Justice, equality, and righteousnessthese are some of our greatest moral convictions. Yet in times of social conflict, morals can become rigid, making religious war, ethnic cleansing, and political purges possible. Morality, therefore, can be viewed as pathology-a rhetorical, psychological, and social tool that is used and abused as a weapon. An expert on Eastern philosophies and social systems theory, Hans-Georg Moeller questions the perceived goodness of morality and those who claim morality is inherently positive. Critiquing the ethical "fanaticism" of (...) Western moralists, such as Immanuel Kant, Lawrence Kohlberg, John Rawls, and the utilitarians, Moeller points to the absurd fundamentalisms and impracticable prescriptions arising from definitions of good. Instead he advances a theory of "moral foolishness," or moral asceticism, extracted from the "amoral" philosophers of East Asia and such thinkers as Ludwig Wittgenstein and Niklas Luhmann. The moral fool doesn't understand why ethics are necessarily good, and he isn't convinced that the moral perspective is always positive. In this way he is like most people, and Moeller defends this foolishness against ethical pathologies that support the death penalty, just wars, and even Jerry Springer's crude moral theater. Comparing and contrasting the religious philosophies of Christianity, Daoism, and Zen Buddhism, Moeller presents a persuasive argument in favor of amorality. (shrink)
Abstract Context: Established in 1997, Summa Health System’s Medical Ethics Committee (EC) serves as an educational, supportive, and consultative resource to patients/families and providers, and serves to analyze, clarify, and ameliorate dilemmas in clinical care. In 2009 the EC conducted its 100th consult. In 2002 a Palliative Care Consult Service (PCCS) was established to provide supportive services for patients/families facing advanced illness; enhance clinical decision-making during crisis; and improve pain/symptom management. How these services affect one another has thus far been (...) unclear. Objectives: This study describes EC consults: types, reasons, recommendations and utilization, and investigates the impact the PCCS may have on EC consult requests or recommendations. Methods: Retrospective reviews of 100 EC records explored trends and changes in types of consults, reasons for consults, and EC recommendations and utilization. Results: There were 50 EC consults each in the 6 years pre- and post-PCCS. Differences found include: (1) a decrease in number of reasons for consult requests (133–62); (2) changes in top two reasons for EC consult requests from ‘Family opposed to withdrawing life-sustaining treatment (LST)’ and ‘Patient capacity in question’ to ‘Futility’ and ‘Physician opposed to providing LST’; (3) changes in top two recommendations given by the EC from ‘Emotional Support for Patient/Family’ and ‘Initiate DNR Order’ to ‘Comfort Care’ and ‘Withdraw Treatment.’ Overall, 88% of recommendations were followed. Conclusion: PCCS availability and growth throughout the hospital may have influenced EC consult requests. EC consults regarding family opposition to withdrawing LST and EC recommendations for patient/family support declined. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s10730-011-9170-9 Authors Jessica Richmond Moeller, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Akron General Medical Center, 400 Wabash Ave, Akron, OH 44307, USA Teresa H. Albanese, Health Services Research and Education Institute, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Kimberly Garchar, Kent State University, 6000 Frank Ave., N.W, North Canton, OH 44720, USA Julie M. Aultman, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University, P.O. Box 95, Rootstown, OH 44272, USA Steven Radwany, Palliative Care and Hospice Services, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Dean Frate, Internal Medicine, Palliative Care and Hospice Services, Summa Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University, 55 Arch St., Suite 1A, Akron, OH 44304, USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737. (shrink)
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.
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.
The narrative of the Death of Emperor Hundun 混沌, who finally perishes from the seventh hole that his two fellow Emperors have drilled into his formless body to do him the favor of supplying him with a face, famously concludes the seven Inner Chapters of the Zhuangzi 莊子.1 Perhaps the sudden demise of the story’s protagonist is meant to signal paradoxically to the reader that he or she, too, has, unwittingly, now come to an end and reached a stage of (...) no return. With the completion of the seventh chapter, seven deep holes have been drilled into one’s head and have transformed one irredeemably. Zhuangzi, too, may have repaid the kindness of those who took him home with equal kindness and deprived them of their... (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)
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)
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)
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 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)
Williamson and others have argued that contextualist theories of the semantics of ‘know’ have a special problem of accounting for our practices of ‘consuming’ knowledge attributions and denials made in other contexts. In what follows, I shall understand the objection as the idea that contextualism has a special problem of accounting for how we are able to acquire epistemically useful information from knowledge claims made in other contexts. I respond to the objection by arguing that the defeasibility of knowledge makes (...) it difficult for everyone to acquire epistemically useful information from knowledge claims made in other contexts, and that there is no special problem for contextualism when it comes to acquiring epistemically useful information from knowledge claims made in other contexts. (shrink)
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)
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.
Various passages in the Laozi and the Zhuangzi, the two most important texts of “philosophical Daoism,” critically mock Confucian sacrificial rites. Perhaps the best known of these criticisms refers to a practice involving straw dogs. This article will attempt to expose the philosophical dimensions of these passages that show, in my reading, how Daoist philosophy looks at such sacrificial rituals as a sort of evidence of the Confucian misconceptions of time, of death and life, and of cosmic and social order.
Wang Bo’s Zhuangzi: Thinking Through the Inner Chapters is the first title of a new book series on “Contemporary Chinese Scholarship in Daoist Studies” by Three Pines Press, an independent U.S. publisher of academic literature on Daoism and scholarly translations of Daoist texts. It is also part of a larger current wave of translations of contemporary philosophical works by Chinese authors into English. In this new development, as in the case of Wang’s book, a publication is often sponsored by private (...) donations and/or public institutions and organizations from China, and I believe it should be welcomed wholeheartedly. Books like Wang’s provide much-needed insights into current Chinese... (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)
This paper discusses the meaning of the concept of ‘second-order observation’ used by Niklas Luhmann. Luhmann identifies second-order observation as a defining characteristic of modern world society. According to Luhmann, all social systems construct a social reality on the basis of the observation of observations. Rating agencies in the economy or the peer-review process in the academic system are examples of social mechanisms manifesting second-order observation. Social media also represent organized second-order observation. The paper suggests that in a society based (...) on second-order observation, ‘genuine pretending’ is an adequate mode of existence. This notion is derived from the Daoist text Zhuangzi. It indicates a disassociation from social roles which allows their performers to exercise these roles with ease and, at the same time, maintain a state of sanity. (shrink)
For this Clarendon Paperback, Dr Griffin has written a new Postscript to bring the original book fully up to date. She discusses further important and controversial questions of fact or interpretation in the light of the scholarship of the intervening years and provides additional argument where necessary. The connection between Seneca's prose works and his career as a first-century Roman statesman is problematic. Although he writes in the first person, he tells us little of his external life or of the (...) people and events that formed its setting. Miriam Griffin addresses the problem by first reconstructing Seneca's career using only outside sources and his de Clementia and Apocolocyntosis, whose political purposes are undisputed. In the second part of the book she studies Seneca's treatment of subjects of political significance, including his views on slavery, provincial policy, wealth, and suicide. On the whole, the word of the philosopher is found to illuminate the work of the statesman, but notable exceptions emerge, and the links that are revealed vary from theme to theme and rarely accord with traditional autobiographical interpretations of Seneca's works. (shrink)
Abstract: This paper defends a constraint that any satisfactory decision theory must satisfy. I show how this constraint is violated by all of the decision theories that have been endorsed in the literature that are designed to deal with cases in which opinions or values are represented by a set of functions rather than a single one. Such a decision theory is necessary to account for the existence of what Ruth Chang has called “parity” (as well as for cases in (...) which agents have incomplete preferences or imprecise credences). The problem with the all of the decision theories that have been defended to account for parity is that they are committed to a claim I call unanimity: when all of the functions in the set agree that an agent ought to do A, then an agent ought to do A. A decision theory committed to unanimity violates the constraint I defend in this paper. Thus, if parity exists, a new approach to decision theory is necessary. (shrink)
Recently, an associative learning account of cognitive control has been suggested (Verguts & Notebaert, 2009). In this so-called adaptation by binding theory, Hebbian learning of stimulus–stimulus and stimulus–response associations is assumed to drive the adaptation of human behavior. In this study, we evaluated the validity of the adaptation-by-binding account for the case of implicit learning of regularities within a stimulus set (i.e., the frequency of specific unit digit combinations in a two-digit number magnitude comparison task) and their association with a (...) particular response. Our data indicated that participants indeed learned these regularities and adapted their behavior accordingly. In particular, influences of cognitive control were even able to override the numerical distance effect—one of the most robust effects in numerical cognition research. Thus, the general cognitive processes involved in two-digit number magnitude comparison seem much more complex than previously assumed. Multi-digit number magnitude comparison may not be automatic and inflexible but influenced by processes of cognitive control being highly adaptive to stimulus set properties and task demands on multiple levels. (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 article discusses New Confucian views on individuality and related philosophical problems. Special emphasis is given to the position of Tu Wei-Ming, a foremost living New Confucian thinker. It is pointed out that many New Confucian philosophers share a vision of a Confucian 'ideal' individuality or selfhood based on social integration - as opposed to a Western type of individuality sometimes portrayed as an individuality by isolation. These patterns of individuality are further examined on the basis of Niklas Luhmann's historical (...) analysis of the semantics of individuality and his categories of 'individuality by inclusion' and 'individuality by exclusion'. Finally, some parallels and differences between Confucian and the Luhmannian viewpoints are pointed out, and a suggestion on how a Luhmannian perspective might contribute to reformulations of New Confucian thought is attempted. (shrink)
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)
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)
_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)
In Why Not Socialism?, GA Cohen defines socialism as the combined application of two moral principles: the egalitarian principle and the principle of community. The desirability of a social order organized around these two principles is illustrated by the ‘camping trip’ example. After describing the fundamental features of the camping trip scenario at reasonable length, Cohen argues that the desirability of such a social model is nearly self-explanatory, concluding therefore that the most significant challenges to socialism lie in its feasibility. (...) This article argues that the desirability of the camping trip model as an appropriate ideal for society is less obvious than Cohen acknowledges. To argue my point, I shall compare the camping trip with another social practice that is equally small sized and characterized by strong emotional ties among its members, but in which the conditions of what I shall call ‘goal-monism’ and discontinuity in time do not hold, namely, the family. (shrink)
Social liberals and liberal nationalists often argue that cosmopolitans neglect the normative importance of state sovereignty and self-determination. This paper counter-argues that, under current global political and socio-economic circumstances, only the establishment of supranational institutions with some (limited, but significant) sovereign powers can allow states to exercise sovereignty, and peoples? self-determination, in a meaningful way. Social liberals have largely neglected this point because they have focused on an unduly narrow, mainly negative, conception of state sovereignty. I contend, instead, that we (...) should more closely consider the positive aspects of sovereignty, understood as the capacity to maintain internal problem-solving capacities and make meaningful discretionary choices on a range of national issues. (shrink)
The Queen's College, Oxford, UK In his article `Facts and Principles', G.A. Cohen attempts to refute constructivist approaches to justification by showing that, contrary to what their proponents claim, fundamental normative principles are fact- in sensitive. We argue that Cohen's `fact-insensitivity thesis' does not provide a successful refutation of constructivism because it pertains to an area of meta-ethics which differs from the one tackled by constructivists. While Cohen's thesis concerns the logical structure of normative principles, constructivists ask how normative principles (...) should be justified . In particular, their claim that justified fundamental normative principles are fact-sensitive follows from a commitment to agnosticism about the existence of objective moral facts. We therefore conclude that, in order to refute constructivism, Cohen would have to address questions of justification, and take a stand on those long-standing meta-ethical debates about the ontological status of moral notions (for example, realism versus anti-realism) with respect to which he himself wants to remain agnostic. Key Words: John Rawls normative justification realism versus anti-realism methodological versus substantive principles. (shrink)
Recent findings indicate that the constituting digits of multi-digit numbers are processed, decomposed into units, tens, and so on, rather than integrated into one entity. This is suggested by interfering effects of unit digit processing on two-digit number comparison. In the present study, we extended the computational model for two-digit number magnitude comparison of Moeller, Huber, Nuerk, and Willmes (2011a) to the case of three-digit number comparison (e.g., 371_826). In a second step, we evaluated how hundred-decade and hundred-unit compatibility (...) effects were moderated by varying the percentage of within-hundred (e.g., 539_582) and within-hundred-and-decade filler items (e.g., 483_489). From the results we predict that numerical distance as well as compatibility effects should indeed be modulated by the relevance of tens and units in three-digit number magnitude comparison: While in particular the hundred distance effect should decrease, we predict hundred-decade and hundred-unit compatibility effects to increase with the relevance of tens and units. (shrink)
The article offers an account of the constructivist methodology in ethics and political philosophy as 1) deriving from an agnostic moral ontology and 2) proposing intersubjective justifiability as the criterion of justification for normative principles. It then asks whether constructivism, conceived in this way, can respond to the challenge of “content skepticism about practical reason”, namely whether it can provide sufficiently precise normative guidance whilst remaining faithful to its methodological commitment. The paper critically examines to alternative way of meeting this (...) challenge, namely John Rawls's original position and O'Neill's Kantian constructivism, analyses what is problematic about both, and endorses a third, possibly intermediate model. Within such a model, the basic features of the original position are accepted, but in a flexible and heuristic manner, thereby accommodating some of O'Neill's concerns. (shrink)
Epistemic diversity is widely approved of by social epistemologists. This paper asks, more specifi cally, how much epistemic diversity, and what kinds of epistemic diversity are normatively appropriate? Both laissez-faire and highly directive approaches to epistemic diversity are rejected in favor of the claim that diversity is a blunt epistemic tool. There are typically a number of diff erent options for adequate diversifi cation. The paper focuses on scientifi c domains, with particular attention to recent theories of smell.