Educational neutrality states that decisions about school curricula and instruction should be made independently of particular comprehensive doctrines. Many political philosophers of education reject this view in favor of some non-neutral alternative. Contrary to what one might expect, some prominent liberal neutralists have also rejected this view in parts of their work. This paper has two purposes. The first part of the paper concerns the relationship between liberal neutrality and educational neutrality. I examine arguments by Rawls and Nagel and argue (...) that some of the same arguments they use to justify liberal neutrality also justify educational neutrality; thus, if we accept these arguments for liberal neutrality, we should also accept educational neutrality. The second part of the paper defends educational neutrality against objections that it is impossible and objections that it is undesirable. (shrink)
This paper argues that egalitarian theories should be judged by the degree to which they meet four different challenges. Fundamentalist egalitarianism, which contends that certain inequalities are intrinsically bad or unjust regardless of their consequences, fails to meet these challenges. Building on discussions by T.M. Scanlon and David Miller, we argue that egalitarianism is better understood in terms of commitments to six egalitarian objectives. A consequence of our view, in contrast to Martin O'Neill's “non-intrinsic egalitarianism,“ is that egalitarianism is better (...) understood as a family of views than as a single ethical position. (shrink)
Many people have a strong intuition that there is something morally objectionable about playing violent video games, particularly with increases in the number of people who are playing them and the games' alleged contribution to some highly publicized crimes. In this paper,I use the framework of utilitarian, deontological, and virtue ethical theories to analyze the possibility that there might be some philosophical foundation for these intuitions. I raise the broader question of whether or not participating in authentic simulations of immoral (...) acts in generalis wrong. I argue that neither the utilitarian, nor the Kantian has substantial objections to violent game playing, although they offer some important insights into playing games in general and what it is morally to be a ``good sport.'' The Aristotelian, however, has a plausible and intuitive way to protest participation in authentic simulations of violent acts in terms of character: engaging in simulated immoral actserodes one's character and makes it more difficult for one to live a fulfilled eudaimonic life. (shrink)
Over the last 20 years, organizations have attempted numerous innovations to create more openness and to increase ethical practice. However, adult students in business classes report that managers are generally bureaucratically oriented and averse to constructive criticism or principled dissent. When organizations oppose dissent, they suffer the consequences of mistakes that could be prevented and they create an unethical and toxic environment for individual employees. By distinguishing principled dissent from other forms of criticism and opposition, managers and leaders can perceive (...) the dissenter as an important organizational voice and a valued employee. The dissenter, like the whistleblower, is often highly ethically motivated and desires to contribute to the organization’s wellbeing. Recognizing and protecting principled dissent provides the means of transforming organizations. By restoring dignity to the individual, organizations gain more productive and loyal employees, and they create an environment that promotes critical thinking, learning, and a commitment to ethics. (shrink)
The history of the emotions first developed as a field of inquiry in Europe. It took root in the United States only in the 1980s. Today, the field has expanded dramatically. Historians of the emotions share the conviction that culture gives some shape to emotional life and that consequently, feelings vary across time and culture. Working on that assumption, recent historical works have investigated the changing role of emotions in politics, economics, and private life. There are a number of contentious (...) issues within the field, including the much debated relationship between words and feelings, the pace and direction of change in emotional culture, and the question of the continuity of emotional experience and categories over centuries. (shrink)
In its classical conception, game theory aspires to be a determinate decision theory for games, understood as elements of a structurally specified domain. Its aim is to determine for each game in the domain a complete solution to each player's decision problem, a solution valid for all real-world instantiations, regardless of context. "Permissiveness" would constrain the theory to designate as admissible for a player any conjecture consistent with the function's designation of admissible strategies for the other players. Given permissiveness and (...) other appropriate constraints, solution sets must contain only Nash equilibria and at least one pure-strategy equilibrium, and there is no solution to games in which no symmetry invariant set of pure-strategy equilibria forms a Cartesian product. These results imply that the classical program is unrealizable. Moreover, the program is implicitly committed to permissiveness, through its common-knowledge assumptions and its commitment to equilibrium. The resulting incoherence deeply undermines the classical conception in a way that consolidates a long series of contextualist criticisms. (shrink)
Recent years have witnessed an increasing number of attempts to reconstruct Marxian theory in forms that can be assessed by reference to currently received standards in various disciplines. The work has even been said to establish a new paradigm: “analytical Marxism.” One doesn't have to endorse this claim to recognize a good deal of merit in the work. Through creative application of state-of-the-art methods to traditional Marxian issues, researchers have promoted productive cross-fertilization with non-Marxian programs and have revealed many problems (...) that must be resolved for fruitful development of Marxian theory. Marx's work can be relevant to today's problems only if it is examined from vantage points provided by subsequent scientific and philosophical achievements. Moreover, critical engagement with the best science of the day has been an essential part of the Marxian theoretical project from the beginning. (shrink)
We argue that probability effects on P300 amplitude are the product of an automatic frequency detector not subject to voluntary control and relatively inaccessible to consciousness. related to P300 therefore appear to be passive, perceptual ones. If probability-based expectancies do become conscious, they are inversely related to P300, supporting the view of Donchin & Coles (1988).
Marx criticized political economy for propounding an inverted, mystical view of economic reality. But he went beyond asserting the falsity and apologetic character of the doctrine to characterize it as reflecting a social practice of inversion or mystification — an inverted social world — in which individuals incorporate their own actions into a process whose dynamic lies beyond their control. Caught up in this process, individuals confront aspects of their own agency in the alien or reified form of a given, (...) determining reality. Marx leaves unclear exactly how the process exerts and maintains its hold on agents, the nature of the reasons they might have for wanting to free themselves of it, and under what conditions they could do so. However, it is possible to abstract somewhat from Marx's specific concerns and to model a self-reproducing practice of reification that works through the informational environment of decision. Though of wider interest, this more general conception can shed light on the nature and critique of Marx's inverted world. It draws on conceptual resources from decision theory, game theory and general equilibrium theory. (shrink)
Sometimes in philosophy one view engenders another. If you hold the first, chances are you hold the second. But it’s not always because the first entails the second. Sometimes the tie is less clear, less clean. One such tie is between substance dualism and anti-criterialism. Substance dualism is the view that people are, at least in part, immaterial mental substances. Anti-criterialism is the view that there is no criterion of personal identity through time. Most philosophers who hold the first view (...) also hold the second. In fact, many philosophers just assume that substance dualists ought to, or perhaps even have to, accept anti-criterialism. But I aim to show that this assumption is baseless. Substance dualism doesn’t entail, suggest, support, or in any way motivate anti-criterialism, and anti-criterialism confers no benefit on dualism. Substance dualists have no special reason—and, indeed, no good reason at all—to accept anti-criterialism. Or so I shall argue. My aim isn’t to defend substance dualism, nor is it to attack anti-criterialism. My aim is to show that, contrary to a long-standing trend, dualists needn’t be anti-criterialists. Nor, as it will turn out, should they be. (shrink)
Paul Bloomfield’s latest book, The Virtues of Happiness, is an excellent discussion of what constitutes living the Good Life. It is a self-admittedly ambitious book, as he seeks to show that people who act immorally necessarily fall short of living well. Instead of arguing that immorality is inherently irrational, he puts it in terms of it being inherently harmful in regards to one’s ability to achieve the Good Life. It’s ambitious because he tries to argue this starting from grounds which (...) the immoralist (usually an egoist) would accept. He starts from premises about our desire to be happy, and how happiness is inconsistent with a lack of self-respect, which he claims are premises even an egoist would accept. His key argument is then that self-respect is tied to one’s respect for others, so that being happy is therefore inconsistent with a disrespect for others. He then goes on to argue about the necessity of virtue for truly being as happy as we can be. -/- Bloomfield’s book is an interesting synthesis of the traditional Greek focus on eudaimonia (i.e. living well) with the Kantian concern of a respect for persons. I found myself in agreement with much of what he had to say, making this review a bit challenging. Nevertheless, I will endeavor to point out areas where, despite my agreement on his conclusions, I think his arguments could be challenged and would require further support. (shrink)
Matt Mortellaro’s “Causation and Responsibility: A New Direction” is a brilliant Rothbardian analysis that makes numerous new and important points. It also critiques some of my own previous publications. In this piece I focus on Mortellaro’s rejoinders to me, and set forth a defense of my own positions.
Matthew Goldspan was faced with a series of coincidental personnel issues that tested both his fairness and integrity. He had been a branch manager of a financial services operation for three years, where he oversaw thirty five employees. In one instance, a clerical employee protested salary differences she discovered; in another, his affirmative action record, as well as his right to make hiring decisions, was in question; and thirdly, he had to decide how to respond to theft by a temporary (...) employee who happened to be the son of a prized member of his staff. In each case, employees were looking for Matt to demonstrate appropriate leadership and sound judgment. (shrink)
Libertarian Papers is pleased to announce that Matt McCaffrey, a PhD candidate at the University of Angers, Mises Institute fellow, and winner of the 2010 Lawrence W. Fertig Prize in Austrian Economics, has agreed to serve as the journal’s Assistant Editor.
Libertarian Papers is pleased to announce that Matthew McCaffrey has agreed to serve as the journal’s Editor. A PhD candidate at the University of Angers, Mises Institute fellow, and winner of the 2010 Lawrence W. Fertig Prize in Austrian Economics, Matt previously served as the journal’s Managing Editor. He may be reached here. Stephan Kinsella [...].
Gers (Biol Philos, 2011) provides a positive and constructive view of the project to generalise Darwinian principles in Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbjørn Knudsen’s Darwin’s Conjecture. We note considerable overlap with his work and ours, and also with important recent work of Godfrey-Smith ( 2009 ), which Gers cites extensively. But we also note that there are differences in research objectives between Gers and Godfrey-Smith, on the one hand, and ourselves, on the other. Gers and Godfrey-Smith focus on the elucidation of (...) the most general principles possible. Our aim is to derive principles that are sufficiently abstract to span the natural and human social worlds, and then add additional principles to help understand the Darwinian evolution of human society. Furthermore, Gers and Godfrey-Smith critique a replicator concept that is different from ours. Once these points are made apparent, the criticisms are essentially disabled, and we end up in a position with different but complementary and overlapping research projects. (shrink)