If libertarianism is true, then there is a sense in which agents have it within their power to bring it about that some world is actual. Against recent arguments for the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom, I offer an account of power over the past which takes this implication of libertarianism into consideration. I argue that the resulting account is available to Ockhamists and that it is immune to recent criticisms of the notion of counterfactual power over the (...) past. But I contend that it is not an option for Molinists and that this fact leaves that position vulnerable to incompatibilist arguments. (shrink)
This is the second volume of an "essay in existential philosophy." The first, published in 1977, was intended to "do justice to certain experiential givens of immediate experience" which, once subjected to "severe" testing, could be established as "scientific hypotheses at the level of an existential critique of knowledge". The second volume now means to provide "an ensemble of ideal base intuitions, expressible as a 'system', of which each constitutes the concrete taking of a position before a certain state of (...) things in the existential domain". Its method is to work from descriptions of "the existent in the domain of action" in order to find "kernels of convergence, centers of autonomy, that is structures," and so to be able to ask, finally, about the ground of these in a transcendent act of being. (shrink)
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has emerged as an effective way for firms to create favorable attitudes among consumers. Although prior research has addressed the direct influence of proactive and reactive CSR on consumer responses, this research hypothesized that consumers’ perceived organizational motives (i.e., attributions) will mediate this relationship. It was also hypothesized that the source of information and location of CSR initiative will affect the motives consumers assign to a firms’ engagement in the initiative. Two experiments were conducted to test (...) these hypotheses. The results of Study 1 indicate that the nature of a CSR initiative influences consumer attribution effects and that these attributions act as mediators in helping to explain consumers’ responses to CSR. Study 2 suggests that the source of the CSR message moderates the effect of CSR on consumer attributions. The mediating influence of the attributions as well as the importance of information source suggests that proper communication of CSR can be a viable way to inculcate positive corporate associations and purchase intentions. (shrink)
In "Behavioral Law and Economics: The Assault on Consent, Will, and Dignity," Mark D. White uses the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant to examine the intersection of economics, psychology, and law known as "behavioral law and economics." Scholars in this relatively new field claim that, because of various cognitive biases and failures, people often make choices that are not in their own interests. The policy implications of this are that public and private organizations, such as the state and employers, (...) can and should design the presentation of options and default choices in order to "steer" people to the decision they would make, were they able to make choices in the absence of their cognitive biases and failures. Such policies are promoted under the name "libertarian paternalism," because choice is not blocked or co-opted, but simply "nudged." White argues that such manipulation of choice is impossible to conduct in people's true interests, and any other goal pursed by policymakers substitutes their own ends, however benevolent they may be, for people's true ends. Normatively, such manipulation should not be conducted because it fails to respect the dignity and autonomy of persons, what some hold to be the central idea in Kant's ethical system, and which serves to protect the individual from coercion, however subtle, from other persons or the state. (shrink)
American orthodox medicine consolidated its professional authority in the early 20th Century on the basis of its unbiased scientific method. The centerpiece of such a method is a strategy for identifying truly effective new therapies, i.e., the randomized clinical trial (RCT). A crucial component of the RCT in illnesses without established treatment is the placebo control. Placebo effects must be identified and distinguished from pharmacological effects because placebos produce actual but unexplained therapeutic successes. The blinding necessary for a proper placebo-controlled (...) RCT therefore introduces an epistemic bias into orthodox medicine: therapeutic successes that rely upon a direct link between knowing and healing, such as placebo effects, are discarded in favor of therapeutic successes that rely upon an indirect link between knowing and healing, such as pharmacological interventions. Where the capacity to produce therapeutic results once validated the method of clinical medical science, now method validates results. The clinical consequences of this method of testing therapies include a diminished vision of the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship and of the potential human resources available for healing. Keywords: doctor-patient relationship, epistemology, placebo effect, professionalization, randomized clinical trials CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This is an accessible, concise introduction to phenomenological research in education and social sciences. Mark Vagle outlines the key principles for conducting this research from leading contemporary practitioners, such as van Manen, Giorgi, and Dahlberg. He builds on their work by introducing his post-intentional phenomenology, which incorporates elements of post-structural thinking into traditional methods. Vagle provides readers with methodological tools to build their own phenomenological study, addressing such issues as data gathering, validity, and writing. Replete with exercises for students, (...) case studies, resources for further research, and examples of completed phenomenological studies, this brief book affords the instructor an easy entrée into introducing phenomenology into courses on qualitative research, social theory, or educational research. (shrink)
We show that the fundamental legal structure of a well-written financial contract follows a state-transition logic that can be formalized mathematically as a finite-state machine (specifically, a deterministic finite automaton or DFA). The automaton defines the states that a financial relationship can be in, such as “default,” “delinquency,” “performing,” etc., and it defines an “alphabet” of events that can trigger state transitions, such as “payment arrives,” “due date passes,” etc. The core of a contract describes the rules by which different (...) sequences of events trigger particular sequences of state transitions in the relationship between the counterparties. By conceptualizing and representing the legal structure of a contract in this way, we expose it to a range of powerful tools and results from the theory of computation. These allow, for example, automated reasoning to determine whether a contract is internally coherent and whether it is complete relative to a particular event alphabet. We illustrate the process by representing a simple loan agreement as an automaton. (shrink)
I argue in this article that there is a mistake in Searle's Chinese room argument that has not received sufficient attention. The mistake stems from Searle's use of the Church-Turing thesis. Searle assumes that the Church-Turing thesis licences the assumption that the Chinese room can run any program. I argue that it does not, and that this assumption is false. A number of possible objections are considered and rejected. My conclusion is that it is consistent with Searle's argument to hold (...) onto the claim that understanding consists in the running of a program. (shrink)
The first look at the philosophy behind the _Captain America_ comics and movies, publishing in advance of the movie release of _Captain America: The Winter Solider_ in April 2014. In _The Virtues of Captain America_, philosopher and long-time comics fan Mark D. White argues that the core principles, compassion, and judgment exhibited by the 1940’s comic book character Captain America remain relevant to the modern world. Simply put, "Cap" embodies many of the classical virtues that have been important to (...) us since the days of the ancient Greeks: honesty, courage, loyalty, perseverance, and, perhaps most importantly, honor. Full of entertaining examples from more than 50 years of comic books, White offers some serious philosophical discussions of everyone’s favorite patriot in a light-hearted and accessible way. Presents serious arguments on the virtues of Captain America while being written in a light-hearted and often humorous tone Introduces basic concepts in moral and political philosophy to the general reader Utilizes examples from 50 years of comics featuring Captain America, the Avengers, and other Marvel superheroes Affirms the value of "old-fashioned" virtues for the modern world without indulging in nostalgia for times long passed Reveals the importance of the sound principles that America was founded upon Publishing in advance of _Captain America: The Winter Soldier _out in April 2014. (shrink)
Clinical bioethics is big business. There are now hundreds of people who bioethics in community and university hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation and home care settings, and some who play the role of clinical ethics consultant to transplant teams, managed care companies, and genetic testing firms. Still, there is as much speculation about what clinically active bioethicists actually do as there was ten years ago. Various commentators have pondered the need for training standards, credentials, exams, and malpractice insurance for ethicists engaged (...) in clinical consultation. Much of the discussion seems to accept an implicit presumption that all clinical ethics consultation practices look pretty much alike. But is this accurate? What do clinical ethicists do, how and where do they do it, and what kind of clinical ethics is useful in the hospital and in other settings? (shrink)
Prior research has studied the antecedents of beliefs regarding ethics and social responsibility (ESR). However, few studies have examined how individual well-being may be related to such beliefs. In this exploratory study, we assessed the relationship between perceived importance of ESR – both individually and of one's company – and indicators of physical and psychological well-being. Results demonstrated that perceived importance of ESR was associated with three aspects of well-being: exuberance for life, sleep problems, and job stress. The results are (...) discussed in terms of future directions for research, and the need for a conceptual framework connecting individual and organizational perceptions of ESR and outcomes of well-being. (shrink)
As a product of natural selection, pain behavior must serve an adaptive function for the species beyond the accurate portrayal of the pain experience. Pain behavior does not simply refer to the pain experience, but promotes survival of the species in various and complex ways. This means that there is no purely respondent or operant pain behavior found in nature.
Claude Bernard's concept of the internal environment ( milieu intérieur ) played a crucial role in the development of experimental physiology and the specific medical therapeutics derived from it. This concept allowed the experimentalist to approach the organism as fully determined yet relatively autonomous with respect to its external environment. However, Bernard's theory of knowledge required that he find organismic functioning as the result of an external necessity. He is therefore unable to explain adequately the origin or operation of organismic (...) autonomy. A more complete conception of biological autonomy must include a theory of knowledge that can accommodate the organism as a source of discrimination and determination. Only in this way will it be possible to see organisms as active as well as reactive, as ordering as well as ordered. This shift in perspective is crucial if medicine is to be able to characterize, for example, susceptibility to disease. A cognitive sense of the organic interior is proposed as an alternative to Bernard's internal environment. Keywords: biological autonomy, Claude Bernard, epistemology, internal environment ( milieu intérieur ) CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In the Aharonov- Bohm effect, electromagnetic potentials alter the two-slit interference pattern formed by an electron beam. We discuss here a curious feature of this effect, namely that, even though the interference pattern changes, none of its moments are shifted.
This book explores the complex issue of international ethics in the two dominant schools of thought in international relations; Liberalism and Realism. Both theories suffer from an inability to integrate the ethical and pragmatic dimensions of foreign policy. Liberal policy makers often suffer from moral blindness and a tendency toward coercion in the international arena, whilst realists tend to be epistemic sceptics, incorporating Nietzsche’s thought, directly or indirectly, into their theories. Mark Gismondi seeks to resolve the issues in these (...) two approaches by adopting a covenant based approach, as described by Daniel Elazar’s work on the covenant tradition in politics, to international relations theory. The covenant approach has three essential principles: policy makers must have a sense of realism about the existence of evil and its political consequences power must be shared and limited liberty requires a basis in shared values. _Ethics, Realism and Liberalism in International Relations_ will be of interest to students and researchers of politics, philosophy, ethics and international relations. (shrink)
How far is Thomas Aquinas available for current discussions in political philosophy? While there are certainly things to be learned from him about our political preoccupations, the pedagogy of his moral teaching typically resists our familiar questions. This holds even when the question is put in terms that Thomas should recognize—say, as a question about the virtues appropriate for a democracy. Thomas not only gives different meanings to these terms, he moves political topics away from the center of theological attention (...) and so organizes them very differently. A reader can notice these differences at many points but perhaps especially in the attention that Thomas gives in the Summa to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. His account of these gifts qualifies significantly what he says of virtue and suggests large limits on human agency, whether in ethics or in politics. (shrink)
Standard linguistic analysis of syntax uses the T-model. This model requires the ordering: D-structure > S-structure > LF, where D-structure is the sentences deep structure, S-structure is its surface structure, and LF is its logical form. Between each of these representations there is movement which alters the order of the constituent words; movement is achieved using the principles and parameters of syntactic theory. Psychological analysis of sentence production is usually either serial or connectionist. Psychological serial models do not accommodate the (...) T-model immediately so that here a new model called the P-model is introduced. The P-model is different from previous linguistic and psychological models. Here it is argued that the LF representation should be replaced by a variant of Frege'sA three qualities (sense, reference, and force), called the FregeA representation or F-representation. In the F-representation the order of elements is not necessarily the same as that in LF and it is suggested that the correct ordering is: F-representation > D-structure > S-structure. This ordering appears to lead to a more natural view of sentence production and processing. Within this framework movement originates as the outcome of emphasis applied to the sentence. The requirement that the F-representation precedes the D-structure needs a picture of the particular principles and parameters which pertain to movement of words between representations. In general this would imply that there is a preferred or optimal ordering of the symbolic string in the F-representation. The standard ordering is retained because the general way of producing such an optimal ordering is unclear. In this case it is possible to produce an analysis of movement between LF and D-structure similar to the usual analysis of movement between S-structure and LF. The necessity of analyzing corrupted data suggests that a maximal amount of information about a language's grammar and lexicon is stored. (shrink)
The traditional doctrine of human dignity has fallen on hard times. It is said that that doctrine is “speciesist to the core” and “the moral effluvium of a discredited metaphysics.” Those of us who would defend the view that humans enjoy greater moral standing than nonhuman living things must answer the question, “What’s so special about humans?” In this paper, I argue that moral agency is a great-making property that confers special worth on its bearer.
THERE are several answers in Aquinas to the question, what is the ground of the world's intelligibility. The fullest- answer is contained by the account of creation and expressed in the doctrine of divine Ideas. I would like to trace the lines of that doctrine in Aquinas's corpus as a means of showing how an account of creation at once clarifies and inverts the analysis of natural intelligibility.