In this paper we want to briefly illustrate the ways in which technical, ethical and political judgements of various kinds are interwoven in the processes of healthcare decision-making in the UK. Drawing upon the research for the “Choices in Health Care” project we will borrow the notion of the hidden curriculum from education to illuminate the nature of resource allocation decision processes. In particular we will indicate some of the fundamental but largely hidden political factors in play in these processes (...) and the importance of the inchoate and implicit notion of “NHS values” in shaping UK resource allocation policies. We suggest that these more diffuse, holistic and system level value judgements are both central to understanding priority setting and at the same time difficult to reduce or abstract out into lists of single values/principles. (shrink)
What is good prescribing? In this paper we will look at the kinds of criteria which are relevant to evaluating prescribing. In particular we wish to challenge, or at least re-frame, the picture of prescribing as an essentially technical process. In so doing we hope to indicate something more general about the power, and limitations, of technical rationality in health care, and to contribute something to work in health care technology assessment. Finally we hope this discussion will act as a (...) stimulus towards a much needed revision of the way ‘good’ prescribing is defined by current policies, guidelines and protocols. (shrink)
With very advanced technology, a very large population of people living happy lives could be sustained in the accessible region of the universe. For every year that development of such technologies and colonization of the universe is delayed, there is therefore a corresponding opportunity cost: a potential good, lives worth living, is not being realized. Given some plausible assumptions, this cost is extremely large. However, the lesson for standard utilitarians is not that we ought to maximize the pace of technological (...) development, but rather that we ought to maximize its safety, i.e. the probability that colonization will eventually occur. This goal has such high utility that standard utilitarians ought to focus all their efforts on it. Utilitarians of a ‘person-affecting’ stripe should accept a modified version of this conclusion. Some mixed ethical views, which combine utilitarian considerations with other criteria, will also be committed to a similar bottom line. (shrink)
In this exchange, Peter Coghlan and Nick Trakakis discuss the problem of natural evil in the light of the recent Asian tsunami disaster. The exchange begins with an extract from a newspaper article written by Coghlan on the tsunami, followed by three rounds of replies and counter-replies, and ending with some final comments from Trakakis. While critical of any attempt to show that human life is good overall despite its natural evils, Coghlan argues that instances of natural evil, even (...) horrific ones, can be justified as the unavoidable by-product of a natural system on which human life and culture depends. Trakakis, however, rejects this view, counselling instead a degree of skepticism about our ability to construct a plausible theodicy for horrific evil. (shrink)
The polarization of the individual and the community that underlies much of the debate between individualists and communitarians is made possible in part by the literal vanishingof civil society—the domain whose middling terms mediate the stark opposition of state and private sectors and offer women and men a space for activity that is both voluntary and public. Modern democratic ideology and the reality of our political practices sometimesseem to yield only a choice between elephantine and paternalistic government or a radically (...) solipsistic and nearly anarchic private market sector—overnment gargantuanism or private greed. Americans do not much like either one. President Clinton's callfor national service draws us out of our selfishness without kindling any affection for government. Private markets service our avarice without causing us to like ourselves. The question of how America's decentralized and multi-vocal public can secure a coherentvoice in debates over public policy under the conditions precipitated by so hollow and disjunctive a dichotomy is perhaps the most important issue facing both the political theory and social science of democracy and the practice of democratic politics in America today. Two recent stories out of Washington suggest just how grave the situation has become. Health-care reform failed in a paroxysm of mutual recrimination highlighted by the successful campaign of the private sector against a presidential program that seemed to be widely misunderstood. The public at large simply went missing in the debates. (shrink)
But in attempting to follow some of the steps of Mr. Barber's later argument, and in examining some of the conclusions to which they lead, I have found myself confronted with difficulties which seem sufficiently important to warrant the critical attention of Mr. Barber and the readers of this Review. These difficulties fall into three groups concerning: 1) preliminary arguments; 2) apparent inconsistencies between certain conclusions; and 3) inadequacies in basic ontology.
We begin by showing that every theory of the value of uncertain prospects must have one of three unpalatable properties. _Reckless_ theories recommend giving up a sure thing, no matter how good, for an arbitrarily tiny chance of enormous gain; _timid_ theories permit passing up an arbitrarily large potential gain to prevent a tiny increase in risk; _non-transitive_ theories deny the principle that, if A is better than B and B is better than C, then A must be better than (...) C. Having set up this trilemma, we study its horns. Non-transitivity has been much discussed; we focus on drawing out the costs and benefits of recklessness and timidity when it comes to axiology, decision theory, and normative uncertainty. (shrink)
To what extent should we use technological advances to try to make better human beings? Leading philosophers debate the possibility of enhancing human cognition, mood, personality, and physical performance, and controlling aging. Would this take us beyond the bounds of human nature? These are questions that need to be answered now.
Darwinian matters : life, force and change -- Biological difference -- The evolution of sex and race -- Nietzsche's Darwin -- History and the untimely -- The eternal return and the overman -- Bergsonian differences -- The philosophy of life -- Intuition and the virtual -- The future.
Los medios de comunicación incrementan la cobertura de hallazgos sobre el pasado. Impedir la discriminación por razón de sexo es mandato de los códigos deontológicos periodísticos. Desde la perspectiva de género, el estudio abordó la presencia de científicas como sujetos noticiables y fuentes expertas. Se analizaron mediante técnicas cuantitativas y cualitativas mensajes (n=59) en los dos principales diarios españoles de referencia (El País, El Mundo). Es preponderante la voz del profesional de la arqueología y prima la autoría de reporteros especializados. (...) Lo femenino ocupa un segundo plano temático, que relega a la mujer como científica, especialista y reportera. (shrink)
Epistemologists often appeal to the idea that a normative theory must provide useful, usable, guidance to argue for one normative epistemology over another. I argue that this is a mistake. Guidance considerations have no role to play in theory choice in epistemology. I show how this has implications for debates about the possibility and scope of epistemic dilemmas, the legitimacy of idealisation in Bayesian epistemology, uniqueness versus permissivism, sharp versus mushy credences, and internalism versus externalism.
A dizzying trip through the mind(s) of the provocative and influential thinker Nick Land. During the 1990s British philosopher Nick Land's unique work, variously described as “rabid nihilism,” “mad black deleuzianism,” and “cybergothic,” developed perhaps the only rigorous and culturally-engaged escape route out of the malaise of “continental philosophy” —a route that was implacably blocked by the academy. However, Land's work has continued to exert an influence, both through the British “speculative realist” philosophers who studied with him, and (...) through the many cultural producers—writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers—who have been invigorated by his uncompromising and abrasive philosophical vision. Beginning with Land's early radical rereadings of Heidegger, Nietzsche, Kant and Bataille, the volume collects together the papers, talks and articles of the mid-90s—long the subject of rumour and vague legend (including some work which has never previously appeared in print)—in which Land developed his futuristic theory-fiction of cybercapitalism gone amok; and ends with his enigmatic later writings in which Ballardian fictions, poetics, cryptography, anthropology, grammatology and the occult are smeared into unrecognisable hybrids. Fanged Noumena gives a dizzying perspective on the entire trajectory of this provocative and influential thinker's work, and has introduced his unique voice to a new generation of readers. (shrink)
outrageous remarks about contradictions. Perhaps the most striking remark he makes is that they are not false. This claim first appears in his early notebooks (Wittgenstein 1960, p.108). In the Tractatus, Wittgenstein argued that contradictions (like tautologies) are not statements (Sätze) and hence are not false (or true). This is a consequence of his theory that genuine statements are pictures.
Our paradigms of aesthetic value condition the philosophical questions we pose and hope to answer about it. Theories of aesthetic value are typically individualistic, in the sense that the paradigms they are designed to capture, and the questions to which they are offered as answers, center the individual’s engagement with aesthetic value. Here I offer some considerations that suggest that such individualism is a mistake and sketch a communitarian way of posing and answering questions about the nature of aesthetic value.
Nick Joaquin, one of the Philippines’ pillars of literature in English, is regrettably known locally for his nostalgic take on the Hispanic aspect of Philippine culture. While Joaquin did spend a great deal of time creatively exploring the Philippines’ Hispanic past, he certainly did not do so simply because of nostalgia. As recent studies have shown, Joaquin’s classic techniques that often echo the Hispanic influence on Philippine culture may also be considered as a form of resistance against both the (...) American neocolonial influence and the nativist brand of nationalism in the 1950s and 1960s. Despite the emergence of Gothic criticism in postcolonial writing, Joaquin’s works have rarely received the attention they deserve in this critical area. In this context, this paper explores the idea of the Gothic in Joaquin’s writing and how it relates to Joaquin being the “most original voice in postcolonial Philippine writing.” In 1972, the University of Queensland Press featured Joaquin’s works in its Asian and Pacific writing series. This “new” collection, Tropical Gothic, contained his significant early works published in Prose and Poems plus his novellas. This collection’s title highlights a specific aspect of Joaquin’s writing, that of his propensity to use Gothic tropes such as the blending of the real and the fantastic, or the tragic and the comic, as shown in most of the stories in the collection. In particular, I examine how his novella interrogates the neurosis of the nation—a disconnection from the past and its repercussions on the present/future of the Philippines. (shrink)
This article responds to recent debates in critical algorithm studies about the significance of the term “algorithm.” Where some have suggested that critical scholars should align their use of the term with its common definition in professional computer science, I argue that we should instead approach algorithms as “multiples”—unstable objects that are enacted through the varied practices that people use to engage with them, including the practices of “outsider” researchers. This approach builds on the work of Laura Devendorf, Elizabeth Goodman, (...) and Annemarie Mol. Different ways of enacting algorithms foreground certain issues while occluding others: computer scientists enact algorithms as conceptual objects indifferent to implementation details, while calls for accountability enact algorithms as closed boxes to be opened. I propose that critical researchers might seek to enact algorithms ethnographically, seeing them as heterogeneous and diffuse sociotechnical systems, rather than rigidly constrained and procedural formulas. To do so, I suggest thinking of algorithms not “in” culture, as the event occasioning this essay was titled, but “as” culture: part of broad patterns of meaning and practice that can be engaged with empirically. I offer a set of practical tactics for the ethnographic enactment of algorithmic systems, which do not depend on pinning down a singular “algorithm” or achieving “access,” but which rather work from the partial and mobile position of an outsider. (shrink)
This book explores both the embodied nature of social life and the social nature of human bodily life. It provides an accessible review of the contemporary social science debates on the body, and develops a coherent new perspective. Nick Crossley critically reviews the literature on mind and body, and also on the body and society. He draws on theoretical insights from the work of Gilbert Ryle, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, George Herbert Mead and Pierre Bourdieu, and shows how the work of (...) these writers overlaps in interesting and important ways which, when combined, provide the basis for a persuasive and robust account of human embodiment. The Social Body provides a timely review of the theoretical approaches to the sociology of the body. It offers new insights, and a coherent new perspective on the body. It will be valuable reading for students and academics in sociology, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, and cultural studies. (shrink)
Words are ubiquitous and familiar, and the concept of a word features both in common-sense ways of understanding the world, and in more theoretical discourse. Nonetheless, it has been repeatedly argued that there is no such thing as words. In this paper, I will set out a range of arguments for eliminativism about words, and indicate the most promising responses. I begin by considering an eliminativist argument based on the alleged mind-dependency of words, before turning to two challenges arising from (...) linguistic theory in the Chomskian tradition. The first of these is issued by Rey in a number of places, including in his recent book. The second is Collins’s argument based on the alleged explanatory redundancy of words. I will also consider an eliminativist challenge based on the difficulty of providing existence and persistence conditions for words. One general lesson which emerges is that these eliminativist arguments, if they work at all, could be turned against a whole swathe of non-linguistic objects; in other words, the case for eliminativism about words is no stronger than the case for eliminativism about ordinary objects in general. (shrink)
The Pinocchio paradox poses one dialetheia too many for semantic dialetheists (Eldridge-Smith 2011). However, Beall (2011) thinks that the Pinocchio scenario is merely an impossible story, like that of the village barber who shaves just those villagers who do not shave themselves. Meanwhile, Beall maintains that Liar paradoxes generate dialetheia. The Barber scenario is self-contradictory, yet the Pinocchio scenario requires a principle of truth for a contradiction. In this and other respects the Pinocchio paradox is a version of (...) the Liar, unlike the Barber. One wonders why some Liars would be impossible if others generate dialetheias. (shrink)
Articulate and perceptive, Intersubjectivity is a text that explains the notions of intersubjectivity as a central concern of philosophy, sociology, psychology, and politics. Going beyond this broad-ranging introduction and explication, author Nick Crossley provides a critical discussion of intersubjectivity as an interdisciplinary concept to shed light on our understanding of selfhood, communication, citizenship, power, and community. The volume traces the contributions of key thinkers engaged within the intersubjectivist tradition, including Husserl, Buber, Kojeve, Merlau-Ponty, Mead, Wittgenstein, Schutz, and Habermas. A (...) clear, concise introduction to a range of difficult concepts and thinkers, Intersubjectivity demystifies this very interdisciplinary subject for advanced and graduate-level students of philosophy, sociology, social psychology, and social and political theory. (shrink)
Prior research found correlations between reflection test performance and philosophical tendencies among laypeople. In two large studies (total N = 1299)—one pre-registered—many of these correlations were replicated in a sample that included both laypeople and philosophers. For example, reflection test performance predicted preferring atheism over theism and instrumental harm over harm avoidance on the trolley problem. However, most reflection-philosophy correlations were undetected when controlling for other factors such as numeracy, preferences for open-minded thinking, personality, philosophical training, age, and gender. Nonetheless, (...) some correlations between reflection and philosophical views survived this multivariate analysis and were only partially confounded with either education or self-reported reasoning preferences. Unreflective thinking still predicted believing in God whereas reflective thinking still predicted believing that (a) proper names like ‘Santa’ do not necessarily refer to entities that actually exist and (b) science does reveal the fundamental nature of the world. So some robust relationships between reflection and philosophical tendencies were detected even among philosophers, and yet there was clearly more to the link between reflection and philosophy. To this end, demographic and metaphilosophical hypotheses are considered. (shrink)
Philosophers often characterize discourse in general as aiming at some sort of convergence (in beliefs, plans, dispositions, feelings, etc.), and many views about aesthetic discourse in particular affirm this thought. I argue that a convergence norm does not govern aesthetic discourse. The conversational dynamics of aesthetic discourse suggest that typical aesthetic claims have directive force. I distinguish between dynamic and illocutionary force and develop related theories of each for aesthetic discourse. I argue that the illocutionary force of aesthetic utterances is (...) typically invitational because its dynamic force is influenced by a ‘communal’ norm. I draw on dynamic pragmatics to develop a formal account of this dynamic force that explains why invitation has pride of place in aesthetic conversation. It turns out that the end of aesthetic discourse is not convergence but a distinctive form of community, a kind of harmony of individuality, that is compatible with aesthetic disagreement. If this is right, then convergence theories of aesthetic and normative discourse, and of conversation in general, need to be revised. (shrink)
This paper is about epistemic dilemmas, i.e., cases in which one is doomed to have a doxastic attitude that is rationally impermissible no matter what. My aim is to develop and defend a position according to which there can be genuine rational indeterminacy; that is, it can be indeterminate which principles of rationality one should satisfy and thus indeterminate which doxastic attitudes one is permitted or required to have. I am going to argue that this view can resolve epistemic dilemmas (...) in a systematic way while also enjoying some important advantages over its rivals. (shrink)
In _The Powers of Dignity_ Nick Bromell unpacks Frederick Douglass's 1867 claim that he had “elaborated a political philosophy” from his own “slave experience.” Bromell shows that Douglass devised his philosophy because he found that antebellum Americans' liberal-republican understanding of democracy did not provide a sufficient principled basis on which to fight anti-Black racism. To remedy this deficiency, Douglass deployed insights from his distinctively Black experience and developed a _Black_ philosophy of democracy. He began by contesting the founders' racist (...) assumptions about humanity and advancing instead a more robust theory of “the human” as a collection of human “powers.” He asserted further that the conscious exercise of those powers is what confirms human dignity and that human rights and democracy come into being as ways to affirm and protect that dignity. Thus, by emphasizing the powers and the dignity of all citizens, deriving democratic rights from these, and promoting a remarkably activist, power-oriented model of citizenship, Douglass's Black political philosophy aimed to rectify two major failings of US democracy in his time and ours: its complacence and its racism. (shrink)
The received view of implicit bias holds that it is associative and unreflective. Recently, the received view has been challenged. Some argue that implicit bias is not predicated on “any” associative process, but it is unreflective. These arguments rely, in part, on debiasing experiments. They proceed as follows. If implicit bias is associative and unreflective, then certain experimental manipulations cannot change implicitly biased behavior. However, these manipulations can change such behavior. So, implicit bias is not associative and unreflective. This paper (...) finds philosophical and empirical problems with that argument. When the problems are solved, the conclusion is not quite right: implicit bias is not necessarily unreflective, but it seems to be associative. Further, the paper shows that even if legitimate non-associative interventions on implicit bias exist, then both the received view and its recent contender would be false. In their stead would be interactionism or minimalism about implicit bias. (shrink)