Moral theories which, like those of Plato, Aristotle and Aquinas, give a central place to the virtues, tend to assume that as traits of character the virtues are mutually compatible so that it is possible for one and the same person to possess them all. This assumption—let us call it the compatibility thesis—does not deny the existence of painful moral dilemmas: it allows that the virtues may conflict in particular situations when considerations associated with different virtues favour incompatible courses of (...) action, but holds that these conflicts occur only at the level of individual actions. Thus while it may not always be possible to do both what would be just and what would be kind or to act both loyally and honestly, it is possible to be both a kind and a just person and to have both the virtue of loyalty and the virtue of honesty. (shrink)
This article is an amendment to Drengson (2011) that offers examples from fieldwork and reporting of practices influenced by the technocratic paradigm. Specifically (1) Krippner's work with Brazilian shamans and the theft of their tribal knowledge by the biotechnology industry that Krippner refers to as ecopiratism. (2) Hitchcock's field research with indigenous populations in the northwestern Kalahari Desert region of southern Africa and his documented assault of these indigenous peoples by private companies that Hitchcock refers to as developmental genocide. And (...) (3) Walker's summary of Monsanto's patenting of seeds, and her warning of the health and environmental problems associated with genetically modified organisms. These examples offer support for the hypothesis that the eco-crisis is born of conscious agency. Beyond documenting and diagnosing these symptoms of the eco-crisis, this article puts forth the thesis that a transformation of consciousness would change the conditions of our present situation by providing the opportunity for different solutions to be found through the creation of a new mind set to make the necessary decisions for change. Many refer to the emerging field concerned with developing approaches to this transformation of consciousness as ecopsychology that Schroll prefers to call transpersonal ecosophy. (shrink)
Evidence for instances of astrophysical 'fine tuning' (or 'coincidences') is thought by some to lend support to the design argument (i.e. the argument that our universe has been designed by some deity). We assess some of the relevant empirical and conceptual issues. We argue that astrophysical fine tuning calls for some explanation, but this explanation need not appeal to the design argument. A clear and strict separation of the issue of anthropic fine tuning on one hand and any form of (...) Eddingtonian numerology and teleology on the other, may help clarify arguably the most significant issue in the philosophy of cosmology. (shrink)
In a recent study of astrophysical “fine-tunings” (or “coincidences”), Robert Klee critically assesses the support that such astrophysical evidence might be thought to lend to the design argument (i.e., the argument that our universe has been designed by some deity). Klee argues that a proper assessment indicates that the universe is not as “fine-tuned” as advertised by proponents of the design arguments. We argue (i) that Klee’s assessment of the data is, to a certain extent, problematic; and (ii) even if (...) Klee’s assessment of the data is correct, it provides a necessary but not a sufficient response to the design argument. However, an adequate skeptical rejoinder to the design argument can be made by appealing to the anthropic principle. (shrink)
Philosophical accounts of "action" standardly take an action to be a doing which _satisfies some description that is semantically related to the content of a propositional attitude of the subject's which _explains why that doing occurred. Causal theories of action require that the explanation in question must involve the causation of action-doings by propositional attitudes (typically intentions, volitions, or combinations of belief and desire). I argue that there are actions whose status, as such, cannot be acknowledged by any causal theory, (...) since no such theory can allow that they fulfill the satisfaction condition. (shrink)
Approximately one in six persons in the U.S. lacks medical insurance. Legislation permits only physicians to prescribe many common medicines. This state of affairs is unjust. A just society cannot have it both ways: legislation cannot say that the expertise of physicians is so precious that only they can prescribe medicine and that not everyone is guaranteed reasonable access to their services. If there is no guarantee of reasonable access, then physicians should not have a monopoly on writing prescriptions, and (...) if there is a monopoly on writing prescriptions then people should have reasonable access to their services. To remedy this situation we must ensure that all citizens have reasonable access to medical services, or allow the uninsured to self-medicate. (shrink)
Virtue and the Moral Life brings together distinguished philosophers and theologians with younger scholars of consummate promise to produce ten essays that engage both academics and students of ethics. This collection explores the role virtues play in identifying the good life and the good society.
This is a revised edition of Walker's well-known book in feminist ethics first published in 1997. Walker's book proposes a view of morality and an approach to ethical theory which uses the critical insights of feminism and race theory to rethink the epistemological and moral position of the ethical theorist, and how moral theory is inescapably shaped by culture and history. The main gist of her book is that morality is embodied in "practices of responsibility" that express our (...) identities, values, and connections to others in socially patterned ways. Thus ethical theory needs to be empirically informed and politically critical to avoid reiterating forms of socially entrenched bias. Responsible ethical theory should reveal and question the moral significance of social differences. The book engages with, and challenges, the work of contemporary analytic philosophers in ethics. Moral Understandings has been influential in reaching a global audience in ethics and feminist philosophy, as well as in tangential fields like nursing ethics; research ethics; disability ethics; environmental ethics, and social and political theory. This revised edition contains a new preface, a substantive postscript to Chapter 1 about "the subject of moral philosophy"; the addition of a new chapter on the importance of emotion in practices of responsibility; and the addition of an afterword, which responds to critics of the book. (shrink)
Moral psychology is between paradigms. Kohlberg's model of moral rationality has proved inadequate in explaining action; yet its augmentation—moral personality—awaits empirical embodiment. This article addresses some critical issues in developing a comprehensive empirical paradigm of moral personhood. Is a first-person or a third-person definition of moral behaviour more appropriate? Is operative moral judgement better understood as deliberative or intuitive? What is the essential nature of the moral self? Two basic constructs of moral personality which have been posited to help span (...) the judgement-action gap—moral centrality and integrity—are critically reviewed and some criteria are proffered for evaluating competing models of moral personhood. Significant directions for future research are noted with the hope of moving the field towards a new paradigm of moral personhood. While the content of this paradigm will differ markedly from Kohlberg's, we contend that the spirit of his enterprise will be manifest with vigour redoubled. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine recent critiques of the debate about defining disease, which claim that its use of conceptual analysis embeds the problematic assumption that the concept is classically structured. These critiques suggest, instead, developing plural stipulative definitions. Although we substantially agree with these critiques, we resist their implication that no general definition of “disease” is possible. We offer an alternative, inductive argument that disease cannot be classically defined and that the best explanation for this is that the concept (...) is structured as a cluster. We further argue that we do not need to reject the possibility of defining the general concept “disease” to legitimate developing stipulative definitions of disease that are relative to particular purposes. A cluster definition of disease is compatible with contextually motivated definitions, which may be considered précisifications of the more general cluster concept. (shrink)
Spatial asymmetries are an intriguing feature of directed attention. Recent observations indicate an influence of temperament upon the direction of these asymmetries. It is unknown whether this influence generalises to visual orienting behaviour. The aim of the current study was therefore to explore the relationship between temperament and measures of spatial orienting as a function of target hemifield. An exogenous cueing task was administered to 92 healthy participants. Temperament was assessed using Carver and White's (1994) Behavioural Inhibition System and Behavioural (...) Activation System (BIS/BAS) scales. Individuals with high sensitivity to punishment and low sensitivity to reward showed a leftward asymmetry of directed attention when there was no informative spatial cue provided. This asymmetry was not present when targets were preceded by spatial cues that were either valid or invalid. The findings support the notion that individual variations in temperament influence spatial asymmetries in visual orienting, but only when lateral targets are preceded by a non-directional (neutral) cue. The results are discussed in terms of hemispheric asymmetries and dopamine activity. (shrink)
A basic model of hierarchical structure, expressed by simple, linear differential equations, shows that the pattern of population growth is essentially determined by conditions of redundancy in the sub-structure of individuals. There does not exist any possible combination between growth rate and accident rate that could balance population numbers and/or the level of redundancy within the population; all possible combinations either lead to extinction or to positive population growth with a decline of the fraction of individuals with redundant substructure. Declining (...) populations, however, can be held fluctuating between certain limits by periodic phases of sub-unit repair. These results are particularly pertinent to the population dynamics of diploid (polyploid) organisms. (shrink)
Infectious disease outbreaks in residential care are complex to manage and difficult to control. Research in this setting that includes individuals who lack capacity must conform to national legislation. We report here on our study that is investigating outbreaks of scabies, an itchy skin infection, in the residential care setting in the southeast of England. There appears to be a gap in legislative advice regarding the inclusion of people who lack capacity in research that takes place during time-limited acute scenarios (...) such as outbreaks. We received inconsistent advice from experts regarding, in particular, the role of nominated consultees. There is a potential inequality for vulnerable populations who cannot themselves provide informed consent in terms of their access to participation in a range of health-related research. (shrink)
Status characteristics theory predicts the emergence and structure of power and prestige orders in task groups from members' status attributes. This paper argues that application of the burden of proof assumption, central to the theory, is inconsistent with a key concept, generalized expectation state. A reformulation is proposed that eliminates the inconsistency and gives competing predictions for a wide range of situations. The reformulation predicts that, when not directly relevant to task performance, specific characteristics (e.g., athletic or analytical ability) have (...) less impact than diffuse characteristics (race, gender, or education) on performance expectations. The original formulation predicts equal effects. Critical tests are proposed and the paper concludes with additional comparisons of the two formulations on the grounds of parsimony and implications for intervention in settings characterized by status-based inequalities. (shrink)
Aims and background: Little is known about how participants perceive prevention trials, particularly trials designed to prevent mental illness. This study examined participants’ motives for participating in a trial and their views of randomisation and the ability to withdraw from a randomised controlled trial (RCT) for prevention of depression. Methods: Participants were older adults reporting elevated depression symptoms (N = 900) living in urban and regional locations in Australia who had consented to participate in an RCT of interventions to prevent (...) depression. Participants rated their agreement with various statements describing motivations for enrolment in the trial and opinions regarding randomisation and withdrawal. Results: The majority of participants expressed a triad of altruistic motivation for participation, relative lack of concern about randomisation and commitment to the trial. Certain subgroups of participants, such as women and those with higher depression scores, reported higher levels of concern about specific issues. Conclusions: The findings suggest that participants enrolled in prevention trials for mental illness are likely to hold positive attitudes (eg, high commitment, low expectation of personal gain) towards research trials. The identification of relationships between key person factors and trial-related attitudes enabled profiling of participant groups, which can inform recruitment strategies and interactions of participants and research projects in future prevention trials. (shrink)
Aims and background: Little is known about how participants perceive prevention trials, particularly trials designed to prevent mental illness. This study examined participants’ motives for participating in a trial and their views of randomisation and the ability to withdraw from a randomised controlled trial for prevention of depression. Methods: Participants were older adults reporting elevated depression symptoms living in urban and regional locations in Australia who had consented to participate in an RCT of interventions to prevent depression. Participants rated their (...) agreement with various statements describing motivations for enrolment in the trial and opinions regarding randomisation and withdrawal. Results: The majority of participants expressed a triad of altruistic motivation for participation, relative lack of concern about randomisation and commitment to the trial. Certain subgroups of participants, such as women and those with higher depression scores, reported higher levels of concern about specific issues. Conclusions: The findings suggest that participants enrolled in prevention trials for mental illness are likely to hold positive attitudes towards research trials. The identification of relationships between key person factors and trial-related attitudes enabled profiling of participant groups, which can inform recruitment strategies and interactions of participants and research projects in future prevention trials. (shrink)
Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE In _The Reveries of a Solitary Walker_, Rousseau keeps a record of the thoughts, ideas, and reveries that freely run through his mind during his solitary walks. He finds that it is only when he is alone and not being disturbed that he is able to exist just for himself, and can “truly claim to be what nature willed”. Rousseau goes on these solitary walks in the countryside on the outskirts of Paris. (...) But if solitude is what he requires, why travel all the way to the countryside, which he says is very far from his residence in the middle of Paris? Put another way, why does he feel the need to be amidst nature in order to engage in these reveries? What do his reveries tell us about the role that nature has played in his life? This article will examine the role of nature in Rousseau’s solitary walks, as well as its presence in his life as revealed through his reveries. In particular, we will see that nature has played a central role in shaping Rousseau’s soul both during his adolescence and his adulthood. It is an essential ingredient to helping Rousseau realize his project of examining and ordering his soul, and in his attempt to understand what kind of man he is, given his deracination from mainstream society. Throughout his life nature has served as his mirror for self-examination; it acts as a trigger for various memories, it provides a harmonious setting for delving into the more painful of these memories, and allows him to extract insights that enable him to face his mortality. (shrink)
The existence of child soldiers is a problem of the ages, and there are no positive signs that it is abating. The difference now is that, with the development of modern weapons technology, children can be involved in large scale and horrific acts during conflicts. The circumstances surrounding the use of children to wage war will vary from situation to situation. Yet, it has been suggested that many people seem to have a ‘single focussed’ view of what child soldiers look (...) like, what their motivations are, and why they are engaged in activities associated with conflict. This article reflects on the recent views expressed by Mark A. Drumbl, who argues that we should ‘reimagine’ child soldiers, and offers some further views as to how this issue should best be addressed. (shrink)
artificial life, each of which is a grand challenge requiring a major advance on a fundamental issue for its solution. Each problem is briefly explained, and, where deemed helpful, some promising paths to its solution are indicated.
In the twenty-four years since the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, a body of high-quality scholarship on socialism has slowly accumulated. Here I discuss two superb additions to this incipient post–Cold War canon, Mark Bevir’s The Making of British Socialism and Jonathan Sperber’s Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life. Both authors take it as axiomatic that the socialist utopia, with its quasi-eschatological promise of complete human emancipation, is an idea whose time has passed. But Bevir and, to a lesser (...) degree, Sperber discern a utopian afterglow that warrants our interest—and is still quite capable of providing inspiration. “This book has been a long time in the making,” Mark Bevir admits in the .. (shrink)
Mark Blyth's 'Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea' is at heart a morality tale, or, more accurately, an account of two competing and diametrically opposed morality tales jostling to explain both the recent Global Financial Crisis that engulfed much of Europe in 2008 and the austerity policies that were implemented by most governments in that region in its aftermath. According to proponents of austerity, economic growth can only be achieved through reductions in state spending. Blyth argues with great (...) passion and intelligence that the austerity policies, which have involved severe cuts to government services and higher tax rates for average wage-earners, have not only caused great misery but are, in the end, economically counter-productive. (shrink)
In a recent article Mark Ian Thomas Robson argues that there is a clear contradiction between the view that possible worlds are a part of God's nature and the theologically pivotal, but philosophically neglected, claim that God is perfectly beautiful. In this article I show that Robson's argument depends on several key assumptions that he fails to justify and as such that there is reason to doubt the soundness of his argument. I also demonstrate that if Robson's argument were (...) sound then this would be a problem for all classical theists and not just those who hold the possible worlds view. (shrink)
I critically examine Adams and Garrison’s proposed necessary condition for the mark of the cognitive (Adams and Garrison in Minds Mach 23(3):339–352, 2013). After a brief presentation of their position, I argue not only that their proposal is in need of additional support, but also that it is too restrictive.