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)
In Davidson's example of causal deviancy, a climber knows that he can save himself from plummeting to his death by letting go of a rope connecting him to a companion who has lost his footing, but the thought of the contemplated act so upsets him that he lets go unintentionally. Causation of behavior by intentional states that rationalize it is not enough for it to count as acting. Therefore, the behavior must be caused in 'the right way' or by the (...) Right Kind of Cause. The immediate cause in Davidson's and other examples of causal immediacy is the agent's awareness or contemplation of what he or she is intending or thinking of doing, which is either caused by, or implicit in the agent's awareness of, his or her intentions or beliefs and desires. I argue that RKC can only be a mechanism-the Will-whose operation we are not directly aware of, but only indirectly once the action is underway. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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!’.
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)
In the eyes of many, liberalism requires the aggressive secularization of social institutions, especially public media and public schools. The unfortunate result is that many Americans have become alienated from the liberal tradition because they believe it threatens their most sacred forms of life. This was not always the case: in American history, the relation between liberalism and religion has often been one of mutual respect and support. In Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation , Kevin Vallier attempts (...) to reestablish mutual respect by developing a liberal political theory that avoids the standard liberal hostility to religious voices in public life. He claims that the dominant form of academic liberalism, public reason liberalism, is far friendlier to religious influences in public life than either its proponents or detractors suppose. The best interpretation of public reason, convergence liberalism, rejects the much-derided "privatization" of religious belief, instead viewing religious contributions to politics as a resource for liberal political institutions. Many books reject privatization, Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation is unique in doing so on liberal grounds. (shrink)
Philosophical logicians proposing theories of rational belief revision have had little to say about whether their proposals assist or impede the agent's ability to reliably arrive at the truth as his beliefs change through time. On the other hand, reliability is the central concern of formal learning theory. In this paper we investigate the belief revision theory of Alchourron, Gardenfors and Makinson from a learning theoretic point of view.
There is an increasing need for quality in ethics consultations, though there have been significant achievements in the United States and Europe. However, fundamental concerns that place the profession in jeopardy are discussed from the perspective of the U.S. in a manner that will be helpful for other countries. The descriptive component of the essay (the first two points) explains the achievements in ethics quality (illustrated by the IntegratedEthics program of the Veterans Health Administration) and the progress on standards and (...) competencies for ethics consultations (represented by the Core Competencies of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities). Based on these achievements, the analytical component of the essay (the final three points) identifies and seeks to resolve three fundamental concerns (with increasing levels of importance) that compromise quality in ethics consultations: standards of quality; professionalism; and credentialing. The analysis argues for clearer standards of quality in ethics consultation and urges further professionalism by explaining the need for the following: interpreting the ASBH core competencies in a normative manner, developing a Code of Ethics, and clarifying the meaning of best practices. However, the most serious concern that threatens quality in ethics consultations is the lack of a credentialing process. This concern can be resolved effectively by developing an independent Ethics Consultation Accreditation Council to accredit and standardize graduate degree programs, fellowship experiences, and qualifying examinations. This credentialing process is indispensable if we are to strategically enhance quality in ethics consultations. (shrink)
Organizational ethics refers to the integration of values into decision making, policies, and behavior throughout the multi-disciplinary environment of a health care organization. Based upon Catholic social ethics, stewardship is at the heart of organizational ethics in health care in this sense: stewardship provides the hermeneutic filter that enables basic ethical principles to be realized practically, within the context of the Catholic theology of work, to concerns in health care. This general argument can shed light on the specific topic of (...) non-executive compensation programs as an illustration of organizational ethics in health care. (shrink)
A realist theory of truth for a class of sentences holds that there are entities in virtue of which these sentences are true or false. We call such entities ‘truthmakers’ and contend that those for a wide range of sentences about the real world are moments (dependent particulars). Since moments are unfamiliar, we provide a definition and a brief philosophical history, anchoring them in our ontology by showing that they are objects of perception. The core of our theory is the (...) account of truthmaking for atomic sentences, in which we expose a pervasive ‘dogma of logical form’, which says that atomic sentences cannot have more than one truthmaker. In contrast to this, we uphold the mutual independence of logical and ontological complexity, and the authors outline formal principles of truthmaking taking account of both kinds of complexity. (shrink)
There is growing interest in understanding and eliciting division of labor within groups of scientists. This paper illustrates the need for this division of labor through a historical example, and a formal model is presented to better analyze situations of this type. Analysis of this model reveals that a division of labor can be maintained in two different ways: by limiting information or by endowing the scientists with extreme beliefs. If both features are present however, cognitive diversity is maintained indefinitely, (...) and as a result agents fail to converge to the truth. Beyond the mechanisms for creating diversity suggested here, this shows that the real epistemic goal is not diversity but transient diversity. (shrink)
The role of values in scientific research has become an important topic of discussion in both scholarly and popular debates. Pundits across the political spectrum worry that research on topics like climate change, evolutionary theory, vaccine safety, and genetically modified foods has become overly politicized. At the same time, it is clear that values play an important role in science by limiting unethical forms of research and by deciding what areas of research have the greatest relevance for society. Deciding how (...) to distinguish legitimate and illegitimate influences of values in scientific research is a matter of vital importance.Recently, philosophers of science have written a great deal on this topic, but most of their work has been directed toward a scholarly audience. This book makes the contemporary philosophical literature on science and values accessible to a wide readership. It examines case studies from a variety of research areas, including climate science, anthropology, chemical risk assessment, ecology, neurobiology, biomedical research, and agriculture. These cases show that values have necessary roles to play in identifying research topics, choosing research questions, determining the aims of inquiry, responding to uncertainty, and deciding how to communicate information. Kevin Elliott focuses not just on describing roles for values but also on determining when their influences are actually appropriate. He emphasizes several conditions for incorporating values in a legitimate fashion, and highlights multiple strategies for fostering engagement between stakeholders so that value influences can be subjected to careful and critical scrutiny. (shrink)
Recently psychologists and experimental philosophers have reported findings showing that in some cases ordinary people's moral intuitions are affected by factors of dubious relevance to the truth of the content of the intuition. Some defend the use of intuition as evidence in ethics by arguing that philosophers are the experts in this area, and philosophers' moral intuitions are both different from those of ordinary people and more reliable. We conducted two experiments indicating that philosophers and non-philosophers do indeed sometimes have (...) different moral intuitions, but challenging the notion that philosophers have better or more reliable intuitions. (shrink)
Theories of scientific rationality typically pertain to belief. In this paper, the author argues that we should expand our focus to include motivations as well as belief. An economic model is used to evaluate whether science is best served by scientists motivated only by truth, only by credit, or by both truth and credit. In many, but not all, situations, scientists motivated by both truth and credit should be judged as the most rational scientists.
During the realist revival in the early years of this century, philosophers of various persuasions were concerned to investigate the ontology of truth. That is, whether or not they viewed truth as a correspondence, they were interested in the extent to which one needed to assume the existence of entities serving some role in accounting for the truth of sentences. Certain of these entities, such as the Sätze an sich of Bolzano, the Gedanken of Frege, or the propositions of Russell (...) and Moore, were conceived as the bearers of the properties of truth and falsehood. Some thinkers however, such as Russell, Wittgenstein in the Tractatus, and Husserl in the Logische Untersuchungen, argued that instead of, or in addition to, truth-bearers, one must assume the existence of certain entities in virtue of which sentences and/or propositions are true. Various names were used for these entities, notably 'fact', 'Sachverhalt', and 'state of affairs'. (1) In order not to prejudge the suitability of these words we shall initially employ a more neutral terminology, calling any entities which are candidates for this role truth-makers. (shrink)
Of the dozens of purported solutions to the liar paradox published in the past fifty years, the vast majority are "traditional" in the sense that they reject one of the premises or inference rules that are used to derive the paradoxical conclusion. Over the years, however, several philosophers have developed an alternative to the traditional approaches; according to them, our very competence with the concept of truth leads us to accept that the reasoning used to derive the paradox is sound. (...) That is, our conceptual competence leads us into inconsistency. I call this alternative the inconsistency approach to the liar. Although this approach has many positive features, I argue that several of the well-developed versions of it that have appeared recently are unacceptable. In particular, they do not recognize that if truth is an inconsistent concept, then we should replace it with new concepts that do the work of truth without giving rise to paradoxes. I outline an inconsistency approach to the liar paradox that satisfies this condition. (shrink)
Increasingly, epistemologists are becoming interested in social structures and their effect on epistemic enterprises, but little attention has been paid to the proper distribution of experimental results among scientists. This paper will analyze a model first suggested by two economists, which nicely captures one type of learning situation faced by scientists. The results of a computer simulation study of this model provide two interesting conclusions. First, in some contexts, a community of scientists is, as a whole, more reliable when its (...) members are less aware of their colleagues' experimental results. Second, there is a robust tradeoff between the reliability of a community and the speed with which it reaches a correct conclusion. ‡The author would like to thank Brian Skyrms, Kyle Stanford, Jeffrey Barrett, Bruce Glymour, and the participants in the Social Dynamics Seminar at University of California–Irvine for their helpful comments. Generous financial support was provided by the School of Social Science and Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences at UCI. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Baker Hall 135, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890; e-mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
Scientific breakthroughs rarely yield the potential to engage a foundational ethical question. Recent studies on direct reprogramming of human skin cells reported by the Yamanaka lab in Japan and the Thomson lab in Wisconsin suggest that scientists may have crossed both a scientific and an ethical threshold. The fascinating science of direct nuclear reprogramming highlights empirical data that may clarify the ontological status of cellular activity in the early stages of what could become a human fetus and justify ethical options (...) for research in this controversial field. The ontological and ethical implications that accrue here are connected with the biological or natural potentiality of these cells. (shrink)
Phineas Gage’s story is typically offered as a paradigm example supporting the view that part of what matters for personal identity is a certain magnitude of similarity between earlier and later individuals. Yet, reconsidering a slight variant of Phineas Gage’s story indicates that it is not just magnitude of similarity, but also the direction of change that affects personal identity judgments; in some cases, changes for the worse are more seen as identity-severing than changes for the better of comparable magnitude. (...) Ironically, thinking carefully about Phineas Gage’s story tells against the thesis it is typically taken to support. (shrink)
The personal identity relation is of great interest to philosophers, who often consider fictional scenarios to test what features seem to make persons persist through time. But often real examples of neuroscientific interest also provide important tests of personal identity. One such example is the case of Phineas Gage – or at least the story often told about Phineas Gage. Many cite Gage’s story as example of severed personal identity; Phineas underwent such a tremendous change that Gage “survived as a (...) different man.” I discuss a recent empirical finding about judgments about this hypothetical. It is not just the magnitude of the change that affects identity judgment; it is also the negative direction of the change. I present an experiment suggesting that direction of change also affects neuroethical judgments. I conclude we should consider carefully the way in which improvements and deteriorations affect attributions of personal identity. This is particularly important since a number of the most crucial neuroethical decisions involve varieties of cognitive enhancements or deteriorations. (shrink)
Theory of mind, the capacity to understand and ascribe mental states, has traditionally been conceptualized as analogous to a scientific theory. However, recent work in philosophy and psychology has documented a "side-effect effect" suggesting that moral evaluations influence mental state ascriptions, and in particular whether a behavior is described as having been performed 'intentionally.' This evidence challenges the idea that theory of mind is analogous to scientific psychology in serving the function of predicting and explaining, rather than evaluating, behavior. In (...) three experiments, we demonstrate that moral evaluations do inform ascriptions of intentional action, but that this relationship arises because behavior that conforms to norms (moral or otherwise) is less informative about underlying mental states than is behavior that violates norms. This analysis preserves the traditional understanding of theory of mind as a tool for predicting and explaining behavior, but also suggests the importance of normative considerations in social cognition. (shrink)