In this paper, the authors have detected a new effect in the area of geomagnetism, related to the behavior of a magnetic dipole freely floating on water surface. An experiment is described in the present paper in which a magnetic dipole fixed upon a float placed on non- magnetized water surface undergoes displacement along with reorientation caused by fine structure of the earth's magnetic field. This fact can probably be explained by secular decrease of the earth's major dipole moment. Further, (...) a detailed study of the phenomenon may create interesting premises for its practical use, particularly for the analysis of fine structure of geomagnetic field and its time-dependent anomalies. A strange behavior of some sea fish species prior to strong earthquakes may be explained if the fish are assumed as 'live magnetic dipoles'. (shrink)
This article is an edited transcript of the roundtable entitled “What is Philo-Performance?” that took place in Paris on 28 June 2014, within the framework of the “Theatre, Performance, Philosophy International Conference: Crossings and Transfers in Anglo-American Thought”. The conference was organized by Julien Alliot, Flore Garcin-Marrou, Liza Kharoubi and Anna Street from the LAPS, a French research group on performance philosophy.
En Representaciones mentales, Liza Skidelsky se propone poner de manifiesto la completa escisión que existe entre los fenómenos de la intencionalidad de los estados mentales y el contenido de las representaciones mentales. Por un lado, la autora defiende una elucidación internista del contenido de las representaciones mentales postuladas por la ciencia cognitiva. Por otro lado, nos propone concebir la intencionalidad como un fenómeno vinculado al lenguaje y a las prácticas comunicativas. Esta reformulación permitiría establecer los cimientos para un proyecto (...) naturalista ampliado, según el cual las ciencias humanas y sociales ofrecerían el marco interdisciplinario adecuado para la explicación de la intencionalidad. En esta nota crítica, sostengo que el proyecto naturalista cientificista todavía cuenta con algunos recursos conceptuales, provenientes de la neurociencia cognitiva y de la neurociencia computacional, que pueden eventualmente saldar la brecha entre la representación y la intencionalidad. (shrink)
O artigo ten como obxectivo facer un percorrido por tres momentos da escritura filosófica no que o fenómeno do límite ou fronteira do pensamento se pon claramente de manifesto no discurso. En primeiro lugar, Kant, como artífice da produtiva noción dunha “fronteira [Grenze]” da razón como condición e límite do pensamento; en segundo lugar, Hegel, como o seu máximo crítico na “asunción [Aufhebung]” da negación da fronteira kantiana; e, finalmente, Kierkegaard, cuxa contribución á discusión dos seus predecesores consiste no “pathos (...) [Lidenskab]” do límite que Kant demarca e Hegel supera, pois no caso do pensador dinamarqués o límite da filosofía é ao mesmo tempo paradoxo, é dicir, algo que non pode ser coñecido senón tan só re-coñecido pola razón e que pon xustamente a razón no seu límite. (shrink)
One can love and not forgive or out of love decide not to forgive. Or one can forgive but not love, or choose to forgive but not love the ones forgiven. Love and forgiveness follow parallel and largely independent paths, a truth we fail to acknowledge when we pressure others to both love and forgive. Individuals in conflict, sparring social and ethnic groups, warring religious communities, and insecure nations often do not need to pursue love and forgiveness to achieve peace (...) of mind and heart. They need to remain attentive to the needs of others, an alertness that prompts either love or forgiveness to respond. By reorienting our perception of these enduring phenomena, the contributors to this volume inspire new applications for love and forgiveness in an increasingly globalized and no longer quite secular world. With contributions by the renowned French philosophers Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion, the poet Haleh Liza Gafori, and scholars of religion, psychoanalysis, Islamic and political philosophy, and the Bible and literature, this anthology reconstructs the historical and conceptual lineage of love and forgiveness and their fraught relationship over time. By examining how we have used--and misused--these concepts, the authors advance a better understanding of their ability to unite different individuals and emerging groups around a shared engagement for freedom and equality, peace and solidarity. (shrink)
There is little information about the content of ethics consultations in pediatrics. We sought to describe the reasons for consultation and ethical principles addressed during EC in pediatrics through retrospective review and directed content analysis of EC records at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Patient-based EC were highly complex and often involved evaluation of parental decision making, particularly consideration of the risks and benefits of a proposed medical intervention, and the physician's fiduciary responsibility to the patient. Nonpatient consultations provided guidance (...) in the development of institutional policies that would broadly affect patients and families. This is one of the few existing reviews of the content of pediatric EC and indicates that the distribution of ethical issues and reasons for moral distress are different than with adults. Pediatric EC often facilitates complex decision making among multiple stakeholders, and further prospective research is need.. (shrink)
In this paper Grice's requirements for assertability are imposed on the disjunction of Classical Logic. Defining material implication in terms of negation and disjunction supplemented by assertability conditions, results in the disappearance of the most important paradoxes of material implication. The resulting consequence relation displays a very strong resemblance to Schurz's conclusion-relevant consequence relation.
Dans les stations de tourisme de montagne, les intersaisons correspondent à des creux d’activité durant lesquels les offres d’emploi alternatives sont peu nombreuses. Les saisonniers se trouvent donc confrontés à une période de chômage cyclique. Cette situation « intermédiaire », réunissant une forme d’incertitude de la relation d’emploi ainsi qu’une relative prévisibilité des périodes de recrutement n’est pas sans susciter certaines controverses. Dans ce contexte, comment sont vécues les phases de chômage saisonnier dans ces territoires? Ces séquences temporelles correspondent-elles à (...) un « temps mort » ou à un temps pluriel? Comment se négocie le temps pour soi dans le cadre d’embauches à contre-rythmes des temps sociaux dominants? Dans le cadre de cette forme d’emploi intermittente, le temps de chômage peut-il être conçu comme un temps de construction de la carrière professionnelle? Cet article s’intéresse aux formes d’adaptation aux rythmes d’emploi et de chômage des saisonniers en montagne et montre comment ces périodes hors-emploi participent de l’intériorisation de rythmicités spécifiques. (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)
In the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, it is a common held view that the modularity hypothesis for cognitive mechanisms and the innateness hypothesis for mental contents are conceptually independent. In this paper I distinguish between substantial and deflationist modularity as well as between substantial and deflationist innatism, and I analyze whether the conceptual independence between substantial modularity and innatism holds. My conclusion will be that if what is taken into account are the essential properties of the substantial modules, i.e. domain (...) specificity and informational encapsulation, then it seems to be such independence. However, if what is taken into account is the function of the substantial modules, then it seems to be a conceptual connection from modularity to substantial innateness. (shrink)
Los métodos productivos de enseñanza preparan a los estudiantes para resolver problemas semejantes a los que se enfrentarán en el ejercicio laboral. Este trabajo tiene como objetivo fundamentar la pertinencia de la utilización del caso clínico como herramienta didáctica para la enseñanza en las ciencias básicas biomédicas, mediante un sistema de tareas para abordar los contenidos del tema Fisiología de la sangre de la asignatura Sangre y Sistema Inmune de la carrera de medicina. El caso clínico permite la vinculación de (...) las ciencias básicas biomédicas con las ciencias clínicas. Su utilización contribuye a la aproximación del estudiante de las ciencias básicas al estudio de estas durante su formación médica. El aprendizaje se logra a lo largo del proceso de resolución del mismo, se estimula la incorporación de conceptos necesarios para resolver el problema y se aprende un método para abordar situaciones en la práctica. Se elaboró un sistema de tareas y preguntas derivadas del problema profesional síndrome anémico. El problema docente se basó en un artículo médico que expone un caso de lesiones por empalamiento que produjo un gran sangramiento en un individuo. Se elaboraron preguntas problémicas relacionadas con la fisiología de la sangre y el tratamiento que recibió el paciente con eritropoyetina, factores de la coagulación y soluciones cristaloides en sustitución de la sangre. Se incluyó una pregunta que aborda un conflicto ético para sistematizar los conocimientos adquiridos en la asignatura Sociedad y Salud II. Productive teaching methods train students to solve problems similar to those they will face in their work life. The objective of the paper is to argue pertinence in the use of the clinical case as a didactic tool in biomedical basic sciences teaching by means of a task system that deals with the contents of the Blood Physiology subject in the Blood and Immune System subject matter of the medicine degree. Clinical cases enable the link between biomedical basic sciences and clinical sciences. Their use contributes to basic sciences students' approach to the study of the latter during their medical training. Learning is achieved through its solving process; the introduction of necessary problem-solving concepts is encouraged and a method to deal with in-practice situations is learned. A task and questions system derived from the anemic syndrome professional problem was made. The teaching problem was based on a medical article which presents a case of an individual who suffered impaling injuries which caused a great bleeding. Problem questions related to blood physiology and to the erythropoietin-based treatment the patient received, coagulation factors and crystalloid fluids used as blood substitutes, were prepared. It was included a question that deals with an ethical conflict in order to systematize the knowledge acquired in the Society and Health II subject matter. (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)
This essay draws on Kenneth George's ethnographic study of the Indonesian painter Abdul Djalil Pirous and his art, as well as Pirous's own characterizations of his paintings as “spiritual notes,” to theorize and examine how paintings serve as ethical media. The essay offers a provisional definition of and methodology for “visual ethics” and considers how pictures and language can function quite differently as sites for ethical reflection. The particular painting analyzed here is a large temple mural of the death of (...) the Buddha located at Wat Unnalom, a prominent Buddhist monastery in Phnom Penh, painted in the 1980s by Cambodian artist Sum Pon. After discussing the lifeworld of Pon's Mahāparinibbāna and varied Khmer Buddhist interpretations of the painting, I suggest that the painting's rendering of “moral vision” helps us understand Buddhist ways of seeing more generally. I conclude by returning to George's question about how our understanding of ethics would change if we took pictures as the “fulcrum of moral relationships,” arguing that pictures can embody certain kinds of tensions or paradoxes that are difficult to explain and grasp discursively, such as paradoxes that arise from the inevitability and yet inexplicability of death as well as the tensions between Buddhist aims of cultivating “boundless” love and the particularities of our own individual experiences of love. (shrink)
If stem cell-based therapies are developed, we will likely confront a difficult problem of justice: for biological reasons alone, the new therapies might benefit only a limited range of patients. In fact, they might benefit primarily white Americans, thereby exacerbating long-standing differences in health and health care.
In crafting our paper on addressing the ethical challenges in HIV prevention research with people who inject drugs,1 we had hoped to stimulate further discussion and deliberation about the topic. We are pleased that three commentaries on our paper have begun this process.2 3 4 The commentaries rightly bring up important issues relating to community engagement and problems in translating research into practice in the fraught environments in which PWID face multiple risks. These risks include acquisition of HIV as well (...) as criminalisation, stigma and lack of access to needed healthcare, prevention and social services. We take this opportunity to respond to the excellent points raised by the commentators. All of the commentaries support our emphasis on robust community engagement with PWID and other stakeholders in designing and conducting HIV prevention research, but urge us to go farther. Wolfe highlights the difficulty of even engaging with community members in oppressive settings, where authorities severely restrict civil liberties of PWID so that even discussing issues related to drug use and enforcement may place individuals at risk. To overcome such limitations, he appropriately suggests interviewing confidentially those who have previously been detained in closed settings as part of the community engagement process. Similarly, Wolfe observes that critical issues can be overlooked with a narrow focus on study procedures if contextual factors before, during or after a study are ignored. For example, he cites the risk of overdose for study participants who have been abstinent during a study and subsequently resume injecting when the study concludes. These kinds of risks may not be obvious …. (shrink)
The ethical climate in Turkey is beset by ethical problems. Bribery, environmental pollution, tax frauds, deceptive advertising, production of unsafe products, and the ethical violations that involved politicians and business professionals are just a few examples. The purpose of this study is to compare and contrast the ethical beliefs of American and Turkish consumers using the Ethical Position Questionnaire (EPQ) of Forsyth (1980), the Machiavellianism scale, and the Consumer Ethical Practices of Muncy and Vitell questionnaire (MVQ). A sample of 376 (...) subjects that consists of American consumers (n = 188) and Turkish consumers (n = 199) was used to compare the ethical beliefs and practices of the two samples. The MANOVA results for the two nationality groups found that five out of six criterion variables differed between the two groups. The implications of this study are intended to assist marketers to develop strategies that suit a particular market and lessen their risk of entry. (shrink)
Controversy continues to attach to the question whether an externalism about mental content is compatible with a traditional doctrine of privileged self-knowledge. By an externalism about mental content, I mean the view that what concepts our thoughts involve may depend not only on facts that are internal to us, but on facts about our environment. It is worth emphasizing, if only because it is still occasionally misperceived, that this thesis is supposed to apply at the level of sense and not (...) merely at that of reference: what concepts we think in terms of -- and not just what they happen to pick out -- is said by the externalist to depend upon environmental facts. By a traditional doctrine of privileged self-knowledge, I mean the view that we are able to know, without the benefit of empirical investigation, what our thoughts are in our own case. Suppose I entertain a thought that I would express with the sentence `Water is wet'. According to the traditional doctrine, I can know without empirical investigation (a) that I am entertaining a thought; (b) that it has a particular conceptual content, and (c) that its content is that water is wet. (shrink)
In this discussion paper, I seek to challenge Hylarie Kochiras’ recent claims on Newton’s attitude towards action at a distance, which will be presented in Section 1. In doing so, I shall include the positions of Andrew Janiak and John Henry in my discussion and present my own tackle on the matter . Additionally, I seek to strengthen Kochiras’ argument that Newton sought to explain the cause of gravity in terms of secondary causation . I also provide some specification on (...) what Kochiras calls ‘Newton’s substance counting problem’ . In conclusion, I suggest a historical correction .Keywords: Isaac Newton ; Action at a distance; Cause of gravity; Fourth letter to Bentley. (shrink)
In our contribution we will observe phenomenal architecture of a mind and operational architectonics of the brain and will show their intimate connectedness within a single integrated metastable continuum. The notion of operation of different complexity is the fundamental and central one in bridging the gap between brain and mind: it is precisely by means of this notion that it is possible to identify what at the same time belongs to the phenomenal conscious level and to the neurophysiological level of (...) brain activity organization, and what mediates between them. Implications for linguistic semantics, self-organized distributed computing algorithms, artificial machine consciousness, and diagnosis of dynamic brain diseases will be discussed briefly. (shrink)
The Marburg neo-Kantians argue that Hermann von Helmholtz's empiricist account of the a priori does not account for certain knowledge, since it is based on a psychological phenomenon, trust in the regularities of nature. They argue that Helmholtz's account raises the 'problem of validity' (Gueltigkeitsproblem): how to establish a warranted claim that observed regularities are based on actual relations. I reconstruct Heinrich Hertz's and Ludwig Wittgenstein's Bild theoretic answer to the problem of validity: that scientists and philosophers can depict the (...) necessary a priori constraints on states of affairs in a given system, and can establish whether these relations are actual relations in nature. The analysis of necessity within a system is a lasting contribution of the Bild theory. However, Hertz and Wittgenstein argue that the logical and mathematical sentences of a Bild are rules, tools for constructing relations, and the rules themselves are meaningless outside the theory. Carnap revises the argument for validity by attempting to give semantic rules for translation between frameworks. Russell and Quine object that pragmatics better accounts for the role of a priori reasoning in translating between frameworks. The conclusion of the tale, then, is a partial vindication of Helmholtz's original account. (shrink)
This article presents a critical reevaluation of the thesis—closely associated with H. L. A. Hart, and central to the views of most recent legal philosophers—that the idea of state coercion is not logically essential to the definition of law. The author argues that even laws governing contracts must ultimately be understood as “commands of the sovereign, backed by force.” This follows in part from recognition that the “sovereign,” defined rigorously, at the highest level of abstraction, is that person or entity (...) identified by reference to game theory and the philosophical idea of “convention” as the source of signals with which the subject population has become effectively locked, as a group, into conformity. (shrink)
Philosophizing and the True Knowledge of Human Being -/- The article presents the principles and method of classical philosophy. This kind of philosophy, developed mainly in ancient and medieval times, is still viable and interesting today. What is more important, it can be used as grounds for academic philosophy. Doing so provides a philosopher with resources for autonomy in her philosophical inquiry as well as the usefulness and application of its results for various cultural, social, and political tasks. The last (...) part of the article explains the manner in which the principles of philosophy may be connected with different ways of classical philosopher’s concern the with knowledge of the human being understood as a special, unique being, with her transcendence behind her biological nature and human society. In the conclusion, several tasks for philosophical reflection are given. In all its parts, the article emphasizes the importance of the concept of philosophizing person for the understanding of philosophy. (shrink)
This paper proposes a view of time that takes passage to be the most basic temporal notion, instead of the usual A-theoretic and B-theoretic notions, and explores how we should think of a world that exhibits such a genuine temporal passage. It will be argued that an objective passage of time can only be made sense of from an atemporal point of view and only when it is able to constitute a genuine change of objects across time. This requires that (...) passage can flip one fact into a contrary fact, even though neither side of the temporal passage is privileged over the other. We can make sense of this if the world is inherently perspectival. Such an inherently perspectival world is characterized by fragmentalism, a view that has been introduced by Fine in his ‘Tense and Reality’ (2005). Unlike Fine's tense-theoretic fragmentalism though, the proposed view will be a fragmentalist view based in a primitive notion of passage. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for a priori conjectural scientific knowledge about the world. Physics persistently only accepts unified theories, even though endlessly many empirically more successful disunified rivals are always available. This persistent preference for unified theories, against empirical considerations, means that physics makes a substantial, persistent metaphysical assumption, to the effect that the universe has a (more or less) unified dynamic structure. In order to clarify what this assumption amounts to, I solve the problem of what it means (...) to say of a theory that it is unified. There are, I argue, eight different kinds of unity important in theoretical physics, all varieties of one basic idea. This provides us with a precise way of partially ordering physical theories with respect to their degree of unity. It also leads to a hierarchical view of physics, according to which physics makes a number of increasingly insubstantial metaphysical assumptions concerning the comprehensibility and knowability of the universe. Two of these are identified as constituting a priori conjectures. I conclude by arguing that the view developed in the paper resolves the traditional clash between empiricism and rationalism in the philosophy of science, and has important implications for science, and for academic inquiry more generally. (shrink)
Many expressions intuitively have different epistemic and modal profiles. For example, co-referring proper names are substitutable salva veritate in modal contexts but not in belief-contexts. Two-dimensional semantics, according to which terms have both a so-called primary and a secondary intension, is a framework that promises to accommodate and explain these diverging intuitions. The framework can be applied to indexicals, proper names or predicates. Graeme Forbes argues that the two-dimensional semantics of David Chalmers fails to account for so-called nested contexts. These (...) are linguistic contexts where a sentence is embedded under both epistemic and modal operators. Chalmers and Rabern suggest a two-dimensional solution to the problem. Their semantics solves the nesting-problem, but at the cost of invalidating certain plausible principles. We suggest a solution that is both simpler and avoids this cost. (shrink)
This chapter argues that scientific and philosophical progress in our understanding of the living world requires that we abandon a metaphysics of things in favour of one centred on processes. We identify three main empirical motivations for adopting a process ontology in biology: metabolic turnover, life cycles, and ecological interdependence. We show how taking a processual stance in the philosophy of biology enables us to ground existing critiques of essentialism, reductionism, and mechanicism, all of which have traditionally been associated with (...) substance ontology. We illustrate the consequences of embracing an ontology of processes in biology by considering some of its implications for physiology, genetics, evolution, and medicine. And we attempt to locate the subsequent chapters of the book in relation to the position we defend. (shrink)
Aristóteles comparte con Platón la concepción de la forma como causa del ser y del conocimiento de las cosas. Sin embargo, un análisis de sus críticas a las Ideas muestra que encuentra en la separación de las Ideas y las cosas sensibles la aporía fundamental de la teoría platónica. Con el propósito de circunscribir el significado de “separación” aplicable a las Ideas, concentraremos nuestro estudio en dos objeciones: 1) el argumento que conduce al tercer hombre y 2) la inutilidad de (...) las Ideas como causas. En el primer caso, creemos que la separación entraña homonimia, por lo que la solución aristotélica implicará la comunidad de naturaleza entre el individuo y su esencia. En el segundo, la separación implica trascendencia o falta de contacto entre generante y generado, por lo que la solución aristotélica apuntará a concebir la forma de las entidades naturales como un principio inmanente, inseparable de la materia y del movimiento, pero a la vez eterno a través de su reproducción en otros individuos de la misma especie. Creemos que en ambas soluciones opera un principio de sinonimia, que constituye su propia contribución al problema de la separación. (shrink)
In his recent book, The Empirical Stance, Bas van Fraassen forcefully raises the question of what a philosophical position can or should be. He mainly discusses this question with regard to empiricism but his discussion makes it clear that he takes his proposed answer to be generalizable: not only empiricism but philosophical positions in general should be understood as stances rather than dogmata. The first part of this essay is devoted to an examination of van Fraassen’s critique of ‘naïve’ or (...) dogmatic empiricism, which represents an integral part of his argument for ‘stance’ empiricism. It will be argued that, contrary to van Fraassen’s view, not all versions of naïve empiricism run into the problems identified by him. In the second part of the paper the case will be made that, contrary to van Fraassen’s thesis, the stance empiricist is in at least as bad a position as the naïve empiricist with regard to the task of providing a radical critique of metaphysics, which van Fraassen takes to be an essential task that any empiricist should be able to accomplish. The third part of this essay concerns van Fraassen’s general proposal, and examines the question whether a philosophical position can possibly consist in a stance. It will be suggested that this is not the case. With regard to empiricism this has the implication that if one wants to be a philosopher and an empiricist at the same time one needs to subscribe to a form of naïve empiricism. Furthermore, it will be proposed that as a philosopher-empiricist one should want, or, at least, allow some form of metaphysical theorizing to be part of the philosophical enterprise after all. (shrink)
Even to disagree, we need to understand each other. If I reject what you say without understanding you, we will only have the illusion of a disagreement. You will be asserting one thing and I will be denying another. Even to disagree, we need some agreement.
The concept of evil plays a central role in many of Peter French’s publications. He defines evil as “a human action that jeopardizes another person’s (or group’s) aspirations to live a worthwhile life (or lives) by the willful infliction of undeserved harm on that person(s)” (French 2011, 61, 95). Inspired by Harry Frankfurt’s work on the importance of what we care about, French argues that “the life a person leads is worthwhile if what he or she really gives a damn (...) about satisfies some condition(s) of value” (2011, 189). Through an analysis of the concept of “worthwhile”, I endeavor to show that French’s account of evil is correct although his definition of a worthwhile life is too demanding. Defining an evil act as one that willfully imperils another’s aspirations to live a worthwhile life is a welcome addition to the philosophical literature dedicated to the analysis of evil. Much of this literature identifies evil as severe, intolerable, or excessive harm, but these descriptions remain vague. When is harm precisely severe, intolerable, or excessive? French provides an original and plausible interpretation of these kinds of evil harm by explaining them in terms of an impediment to aspirations to live a worthwhile life. However, French’s definition of a worthwhile life is too strong and hence excludes unmistakable instances of evil. It is quite possible that someone who cares about nonvaluable things, or someone lacking cares altogether, or non-human animals (who might fall into either one of these two categories), could be victims of evil. Therefore, if evil is an act that jeopardizes another’s aspirations to live a worthwhile life, then the necessary condition of a worthwhile life cannot be that one gives a damn about something of value; it must be something far less demanding. In order to retain the central insight in French’s account of evil, I offer an alternative suggestion concerning what makes a life worthwhile. To this end, I distinguish a worthwhile life from a meaningful, valuable, significant, or good life. Focusing on the definition and use of the word “worthwhile”, I find that a worthwhile life is one that is worth the time and effort of the individual whose life it is. Jeopardizing another’s ability to make such a determination about her life lies at the hardened heart of evil. (shrink)
There has been a great deal of philosophical discussion about using people, using people intentionally, using people as a means to some end, and using people merely as a means to some end. In this paper, I defend the following claim about using people: NOT ALWAYS WRONG: using people—even merely as a means—is not always morally objectionable. Having defended that claim, I suggest that the following claim is also correct: NO ONE FEATURE: when it is morally objectionable to use people, (...) this is for many different kinds of reasons—there is no one wrong-making feature that every morally objectionable using has in common. After discussing these claims, I use them to present and motivate what I call the “precaution” theory of norms against using people. I conclude by considering a few cases from the criminal law context—cases that are naturally described as using people—to assess the moral appropriateness of this kind of use in these cases, and to demonstrate how the theory applies to the real world. (shrink)