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Lawrence Torcello
Rochester Institute of Technology
  1. The Ethics of Belief, Cognition, and Climate Change Pseudoskepticism: Implications for Public Discourse.Lawrence Torcello - 2016 - Topics in Cognitive Science 8 (1):19-48.
    The relationship between knowledge, belief, and ethics is an inaugural theme in philosophy; more recently, under the title “ethics of belief” philosophers have worked to develop the appropriate methodology for studying the nexus of epistemology, ethics, and psychology. The title “ethics of belief” comes from a 19th-century paper written by British philosopher and mathematician W.K. Clifford. Clifford argues that we are morally responsible for our beliefs because each belief that we form creates the cognitive circumstances for related beliefs to follow, (...)
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  2. The Ethics of Inquiry, Scientific Belief, and Public Discourse.Lawrence Torcello - 2011 - Public Affairs Quarterly 25 (3):197-215.
    The scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change is firmly established yet climate change denialism, a species of what I call pseudoskepticism, is on the rise in industrial nations most responsible for climate change. Such denialism suggests the need for a robust ethics of inquiry and public discourse. In this paper I argue: (1) that ethical obligations of inquiry extend to every voting citizen insofar as citizens are bound together as a political body. (2) It is morally condemnable for public officials (...)
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  3. What's the Harm? Why the Mainstreaming of Complementary and Alternative Medicine is an Ethical Problem.Lawrence Torcello - 2013 - Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine 4 (4):333-344.
    This paper argues that it is morally irresponsible for modern medical providers or health care institutions to support and advocate the integration of CAM practices (i.e. homeopathy, acupuncture, energy healing, etc.) with conventional modern medicine. The results of such practices are not reliable beyond that of placebo. As a corollary, it is argued that prescribing placebos perceived to stand outside the norm of modern medicine is morally inappropriate. Even when such treatments do no direct physical harm, they create unnecessary barriers (...)
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  4. On the Virtues of Inhospitality: Toward an Ethics of Public Reason and Critical Engagement.Lawrence Torcello - 2014 - Philo 17 (1):99-115.
    This article seeks to re-conceptualize Rawlsian public reason as a critical tool against ideological propaganda. The article proposes that public reason, as a standard for public discourse, must be conceptualized beyond its mandate for comprehensive neutrality to additionally emphasize critique of ideologically driven ignorance and propaganda in the public realm. I connect uncritical hospitality to such ideological propaganda with Harry Frankfurt’s concept of bullshit. This paper proposes that philosophers have a unique moral obligation to engage bullshit critically in the public (...)
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  5. A Precautionary Tale: Separating the Infant From the Fetus.Lawrence Torcello - 2009 - Res Publica 15 (1):17-31.
    This article confronts growing conservative opposition to abortion based on the claim that abortion is morally equivalent to infanticide. By examining the relationship between moral skepticism and precautionary ethics the article promotes a completely permissive position on abortion from conception to birth while consistently rejecting the possibility that such a position entails permissive implications for infanticide. The article introduces and traces the implicit relationship between moral skepticism, the precautionary principle and political liberalism.
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    Singer, Peter.Lawrence Torcello - 2015 - In Robert N. Audi (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy 3rd edition. New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.
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