Most of us take it for granted that we are free agents: that we can sometimes act so as to shape our own lives and those of others, that we have choices about how to do so and that we are responsible for what we do. But are we really justified in believing this? For centuries philosophers have argued about whether free will and moral responsibility are compatible with determinism or natural causation, and they seem no closer to agreeing about (...) it now than at any time in the past. Many contemporary philosophers have come to the conclusion that the intractability of the old argument about free will and determinism is caused by deep rooted illusions and inconsistencies in our unreflective attitudes about moral responsibility and freedom to act. KevinMagill challenges this view and argues that the philosophical stalemate about free will has arisen through lack of attention to the content of the experiences that shape our understanding of free will and agency and through a mistaken belief that the concept of moral responsibility requires a moral and metaphysical justification. The book sets out an original account of the various ways we experience choosing, deciding and acting, which reconciles the apparently opposing intuitions that have fuelled the traditional dispute. (shrink)
The argument between retributivists and consequentialists about what morally justifies the punishment of offenders is incoherent. If we were to discover that all of the contending justifications were mistaken, there is no realistic prospect that this would lead us to abandon legal punishment. Justification of words, beliefs and deeds, can only be intelligible on the assumption that if one's justification were found to be invalid and there were no alternative justification, one would be prepared to stop saying, believing or doing (...) what one has attempted to justify. Therefore, the moral standing or basis of our practices of punishing offenders can not rest on a justification of it. (shrink)
The article criticises various interpretations of Epicurus's claim that belief in determinism is self-invalidating: -/- - 'The man who says that all things come to pass by necessity cannot criticise one who denies that all things come to pass by necessity, for he admits that this too happens of necessity.' - -/- especially Ted Honderich's argument that the real force of the Epicurean claim is that if belief acquisition is causally necessitated, we will be excluded from possible facts and inquiries (...) that might have produced new knowledge and might have shown some of what we take to be knowledge to be false. Honderich's argument fails to consider that undetermined inquirers might fail to make discoveries that determined inquirers could not fail to make. Determinism would not, therefore, put us in a worse position as seekers of knowledge than indeterminism. (shrink)
By appealing to the religious imagination Theology can make a distinctive contribution to business ethics. In the first part of the essay I examine what is entailed by appealing to the imagination to reason in ethics: through converging arguments the imagination enables us rationally to interpret reality and to infer obligations. In the following sections I consider the relevance of the religious imagination for business ethics. In the second part I explain the imagination''s use of religious metaphor to establish its (...) theological distinctiveness in ethical inquiry. Then in the final part I illustrate Theology''s contribution to business ethics by studying the imagination''s use of religious metaphor with regard to profit and to third world debt. (shrink)
Media reporting of recent business scandals, ranging from systemic accounting fraud to individual executive greed, has shed new light on the urgent need for organizational ethics in corporate America. The essay argues that organizational ethics can foster virtuous organizations by developing their sense of stewardship and integrity. This approach can inspire the ethical decision-making processes and standards of conduct for personnel throughout the organization. Another crucial role for organizational ethics is to regain lost trust and to recover the confidence of (...) our communities, whether we are discussing the business community or the health care community. Corporate America and organizations in health care need to win back the respect of skeptical customers, disheartened patients, and distrusting communities. But this task can be accomplished properly only when organizations and their business practices have a renewed commitment to ethics. The essay discusses how organizational ethics can permeate the entire organization in order to instill trust and confidence among its constituencies. Although the focus of the essay is upon the role of organizational ethics in health care, the argument also applies to the renewal of business practices in corporations across the nation. (shrink)
The changing world of health care finance has led to a paradigm shift in health care with health care being viewed more and more as a commodity. Many have argued that such a paradigm shift is incompatible with the very nature of medicine and health care. But such arguments raise more questions than they answer. There are important assumptions about basic concepts of health care and markets that frame such arguments.
Issues of institutional identity and integrity in Roman Catholic health care institutions have been addressed at the level of individual institutions as well as by organizations of Catholic health care providers and at various levels in the Church hierarchy. The papers by Carol Taylor, C.S.F.N, Thomas Shannon, Kevin O'Rourke, O.P., Gerard Magill in this volume provide a significant contribution to concerns of Roman Catholic health care institutions as they face the challenges of providing health care in a secular, (...) pluralistic, market-driven economy. One way to understand institutional integrity is as a measure of the coherence between what an institution identifies as its commitments (its stated moral character), what an institution does (its manifest moral character) and an institution's fundamental moral commitments (its deep moral character). The essays in this volume support this model of integrity. Although it is not their explicit focus, the four essays together provide a vision of institutional integrity for Catholic health care institutions. Each author focuses on one of the three central aspects of integrity: what one identifies as one's commitments (Taylor), how one's actions reflect one's values (Shannon and Magill), and what one is or what one values at a deep level (O'Rourke). I will offer a brief overview of the ways in which the integrity of Catholic health care institutions has been addressed. Then I will consider the four essays and show how each offers an analysis of one of the three critical elements of integrity. (shrink)
It is an exciting time to pursue philosophy of religion, not least because of an earnest and widening conversation about what philosophers of religion should be doing in the future. This conversation is driven by factors including the growing presence of philosophers who do not presume as normative the subject position of so-called western traditions of thought, the relentless historicization—especially along Foucaultian lines—of the modern study of religion by critics working across the range of implicated disciplines, and by newly energized (...) emphases in existing methods of the study of religion upon embodiment and upon materiality more generally.Kevin Schilbrack’s Philosophy and the Study of Religions: a Manifesto enters the conversation with an exhibition of clarity and wit, logical strength, and breadth of ambition. Schilbrack argues for expanding the work of philosophy of religion from its traditional task—the examination of theism—to a more inclusive self-understan .. (shrink)
Kevin Schilbrack’s recent book sets out a series of well-considered, well-wrought arguments promoting a lively future for philosophy of religion. In the following comments on selected chapters, I seek to raise questions that require further elaboration of Schilbrack’s constructive vision and/or distinction from alternative visions with which he disagrees.Chapter 1: ‘The Full Task of Philosophy of Religion’Schilbrack begins this chapter characterizing ‘traditional philosophy of religion’ in terms of the task that the discipline sets for itself: to evaluate the rationality (...) of theism. In an illuminating decision tree, Schilbrack analyzes and organizes the variety within TPR, including counter-traditions in Continental and feminist philosophy. More importantly, this procedure helps substantiate the author’s overall critique of TPR as inadequate to the ‘full task’ of philosophy of religion because it is narrow, intellectualistic, and insular. Schilbrack identifies three subordinate ta .. (shrink)
Discussion of J. Kevin O’Regan’s “Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell: Understanding the Feel of Consciousness” Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-20 DOI 10.1007/s13164-012-0090-7 Authors J. Kevin O’Regan, Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS - Université Paris Descartes, Centre Biomédical des Saints Pères, 45 rue des Sts Pères, 75270 Paris cedex 06, France Ned Block, Departments of Philosophy, Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University, 5 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA Journal Review of (...) Philosophy and Psychology Online ISSN 1878-5166 Print ISSN 1878-5158. (shrink)
How accurate is Kevin Carson’s characterization of “freed” markets? Carson, a left-libertarian “free market anti-capitalist,” portrays free markets as so radically different from actually-existing markets that they are almost unrecognizable. In The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low Overhead Manifesto, he provides an alternative history of industrialization that argues that large-scale industrial organization and production are largely creatures of state intervention and that truly free markets would be characterized mainly by small-scale production for local markets. This paper evaluates Carson’s narrative (...) in order to determine whether his vision of the freed market is credible. I find that Carson fails to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that, but for government intervention, national markets would only exist for a few goods. Furthermore, many of the features he believes freed markets would possess are based on fallacious views of competition, knowledge, capital, and entrepreneurship. (shrink)
Discontented people might talk of corruption in the Commons, closeness in the Commons and the necessity of reforming the Commons, said Mr. Spenlow solemnly, in conclusion; but when the price of wheat per bushel had been the highest, the Commons had been the busiest; and a man might lay his hand upon his heart, and say this to the whole world, – ‘Touch the Commons, and down comes the country!’.
J. S. Mill's role as a transitional figure between classical and egalitarian liberalism can be partly explained by developments in his often unappreciated economic views. Specifically, I argue that Mill's separation of economic production and distribution had an important effect on his political theory. Mill made two distinctions between economic production and the distribution of wealth. I argue that these separations helped lead Mill to abandon the wages-fund doctrine and adopt a more favorable view of organized labor. I also show (...) how Mill's developments impacted later philosophers, economists, and historians. Understanding the relationship between Mill's political theory and economic theory does not only matter for Mill scholarship, however. Contemporary philosophers often ignore the economic views of their predecessors. I argue that paying insufficient attention to historical political philosophers' economic ideas obscures significant motivations for their political views. (shrink)
Reading Kevin Hart’s creative hermeneutic of the ‘basileic’ reduction in his latest book, Kingdoms of God, naturally leads me to consider another eminent linguistic phenomenologist who continually occupies my thoughts. Although I have been reading Hart now for about 25 years, I have been reading Paul Ricoeur for a decade longer than that, and it is his theory of poetic discourse that my mind keeps tenaciously associating with Hart’s perspectives on parable. Granted, Hart never mentions Ricoeur in Kingdoms of (...) God—unless my careful reading is not so careful and I missed it! In Trespass of the Sign, however, he does note Ricoeur’s significance as a hermeneutical philosopher, specifically his emphasis on the distinction between the hermeneutics of faith and the hermeneutics of suspicion. Also, in an article on John Caputo’s postsecular philosophy of ‘religion without religion,’ Hart makes a brief comment on Ricoeur’s apparent Hegelianism with reference to a general theory of revelation as nonreligious and nontheistic. Still, nowhere that I know of does he extensively address Ricoeur’s fascinating discourse theory regarding metaphor, mimesis, narrative, and parable. If great minds think alike, then Hart and Ricoeur are, indeed, great minds, for, truly, Ricoeur’s reflections on parables and the Kingdom offer an intriguing gloss on Hart’s parabolic ‘basileiology.’ Translating Hart into Ricoeur, therefore, is, in my mind, an easy and profitable exercise that may well enhance the provocative character of Hart’s basileic reduction. Such a translation is the central purpose of this essay. (shrink)
The paper by Magill and Neaves in this issue of the Journal attempts to rebut the "natural potency" position, based on recent advances in direct reprogramming of somatic cells to yield "induced pluripotent stem" (iPS) cells. As stated by the authors, the natural potency position holds that because "a human embryo directs its own integral organismic function from its beginning . . . there is a whole, albeit immature, and distinct human organism that is intrinsically valuable with the status (...) of inviolability and deserving full moral respect" (p. 26). The authors boldly assert that "The recent production of iPS . . . highlights a prima facie absurdity for the natural potentiality argument" (p. 29). Yet the argument against natural potency is both logically flawed and based on a characterization of the scientific evidence that is factually inaccurate. (shrink)
As a general claim, most philosophers of science accept that science is not value-free. The disagreements lie in the proverbial details. The essays in Current Controversies in Values and Science, edited by Kevin Elliott and Daniel Steel focus on such details. Like other volumes in the Routledge Current Controversies in Philosophy’s series, this one asks ten well-known philosophers of science to engage with various questions. Each question receives roughly positive and negative responses, though the authors’ nuanced answers make clear (...) that the contrasting views also involve significant agreement.The first question asks whether we can distinguish epistemic from nonepistemic values. Hugh Lacey argues that such... (shrink)
We argue that uncomputability and classical scepticism are both re ections of inductive underdetermination, so that Church's thesis and Hume's problem ought to receive equal emphasis in a balanced approach to the philosophy of induction. As an illustration of such an approach, we investigate how uncomputable the predictions of a hypothesis can be if the hypothesis is to be reliably investigated by a computable scienti c method.