Environmental pragmatists such as Ben Minteer and Bryan Norton have argued that there is an anti-democratic strain to be found in the work of some nonanthropocentrists. I examine three possible sources of the pragmatists' concern: the claim that nonanthropocentrists know the political truth, the claim that those who disagree with their basic principle should be excluded from discussions of policy and the claim that their basic principle is self-evident. I argue here that none of these claims are objectionably anti-democratic when (...) understood properly. (shrink)
Late in 1990, the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at Illinois Institute of Technology (lIT) received a grant of more than $200,000 from the National Science Foundation to try a campus-wide approach to integrating professional ethics into its technical curriculum.! Enough has now been accomplished to draw some tentative conclusions. I am the grant's principal investigator. In this paper, I shall describe what we at lIT did, what we learned, and what others, especially philosophers, can learn (...) from us. We set out to develop an approach that others could profitably adopt. I believe that we succeeded. (shrink)
This paper responds to the commentaries from Stacy Carter and Alan Cribb. We pick up on two main themes in our response. First, we reflect on how the process of setting standards for empirical bioethics research entails drawing boundaries around what research counts as empirical bioethics research, and we discuss whether the standards agreed in the consensus process draw these boundaries correctly. Second, we expand on the discussion in the original paper of the role and significance of the concept (...) of ‘integrating’ empirical methods and ethical argument as a standard for research practice within empirical bioethics. (shrink)
Alan Shewmons article, The brain and somatic integration: Insights into the standard biological rationale for equating brain death with death (2001), strikes at the heart of the standard justification for whole brain death criteria. The standard justification, which I call the standard paradigm, holds that the permanent loss of the functions of the entire brain marks the end of the integrative unity of the body. In my response to Shewmons article, I first offer a brief summary of the standard (...) paradigm and cite recent work by advocates of whole brain criteria who tenaciously cling to the standard paradigm despite increasing evidence showing that it has significant weaknesses. Second, I address Shewmons case against the standard paradigm, arguing that he is successful in showing that whole brain dead patients have integrated organic unity. Finally, I discuss some minor problems with Shewmons article, along with suggestions for further elaboration. (shrink)
Most philosophers agree that beliefs and perceptions represent the world to us and that a particular belief or perception is sometimes distinct from another particular belief or perception because what they represent is different; for example, one thing that distinguishes the belief that snow is white from the belief that grass is green is that the former represents snow while the latter represents grass. However, most philosophers of mind hold that a particular belief or perception is sometimes distinct from another (...) particular belief or perception because of how they represent. Indeed, though few philosophers explicitly recognize a distinction between what something represents and how it represents, the view that there is more to belief and perception than what they represent is about as close to philosophical orthodoxy as anything is. In this dissertation, I give a substantive account the relevant notion of representation and the distinction between what something represents and how it represents. I also bring out this hidden orthodoxy and argue that it is mistaken. Contrary to the orthodoxy, I defend the view that belief and perception present a single class of mental phenomena marked by their representational nature and that any mental difference between any two members of the class must be a difference in what they represent. (shrink)
This book taps the best American thinkers to answer the essential American question: How do we sustain our experiment in government of, by, and for the people? Authored by an extraordinary and politically diverse roster of public officials, scholars, and educators, these chapters describe our nation's civic education problem, assess its causes, offer an agenda for reform, and explain the high stakes at risk if we fail.
In this comprehensive collection of essays, most of which appear for the first time, eminent scholars from many disciplines—philosophy, economics, sociology, political science, demography, theology, history, and social psychology—examine the causes, nature, and consequences of present-day consumption patterns in the United States and throughout the world.
The Quine-Putnam Indispensability argument is the argument for treating mathematical entities on a par with other theoretical entities of our best scientific theories. This argument is usually taken to be an argument for mathematical realism. In this chapter I will argue that the proper way to understand this argument is as putting pressure on the viability of the marriage of scientific realism and mathematical nominalism. Although such a marriage is a popular option amongst philosophers of science and mathematics, in light (...) of the indispensability argument, the marriage is seen to be very unstable. Unless one is careful about how the Quine-Putnam argument is disarmed, one can be forced to either mathematical realism or, alternatively, scientific instrumentalism. I will explore the various options: (i) finding a way to reconcile the two partners in the marriage by disarming the indispensability argument (Jody Azzouni , Hartry Field [13, 14], Alan Musgrave [18, 19], David Papineau ); (ii) embracing mathematical realism (W.V.O. Quine , Michael Resnik , J.J.C. Smart ); and (iii) embracing some form of scientific instrumentalism (Ot´ avio Bueno [7, 8], Bas van Fraassen ). Elsewhere , I have argued for option (ii) and I won’t repeat those arguments here. Instead, I will consider the difficulties for each of the three options just mentioned, with special attention to option (i). In relation to the latter, I will discuss an argument due to Alan Musgrave  for why option (i) is a plausible and promising approach. From the discussion of Musgrave’s argument, it will emerge that the issue of holist versus separatist theories of confirmation plays a curious role in the realism–antirealism debate in the philosophy of mathematics. I will argue that if you take confirmation to be an holistic matter—it’s whole theories (or significant parts thereof) that are confirmed in any experiment—then there’s an inclination to opt for (ii) in order to resolve the marital tension outlined above.. (shrink)
This collection contains the following sixteen essays: "Some Pivotal Issues in Spinoza," by Paul Weiss; "The Deductive Character of Spinoza's Metaphysics," by Michael Hooker; "Spinoza's Ontological Proof," by Willis Doney; "Spinozistic Anomalies," by Jose Benardete; "Some Idealistic Themes in the Ethics," by Robert N. Beck; "Spinoza's Dualism," by Alan Donagan; "Objects, Ideas, and 'Minds': Comments on Spinoza's Theory of Mind," by Margaret D. Wilson; "Parallelism and Complementarity: The Psycho-Physical Problem in the Succession of Niels Bohr," by Hans Jonas; (...) "Spinoza's Political Philosophy: The Lessons and Problems of a Conservative Democrat," by Lewis S. Feuer; "Notes on Spinoza's Critique of Religion," by Hilail Gilden [[sic]] ; "Spinoza and History," by James C. Morrison; "Kant's Critique of Spinoza," by Henry E. Allison; "Hegel's Assessment of Spinoza," by Kenneth L. Schmitz; "Spinoza's Logic of Inquiry: Rationalist or Experientialist?" by Isaac Franck; "De Natura," by Stewart Umphrey; "Analytic and Synthetic Methods in Spinoza's Ethics," by Richard Kennington. (shrink)
The debate on probabilistic measures of coherence has focused on evaluating sets of consistent propositions. In this paper we draw attention to the largely neglected question of whether such measures concur with intuitions on test cases involving inconsistent propositions and whether they satisfy general adequacy constraints on coherence and inconsistency. While it turns out that, for the vast majority of measures in their original shape, this question must be answered in the negative, we show that it is possible to adapt (...) many of them in order to improve their performance. (shrink)
There is a growing body of literature that has sought to undermine systems of ethical regulation, and governance more generally, within the social sciences. In this paper, we argue that any general claim for a system of research ethics governance in social research depends on clarifying the nature of the stake that society has in research. We show that certain accounts of this stake—protecting researchers’ freedoms; ensuring accountability for resources; safeguarding welfare; and supporting democracy—raise relevant ethical considerations that are reasonably (...) contested. However, these accounts cannot underpin a general claim in favour of, or against, a system of research ethics governance. Instead, we defend governance in social research on the grounds that research, as an institutionalised form of enquiry, is a constitutive element of human flourishing, and that society ought to be concerned with the flourishing of its members. We conclude by considering the governance arrangements that follow from, and are justified by, our arguments. (shrink)
This article critically examines Porter and Kramer’s shared value concept to identify its boundaries and limits as a framework for understanding the role of philanthropy and CSR relative to the role of business in society. Cases of implementation and alternative perspectives on innovation reveal that, despite its appeal and uptake in corporate and philanthropic circles, shared value merely advances the conventional rhetoric that what is good for business is good for society. The shared value approach narrows what counts as social (...) value and avoids the friction between business and society. The consequence is that the approach is problematic as a framework for addressing sustainability and development, and an insufficient basis for decision-making about philanthropy and CSR. (shrink)
Herbert Spencer: Legacies explores and assesses the impact of the ideas and work of the great Victorian polymath Herbert Spencer across a wide range of disciplines. In the course of the essays a significant re-evaluation of his influence on Victorian and Edwardian thought is provided. Spencer's contribution to the fields of sociology, anthropology, psychology, biology and ecology are considered, alongside his influence on key figures in science and philosophy. The book brings together scholars from a wide range of disciplines to (...) explore Spencer's nuanced and complex ideas and will be invaluable for historians of science and ideas, and all those interested in the intellectual culture of the late Victorian and Edwardian period. Contributors: Peter J. Bowler, James Elwick, Mark Francis, Bernard Lightman, Chris Renwick, Vanessa L. Ryan, John Skorupski, Michael W. Taylor, Stephen Tomlinson, and Jonathan H. Turner. (shrink)
The work of Ludwig Wittgenstein is seldom used by philosophers of technology, let alone in a systematic way, and in general there has been little discussion about the role of language in relation to technology. Conversely, Wittgenstein scholars have paid little attention to technology in the work of Wittgenstein. In this paper we read the Philosophical Investigations and On Certainty in order to explore the relation between language use and technology use, and take some significant steps towards constructing a framework (...) for a Wittgensteinian philosophy of technology. This framework takes on board, and is in line with, insights from postphenomenological and hermeneutic approaches, but moves beyond those approaches by benefiting from Wittgenstein’s insights into the use of tools, technique, and performance, and by offering a transcendental interpretation of games, forms of life, and grammar. Focusing on Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language in the Investigations, we first discuss the relation between language use and technology use, understood as tool use, by drawing on his analogy between language and tools. This suggests a more general theory of technology use, understood as performance. Then we turn to his epistemology and argue that Wittgenstein’s understanding of language use can be embedded within a more general theory about technology use understood as tool use and technique, since language-in-use is always already a skilled and embodied technological practice. Finally, we propose a transcendental interpretation of games, forms of life, and grammar, which also gives us a transcendental way of looking at technique, technological practice, and performance. With this analysis and interpretation, further supported by comments on robotics and music, we contribute to using and integrating Wittgenstein in a more systematic way within philosophy of technology and engage with perennial questions from the philosophical tradition. (shrink)
Much has been written in the last decade about how we should understand the value of the sociology of bioethics. Increasingly the value of the sociology of bioethics is interpreted by its advocates directly in terms of its relationship to bioethics. It is claimed that the sociology of bioethics (and related disciplinary approaches) should be seen as an important component of work in bioethics. In this paper we wish to examine whether, and how, the sociology of bioethics can be defended (...) as a valid and justified research activity, in the context of debates about the nature of bioethics. We begin by presenting and arguing for an account of bioethics that does justice to the content of the field, the range of questions that belong within this field, and the justificatory standards (and methodological orientations) that can provide convincing answers to these questions. We then consider the role of sociology in bioethics and show how and under what conditions it can contribute to answering questions within bioethics. In the final section, we return to the sociology of bioethics to show that it can make only a limited contribution to the field. (shrink)
The Relational Blockworld (RBW) interpretation of non-relativistic quantum mechanics (NRQM) is introduced. Accordingly, the spacetime of NRQM is a relational, non-separable blockworld whereby spatial distance is only defined between interacting trans-temporal objects. RBW is shown to provide a novel statistical interpretation of the wavefunction that deflates the measurement problem, as well as a geometric account of quantum entanglement and non-separability that satisfies locality per special relativity and is free of interpretative mystery. We present RBW’s acausal and adynamical resolution of the (...) so-called “quantum liar paradox,” an experimental set-up alleged to be problematic for a spacetime conception of reality, and conclude by speculating on RBW’s implications for quantum gravity. (shrink)
In this response, we first tackle what we take to be the core disagreement between ourselves and Hammersley, namely the justification for our model of social research ethics governance. We then consider what follows from our defence of governance for ethics review and show how these claims attend to the specific concerns outlined by Hammersley.
Since it was first proposed by Moses, Shoham, and Tennenholtz, the social laws paradigm has proved to be one of the most compelling approaches to the offline coordination of multiagent systems. In this paper, we make four key contributions to the theory and practice of social laws in multiagent systems. First, we show that the Alternating-time Temporal Logic (atl) of Alur, Henzinger, and Kupferman provides an elegant and powerful framework within which to express and understand social laws for multiagent systems. (...) Second, we show that the effectiveness, feasibility, and synthesis problems for social laws may naturally be framed as atl model checking problems, and that as a consequence, existing atl model checkers may be applied to these problems. Third, we show that the complexity of the feasibility problem in our framework is no more complex in the general case than that of the corresponding problem in the Shoham–Tennenholtz framework (it is np-complete). Finally, we show how our basic framework can easily be extended to permit social laws in which constraints on the legality or otherwise of some action may be explicitly required. We illustrate the concepts and techniques developed by means of a running example. (shrink)
Rowlands defends environmentalism, that is, the conjunction of the ontological claim that cognitive processes are not located exclusively inside the skin of cognizing organisms and the epistemological claim that it is not possible to understand the nature of cognitive processes by focusing exclusively on what is occurring inside the skin of cognizing organisms. Chapter 3 is devoted to explaining how environmentalism differs from other forms of externalism about the mental. The crucial points are that the arguments to be presented for (...) the ontological claim do not turn on considerations about the content of mental states, that environmentalism implies a strong form of externalism, and that standard arguments for externalism, based on considerations about content, do not establish the strong form. (shrink)
In 15 insightful essays, Jacques Derrida and an international group of scholars of religion explore postmodern thinking about God and consider the nature of forgiveness in relation to the paradoxes of the gift. Among the themes addressed by contributors are the possibilities of imagining God as unthinkable, imagining God as non-patriarchal, imagining a return to Augustine, and imagining an age in which praise is far more important than narrative. Questioning God moves readers beyond the parameters of metaphysical reason and modernist (...) rationality as it attempts to think the questions of God and forgiveness in a postmodernist context. Contributors include John D. Caputo, Jacques Derrida, Mark Dooley, Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, Robert Gibbs, Jean Greisch, Kevin Hart, Richard Kearney, Cleo McNelly Kearns, John Milbank, Regina M. Schwartz, Michael J. Scanlon, and Graham Ward. Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion—Merold Westphal, general editor. (shrink)
The “wisdom of the crowd” phenomenon refers to the finding that the aggregate of a set of proposed solutions from a group of individuals performs better than the majority of individual solutions. Most often, wisdom of the crowd effects have been investigated for problems that require single numerical estimates. We investigate whether the effect can also be observed for problems where the answer requires the coordination of multiple pieces of information. We focus on combinatorial problems such as the planar Euclidean (...) traveling salesperson problem, minimum spanning tree problem, and a spanning tree memory task. We develop aggregation methods that combine common solution fragments into a global solution and demonstrate that these aggregate solutions outperform the majority of individual solutions. These case studies suggest that the wisdom of the crowd phenomenon might be broadly applicable to problem-solving and decision-making situations that go beyond the estimation of single numbers. (shrink)
Since it was first proposed by Moses, Shoham, and Tennenholtz, the social laws paradigm has proved to be one of the most compelling approaches to the offline coordination of multiagent systems. In this paper, we make four key contributions to the theory and practice of social laws in multiagent systems. First, we show that the "Alternating-time Temporal Logic" of Alur, Henzinger, and Kupferman provides an elegant and powerful framework within which to express and understand social laws for multiagent systems. Second, (...) we show that the effectiveness, feasibility, and synthesis problems for social laws may naturally be framed as atl model checking problems, and that as a consequence, existing atl model checkers may be applied to these problems. Third, we show that the complexity of the feasibility problem in our framework is no more complex in the general case than that of the corresponding problem in the Shoham—Tennenholtz framework. Finally, we show how our basic framework can easily be extended to permit social laws in which constraints on the legality or otherwise of some action may be explicitly required. We illustrate the concepts and techniques developed by means of a running example. (shrink)
We discuss a recent attempt by Chris Daly and Simon Langford to do away with mathematical explanations of physical phenomena. Daly and Langford suggest that mathematics merely indexes parts of the physical world, and on this understanding of the role of mathematics in science, there is no need to countenance mathematical explanation of physical facts. We argue that their strategy is at best a sketch and only looks plausible in simple cases. We also draw attention to how frequently Daly and (...) Langford find themselves in conflict with mathematical and scientific practice. (shrink)
This paper is a response to Paul Bartha’s ‘Making Do Without Expectations’. We provide an assessment of the strengths and limitations of two notable extensions of standard decision theory: relative expectation theory and Paul Bartha’s relative utility theory. These extensions are designed to provide intuitive answers to some well-known problems in decision theory involving gaps in expectations. We argue that both RET and RUT go some way towards providing solutions to the problems in question but neither extension solves all the (...) relevant problems. (shrink)
Humility is a vital aspect of political discussion, social media and self-help, whilst recent empirical research has linked humility to improved well-being, open-mindedness and increased accuracy in assessing persuasive messages. It is also a topic central to research and discussion in philosophy, applied ethics and religious studies. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Humility is the first collection to present a comprehensive overview the philosophy of humility, whilst also covering important interdisciplinary topics. Comprising forty-one chapters by an international team of (...) contributors, the Handbook is divided into seven parts: Theories of Humility The Ethics of Humility The Politics of Humility Humility in Religious Thought The Epistemology of Humility The Psychology of Humility Humility: Applications to the Social World. Essential reading for students and researchers in ethics, epistemology, political philosophy, and philosophy of mind and psychology, this Handbook will also be extremely useful for those in related disciplines such as psychology, religious studies and law. (shrink)
We argue that indeterminate probabilities are not only rationally permissible for a Bayesian agent, but they may even be rationally required . Our first argument begins by assuming a version of interpretivism: your mental state is the set of probability and utility functions that rationalize your behavioral dispositions as well as possible. This set may consist of multiple probability functions. Then according to interpretivism, this makes it the case that your credal state is indeterminate. Our second argument begins with our (...) describing a world that plausibly has indeterminate chances. Rationality requires a certain alignment of your credences with corresponding hypotheses about the chances. Thus, if you hypothesize the chances to be indeterminate, your will inherit their indeterminacy in your corresponding credences. Our third argument is motivated by a dilemma. Epistemic rationality requires you to stay open-minded about contingent matters about which your evidence has not definitively legislated. Practical rationality requires you to be able to act decisively at least sometimes. These requirements can conflict with each other-for thanks to your open-mindedness, some of your options may have undefined expected utility, and if you are choosing among them, decision theory has no advice to give you. Such an option is playing Nover and Hájek’s Pasadena Game , and indeed any option for which there is a positive probability of playing the Pasadena Game. You can serve both masters, epistemic rationality and practical rationality, with an indeterminate credence to the prospect of playing the Pasadena game. You serve epistemic rationality by making your upper probability positive-it ensures that you are open-minded. You serve practical rationality by making your lower probability 0-it provides guidance to your decision-making. No sharp credence could do both. (shrink)
A model is developed which identifies and describes various factors which affect ethical and unethical behavior in organizations, including a decision-maker's social, government and legal, work, professional and personal environments. The effect of individual decision maker attributes on the decision process is also discussed. The model links these influences with ethical and unethical behavior via the mediating structure of the individual's decision-making process.
According to the thesis of the guise of the normative, all desires are associated with normative appearances or judgments. But guise of the normative theories differ sharply over the content of the normative representation, with the two main versions being the guise of reasons and the guise of the good. Chapter 6 defends the comparative thesis that the guise of reasons thesis is more promising than the guise of the good. The central idea is that observations from the theory of (...) content determination can be used in order to constrain possible theories of the representational contents associated with desire. The authors argue that the initially most promising versions of the guise of the good fail to meet these constraints, and then explain the steep challenge confronting any who wish to craft a new guise of the good theory which meets the constraints while also preserving the initial motivations for adopting any guise of the normative theory at all. But a simple version of the guise of reasons not only avoids the troubles besetting the guise of the good but proceeds immediately from a deep diagnosis of the source of its difficulties. (shrink)
Tragic choices arise during the COVID-19 pandemic when the limited resources made available in acute medical settings cannot be accessed by all patients who need them. In these circumstances, healthcare rationing is unavoidable. It is important in any healthcare rationing process that the interests of the community are recognised, and that decision-making upholds these interests through a fair and consistent process of decision-making. Responding to recent calls to safeguard individuals’ legal rights in decision-making in intensive care, and for new authoritative (...) national guidance for decision-making, this paper seeks to clarify what consistency and fairness demand in healthcare rationing during the COVID-19 pandemic, from both a legal and ethical standpoint. The paper begins with a brief review of UK law concerning healthcare resource allocation, considering how community interests and individual rights have been marshalled in judicial deliberation about the use of limited health resources within the National Health Service. It is then argued that an important distinction needs to be drawn between procedural and outcome consistency, and that a procedurally consistent decision-making process ought to be favoured. Congruent with the position that UK courts have adopted for resource allocation decision-making in the NHS more generally, specific requirements for a procedural framework and substantive triage criteria to be applied within that framework during the COVID-19 pandemic are considered in detail. (shrink)
The meeting focused on uses of ontologies, with a special focus on spatial ontologies, in addressing the ever increasing needs faced by biology and medicine to cope with ever expanding quantities of data. To provide effective solutions computers need to integrate data deriving from myriad heterogeneous sources by bringing the data together within a single framework. The meeting brought together leaders in the field of what are called "top-level ontologies" to address this issue, and to establish strategies among leaders in (...) the field of biomedical ontology for the creation of interoperable biomedical ontologies which will serve the goal of useful data integration. (shrink)
We propose an adynamical, background independent approach to quantum gravity and unification whereby the fundamental elements of Nature are graphical units of space, time and sources. The transition amplitude for these elements of “spacetimesource” is computed using a path integral with discrete Gaussian graphical action. The unit of action for a spacetimesource element is constructed from a difference matrix K and source vector J on the graph, as in lattice gauge theory. K is constructed from graphical relations so that it (...) contains a non-trivial null space, and J is then restricted to the column space of K which ensures it is distributed in a divergence-free fashion over the spacetime defined by the element. This rule for the relational construct of K and J is our proposed fundamental axiom of physics and results in a self-consistency relationship between sources, the spacetime metric, and the stress-energy-momentum content of the element, rather than a dynamical law for time-evolved entities. In its most general form, the set of fundamental elements employed by lattice gauge theory contains scalar fields on nodes and links, and vector fields on nodes. To complete the fundamental set, we propose the addition of scalar fields on plaquettes and vector fields on links. We use this approach via modified Regge calculus to correct proper distance in the Einstein-deSitter cosmology model yielding a fit of the Union2 Compilation supernova data that matches ɅCDM without having to invoke accelerating expansion or dark energy. (shrink)
This book focuses on ageing as a topic of philosophical, theological, and historical anthropology. It provides a systematic inventory of fundamental theoretical questions and assumptions involved in the discussion of ageing and old age. What does it mean for human beings to grow old and become more vulnerable and dependent? How can we understand the manifestations of ageing and old age in the human body? How should we interpret the processes of change in the temporal course of a human life? (...) What impact does old age have on the social dimensions of human existence? In order to tackle these questions, the volume brings together internationally distinguished scholars from the fields of philosophy, theology, cultural studies, social gerontology, and ageing studies. The collection of their original articles makes a twofold contribution to contemporary academic discourse. On one hand, it helps to clarify and deepen our understanding of ageing and old age by examining it from the fundamental point of view of philosophical, theological, and historical anthropology. At the same time, it also enhances and expands the discourses of philosophical, theological, and historical anthropology by systematically taking into account that human beings are essentially ageing creatures. (shrink)