The topic of this seminar will be the notion of language as it is employed in the philosophy of language. The seminar will be divided into two parts, of somewhat unequal length. The first part will be devoted to the change in the conception of language that marked the transition from structural linguistics to generative linguistics (the so-called "Chomskian revolution"). We will approach this not only as a chapter in the philosophy of language, but also as an important chapter in (...) the philosophy of science, in large part because much of the discussion centers around to what extent, and how, the study of language can be understood as a scientific inquiry, continuous with the other natural sciences. From this discussion, which will be devoted to reading some of the classic literature from the mid-50's to the mid-70's (largely by Chomsky), an articulation of the subject matter of the study of language will emerge, and in particular this will involve an articulation of the relation of syntax, semantics and pragmatics. This will lead us to explore, in the second part of the seminar, the most influential work, that of Grice, especially in "Logic and Conversation" devoted to articulating this distinction. (shrink)
May's theorem famously shows that, in social decisions between two options, simple majority rule uniquely satisfies four appealing conditions. Although this result is often cited in support of majority rule, it has never been extended beyond decisions based on pairwise comparisons of options. We generalize May's theorem to many-option decisions where voters each cast one vote. Surprisingly, plurality rule uniquely satisfies May's conditions. This suggests a conditional defense of plurality rule: If a society's balloting procedure collects only a single vote (...) from each voter, then plurality rule is the uniquely compelling electoral procedure. To illustrate the conditional nature of this claim, we also identify a richer informational environment in which approval voting, not plurality rule, is supported by a May-style argument. (shrink)
This paper discusses two aspects of Larry May's book Limiting Leviathan. First it discusses a passage in Leviathan, to which May draws attention, in which Hobbes connects obligation to "that, which in the disputations of scholars is called absurdity". Secondly it looks at the book's discussion of Hobbes and pacifist attitudes, with reference to Hobbes's contemporary critic John Eachard.
Some of the greatest harms perpetrated by human beings—mass murders, for example—are directly caused by a small number of individuals, yet the full force of the transgressions would not obtain without the indirect contributions of many others. To combat such evils, Larry May argues that we ought to cultivate a sense of shared responsibility within communities. More specifically, we ought to develop a propensity to feel ashamed of ourselves when we choose to be associated with others who transgress. Grant that (...) we ought to assume greater moral responsibility for contributing to harms that we do not directly commit. My goal is to challenge May’s claim that we should move towards a shame culture, and to argue that we ought to focus on cultivating empathy-based care and guilt instead. An established research program spearheaded by June Tangney has shown that individuals who are disposed to feel shame are more likely to hide from scrutiny, blame others, get angry, and become aggressive. Cultivating shame, in short, is a recipe for increasing antisocial behavior. Policies that promote feelings of empathy-based care and guilt, however, seem better designed to achieve the desired result, namely, minimizing the harms caused by groups. (shrink)
In this paper I present an argument for the claim that you ought to do something only if you may believe that you ought to do it. More exactly, I defend the following principle about normative reasons: An agent A has decisive reason to φ only if she also has sufficient reason to believe that she has decisive reason to φ. I argue that this principle follows from the plausible assumption that it must be possible for an agent to respond (...) correctly to her reasons. In conclusion, I discuss some implications of this argument (given that some other standard assumptions about reasons hold). One such implication is that we are always in a position to be justified in believing all truths about what we have decisive reason (or ought) to do. (shrink)
Many of the most skilled and educated citizens of developing countries choose to emigrate. How may those societies respond to these facts? May they ever legitimately prevent the emigration of their citizens? Gillian Brock and Michael Blake debate these questions, and offer distinct arguments about the morality of emigration.
Depth psychology finds empirical validation today in a variety of observations that suggest the presence of causally effective mental processes outside conscious experience. I submit that this is due to misinterpretation of the observations: the subset of consciousness called “meta-consciousness” in the literature is often mistaken for consciousness proper, thereby artificially creating space for an “unconscious.” The implied hypothesis is that all mental processes may in fact be conscious, the appearance of unconsciousness arising from our dependence on self-reflective introspection for (...) gauging awareness. After re-interpreting the empirical data according to a philosophically rigorous definition of consciousness, I show that two well-known phenomena corroborate this hypothesis: (a) experiences that, despite being conscious, aren’t re-represented during introspection; and (b) dissociated experiences inaccessible to the executive ego. If consciousness is inherent to all mentation, it may be fundamental in nature, as opposed to a product of particular types of brain function. (shrink)
In Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind, Joshua May argues successfully that many claims about the causal influence of affect on moral judgment are overblown. But the findings he cites are compatible with many of the key arguments of philosophical sentimentalists. His account of rationalism, in turn, relies on an overly broad notion of inference, and leaves open crucial questions about how we reason to moral conclusions.
Edgington has proposed a solution to the sorites paradox in terms of ‘verities’, which she defines as degrees of closeness to clear truth. Central to her solution is the assumption that verities are formally probabilities. She is silent on what verities might derive from and on why they should be probabilities. This paper places Edgington’s solution in the framework of a spatial approach to conceptualization, arguing that verities may be conceived of as deriving from how our concepts relate to each (...) other. Building on work by Kamp and Partee, this paper further shows how verities, thus conceived of, may plausibly be assumed to have probabilistic structure. The new interpretation of verities is argued to also help answer the question of what the verities of indicative conditionals are, a question which Edgington leaves open. Finally, the question of how to accommodate higher-order vagueness, given this interpretation, is addressed. (shrink)
The principle of informed consent obligates physicians to explain possible side effects when prescribing medications. This disclosure may itself induce adverse effects through expectancy mechanisms known as nocebo effects, contradicting the principle of nonmaleficence. Rigorous research suggests that providing patients with a detailed enumeration of every possible adverse event?especially subjective self-appraised symptoms?can actually increase side effects. Describing one version of what might happen may actually create outcomes that are different from what would have happened without this information. This essay argues (...) that the perceived tension between balancing informed consent with nonmaleficence might be resolved by recognizing that adverse effects have no clear black or white?truth.? This essay suggests a pragmatic approach for providers to minimize nocebo responses while still maintaining patient autonomy through?contextualized informed consent,? which takes into account possible side effects, the patient being treated, and the particular diagnosis involved. (shrink)
The standard Kratzerian analysis of modal auxiliaries, such as ‘may’ and ‘can’, takes them to be univocal and context-sensitive. Our first aim is to argue for an alternative view, on which such expressions are polysemous. Our second aim is to thereby shed light on the distinction between semantic context-sensitivity and polysemy. To achieve these aims, we examine the mechanisms of polysemy and context-sensitivity and provide criteria with which they can be held apart. We apply the criteria to modal auxiliaries and (...) show that the default hypothesis should be that they are polysemous, and not merely context-sensitive. We then respond to arguments against modal ambiguity. Finally, we show why modal polysemy has significant philosophical implications. (shrink)
BackgroundThe methodology of medical ethics during the last few decades has shifted from a predominant use of normative-philosophical analyses to an increasing involvement of empirical methods. The articles which have been published in the course of this so-called 'empirical turn' can be divided into conceptual accounts of empirical-normative collaboration and studies which use socio-empirical methods to investigate ethically relevant issues in concrete social contexts.DiscussionA considered reference to normative research questions can be expected from good quality empirical research in medical ethics. (...) However, a significant proportion of empirical studies currently published in medical ethics lacks such linkage between the empirical research and the normative analysis. In the first part of this paper, we will outline two typical shortcomings of empirical studies in medical ethics with regard to a link between normative questions and empirical data: (1) The complete lack of normative analysis, and (2) cryptonormativity and a missing account with regard to the relationship between 'is' and 'ought' statements. Subsequently, two selected concepts of empirical-normative collaboration will be presented and how these concepts may contribute to improve the linkage between normative and empirical aspects of empirical research in medical ethics will be demonstrated. Based on our analysis, as well as our own practical experience with empirical research in medical ethics, we conclude with a sketch of concrete suggestions for the conduct of empirical research in medical ethics.SummaryHigh quality empirical research in medical ethics is in need of a considered reference to normative analysis. In this paper, we demonstrate how conceptual approaches of empirical-normative collaboration can enhance empirical research in medical ethics with regard to the link between empirical research and normative analysis. (shrink)
Based on his theory of animalrights, Regan concludes that humans are morallyobligated to consume a vegetarian or vegandiet. When it was pointed out to him that evena vegan diet results in the loss of manyanimals of the field, he said that while thatmay be true, we are still obligated to consumea vegetarian/vegan diet because in total itwould cause the least harm to animals (LeastHarm Principle, or LHP) as compared to currentagriculture. But is that conclusion valid? Isit possible that some other (...) agriculturalproduction alternatives may result in leastharm to animals? An examination of thisquestion shows that the LHP may actually bebetter served using food production systemsthat include both plant-based agriculture and aforage-ruminant-based agriculture as comparedto a strict plant-based (vegan) system. Perhapswe are morally obligated to consume a dietcontaining both plants and ruminant(particularly cattle) animal products. (shrink)
This commentary contends that Larry May’s Hobbesian argument for limitations on sovereignty and lawmaking in Limiting Leviathan does not succeed. First, I show that Hobbes begins with a plausible instrumental theory of normativity. Second, I show that Hobbes then attempts, unsuccessfully—by his own lights—to defend a kind of non-instrumental, moral normativity. Thus, I contend, in order to successfully “limit the Leviathan” of the state, the Hobbesian must provide a sound instrumental argument in favor of the sovereign limiting their actions and (...) lawmaking. But, I argue, neither Hobbes nor May provides such an argument. (shrink)
Although a growing body of research has shown the positive impact of ethical leadership on workplace deviance, questions remain as to whether its benefits are consistent across all situations. In this investigation, we explore an important boundary condition of ethical leadership by exploring how employees’ moral awareness may lessen the need for ethical leadership. Drawing on substitutes for leadership theory, we suggest that when individuals already possess a heightened level of moral awareness, ethical leadership’s role in reducing deviant actions may (...) be reduced. However, when individuals lack this strong moral disposition, ethical leadership may be instrumental in inspiring them to reduce their deviant actions. To enhance the external validity and generalizability of our findings, the current research used two large field samples of working professionals in both Turkey and the USA. Results suggest that ethical leadership’s positive influence on workplace deviance is dependent upon the individual’s moral awareness—helpful for those employees whose moral awareness is low, but not high. Thus, our investigation helps to build theory around the contingencies of ethical leadership and the specific audience for whom it may be more influential. (shrink)
According to Kant, it is impermissible to treat humanity as a mere means. If we accept Kant's equation of humanity with rational agency, and are literalists about ascriptions of agency to collectives it appears to follow that we may not treat collectives as mere means. On most standard accounts of what it is to treat something as a means this conclusion seems highly implausible. I conclude that we are faced with a range of options. One would be to rethink the (...) equation of humanity with rationality. Another would be to abandon the prohibition on treating as a means. The last would be to abandon literalist construals of attribution of agency to collectives. (shrink)
Introduction Current treatments for pain have limited benefits and worrying side effects. Some studies suggest that pain is reduced when clinicians deliver positive messages. However, the effects of positive messages are heterogeneous and have not been subject to meta-analysis. We aimed to estimate the efficacy of positive messages for pain reduction. -/- Methods We included randomized trials of the effects of positive messages in a subset of the studies included in a recent systematic review of context factors for treating pain. (...) Several electronic databases were searched. Reference lists of relevant studies were also searched. Two authors independently undertook study selection, data extraction, risk of bias assessment, and analyses. Our primary outcome measures were differences in patient- or observer-reported pain between groups who were given positive messages and those who were not. -/- Results Of the 16 randomized trials (1703 patients) that met the inclusion criteria, 12 trials had sufficient data for meta-analysis. The pooled standardized effect size was −0.31 (95% confidence interval [CI] −0.61 to −0.01, p = 0.04, I2 = 82%). The effect size remained positive but not statistically significant after we excluded studies considered to have a high risk of bias (standard effect size −0.17, 95% CI −0.54 to 0.19, P = 0.36, I2 = 84%). -/- Conclusion Care of patients with chronic or acute pain may be enhanced when clinicians deliver positive messages about possible clinical outcomes. However, we have identified several limitations of the present study that suggest caution when interpreting the results. We recommend further high-quality studies to confirm (or falsify) our result. -/- FUNDING -/- Alexander Mebius research has been funded through the ERC grant "Philosophy of Pharmacology: Safety, Statistical Standards, and Evidence Amalgamation" (GA: 639276). (shrink)
This paper consists of four parts. Part 1 is an introduction. Part 2 evaluates arguments for the claim that there are no strict empirical laws in biology. I argue that there are two types of arguments for this claim and they are as follows: (1) Biological properties are multiply realized and they require complex processes. For this reason, it is almost impossible to formulate strict empirical laws in biology. (2) Generalizations in biology hold contingently but laws go beyond describing contingencies, (...) so there cannot be strict laws in biology. I argue that both types of arguments fail. Part 3 considers some examples of biological laws in recent biological research and argues that they exemplify strict laws in biology. Part 4 considers the objection that the examples in part 3 may be strict laws but they are not distinctively biological laws. I argue that given a plausible account of what distinctively biological means, such laws are distinctively biological. (shrink)
Chase Wrenn argues that there are no epistemic duties. When it appears that we have an epistemic duty to believe, disbelieve or suspend judgement about some proposition P, we are really under a moral obligation to adopt the attitude towards P that our evidence favours. The argument appeals to theoretical parsimony: our conceptual scheme will be simpler without epistemic duties and we should therefore drop them. I argue that Wrenn’s strategy is flawed. There may well be things that we ought (...) to do on epistemic grounds alone. (shrink)
Philosophers of time say that if presentism is true (i.e. if reality is comprised solely of presently existing things), then a complete description of reality must contain tensed terms, such as ‘was’, ‘presently is’ and ‘will be’. I counter this viewpoint by explaining how the presentist may de-tense our talk about times. I argue, furthermore, that, since the A-theory of time denies the success of any such de-tensing strategy, presentism is not a version of the A-theory – contrary to the (...) popular opinion. (shrink)
Clinical decisions are expected to be based on factual evidence and official values derived from healthcare law and soft laws such as regulations and guidelines. But sometimes personal values instead influence clinical decisions. One way in which personal values may influence medical decision-making is by their affecting factual claims or assumptions made by healthcare providers. Such influence, which we call ‘value-impregnation,’ may be concealed to all concerned stakeholders. We suggest as a hypothesis that healthcare providers’ decision making is sometimes affected (...) by value-impregnated factual claims or assumptions. If such claims influence e.g. doctor–patient encounters, this will likely have a negative impact on the provision of correct information to patients and on patients’ influence on decision making regarding their own care. In this paper, we explore the idea that value-impregnated factual claims influence healthcare decisions through a series of medical examples. We suggest that more research... (shrink)
In an influential article, Simon C. May forcefully argued that, properly understood, there can never be principled reasons for moral compromise. While there may be pragmatic reasons for compromising that involve, for instance, concern for political expediency or for stability, there are properly speaking no principled reasons to compromise. My aim in the article is to show how principled moral compromise in the context of moral disagreements over policy options is possible. I argue that when we disagree, principled reasons favoring (...) compromises or compromising can assume a more significant part of what makes a position all things considered best, and in this way disagreement can ground moral compromise. (shrink)
During this Advent season, I am in a forward-looking and hopeful mood. But that also involves looking back to a point in my life, not that many years ago, when hope took on a new meaning for me. I was reminded of this point in my life over the past few weeks as I studied the notoriously difficult philosopher Immanuel Kant with several philosophy majors and minors. In a rare moment of clarity, Kant once wrote that all important human questions (...) can be boiled down to these three: WHAT CAN I KNOW? WHAT OUGHT I TO DO? and WHAT MAY I HOPE FOR? The Advent and Christmas seasons focus on the last of these three questions. A major figure in the seasons’ stories is John the Baptist, Jesus’ relative who, from a prison cell, once sent his disciples to ask his cousin a “What may I hope for?” question. “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”. (shrink)
On the assumption that theistic religious commitment takes place in the face of evidential ambiguity, the question arises under what conditions it is permissible to make a doxastic venture beyond oneâs evidence in favour of a religious proposition. In this paper I explore the implications for orthodox theistic commitment of adopting, in answer to that question, a modest, moral coherentist, fideism. This extended Jamesian fideism crucially requires positive ethical evaluation of both the motivation and content of religious doxastic ventures. I (...) suggest that, even though the existence of horrendous evil does not resolve evidential ambiguity in favour of atheism, there are reasonable value commitments that would preclude those who hold them from satisfying extended Jamesian fideist conditions for committing themselves to classical theism. I then begin a discussion of a possible revisionary theistic alternative (in the Christian tradition) which â one might hope â may meet those conditions. An earlier, shorter, version of this paper was delivered as a keynote address at the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God. (shrink)
Many liberals assume that, while children should not be rigidly indoctrinated, parents may raise them according to their own comprehensive values. Matthew Clayton, however, argues that the reasons for embracing antiperfectionism in politics also apply to parental authority. In this paper, I defend the perfectionist conception of childrearing. I claim that we cannot realistically foster a child’s sense of justice without embedding it in a comprehensive doctrine. Furthermore, I argue that since parents cannot avoid bearing some responsibility for their children’s (...) intial orientation to comprehensive doctrines, they are justified in parenting according to their own views of the valuable and true. (shrink)
Following insights from the New Theory of Reference, it has become widely accepted that theoretical identities like ‘water = H2O' are necessary. However, some have challenged this claim. I propose yet another challenge in the form of a sceptical argument. The argument is based on the contention that the necessity of theoretical identities is dependent upon criteria of identity. Thus, a theoretical identity is necessary given one criterion of identity but contingent given another. Since we do not know which criteria (...) of identity in fact obtain, it follows that, for all we know, theoretical identities may not be necessary. (shrink)
Two radically different views about time are possible. According to the first, the universe is three dimensional. It has a past and a future, but that does not mean it is spread out in time as it is spread out in the three dimensions of space. This view requires that there is an unambiguous, absolute, cosmic-wide "now" at each instant. According to the second view about time, the universe is four dimensional. It is spread out in both space and time (...) - in space-time in short. Special and general relativity rule out the first view. There is, according to relativity theory, no such thing as an unambiguous, absolute cosmic-wide "now" at each instant. However, we have every reason to hold that both special and general relativity are false. Not only does the historical record tell us that physics advances from one false theory to another. Furthermore, elsewhere I have shown that we must interpret physics as having established physicalism - in so far as physics can ever establish anything theoretical. Physicalism, here, is to be interpreted as the thesis that the universe is such that some unified "theory of everything" is true. Granted physicalism, it follows immediately that any physical theory that is about a restricted range of phenomena only, cannot be true, whatever its empirical success may be. It follows that both special and general relativity are false. This does not mean of course that the implication of these two theories that there is no unambiguous cosmic-wide "now" at each instant is false. It still may be the case that the first view of time, indicated at the outset, is false. Are there grounds for holding that an unambiguous cosmic-wide "now" does exist, despite special and general relativity, both of which imply that it does not exist? There are such grounds. Elsewhere I have argued that, in order to solve the quantum wave/particle problem and make sense of the quantum domain we need to interpret quantum theory as a fundamentally probabilistic theory, a theory which specifies how quantum entities - electrons, photons, atoms - interact with one another probabilistically. It is conceivable that this is correct, and the ultimate laws of the universe are probabilistic in character. If so, probabilistic transitions could define unambiguous, absolute cosmic-wide "nows" at each instant. It is entirely unsurprising that special and general relativity have nothing to say about the matter. Both theories are pre-quantum mechanical, classical theories, and general relativity in particular is deterministic. The universe may indeed be three dimensional, with a past and a future, but not spread out in four dimensional space-time, despite the fact that relativity theories appear to rule this out. These considerations, finally, have implications for views about the arrow of time and free will. (shrink)
Contrary to concerns of some critics, we present evidence that biomedical research is not dominated by a small handful of model organisms. An exhaustive analysis of research literature suggests that the diversity of experimental organisms in biomedical research has increased substantially since 1975. There has been a longstanding worry that organism‐centric funding policies can lead to biases in experimental organism choice, and thus negatively impact the direction of research and the interpretation of results. Critics have argued that a focus on (...) model organisms has unduly constrained the diversity of experimental organisms. The availability of large electronic databases of scientific literature, combined with interest in quantitative methods among philosophers of science, presents new opportunities for data‐driven investigations into organism choice in biomedical research. The diversity of organisms used in NIH‐funded research may be considerably lower than in the broader biomedical sciences, and may be subject to greater constraints on organism choice. (shrink)
It is argued that the current policy of the British Medical Association (BMA) on conscientious objection is not aligned with recent human rights developments. These grant a right to conscientious objection to doctors in many more circumstances than the very few recognised by the BMA. However, this wide-ranging right may be overridden if the refusal to accommodate the conscientious objection is proportionate. It is shown that it is very likely that it is lawful to refuse to accommodate conscientious objections that (...) would result in discrimination of protected groups. It is still uncertain, however, in what particular circumstances the objection may be lawfully refused, if it poses risks to the health and safety of patients. The BMA's policy has not caught up with these human rights developments and ought to be changed. (shrink)
Executive compensation has long been a prominent topic in the management literature. A main question that is also given substantial attention in the business ethics literature—even more so in the wake of the recent financial crisis—is whether increasing levels of executive compensation can be justified from an ethical point of view. Also, the relationship of executive compensation to instances of unethical behavior or outcomes has received considerable attention. The purpose of this paper is to explore the social, ecological, and existential (...) costs of economic incentives, by discussing how relying on increasing levels of executive compensation may have an adverse effect on managerial performance in a broad sense. Specifically, we argue that one-dimensional economic incentives may destroy existential, social, and systemic values that influence the manager’s commitment to ensure responsible business conduct, and have negative spillover effects that may reduce the manager’s performance. There are well-documented findings that demonstrate that reliance on sources of extrinsic motivation (such as economic incentives) may displace intrinsic motivation. Our perspective is a holistic one, in the sense that we will explore the influence of sources of extrinsic motivation on the manager’s intrinsic commitment to different types of values. We will in particular investigate how it may influence the manager’s ethical reflection and behavior or lack thereof. (shrink)
It has traditionally been assumed that organ donation must be altruistic, though the necessity of altruistic motivations has recently been questioned. Few, however, have questioned whether altruism is always a good motive. This paper considers the possibility that excessive altruism, or self-abnegation, may be intrinsically bad. How this may be so is illustrated with reference to Tom Hurka’s account of the value of attitudes, which suggests that disproportionate love of one’s own good—either excessive or deficient—is intrinsically bad. Whether or not (...) we accept the details of this account, recognising that altruistic motivations may be intrinsically bad has important implications for organ procurement. One possible response is to say that we should take further measures to ensure that donors have good motives—that they are altruistic is no longer enough. An alternative is to say that, since altruistic donation need not be intrinsically good, we have less reason to object to other motivations. (shrink)
Health checks identify disease in individuals without a medical indication. More and more checks are offered by more providers on more risk factors and diseases, so we may speak of an omnipresence of health checks. Current ethical evaluation of health checks considers checks on an individual basis only. However, omnipresent checks have effects over and above the effects of individual health checks. They might give the impression that health is entirely manageable by individual actions and strengthen the norm of individual (...) responsibility for health to the point where people hold themselves and others responsible for health outcomes they cannot reasonably be held accountable for. This process of so-called ‘over-responsibilization’ may result in increased feelings of guilt over health, decreased health solidarity and unfairly distributed health outcomes. Moreover, effects on privacy and peace of mind may be observed. Taking into account all possible harms and benefits of health checks in their ethical evaluation requires evaluation of health checks on an individual basis as well as on the level of all checks. Therefore, we urge the amendment of existing ethical evaluation to include the effects of an omnipresence of health checks. We make a first attempt at the formulation of amended criteria. (shrink)
Environmental historians are not sufficiently aware of the extent to which mid twentieth-century thinkers turned to medical geography—originally a nineteenth-century area of study—in order to think through ideas of ecology, environment, and historical reasoning. This article outlines how the French–Croatian Mirko D. Grmek, a major thinker of his generation in the history of medicine, used those ideas in his studies of historical epidemiology. During the 1960s, Grmek attempted to provide, in the context of the Annales School’s research program under the (...) leadership of Fernand Braudel, a new theoretical framework for a world history of disease. Its development was inspired by several sources, most notably the French–American Jacques M. May, who was then pioneering an opening up of medical geography and movement towards the concept of disease ecology. The cornerstone of Grmek’s “synthetic approach” to the field was the notion of “pathocenosis”. The diverse uses of this notion in the course of time—from his early agenda focused on a longue durée history of diseases in Western Antiquity to his last, relating to the new epidemiological threat of emerging infectious diseases, specifically HIV/aids—enables us firstly, to note how concepts of ecology sat uneasily alongside those of medical geography; secondly, to assess the reach and limits of his theoretical contribution to historical epidemiology; and thirdly, to understand better the uneven fortunes of his concept of pathocenosis at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries. (shrink)
The present study was motivated by the hypothesis that inputs from internal states in obsessive–compulsive individuals are attenuated, which could be one source of the pervasive doubting and checking in OCD. Participants who were high or low in OC tendencies were asked to produce specific levels of muscle tension with and without biofeedback, and their accuracy in producing the required muscle tension levels was assessed. As predicted, high OC participants performed more poorly than low OC participants on this task when (...) biofeedback was not available. When biofeedback was provided, the difference between the groups was eliminated, and withdrawing the monitor again reversed this effect. Finally, when given the opportunity, high OC participants were more likely than low OC participants to request biofeedback. These results suggest that doubt in OCD may be grounded in a real and general deficiency in accessing internal states. (shrink)
I shall argue that in some wars both sides are (as a collective) justified, that is, they can both satisfy valid jus ad bellum requirements. Moreover, in some wars – but not in all – the individual soldiers on the unjustified side (that is, on the side without jus ad bellum) may nevertheless kill soldiers (and also civilians as a side-effect) on the justified side, even if the enemy soldiers always abide by jus in bello constraints. Traditional just war theory (...) and self-proclaimed “revisionist” just war theory think otherwise since the former focuses on the law enforcement or public authority justification for inflicting harm and the latter on the self-defense justification. These are both intrinsically asymmetrical justifications: there is no justified self-defense (properly understood) against justified self-defense, nor is there justified law-enforcement against justified law-enforcement. However, there can, as I will show, be justified self-defense against force that is justified by a necessity justification, and there can be force justified by a necessity justification being used against force that is also justified by a necessity justification. The necessity justification is not intrinsically asymmetrical, and it is an indispensable justification in the context of war. Moreover, with regard to some forms of inflicting harm on others one may give special weight to one’s own interests and the interests of those to whom one has special responsibilities when assessing the proportionality of those acts. That is, the proportionality calculation may be agent-relative. This is in particular so in the case of foreseeably preventing innocent and non-threatening people from being saved (for instance, by shooting down a tactical bomber who would have saved them by destroying an ammunitions factory) but less so in the case of the intentional or foreseeable direct harming of innocent and non-threatening people (dropping bombs on people standing near an ammunitions factory). In the light of these considerations, I will then answer the question as to when soldiers may justifiably participate in war (and when not). (shrink)
In a recent paper, Rob Lawlor argues that moral theories should not be taught in courses on applied ethics. The author contends that Dr Lawlor’s arguments overlook at least two important roles that some attention to ethical theories may play in practical ethics courses. The conclusion is not that moral theory must be taught, but rather that there is more to be said for it than Dr Lawlor’s arguments reveal.
In the present article, we argue that the constant pressure that leaders face may limit the willpower required to behave according to ethical norms and standards and may therefore lead to unethical behavior. Drawing upon the ego depletion and moral self-regulation literatures, we examined whether self-regulatory depletion that is contingent upon the moral identity of leaders may promote unethical leadership behavior. A laboratory experiment and a multisource field study revealed that regulatory resource depletion promotes unethical leader behaviors among leaders who (...) are low in moral identity. No such effect was found among leaders with a high moral identity. This study extends our knowledge on why organizational leaders do not always conform to organizational goals. Specifically, we argue that the hectic and fragmented workdays of leaders may increase the likelihood that they violate ethical norms. This highlights the necessity to carefully schedule tasks that may have ethical implications. Similarly, organizations should be aware that overloading their managers with work may increase the likelihood of their leaders transgressing ethical norms. (shrink)
Much of the current imaging literature either denies the existence of wakeful non-mental imagers, views non-imagers motivationally as 'repressors' or 'neurotic', or acknowledges them but does not fully incorporate them into their models. Neurobiologists testing for imaging loss seem to assume that visual recognition, describing objects, and free-hand drawing require the forming of conscious images. The intuition that 'the psyche never thinks without an image.... the reasoning mind thinks its ideas in the form of images' (Aristotle) has a long tradition (...) in philosophical psychology, from Aristotle through the British empiricists to the British-empiricist-inspired introspection paradigm of Titchener. The massive shift in early experimental psychology to the introspective-antagonistic paradigm of Watson's behaviourism, may have sprung from the contrary intuition that no one thinks in mental images. In both cases, people seemed to assume that what is in one's own mind is in everybody's mind. A third, mediating, intuition - that some people do not think with conscious mental imagery -- seems to be confirmed by empirical studies on many levels. From the early imagery interviews of Francis Galton through many modern surveys, including my own, a consistent diversity of self-reports on ones own mental imagery abilities suggests that some 2-5% of people are very poor- or non-visual- imagers who, yet, maintain normal visual recognition abilities. Comparable estimates have been made in auditory and other imagery modalities. (shrink)
This article investigates the effects of Machiavellianism (MACH) on sales performance. Results indicate that those who possess high Machiavellian traits are more productive but received lower overall managerial ratings. Findings suggest that Machiavellianism may in certain circumstances, be somewhat advantageous for long-term sales performance.
There has been much argument over whether procreative selection is obligatory or wrong. Rebecca Bennett has recently challenged the assumption that procreative choices are properly moral choices, arguing that these views express mere preferences. This article challenges Bennett's view on two fronts. First, I argue that the Non-Identity Problem does not show that there cannot be harmless wrongs – though this would require us to abandon the intuitively attractive ‘person-affecting principle’, that may be a lesser cost than abandoning some more (...) firmly-held intuition. But, even if we accept Bennett's claim that these choices are not moral, that does not show them to be mere personal preferences. I argue that there is a class of non-moral ‘categorical preferences’ that have much the same implications as moral preferences. If a moral preference for able-bodied children is problematic, then so is a non-moral categorical preference. Thus, showing that these preferences are not moral does not show that they are not problematic, since they may still be categorical. (shrink)
Short-term or working memory provides temporary storage of information in the brain after an experience and is associated with conscious awareness. Neurons sensitive to the multiple stimulus attributes comprising an experience are distributed within many brain regions. Such distributed cell assemblies, activated by an event, are the most plausible system to represent the WM of that event. Studies with a variety of imaging technologies have implicated widespread brain regions in the mediation of WM for different categories of information. Each kind (...) of WM may thus be expected to involve many brain regions rather than a local, uniquely dedicated set of cells. Neurons in a distributed “cell assembly” may be self-selected by their temporally coherent activations. The process by which this fragmented representation of the recent past is reassembled to accomplish essentially automatic and reliable recognition of a recurrent event constitutes an important problem. One plausible mechanism to achieve the identification of past with previous events would require that the representational system mediating WM must coexist in spatial extent and somehow overlap in temporal activation with cell ensembles registering input from subsequent events. The detection of such a postulated mechanism required an experimental approach which would focus upon spatial patterns of coherent activation while information about different events was stored in WM and retrieved, rather than focusing upon the temporal sequences of activation in localized regions of interest. For this purpose, the familiar delayed matching from sample task was modified. A series of information-free flashes, or “noncontingent probes,” was presented before an initial series of visual information items, the Priming Sample, which were to be held in WM during a Delay Period. A second series of visual information items were then presented, the Matching Sample. The task required detection of any item in the second series which had beenabsentfrom the initial series. Thirty such trials with a particular category of visual information constituted a single task. Several DMS tasks with this standardized design, but with different categories of visual information, were presented within each test session. The information categories included letters of the alphabet, single digit numbers, or faces from a school yearbook. Event-related potentials , were computed from 21 standardized electrode placements, separately for information-free probes and for information items in each interval of the trials within a task. Because each electrode is particularly sensitive to coherent activation of neurons in the immediately underlying brain regions, topographic maps were constructed and interpolated across the surface of the scalp. The momentary fluctuations of the resulting voltage “landscapes” throughout the task were then subjected to quantitative analysis. Distinctive landscapes sometimes persisted for prolonged periods, implying sustained engagement of very large populations of neurons. “Difference landscapes” were constructed by subtraction of topographic maps evoked by noncontingent probes during the Delay Period from maps of probe ERPs before the presentation of the initial information in the Priming Sample. Such probe difference landscapes displayed recurrent high similarity to momentary landscapes elicited during subsequent presentation of the information items in the Matching Sample. It seemed as if the distributed cell assembly continuously engaged by mediation of WM of the diverse attributes of the initial stimuli was being dynamically compared to the ensembles engaged by registration of the subsequent stimuli. Spatial Principal Component Analysis was applied to the sequences of momentary voltage landscapes observed throughout trials of each task. This method sought a small number of spatial patterns with which these large sets of inhomogeneous spatial distributions of voltage could be reconstructed. This is the spatial analog of the reconstruction of local ERPs by temporal principal components, as often described previously. Five Spatial Principal Components were found which accounted for about 90% of the total variance of voltage across the surface of the scalp throughout every task. Theloadings,or distinguishing topographic features, of these SPCs, were highly similar during every cognitive task for every subject. However,factor scores,or relative average contribution to the overall voltage distributions, of the different SPCs varied substantially among subjects between the tasks and momentarily within successive intervals of each task. These five SPCs may reflect coherent activation of huge distributed ensembles of neurons which comprise independent but interacting functional brain subsystems. These subsystems may correspond to basic resources available to individuals for allocation to mediate conscious evaluation of information during cognitive activity, providing a filter to bind together fractionated representations of the past to evaluate the present. (shrink)
Revisiting May 1968, this paper highlights the critical nature of Guy Debord's Marxism. Fifty years after the French events, the question then arises: “To what extent does the Situationist definition of anticapitalist subjectivity still preserve its historical-critical relevance?” The answer is not simple. After all, it amounts to the evaluation of the critical Marxism of Debord, in order to distinguish, in its regard, what is living and what is dead.