This paper presents a new Symmetrical Interpretation (SI) of relativistic quantum mechanics which postulates: quantum mechanics is a theory about complete experiments, not particles; a complete experiment is maximally described by a complex transition amplitude density; and this transition amplitude density never collapses. This SI is compared to the Copenhagen Interpretation (CI) for the analysis of Einstein’s bubble experiment. This SI makes several experimentally testable predictions that differ from the CI, solves one part of the measurement problem, resolves some inconsistencies (...) of the CI, and gives intuitive explanations of some previously mysterious quantum effects. (shrink)
Over the last two or three decades, puzzles concerning vagueness, identity, and material constitution have led an increasing number of ontologists to “eliminate” at least some of the objects of folk ontology. In the book here reviewed, Trenton Merricks proposes to eliminate any and all material objects that lack nonredundant causal powers. The objects found lacking include statues, baseballs, planets, and all other inanimate macroscopica, including the masses and conjunctive objects favored by some other eliminativists. The objects found to possess (...) the requisite powers include human persons, who are taken to be human organisms, other conscious organisms, such as dogs and dolphins, and the microscopica of which organisms are composed. Merricks doesn’t assume that there are physical simples. But he does assume that there is at least one level of microscopica, and he uses ‘atoms’ as a convenient term for the microscopica of some unspecified level. As regards organisms that lack consciousness, Merricks is agnostic. (shrink)
This essay is a critical response to Loren Lomasky's essay in this volume: The essay argues that Lomasky both overestimates the value of eating meat and underestimates the harms to animals of practices surrounding meat eating. While Lomasky takes the fact that an animal would not have lived at all if it were not being raised for food to constitute a benefit for animals being so raised, this essay argues that it would be better for animals raised on factory farms (...) to have never been born. It also contends that Lomasky overstates his case regarding the benefits of meat eating for human well-being. While gastronomic experiences can enrich our lives, it would be a mistake to think that meat eating is indispensable to the enrichment of our lives; one canexperience the flourishing of eating well without eating animals. (shrink)
Peter Forrest argues that theism is warranted by an inference to the best explanation that does not posit God as a supernatural entity. Lest theists fear that Forrest settles for an ersatz naturalistic conception of God, let me reassure them that his view might be captured by the slogan, "Neither a naturalist nor a supernaturalist be!" Both naturalism and supernaturalism attempt to understand what Forrest calls the "familiar"—the things observable by humans, including the phenomena of consciousness—but they differ about the (...) constraints on acceptable explanations. Naturalism accepts, while supernaturalism rejects, the following constraints: don't posit an "unfamiliar" entity unless a well-confirmed scientific theory provides a "precedent" for it, and don't violate any well-confirmed laws of nature. Forrest's antisupernaturalism accepts, but weakens to : don't posit an unfamiliar kind of entity unless there is some precedent for it, either in the familiar entities we already believe in, or in a well-confirmed scientific theory. Thus, every naturalistic explanation is antisupernaturalist, but some antisupernaturalist ones are not naturalistic because they posit unfamiliar entities on the basis of a commonsense nonscientific theory. (shrink)
On the most popular account of material constitution, it is common for a material object to coincide precisely with one or more other material objects, ones that are composed of just the same matter but differ from it in sort. I argue that there is nothing that could ground the alleged difference in sort and that the account must be rejected.
Uncovering the historical roots of naturalistic, secular contemporary ethics, in this volume Michael Gill shows how the British moralists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries completed a Copernican revolution in moral philosophy. They effected a shift from thinking of morality as independent of human nature to thinking of it as part of human nature itself. He also shows how the British Moralists - sometimes inadvertently, sometimes by design - disengaged ethical thinking, first from distinctly Christian ideas and then from (...) theistic commitments altogether. Examining in detail the arguments of Whichcote, Cudworth, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson against Calvinist conceptions of original sin and egoistic conceptions of human motivation, Gill also demonstrates how Hume combined the ideas of earlier British moralists with his own insights to produce an account of morality and human nature that undermined some of his predecessors' most deeply held philosophical goals. (shrink)
In the mid-20th century, descriptive meta-ethics addressed a number of central questions, such as whether there is a necessary connection between moral judgment and motivation, whether moral reasons are absolute or relative, and whether moral judgments express attitudes or describe states of affairs. I maintain that much of this work in mid-20th century meta-ethics proceeded on an assumption that there is good reason to question. The assumption was that our ordinary discourse is uniform and determinate enough to vindicate one side (...) or the other of these meta-ethical debates. I suggest that ordinary moral discourse may be much less uniform and determinate than 20th century meta-ethics assumed. (shrink)
Michael B. Gill offers a new account of Humean moral pluralism: the view that there are different moral reasons for action, which are based on human sentiments. He explores its historical origins, and argues that it offers the most compelling view of our moral experience. Together, pluralism and Humeanism make a philosophically powerful couple.
One of the most significant disputes in early modern philosophy was between the moral rationalists and the moral sentimentalists. The moral rationalists — such as Ralph Cudworth, Samuel Clarke and John Balguy — held that morality originated in reason alone. The moral sentimentalists — such as Anthony Ashley Cooper, the third Earl of Shaftesbury, Francis Hutcheson and David Hume — held that morality originated at least partly in sentiment. In addition to arguments, the rationalists and sentimentalists developed rich analogies. The (...) most significant analogy the rationalists developed was between morality and mathematics. The most significant analogy the sentimentalists developed was between morality and beauty. These two analogies illustrate well the main ideas, underlying insights, and accounts of moral phenomenology the two positions have to offer. An examination of the two analogies will thus serve as a useful introduction to the debate between moral rationalism and moral sentimentalism as a whole. (shrink)
This article explores how economic inequality in the United States has led to growing levels of poverty, food insecurity, and obesity for the bottom segments of the economy. It takes the position that access to nutritious food is a requirement for living and for participating fully in the workplace and society. Because of increasing economic inequality in the United States, growing segments of the U.S. economy have become more food insecure and obese, eating unhealthy food for survival and suffering an (...) erosion of “equality of capabilities” that undermines their ability to play a “full and active part in the functioning of community.” Unequal access to nutritious foods in the United States is attributable in part to an industrial food system that is designed to produce short-term profits for industrial food producers, processors, and distributors that extract surplus labor value through market concentration and opportunistic behavior at the expense of the long-term benefits for consumers, food workers, and ecosystems. Economic inequality, food insecurity, and the erosion of equality of capabilities in the United States have given rise to protest movements, social movements, social innovations, and some modest strengthening of regulations to make access to and consumption of healthy food a right for every person. Implications for business and society research are explored. (shrink)
I argue that a policy of presumed consent for cadaveric organ procurement, which assumes that people do want to donate their organs for transplantation after their death, would be a moral improvement over the current American system, which assumes that people do not want to donate their organs. I address what I take to be the most important objection to presumed consent. The objection is that if we implement presumed consent we will end up removing organs from the bodies of (...) people who did not want their organs removed, and that this situation is morally unacceptable because it violates the principle of respect for autonomy that underlies our concept of informed consent. I argue that while removing organs from the bodies of people who did not want them removed is unfortunate, it is morally no worse that not removing organs from the bodies of people who did want them removed, and that a policy of presumed consent will produce fewer of these unfortunate results than the current system. (shrink)
When making moral judgments, people are typically guided by a plurality of moral rules. These rules owe their existence to human emotions but are not simply equivalent to those emotions. And people’s moral judgments ought to be guided by a plurality of emotion-based rules. The view just stated combines three positions on moral judgment:  moral sentimentalism, which holds that sentiments play an essential role in moral judgment,1  descriptive moral pluralism, which holds that commonsense moral judgment is guided by (...) a plurality of moral rules2, and  prescriptive moral pluralism, which holds that moral judgment ought to be guided by a plurality of moral rules. In what follows, we will argue for all three positions. We will not present a comprehensive case for these positions nor address many of the arguments philosophers have developed against them. What we will try to show is that recent psychological work supports sentimentalist pluralism in both its descriptive and prescriptive forms. (shrink)
I aim to show that there are cases in which an ordinary material object exists intermittently. Afterwards there are a few words about the consequences of acknowledging such cases, but what is of more interest is the route by which the conclusion is reached. When deciding among competing descriptions of the cases considered, I have tried to reduce to a minimum the role of intuitive judgment, and I have based several arguments on "metaphysical principles," two of which I have defended.
Is it logically possible to perform a "superfeat"? That is, is it logically possible to complete, in a finite time, an infinite sequence of distinct acts? In opposition to the received view, I argue that all physical superfeats have kinematic features that make them logically impossible.
As shown in my text in Part I of this volume, the Boston theory, Goffman, and some parts of mentalization theory all address the phenomenon of special “moments”. These theories value the role of conversation very differently. Goffman’s theory comprises most; conversation is what makes “moments” possible but “moments” are not the goal of every “talk-in-interaction”. More specified conditions of “moments” will be described with the goal to apply them to a transcribed interviewed with a Holocaust survivor. Conversation analysis in (...) the future will have to develop concepts for what has been termed “noticeable absence”. After analysis of what is said and done, there remains the question how to deal with what is silenced. (shrink)
Many moral philosophers in the Western tradition have used phenomenological claims as starting points for philosophical inquiry; aspects of moral phenomenology have often been taken to be anchors to which any adequate account of morality must remain attached. This paper raises doubts about whether moral phenomena are universal and robust enough to serve the purposes to which moral philosophers have traditionally tried to put them. Persons’ experiences of morality may vary in a way that greatly limits the extent to which (...) moral phenomenology can constitute a reason to favor one moral theory over another. Phenomenology may not be able to serve as a pre-theoretic starting point or anchor in the consideration of rival moral theories because moral phenomenology may itself be theory-laden. These doubts are illustrated through an examination of how moral phenomenology is used in the thought of Ralph Cudworth, Samuel Clarke, Joseph Butler, Francis Hutcheson, and Søren Kierkegaard. (shrink)
Dion is a full-bodied man. Theon is that part of him which consists of all of him except his left foot. What becomes of Dion and Theon when Dion’s left foot is amputated? In Burke 1994, employing the doctrine of sortal essentialism, I defended a surprising position last defended by Chrysippus: that Dion survives while the seemingly unscathed Theon perishes. This paper defends that position against objections by Stone, Carter, Olson, and others. Most notably, it offers a novel, conservative solution (...) to the many-thinkers problem, a solution that enables us to accept the existence of brain-containing person-parts while denying that those person-parts are thinking, conscious beings. (shrink)
The Cambridge Platonists were a group of religious thinkers who attended and taught at Cambridge from the 1640s until the 1660s. The four most important of them were Benjamin Whichcote, John Smith, Ralph Cudworth, and Henry More. The most prominent sentimentalist moral philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment – Hutcheson, Hume, and Adam Smith – knew of the works of the Cambridge Platonists. But the Scottish sentimentalists typically referred to the Cambridge Platonists only briefly and in passing. The surface of Hutcheson, (...) Hume, and Smith's texts can give the impression that the Cambridge Platonists were fairly distant intellectual relatives of the Scottish sentimentalists – great great-uncles, perhaps, and uncles of a decidedly foreign ilk. But this surface appearance is deceiving. There were deeply significant philosophical connections between the Cambridge Platonists and the Scottish sentimentalists, even if the Scottish sentimentalists themselves did not always make it perfectly explicit. (shrink)
It is hard to see why the head and other brain-containing parts of a person are not themselves persons, or at least thinking, conscious beings. Some theorists have sought to reconcile us to the existence of thinking person-parts. Others have sought to avoid them, but have relied on radical theories at odds with the metaphysic implicit in ordinary ways of thinking. This paper offers a novel, conservative solution, one on which the heads and other brain-containing parts of persons do exist (...) but are neither persons, thinkers, nor conscious beings. A much briefer statement of the solution is found in section 5 of Burke 2004. (shrink)
: We argue that healthy people should be allowed to sell one of their kidneys while they are alive—that the current prohibition on payment for kidneys ought to be overturned. Our argument has three parts. First, we argue that the moral basis for the current policy on live kidney donations and on the sale of other kinds of tissue implies that we ought to legalize the sale of kidneys. Second, we address the objection that the sale of kidneys is intrinsically (...) wrong because it violates the Kantian duty of respect for humanity. Third, we address a range of consequentialist objections based on the idea that kidney sales will be exploitative. Throughout the paper, we argue only that it ought to be legal for an individual to receive payment for a kidney. We do not argue that it ought to be legal for an individual to buy a kidney. (shrink)
Some children living with life-shortening medical conditions may wish to attend school without the threat of having resuscitation attempted in the event of cardiopulmonary arrest on the school premises. Despite recent attention to in-school do-not-attempt-resuscitation (DNAR) orders, no assessment of state laws or school policies has yet been made. We therefore sought to survey a national sample of prominent school districts and situate their policies in the context of relevant state laws. Most (80%) school districts sampled did not have policies, (...) regulations, or protocols for dealing with student DNARs. A similar majority (76%) either would not honor student DNARs or were uncertain about whether they could. Frequent contradictions between school policies and state laws also exist. Consequently, children living with life-shortening conditions who have DNARs may not have these orders honored if cardiopulmonary arrest were to occur on school premises. Coordinated efforts are needed to harmonize school district, state, and federal approaches in order to support children and families' right to have important medical decisions honored. (shrink)
An argumentative passage that might appear to be an instance of denying the antecedent will generally admit of an alternative interpretation, one on which the conditional contained by the passage is a preface to the argument rather than a premise of it. On this interpretation. which generally is a more charitable one, the conditional plays a certain dialectical role and, in some cases, a rhetorical role as well. Assuming only a very weak principle of exigetical charity, I consider what it (...) would take to justify the less charitable interpretation. I then present evidence that those conditions are seldom met. Indeed, I was unable to find a single published argument that can justifiably be charged with denying the antecedent. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis paper explicates Shaftesbury’s idea that we ought to live our lives as though they are works of art. I show that this idea is central to many of Shaftesbury’s most important claims, and that an understanding of this idea enables us to answer some of the most contested questions in the scholarship on Characteristics.
Many philosophers, both past and present, object to materialism not from any romantic anti-scientific bent, but from sheer inability to understand the thesis. It seems utterly inconceivable to some that qualia should exist in a world which is entirely material. This paper investigates the grain objection, a much neglected argument which purports to prove that sensations could not be brain events. Three versions are examined in great detail. The plausibility of the first version is shown to depend crucially on whether (...) one holds a direct or non-direct theory of perception. Only on the latter is this version plausible. An analysis of the second "semantic" version concludes that a materialist description and explanation of the world should not be expected to transparently convey all that would be of interest or importance to human beings. The final version explicitly makes use of Grover Maxwell's non-direct perceptual theory of structural realism. Although a confusion is charged to Maxwell between phenomenal and objective properties, the critical difficulty for the grain objection is its failure to characterize "structure" from a non-percipient point of view. As the grain objection is ultimately found wanting, the real difficulty for materialism crystallizes as its irreconciliability with the mere existence of sentience, which seems to force some sort of emergence upon us. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer a novel, conservative solution to the puzzle of Tibbles the cat. I do not criticize the existing solutions or the theories within which they are embedded. I am content to offer an alternative, one that relies on the recently resurgent doctrine of Aristotelian essentialism. My solution, unlike some of its competitors, is applicable to the full range of cases in which, as with Tib and Tibbles, there is the threat of coinciding objects. In section 1, (...) I present the solution. In sections II-IV, I defend it against four objections. (shrink)
Moral cognitivists hold that in ordinary thought and language moral terms are used to make factual claims and express propositions. Moral non-cognitivists hold that in ordinary thought and language moral terms are not used to make factual claims or express propositions. What cognitivists and non-cognitivists seem to agree about, however, is that there is something in ordinary thought and language that can vindicate one side of their debate or the other. Don Loeb raises the possibility — which I will call (...) “the variability thesis” — that ordinary moral thought and language contains both cognitivist and non-cognitivist elements, and that there is no principled reason for thinking that either the cognitivist or non-cognitivist elements are conceptually more primary or aberrant than the other. According to the variability thesis, cognitivists accurately capture some aspects of what we think and say when we use moral terms and non-cognitivists capture other aspects, but neither side provides a correct analysis of ordinary moral thought and language as a whole. (shrink)
Virtually every empirical inquiry of issues relevant to applied business ethics involves the asking of questions that are sensitive, embarrassing, threatening, stigmatizing, or incriminating. Accordingly, questions of this sort are likely to result in unsatisfactory outcomes: 1) many individuals will not respond; and/or, 2) many individuals will not respond candidly. An obvious objective, then, is to use a method to collect information which increases participation, provides absolute anonymity, and does not jeopardize subjects' privacy. The randomized response technique is a method (...) designed to realize this promise. We provide here an overview of RRT approaches and applications 'which may be effectively used in empirical examinations of potentially sensitive issues in business ethics. (shrink)
Shaftesbury believed that the height of virtue was impartial love for all of humanity. But Shaftesbury also harboured grave doubts about our ability to develop such an expansive love. In The Moralists, Shaftesbury addressed this problem. I show that while it may appear on the surface that The Moralists solves the difficulty, it in fact remains unresolved. Shaftesbury may not have been able to reconcile his view of the content of virtue with his view of our motivational psychology.
Moral rationalism is the view that morality originates in reason alone. It is often contrasted with moral sentimentalism, which is the view that the origin of morality lies at least partly in sentiment. The eighteenth century saw pitched philosophical battles between rationalists and sentimentalists, and the issue continues to fuel disputes among moral philosophers today.
Suppose that five minutes ago, to our astonishment, a healthy, full-grown duck suddenly popped into existence on the table in front of us. Suppose further that there was no first time at which the duck existed but rather a last time, T, at which it had yet to exist. Then for each time t at which the duck has existed, there is an explanation of why the duck existed at t: there was a time t’ earlier than t but later (...) than T such that the duck existed at t’, and it was only to be expected that a healthy duck would survive the brief period from t’ to t. But would these explanations remove the mystery? Taken collectively, would they explain why the duck has existed since T rather than never having existed at all? Presumably not. But if not, this seems to discredit the style of explanation offered by Hume and Edwards for the infinite regress they hypothesize of causes and effects. (shrink)
Moral phenomenology, as i will use the term in this paper, is the study of our experience of morality. It is the study of morality “as experienced from the first-person point of view,” 1 the study of the “what-it-is-like features of concrete moral experiences,” 2 the study of introspectively accessible features that can be discerned by “a direct examination of the data of men’s moral consciousness.” 3A crucial part of moral phenomenology is the study of what it is like to (...) make a moral judgment. This part of moral phenomenology seeks to delineate the introspectively accessible mental features that are essentially involved in judging that an act ought or ought not to be performed, and in judging that a person is virtuous or vicious.An adequate moral theory must account for the phenomenological facts. It must accommodate or explain in some way the introspectively accessible mental features essentially involved in our moral experience. An adequate moral theory must cohere with what it is like to make moral judgments.It has been common for philosophers to claim that their moral theories are superior to others because their moral theories better account for our experience of moral judgment. In sections 2 and 3 of this paper, I will show how Francis Hutcheson and David Hume used phenomenological claims of this sort to argue that their sentimentalist moral theories were superior to rationalist and egoist rivals.But Hutcheson’s and Hume’s phenomenological arguments do not succeed, or so I will argue in section 4. They fail to show that the phenomenology of moral judgment constitutes a strong reason for us to accept sentimentalism and reject rationalism and egoism. I think, moreover, that this failure is the typical fate of moral phenomenological arguments in general. This is because I think the introspectively. (shrink)
When a man of business enters into life and action, he is more apt to consider the characters of men, as they have relation to his interest, than as they stand in themselves; and has his judgement warped on every occasion by the violence of his passion. When a philosopher contemplates characters and manners in his closet, the general abstract view of the objects leaves the mind so cold and unmoved, that the sentiments of nature have no room to play, (...) and he scarce feels the difference between vice and virtue. History keeps in a just medium betwixt these extremes, and places the objects in their true point of view. The writers of history, as well as the readers, are sufficiently interested in the characters and events, to have a lively sentiment of blame or praise; and, at the same time, have no particular interest or concern to pervert their judgment. (shrink)