268 found
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  1.  52
    Bad Beliefs: Why They Happen to Good People.Neil Levy - 2021 - Oxford University Press.
    This book challenges the view that bad beliefs - beliefs that blatantly conflict with easily available evidence - can largely be explained by widespread irrationality, instead arguing that ordinary people are rational agents whose beliefs are the result of their rational response to the evidence they're presented with.
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  2. Hard Luck: How Luck Undermines Free Will and Moral Responsibility.Neil Levy - 2011 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.
    The concept of luck has played an important role in debates concerning free will and moral responsibility, yet participants in these debates have relied upon an intuitive notion of what luck is. Neil Levy develops an account of luck, which is then applied to the free will debate. He argues that the standard luck objection succeeds against common accounts of libertarian free will, but that it is possible to amend libertarian accounts so that they are no more vulnerable to luck (...)
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  3. Neuroethics: Challenges for the 21st Century.Neil Levy - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
    Neuroscience has dramatically increased understanding of how mental states and processes are realized by the brain, thus opening doors for treating the multitude of ways in which minds become dysfunctional. This book explores questions such as when is it permissible to alter a person's memories, influence personality traits or read minds? What can neuroscience tell us about free will, self-control, self-deception and the foundations of morality? The view of neuroethics offered here argues that many of our new powers to read (...)
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  4. Consciousness and Moral Responsibility.Neil Levy - 2014 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Neil Levy presents a new theory of freedom and responsibility. He defends a particular account of consciousness--the global workspace view--and argues that consciousness plays an especially important role in action. There are good reasons to think that the naïve assumption, that consciousness is needed for moral responsibility, is in fact true.
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  5. Do your own research!Neil Levy - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-19.
    Philosophical tradition and conspiracy theorists converge in suggesting that ordinary people ought to do their own research, rather than accept the word of others. In this paper, I argue that it’s no accident that conspiracy theorists value lay research on expert topics: such research is likely to undermine knowledge, via its effects on truth and justification. Accepting expert testimony is a far more reliable route to truth. Nevertheless, lay research has a range of benefits; in particular, it is likely to (...)
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  6. Knowledge From Vice: Deeply Social Epistemology.Neil Levy & Mark Alfano - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):887-915.
    In the past two decades, epistemologists have significantly expanded the focus of their field. To the traditional question that has dominated the debate — under what conditions does belief amount to knowledge? — they have added questions about testimony, epistemic virtues and vices, epistemic trust, and more. This broadening of the range of epistemic concern has coincided with an expansion in conceptions of epistemic agency beyond the individualism characteristic of most earlier epistemology. We believe that these developments have not gone (...)
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  7. Neither Fish nor Fowl: Implicit Attitudes as Patchy Endorsements.Neil Levy - 2014 - Noûs 49 (4):800-823.
    Implicit attitudes are mental states that appear sometimes to cause agents to act in ways that conflict with their considered beliefs. Implicit attitudes are usually held to be mere associations between representations. Recently, however, some philosophers have suggested that they are, or are very like, ordinary beliefs: they are apt to feature in properly inferential processing. This claim is important, in part because there is good reason to think that the vocabulary in which we make moral assessments of ourselves and (...)
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  8. Due deference to denialism: explaining ordinary people’s rejection of established scientific findings.Neil Levy - 2019 - Synthese 196 (1):313-327.
    There is a robust scientific consensus concerning climate change and evolution. But many people reject these expert views, in favour of beliefs that are strongly at variance with the evidence. It is tempting to try to explain these beliefs by reference to ignorance or irrationality, but those who reject the expert view seem often to be no worse informed or any less rational than the majority of those who accept it. It is also tempting to try to explain these beliefs (...)
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  9. Embodied savoir-faire: knowledge-how requires motor representations.Neil Levy - 2017 - Synthese 194 (2).
    I argue that the intellectualist account of knowledge-how, according to which agents have the knowledge-how to \ in virtue of standing in an appropriate relation to a proposition, is only half right. On the composition view defended here, knowledge-how at least typically requires both propositional knowledge and motor representations. Motor representations are not mere dispositions to behavior because they have representational content, and they play a central role in realizing the intelligence in knowledge-how. But since motor representations are not propositional, (...)
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  10. Implicit Bias and Moral Responsibility: Probing the Data.Neil Levy - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3):3-26.
  11. Echoes of covid misinformation.Neil Levy - 2021 - Philosophical Psychology 36 (5):931-948.
    Public support for responses to the coronavirus pandemic has sharply diverged on partisan lines in many countries, with conservatives tending to oppose lockdowns, social distancing, mask mandates and vaccines, and liberals far more supportive. This polarization may arise from the way in which the attitudes of each side is echoed back to them, especially on social media. In this paper, I argue that echo chambers are not to blame for this polarization, even if they are causally responsible for it. They (...)
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  12. Virtue signalling is virtuous.Neil Levy - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):9545-9562.
    The accusation of virtue signalling is typically understood as a serious charge. Those accused usually respond by attempting to show that they are doing no such thing. In this paper, I argue that we ought to embrace the charge, rather than angrily reject it. I argue that this response can draw support from cognitive science, on the one hand, and from social epistemology on the other. I claim that we may appropriately concede that what we are doing is virtue signalling, (...)
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  13. Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink: Nudging is Giving Reasons.Neil Levy - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
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  14. No-Platforming and Higher-Order Evidence, or Anti-Anti-No-Platforming.Neil Levy - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (4):487-502.
    No-platforming—the refusal to allow those who espouse views seen as inflammatory the opportunity to speak in certain forums—is very controversial. Proponents typically cite the possibility of harms to disadvantaged groups and, sometimes, epistemically paternalistic considerations. Opponents invoke the value of free speech and respect for intellectual autonomy in favor of more open speech, arguing that the harms that might arise from bad speech are best addressed by rebuttal, not silencing. In this article, I argue that there is a powerful consideration (...)
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  15. Consciousness, Implicit Attitudes and Moral Responsibility.Neil Levy - 2012 - Noûs 48 (1):21-40.
  16. The responsibility of the psychopath revisited.Neil Levy - 2007 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (2):pp. 129-138.
    The question of the psychopath's responsibility for his or her wrongdoing has received considerable attention. Much of this attention has been directed toward whether psychopaths are a counterexample to motivational internalism (MI): Do they possess normal moral beliefs, which fail to motivate them? In this paper, I argue that this is a question that remains conceptually and empirically intractable, and that we ought to settle the psychopath's responsibility in some other way. I argue that recent empirical work on the moral (...)
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  17. Amputees by choice: Body integrity identity disorder and the ethics of amputation.Tim Bayne & Neil Levy - 2005 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 22 (1):75–86.
    In 1997, a Scottish surgeon by the name of Robert Smith was approached by a man with an unusual request: he wanted his apparently healthy lower left leg amputated. Although details about the case are sketchy, the would-be amputee appears to have desired the amputation on the grounds that his left foot wasn’t part of him – it felt alien. After consultation with psychiatrists, Smith performed the amputation. Two and a half years later, the patient reported that his life had (...)
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  18. Am I a Racist? Implicit Bias and the Ascription of Racism.Neil Levy - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):534-551.
    There is good evidence that many people harbour attitudes that conflict with those they endorse. In the language of social psychology, they seem to have implicit attitudes that conflict with their explicit beliefs. There has been a great deal of attention paid to the question whether agents like this are responsible for actions caused by their implicit attitudes, but much less to the question whether they can rightly be described as racist in virtue of harbouring them. In this paper, I (...)
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  19.  98
    In Trust We Trust: Epistemic Vigilance and Responsibility.Neil Levy - 2022 - Social Epistemology 36 (3):283-298.
    Much of what we know we know through testimony, and knowing on the basis of testimony requires some degree of trust in speakers. Trust is therefore very valuable. But in trusting, we expose ourselves to risks of harm and betrayal. It is therefore important to trust well. In this paper, I discuss two recent cases of the betrayal of trust in (broadly) academic contexts: one involving hoax submissions to journals, the other faking an identity on social media. I consider whether (...)
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  20. Enhancing Authenticity.Neil Levy - 2011 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (3):308-318.
    Some philosophers have criticized the use of psychopharmaceuticals on the grounds that even if these drugs enhance the person using them, they threaten their authenticity. Others have replied by pointing out that the conception of authenticity upon which this argument rests is contestable; on a rival conception, psychopharmaceuticals might be used to enhance our authenticity. Since, however, it is difficult to decide between these competing conceptions of authenticity, the debate seems to end in a stalemate. I suggest that we need (...)
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  21. Forced to be free? Increasing patient autonomy by constraining it.Neil Levy - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (5):293-300.
    It is universally accepted in bioethics that doctors and other medical professionals have an obligation to procure the informed consent of their patients. Informed consent is required because patients have the moral right to autonomy in furthering the pursuit of their most important goals. In the present work, it is argued that evidence from psychology shows that human beings are subject to a number of biases and limitations as reasoners, which can be expected to lower the quality of their decisions (...)
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  22. The Good, the Bad, and the Blameworthy.Neil Levy - 2005 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 1 (2):1-16.
    Accounts of moral responsibility can be divided into those that claim that attributability of an act, omission, or attitude to an agent is sufficient for responsibility for it, and those which hold that responsibility depends crucially on choice. I argue that accounts of the first, attributionist, kind fail to make room for the relatively stringent epistemic conditions upon moral responsibility, and that therefore an account of the second, volitionist, kind ought to be preferred. I examine the various arguments advanced on (...)
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  23. Culpable ignorance and moral responsibility: A reply to FitzPatrick.Neil Levy - 2009 - Ethics 119 (4):729-741.
  24. Nudges in a post-truth world.Neil Levy - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (8):495-500.
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  25. Does encouraging a belief in determinism increase cheating? Reconsidering the value of believing in free will.Thomas Nadelhoffer, Jason Shepard, Damien L. Crone, Jim A. C. Everett, Brian D. Earp & Neil Levy - 2020 - Cognition 203 (C):104342.
    A key source of support for the view that challenging people’s beliefs about free will may undermine moral behavior is two classic studies by Vohs and Schooler (2008). These authors reported that exposure to certain prompts suggesting that free will is an illusion increased cheating behavior. In the present paper, we report several attempts to replicate this influential and widely cited work. Over a series of five studies (sample sizes of N = 162, N = 283, N = 268, N (...)
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  26. Intellectual Virtue Signaling.Neil Levy - 2023 - American Philosophical Quarterly 60 (3):311-324.
    Discussions of virtue signaling to date have focused exclusively on the signaling of the moral virtues. This article focuses on intellectual virtue signaling: the status-seeking advertising of supposed intellectual virtues. Intellectual virtue signaling takes distinctive forms. It is also far more likely to be harmful than moral virtue signaling, because it distracts attention from genuine expertise and gives contrarian opinions an undue prominence in public debate. The article provides a heuristic by which to identify possible instances of intellectual virtue signaling. (...)
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  27. Are You Morally Modified?: The Moral Effects of Widely Used Pharmaceuticals.Neil Levy, Thomas Douglas, Guy Kahane, Sylvia Terbeck, Philip J. Cowen, Miles Hewstone & Julian Savulescu - 2014 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 21 (2):111-125.
    A number of concerns have been raised about the possible future use of pharmaceuticals designed to enhance cognitive, affective, and motivational processes, particularly where the aim is to produce morally better decisions or behavior. In this article, we draw attention to what is arguably a more worrying possibility: that pharmaceuticals currently in widespread therapeutic use are already having unintended effects on these processes, and thus on moral decision making and morally significant behavior. We review current evidence on the moral effects (...)
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  28. The Value of Consciousness.Neil Levy - 2014 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (1-2):127-138.
    Consciousness, or its lack, is often invoked in debates in applied and normative ethics. Conscious beings are typically held to be significantly more morally valuable than non-consious, so that establishing whether a being is conscious becomes of critical importance. In this paper, I argue that the supposition that phenomenal consciousness explains the value of our experiences or our lives, and the moral value of beings who are conscious, is less well-grounded than is commonly thought. A great deal of what matters (...)
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  29. Resisting 'Weakness of the Will'.Neil Levy - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):134 - 155.
    I develop an account of weakness of the will that is driven by experimental evidence from cognitive and social psychology. I will argue that this account demonstrates that there is no such thing as weakness of the will: no psychological kind corresponds to it. Instead, weakness of the will ought to be understood as depletion of System II resources. Neither the explanatory purposes of psychology nor our practical purposes as agents are well-served by retaining the concept. I therefore suggest that (...)
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  30. Autonomy and addiction.Neil Levy - 2006 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):427-447.
    Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3010, Australia and.
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  31.  81
    Taking Responsibility for Responsibility.Neil Levy - 2019 - Public Health Ethics 12 (2):103-113.
    Governments, physicians, media and academics have all called for individuals to bear responsibility for their own health. In this article, I argue that requiring those with adverse health outcomes to bear responsibility for these outcomes is a bad basis for policy. The available evidence strongly suggests that the capacities for responsible choice, and the circumstances in which these capacities are exercised, are distributed alongside the kinds of goods we usually talk about in discussing distributive justice, and this distribution significantly explains (...)
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  32. Neuroethics: A New Way of Doing Ethics.Neil Levy - 2011 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 2 (2):3-9.
    The aim of this article is to argue, by example, for neuroethics as a new way of doing ethics. Rather than simply giving us a new subject matter—the ethical issues arising from neuroscience—to attend to, neuroethics offers us the opportunity to refine the tools we use. Ethicists often need to appeal to the intuitions provoked by consideration of cases to evaluate the permissibility of types of actions; data from the sciences of the mind give us reason to believe that some (...)
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  33. Radically Socialized Knowledge and Conspiracy Theories.Neil Levy - 2007 - Episteme 4 (2):181-192.
    Abstract The typical explanation of an event or process which attracts the label ‘conspiracy theory’ is an explanation that conflicts with the account advanced by the relevant epistemic authorities. I argue that both for the layperson and for the intellectual, it is almost never rational to accept such a conspiracy theory. Knowledge is not merely shallowly social, in the manner recognized by social epistemology, it is also constitutively social: many kinds of knowledge only become accessible thanks to the agent's embedding (...)
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  34. Recent work on free will and moral responsibility.Neil Levy & Michael McKenna - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (1):96-133.
    In this article we survey six recent developments in the philosophical literature on free will and moral responsibility: (1) Harry Frankfurt's argument that moral responsibility does not require the freedom to do otherwise; (2) the heightened focus upon the source of free actions; (3) the debate over whether moral responsibility is an essentially historical concept; (4) recent compatibilist attempts to resurrect the thesis that moral responsibility requires the freedom to do otherwise; (5) the role of the control condition in free (...)
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  35. Rethinking neuroethics in the light of the extended mind thesis.Neil Levy - 2007 - American Journal of Bioethics 7 (9):3-11.
    The extended mind thesis is the claim that mental states extend beyond the skulls of the agents whose states they are. This seemingly obscure and bizarre claim has far-reaching implications for neuroethics, I argue. In the first half of this article, I sketch the extended mind thesis and defend it against criticisms. In the second half, I turn to its neuroethical implications. I argue that the extended mind thesis entails the falsity of the claim that interventions into the brain are (...)
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  36. The effective and ethical development of artificial intelligence: An opportunity to improve our wellbeing.James Maclaurin, Toby Walsh, Neil Levy, Genevieve Bell, Fiona Wood, Anthony Elliott & Iven Mareels - 2019 - Melbourne VIC, Australia: Australian Council of Learned Academies.
    This project has been supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council (project number CS170100008); the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. ACOLA collaborates with the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and the New Zealand Royal Society Te Apārangi to deliver the interdisciplinary Horizon Scanning reports to government. The aims of the project which produced this report are: 1. Examine the transformative role that artificial intelligence may play in (...)
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  37. Moral significance of phenomenal consciousness.Neil Levy & Julian Savulescu - 2009 - Progress in Brain Research.
    Recent work in neuroimaging suggests that some patients diagnosed as being in the persistent vegetative state are actually conscious. In this paper, we critically examine this new evidence. We argue that though it remains open to alternative interpretations, it strongly suggests the presence of consciousness in some patients. However, we argue that its ethical significance is less than many people seem to think. There are several different kinds of consciousness, and though all kinds of consciousness have some ethical significance, different (...)
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  38. Obsessive–compulsive disorder as a disorder of attention.Neil Levy - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (1):3-16.
    An influential model holds that obsessive–compulsive disorder is caused by distinctive personality traits and belief biases. But a substantial number of sufferers do not manifest these traits. I propose a predictive coding account of the disorder, which explains both the symptoms and the cognitive traits. On this account, OCD centrally involves heightened and dysfunctionally focused attention to normally unattended sensory and motor representations. As these representations have contents that predict catastrophic outcomes, patients are disposed to engage in behaviors and mental (...)
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  39.  60
    Against Intellectual Autonomy: Social Animals Need Social Virtues.Neil Levy - 2024 - Social Epistemology 38 (3):350-363.
    We are constantly called upon to evaluate the evidential weight of testimony, and to balance its deliverances against our own independent thinking. ‘Intellectual autonomy’ is the virtue that is supposed to be displayed by those who engage in cognition in this domain well. I argue that this is at best a misleading label for the virtue, because virtuous cognition in this domain consists in thinking with others, and intelligently responding to testimony. I argue that the existing label supports an excessively (...)
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  40. Doxastic Responsibility.Neil Levy - 2007 - Synthese 155 (1):127-155.
    Doxastic responsibility matters, morally and epistemologically. Morally, because many of our intuitive ascriptions of blame seem to track back to agents’ apparent responsibility for beliefs; epistemologically because some philosophers identify epistemic justification with deontological permissibility. But there is a powerful argument which seems to show that we are rarely or never responsible for our beliefs, because we cannot control them. I examine various possible responses to this argument, which aim to show either that doxastic responsibility does not require that we (...)
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  41. Downshifting and meaning in life.Neil Levy - 2005 - Ratio 18 (2):176–189.
    So-called downshifters seek more meaningful lives by decreasing the amount of time they devote to work, leaving more time for the valuable goods of friendship, family and personal development. But though these are indeed meaning-conferring activities, they do not have the right structure to count as superlatively meaningful. Only in work – of a certain kind – can superlative meaning be found. It is by active engagements in projects, which are activities of the right structure, dedicated to the achievement of (...)
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  42.  40
    Does Moral Ignorance Excuse?Neil Levy - 2024 - Think 23 (66):17-19.
    There's heated debate around whether people who did terrible things in the past, at a time when there was widespread acceptance of such actions, are appropriately blamed by us, on the grounds they weren't really morally ignorant, or their ignorance was itself culpable. I point to puzzles that arise if we blame them. We need to explain how they could act so badly if they weren't fully ignorant. I argue that plausible answers to that question entail that they're not blameworthy, (...)
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  43. Psychopaths and blame: The argument from content.Neil Levy - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (3):351–367.
    The recent debate over the moral responsibility of psychopaths has centered on whether, or in what sense, they understand moral requirements. In this paper, I argue that even if they do understand what morality requires, the content of their actions is not of the right kind to justify full-blown blame. I advance two independent justifications of this claim. First, I argue that if the psychopath comes to know what morality requires via a route that does not involve a proper appreciation (...)
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  44. The feeling of doing: Deconstructing the phenomenology of agnecy.Timothy J. Bayne & Neil Levy - 2006 - In Natalie Sebanz & Wolfgang Prinz (eds.), Disorders of Volition. Cambridge: MIT Press.
    Disorders of volition are often accompanied by, and may even be caused by, disruptions in the phenomenology of agency. Yet the phenomenology of agency is at present little explored. In this paper we attempt to describe the experience of normal agency, in order to uncover its representational content.
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  45.  70
    Religious beliefs are factual beliefs: Content does not correlate with context sensitivity.Neil Levy - 2017 - Cognition 161 (C):109-116.
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  46. Counterfactual Intervention and Agents’ Capacities.Neil Levy - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (5):223-239.
  47. Analytic and continental philosophy: Explaining the differences.Neil Levy - 2003 - Metaphilosophy 34 (3):284-304.
    A number of writers have tackled the task of characterizing the differences between analytic and Continental philosophy.I suggest that these attempts have indeed captured the most important divergences between the two styles but have left the explanation of the differences mysterious.I argue that analytic philosophy is usefully seen as philosophy conducted within a paradigm, in Kuhn’s sense of the word, whereas Continental philosophy assumes much less in the way of shared presuppositions, problems, methods and approaches.This important opposition accounts for all (...)
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  48.  95
    What in the World Is Collective Responsibility?Alberto Giubilini & Neil Levy - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (2):191-217.
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  49.  41
    Autonomy and Addiction.Neil Levy - 2006 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):427-447.
    Whatever its implications for the other features of human agency at its best — for moral responsibility, reasons-responsiveness, self-realization, flourishing, and so on—addiction is universally recognized as impairing autonomy. But philosophers have frequently misunderstood the nature of addiction, and therefore have not adequately explained the manner in which it impairs autonomy. Once we recognize that addiction is not incompatible with choice or volition, it becomes clear that none of the Standard accounts of autonomy can satisfactorily explain the way in which (...)
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  50.  58
    Taking responsibility for health in an epistemically polluted environment.Neil Levy - 2018 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 39 (2):123-141.
    Proposals for regulating or nudging healthy choices are controversial. Opponents often argue that individuals should take responsibility for their own health, rather than be paternalistically manipulated for their own good. In this paper, I argue that people can take responsibility for their own health only if they satisfy certain epistemic conditions, but we live in an epistemic environment in which these conditions are not satisfied. Satisfying the epistemic conditions for taking responsibility, I argue, requires regulation of this environment. I describe (...)
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