Recent work at the junction of epistemology and political theory focuses on the notion of epistemic injustice, the injustice of being wronged as a knower. Miranda Fricker (2007) identifies two kinds of epistemic injustice. I focus here on hermeneutical injustice in an attempt to identify a difficulty for Fricker's account. In particular, I consider the significance of background social conditions and suggest that an epistemic injustice should not rely on other forms of disadvantage to achieve its status as an injustice. (...) Thus reformulated, the notion of epistemic injustice can help us to achieve an even deeper understanding of the relationship between knowledge and privilege. (shrink)
Laura Nader is a towering figure as anthropologist, teacher, and public intellectual. Her letters give a glimpse of academic life mostly unseen by academics and by the general public. The collection includes letters from academic colleagues, but it also contains correspondence from lawyers, politicians, citizens, people on death row, Peace Corps workers, members of the military, scientists, and more.
Many theists of a traditional bent have been bothered by the apparent tension between God's essential omnipotence and his essential moral goodness. Nelson Pike draws attention to the conflict between these two attributes in his article ‘Omnipotence and God's Ability to Sin’, and there have been many attempts to respond to it since that time. Most of these responses argue that the essential omnipotence and essential goodness of God are not logically incompatible, so that the traditional conception of God is (...) not incoherent; I think the arguments have been largely successful. However, some theists have found the typical responses to Pike less than convincing, and are tempted to surrender the claim that God has moral perfection essentially in favour of the more modest claim that God is morally perfect in the actual world though in some possible worlds God is morally defective. I argue in this paper that this fall-back position is incoherent. More accurately, I argue that a necessary being who is essentially omniscient and essentially omnipotent cannot be contingently morally perfect or contingently morally defective. Any such being is either essentially good or essentially evil. Since the latter alternative seems unattractive, I argue that theists should embrace the essential moral perfection of God. (shrink)
This paper offers a novel solution to the Wrong Kind of Reason problem that afflicts Fitting-Attitude analyses of value. I argue that we can distinguish reasons of the right kind from reasons of the wrong kind by being clear about what our reasons are for. In Wrong Kind of Reason cases, our reason to have a certain affective attitude is a reason for an action, and it is this category-mistake that is the source of the problem.
How does violence shape citizens’ preferences for conflict termination? The existing literature has argued that violence either begets sympathy for more violence or drives support for making peace. Focusing on the 2016 Colombian Peace Agreement, this article finds that victimhood dissociation strongly shapes these preferences. With victimhood dissociation, a discrepancy exists between objective and subjective victimization, and the effect of violence on peace attitudes depends on citizens’ subjective interpretations of their personal experiences of violence. Citizens who do not experience violence (...) often see themselves as victims of the conflict and vice versa. Victimhood dissociation is linked to cultural stereotypes of victimhood as portrayed in elite narratives concerning the conflict. In Colombia, political leaders framed victimhood around rurality, business entrepreneurship, kidnapping, extortion, and disappearance. In 2016, this widespread narrative was instrumental for politicians opposing the peace agreement. Citizens who disassociated their personal experiences of violence from their self-understanding as victims were instrumental to the failure of the peace plebiscite. (shrink)
Philosophers of quantum mechanics have generally addressed exceedingly simple systems. Laura Ruetsche offers a much-needed study of the interpretation of more complicated systems, and an underexplored family of physical theories, such as quantum field theory and quantum statistical mechanics, showing why they repay philosophical attention. She guides those familiar with the philosophy of ordinary QM into the philosophy of 'QM infinity', by presenting accessible introductions to relevant technical notions and the foundational questions they frame--and then develops and defends answers (...) to some of those questions. Finally, Ruetsche highlights ties between the foundational investigation of QM infinity and philosophy more broadly construed, in particular by using the interpretive problems discussed to motivate new ways to think about the nature of physical possibility and the problem of scientific realism. (shrink)
Recent revisions in child support and paternity establishment legislation enacted under the 1996 welfare reform act, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, significantly alter the American welfare state's relationship to men's fathering. Through a critical review of prior research and social service literature, the authors argue that PRWORA actively constructs fatherhood not only through state policies that maintain males as “breadwinners” but also through state-sponsored social service programs that seek to influence men's identities as fathers. PRWORA's policies and (...) their accompanying discourses simultaneously reproduce and undermine gender hierarchy yet tacitly maintain structural race and class inequalities. (shrink)
In this comprehensive new study of human free agency, Laura Waddell Ekstrom critically surveys contemporary philosophical literature and provides a novel account of the conditions for free action. Ekstrom argues that incompatibilism concerning free will and causal determinism is true and thus the right account of the nature of free action must be indeterminist in nature. She examines a variety of libertarian approaches, ultimately defending an account relying on indeterministic causation among events and appealing to agent causation only in (...) a reducible sense. Written in an engaging style and incorporating recent scholarship, this study is critical reading for scholars and students interested in the topics of motivation, causation, responsibility, and freedom. In broadly covering the important positions of others along with its exposition of the author’s own view, Free Will provides both a significant scholarly contribution and a valuable text for courses in metaphysics and action theory. (shrink)
The orthodox view of anger takes desires for revenge or retribution to be central to the emotion. In this paper, I develop an empirically informed challenge to the retributive view of anger. In so doing, I argue that a distinct desire is central to anger: a desire for recognition. Desires for recognition aim at the targets of anger acknowledging the wrong they have committed, as opposed to aiming for their suffering. In light of the centrality of this desire for recognition, (...) I argue that the retributive view of anger should be abandoned. I consider and dismiss two types of moves that can be made on the part of a proponent of the orthodox view in response to my argument. I propose that a pluralist view, which allows for both retribution and recognition in anger, is to be preferred. (shrink)
Proponents of children's liberation (CL) argue that there are no morally relevant differences between children and adults. Consequently, special protective laws that limit children's freedom are unjustified, and should be abolished. Protectionists reject the premise of this argument, and hence also the conclusion. Proponents of CL mostly fix upon the capacity for instrumental reasoning as the criterion that should separate autonomous from non-autonomous individuals. I argue that most children are substantially worse at instrumental reasoning than most adults, and although drawing (...) a line between the two categories has an arbitrary element, outstanding exceptions on both sides can be justly accommodated. Furthermore, the capacity for instrumental reasoning is a necessary but not sufficient basis for equal rights. A morally decent society is more demanding of individuals than the skeptical or libertarian one that most plausibly grounds CL. To construct and live in such a society requires both prudence and morality. But there is evidence that children need protection and limits to develop these traits. So there are morally relevant differences between children and adults after all, and the argument from justice fails. The utilitarian arm of the argument also fails: because of these morally relevant differences, CL would have worse consequences than those envisioned by its supporters. Parents would lose important authority, and there would be more homeless children. Consequently, the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged persons would become larger and more irreversible. (shrink)
'This original discussion breaks new ground by thoroughly analyzing ethical and aesthetic values, centering on the concept of ecological integrity, that apply intrinsically to nature and that govern our rightful use of the environment. Those who have been waiting for an exciting account of the inherent structure and worth of ecological systems in relation to environmental policy will find it in this book.'-Mark Sagoff, Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, University of Maryland at College Park.
While various definitions of moral distress have been proposed, some agreement exists that it results from illegitimate constraints in clinical practice affecting healthcare professionals’ moral agency. If we are to reduce moral distress, instruments measuring it should provide relevant information about such illegitimate constraints. Unfortunately, existing instruments fail to do so. We discuss here several shortcomings of major instruments in use: their inability to determine whether reports of moral distress involve an accurate assessment of the requisite clinical and logistical facts (...) in play, whether the distress in question is aptly characterized as moral, and whether the moral distress reported is an appropriate target of elimination. Such failures seriously limit the ability of empirical work on moral distress to foster appropriate change. (shrink)
Deep brain stimulation is a well-accepted treatment for movement disorders and is currently explored as a treatment option for various neurological and psychiatric disorders. Several case studies suggest that DBS may, in some patients, influence mental states critical to personality to such an extent that it affects an individual’s personal identity, i.e. the experience of psychological continuity, of persisting through time as the same person. Without questioning the usefulness of DBS as a treatment option for various serious and treatment refractory (...) conditions, the potential of disruptions of psychological continuity raises a number of ethical and legal questions. An important question is that of legal responsibility if DBS induced changes in a patient’s personality result in damage caused by undesirable or even deviant behavior. Disruptions in psychological continuity can in some cases also have an effect on an individual’s mental competence. This capacity is necessary in order to obtain informed consent to start, continue or stop treatment, and it is therefore not only important from an ethical point of view but also has legal consequences. Taking the existing literature and the Dutch legal system as a starting point, the present paper discusses the implications of DBS induced disruptions in psychological continuity for a patient’s responsibility for action and competence of decision and raises a number of questions that need further research. (shrink)
We are at a turning point in the debate on the ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) because we are witnessing the rise of general-purpose AI text agents such as GPT-3 that can generate large-scale highly refined content that appears to have been written by a human. Yet, a discussion on the ethical issues related to the blurring of the roles between humans and machines in the production of content in the business arena is lacking. In this conceptual paper, drawing on (...) agenda setting theory and stakeholder theory, we challenge the current debate on the ethics of AI and aim to stimulate studies that develop research around three new challenges of AI text agents: automated mass manipulation and disinformation (i.e., fake agenda problem), massive low-quality content production (i.e., lowest denominator problem) and the creation of a growing buffer in the communication between stakeholders (i.e., the mediation problem). (shrink)
This paper proposes a new relational account of concepts and shows how it is particularly well suited to characterizing normative concepts. The key advantage of our ‘connectedness’ model is that it explains how subjects can share the same normative concepts despite radical divergences in the descriptive or motivational commitments they associate with them. The connectedness model builds social and historical facts into the foundations of concept identity. This aspect of the model, we suggest, reshapes normative epistemology and provides new resources (...) for a vindication of realism in ethics. (shrink)
In this article I argue that characterizations of anger as a hostile emotion may be mistaken. My project is empirically informed and is partly descriptive, partly diagnostic. It is descriptive in that I am concerned with what anger is, and how it tends to manifest, rather than with what anger should be or how moral anger is manifested. The orthodox view on anger takes it to be, descriptively, an emotion that aims for retribution. This view fits well with anger being (...) a hostile emotion, as retribution is punitive. I will argue that a different view of anger deserves our attention. On this alternative view, anger aims for recognition of harms done, rather than for the punishment of those who have committed them. I argue that we have reason to favour a strong view that excludes retribution from anger’s main aims. In addition, I offer a diagnosis of the reasons that led the retributive view of anger to become, and remain, orthodoxy. This diagnosis provides indirect reason to give my descriptive proposal serious consideration, for it highlights that the orthodox view has dominated folk and philosophical conceptions of anger for reasons that do not speak in favour of the view’s veracity. The view that anger is a hostile emotion will therefore emerge as in need of serious scrutiny. (shrink)
What does it take to count as competent with the meaning of a thin evaluative predicate like 'is the right thing to do'? According to minimalists like Allan Gibbard and Ralph Wedgwood, competent speakers must simply use the predicate to express their own motivational states. According to analytic descriptivists like Frank Jackson, Philip Pettit and Christopher Peacocke, competent speakers must grasp a particular criterion for identifying the property picked out by the term. Both approaches face serious difficulties. We suggest that (...) these difficulties derive from a shared background assumption that competence conditions must be explained in terms of a determinate conceptual role. We propose a new way of characterizing competence with evaluative terms: what's required for competence is participation in a shared epistemic practice with a term. Our approach, we argue, better explains the nature of evaluative inquiry and the extent of disagreement about evaluative questions. (shrink)
This paper articulates two constraints on an acceptable account of meaning: (i) accessibility: sameness of meaning affords an immediate appearance of de jure co-reference, (ii) flexibility: sameness of meaning tolerates open-ended variation in speakers' substantive understanding of the reference. Traditional accounts of meaning have trouble simultaneously satisfying both constraints. I suggest that relationally individuated meanings provide a promising way of avoiding this tension. On relational accounts, we bootstrap our way to de jure co-reference: the subjective appearance of de jure co-reference (...) helps make it the case that two token representations really do co-refer. (shrink)
Anger is often an appropriate reaction to harms and injustices, but is it a politically beneficial one? Martha Nussbaum (Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (1), 41–56, 2015, Anger and Forgiveness. Oxford University Press, 2016) has argued that, although anger is useful in initially recruiting agents for action, anger is typically counterproductive to securing the political aims of those harmed. After the initial shockwave of outrage, Nussbaum argues that to be effective at enacting positive social change, groups and individuals (...) alike, must move quickly out of the state of anger. Feminist theorists (Frye, The Politics of Reality. Crossing Press, 1983; Lorde, 1997; Narayan, Hypatia 3 (2): 31–48, 1988) on the other hand have for long highlighted the efficacy of anger, as well as its moral and epistemic value, in fighting against the oppressive status quo. It might be thought therefore that for political action to be effective, a continued state of anger is preferable. Protestors must after all create and sustain a sense of moral obligation and justice. A main way of doing so is to promote successive moral shocks that trigger outrage (Jasper, Emotion Review 6 (3): 208–213, 2014). I present a novel, empirically informed defense of anger’s efficacy in political action. Nussbaum holds a traditional view on the nature of anger, inherited from Aristotle and the Stoics, which holds that anger constitutively involves a desire for retribution. The view that anger is counterproductive falls out of this and is dominant in academic work as well as in our personal and political lives. Based on work in social psychology, I argue that we need to reconsider this. In doing so, I highlight anger’s aim for recognition, rather than retribution, as key. Furthermore, I uncover conditions for anger’s political efficacy, as well as reasons for why the traditional view of anger has been so pervasive. (shrink)
Over the last decade, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been defined first as a concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and cleaner environment and, second, as a process by which companies manage their relationship␣with stakeholders (European Commission, 2001. Nowadays, CSR has become a priority issue on governments’ agendas. This has changed governments’ capacity to act and impact on social and environmental issues in their relationship with companies, but has also affected the framework in which CSR (...) public policies are designed: governments are incorporating multi-stakeholder strategies. This article analyzes the CSR public policies in European advanced democracies, and more specifically the EU-15 countries, and provides explanatory keys on how governments have understood, designed and implemented their CSR public policies. The analysis has entailed the classification of CSR public policies taking into consideration the actor to which the governments’ policies were addressed. This approach to the analysis of CSR public policies in the EU-15 countries leads us to observe coinciding lines of action among the different countries analyzed, which has enabled us to propose a ‹four ideal’ typology model for governmental action on CSR in Europe: Partnership, Business in the Community, Sustainability, and Citizenship, and Agora. The main contribution of this article is to propose an analytical framework to analyze CSR public policies, which provide a perspective on the relationships between governments, businesses, and civil society stakeholders, and enable us to incorporate the analysis of CSR public policies into a broader approach focused on social governance. (shrink)
Anti-individualists claim that concepts are individuated with an eye to purely external facts about a subject's environment about which she may be ignorant or mistaken. This paper offers a novel reason for thinking that anti-individualistic concepts are an ineliminable part of commonsense psychology. Our commitment to anti-individualism, I argue, is ultimately grounded in a rational epistemic agent's commitment to refining her own representational practices in the light of new and surprising information about her environment. Since anti-individualism is an implicit part (...) of responsible epistemic practices, we cannot abandon it without compromising our own epistemic agency. The story I tell about the regulation of one's own representational practices yields a new account of the identity conditions for anti-individualistic concepts. (shrink)
Two central assumptions of current models of language acquisition were addressed in this study: (1) knowledge of linguistic structure is "mapped onto" earlier forms of non-linguistic knowledge; and (2) acquiring a language involves a continuous learning sequence from early gestural communication to linguistic expression. The acquisition of the first and second person pronouns ME and YOU was investigated in a longitudinal study of two deaf children of deaf parents learning American Sign Language (ASL) as a first language. Personal pronouns in (...) ASL are formed by pointing directly to the addressee (YOU) or self (I or ME), rather than by arbitrary symbols. Thus, personal pronouns in ASL resemble paralinguistic gestures that commonly accompany speech and are used prelinguistically by both hearing and deaf children beginning around 9 months. This provides a means for investigating the transition from prelinguistic gestural to linguistic expression when both gesture and language reside in the same modality.\nThe results indicate that deaf children acquired knowledge of personal pronouns over a period of time, displaying errors similar to those of hearing children despite the transparency of the pointing gestures. The children initially (ages 10 and 12 months) pointed to persons, objects, and locations. Both children then exhibited a long avoidance period, during which one function of the pointing gesture (pointing to self and others) dropped out completely. During this period their language and cognitive development were otherwise entirely normal, and they continued to use other types of pointing (e.g., to objects). When pointing to self and others returned, it was marked with errors typical of hearing children; one child exhibited consistent pronoun reversal errors, thinking the YOU point referred to herself, while the other child exhibited reversal errors inconsistently. Evidence from experimental tasks conducted with the first child revealed that pronoun errors occurred in comprehension as well. Full control of the ME and YOU pronouns was not achieved until 25-27 months, around the same time when hearing children master these forms. Thus, the study provides evidence for a discontinuity in the child's transition from prelinguistic to linguistic communication. It is argued that aspects of linguistic structure and its acquisition appear to involve distinct, language-specific knowledge. (shrink)
The Victorian period in Britain was an “age of reform.” It is therefore not surprising that two of the era’s most eminent intellects described themselves as reformers. Both William Whewell and John Stuart Mill believed that by reforming philosophy—including the philosophy of science—they could effect social and political change. But their divergent visions of this societal transformation led to a sustained and spirited controversy that covered morality, politics, science, and economics. Situating their debate within the larger context of Victorian society (...) and its concerns, _Reforming Philosophy_ shows how two very different men captured the intellectual spirit of the day and engaged the attention of other scientists and philosophers, including the young Charles Darwin. Mill—philosopher, political economist, and Parliamentarian—remains a canonical author of Anglo-American philosophy, while Whewell—Anglican cleric, scientist, and educator—is now often overlooked, though in his day he was renowned as an authority on science. Placing their teachings in their proper intellectual, cultural, and argumentative spheres, Laura Snyder revises the standard views of these two important Victorian figures, showing that both men’s concerns remain relevant today. A philosophically and historically sensitive account of the engagement of the major protagonists of Victorian British philosophy, _Reforming Philosophy_ is the first book-length examination of the dispute between Mill and Whewell in its entirety. A rich and nuanced understanding of the intellectual spirit of Victorian Britain, it will be welcomed by philosophers and historians of science, scholars of Victorian studies, and students of the history of philosophy and political economy. (shrink)
Insights into the intelligence throughout the natural and technical environment, in the fabric of our devices and dwellings, in our clothes, and under our skin. Is there a way to understand the materials that surround us not as passive objects, but as other intelligences interacting with our own? In Parallel Minds, expert in materials science and nanotechnology Laura Tripaldi delivers not only detailed insights into the properties and emergent behaviors of matter as revealed by state-of-the-art chemistry, synthetic biology, and (...) nanotech, but also a rich philosophical reflection that crosses the frontier between nature and culture, where the most cutting-edge scientific syntheses resonate with ancient myth. The result is a technomaterial bestiary full of unexpected encounters with “strange minds”—from cobwebs to kevlar and carbon fibre, from centaurs to amoebas to arachnids, from polycephalic slime to resonating plasmons, from viruses to golems. Parallel Minds reveals the intelligence at large throughout the natural and technical environment, in the fabric of our devices and dwellings, in our clothes, and even under our skin. Full of lateral ideas and unexpected images, Tripaldi’s book imbues the study and synthesis of materials with a new urgency. For not only do the materials that surround us participate actively in the construction of the world in which we live, but harnessing their ability to interact intelligently with their environment could be the key to the future of our species. (shrink)
Although the view that sees proper names as referential singular terms is widely considered orthodoxy, there is a growing popularity to the view that proper names are predicates. This is partly because the orthodoxy faces two anomalies that Predicativism can solve: on the one hand, proper names can have multiple bearers. But multiple bearerhood is a problem to the idea that proper names have just one individual as referent. On the other hand, as Burge noted, proper names can have predicative (...) uses. But the view that proper names are singular terms arguably does not have the resources to deal with Burge’s cases. In this paper I argue that the Predicate View of proper names is mistaken. I first argue against the syntactic evidence used to support the view and against the predicativist’s methodology of inferring a semantic account for proper names based on incomplete syntactic data. I also show that Predicativism can neither explain the behaviour of proper names in full generality, nor claim the fundamentality of predicative names. In developing my own view, however, I accept the insight that proper names in some sense express generality. Hence I propose that proper names—albeit fundamentally singular referential terms—express generality in two senses. First, by being used as predicates, since then they are true of many individuals; and second, by being referentially related to many individuals. I respond to the problem of multiple bearerhood by proposing that proper names are polyreferential, and also explain the behaviour of proper names in light of the wider phenomenon I called category change, and show how Polyreferentialism can account for all uses of proper names. (shrink)
Much is being made of local food. It is at once a social movement, a diet, and an economic strategy—a popular solution—to a global food system in great distress. Yet, despite its popularity or perhaps because of it, local food (especially in the US) is also something of a chimera if not a tool of the status quo. This paper reflects on and contrasts aspects of current local food rhetoric with Dalhberg’s notion of a regenerative food system. It identifies three (...) problematic emphases—the locavore emphasis, the Wal-Mart emphasis, and the Pollan emphasis—and argues that they are shifting local food (as a concept and a social movement) away from the deeper concerns of equity, citizenship, place-building, and sustainability. It is suggested that local food activists and advocates might consider the use of multiple methodologies and forms of expression to explore the integration and reintegration of local food into diverse and redundant place-based practice. A short case study of a low-income, urban neighborhood in Lansing, Michigan, illustrates the value of contextual analysis for more fully enabling the local food movement and a regenerative food system. (shrink)
A philosophically and historically sensitive account of the engagement of the major protagonists of Victorian British philosophy, Reforming Philosophy considers the controversies between William Whewell and John Stuart Mill on the topics of science, morality, politics, and economics. By situating their debate within the larger context of Victorian society and its concerns, Laura Snyder shows how two very different men—Whewell, an educator, Anglican priest, and critic of science; and Mill, a philosopher, political economist, and parliamentarian—reacted to the challenges of (...) their times, each seeking to reform science as a means of reforming society as a whole. The first book-length examination of the dispute between Mill and Whewell in its entirety, Reforming Philosophy provides a rich and nuanced understanding of the intellectual spirit of Victorian Britain and will be welcomed by philosophers and historians of science, scholars of Victorian studies, and students of the history of philosophy and political economy. (shrink)
It's generally agreed that, for a certain a class of cases, a rational subject cannot be wrong in treating two elements of thought as co-referential. Even anti-individualists like Tyler Burge agree that empirical error is impossible in such cases. I argue that this immunity to empirical error is illusory and sketch a new anti-individualist approach to concepts that doesn't require such immunity.