Professor Strawson was interviewed on video on location at King's College, London during the Spring of 1992. Professor Strawson discusses his thoughts on a variety of topics on which he has written previously, providing some illuminating insights into how his thoughts has progressed. The text published here is en excerpt from this interview, translated with kind permission of Mr Rudolf V. Fara, the producer, in which prof. Strawson discusses his philosophical views with Martin Davies, Wilde Reader in Mental Philosophy (...) at Oxford University, and Mark Sainsbury, Susan Stebbing Professor of Philosophy at King's College, University of London. (shrink)
A decade has now passed since the House of Lords removed the immunity from suit in negligence previously enjoyed by advocates in England and Wales. The small number of cases decided against barristers since the removal of the immunity indicates that the closeness of the relationship between barristers and the judiciary may give rise to issues of perceived judicial impartiality. This paper argues that the standard of care applied to barristers may be more generous than that applied to other professions. (...) This is because the courts emphasise the importance of barristers' independence and the judiciary also have a direct interest in avoiding defensive practices on the part of barristers. Expert evidence is uncommon in negligence claims against barristers, placing the judge in the dual role of expert and adjudicator. The paper also considers the principles developed to address actual, apparent and presumed bias on the part of judges and the principles enshrined in Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In concluding, possibilities are explored for redressing the balance in barristers' negligence claims and removing the perception of bias which may currently taint such claims. (shrink)
In 1922 Charles Hartshorne, then an aspiring young philosopher, wrote to Edgar Sheffield Brightman, a preeminent philosopher of religion for twenty-three subsequent years and, remarkably, almost every letter was preserved. In their introductory essays, editors Randall Auxier and MarkDavies place the unusually rich and intensive correspondence in its intellectual context and address the relationship between personalism and process philosophy/theology in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and social philosophy.
In a recent essay, Jerrold Levinson defends his version of hypothetical intentionalism (HI), which is a theory of literary interpretation, from two criticisms. The first, argued by Stephen Davies, is that it is equivalent to the value-maximizing view. The second, argued by Robert Stecker, is that there are straightforward counterexamples to HI. We will argue that Levinson does not successfully fend off either criticism, and further, that in the process of attempting to do so, creates another dilemma for his (...) view. (shrink)
In February 2014, the Belgian Parliament passed legislation allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children of all ages by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions. The Bill became law in early March after being signed by the King, making Belgium the first country in the world to abolish age restrictions for euthanasia. Previously, the youngest age at which euthanasia was permitted was 12 years old in The Netherlands.1Euthanasia was legalised in Belgium in 2002, and the new legislation introduces amendments to (...) the law extending euthanasia to minors in certain circumstances. Euthanasia is now permissible for children of all ages where the child has a “terminal and incurable illness”, experiences “constant and unbearable physical suffering”, and death is expected to occur within a “brief period”. The child must be deemed capable of making the decision, and have the agreement of their parents.Belgian law sets no timetable for euthanasia from the point at which the patient first expresses a wish to die. As with adults seeking euthanasia, any request must be made in writing. A physician and “outsider” brought in to give a second opinion must agree upon the diagnosis and prognosis, and a paediatric psychiatrist or psychologist must certify in writing that the child possesses “the capacity of discernment”. Following this, the child's physician must meet with the parents to inform them of the outcome of the consultation and ensure they are in agreement with the child's request. The child and the family must receive psychological care and support if so desired.The move provoked heated debate and divided the medical, legal and political professions in Belgium. A group of 160 of the country's paediatricians opposed a change in the law, citing concerns about the largely subjective assessment of the “capacity of discernment”, and drawing attention to advances in …. (shrink)
Three experiments investigated the relationship between subjective experience and attentional lapses during sustained attention. These experiments employed two measures of subjective experience to examine how differences in awareness correspond to variations in both task performance and psycho-physiological measures . This series of experiments examine these phenomena during the Sustained Attention to Response Task . The results suggest we can dissociate between two components of subjective experience during sustained attention: task unrelated thought which corresponds to an absent minded disengagement from the (...) task and a pre-occupation with one's task performance that seems to be best conceptualised as a strategic attempt to deploy attentional resources in response to a perception of environmental demands which exceed ones ability to perform the task. The implications of these findings for our understanding of how awareness is maintained on task relevant material during periods of sustained attention are discussed. (shrink)
Update on donation of bodily material in the UKIn March 2010, the Human Tissue Authority announced that the first pooled kidney transplants, each involving three living donors and three recipients, had been performed in the UK. 1 While the vast majority of living donor transplants take place between people who are genetically related or are otherwise emotionally close, the Human Tissue Act 2004 introduced greater flexibility, permitting, for example, altruistic, paired and pooled donation. The HTA commented that these types of (...) donation represent one in three of all kidney transplants in the UK. Under the system of paired and pooled donation, in which someone needs a donor organ and has a friend or relative willing to donate, but the two are not compatible with each other, they can pair up with one or more other incompatible donor and recipient pairs in an organ exchange. In paired donation, donor A gives an organ to recipient B and donor B gives to recipient A; in pooled donation, more than two donor–recipient pairs take part in an organ exchange, coordinated by the HTA . Under the human tissue legislation, all cases of paired and pooled donation need to be considered by an independent assessor and approved by a panel of at least three members of the HTA, to ensure that all parties fully understand the risks involved and the donors are not under any pressure to donate.The first pooled transplant took place late in 2009, and was followed shortly afterwards by a second. Several paired living kidney transplants, involving two couples, had already taken place, however, with 16 such transplants going ahead between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009. Also in March 2010, a …. (shrink)
In the TACITUS project for using commonsense knowledge in the understanding of texts about mechanical devices and their failures, we have been developing various commonsense theories that are needed to mediate between the way we talk about the behavior of such devices and causal models of their operation. Of central importance in this effort is the axiomatization of what might be called commonsense metaphysics. This includes a number of areas that figure in virtually every domain of discourse, such as granularity, (...) scales, time, space, material, physical objects, shape, causality, functionality, and force. Our effort has been to construct core theories of each of these areas, and then to define, or at least characterize, a large number of lexical items in terms provided by the core theories. In this paper we discuss our methodological principles and describe the key ideas in the various domains we are investigating. (shrink)
There was a deep continuity in Wollheim’s thought from his book on F. H. Bradley onward. His notion of the concept of art as deeply interiorized was inextricable from his sense of the psychological unity of the mind and the historical continuity of artistic tradition, seen on analogy with an inherited language. His study of pictorial representation pivoted on the innate psychological capacity of ‘seeing-in’, perceiving the represented subject in a surface from which it was seen as distinct but to (...) which it could be related. The expressiveness of depiction he explained through a psychoanalytic concept of projection in which we come to see a piece of the external world as corresponding to an inward state of mind. He reserved the use of the term ‘imagination’ for the artist’s elaboration of ‘seeing-in’. This he exemplified in accounts of painting by Manet, Friedrich, Titian, and Ingres among others. His critical stance has a close affinity with certain essays by Pater. (shrink)
In this paper, we respond to a critique by Erik Thorstensen of the ‘Deepening Ethical Engagement and Participation in Emerging Nanotechnologies’ project concerning its ‘realist’ treatment of narrative, its restricted analytical framework and resources, its apparent confusion in focus and its unjustified contextualisation and overextension of its findings. We show that these criticisms are based on fairly serious misunderstandings of the DEEPEN project, its interdisciplinary approachand its conceptual context. Having responded to Thorstensen’s criticisms, we take the opportunity to clarify and (...) develop our approach to narrative. We articulate the need for novel, theoretically robust approaches to the formation of public attitudes which transcend the limitations of both survey-based approaches—which remain wedded to methodological individualism and which presume that individuals hold distinct and relatively stable attitudes and preferences—and interactionist approaches to public talk, which focus too strongly on individuals-in-interaction as reasoning agents and which ignore the constitutive role of culture and discourse in the formation of public opinion. We suggest that our use of narrative can help to better understand the process through which public attitudes to emerging technology develop out of interactive an engagement with wider cultural arguments and accounts of science and technology. We finish by pointing to parallel developments in social thought—from Charles Taylor’s treatment of social imaginaries to recent developments in post-Bourdieuian cultural sociology—as related projects in understanding the cultural resources and grammars that provide the conceptual infrastructure for modern social life. (shrink)
Ever so often in the UK, there is a flurry of activity around the information requirements of donor-conceived individuals. In April 2013, it was the launch of a report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics that brought the issue back to public consciousness.1Since 1991, information about treatment with donor gametes or embryos has been collected by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority . Since then, over 35 000 donor-conceived individuals have been born through treatment in licensed clinics. Medical information and (...) information about donors’ appearance are collected by clinics, and donors are encouraged to put together a ‘pen portrait’ giving information about themselves for any resulting children. One focus of the new report is on improving the quality and quantity of information available about donors.Traditionally, gamete and embryo donations were practised on an anonymous basis, so that those born as a result of such donation may receive only non-identifying information about the donor when they reach the age of 18 . This changed in 2005 when donor anonymity was removed so that anyone donating after that time could be identified to individuals born as a result of the treatment. Those who have donated in the past are also able to reregister as identifiable donors. Much concern was expressed at the time that this would exacerbate the shortage of donors although the Nuffield Council on Bioethics reports that, 8 years on, those clinics that actively recruit donors appear to be successful in finding sufficient donors. The report recommends that the option of anonymous donation should not be reintroduced.A big issue of debate in the UK has been, and continues to be, whether parents should tell their …. (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)
Ever so often in the UK, there is a flurry of activity around the information requirements of donor-conceived individuals. In April 2013, it was the launch of a report from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics that brought the issue back to public consciousness.1Since 1991, information about treatment with donor gametes or embryos has been collected by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Since then, over 35 000 donor-conceived individuals have been born through treatment in licensed clinics. Medical information and information (...) about donors’ appearance are collected by clinics, and donors are encouraged to put together a ‘pen portrait’ giving information about themselves for any resulting children. One focus of the new report is on improving the quality and quantity of information available about donors.Traditionally, gamete and embryo donations were practised on an anonymous basis, so that those born as a result of such donation may receive only non-identifying information about the donor when they reach the age of 18. This changed in 2005 when donor anonymity was removed so that anyone donating after that time could be identified to individuals born as a result of the treatment. Those who have donated in the past are also able to reregister as identifiable donors. Much concern was expressed at the time that this would exacerbate the shortage of donors although the Nuffield Council on Bioethics reports that, 8 years on, those clinics that actively recruit donors appear to be successful in finding sufficient donors. The report recommends that the option of anonymous donation should not be reintroduced.A big issue of debate in the UK has been, and continues to be, whether parents should tell their …. (shrink)
The social exchange theory of reasoning, which is championed by Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, falls under the general rubric evolutionary psychology and asserts that human reasoning is governed by content-dependent, domain-specific, evolutionarily-derived algorithms. According to Cosmides and Tooby, the presumptive existence of what they call cheater-detection algorithms disconfirms the claim that we reason via general-purpose mechanisms or via inductively acquired principles. We contend that the Cosmides/Tooby arguments in favor of domain-specific algorithms or evolutionarily-derived mechanisms fail and that the notion (...) of a social exchange rule, which is central to their theory, is not correctly characterized. As a consequence, whether or not their conclusion is true cannot be established on the basis of the arguments they have presented. (shrink)
Crespi & Badcock (C&B) provide a novel hypothesis outlining a role for imprinted genes in mediating brain functions underlying social behaviours. The basic premise is that maternally expressed genes are predicted to promote hypermentalistic behaviours, and paternally expressed genes hypomentalistic behaviours. The authors provide a detailed overview of data supporting their ideas, but as we discuss, caution should be applied in interpreting these data.
This article discusses, principally from an English perspective, globalisation, global citizenship and two forms of education relevant to those developments (global education and citizenship education). We describe what citizenship has meant inside one nation state and ask what citizenship means, and could mean, in a globalising world. By comparing the natures of citizenship education and global education, as experienced principally in England during, approximately, the last three decades, we seek to develop a clearer understanding of what has been done and (...) what might be done in the future in order to develop education for global citizenship. We suggest that up to this point there have been significant differences between the characterisations that have been developed for global education and citizenship education. These differences are revealed through an examination of three areas: focus and origins; the attitude of the government and significant others; and the adoption of pedagogical approaches. We suggest that it would be useful to look beyond old barriers that have separated citizenship education and global education and to form a new global citizenship education. Their separation has in the past only perpetuated the old understandings of citizenship and constructed a constrained view of global education. (shrink)