Very often moral disagreements can be resolved by appealing to factual considerations because in these cases the parties to the dispute agree as to which factual considerations are relevant. They agree, that is, with respect to their basic moral standards. Hence, when their disagreement about the non-moral facts is resolved, so is their moral disagreement. But sometimes moral disagreement persists in spite of agreement on factual considerations. When this happens, and when neither party is guilty of illogical thinking, we have (...) a case of moral deadlock. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 56, Issue 3-4, pp 241 - 271 William of Ockham and John Buridan provide different accounts of the distinction between formal and material consequences. Some consequences – in particular, enthymemes – that Ockham would classify as formal would be classified as material by Buridan. This paper explains this taxonomical discrepancy. It identifies the root of the discrepancy not in a difference between Ockham’s and Buridan’s notions of propositional hylomorphism but rather in Ockham’s endorsement of relational characterizations of (...) consequences. (shrink)
Spatial localization, often demarcated by food miles, has emerged as the dominant theme in movements for more socially just and environmentally benign alternative food systems, especially in industrialized countries such as the United States. We analyze how an emphasis on spatial localization, combined with the difficulty of defining and measuring adequate indicators for alternative food systems, can challenge efforts by food system researchers, environmental writers, the engaged public, and advocacy groups wanting to contribute to alternative food systems, and facilitates exploitation (...) by the mainstream players using “localwash” to maintain the status quo. New indicators are urgently needed because research shows that spatial localization in general and minimized food miles in particular are not adequate or even required for most of the goals of alternative food systems. Creating indicators to operationalize goals for alternative, local food systems requires asking the right questions to make sure indicators are not misleading us: What are the goals of alternative food systems? What actions and policies will most effectively achieve those goals? What is the potential of reducing food miles as an action and a policy for achieving goals? What are the best indicators for measuring progress toward goals? We discuss how these questions can be answered for a wide range of alternative food system goals via four categories according to the role of food miles reduction as an action and policy in promoting them: necessary and sufficient, necessary but not sufficient, potentially important, and potentially supportive. (shrink)
Over the past decade, we have witnessed some early signs of progress in the battle against international bribery and corruption, a problem that throughout the history of commerce had previously been ignored. We present a model that we then use to assess progress in reducing bribery. The model components include both hard law and soft law legislation components and enforcement and compliance components. We begin by summarizing the literature that convincingly argues that bribery is an immoral and unethical practice and (...) that the economic harm it causes falls most heavily on those least able to absorb it. The next section summarizes the main provisions of anti-bribery legislation including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the Organization for Eco nomic Development's Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Officials in International Business Transactions, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the laws of selected countries. We conclude this section with a discussion of the "moral imperialism" argument for not imposing Western laws and values on other cultures. The next section focuses on the roles played by NGOs including Transparency International (TI), the World Economic Forum (WEF), and the International Chamber of Commerce. We review trends in enforcement and prosecution, including a review of the United States' enforcement processes, mechanisms for cross-border legal assistance, a discussion of the distinctive nature of FCPA cases, and an assessment of what the future holds for enforcement. The final section focuses on compliance processes for corporations aimed at reducing the risk of FCPA and related violations. This section also addresses the ethics of gift giving and "grease" payments. The article concludes with a summary and suggestions for further research. Throughout the article, we reference important bribery cases and include comments from several authorities who are on the front lines of the battle against international bribery. (shrink)
Here I reply to a recent exchange between Edgar Danielyan and Brian Garrett regarding Alvin Plantinga’s assessment of Gaunilo’s ‘ideal island’ objection to Anselm’s ontological argument. I argue that an ideal island is conceivable if it’s defined as any island exhibiting an ideal ratio of great-making island properties.
It is commonly accepted that if an agent wants p, then she has a desire that is satisfied in exactly the worlds where p is true. Call this the ‘Satisfaction-is-Truth Principle’. We argue that this principle is false: an agent may want p without having a desire that is satisfied when p obtains in any old way. For example, Millie wants to drink milk but does not have a desire that is satisfied when she drinks spoiled milk. Millie has a (...) desire whose satisfaction conditions are what we call ways-specific. Fara (2003, 2013) and Lycan (2012, ms) have also argued for this conclusion, but their claims about desire satisfaction rest solely on contested intuitions about when agents get what they want. We set these intuitions to one side, instead arguing that desire satisfaction is ways-specific by appealing to the dispositional role of desire. Because agents are disposed to satisfy their desires, dispositions provide important evidence about desire satisfaction. Our argument further provides new insight on the dispositional role of desire satisfaction. (shrink)
Is it possible for a person to believe that an act is morally wrong even though he himself does not disapprove of such acts—except, perhaps, in those cases where he is the victim of such acts? Does it make sense to suppose that a person could judge that one is morally obligated to act in a certain way even though he himself has no disposition whatsoever to act in such a way? Although I am inclined to think that the ordinary (...) man would answer these questions in the affirmative, almost all moral philosophers today would answer in the negative. If one examines the views of contemporary moral philosophers, one finds that virtually all of them subscribe to the thesis known as “internalism.”. (shrink)
Is it possible for a person to understand that what he proposes to do is morally wrong and yet prefer to do it nonetheless? I shall argue that wickedness consists in a defect of character that results in one's often having just such preferences. Yet many philosophers think that wickedness so conceived is impossible, because, for them, having such a preference is incompatible with believing, or at least knowing, that the act would be wrong.
I want to see the concert, but I don’t want to take the long drive. Both of these desire ascriptions are true, even though I believe I’ll see the concert if and only if I take the drive.Yet they, and strongly conflicting desire ascriptions more generally, are predicted incompatible by the standard semantics, given two standard constraints. There are two proposed solutions. I argue that both face problems because they misunderstand how what we believe influences what we desire. I then (...) sketch my own solution: a coarse-worlds semantics that captures the extent to which belief influences desire. My semantics models what I call some-things-considered desire. Considering what the concert would be like, but ignoring the drive, I want to see the concert; considering what the drive would be like, but ignoring the concert, I don’t want to take the drive. (shrink)
In recent essays John Bishop proposes a model of religious faith. This author notices that a so-called doxastic venture model of theistic faith is self-defeating for the following reason: a venture suggests a process with an outcome; by definition a venture into Christian faith denies itself an outcome in virtue of the transcendent character of its claims – for what is claimed cannot be settled. Taking instruction from logical positivism, I stress the nonsensical character of religious claims while attacking Bishop's (...) model. However, I wish to avail myself of this same model to describe a state of belief among certain parties which does not refer to transcendent matters, in order to show that a doxastic venture is indeed a valid description of a state of belief, and that pursuing this model shows in relief the transformative nature of belief, along with its essentially scientific status. It is my ambition to show, turning Bishop's model against itself, that a state of religious belief suffers from a precise logical equivalence to a condition of agnosticism. I ask whether we are justified in believing in belief. (shrink)
This article presents a holistic framework for understanding the scienceof plant breeding, as an alternative to the common objectivist andconstructivist approaches in studies of science. It applies thisapproach to understanding disagreements about how to deal with yieldstability. Two contrasting definitions of yield stability are described,and concomitant differences in the understanding and roles ofsustainability and of selection, test, and target environments areexplored. Critical questions about plant breeding theory and practiceare posed, and answers from the viewpoint of the two contrastingdefinitions of yield (...) stability are analyzed, based on key publicationsin the field. Differences in answers to these questions appear to resultboth from the contingencies of plant breeders' experiences withparticular crop varieties and growing environments, and from differencesin social and institutional settings – plant breeding science isboth objective truth and social construction. The goal of using aholistic framework is to encourage discussion among plant breeders,farmers, social scientists, and others, of the bases for disagreementswithin plant breeding, in order to facilitate plant breeding'scontribution to a more environmentally, economically, and sociallysustainable agriculture. (shrink)
This essay explores Hegel’s treatment of Carl Friedrich Gauss’s mathematical discoveries as examples of “Analytic Cognition.” Unfortunately, Hegel’s main point has been virtually lost due to an editorial blunder tracing back almost a century, an error that has been perpetuated in many subsequent editions and translations.The paper accordingly has three sections. In the first, I expose the mistake and trace its pervasive influence in multiple languages and editions of the Wissenschaft der Logik. In the second section, I undertake to explain (...) the mathematical significance of Gauss’s discoveries. In the third section, I take a look at the deeper implications of Hegel’s treatment of Gauss’s work as a window onto the nature and limitations of analytic cognition. In conclusion, I seek to explain how the linear method embodied in deductive reason leads by its own inner principle, according to Hegel, to its dialectical Aufhebung. The result is a kind of deliberately circular reasoning that he describes as “the Absolute Idea.”. (shrink)
By the middle of the nineteenth century science was developing into a profession demanding advanced training and devotion to research. American institutions, however, were still better suited to an earlier stage of popular science. Many of the difficulties and frustrations for would-be scientists created by the time lag in institutional change are illustrated in the career of Cleveland Abbe. In the fifteen years between 1856 and 1871 his attempts to become an astronomer touched upon many significant aspects of American (...) science as a profession, including the American observatory movement, the creation of graduate education, government support for science, and the tension between the joint goals of the increase and the diffusion of knowledge. (shrink)
Business bluffing as a subject has been mentioned in various journals for at least the past 16 years. Its treatment has become one of apparent serious intent to identify it as a subject matter unto itself. Definitionally and theoretically, its essence has been specified but seemingly without due regard to its true nature. Business bluffing is an act of puffing at best and misrepresentation or fraud at worst. In either case, its legality and morality are already well defined and discussions (...) of the subject should be directed along these established pathes. A businessman is admonished to judge things as they are, to speak of them, when properly called thereto, according to such judgment, neither adding or diminishing, neither depreciating a commodity, nor putting false color upon it. (Plain and Serious Hints and Advice for the Tradesman's Prudent and Pious Conduct, Dr. Isaac Watts, 1747.). (shrink)
: What philosophical and historical insights might be gained by juxtaposing and linking two distinct areas of Zhu Xi's comments, those on guishen (conventionally glossed as ghosts or spirits) and those on the transmission and succession of the Way (daotong)? There is considerable evidence that he regarded canonical rites for ancestors and teachers as insufficiently satisfying, and thus he sought enhanced communion with the dead. His statements about spirits and especially his prayers to Confucius' spirit served to enhance his confidence (...) that he had gained the transmission of Confucius' dao and that nothing being passed down to him had been lost. In the rituals and prayers to Confucius, Zhu Xi also projected himself as mediator between his students and Confucius' spirit. After hearing such prayers and participating in the ritual sacrifices, Zhu's students would become more convinced of his special status in the transmission of the Way. This inquiry into these spiritual and philosophical issues ultimately demonstrates the compelling importance of Zhu's practical concerns. (shrink)
In Studies in Ideology, poet and theorist J.M. Beach delivers a comprehensive analysis of the history and theory of "ideology." Beach offers his theory of ideology in conjunction with an extensive reading of history and contemporary affairs and ends the book with a brief biographical sketch of his own intellectual maturation, which is imbedded within a daring and timely critique of Christianity.
This project evaluates the impact of the National Science Foundation's policy to promote education in the responsible conduct of research. To determine whether this policy resulted in meaningful RCR educational experiences, our study examined the instructional plans developed by individual universities in response to the mandate. Using a sample of 108 U.S. institutions classified as Carnegie “very high research activity”, we analyzed all publicly available NSF RCR training plans in light of the consensus best practices in RCR education that were (...) known at the time the policy was implemented. We found that fewer than half of universities developed plans that incorporated at least some of the best practices. More specifically, only 31% of universities had content and requirements that differed by career stage, only 1% of universities had content and requirements that differed by discipline; and only 18% of universities required some face-to-face engagement from all classes of trainees. Indeed, some schools simply provided hand-outs to their undergraduate students. Most universities had plans that could be satisfied with online programs such as the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative's RCR modules. The NSF policy requires universities to develop RCR training plans, but provides no guidelines or requirements for the format, scope, content, duration, or frequency of the training, and does not hold universities accountable for their training plans. Our study shows that this vaguely worded policy, and lack of accountability, has not produced meaningful educational experiences for most of the undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-doctoral trainees funded by the NSF. (shrink)
In his book _Paradoxes, Mark Sainsbury suggests that degrees of truth can be justified and explained by analogy with degrees of belief. Considerations of vagueness place theoretical limitations on degrees of belief which require degrees of truth. This paper argues that considerations of vagueness and degrees of belief do nothing to illuminate degrees of truth. An account of vagueness need not postulate degrees of truth.
Kant's noncognitive argument based on practical reason claims that moral considerations alone suffice to justify the idea of personal immortality as a postulate. Some recent objections are considered here that have charged him with overstepping his own distinction between phenomenon and noumenon. After examining the arguments, Kant is exonerated of having violated his own principles. More troubling, however, is the peculiarity involved in postulating an infinite progression toward a goal whose attainment, by hypothesis, would undermine the very foundations of morality (...) (which for Kant always requires the agonistic condition of struggling to improve one's lower nature). It is argued that this paradox necessitates a reexamination of some tacit cultural presuppositions underlying Kant's conception of the soul. Finally, an examination is made of the thought of Kitarō Nishida, whose Zen Buddhist–inspired dialectic of the basho (logical "place") provides an alternative perspective from which to reconsider the postulate of immortality. Nishida, like Kant, rigorously maintains the phenomenonnoumenon distinction, yet his examination of ethics leads him to postulate an eventual sublation of the "soul" principle. It is concluded that Kant's postulate of immortality, while plausible enough on its own terms, is limited by a Western cultural bias and therefore fails in the end to be compelling. (shrink)
Matthew Arnold, writing sadly of the receding Sea of Faith, gave his image a vast and deadly application —… The world, which seemsTo lie before us like a land of dreamsSo various, so beautiful, so new,Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain—.