The present study aimed at investigating the relationship between environmental and individual factors and Stress of Conscience among nursing staff in psychiatric in-patient care. A questionnaire involving six different instruments measuring Stress of Conscience, the ward atmosphere, the psychosocial work environment, Perceived Stress, Moral Sensitivity, and Mastery was answered by 93 nursing staff at 12 psychiatric in-patient wards in Sweden. The findings showed that Sense of Moral Burden, Mastery, Control at Work and Angry and Aggressive Behavior were related to Stress (...) of Conscience. We conclude that Mastery and Control at Work seemed to work as protective factors, while Sense of Moral Burden and perceptions of Angry and Aggressive Behavior made the nursing staff more vulnerable to Stress of Conscience. Future research should investigate whether measures to increase the level of perceived control and being part of decision making will decrease the level of Stress of Conscience among the staff. (shrink)
The concepts we use to value and prescribe are historically contingent, and we could have found ourselves with others. But what does it mean to say that some concepts are better than others for purposes of action-guiding and deliberation? What is it to choose between different normative conceptual frameworks?
In this groundbreaking book, psychiatrist and ethicist Mona Gupta analyzes the basic assumptions of Evidence-based medicine (EBM), and critically examines their applicability to psychiatry. Highlighting ethical tensions between psychiatry and EBM, she asks the controversial question - should psychiatrists practice evidence-based medicine at all?
ABSTRACTSeveral philosophers have inquired into the metaphysical limits of conceptual engineering: ‘Can we engineer? And if so, to what extent?’. This paper is not concerned with answering these questions. It does concern itself, however, with the limits of conceptual engineering, albeit in a largely unexplored sense: it cares about the normative, rather than about the metaphysical limits thereof. I first defend an optimistic claim: I argue that the ameliorative project has, so far, been too modest; there is little value theoretic (...) reason to restrict the project to remedying deficient representational devices, rather than go on a more ambitious quest: conceptual improvement. That being said, I also identify a limitation to the optimistic claim: I show that the ‘should’ in ameliorative projects suffers from a ‘wrong-kind-of-reasons’ problem. Last but not least, I sketch a proposal of normative constraining meant to address both the above results. The proposal gives primacy to epistemic constraints: accordingly, a concept should be ameliorated only insofar as this does not translate into epistemic loss. (shrink)
This paper has two aims. The first is critical: I identify a set of normative desiderata for accounts of justified belief and I argue that prominent knowledge first views have difficulties meeting them. Second, I argue that my preferred account, knowledge first functionalism, is preferable to its extant competitors on normative grounds. This account takes epistemically justified belief to be belief generated by properly functioning cognitive processes that have generating knowledge as their epistemic function.
ABSTRACTAndrew Bacon, Matti Eklund, and Patrick Greenough have individually proposed objections to the project in my book, Replacing Truth. Briefly, the book outlines a conceptual engineering project – our defective concept of truth is replaced for certain purposes with a team of concepts that can do some of the jobs we thought truth could do. Here, I respond to their objections and develop the views expressed in Replacing Truth in various ways.
Recent literature features an increased interest in the sufficiency claim involved in the knowledge norm of assertion. This paper looks at two prominent objections to KNA-Suff, due to Jessica Brown and Jennifer Lackey, and argues that they miss their target due to value-theoretic inaccuracies. It is argued that the intuitive need for more than knowledge in Brown’s high-stakes contexts does not come from the epistemic norm governing assertion, but from further norms stepping in and raising the bar, and Lackey’s purported (...) quality-driven case against KNA-Suff boils down to a quantitative objection. If that is the case, Lackey’s argument will be vulnerable to the same objections as Brown’s. (shrink)
When in the business of offering an account of the epistemic normativity of belief, one is faced with the following dilemma: strongly externalist norms fail to account for the intuition of justification in radical deception scenarios, while milder norms are incapable to explain what is epistemically wrong with false beliefs. This paper has two main aims; we first look at one way out of the dilemma, defended by Timothy Williamson and Clayton Littlejohn, and argue that it fails. Second, we identify (...) what we take to be the problematic assumption that underlies their account and offer an alternative way out. We put forth a knowledge-first friendly normative framework for belief which grants justification to radically deceived subjects while at the same time acknowledging that their false beliefs are not epistemically good beliefs. (shrink)
The main thesis of this paper is that we sometimes are disposed to accept false and even jointly inconsistent claims by virtue of our semantic competence, and that this comes to light in the sorites and liar paradoxes. Among the subsidiary theses are that this is an important source of indeterminacy in truth conditions, that we must revise basic assumptions about semantic competence, and that classical logic and bivalence can be upheld in the face of the sorites paradox.
The problem, or cluster of problems, of the unity of the proposition, along with the cluster of problems that tend to go under the name of Bradley’s regress, has recently again become a going concern for philosophers, after having for some time been regarded as primarily of historical interest. In this paper, I distinguish between the different problems that tend to be brought up under the heading of the unity of the proposition, and between different related regress arguments. I present (...) my favored solutions to these problems. (shrink)
One very popular assumption in the epistemological literature is that belief and assertion are governed by one and the same epistemic norm. This paper challenges this claim. Extant arguments in defence of the view are scrutinized and found to rest on value-theoretic inaccuracies. First, the belief-assertion parallel is shown to lack the needed normative strength. Second, I argue that the claim that assertion inherits the norm of belief in virtue of being an expression thereof rests on a failed instance of (...) deontic transmission. Third, the inheritance argument from the norm for action is proven guilty of deontic equivocation. Last but not least, it is argued that, on a functionalist normative picture, assertion and belief are governed by different epistemic norms, in virtue of serving different epistemic functions. (shrink)
In recent years, much attention has been given to the epistemic credentials of belief based on moral testimony. Some people think pure moral deference is wrong, others disagree. It comes as a surprise, however, that while the epistemic responsibilities of the receiver of moral testimony have been closely scrutinized, little to no discussion has focused on the epistemic duties of the speaker. This paper aims to supply this lack: it defends a function-first account of the normativity of moral assertion. According (...) to this view, in virtue of its function of reliably generating understanding in the audience, a moral assertion that p needs be knowledgeable and accompanied by a contextually appropriate explanation why p. (shrink)
One popular view in recent years takes the source of testimonial entitlement to reside in the intrinsically social character of testimonial exchanges. This paper looks at two extant incarnations of this view, what we dub ‘weak’ and ‘modest’ social anti-reductionism, and questions the rationales behind their central claims. Furthermore, we put forth an alternative, strong social anti-reductionist account, and show how it does better than the competition on both theoretical and empirical grounds.
My thanks to Matti Eklund and Gabriel Uzquiano for their thoughtful and challenging critical essays. In these replies I hope to respond to what I took to be their main points. The focus of their essays is different for the most part, but there is overlap in their discussion of the ineffable. I will thus largely reply to their essays separately, with the exception of the discussion of the ineffable, where I will reply to their points jointly. Let’s start, (...) alphabetically, with Eklund. (shrink)
My focus here will be Rudolf Carnap’s views on ontology, as these are presented in the seminal “Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology” (1950). I will first describe how I think Carnap’s distinction between external and internal questions is best understood. Then I will turn to broader issues regarding Carnap’s views on ontology. With certain reservations, I will ascribe to Carnap an ontological pluralist position roughly similar to the positions of Eli Hirsch and the later Hilary Putnam. Then I turn to some (...) interrelated arguments against the pluralist view. The arguments are not demonstrative. Some possible escape routes for the pluralist are outlined. But I think the arguments constitute a formidable challenge. There should be serious doubt as to whether the pluralist view, as it emerges after discussion of these arguments, will be worth defending. Moreover, there is an alternative ontological view which equally well subserves the motivations underlying ontological pluralism. (shrink)
Two important philosophical questions about assertion concern its nature and normativity. This article defends the optimism about the constitutive norm account of assertion and sets out a constitutivity thesis that is much more modest than that proposed by Timothy Williamson. It starts by looking at the extant objections to Williamson’s Knowledge Account of Assertion and argues that they fail to hit their target in virtue of imposing implausible conditions on engaging in norm-constituted activities. Second, it makes a similar proposal and (...) shows how it does better than the competition. It suggests that Knowledge Norm of Assertion is not constitutive of the speech act of assertion in the same way in which rules of games are constitutive, and thus KAA comes out as too strong. The final section embarks on a rescue mission on behalf of KAA; it puts forth a weaker, functionalist constitutivity thesis. On this view, KNA is etiologically constitutively associated with the speech act of assertion, in virtue of its function of generating knowledge in hearers. (shrink)
(1) Abstract objects. The nominalist (as the label is used today) denies that there exist abstract objects. The platonist holds that there are abstract objects. One example is numbers. The nominalist denies that there are numbers; the platonist typically affirms it.
Neo-Fregeanism in the philosophy of mathematics consists of two main parts: the logicist thesis, that mathematics (or at least branches thereof, like arithmetic) all but reduce to logic, and the platonist thesis, that there are abstract, mathematical objects. I will here focus on the ontological thesis, platonism. Neo-Fregeanism has been widely discussed in recent years. Mostly the discussion has focused on issues specific to mathematics. I will here single out for special attention the view on ontology which underlies the neo-Fregeans’ (...) claims about mathematical objects, and discuss this view in a broader setting. (shrink)
One central debate in recent literature on epistemic normativity concerns the epistemic norm for action. This paper argues that this debate is afflicted by a category mistake: strictly speaking, there is no such thing as an epistemic norm for action. To this effect, I introduce a distinction between epistemic norms and norms with epistemic content; I argue that while it is plausible that norms of the latter type will govern action in general, epistemic norms will only govern actions characteristically associated (...) with delivering epistemic goods. (shrink)
According to a certain pluralist view in philosophy of mathematics, there are as many mathematical objects as there can coherently be. Recently, Justin Clarke-Doane has explored what consequences the analogous view on normative properties would have. What if there is a normative pluriverse? Here I address this same question. The challenge is best seen as a challenge to an important form of normative realism. I criticize the way Clarke-Doane presents the challenge. An improved challenge is presented, and the role of (...) pluralism in this challenge is assessed. (shrink)
The main question of the paper is that ofwhat vagueness consists in. This question must be distinguished from other questions about vagueness discussed in the literature. It is argued that familiar accounts of vagueness for general reasons failto answer the question ofwhat vagueness consists in. A positive view is defended, according to which, roughly, the vagueness of an expression consists in it being part ofsemantic competence to accept a tolerance principle for the expression. Since tolerance principles are inconsistent, this is (...) an inconsistency view on vagueness. (shrink)
Many theorists hold that there is, among value concepts, a fundamental distinction between thin ones and thick ones. Among thin ones are concepts like good and right. Among concepts that have been regarded as thick are discretion, caution, enterprise, industry, assiduity, frugality, economy, good sense, prudence, discernment, treachery, promise, brutality, courage, coward, lie, gratitude, lewd, perverted, rude, glorious, graceful, exploited, and, of course, many others. Roughly speaking, thick concepts are value concepts with significant descriptive content. I will discuss a number (...) of problems having to do with how best to understand the notion of a thick concept. Thick concepts have been widely discussed in the .. (shrink)
In his recent Analysis article (2012), Robert Williams considers two puzzles relating to indeterminacy. On the basis of these puzzles, he defends a seemingly radical view on the normative role of indeterminacy. He speaks of indeterminacy as ‘normatively silent’. There are two ways of understanding the view that Williams defends. On one understanding, the view ends up being indistinguishable from one of the more traditional views Williams rejects, the view that phenomena of different kinds fall under the umbrella level ‘indeterminacy’. (...) On the other understanding, Williams’s view is genuinely radical but his arguments don't adequately support it. (shrink)
According to anti-reductionism in the epistemology of testimony, testimonial entitlement is easy to come by: all you need to do is listen to what you are being told. Say you like anti-reductionism; one question that you will need to answer is how come testimonial entitlement comes so cheap; after all, people are free to lie. This paper has two aims: first, it looks at the main anti-reductionist answers to this question and argues that they fail. Second, it goes on a (...) rescue mission on behalf of anti-reductionism. I put forth a novel anti-reductionist account, which I dub ‘Testimonial Contractarianism’. According to the view defended here, in virtue of the social contract in play, compliance with the norms governing speech acts is the default position for speakers. Insofar as norm compliance is the default for speakers, I argue, all else equal, entitlement to believe is the default for hearers. (shrink)
Several prominent philosophers assume that the so-called ‘Belief–Assertion Parallel’ warrants epistemic norm correspondence; as such, they argue from the epistemic norm governing one to the epistemic norm governing the other. This paper argues that, in all its readings, the belief–assertion parallel lacks the desired normative import.
This chapter discusses the defence of metaphysical indeterminacy by Elizabeth Barnes and Robert Williams and discusses a classical and bivalent theory of such indeterminacy. Even if metaphysical indeterminacy arguably is intelligible, Barnes and Williams argue in favour of it being so and this faces important problems. As for classical logic and bivalence, the chapter problematizes what exactly is at issue in this debate. Can reality not be adequately described using different languages, some classical and some not? Moreover, it is argued (...) that the classical and bivalent theory of Barnes and Williams does not avoid the problems that arise for rival theories. (shrink)
In "Sider on Existence" (Nous, 2007), David Liebesman and Matti Eklund argue that my "indeterminacy argument", according to which quantifiers are never vague, clashes with my "naturalness argument", according to which quantifiers "carve at the joints". There is, I argue, no outright inconsistency. But Liebesman and Eklund have shown that my arguments are not as independent as it may have appeared. The best defense of the indeterminacy argument is via the naturalness argument.
Recent views in hinge epistemology rely on doxastic normativism to argue that our attitudes towards hinge propositions are not beliefs. This paper has two aims; the first is positive: it discusses the general normative credentials of this move. The second is negative: it delivers two negative results for No-Belief hinge epistemology such construed. The first concerns the motivation for the view: if we’re right, doxastic normativism offers little in the way of theoretical support for the claim that our attitudes towards (...) hinge propositions are anything but garden-variety beliefs. The second concerns theoretical fruitfulness: we show that embracing a No-Belief view will either get us in serious theoretical trouble, or loose all anti-sceptical appeal. (shrink)
In this paper I outline an alternative to hermeneutic fictionalism, an alternative I call indifferentism, with the same advantages as hermeneutic fictionalism with respect to ontological issues but avoiding some of the problems that face fictionalism. The difference between indifferentism and fictionalism is this. The fictionalist about ordinary utterances of a sentence S holds, with more orthodox views, that the speaker in some sense commits herself to the truth of S. It is only that for the fictionalist this is truth (...) in the relevant fiction. According to the indifferentist, by contrast, we are simply non-committal – or indifferent – with respect to some aspects of what is literally said in our assertive utterances. (shrink)
Mark Johnston and Eric Olson have both pressed what Johnston has dubbed the personite problem. Personites, if they exist, are person-like entities whose lives extend over a continuous proper part of a person’s life. They are so person-like that they seem to have moral status if persons do. But this threatens to wreak havoc with ordinary moral thinking. For example, simple decisions to suffer some short-term hardship for long-term benefits become problematic. And ordinary punishment is always also punishment of the (...) innocent, since it punishes personites that didn’t exist when the crime was committed. An initially attractive way around the personite problem may be to simply deny that personites exist. But as I discuss in this talk, relating to contemporary discussions in metaontology, this response for principled reasons doesn’t work. The problems I discuss illustrate the significance of metaontological considerations for issues in ethics and metaethics, and generalize widely beyond the personite problem. (shrink)
This paper puts forth a functionalist difficulty for Sally Haslanger’s proposal for engineering our concept of ‘woman.’ It is argued that the project of bringing about better political function fulfillment cannot get off the ground in virtue of epistemic failure.