In a recent article, Meghan Griffith (American Philosophical Quarterly 47:43–56, 2010) argues that agent-causal libertarian theories are immune to the problem of luck but that event-causal theories succumb to this problem. In making her case against the event-causal theories, she focuses on Robert Kane’s event-causal theory. I provide a brief account of the central elements of Kane’s theory and I explain Griffith’s critique of it. I argue that Griffith’s criticisms fail. In doing so, I note some important respects in (...) which Kane’s view is unclear and I suggest a plausible way of reading Kane that makes his theory immune to Griffith’s objections. (shrink)
This guide accompanies the following article: Meghan Sullivan, ‘Problems with Temporary Existence in Tense Logic’. Philosophy Compass 7/1 : 43–57. doi: 10.1111/j.1747‐9991.2011.00457.xAuthor’s IntroductionOver the past century, there has been considerable debate over whether and how anything changes with respect to existence. Most A‐theorists of time think things come to exist or cease to exist. B‐theorists of time think objects do not change with respect to existence. In my Compass article, I outline a serious difficulty that A‐theorists face in trying (...) to reason about temporary existents. The most straightforward logics for time and existence entail that nothing exists merely temporarily. The problem arises from a set of theorems of the simplest temporal logic – the converse Barcan formulas. But attempts to fix the logic to get rid of the Barcan formulas pressure A‐theorists to abandon an intuitive and widespread assumption about existence. I survey the logical and metaphysical options for solving the problem.Author RecommendsBurgess, John P. Philosophical Logic. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.An introductory textbook in philosophical logic. Chapter 2 focuses on temporal logic and motivates a logic‐based response to problems with the temporal Barcan schemas.Prior, A. N. Past, Present, and Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967.The first attempt to rigorously formulate propositional and quantified tense logic. Chapter 8 especially provides philosophical insight into problems with change in existence. Prior uses Polish notation for his proofs and formalism, which requires a bit of background to translate.Sider, Theodore. Four‐Dimensionalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.Provides a useful background on the debates in the philosophy of time. The first three chapters that precisely define the different theories are especially relevant.Sider, Theodore. Logic for Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.A useful guide to the semantics and proof theory of modal and temporal logics.van Inwagen, Peter. ‘Meta‐Ontology.’Erkenntnis 48 :233–50.Gives an explanation and defense of neo‐Quinean assumptions.Williamson, Timothy. ‘Bare Possibilia.’Erkenntnis 48 :257–73.Provides a logic‐based argument for necessary, permanent existence and gives an A‐theory‐friendly model for explaining change on such an ontology.Zimmerman, Dean W. ‘Temporary Intrinsics and Presentism.’Metaphysics: The Big Questions. Eds. Peter van Inwagen and Dean W. Zimmerman. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998.Surveys a problem in formulating presentist theories of change and motivates the need for tense operators.Sample Syllabus:Here is a sample syllabus for a course on time in metaphysics and logic:Week I: Introduction: A‐Theories and B‐TheoriesWe will consider precise ways of differentiating A‐theories of time and B‐theories of time, looking in particular at how A‐theorists and B‐theorists think of intrinsic properties.Reading:• Chap 4.2., Lewis, David. On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986.• Zimmerman, Dean W. ‘Temporary Intrinsics and Presentism.’Metaphysics: The Big Questions. Eds. Peter van Inwagen and Dean W. Zimmerman. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998.• Chap 2, Sider, Theodore. Four‐Dimensionalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.Week II: The Bug: Temporary Existence in Tense LogicWe will consider why A‐theorists use tense logics to express their views, and we will look at the difficulties A‐theorists have expressing temporary existence in tense logic.Reading:• Sullivan, Meghan. ‘Problems for Temporary Existence in Tense Logic.’Philosophy Compass.• Chap 8, Prior, A. N. Past, Present, and Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967.Week III: Option 1: Rewire Tense Logic?We will learn about Kripke’s solution to the parallel problem in modal logic, consider how it might be applied to tense logic, and then consider philosophical difficulties for the proposal.Reading:• Chap 2, Burgess, John P. Philosophical Logic. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2009.• Kripke, Saul. ‘Semantical Considerations in Modal Logic.’Reference and Modality. Ed. Bernard Linsky. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971.• Optional: Chap 10, Sider, Theodore. Logic for Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.Week IV: Option 2: Believe in Permanent Existence?Williamson does not think we should revise our quantification theory. Instead, he argues that we should believe all objects necessarily, always exist. We will consider possible justifications for permanent existence.Reading:• Williamson, Timothy. ‘Bare Possibilia.’Erkenntnis 48 : 257–73.• Williamson, Timothy. ‘Necessary Existents.’Logic, Thought and Language. Ed. Anthony O’Hear. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.• Sullivan, Meghan. ‘The Minimal A‐Theory.’Philosophical Studies .Week V: Deflate the Debate ?We might think the logical problem only arises because we assume there is a single logic for existence. This assumption looks silly if we think there is no metaphysically privileged sense of existence. Deflationists argue for this solution to the presentist/eternalist debate. We’ll see if it provides attractive options for the more general debate over temporary existence.Reading:• Hirsch, Eli. ‘Ontology and Alternative Languages.’Metametaphysics: New Essays in the Foundations of Ontology. Eds. David J. Chalmers, David Manley, and Ryan Wasserman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.• Hofweber, Thomas. ‘The Meta‐Problem of Change.’Nous 2 : 286–314.• van Inwagen, Peter. ‘Meta‐Ontology.’Erkenntnis 48 : 233–50.Focus Questions• Are A‐theorists right to draw a close distinction between the past and future and merely possible worlds? To what extent is the analogy apt? What are some reasons the analogy might be misleading?• Test your familiarity with QTLK. Which of the following are theorems? Can you prove them? If they are not theorems, can you provide countermodels in the formal semantics? Feel free to include diagrams for countermodels.∀xF → ∃xF∃xF → ∃xH∃xP¬∃y → P∃x¬∃y• “A‐theorists who use Kripke’s semantics and free tense logic are forced to have a non‐Quinean theory of existence.” How would someone argue for this claim? Do you agree?• “Williamson’s ontology gives up what is most important about Neo‐Quineanism.” How would someone argue for this claim? Do you agree? (shrink)
With the growth of precision medicine research on health data and biospecimens, research institutions will need to build and maintain long-term, trusting relationships with patient-participants. While trust is important for all research relationships, the longitudinal nature of precision medicine research raises particular challenges for facilitating trust when the specifics of future studies are unknown. Based on focus groups with racially and ethnically diverse patients, we describe several factors that influence patient trust and potential institutional approaches to building trustworthiness. Drawing on (...) these findings, we suggest several considerations for research institutions seeking to cultivate long-term, trusting relationships with patients: Address the role of history and experience on trust, engage concerns about potential group harm, address cultural values and communication barriers, and integrate patient values and expectations into oversight and governance structures. (shrink)
Most of us display a bias toward the near: we prefer pleasurable experiences to be in our near future and painful experiences to be in our distant future. We also display a bias toward the future: we prefer pleasurable experiences to be in our future and painful experiences to be in our past. While philosophers have tended to think that near bias is a rational defect, almost no one finds future bias objectionable. In this essay, we argue that this hybrid (...) position is untenable. We conclude that those who reject near bias should instead endorse complete temporal neutrality. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson thinks that every object is a necessary, eternal existent. In defense of his view, Williamson appeals primarily to considerations from modal and tense logic. While I am uncertain about his modal claims, I think there are good metaphysical reasons to believe permanentism: the principle that everything always exists. B-theorists of time and change have long denied that objects change with respect to unqualified existence. But aside from Williamson, nearly all A-theorists defend temporaryism: the principle that there are temporary (...) existents. I think A-theorists are better off without this added commitment, but I will not argue for that in any great detail here. Instead, I will contend that a very tempting A-theoretic argument for temporaryism is unsound. In the first half of the paper, I will develop the Moorean “common sense” argument for temporaryism and dispute its central premise, namely that temporaryism is a valid generalization from highly plausible beliefs about change. I will argue that given the pervasive vagueness in our ordinary beliefs about change and the background commitments of all A-theories, no party can claim to be the common sense view because no party can accommodate most of our common sense beliefs about change in existence. In the second half of the paper, I will propose a permanentist A-theory that explains all change over time as a species of property change. I call it the minimal A-theory, since it dispenses with the change in existence assumption. As we'll see, the permanentist alternative performs well enough in explaining our ordinary beliefs about change, and it has better prospects for answering some objections commonly levied against A-theories. (shrink)
Philosophers like to worry about luck. And well they should. Luck poses potential difficulties for knowledge, moral appraisal, and freedom. The primary target of this paper will be the last of these concerns . Recent arguments from luck have been levied against libertarian accounts of free will, including agent-causal ones. One general goal of this paper will be to demonstrate the truth of an often overlooked claim about responsibility-undermining luck. Part of this task will include illustrating what is genuinely worrisome (...) about luck in the context of free will. It will turn out that the problem is not fundamentally a problem of explanation. Another aim will be to argue that the truth of this claim about luck reveals a problem for event-causal libertarianism but has yet to reveal a problem for the agent-causal view. For the purposes of this paper, it will be assumed that luck does indeed undermine free action and moral responsibility. But it will be argued that agent-caused actions have not been shown to be "lucky.". (shrink)
This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy is dedicated to Timothy Williamson's work on modality. It consists of a new paper by Williamson followed by papers on Williamson's work on modality, with each followed by a reply by Williamson. -/- Contributors: Andrew Bacon, Kit Fine, Peter Fritz, Jeremy Goodman, John Hawthorne, Øystein Linnebo, Ted Sider, Robert Stalnaker, Meghan Sullivan, Gabriel Uzquiano, Barbara Vetter, Timothy Williamson, Juhani Yli-Vakkuri.
Various authors have attempted to understand knowledge-wh—or knowledge ascriptions that include an interrogative complement. I present and explain some of the analyses offered so far and argue that each view faces some problems. I then present and explain a newanalysis of knowledge-wh that avoids these problems and that offers several other advantages. Finally I raise some problems for invariantism about knowledge-wh and I argue thatcontextualism about knowledge-wh fits nicely with a very natural understanding of the nature of questions.
In this paper, I will argue, contra Prinz, that empathy is a crucial component of our moral lives. In particular, I argue that empathy is sometimes epistemologically necessary for identifying the right action; that empathy is sometimes psychologically necessary for motivating the agent to perform the right action; and that empathy is sometimes necessary for the agent to be most morally praiseworthy for an action. I begin by explaining what I take empathy to be. I then discuss some alleged problems (...) for empathy and explain why some argue that empathy is unnecessary and sometimes even problematic in the moral domain. Next, I criticize a prominent alternative to an empathy-based morality. Finally, I argue that that empathy is sometimes epistemologically and psychologically necessary for doing the right thing and is sometimes necessary for moral worth. I conclude with a discussion of the important role of empathy in our everyday lives. (shrink)
Should you care less about your distant future? What about events in your life that have already happened? How should the passage of time affect your planning and assessment of your life? Most of us think it is irrational to ignore the future but harmless to dismiss the past. But this book argues that rationality requires temporal neutrality.
Prior research on the influence of various ways of framing anthropogenic climate change do not account for the organized ACC denial in the U.S. media and popular culture, and thus may overestimate these frames' influence in the general public. We conducted an experiment to examine how Americans' ACC views are influenced by four promising frames for urging action on ACC —when these frames appear with an ACC denial counter-frame. This is the first direct test of how exposure to an ACC (...) denial message influences Americans' ACC views. Overall, these four positive frames have little to no effect on ACC beliefs. But exposure to an ACC denial counter-frame does significantly reduce respondents' belief in the reality of ACC, belief about the veracity of climate science, awareness of the consequences of ACC, and support for aggressively attempting to reduce our nation's GHG emissions in the near future. Furthermore, as expected by the Anti-Reflexivity Thesis, exposure to the ACC denial counter-frame has a disproportionate influence on the ACC views of conservatives, effectively activating conservatives' underlying propensity for anti-reflexivity. (shrink)
Event-causal libertarians maintain that an agent’s freely bringing about a choice is reducible to states and events involving him bringing about the choice. Agent-causal libertarians demur, arguing that free will requires that the agent be irreducibly causally involved. Derk Pereboom and Meghan Griffith have defended agent-causal libertarianism on this score, arguing that since on event-causal libertarianism an agent’s contribution to his choice is exhausted by the causal role of states and events involving him, and since these states and events (...) leave it open which decision he will make, he does not settle which decision occurs, and thus “disappears.” My aim is to explain why this argument fails. In particular, I demonstrate that event-causal libertarians can dismantle the argument by enriching the reductive base in their analysis of free will to include a state that plays the functional role of the self-determining agent and with which the agent is identified. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Peter van Inwagen’s claim (in “Free Will Remains a Mystery”), that agent-causal views of free will could do nothing to solve the problem of free will (specifically, the problem of chanciness). After explaining van Inwagen’s argument, I argue that he does not consider all possible manifestations of the agent-causal position. More importantly, I claim that, in any case, van Inwagen appears to have mischaracterized the problem in some crucial ways. Once we are clear on (...) the true nature of the problem of chanciness, agent-causal views do much to eradicate it. (shrink)
Each year individuals are required to execute millions of authorizations for the release of their health records as a condition of employment, applying for various types of insurance, and submitting claims for benefits. Generally, there are no restrictions on the scope of information released pursuant to these compelled authorizations, and the development of a nationwide system of interoperable electronic health records will increase the amount of health information released. After quantifying the extent of these disclosures, this article discusses why it (...) is important to limit disclosures of health information for nonmedical purposes as well as how it may be possible to do so. (shrink)
“It's almost like putting salt in a wound, for this person who's already made a very difficult decision,” suggested Meghan Patterson, a licensed obstetrician-gynecologist whom we interviewed in our qualitative study of the experiences of North Carolina abortion providers practicing under the state's Woman's Right to Know Act. The act requires that women receive counseling with state-mandated information at least twenty-four hours prior to obtaining an abortion. After the law was passed, Patterson worked with clinic administrators, in consultation with (...) a lawyer, to write a script to be used in the state-mandated counseling procedure. She and her colleagues took particular steps to mitigate the effects of what she described as HB 854's “forced language”—such as referring to the “father of the child.” While HB 854 stipulated that patients must be informed of the medical risks associated with the particular abortion procedure as well as those of carrying the child to term, Patterson's script made explicit the magnitude of comparative risks, emphasizing that the risks of carrying a pregnancy to term are substantially greater than the risks of an early-term abortion. She felt that these contextualization strategies helped to facilitate trust and rapport in a clinical care situation that proved relationally and morally challenging. In this article, we take up and expand on this point by elucidating an empirically grounded approach to ethically justified care when health care providers face legal or institutional policy mandates that raise possible moral conflicts. Our approach builds on recent bioethics discourse addressing conscience in the practice of medicine. While the concept of conscience has broad philosophical underpinnings relating to moral judgment, agency, and discernments of right and wrong, debates in bioethics have tended to engage the concept primarily vis-à-vis rights of conscientious objection or refusal. Here, we suggest a broader frame for thinking about claims of conscience in health care. Our approach draws on the feminist bioethics and the ethics of care literatures to highlight how providers may be motivated by matters of conscience, including relational concerns, in the active provision of certain forms of care. What emerges are two possibilities: not only conscientious refusal to comply with a policy mandate but also conscientious compliance—working conscientiously within a mandate's confines. (shrink)
"The Manipulation Argument has recently taken center stage in the free-will debate, yet little else can be said of this newcomer that is uncontroversial. At present, even the most fundamental elements of the Manipulation Argument--its structure, conclusion, and target audience--are a matter of dispute. As such, we cannot begin, as we ideally would, with a simple and relatively uncontroversial overview of the argument. Instead, clarifying the debate over the basic structure and general conclusion of the Manipulation Argument will be our (...) goal.". (shrink)
A-theorists think there is a fundamental difference between the present and other times. This concern shows up in what kinds of properties they take to be instantiated, what objects they think exist and how they formalize their views. Nearly every contemporary A-theorist assumes that her metaphysics requires a tense logic – a logic with operators like and. In this paper, I show that there is at least one viable A-theory that does not require a logic with tense operators. And I (...) will argue that three common indispensability arguments for tense operators are unsound. (shrink)
Pulling from theories of social exchange, deonance, and fairness heuristics, this study focuses on the relationship between overall justice climate and both the prosocial and deviant behaviors of groups. Specifically, it considers two contextual boundary conditions on this effect—corporate social responsibility and group moral identity. Results from a laboratory experiment are presented, which show a significant effect for overall justice climate and a two-way interaction between overall justice climate and CSR on group-level prosocial and deviant behaviors, and a marginally significant (...) interaction of group moral identity with overall justice climate on group deviance. The implications of contextual influences on workplace ethics and justice are discussed. (shrink)
High-profile failures in financial trading have led to interest in how the culture of the industry produces risky and unethical behaviours among traders. Yet, there is no established theoretical framework for studying this: we apply safety culture theory to examine ten recent high-profile trading mishaps investigated by the UK financial regulator. The results show that the dimensions of safety culture used to understand organisational accidents in domains such as aviation also explain failures in Risk Management within financial trading organisations. This (...) counters narratives focusing on traders who are unethical ‘rule breakers’, and emphasises the value of a systemic approach, whereby safety culture theory is used to explain why risky behaviours in financial trading occur. Safety culture therefore provides a conceptual basis for further research on risky and unethical behaviours in financial trading, alongside providing insights for possible intervention. (shrink)
The debate between legal constitutionalists and critics of constitutional rights and judicial review is an old and lively one. While the protection of minorities is a pivotal aspect of this debate, the protection of disenfranchised minorities has received little attention. Policy-focused discussion—of the merits of the Human Rights Act in Britain for example—often cites protection of non-citizen migrants, but the philosophical debate does not. Non-citizen residents or ‘denizens’ therefore provide an interesting test case for the theory of rights as trumps (...) on ordinary representative politics. Are they the ultimate success story of the human rights framework? Or was Michael Walzer correct to describe government of denizens by citizens as a modern form of ‘tyranny’? This paper argues that neither liberal rights theorists nor democratic republicans provide a coherent response to the existence of denizens. Liberal rights theorists overstate the extent to which a politically powerless status can secure individual rights, while democratic republicans idealise the political process and wrongly assume that all those affected by laws are eligible for political participation. The paper outlines an alternative model for assessing the accountability of states to their non-citizen population, informed by the republican ideal of non-domination. It identifies gaps in state accountability to denizens–such as where there is inadequate diplomatic protection—and argues that these gaps are particularly troubling if their exit costs of leaving the state are high. (shrink)
A‐theorists of time postulate a deep distinction between the present, past and future. Settling on an appropriate logic for such a view is no easy matter. This Philosophy Compass article describes one of the most vexing formal problems facing A‐theorists. It is commonly thought that A‐theories can only be formally expressed in a tense logic: a logic with operators like P and F . And it seems natural to think that we live in a world where objects come to exist (...) and cease to exist as time passes. Indeed, this is typically a key component of the most prominent kind of A‐theory, presentism. But the temporary existence assumption cannot be upheld in any tense logic with a standard quantification theory. I will explain the problem and outline the philosophical and logical considerations that generate it. I will then consider two possible solutions to the problem – one that targets our logic of quantification and one that targets our assumptions about change. I survey the costs of each solution. (shrink)
In this article we describe our approach to understanding wrongdoing in medical research and practice, which involves the statistical analysis of coded data from a large set of published cases. We focus on understanding the environmental factors that predict the kind and the severity of wrongdoing in medicine. Through review of empirical and theoretical literature, consultation with experts, the application of criminological theory, and ongoing analysis of our first 60 cases, we hypothesize that 10 contextual features of the medical environment (...) (including financial rewards, oversight failures, and patients belonging to vulnerable groups) may contribute to professional wrongdoing. We define each variable, examine data supporting our hypothesis, and present a brief case synopsis from our study that illustrates the potential influence of the variable. Finally, we discuss limitations of the resulting framework and directions for future research. (shrink)
Aristotle considered moral beauty to be the telos of the human virtues. Displays of moral beauty have been shown to elicit the moral emotion of elevation and cause a desire to become a better person and to engage in prosocial behavior. Study 1 (N = 5380) shows engagement with moral beauty is related to several psychological constructs relevant to moral education, and structural models reveal that the story of engagement with moral beauty may be considered a story of love and (...) connectedness; it is uniquely predictive of caring for, being empathic of, loving, and valuing benevolence toward others. Study 2 (N = 542) demonstrates that the personality trait of engaging with moral beauty moderates susceptibility to elevation. These studies suggest that encouraging students to engage with moral beauty might increase their desire to become better persons and to do good. Convergent with other research showing that moral emotions motivate moral behavior, we suggest that moral education programs increase their focus on developing engagement with moral beauty. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop a novel version of the so-called Lucretian symmetry argument against the badness of death. Our argument has two features that make it particularly effective. First, it focuses on the preferences of rational agents. We believe the focus on preferences eliminates needless complications and emphasizes the urgency to respond to the argument. Second, our argument utilizes a principle that states that a rational agent's preferences should not vary in arbitrary ways. We argue that this principle underlies (...) our judgments of cognitive biases. We should therefore endorse the principle insofar as we think a cognitively biased agent fails to be rational. In the second half of the paper we survey potential ways to resist the new symmetry argument. We show that they all fail to meet the dialectical burden of our argument or involve highly controversial assumptions about the metaphysics of time or the limits of rational preferences. (shrink)
A-theories of time postulate a fundamental distinction between the present and other times. This distinction manifests in what A-theorists take to exist, their accounts of property change, and their views about the appropriate temporal logic. In this dissertation, I argue for a particular formulation of the A-theory that dispenses with change in existence and makes tense operators an optional formal tool for expressing the key theses. I call my view the minimal A-theory. The first chapter introduces the debate. The second (...) chapter offers an extended, logic-based argument against more traditional A-theories. The third and fourth chapters develop my alternative proposal. The final chapter considers a problem for A-theorists who think the contents of our attitudes reflect changes in the world. (shrink)
Using a unique data set of causal usage drawn from research articles published between 2006–2008 in the American Journal of Sociology and American Sociological Review, this article offers an empirical assessment of causality in American sociology. Testing various aspects of what we consider the conventional wisdom on causality in the discipline, we find that “variablistic” or “covering law” models are not the dominant way of making causal claims, research methods affect but do not determine causal usage, and the use of (...) explicit causal language and the concept of “mechanisms” to make causal claims is limited. Instead, we find that metaphors and metaphoric reasoning are fundamental for causal claims-making in the discipline. On this basis, we define three dominant causal types used in sociology today, which we label the Probabilistic, Initiating and Conditioning types. We theorize this outcome as demonstrating the primary role that cognitive models play in providing inference-rich metaphors that allow sociologists to map causal relationships on to empirical processes. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that trying is the locus of freedom and moral responsibility. Thus, any plausible view of free and responsible action must accommodate and account for free tryings. I then consider a version of agent causation whereby the agent directly causes her tryings. On this view, the agent is afforded direct control over her efforts and there is no need to posit—as other agent-causal theorists do—an uncaused event. I discuss the potential advantages of this sort of view, (...) and its challenges. (shrink)
DNA identification is being used in ever-widening ways, including databases of greater scope, familial and lowstringency searches, and DNA dragnets. After examining the law enforcement and privacy interests, the article concludes that forensic DNA uses must be consistent with privacy and civil liberties.