In this paper, I begin by defending permissivism: the claim that, sometimes, there is more than one way to rationally respond to a given body of evidence. Then I argue that, if we accept permissivism, certain worries that arise as a result of learning that our beliefs were caused by the communities we grew up in, the schools we went to, or other irrelevant influences dissipate. The basic strategy is as follows: First, I try to pinpoint what makes irrelevant influences (...) worrying and I come up with two candidate principles. I then argue that one principle should be rejected because it is inconsistent with permissivism. The principle we should accept implies that it is sometimes rational to maintain our beliefs, even upon learning that they were caused by irrelevant influences. (shrink)
How is medical knowledge made? There have been radical changes in recent decades, through new methods such as consensus conferences, evidence-based medicine, translational medicine, and narrative medicine. Miriam Solomon explores their origins, aims, and epistemic strengths and weaknesses; and she offers a pluralistic approach for the future.
In recent years, permissivism—the claim that a body of evidence can rationalize more than one response—has enjoyed somewhat of a revival. But it is once again being threatened, this time by a host of new and interesting arguments that, at their core, are challenging the permissivist to explain why rationality matters. A version of the challenge that I am especially interested in is this: if permissivism is true, why should we expect the rational credences to be more accurate than the (...) irrational ones? My aim is to turn this challenge on its head and argue that, actually, those who deny permissivism will have a harder time responding to such a challenge than those who accept it. (shrink)
It has been claimed that, in response to certain kinds of evidence, agents ought to adopt imprecise credences: doxastic states that are represented by sets of credence functions rather than single ones. In this paper I argue that, given some plausible constraints on accuracy measures, accuracy-centered epistemologists must reject the requirement to adopt imprecise credences. I then show that even the claim that imprecise credences are permitted is problematic for accuracy-centered epistemology. It follows that if imprecise credal states are permitted (...) or required in the cases that their defenders appeal to, then the requirements of rationality can outstrip what would be warranted by an interest in accuracy. (shrink)
The aim of this essay is to argue that, if a robust form of moral realism is true, then moral vagueness is ontic vagueness. The argument is by elimination: I show that neither semantic nor epistemic approaches to moral vagueness are satisfactory.
The question of whether it is ever permissible to believe on insufficient evidence has once again become a live question. Greater attention is now being paid to practical dimensions of belief, namely issues related to epistemic virtue, doxastic responsibility, and voluntarism. In this book, McCormick argues that the standards used to evaluate beliefs are not isolated from other evaluative domains. The ultimate criteria for assessing beliefs are the same as those for assessing action because beliefs and actions are both products (...) of agency. Two important implications of this thesis, both of which deviate from the dominant view in contemporary philosophy, are 1) it can be permissible to believe for non-evidential reasons, and 2) we have a robust control over many of our beliefs, a control sufficient to ground attributions of responsibility for belief. (shrink)
Embodied approaches in cognitive science hold that the body is crucial for cognition. What this claim amounts to, however, still remains unclear. This paper contributes to its clarification by confronting three ways of understanding embodiment—the sensorimotor approach, extended cognition and enactivism—with Locked-in syndrome. LIS is a case of severe global paralysis in which patients are unable to move and yet largely remain cognitively intact. We propose that LIS poses a challenge to embodied approaches to cognition requiring them to make explicit (...) the notion of embodiment they defend and its role for cognition. We argue that the sensorimotor and the extended functionalist approaches either fall short of accounting for cognition in LIS from an embodied perspective or do it too broadly by relegating the body only to a historical role. Enactivism conceives of the body as autonomous system and of cognition as sense-making. From this perspective embodiment is not equated with bodily movement but with forms of agency that do not disappear with body paralysis. Enactivism offers a clarifying perspective on embodiment and thus currently appears to be the framework in embodied cognition best suited to address the challenge posed by LIS. (shrink)
This paper is about the connection between rationality and accuracy. I show that one natural picture about how rationality and accuracy are connected emerges if we assume that rational agents are rationally omniscient. I then develop an alternative picture that allows us to relax this assumption, in order to accommodate certain views about higher order evidence.
Internalists face the following challenge: what is it about an agent's internal states that explains why only these states can play whatever role the internalist thinks these states are playing? Internalists have frequently appealed to a special kind of epistemic access that we have to these states. But such claims have been challenged on both empirical and philosophical grounds. I will argue that internalists needn't appeal to any kind of privileged access claims. Rather, internalist conditions are important because of the (...) way in which we expect them to act as causal mediators between states of the world, on the one hand, and our beliefs and actions on the other. (shrink)
Greaves and Wallace argue that conditionalization maximizes expected accuracy. In this paper I show that their result only applies to a restricted range of cases. I then show that the update procedure that maximizes expected accuracy in general is one in which, upon learning P, we conditionalize, not on P, but on the proposition that we learned P. After proving this result, I provide further generalizations and show that much of the accuracy-first epistemology program is committed to KK-like iteration principles (...) and to the existence of a class of propositions that rational agents will be certain of if and only if they are true. (shrink)
It has been argued that Extended Cognition (EXT), a recently much discussed framework in the philosophy of cognition, would serve as the theoretical basis to account for the impact of Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) on the self and life of patients with Locked-in Syndrome (LIS). In this paper I will argue that this claim is unsubstantiated, EXT is not the appropriate theoretical background for understanding the role of BCI in LIS. I will critically assess what a theory of the extended (...) self would comprise and provide a list of desiderata for a theory of self that EXT fails to accommodate for. There is, however, an alternative framework in Cognitive Science, Enactivism, which entails the basis for an account of self that is able to accommodate for these desiderata. I will outline some first steps towards an Enactive approach to the self, suggesting that the self could be considered as a form of human autonomy. Understanding the self from an enactive point of view will allow to shed new light on the questions of whether and how BCIs affect or change the selves of patients with LIS. (shrink)
Non-financial interests, and the conflicts of interest that may result from them, are frequently overlooked in biomedicine. This is partly due to the complex and varied nature of these interests, and the limited evidence available regarding their prevalence and impact on biomedical research and clinical practice. We suggest that there are no meaningful conceptual distinctions, and few practical differences, between financial and non-financial conflicts of interest, and accordingly, that both require careful consideration. Further, a better understanding of the complexities of (...) non-financial conflicts of interest, and their entanglement with financial conflicts of interest, may assist in the development of a more sophisticated approach to all forms of conflicts of interest. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to apply the accuracy based approach to epistemology to the case of higher order evidence: evidence that bears on the rationality of one's beliefs. I proceed in two stages. First, I show that the accuracy based framework that is standardly used to motivate rational requirements supports steadfastness—a position according to which higher order evidence should have no impact on one's doxastic attitudes towards first order propositions. The argument for this will require a generalization of (...) an important result by Greaves and Wallace for the claim that conditionalization maximizes expected accuracy. The generalization I provide will, among other things, allow us to apply the result to cases of self-locating evidence. In the second stage, I develop an alternative framework. Very roughly, what distinguishes the traditional approach from the alternative one is that, on the traditional picture, we're interested in evaluating the expected accuracy of conforming to an update procedure. On the alternative picture that I develop, instead of considering how good an update procedure is as a plan to conform to, we consider how good it is as a plan to make. I show how, given the use of strictly proper scoring rules, the alternative picture vindicates calibrationism: a view according to which higher order evidence should have a significant impact on our beliefs. I conclude with some thoughts about why higher order evidence poses a serious challenge for standard ways of thinking about rationality. (shrink)
My main aim in this paper is to specify conditions that distinguish rational, or justified, hope from irrational, or unjustified hope. I begin by giving a brief characterization of hope and then turn to offering some criteria of rational hope. On my view both theoretical and practical norms are significant when assessing hope’s rationality. While others have recognized that there are theoretical and practical components to the state itself, when it comes to assessing its rationality, depending on the account, only (...) one of these dimensions matters. Either hope’s rationality is taken to be entirely derivative on the rationality of some belief that the hope entails, or the focus is entirely on the practical dimensions. If we take seriously the idea that both kinds of norms are at play, an account which treats these both as salient and as intertwining in important ways is preferable. I argue that as the practical importance of hope increases, the demand for the level of evidential support lessens and as the stakes get lower, the evidence for the likeliness of the hoped-for outcome coming to be must go up for the hope to be rational. This is so because a hope is rational insofar as it contributes to agential flourishing, but the different dimensions of hope each pick out different aspects of agency; to hope well requires agential competence in both the epistemic and practical realms. (shrink)
I investigate what we mean when we hold people responsible for beliefs. I begin by outlining a puzzle concerning our ordinary judgments about beliefs and briefly survey and critique some common responses to the puzzle. I then present my response where I argue a sense needs to be articulated in which we do have a kind of control over our beliefs if our practice of attributing responsibility for beliefs is appropriate. In developing this notion of doxastic control, I draw from (...) John Fischer's discussions of?guidance control?. A central feature of this kind of control is the idea of?ownership?. I argue that we can own our beliefs and that we expect each other to do so. We take responsibility for our beliefs and taking responsibility includes taking control of them. I end by considering objections to my view as well as some implications of it. (shrink)
The American regulatory model of corporate governance rests on the theory of self-regulation as␣the most effective and efficient means to achieve corporate self-restraint in the marketplace. However, that model fails to achieve regular compliance with baseline ethical and legal behaviors as evidenced by a century of repeated corporate debacles, the most recent being Enron, WorldCom, and Refco. Seemingly impervious to its domestic failure, Congress imprinted the same self-regulation paradigm on legislation restraining global business behavior, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. This (...) anti-bribery initiative prohibits unethical and illegal payments made to foreign public officials in an effort to eradicate bribery as a rational-choice global market entry strategy. However, this paper illustrates, using newly complied statistics from 1977 to 2008, that the FCPA has not had a dramatic impact on U.S. global corporate behavior despite its recent high profile coverage and the tough regulatory rhetoric about corporate compliance. The paper also extends the prior Cragg and Woof FCPA efficiency study and provides current empirical evidence to resolve several unanswered questions raised by that earlier study. (shrink)
From the Ancient Greeks, through medieval Christian doctrine, and into the modern age, philosophers have long held envy to be irrational, a position that increasingly accompanies the political view that envy is not a justification for redistributing material goods. After defining the features of envy, and considering two arguments in favour of its irrationality, this article opposes the dominant philosophical and political consensus. It does so by deploying Rawls's much-ignored concept of ‘excusable envy’ to identify a form of envy that (...) is not imprudent and does not mis-describe. With this work completed, the article then argues – no doubt controversially – that excusable envy constitutes good grounds for redistribution or inequality-mitigation. In so doing, the article throws light on the moral significance of certain forms of uncivil disobedience, and also offers a new vocabulary for popular ‘politics of envy’ debates, which are yet to acknowledge the role of social institutions in reproducing envy-excusing economic inequalities. (shrink)
Trust in the practice of rational deliberation is widespread and largely unquestioned. This paper uses recent work from business contexts to challenge the view that rational deliberation in a group improves decisions. Pressure to reach consensus can, in fact, lead to phenomena such as groupthink and to suppression of relevant data. Aggregation of individual decisions, rather than deliberation to a consensus, surprisingly, can produce better decisions than those of either group deliberation or individual expert judgment. I argue that dissent is (...) epistemically valuable, not because of the discussion it can provoke (Mill’s and Longino’s view about the benefit of dissent), but because dissenting positions often are associated with particular data or insights that would be lost in consensus formation. Social epistemologists can usefully pay attention to various methods of aggregation of individual opinion for their effectiveness at realizing epistemic goals. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to describe a problem for calibrationism: a view about higher order evidence according to which one's credences should be calibrated to one's expected degree of reliability. Calibrationism is attractive, in part, because it explains our intuitive judgments, and provides a strong motivation for certain theories about higher order evidence and peer disagreement. However, I will argue that calibrationism faces a dilemma: There are two versions of the view one might adopt. The first version, I (...) argue, has the implausible consequence that, in a wide range of cases, calibrationism is the only constraint on rational belief. The second version, in addition to having some puzzling consequences, is unmotivated. At the end of the paper I sketch a possible solution. (shrink)
Using a conceptual framework and method combining ethical enquiry and phenomenology, we asked 73 senior baccalaureate nursing students to answer two questions: (1) What is nursing students’ experience of an ethical problem involving nursing practice? and (2) What is nursing students’ experience of using an ethical decision-making model? Each student described one ethical problem, from which emerged five content categories, the largest being that involving health professionals (44%). The basic nature of the ethical problems consisted of the nursing students’ experience (...) of conflict, resolution and rationale; 85% of the students stated that using an ethical decision-making model was helpful. Although additional research is needed, these findings have important implications for nursing ethics education and practice. (shrink)
_The_ _Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Medicine _is a comprehensive guide to topics in the fields of epistemology and metaphysics of medicine. It examines traditional topics such as the concept of disease, causality in medicine, the epistemology of the randomized controlled trial, the biopsychosocial model, explanation, clinical judgment and phenomenology of medicine and emerging topics, such as philosophy of epidemiology, measuring harms, the concept of disability, nursing perspectives, race and gender, the metaphysics of Chinese medicine, and narrative medicine. Each of (...) the 48 chapters is written especially for this volume and with a student audience in mind. For pedagogy and clarity, each chapter contains an extended example illustrating the ideas discussed. This text is intended for use as a reference for students in courses in philosophy of medicine and philosophy of science, and pairs well with _The_ _Routledge Companion to Bioethics_ for use in medical humanities and social science courses. (shrink)
This paper takes a new look at an old question: what is the human self? It offers a proposal for theorizing the self from an enactive perspective as an autonomous system that is constituted through interpersonal relations. It addresses a prevalent issue in the philosophy of cognitive science: the body-social problem. Embodied and social approaches to cognitive identity are in mutual tension. On the one hand, embodied cognitive science risks a new form of methodological individualism, implying a dichotomy not between (...) the outside world of objects and the brain-bound individual but rather between body-bound individuals and the outside social world. On the other hand, approaches that emphasize the constitutive relevance of social interaction processes for cognitive identity run the risk of losing the individual in the interaction dynamics and of downplaying the role of embodiment. This paper adopts a middle way and outlines an enactive approach to individuation that is neither individualistic nor disembodied but integrates both approaches. Elaborating on Jonas’ notion of needful freedom it outlines an enactive proposal to understanding the self as co-generated in interactions and relations with others. I argue that the human self is a social existence that is organized in terms of a back and forth between social distinction and participation processes. On this view, the body, rather than being identical with the social self, becomes its mediator. (shrink)
The work of Tversky, Kahneman and others suggests that people often make use of cognitive heuristics such as availability, salience and representativeness in their reasoning and decision making. Through use of a historical example--the recent plate tectonics revolution in geology--I argue that such heuristics play a crucial role in scientific decision making also. I suggest how these heuristics are to be considered, along with noncognitive factors (such as motivation and social structures) when drawing historical and epistemological conclusions. The normative perspective (...) is community-wide, contextual, and instrumental. (shrink)
Conflicts of interest in health and medicine have been the source of considerable public and professional debate. Much of this debate has focused on financial, rather than non-financial COI, which is a significant lacuna because non-financial COI can be just as influential as financial COI. In an effort to explore the nature and effects of non-financial, as well as financial COI, we conducted semi-structured interviews with eleven Australian medical professionals regarding their experiences of, and attitudes towards, COI. We found that (...) this group of medical professionals saw non-financial interests—most notably the pursuit of status and respect and the avoidance of stigma—as potentially conflicting with other important interests. (shrink)
My main aim is to argue that most conceptions of doxastic agency do not respond to the skeptic’s challenge. I begin by considering some reasons for thinking that we are not doxastic agents. I then turn to a discussion of those who try to make sense of doxastic agency by appeal to belief’s reasons-responsive nature. What they end up calling agency is not robust enough to satisfy the challenge posed by the skeptics. To satisfy the skeptic, one needs to make (...) sense of the possibility of believing for nonevidential reasons. While this has been seen as an untenable view for both skeptics and anti-skeptics, I conclude by suggesting it is a position that has been too hastily dismissed. (shrink)
The article deals with larger stretches of talk-in-interaction and argues in favor of a descriptive approach, which integrates the structural requirements of global organization, the special type of sequential orderliness within larger units as well as the genre-orientation of these units. Drawing on previous work in conversation analysis, discourse analysis and the sociological genre analysis, the article introduces GLOBE as an analytical tool which functionally links discourse units to conventionalized communicative purposes. GLOBE reconstructs the interactive achievement of genre-oriented discourse units (...) in a three-branch analysis of jobs, devices and forms. The analytical potential of GLOBE is demonstrated in the exemplary genre-contrastive analysis of a narrative, an explanative and an argumentative excerpt. On the basis of the analyses of the three genres, the overarching constitution of genre-oriented global units is then explicated. (shrink)
: In this essay, Miriam argues for a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach to the radical feminist theory of sex-right and compulsory heterosexuality. Against critics of radical feminism, she argues that when understood from a phenomenological-hermeneutic perspective, such theory does not foreclose female sexual agency. On the contrary, men's right of sexual access to women and girls is part of our background understanding of heteronormativity, and thus integral to the lived experience of female sexual agency.
: The traditional "doctrinal" approach to interpreting Plato's dialogues has been criticized in recent literature on grounds that it can neither account for the structural complexities of the dialogues nor resolve conflicts within or between dialogues. Accordingly, a non-doctrinal, dramatic approach has been offered in its place. In response to this literature, I argue that, though the doctrinal approach is flawed, the non-doctrinal, dramatic approach does not provide a viable alternative. Instead, I offer a revised doctrinal approach based upon Socrates' (...) discussion of "summoners" in Republic 522e–525a and supported by the Meno. (shrink)
There is a tension in Hume’s theory of belief. He tells us that beliefs are ideas that, as a result of certain natural mechanisms of the mind, become particularly lively and vivacious. Such an account seems to allow us little control over which beliefs we acquire, maintain or eschew. It seems I could not avoid feeling the strength of such ideas any more than I could avoid feeling the strength of the sun when exposed to it. Yet much of Hume’s (...) writings on belief reveal that he thinks we do have quite a lot of control in the area of belief maintenance and that we can be blameworthy for holding some beliefs and not others. For example, he says that beliefs that are a result of prejudice, namely beliefs formed on the basis of “general rules contrary to present observation and experience,” are “errors.” It is similarly an error if I believe x rather than y simply because x occurred more recently and is thus conceived by my mind in a more lively manner. The man who trembles when looking at the precipice below him, despite the complete security afforded by the iron cage he is in, ought not to believe he is in danger. Hume says we “ought to regulate our judgment concerning causes and effect” with rules that are formed in the understanding. These rules teach us to “distinguish accidental circumstances from the effacacious causes”. In the first Enquiry, Hume says, “A wise man … proportions his belief to the evidence.”. (shrink)