In his recent book The Idea of Justice, Amartya Sen suggests that political philosophy should move beyond the dominant, Rawls-inspired, methodological paradigm – what Sen calls ‘transcendental institutionalism’ – towards a more practically oriented approach to justice: ‘realization-focused comparison’. In this article, I argue that Sen's call for a paradigm shift in thinking about justice is unwarranted. I show that his criticisms of the Rawlsian approach are either based on misunderstandings, or correct but of little consequence, and conclude that the (...) Rawlsian approach already delivers much of what Sen himself wants from a theory of justice. (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)
Molecular biologists and biochemists often use diagrams to present hypotheses. Analysis of diagrams shows that their content can be expressed with linguistic representations. Why do biologists use visual representations instead? One reason is simple comprehensibility: some diagrams present information which is readily understood from the diagram format, but which would not be comprehensible if the same information was expressed linguistically. But often diagrams are used even when concise, comprehensible linguistic alternatives are available. I explain this phenomenon by showing why diagrammatic (...) representation is especially well suited for a particular kind of explanation common in molecular biology and biochemistry: namely, functional analysis, in which a capacity of the system is explained in terms of capacities of its component parts. (shrink)
This paper proposes a reconciliation between libertarian freedomand causal indeterminism, without relying on agent-causation asa primitive notion. I closely examine Peter van Inwagen''s recentcase for free will mysterianism, which is based in part on thewidespread worry that undetermined acts are too chancy to befree. I distinguish three senses of the term chance I thenargue that van Inwagen''s case for free will mystrianism fails,since there is no single construal of the term change on whichall of the premises of his argument for (...) free will–causalindeterminism incompatibilism are true. By use of a particularevent-causal indeterminist account of free action, I support thecase for free will–indeterminism compatibilism. (shrink)
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)
It's widely accepted that social facts about an individual's linguistic community can affect both the reference of her words and the concepts those words express. Theorists sympathetic to the internalist tradition have sought to accommodate these social dependence phenomena without altering their core theoretical commitments by positing deferential reference-fixing criteria. In this paper, we sketch a different explanation of social dependence phenomena, according to which all concepts are individuated in part by causal-historical relations linking token elements of thought.
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)
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)
When and why do socially constructed norms—including the laws of the land, norms of etiquette, and informal customs—generate moral obligations? I argue that the answer lies in the duty to respect others, specifically to give them what I call “agency respect.” This is the kind of respect that people are owed in light of how they exercise their agency. My central thesis is this: To the extent that (i) existing norms are underpinned by people’s commitments as agents and (ii) they (...) do not conflict with morality, they place moral demands on us on agency-respect grounds. This view of the moral force of socially constructed norms, I suggest, is superior to views that deny the moral force of such norms, and it elegantly explains certain instances of wrongdoing that would otherwise remain unaccounted for. (shrink)
Messaging from U.S. authorities about COVID-19 has been widely divergent. This research aims to clarify popular perceptions of the COVID-19 threat and its effects on victims. In four studies with over 4,100 U.S. participants, we consistently found that people perceive the threat of COVID-19 to be substantially greater than that of several other causes of death to which it has recently been compared, including the seasonal flu and automobile accidents. Participants were less willing to help COVID-19 victims, who they considered (...) riskier to help, more contaminated, and more responsible for their condition. Additionally, politics and demographic factors predicted attitudes about victims of COVID-19 above and beyond moral values; whereas attitudes about the other kinds of victims were primarily predicted by moral values. The results indicate that people perceive COVID-19 as an exceptionally severe disease threat, and despite prosocial inclinations, do not feel safe offering assistance to COVID-19 sufferers. This research has urgent applied significance: the findings are relevant to public health efforts and related marketing campaigns working to address extended damage to society and the economy from the pandemic. In particular, efforts to educate the public about the health impacts of COVID-19, encourage compliance with testing protocols and contact tracing, and support safe, prosocial decision-making and risk assessment, will all benefit from awareness of these findings. The results also suggest approaches, such as engaging people's stable values rather than their politicized perspectives on COVID-19, that may reduce stigma and promote cooperation in response to pandemic threats. (shrink)
Through case studies that highlight the type of information that is seldom reported in the news, Faces of Environmental Racism exposes the type and magnitude of environmental racism, both domestic and international. The essays explore the justice of current environmental practices, asking such questions as whether cost-benefit analysis is an appropriate analytic technique and whether there are alternate routes to sustainable development in the South.
'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.
For those who maintain that free will is incompatible with causal determinism, a persistent problem is to give a coherent characterization of action that is neither determined by prior events nor random, arbitrary, lucky or in some way insufficiently under the control of the agent to count as free action. One approach—that of Roderick Chisholm and others—is to say that a third alternative is for an action to be caused by an agent in a way that is not reducible to (...) event causal terms. A different approach than the Chisholmian appeal to primitive substance causation is one that, instead, involves causal relations purely among events. This paper presents a particular event-causal indeterminist account of free action, describing both its attractions and recent objections to it, and then proposes a revised version, with the aim of supporting the plausibility of an event-causal indeterminist approach to free will. (shrink)
Late in life, Foucault identified with “the critical tradition of Kant,” encouraging us to read both thinkers in new ways. Kant’s “Copernican” strategy of grounding knowledge in the limits of human reason proved to stabilize political, social-scientific, and medical expertise as well as philosophical discourse. These inevitable limits were made concrete in historical structures such as the asylum, the prison, and the sexual or racial human body. Such institutions built upon and shaped the aesthetic judgment of those considered “normal.” Following (...) Kant through all of Foucault’s major works, this book shows how bodies functioned as “problematic objects” in which the limits of post-Enlightenment European power and discourse were imaginatively figured and unified. It suggests ways that readers in a neoliberal political order can detach from the imaginative schemes vested in their bodies and experiment normatively with their own security needs. (shrink)
In this article, I explore the ontological and epistemological assumptions of the ethical universalism that constitutes the basis for international intervention. I argue grounding ethical decisions upon abstract normativity diverts attention from what is at stake in specific situations and may lead to self-appeasement and de-responsabilization. In order to re-imagine political agency in an interconnected world, we must engage in a reflection about International Relations ontological and epistemological categories. I explore how pragmatism, as well as the work of philosophers of (...) science and feminist metaethical philosophers, delineates pathways for a non-foundationalist conceptualization of how we know the world, how we relate to it, and how we may endeavor to change it as ethical and political actors. I conclude by advocating the cultivation of an ethics of responsibility based upon contextualized judgments and reflexivity rather than abstract universal claims. (shrink)
Are wealthy countries' duties towards developing countries grounded in justice or in weaker concerns of charity? Justice in a Globalized World offers both an in-depth critique of the most prominent philosophical answers to this question, and a distinctive approach for addressing it.
IRBs in action -- Everyone's an expert? Warrants for expertise -- Local precedents -- Documents and deliberations: an anticipatory perspective -- Setting IRBs in motion in Cold War America -- An ethics of place -- The many forms of consent -- Deflecting responsibility -- Conclusion: the making of ethical research.
Outlaw emotions are emotions that stand in tension with one’s wider belief system, often allowing epistemic insight one may have otherwise lacked. Outlaw emotions are thought to play crucial epistemic roles under conditions of oppression. Although the crucial epistemic value of these emotions is widely acknowledged, specific accounts of their epistemic role(s) remain largely programmatic. There are two dominant accounts of the epistemic role of emotions: The Motivational View and the Justificatory View. Philosophers of emotion assume that these dominant ways (...) of accounting for the epistemic role(s) of emotions in general are equipped to account for the epistemic role(s) of outlaw emotions. I argue that this is not the case. I consider and dismiss two responses that could be made on behalf of the most promising account, the Justificatory View, in light of my argument, before sketching an alternative account that should be favoured. (shrink)
Throughout his writings, and particularly in Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, Kant alludes to the idea that evil is connected to self-deceit, and while numerous commentators regard this as a highly attractive thesis, none have seriously explored it. Kant on Evil, Self-Deception, and Moral Reform addresses this crucial element of Kant's ethical theory. -/- Working with both Kant's core texts on ethics and materials less often cited within scholarship on Kant's practical philosophy (such as Kant's logic lectures), Papish (...) explores the cognitive dimensions of Kant's accounts of evil and moral reform while engaging the most influential -- and often scathing -- of Kant's critics. Her book asks what self-deception is for Kant, why and how it is connected to evil, and how we achieve the self-knowledge that should take the place of self-deceit. (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)
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)
"Social capital" can be considered to be the product of co-operationbetween various institutions, networks and business partners. It haspotential as a useful tool for business ethics. In this article weidentify categories pertinent to the measurement of social capital insmall and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). By drawing on three differentsectors, one business-to-business service, one business-to-customerservice, and one manufacturing, we have enabled the consideration ofsectoral differences. We find sector to play an important part inrelation to business practices and social capital. Our inclusion (...) of SMEsfrom Germany and the United Kingdom has called attention to cultural,institutional and economic aspects of two regions of Europe and how theycan influence SME social capital. Social capital is found to beinfluenced by context and, in particular, institutional arrangements. Inanalysing the data we note particular areas of interest from the pointof view of SMEs and social capital as being: formal engagement,networking within sectors, networking across sectors, volunteerism andgiving to charity, and finally a focus on why people engage. We concludethat there is a considerable amount of further research needed on socialcapital, SME''s and business ethics. (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)
Environmental ethicists have frequently criticized ancient Greek philosophy as anti-environmental for a view of philosophy that is counterproductive to environmental ethics and a view of the world that puts nature at the disposal of people. This provocative collection of original essays reexamines the views of nature and ecology found in the thought of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and Plotinus. Recognizing that these thinkers were not confronted with the environmental degradation that threatens contemporary philosophers, the contributors to this book find that (...) the Greeks nevertheless provide an excellent foundation for a sound theory of environmentalism. (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 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)
The fields of medical ethics, bioethics, and women's studies have experienced unprecedented growth in the last forty years. Along with the rapid pace of development in medicine and biology, and changes in social expectations, moral quandaries about the body and social practices involving it have multiplied. Philosophers are uniquely situated to attempt to clarify and resolves these questions. Yet the subdiscipline of bioethics still in large part reflects mainstream scholars' lack of interest in gender as a category of analysis. This (...) volume aims to show how a feminist perspective advances bioethics. The author uncover inconsistencies in traditional arguments and argue for the importance of hitherto ignored factors in decision-making. The essays include theory and very specific examples that demonstrate the glaring inadequacy of mainstream bioethics, where gender bias is still often to be found, along with general lack of attention to women's concerns. (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)
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)
Certification and labeling initiatives that seek to enhance environmental and social sustainability are growing rapidly. This article analyzes the expansion of these private regulatory efforts in the coffee sector. We compare the five major third-party certifications – the Organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Utz Kapeh, and Shade/Bird Friendly initiatives – outlining and contrasting their governance structures, environmental and social standards, and market positions. We argue that certifications that seek to raise ecological and social expectations are likely to be increasingly challenged (...) by those that seek to simply uphold current standards. The vulnerability of these initiatives to market pressures highlights the need for private regulation to work in tandem with public regulation in enhancing social and environmental sustainability. (shrink)
Taking Arthur Fine’s The Shaky Game as my inspiration, and the recent 25th anniversary of the publication of that work as the occasion to exercise that inspiration, I sketch an alternative to the “Naturalism” prevalent among philosophers of physics. Naturalism is a methodology eventuating in a metaphysics. The methodology is to seek the deep framework assumptions that make the best sense of science; the metaphysics is furnished by those assumptions and supported by their own support of science. The alternative presented (...) here, which I call “Locavoracity,” shares Naturalism’s commitment to making sense of science, but alters Naturalism’s methodology. The Locavore’s sense-making projects are piecemeal, rather than sweeping. The Locavore’s hypothesis is that the collection of local sense-making projects fails to issue a single overarching unifying framework deserving of the title “the metaphysics that makes the best sense of science.” I muster some examples supporting the Locavore hypothesis from the interpretation of quantum field theories. (shrink)
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