (B.M. Wooldridge) 6 The Ethics of our (...) Digital Selves (Noah Levin) -/- UNIT TWO: TORTURE, DEATH, AND THE “GREATER GOOD” 7 The Ethics of Torture (Martine Berenpas) 8 What Moral Obligations do we have (or not have) to Impoverished Peoples? (B.M. Wooldridge) 9 Euthanasia, or Mercy Killing (Nathan Nobis) 10 An Argument Against Capital Punishment (Noah Levin) 11 Common Arguments about Abortion (Nathan Nobis & Kristina Grob) 12 Better (Philosophical) Arguments about Abortion (Nathan Nobis & Kristina Grob) -/- UNIT THREE: PERSONS, AUTONOMY, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND RIGHTS 13 Animal Rights (Eduardo Salazar) 14 John Rawls and the “Veil of Ignorance” (Ben Davies) 15 Environmental Ethics: Climate Change (Jonathan Spelman) 16 Rape, Date Rape, and the “Affirmative Consent” Law in California (Noah Levin) 17 The Ethics of Pornography: Deliberating on a Modern Harm (Eduardo Salazar) 18 The Social Contract (Thomas Hobbes) -/- UNIT FOUR: HAPPINESS 19 Is Pleasure all that Matters? Thoughts on the “Experience Machine” (Prabhpal Singh) 20 Utilitarianism (J.S. Mill) 21 Utilitarianism: Pros and Cons (B.M. Wooldridge) 22 Existentialism, Genetic Engineering, and the Meaning of Life: The Fifths (Noah Levin) 23 The Solitude of the Self (Elizabeth Cady Stanton) 24 Game Theory, the Nash Equilibrium, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (Douglas E. Hill) -/- UNIT FIVE: RELIGION, LAW, AND ABSOLUTE MORALITY 25 The Myth of Gyges and The Crito (Plato) 26 God, Morality, and Religion (Kristin Seemuth Whaley) 27 The Categorical Imperative (Immanuel Kant) 28 The Virtues (Aristotle) 29 Beyond Good and Evil (Friedrich Nietzsche) 30 Other Moral Theories: Subjectivism, Relativism, Emotivism, Intuitionism, etc. (Jan F. Jacko). (shrink)
Two chapters -- "Common Arguments about Abortion" and "Better (Philosophical) Arguments About Abortion" -- in one file, from the open access textbook "Introduction to Ethics: An Open Educational Resource" edited by Noah Levin. -/- Adults, children and babies are arguably wrong to kill, fundamentally, because we are conscious, aware and have feelings. Since early fetuses entirely lack these characteristics, we argue that they are not inherently wrong to kill and so most abortions are not morally wrong, since most abortions are (...) done early in pregnancy before consciousness and feeling develop in the fetus. Furthermore, since the right to life is not the right to someone else’s body, fetuses might not have the right to the pregnant woman’s body, and so she has the right to not allow the fetus use of her body; this further justifies abortion, at least, until technology allows for the removal of fetuses to other wombs. Since morally permissible actions should be legal, abortions should be legal. -/- In the course of arguing for these claims, we: -/- discuss how to best define abortion; dismiss many common “question-begging” arguments that merely assume their conclusion, instead of giving genuine reasons for them; refute some often-heard “everyday arguments” about abortion; explain why some influential philosophical arguments against abortion are unsuccessful; provide some positive arguments that at least early abortions are not wrong; briefly discuss the ethics and legality of later abortions, and more. -/- Little of this discussion should be taken as absolute “proof” of anything, as this is merely a reasoned introduction to the issues: much more needs to be discussed, always. (shrink)
In this chapter I explain Spinoza's concept of "infinite modes". After some brief background on Spinoza's thoughts on infinity, I provide reasons to think that Immediate Infinite Modes are identical to the attributes, and that Mediate Infinite Modes are merely totalities of finite modes. I conclude with some considerations against the alternative view that infinite modes are laws of nature.
Amartya Sen argues that Rawls’s theory is not only unnecessary in the pursuit of justice, but it may even be an impediment to justice in so far as it has discouraged more useful work. Against what he considers the dominance of transcendental theory, Sen calls for a more realistic and practical ‘comparative’ theory of justice. Sen’s negative point has been widely discussed, but here I develop a reconstruction of Sen’s positive theory (a combination of Adam Smith’s Impartial Spectator, Social Choice (...) Theory, and the Capabilities Approach) in order to evaluate it on its own terms. I find that the theory is technocratic, despite Sen’s insistence to the contrary. (shrink)
Self-consciousness can be defined as the ability to think 'I'-thoughts. Recently, it has been suggested that self-consciousness in this sense can (and should) be accounted for in terms of nonconceptual forms of self-representation. Here, I will argue that while theories of nonconceptual self-consciousness do provide us with important insights regarding the essential genetic and epistemic features of self-conscious thought, they can only deliver part of the full story that is required to understand the phenomenon of self-consciousness. I will provide two (...) arguments to this effect, drawing on insights from the philosophy of language and on structural differences between conceptual and nonconceptual forms of representation. Both arguments rest on the intuition that while self-consciousness requires explicit self-representation, nonconceptual content can at best provide implicit self-related information. I will conclude that in order to explain the emergence of self-conscious thought out of more basic forms of representations one has to explain the transition between implicit self-related information and explicit self-representation. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes between implicit self-related information and explicit self-representation and argues that the latter is required for self-consciousness. It is further argued that self-consciousness requires an awareness of other minds and that this awareness develops over the course of an increasingly complex perspectival differentiation, during which information about self and other that is implicit in early forms of social interaction becomes redescribed into an explicit format.
What effect does witnessing other students cheat have on one's own cheating behavior? What roles do moral attitudes and neutralizing attitudes (justifications for behavior) play when deciding to cheat? The present research proposes a model of academic dishonesty which takes into account each of these variables. Findings from experimental (vignette) and survey methods determined that seeing others cheat increases cheating behavior by causing students to judge the behavior less morally reprehensible, not by making rationalization easier. Witnessing cheating also has unique (...) effects, controlling for other variables. (shrink)
Much of the literature on values in science is limited in its perspective because it focuses on the role of values in individual scientists’ decision making, thereby ignoring the context of scientific collaboration. I examine the epistemic structure of scientific collaboration and argue that it gives rise to two arguments showing that moral and social values can legitimately play a role in scientists’ decision to accept something as scientific knowledge. In the case of scientific collaboration some moral and social values (...) are properly understood to be extrinsic epistemic values, that is, values that promote the attainment of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
Adults apply ownership not only to objects but also to ideas. But do people come to apply principles of ownership to ideas because of being taught about intellectual property and copyrights? Here, we investigate whether children apply rules from physical property ownership to ideas. Studies 1a and 1b show that children (6–8 years old) determine ownership of both objects and ideas based on who first establishes possession of the object or idea. Study 2 shows that children use another principle of (...) object ownership, control of permission—an ability to restrict others’ access to the entity in question—to determine idea ownership. In Study 3, we replicate these findings with different idea types. In Study 4, we determine that children will not apply ownership to every entity, demonstrating that they do not apply ownership to a common word. Taken together, these results suggest that, like adults, children as young as 6 years old apply rules from ownership not only to objects but to ideas as well. (shrink)
Sandra Harding's feminist standpoint epistemology makes two claims. The thesis of epistemic privilege claims that unprivileged social positions are likely to generate perspectives that are “less partial and less distorted” than perspectives generated by other social positions. The situated knowledge thesis claims that all scientific knowledge is socially situated. The bias paradox is the tension between these two claims. Whereas the thesis of epistemic privilege relies on the assumption that a standard of impartiality enables one to judge some perspectives as (...) better than others, the situated knowledge thesis seems to undermine this assumption by suggesting that all knowledge is partial. I argue that a contextualist theory of epistemic justification provides a solution to the bias paradox. Moreover, contextualism enables me to give empirical content to the thesis of epistemic privilege, thereby making it into a testable hypothesis. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we clarify the notion of immunity to error through misidentification with respect to the first-person pronoun. In particular, we set out to dispel the view that for a judgment to be IEM it must contain a token of a certain class of predicates. Rather, the importance of the IEM status of certain judgments is that it teaches us about privileged ways of coming to know about ourselves. We then turn to examine how (...) perception, as a state with nonconceptual content, can give rise to judgments that are IEM. On one view, the ‘inheritance model’ of immunity, perception gives rise to such judgments because perception itself is IEM. We argue that this model is misguided, and, instead, suggest and elucidate an alternative view: perception gives rise to judgments that are IEM by virtue of containing implicitly self-related or self-concerning information. (shrink)
An analysis of group justification enables us to understand what it means to say that a research group is justified in making a claim on the basis of evidence. I defend Frederick Schmitt's (1994) joint account of group justification by arguing against a simple summative account of group justification. Also, I respond to two objections to the joint account, one claiming that social epistemologists should always prefer the epistemic value of making true judgments to the epistemic value of maintaining consistency, (...) and another one claiming that the notion of joint commitment implicit in the joint account is epistemically unacceptable. (shrink)
There is widespread agreement among both supporters and opponents that affirmative action either must not violate any principle of equal opportunity or procedural justice, or if it does, it may do so only given current extenuating circumstances. Many believe that affirmative action is morally problematic, only justified to the extent that it brings us closer to the time when we will no longer need it. In other words, those that support affirmative action believe it is acceptable in nonideal theory, but (...) not ideal theory. This paper argues that affirmative action is entirely compatible with equal opportunity and procedural justice and would be even in an ideal world. I defend a new analysis of Rawlsian procedural justice according to which it is permissible to interfere in the outcomes of procedures, and thus I show that affirmative action is not morally problematic in the way that many have supposed. (shrink)
Partee (2009) conjectures a formal semantics for natural language (hereafter, single-type semantics) that interprets CPs and referential DPs in the same semantic type: properties of situations. Partee’s semantics contrasts with Montague semantics and its recent contenders (dubbed dual- or multi-type semantics) which assume distinct basic types for the semantic values of referential DPs (i.e. individuals) and CPs (i.e. propositions, truth-values, or sets of assignment functions). Partee’s conjecture is motivated by results in event semantics and discourse representation theory, which support the (...) indirect uni-directional shiftability between propositions and individuals. However, none of these results supports the identity of the types for individuals and propositions. Our paper improves upon the strength and scope of Partee’s support for single-type semantics. In particular, it identifies a number of new arguments for the adoption of single-type semantics which display this semantics’ greater unificatory and explanatory power. These arguments are based on the ability of single-type semantics to provide a uniform account of the distributional similarities between DPs and CPs, to explain the truth-evaluability of DP fragments, and to capture semantic inclusion relations between CPs and referential DPs. To further support single-type semantics, we defend it against a number of objections. (shrink)
It is a widely accepted assumption within the philosophy of mind and psychology that our ability for complex social interaction is based on the mastery of a common folk psychology, that is to say that social cognition consists in reasoning about the mental states of others in order to predict and explain their behavior. This, in turn, requires the possession of mental-state concepts, such as the concepts belief and desire. In recent years, this standard conception of social cognition has been (...) called into question by proponents of so-called ‘direct-perception’ approaches to social cognition and by those who argue that the ‘received view’ implies a degree of computational complexity that is implausible. In response, it has been argued that these attacks on the classical view of social cognition have no bite at the subpersonal level of explanation, and that it is the latter which is at issue in the debate in question. In this paper, I critically examine this response by considering in more detail the distinction between personal and subpersonal level explanations. There are two main ways in which the distinction has been developed. I will argue that on either of these, the response proposed by defenders of the received view is unconvincing. This shows that the dispute between the standard conception and alternative approaches to mindreading is a dispute concerning personal-level explanations - what is at stake in the debate between proponents of the classical view of social cognition and their critics is how we, as persons, navigate our social world. I will conclude by proposing a pluralistic approach to social cognition, which is better able to do justice to the multi-faceted nature of our social interactions as well as being able to account for recent empirical findings regarding the social cognitive abilities of young infants. (shrink)