David Miller, Professor of Politics at Oxford University, has long been one of the most important and interesting contributors to political theory and philosophy. He is well known for insisting on the mutual relevance of philosophical reflection and political practice, an approach well captured by the title of his recent book, Justice for Earthlings. In his most recent book, Strangers in our Midst: The Political Philosophy of Immigration, Miller revises and extends the work he has been doing for (...) several years now on immigration. The result is a short yet rich defense of the right of states to control their own immigration policy. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert has long defended the view that, roughly speaking, agents share the intention to perform an action if and only if they jointly commit to performing that action. This view has proven both influential and controversial. While some authors have raised concerns over the joint commitment view of shared intention, including at times offering purported counterexamples to certain aspects of the view, straightforward counterexamples to the view as a whole have yet to appear in the literature. Here we provide (...) such counterexamples to show that joint commitment is neither necessary nor sufficient for shared intention. (shrink)
The book is divided into three parts. The first, containing three papers, focuses on the characterization of the central tenets of previii sentism (by Neil McKinnon) and eternalism (by Samuel Baron and Kristie Miller), and on the ‘sceptical stance’ (by Ulrich Meyer), a view to the effect that there is no substantial difference between presentism and eternalism. The second and main section of the book contains three pairs of papers that bring the main problems with presentism to the fore (...) and outlines its defence strategy. Each pair of papers in this section can be read as a discussion between presentists and eternalists, wherein each directly responds to the arguments and objections offered by the other. This is a discussion that is sometimes absent in the literature, or which is at best carried out in a fragmented way. The first two papers of the section deal with the problem of the compatibility of Special Relativity Theory (SRT) and presentism. SRT is often considered to be a theory that contradicts the main tenet of presentism, thereby rendering presentism at odds with one of our most solid scientific theories. Christian Wüthrich’s paper presents arguments for the incompatibility of the two theories (SRT and presentism) within a new framework that includes a discussion of further complications arising from the theory of Qauantum Mechanics. Jonathan Lowe’s paper, by contrast, develops new general arguments against the incompatibility thesis and replies to Wüthrich’s paper. The second pair of papers focuses on the problem that presentists face, in providing grounds for past tensed truths. In the first (by Matthew Davidson), new arguments are provided to defend the idea that the presentist cannot adequately explain how what is now true about the past is grounded, since for the presentist the past is completely devoid of ontological ground. The second paper (by Brian Kierland) takes up the challenge of developing a presentist explanation of past truths, beginning by outlining some existing views in the literature before advancing an original proposal. (shrink)
Given that natural selection is so powerful at optimizing complex adaptations, why does it seem unable to eliminate genes (susceptibility alleles) that predispose to common, harmful, heritable mental disorders, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder? We assess three leading explanations for this apparent paradox from evolutionary genetic theory: (1) ancestral neutrality (susceptibility alleles were not harmful among ancestors), (2) balancing selection (susceptibility alleles sometimes increased fitness), and (3) polygenic mutation-selection balance (mental disorders reflect the inevitable mutational load on the thousands (...) of genes underlying human behavior). The first two explanations are commonly assumed in psychiatric genetics and Darwinian psychiatry, while mutation-selection has often been discounted. All three models can explain persistent genetic variance in some traits under some conditions, but the first two have serious problems in explaining human mental disorders. Ancestral neutrality fails to explain low mental disorder frequencies and requires implausibly small selection coefficients against mental disorders given the data on the reproductive costs and impairment of mental disorders. Balancing selection (including spatio-temporal variation in selection, heterozygote advantage, antagonistic pleiotropy, and frequency-dependent selection) tends to favor environmentally contingent adaptations (which would show no heritability) or high-frequency alleles (which psychiatric genetics would have already found). Only polygenic mutation-selection balance seems consistent with the data on mental disorder prevalence rates, fitness costs, the likely rarity of susceptibility alleles, and the increased risks of mental disorders with brain trauma, inbreeding, and paternal age. This evolutionary genetic framework for mental disorders has wide-ranging implications for psychology, psychiatry, behavior genetics, molecular genetics, and evolutionary approaches to studying human behavior. (Published Online November 9 2006) Key Words: adaptation; behavior genetics; Darwinian psychiatry; evolution; evolutionary genetics; evolutionary psychology; mental disorders; mutation-selection balance; psychiatric genetics; quantitative trait loci (QTL). (shrink)
: This paper presents a method of moral problem solving in clinical practice that is inspired by the philosophy of John Dewey. This method, called "clinical pragmatism," integrates clinical and ethical decision making. Clinical pragmatism focuses on the interpersonal processes of assessment and consensus formation as well as the ethical analysis of relevant moral considerations. The steps in this method are delineated and then illustrated through a detailed case study. The implications of clinical pragmatism for the use of principles in (...) moral problem solving are discussed. (shrink)
: This response to Lynn Jansen's critique of clinical pragmatism concentrates on two themes: (1) contrasting approaches to moral epistemology and (2) the connection between theory and practice in clinical ethics. Particular attention is paid to the status of principles and the role of consensus, with some closing speculations on how Dewey might view the current state of bioethics.
Cognitively-oriented theories have dominated the recent history of the study of emotion. However, critics of this perspective suggest the role of the body in the experience of emotion is largely ignored by cognitive theorists. As an alternative to the cognitive perspective, critics are increasingly pointing to William James’ theory, which emphasized somatic aspects of emotions. This emerging emphasis on the embodiment of emotions is shared by those in the field of AI attempting to model human emotions. Behavior-based agents in AI (...) are attempts to model the role the body might play in the experiencing of emotions. Progress in creating such behavior-based models that function in their environments has been slow, suggesting some potential problems with Jamesian alternatives to cognitive perspectives of emotions. Heidegger’s and Merleau-Ponty’s conceptions of embodiment are suggested as alternatives to James’ and as means for addressing the shortcomings of the cognitive perspective. (shrink)
This response (a) integrates non-equilibrium evolutionary genetic models, such as coevolutionary arms-races and recent selective sweeps, into a framework for understanding common, harmful, heritable mental disorders; (b) discusses the forms of ancestral neutrality or balancing selection that may explain some portion of mental disorder risk; and (c) emphasizes that normally functioning psychological adaptations work against a backdrop of mutational and environmental noise. (Published Online November 9 2006).
This volume is a direct result of a conference held at Princeton University to honor George A. Miller, an extraordinary psychologist. A distinguished panel of speakers from various disciplines -- psychology, philosophy, neuroscience and artificial intelligence -- were challenged to respond to Dr. Miller's query: "What has happened to cognition? In other words, what has the past 30 years contributed to our understanding of the mind? Do we really know anything that wasn't already clear to William James?" Each (...) participant tried to stand back a little from his or her most recent work, but to address the general question from his or her particular standpoint. The chapters in the present volume derive from that occasion. (shrink)
Earlier in the pages of this journal (p 481), Wendler and Miller offered the "net risks test" as an alternative approach to the ethical analysis of benefits and harms in research. They have been vocal critics of the dominant view of benefit-harm analysis in research ethics, which encompasses core concepts of duty of care, clinical equipoise and component analysis. They had been challenged to come up with a viable alternative to component analysis which meets five criteria. The alternative must (...) (1) protect research subjects; (2) allow clinical research to proceed; (3) explain how physicians may offer trial enrolment to their patients; (4) address the challenges posed by research containing a mixture of interventions and (5) define ethical standards according to which the risks and potential benefits of research may be consistently evaluated. This response argues that the net risks test meets none of these criteria and concludes that it is not a viable alternative to component analysis. (shrink)
We are often warned against stepping onto ‘slippery slopes’ — dangerously slick slides leading down to where the really bad stuff lies. But, as Arthur Miller here explains, these warnings often exaggerate the risk of a slip.
My initial hope when I first saw Miller’s book was that here at least would be a work which satisfies the long standing need for a comprehensive introduction to contemporary metaethics which is accessible enough to be employed in advanced undergraduate courses and introductory graduate seminars. This hope was only partially realized, however, as Miller ends up oscillating between clear presentations of extant debates in the recent literature and his own extended attempts to determine where the truth of (...) the matter lies. The result is an interesting book that likely will appeal both to those looking for a classroom text in metaethics as well as to experts on the relevant issues. (shrink)
I present an original model in judgment aggregation theory that demonstrates the general impossibility of consistently describing decision-making purely at the group level. Only a type of unanimity rule can guarantee a group decision is consistent with supporting reasons, and even this possibility is limited to a small class of reasoning methods. The key innovation is that this result holds when individuals can reason in different ways, an allowance not previously considered in the literature. This generalizes judgment aggregation to subjective (...) decision situations, implying that the discursive dilemma persists without individual agreement on the logical constraints. Notably, the model mirrors the typical method of choosing political representatives, and thus suggests that no voting procedure other than unanimity rule can guarantee representation that reflects electorate opinion. Finally, I apply the results to a normative argument for unanimity rule in contract theory and juries, as well as to problems posed for deliberative democratic theory and the concept of representation. (shrink)
Sayre finds deep connections between collection and division, the two kinds of measure distinguished in the Statesman, the conceptions of Limit and Unlimited in the Philebus, and the Dyad that Aristotle reports was a key principle in the "unwritten teachings." The Stranger's dialectical account of statesmanship practices due measure; by "cutting down the middle," the Stranger shows how Forms — understood as Limits as, in turn, "numbers in the sense of measures" — "mark off a middle ground between [the] extremes (...) [implied by] the Unlimited" and, thus, preserve the mean. I suggest a number of critical reconfigurations of these seminal insights. (shrink)
Paul Boghossian has argued, on grounds concerning the holistic nature of belief fixation, that there are principled reasons for thinking that 'optimal conditions' versions of reductive dispositionalism about content cannot hope to satisfy a condition of extensional accuracy. I discern three separable strands of argument in Boghossian's work—the circularity objection, the open-endedness objection, and the certification objection—and argue that each of these objections fails. My conclusion is that for all that Boghossian has shown, 'optimal conditions' versions of reductive dispositionalism have (...) to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
In his “Theology and Falsification” Professor Antony Flew challenges the sophisticated religious believer to state under what conceivable occurrences he would concede that there really is no God Who loves mankind: ‘Just what would have to happen not merely to tempt but also, logically and rightly, to entitle us to say “God does not love us” or even “God does not exist”? I therefore put…the simple central questions, “What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you (...) a disproof of the love of, or of the existence of, God”?’. (shrink)
Clearly, Marx thought he was promoting democratic values. In the Manifesto, the immediate goal of socialism is summed up as “to win the battle of democracy.” Marx sees the reduction of individuality as one of the greatest injuries done by a system in which most people buy and sell their labor power on terms over which they have little control. As they supervised translations and re-issues of the Manifesto, Marx and Engels singled out just one point as a major topic (...) on which their view in 1848 had been superseded. The forms of government needed to be changed to give people more control over the state, a change in structure pioneered by the Paris Commune. (shrink)