In this paper, we offer a conceptualization of leadership as contemplative. Drawing on MacIntyre’s perspective on virtue ethics and Levinas’ and Gilligan’s work on the ethics of responsibility and care, we propose contemplative leadership as virtuous activity; reflexive, engaged, relational, and embodied practice that requires knowledge from within context and practical wisdom. More than simply offering another way to conceptualize the ethics of leadership, this research contributes to understanding the ethics of leadership in practice. Empirically, we analyze the narratives of (...) those in positions of formal authority and other organizational members in churches. We illustrate contemplative leadership as driven by a good purpose, derived from the unique organizational and broader societal context in which leadership occurs, and grounded in an ethical concern for the other. Contemplative leadership accounts for the complexity of experience and is discerned in mundane and everyday practices. We conclude with the implications for leadership theory, practice, and education. (shrink)
In defense of moral testimony Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-21 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9887-6 Authors Paulina Sliwa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Plausibly, you should believe what your total evidence supports. But cases of misleading higher-order evidence—evidence about what your evidence supports—present a challenge to this thought. In such cases, taking both first-order and higher-order evidence at face value leads to a seemingly irrational incoherence between one’s first-order and higher-order attitudes: you will believe P, but also believe that your evidence doesn’t support P. To avoid sanctioning tension between epistemic levels, some authors have abandoned the thought that both first-order and higher-order evidence (...) have rational bearing. This sacrifice is both costly and unnecessary. We propose a principle, Evidential Calibration, which requires rational agents to accommodate first-order evidence correctly, while allowing rational uncertainty about what to believe. At the same time, it rules out irrational tensions between epistemic levels. We show that while there are serious problems for some views on which we can rationally believe, “P, but my evidence doesn’t support P”, Evidential Calibration avoids these problems. An important upshot of our discussion is a new way to think about the relationship between epistemic levels: why first-order and higher-order attitudes should generally be aligned, and why it is sometimes—though not always—problematic when they diverge. (shrink)
What is the relationship between understanding and knowing? This paper offers a defence of reductionism about understanding: the view that instances of understanding reduce to instances of knowing. I argue that knowing is both necessary and sufficient for understanding. I then outline some advantages of reductionism.
To have moral worth an action not only needs to conform to the correct normative theory ; it also needs to be motivated in the right way. I argue that morally worthy actions are motivated by the rightness of the action; they are motivated by an agent's concern for doing what's right and her knowledge that her action is morally right. Call this the Rightness Condition. On the Rightness Condition moral motivation involves both a conative and a cognitive element—in particular, (...) it involves moral knowledge. I argue that the Rightness Condition is both necessary and sufficient for moral worth. I also argue that the Rightness Condition gives us an attractive account of actions performed under imperfect epistemic circumstances: by agents who rely on moral testimony or by those who, like Huckleberry Finn, have false moral convictions. (shrink)
Excuses are commonplace. Making and accepting excuses is part of our practice of holding each other morally responsible. But excuses are also curious. They have normative force. Whether someone has an excuse for something they have done matters for how we should respond to their action. An excuse can make it appropriate to forgo blame, to revise judgments of blameworthiness, to feel compassion and pity instead of anger and resentment. The considerations we appeal to when making excuses are a motley (...) bunch: tiredness, stress, a looming work deadline, a wailing infant, poverty, duress, ignorance. What unifies these various considerations as a class? In virtue of what can they all excuse? And what does their normative force consist in? This paper aims to develop a unified account of excuses: what they are and what they do. In a nutshell, I argue that excuses are considerations that show that an agent’s wrongdoing does not manifest a specific motivational failing: namely, the lack of a morally adequate present-directed intention. What do excuses do? I suggest that they function as responsibility-modifiers. They alter how the wrongdoer, the wronged party, bystanders may morally respond to a wrong, without negating that it remains appropriate to respond in some way. (shrink)
Moral understanding is a valuable epistemic and moral good. I argue that moral understanding is the ability to know right from wrong. I defend the account against challenges from nonreductionists, such as Alison Hills, who argue that moral understanding is distinct from moral knowledge. Moral understanding, she suggests, is constituted by a set of abilities: to give and follow moral explanations and to draw moral conclusions. I argue that Hills’s account rests on too narrow a conception of moral understanding. Among (...) other things, it cannot account for the importance of first-personal experience for achieving moral understanding. (shrink)
In an influential paper, L. A. Paul argues that one cannot rationally decide whether to have children. In particular, she argues that such a decision is intractable for standard decision theory. Paul's central argument in this paper rests on the claim that becoming a parent is ``epistemically transformative''---prior to becoming a parent, it is impossible to know what being a parent is like. Paul argues that because parenting is epistemically transformative, one cannot estimate the values of the various outcomes of (...) a decision whether to become a parent. In response, we argue that it is possible to estimate the value of epistemically transformative experiences. Therefore, there is no special difficulty involved in deciding whether to undergo epistemically transformative experiences. Insofar as major life decisions do pose a challenge to decision theory, we suggest that this is because they often involve separate, familiar problems. (shrink)
My topic in this paper is the nature of faith. Much of the discussion concerning the nature of faith proceeds by focussing on the relationship between faith and belief. In this paper, I explore a different approach. I suggest that we approach the question of what faith involves by focussing on the relationship between faith and action. When we have faith, we generally manifest it in how we act; we perform acts of faith: we share our secrets, rely on other’s (...) judgment, refrain from going through our partner’s emails, let our children prepare for an important exam without our interference. Religious faith, too is manifested in acts of faith: attending worship, singing the liturgy, fasting, embarking on a pilgrimage. I argue that approaching faith by way of acts of faith, reveals that faith is a complex mental state whose elements go beyond doxastic states towards particular propositions. It also involves conative states and – perhaps more surprisingly – know how. This has consequences for the epistemology of faith: the role of testimony and experts, the importance of practices, and what we should make of Pascal’s advice for how to acquire faith. (shrink)
When you don’t know what to do, you’d better find out. Sometimes the best way to find out is to ask for advice. And when you don’t know what the right thing to do is, it’s sometimes good to rely on moral advice. This straightforward thought spells serious trouble for a popular and widespread approach to moral worth: on this approach, agents deserve moral praise for a right action only if they are acting on right-making reasons. The first part of (...) this paper argues that cases of moral advice present right-making reasons accounts with a dilemma: depending on how we make the right-making relation precise, we either have to deny that agents who seek out and follow moral advice are morally praiseworthy or we have to credit morally wrong actions by unsavory characters with moral worth. This casts doubt on the claim that acting on right-making reasons can be both necessary or sufficient for moral worth. The second half of the paper explores an alternative proposal: what’s required for moral worth is moral knowledge. This idea has been unpopular in recent literature. My aim is to show that it deserves serious consideration. (shrink)
An act that accords with duty has moral worth if and only if the agent’s reason for performing it is the same as what would have motivated a perfectly virtuous agent to perform it. On one of the two leading accounts of moral worth, an act that accords with duty has moral worth if and only if the agent’s reason for performing it is the fact that it’s obligatory. On the other, an act that accords with duty has moral worth (...) if and only if the agent’s reason for performing it is the fact that it has that feature of obligatory acts that makes them obligatory. I argue that both views are incorrect, providing counterexamples to each. I then argue that, on the correct account, an act can have moral worth only if its agent is motivated out of a fundamental concern for the things that ultimately matter. (shrink)
Paulina Sliwa (2015) argues that knowing why p is necessary and sufficient for understanding why p. She tries to rebut recent attacks against the necessity and sufficiency claims, and explains the gradability of understanding why in terms of knowledge. I argue that her attempts do not succeed, but I indicate more promising ways to defend reductionism about understanding why throughout the discussion.
In this note I defend nonreductionism about understanding by arguing that knowledge is neither necessary nor sufficient for understanding. To do so, I examine Paulina Sliwa’s recent (Sliwa 2015, 2017) defence of knowledge-based Reductionism (Reductionism for short). Sliwa claims that one understands why p if and only if one has a sufficient amount of knowledge why p. Sliwa also contends that Reductionism is supported by intuitive verdicts about our uses of ‘understanding why’ and ‘knowing why’. In (...) reply, I first argue that Sliwa’s Reductionism leads to a vicious infinite regress. Secondly, I defuse the motivation in favour of Reductionism by showing how the linguistic data can be accommodated within a Nonreductionist framework. (shrink)
The aim of this study was to analyse the relationship between childhood socioeconomic conditions and body asymmetry in young Polish women. The study measured fluctuating asymmetry, which refers to small random deviations from perfect symmetry in bilaterally paired body structures. Data were obtained from 620 female students aged from 19 to 25 years recruited from Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland. The research was carried out in the period from January 2016 to May 2017. A composite fluctuating asymmetry of the women (...) was calculated using five bilateral body traits. The lengths and widths of the women’s ears, lengths of their 2nd and 4th digits and wrist widths of the right and left sides of the body were measured twice using standard methodology. The following data were collected in a questionnaire: degree of urbanization of the woman’s place of residence during childhood, number of older siblings, parental education and woman’s dominant hand. The results showed a tendency for FA to fall with an increase in parental education, and to rise with an increase in number of older siblings. The level of FA was significantly lower in women from rural areas than in those from cities. The results of the study show that FA in early adulthood is significantly associated with socioeconomic status during childhood, and confirm that the level of FA in adulthood may be a good indicator of stress factors in the early stages of development. (shrink)
Both in Polish and international literature Duns Scotus’ ethical thought has had a number of conflicting interpretations. The article presents the main elements of Duns Scotus’ ethical thought. The quaestions it tries to answer are the following: a) is Scotus’ ethics voluntaristic; b) if so, what type of voluntarism can one attribute to Scotus. Finding Scotus’ ethics moderately voluntaristic I distinguish and characterize three types of voluntarism that could be attributed to Scotus: psychological voluntarism (Duns finds the will more perfect (...) than the intellect as its acts are more perfect); theological voluntarism (Duns takes the Commandments of the first table to be obligatory in a stronger way than the Commandments of the second table), causal voluntarism (the will is taken to be the primary cause of free action, non determined even by the most perfect good). (shrink)
God’s Knowledge of Future Contingents. John Duns Scotus’ Explanation The article concerns John Duns Scotus’ views on the problem of God’s knowledge of future contingents, presented by Scotus in his Lectura in librum primum Sententiarumd. 39, n. 1-93. He begins his analysis of the notion of God’s knowledge concerning the future events by criticizing two theories: first, the claim that the content of the idea of a thing, possessed by God, can include contingency of this thing; second, the claim that (...) eternity of God is simultaneous with the flowing time as a whole, and therefore His knowledge of future contingents is the knowledge of present contingents. Duns Scotus presents his own conception in the form of the following claims: (1) there is contingency in the reality, however, we are not able to prove it; (2) the proximate second causes are not the causes of contingency in things; (3) the main cause of contingency in reality is God, precisely His will. Thus, contingency is not an imperfection because it is produced immediately by God. The article also presents Scotus’ theory of synchronic contingency. This conception explains the possibility of God’s contingent knowledge of contingent reality. Keywords: John Duns Scotus, future contingents, God’s knowledge, free will, necessity, contingency. (shrink)
FRANCIS SUÁREZ’S VIEWS ON THE RELATION BETWEEN THE ABSOLUTE POWER OF GOD AND THE NATURAL LAW The article presents Francis Suárez’s views concerning the problem of the possibility of granting dispensation from the natural law by the absolute power of God. Suárez’s opinions on this matter were shown in his comprehensive work on the philosophy of law: De legibus ac Deo legislatore, in Book II De lege aeterna, naturali, et jure gentium, chapter XV entitled Utrum Deus dispensare possit in lege (...) naturali etiam de absoluta potestate. Analyzing the notion of natural law Suárez accepts the Thomistic formula, according to which, the created world is a collection of things with invariable natures. These natures require us to fulfil certain moral obligations and to act in a proper manner. And for this reason, natural law, included in the Decalogue, is invariable and even God is not able to grant its dispensation. The commandments involve an intrinsic principle of justice and obligation and for this reason they are not liable to dispensation. God cannot act contrary to His own nature and His being just, so He would not order people to do something intrinsically unjust. Doctor Eximius justifies moral norms expressed in the Decalogue axiologically, not in a voluntaristic way, by referring to God’s will alone. Suárez criticises both strong theological voluntarism, attributed to Ockham, as well as weak theological voluntarism, attributed to John Duns Scotus. Keywords: FRANCIS SUÁREZ, ABSOLUTE POWER OF GOD, NATURAL LAW. (shrink)
The purpose of the study was to analyse the level and the trends of Potential Years of Life Lost due to the main causes of death in Poland in the years 2002-2011. The material for the study was the information from the Central Statistical Office on the number of deaths due to the main causes of death in Poland in the years 2002-2011. The premature mortality analysis was conducted with the use of the PYLL indicator. PYLL rate was calculated following (...) the method proposed by J. Romeder, according to which premature mortality was defined as death before the age of 70. Time trends of PYLL rate and the average annual percent change were assessed using jointpoint models and the Joinpoint Regression Program. In the years 2002-2011, PYLL rate for all-cause deaths decreased by 7.0% among men and 8.1% among women. In 2011, the main reasons for PYLL among men were: external causes, cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Among women the leading causes were: cancers, cardiovascular diseases and external causes. PYLL rate increased among men for colorectal cancer, and among women for colorectal and lung cancer. The presented epidemiological situation for premature mortality in Poland shows that in the majority of cases it is caused by preventable deaths, which highlights a need to intensify measures in primary and secondary prevention. (shrink)
The paper presents Suárez’s view on the individuation of beings, which he developed in his Disputatio V, De unitate individuali eiusque principio. The aim, apart from simply presenting Doctor Eximius’s thought, is also to compare his views with his scholastic predecessors. When considering the question of individuation, Suárez remained under a considerable influence of the medieval tradition, which, however, he transformed in his writings according to his own convictions. He used the language of Duns Scotus when speaking of individuation and (...) determining it in terms of indivisibility, but rejected the idea of individuation by matter, classically attributed to the Thomistic School. Postulating the individuation principle, identified with the entity, and not with the act of existence nor the being of haecceitas, Suárez departed from non-classical interpretations of the thought of Thomas Aquinas as well as from the Scotistic solutions, and postulated a view that to some extent resembled that of Ockham and Bonaventure, although Suárez does not explicitly refer to the latter. (shrink)
Impairments in decision-making are frequently observed in neurodegenerative diseases, but the mechanisms underlying such pathologies remain elusive. In this work, we study, on the basis of novel time-delayed neuronal population model, if the delay in self-inhibition terms can explain those impairments. Analysis of proposed system reveals that there can be up to three positive steady states, with the one having the lowest neuronal activity being always locally stable in nondelayed case. We show, however, that this steady state becomes unstable above (...) a critical delay value for which, in certain parameter ranges, a subcritical Hopf bifurcation occurs. We then apply psychometric function to translate model-predicted ring rates into probabilities that a decision is being made. Using numerical simulations, we demonstrate that for small synaptic delays the decision-making process depends directly on the strength of supplied stimulus and the system correctly identifies to which population the stimulus was applied. However, for delays above the Hopf bifurcation threshold we observe complex impairments in the decision-making process; that is, increasing the strength of the stimulus may lead to the change in the neuronal decision into a wrong one. Furthermore, above critical delay threshold, the system exhibits ambiguity in the decision-making. (shrink)
The aim of our study was to examine the familial risk of dyslexia in Year 1 school beginners, whose parents had been diagnosed as dyslexic or exhibited symptoms of the specific difficulties in reading and writing without a formal opinion issued by a counselling centre. We found that both a dyslexia report and specific reading and writing difficulties with no formal diagnosis manifested by a family member, and parents’ reading preferences, predicted the risk of dyslexia in Year 1 children. Moreover, (...) the children at familiar risk of dyslexia, as compared with their peers at no risk, later began to babble, were less apt at self-help and liked drawing less at the age of 2-3 years, and experienced more problems with drawing a circle at the age of 3. Additionally, during Year 1 of education, they performed poorer in fine motor skills, linguistic perception and sound deletion, visual functions and attention. Such symptoms can be observed by parents and teachers during the child’s play and educational activities. Early intervention can enhance the child’s readiness to school entry, and facilitate effective and satisfactory learning, increasing their further educational opportunities and the quality of life. (shrink)
The paper is devoted to the question of the sources of normativity in John Duns Scotus. Confronted with different conceptions of the sources of normativity listed by Christine M. Korsgaard, Duns Scotus’ conception turns out to be hybrid because he iterweaves realistic and voluntaristic elements. In Scotus’ ethics one can find the sources of normativity analizing: (1) subjective condition of the agent such as beeing free and rational; (2) objective foundations of moral norms such as natural law; (3) external authority (...) of the law maker (God’s will). The following questions have been raised: “Why is the will, according to Scotus, rational?”; “What are the conditions for the exeptions of the Second Tablet Commadments ?”; “Can one call Scotus’ position a type of metaethical voluntarism or Divine Command Ethics?”. The article also highlights the varius meanings of the term “voluntarism” with reference to Scotus’ ethics. (shrink)