Bloom's eloquent and comprehensive treatment of early word learning holds that social intention is foundational for language development. While we generally support his thesis, we call into question two of his proposals: (1) that attention to social information in the environment implies social intent, and (2) that infants are sensitive to social intent at the very beginnings of word learning.
It has often been said that Marx never achieved a comprehensive treatment of the specifically political area, but in fact there is far more, and far more coherent, material on the topic in his writings than has been assumed. This book brings together everything in Marx's work which bears on politics and treats his approach as a living, evolving theory. For every stage of his career it examines the theory he held, what were its inner tensions and weaknesses, how these (...) were brought out in actual events and how Marx reacted to his successes and failures. A particular virtue of the book's approach is that Marx's views on, for example, the French Revolution or the events of 1848 are set against what historians now tell us of these events and the adequacy of Marx's accounts is assessed. This is an important book because of the exceptional combination of historical and theoretical perspectives Dr Maguire brings to the examination of Marx's theory of politics. Although he does not attempt to solve all the problems of applying Marxism to the twentieth century, he has provided a clear and comprehensive account of Marx's approach in, and to, his own time. (shrink)
Semiotic objections to market exchange of a good or service maintain that such exchanges signal an inappropriate attitude to the good or to associated individuals, and that this provides a weighty reason against having or participating in such markets. This style of argument has recently come under withering attack from Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski (2015a, 2015b). They point out that the significance of any market exchange is explained by a contingent semiotic norm. Given the tremendous value that could be (...) realised by markets in, for instance, bone marrow, or kidneys, deferring to such norms across the board would have very significant opportunity costs. In the absence of any rationale for these norms, they should be ignored completely. We provide one important rationale. Unlike many semiotic objections to markets, we provide a broadly consequentialist semiotic argument. We argue that a range of behaviours play important signalling roles in interpersonal social practices; in particular, in practices involving caring, esteem, and testimony. Markets in these behaviours would distort these signals. Moreover, many of the productive advantages yielded by markets rely in turn on positive market norms that also inhibit the signalling behaviours associated with these nonmarket behaviours. We conclude that there will inevitably be trade-offs between the distributive advantages of new markets and these interpersonal social practices. (shrink)
This paper develops the Value-Based Theory of Reasons in some detail. The central part of the paper introduces a number of theoretically puzzling features of normative reasons. These include weight, transmission, overlap, and the promiscuity of reasons. It is argued that the Value-Based Theory of Reasons elegantly accounts for these features. This paper is programmatic. Its goal is to put the promising but surprisingly overlooked Value-Based Theory of Reasons on the table in discussions of normative reasons, and to draw attention (...) to a number of areas for fruitful further research. (shrink)
It is regrettably common for theorists to attempt to characterize the Humean dictum that one can’t get an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ just in broadly logical terms. We here address an important new class of such approaches which appeal to model-theoretic machinery. Our complaint about these recent attempts is that they interfere with substantive debates about the nature of the ethical. This problem, developed in detail for Daniel Singer’s and Gillian Russell and Greg Restall’s accounts of Hume’s dictum, is of (...) a general type arising for the use of model-theoretic structures in cashing out substantive philosophical claims: the question of whether an abstract model-theoretic structure successfully interprets something often involves taking a stand on non-trivial issues surrounding the thing. In the particular case of Hume’s dictum, given reasonable conceptual or metaphysical claims about the ethical, Singer’s and Russell and Restall’s accounts treat obviously ethical claims as descriptive and vice versa. Consequently, their model-theoretic characterizations of Hume’s dictum are not metaethically neutral. This encourages skepticism about whether model-theoretic machinery suffices to provide an illuminating distinction between the ethical and the descriptive. (shrink)
This paper is based on case-study research in four English secondary schools. It explores the pressure placed on English and mathematics departments because of their results being reported in annual performance tables. It examines how English and maths departments enact policies of achievement, the additional power and extra resources the pressure to achieve brings and the possibility of resistance.
This article examines and synthesizes two different approaches to determining the content of business ethics courses and the manner in which they ought to be taught. The first approach, from a political perspective, argues that the institutional framework within which business operates ought to be tested by theories of distributive justice. The second approach, from the perspective of virtue theory, argues that we ought to examine the character of individual employees and the responsibilities associated with the roles which these individuals (...) play within organizations. I argue that Gadamer's interpretation of Aristotle's notion of phronesis shows an inseparable, bidirectional, conceptual link between the approaches of politics and virtue as well as providing insight into how business ethics might best be taught. (shrink)
A dogma of contemporary ethical theory maintains that the nature of normative support for affective attitudes is the very same as the nature of normative support for actions. The prevailing view is that normative reasons provide the support across the board. I argue that the nature of normative support for affective attitudes is importantly different from the nature of normative support for actions. Actions are indeed supported by reasons. Reasons are gradable and contributory. The support relations for affective attitudes are (...) neither. So-called reasons of the right kind for affective attitudes are facts that make those very attitudes fitting. Unlike reasons, fit-making facts for affective attitudes do not conflict with each other or combine in the explanation of further normative facts. More fit-making facts just make a more complex set of reactions fitting. This result undermines various analyses and unity theses in the philosophy of normativity. (shrink)
I challenge the appropriateness of the discourse of managerial control of employees in four ways. First, I question arguments which suggest that employees are always subject to organizational control. Second, I contrast workplace conditions which support employee self-determination and autonomy with conditions which permit control of employees. Third, I provide an ethical assessment of the normative use of control talk and fourth, I suggest an alternative discourse, a discourse of accountability which appropriately highlights the reciprocity necessary to build ethical organizations.
David Lewis claims that his theory of modality successfully reduces modal items to nonmodal items. This essay will clarify this claim and argue that it is true. This is largely an exercise within ‘Ludovician Polycosmology’: I hope to show that a certain intuitive resistance to the reduction and a set of related objections misunderstand the nature of the Ludovician project. But these results are of broad interest since they show that would-be reductionists have more formidable argumentative resources than is often (...) thought. Lewis’s reduction depends on a set of methodological commitments each of which is fairly plausible or at least currently popular, and none of which is particular to modality. The choice of which of these commitments to reject I leave to the discerning antireductionist. The essay proceeds as follows: §1 discusses reduction generally and one or two relevant puzzles; §2 discusses Lewis’s reduction in particular; the longest section, §3 replies to four objections. (shrink)
The integration of nanotechnology’s ‘social and ethical issues’ (SEI) at the research and development stage is one of the defining features of nanotechnology governance in the United States. Mandated by law, integration extends the field of nanotechnology to include a role for the “social”, the “public” and the social sciences and humanities in research and development (R&D) practices and agendas. Drawing from interviews with scientists, engineers and policymakers who took part in an oral history of the “Future of Nanotechnology” symposium (...) at the Cornell NanoScale Facility, this article examines how nanotechnology’s ‘social and ethical issues’ are brought to life by these practitioners. From our analysis, three modes of enactment emerge: enacting SEI as obligations and problems-to-be-solved, enacting SEI by ‘not doing it’ in the laboratory, and enacting SEI as part of scientific practice. Together they paint a complex picture where SEI are variously defined, made visible or invisible, included and excluded, with participants showing their skill at both boundary-work (Gieryn Am Sociol Rev 48:781–795, 1983, 1999) and at integration. We conclude by reflecting on what this may mean for the design and implementation of SEI integration policies, suggesting that we need to transform SEI from obligations into ‘matters of care’ (Puig de la Bellacasa Soc Stud Sci 41(1):85–106, 2011) that tend to existing relationalities between science and society and implicate practitioners themselves. (shrink)
Background: Funding organisations and research ethics committees should play a part in strengthening attention to gender equality in clinical research. In the research policy of European Union , funding measures have been taken to realise this, but such measures are lacking in the EU policy regarding RECs.Objective: To explore how RECs in Austria, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands and Sweden deal with gender equality issues by asking two questions: Do existing procedures promote representation of women and gender expertise in the committee? (...) How are sex and gender issues dealt with in protocol evaluation?Methods: Two RECs were selected from each country. Data were obtained through interviews with key informants and content analysis of relevant documents .Results: All countries have rules to ensure the presence of women on RECs; gender expertise is not required. Drug study protocols are carefully evaluated, sometimes on a formal basis, as regards the inclusion of women of childbearing age. The reason for excluding either one of the sexes or including specific groups of women or making a gender-specific risk–benefit analysis are investigated by some RECs. Such measures are, however, neither defined in the regulations nor integrated in review tools.Conclusions: The RECs investigated in five European member states are found to pay limited attention to gender equality in their working methods and, in particular in protocol evaluation. Policy and regulations of EU are needed to strengthen attention to gender equality in the work of RECs. (shrink)
There are several powerful motivations for neutral value-based deontic theories such as Act Consequentialism. Traditionally, such theories have had great difficulty accounting for partiality towards one's personal relationships and projects. This paper presents a neutral value-based theory that preserves the motivations for Act Consequentialism while vindicating some crucial intuitions about reasons to be partial. There are two central ideas. The first is that when it comes to working out what you ought to do, your friends’ interests, the needs of your (...) family, the significance of your own projects and ideals, etc. have more weight than the interests and needs of strangers. Your friends’ interests are not more neutrally valuable than the interests of others. So there is a difference between the value of an outcome and its deontic significance. The second familiar idea is that reasons are modifiable. Reasons of partiality are reasons the weights of which are a function of the value of the relevant outcome modified by facts about the value of caring about the outcome in question. The resulting principle has various further explanatory advantages; in particular, it accounts for project- and relationship-specific permissions and requirements, both at a time and across time. (shrink)
There are various ways of characterising Hume’s dictum that ‘you can’t get an ought from an is.’ Contributors to the literature directly addressing this question focus on logical characterisations of autonomy theses. Such theses maintain that certain logical relations do not obtain between ethical and non-ethical sentences, for instance that no non-ethical sentences logically entail an ethical sentence. I argue that this focus on logical autonomy is a mistake. The thesis so important to our metaethicists is not a logical thesis (...) but a metaphysical one. The relevant metaphysical autonomy thesis maintains that ethical facts are not fully grounded just in non-ethical facts. I defend this characterization. I also defend the converse thesis that all facts partly grounded in ethical facts are ethical facts. I then argue that this pair of theses can help with debates about the plausibility of nihilism and the classification of revisionary metaethical theses. (shrink)
Revolutions in semiconductor device miniaturization, bioelectronics, and applied neural control technologies are enabling scientists to create machine-assisted minds, science fiction's “cyborgs.” In a paper published in 1999, we sought to draw attention to the advances in prosthetic devices, to the myriad of artificial implants, and to the early developments of this technology in cochlear and retinal implants. Our concern, then and now, was to draw attention to the ethical issues arising from these innovations. Since that time, breakthroughs have occurred at (...) a breathtaking pace. Scientists, researchers, and engineers using differing methodologies are pursuing the possibilities of direct interfaces between brains and machines. Technological innovations as such are neither good nor evil; it is the uses devised for them that create moral implications. As there can be ethical problems inherent in the proper human uses of technologies and because brain chips are a very likely future technology, it is prudent to formulate policies and regulations that will mitigate their ill effects before the technologies are widespread. Unlike genetic technologies, which have received widespread scrutiny within the scientific community, national governments, and international forums, brain–machine interfaces have received little social or ethical scrutiny. However, the potential of this technology to change and significantly affect humans is potentially far greater than that of genetic enhancements, because genetic enhancements are inherently limited by biology and the single location of an individual, whereas hybrids of human and machine are not so restricted. Today, intense interest is focused on the development of drugs to enhance memory; yet, these drugs merely promise an improvement of normal memory, not the encyclopedic recall of a computer-enhanced mind combined with the ability to share information at a distance. The potential of brain chips for transforming humanity are astounding. This paper describes advances in hybrid brain–machine interfaces, offers some likely hypotheses concerning future developments, reflects on the implications of combining cloning and transplanted brain chips, and suggests some potential methods of regulating these technologies. (shrink)
Functional imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging, present a unique opportunity to examine, in humans, the cerebral representation of space in vivo. Space is ubiquitous and not a unitary phenomenon, and the brain uses visual, vestibular and proprioceptive inputs to produce multiple representations of space subserving spatial cognition, ranging from gaze control to remembering multiple complex large-scale environments. Functional imaging studies have shown the importance of the parietal cortex in perceptual, motor, attention and working (...) memory aspects of body-centred human spatial cognition. Functional imaging has also revealed pathways in humans homologous to those found in monkeys for the separate processing of spatial location and object identity. There are further suggestions of similar differentiation in working memory. The importance of the medial temporal region in the recall of spatial location has been confirmed also and novel virtual reality paradigms are now providing insights into the cerebral representation of spatially-extended large-scale environments. We still have much to learn about the cerebral representation of space in the human brain and functional brain imaging, in concert with patient studies and animal models, will allow us to continue investigating. (shrink)