In this paper, I argue that John Locke's account of knowledge coupled with his commitments to moral ideas being voluntary constructions of our own minds and to divine voluntarism (moral rules are given by God according to his will) leads to a seriously flawed view of moral knowledge. After explicating Locke's view of moral knowledge, highlighting the specific problems that seem to arise from it, and suggesting some possible Lockean responses, I conclude that the best Locke can do is give (...) us a trivial account of moral knowledge which cannot avoid problems with subjectivity and relativism. (shrink)
Moral philosophers have given increased attention to moral intuitionism in recent years. Despite articulations of moral intuitionism that should be taken more seriously than they have been, dissenters continue to express opposition. Among the most frequent criticisms of moral intuitionism are the Mysteriousness and Dogmatism Objections. The Mysteriousness Objection charges moral intuitionists with postulating a mysterious faculty of knowing. The Dogmatism Objection accuses moral intuitionists of relying on dogmatic assertions which are not, or cannot be, proven or adequately argued for. (...) In this dissertation I defend moral intuitionism against both attacks. By drawing on resources going back to eighteenth-century intuitionists, I show that a carefully articulated moral intuitionism neither requires a mysterious faculty of knowing nor invites dogmatism. I first investigate the moral intuitionism of four eighteenth-century British philosophers which anticipates and begins to address the Mysteriousness and Dogmatism Objections. Both critics of and adherents to moral intuitionism in the contemporary period have largely ignored the moral intuitionism of these eighteenth-century thinkers. Two significant contributions of this chapter are that it gives serious attention to the moral intuitionism of the eighteenth-century moral intuitionists, and it prepares for utilizing their views in answering objections to contemporary moral intuitionism. Next, I briefly explicate a plausible version of a moderate moral intuitionism against which the Mysteriousness and Dogmatism Objections are evaluated. Finally, I set out the details of each of these objections and respond to them. The sustained attention I give to these objections is a further significant contribution of this dissertation. I conclude that the Mysteriousness and Dogmatism Objections are not successful attacks on moral intuitionism. (shrink)
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)
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)
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)
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)
This book introduces the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant—in particular, the concepts of autonomy, dignity, and character—to economic theory, explaining the importance of integrating these two streams of intellectual thought. Mainstream economics is rooted in classical utilitarianism, recommending that decision makers choose the options that are expected to generate the largest net benefits. For individuals, the standard economic model fails to incorporate the role of principles in decision-making, and also denies the possibility of true choice, which can be independent of (...) preferences and principles altogether. For policymakers, standard decision-making frameworks recommend tradeoffs that are beneficial in terms of material goods or wealth, but may be morally questionable from a more person-centered perspective. Integrating Kantian ethics affects economics in three important ways. This integration allows for a more complete understanding of human choice, incorporating not just preferences and constraints, but also principles and strength of will or character. It demonstrates the broader impact of welfare economics, which generates policies that affect not only persons' well-being, but also their dignity and autonomy. Finally, it reconciles the traditional, individualist stance in economic models of choice with the social responsibility emphasized by many systems of philosophical ethics and heterodox schools of economics. (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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
The issue of the dimensionality of materialism and postmaterialism, and their impact on key social and personal indicators, has been a hotly debated topic for decades. This study sought to achieve two goals to further our understanding of these constructs. First, it assessed whether an interactive materialism–postmaterialism conceptualization could be expanded to predict outcomes related to well-being. Second, the study extended the interactive model by using Richins’ three dimensions of materialism instead of the unidimensional construct utilized in previous studies. Results (...) indicated that the interactive model successfully predicted three different measures of well-being, specifically physical symptoms, stress, and subjective vitality. Results are discussed in terms of extending materialism–postmaterialism theory, both with respect to refining the materialism construct as well as its associations with new criterion variables. (shrink)
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.
A common method of making a theory more understandable is to compare it to another theory that has been better developed. Radical interpretation is a theory that attempts to explain how communication has meaning. Radical interpretation is treated as another time-dependent theory and compared to the time-dependent theory of biological evolution. The main reason for doing this is to find the nature of the time dependence; producing analogs between the two theories is a necessary prerequisite to this and brings up (...) many problems. When the nature of the time dependence is better known it might allow the underlying mechanism to be uncovered. Several similarities and differences are uncovered, and there appear to be more differences than similarities. (shrink)
Previous research on unethical business behavior usually has focused on its impact from a financial or philosophical perspective. While such foci are important to our understanding of unethical behavior, we argue that another set of outcomes linked to individual well-being are critical as well. Using data from psychological, criminological, and epidemiological sources, we propose a model of unethical behavior and well-being. This model postulates that decrements in well-being result from stress or trauma stemming from being victimized by, engaging in, or (...) witnessing unethical behavior, or even from being associated with individuals involved in such behavior. (shrink)
This analysis explores theories of recollective memories and their shortcomings to show how certain recollective memories are to some extent the initial experiencing of past conscious mental states. While dedicated memory theorists over the past century show remembering to be an active and subjective process, they usually make simplistic assumptions regarding the experience that is remembered. Their treatment of experience leaves unexplored the notion that the truth of memory is a dynamic interaction between experience and recollection. The argument's seven sections (...) examine how experience, consciousness, and the self produce memories in odd but actual situations. Examples are presented that are either actual or technologically possible, and they pose a challenge for some theories of memory. Showing that an experience and a memory must be bound by psychological continuity, the sections build upon each other to challenge aprioristic beliefs about the self and consciousness. The later sections examine the lack of available accounts of memory that acknowledge consciousness, dissociation, and "selfhood" to be matters of degree, thus rendering memory theories next to useless when trying to effectively incorporate the notions of experience and reality. (shrink)
Kripke (1982, Wittgenstein on rules and private language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press) presents a rule-following paradox in terms of what we meant by our past use of “plus”, but the same paradox can be applied to any other term in natural language. Many responses to the paradox concentrate on fixing determinate meaning for “plus”, or for a small class of other natural language terms. This raises a problem: how can these particular responses be generalised to the whole of natural language? (...) In this paper, I propose a solution. I argue that if natural language is computable in a sense defined below, and the Church–Turing thesis is accepted, then this auxiliary problem can be solved. (shrink)
Foucault’s History of Sexuality 1 cannot be understood without sustained attention to its ironies, which are written into every level from diction to structure. The little book does not intend to deliver a theory, queer or otherwise. It means rather to display and then to frustrate the desire for theory—especially when it comes to sexuality.
Much has been made of the power of the Internet and related communication technologies to serve as a new public sphere in which democracy can flourish. The evidence, however, has been limited; like the telephone and the postal letter before that, the Internet has powers as a capable tool for organizing social action and protest. Otherwise, though, it seems to have been co-opted by commercial interests and to be used by the public for arguments concerning already settled opinions, a far (...) cry from the fruitful and thoughtful debates demanded by a true public sphere. (shrink)
It is argued that colour name strategy, object name strategy, and chunking strategy in memory are all aspects of the same general phenomena, called stereotyping, and this in turn is an example of a know-how representation. Such representations are argued to have their origin in a principle called the minimum duplication of resources. For most the subsequent discussions existence of colour name strategy suffices. It is pointed out that the BerlinA- KayA universal partial ordering of colours and the frequency of (...) traffic accidents classified by colour are surprisingly similar; a detailed analysis is not carried out as the specific colours recorded are not identical. Some consequences of the existence of a name strategy for the philosophy of language and mathematics are discussed: specifically it is argued that in accounts of truth and meaning it is necessary throughout to use real numbers as opposed to bi-valent quantities; and also that the concomitant label associated with sentences should not be of unconditional truth, but rather several real-valued quantities associated with visual communication. The implication of real-valued truth quantities is that the Continuum Hypothesis of pure mathematics is side-stepped, because real valued quantities occur ab initio. The existence of name strategy shows that thought/sememes and talk/phonemes can be separate, and this vindicates the assumption of thought occurring before talk used in psycho-linguistic speech production models. (shrink)
About the extent of moral agency in the animal kingdom, one view is that only humans are moral agents. Holding a different view, I argue that moral agency depends on the capacity for other-regard and the capacity to be attuned to significance—such that things matter to one. I derive a criterion where a creature is a moral agent if she performs an action that promotes others’ significant interests and brings great costs to herself where she is aware of these significant (...) interests and imposed costs. Failure to confirm that she has this awareness is a weakness of examples of moral agency in animals that writers provide, since she may be unaware of the significance of what she is doing. Since species of non-ape Primates and aquatic mammals satisfy the evidential criterion, moral agency is likely prevalent throughout much of Mammalia. I consider possible objections from Kant, Singer, and Korsgaard. (shrink)
This paper attempts to incorporate the ethics of John Dewey into the neoclassical model of rational choice. I show that while it may be possible to modify the preference-satisfaction model of homo economicus in order to include many aspects of Dewey's ethics, there are some issues, such as his concepts of the continuity of action, time horizons, and the social nature of the individual, that prove much more difficult to combine with the economic model of human behavior.