Nicole Shukin pursues a resolutely materialist engagement with the "question of the animal," challenging the philosophical idealism that has dogged the question by tracing how the politics of capital and of animal life impinge on one ...
The face of the world is changing. The past century has seen the incredible growth of international institutions. How does the fact that the world is becoming more interconnected change institutions' duties to people beyond borders? Does globalization alone engender any ethical obligations? In Globalization and Global Justice, Nicole Hassoun addresses these questions and advances a new argument for the conclusion that there are significant obligations to the global poor. First, she argues that there are many coercive international institutions (...) and that these institutions must provide the means for their subjects to avoid severe poverty. Hassoun then considers the case for aid and trade, and concludes with a new proposal for fair trade in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Globalization and Global Justice will appeal to readers in philosophy, politics, economics and public policy. (shrink)
Various authors debate the question of whether neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility. However, a plethora of different techniques and technologies, each with their own abilities and drawbacks, lurks beneath the label “neuroscience”; and in criminal law responsibility is not a single, unitary and generic concept, but it is rather a syndrome of at least six different concepts. Consequently, there are at least six different responsibility questions that the criminal law asks—at least one for each responsibility concept—and, I will suggest, (...) a multitude of ways in which the techniques and technologies that comprise neuroscience might help us to address those diverse questions. In a way, on my account neuroscience is relevant to criminal responsibility in many ways, but I hesitate to state my position like this because doing so obscures two points which I would rather highlight: one, neither neuroscience nor criminal responsibility are as unified as that; and two, the criminal law asks many different responsibility questions and not just one generic question. (shrink)
Religious beliefs have often been taken either as absolutely foundational to all others or as ultimately founded on something else. This essay starts with an endorsement of the contemporary critique of foundationalism but sets its task as to search for the foundation of religious belief after foundationalism. In its third and main part, it argues for a Wittgensteinian reflective equilibrium as such a foundation. In this reflective equilibrium, religious beliefs are no more and no less foundational to, or founded by, (...) other beliefs and practices. To appreciate this perspective better, I argue,in the first part, that Kai Neilsen's charge of Wittgenstein as a fideist is not accurate, and, in the second part, that D. Z. Phillips's fideistic contentions are unWittgensteinian. (shrink)
In this postmodern era, God-talk is facing serious challenges. Is it still possible to have a meaningful concept of God after the demise of metaphysical realism? How can we make sense of the idea of absolute transcendence in a secularized world? In what sense can we still believe something as divine revelation when foundationalism is no longer taken for granted? While some believe that we can go about our old theological business as usual, others have entirely given up on the (...) hope of any intelligible theology. It is my hunch, however, that there are ways of doing theology that can take our postmodern conditions into serious account. In this article, I shall argue that, however anachronistic it might seem, Hegel's God-talk, seen through the lens of Heidegger's understanding of Being, provides one such possibility. (shrink)
Direct brain intervention based mental capacity restoration techniques-for instance, psycho-active drugs-are sometimes used in criminal cases to promote the aims of justice. For instance, they might be used to restore a person's competence to stand trial in order to assess the degree of their responsibility for what they did, or to restore their competence for punishment so that we can hold them responsible for it. Some also suggest that such interventions might be used for therapy or reform in criminal legal (...) contexts-i.e. to make non-responsible and irresponsible people more responsible. However, I argue that such interventions may at least sometimes fail to promote these responsibility-related legal aims. This is because responsibility hinges on other factors than just what mental capacities a person has-in particular, it also hinges on such things as authenticity, personal identity, and mental capacity ownership-and some ways of restoring mental capacity may adversely affect these other factors. Put one way, my claim is that what might suffice for the restoration of competence need not necessarily suffice for the restoration of responsibility, or, put another way, that although responsibility indeed tracks mental capacity it may not always track restored mental capacities. (shrink)
Garrath Williams claims that truly responsible people must possess a “capacity … to respond [appropriately] to normative demands” (2008:462). However, there are people whom we would normally praise for their responsibility despite the fact that they do not yet possess such a capacity (e.g. consistently well-behaved young children), and others who have such capacity but who are still patently irresponsible (e.g. some badly-behaved adults). Thus, I argue that to qualify for the accolade “a responsible person” one need not possess such (...) a capacity, but only to be earnestly willing to do the right thing and to have a history that testifies to this willingness. Although we may have good reasons to prefer to have such a capacity ourselves, and to associate ourselves with others who have it, at a conceptual level I do not think that such considerations support the claim that having this capacity is a necessary condition of being a responsible person in the virtue sense. (shrink)
Could neuroimaging evidence help us to assess the degree of a person’s responsibility for a crime which we know that they committed? This essay defends an affirmative answer to this question. A range of standard objections to this high-tech approach to assessing people’s responsibility is considered and then set aside, but I also bring to light and then reject a novel objection—an objection which is only encountered when functional (rather than structural) neuroimaging is used to assess people’s responsibility.
The sense of agency is a central aspect of human self-consciousness and refers to the experience of oneself as the agent of one’s own actions. Several different cognitive theories on the sense of agency have been proposed implying divergent empirical approaches and results, especially with respect to neural correlates. A multifactorial and multilevel model of the sense of agency may provide the most constructive framework for integrating divergent theories and findings, meeting the complex nature of this intriguing phenomenon.
Many unethical decisions stem from a lack of awareness. In this article, we consider how mindfulness, an individual's awareness of his or her present experience, impacts ethical decision making. In our first study, we demonstrate that compared to individuals low in mindfulness, individuals high in mindfulness report that they are more likely to act ethically, are more likely to value upholding ethical standards (self-importance of moral identity, SMI), and are more likely to use a principled approach to ethical decision making (...) (formalism). In our second study, we test this relationship with a novel behavioral measure of unethical behavior: the carbonless anagram method (CAM). We find that of participants who cheated, compared to individuals low in mindfulness, individuals high in mindfulness cheated less. Taken together, our results demonstrate important connections between mindfulness and ethical decision making. (shrink)
Luck egalitarians think that considerations of responsibility can excuse departures from strict equality. However critics argue that allowing responsibility to play this role has objectionably harsh consequences. Luck egalitarians usually respond either by explaining why that harshness is not excessive, or by identifying allegedly legitimate exclusions from the default responsibility-tracking rule to tone down that harshness. And in response, critics respectively deny that this harshness is not excessive, or they argue that those exclusions would be ineffective or lacking in justification. (...) Rather than taking sides, after criticizing both positions I also argue that this way of carrying on the debate – i.e. as a debate about whether the harsh demands of responsibility outweigh other considerations, and about whether exclusions to responsibility-tracking would be effective and/or justified – is deeply problematic. On my account, the demands of responsibility do not – in fact, they can not – conflict with the demands of other normative considerations, because responsibility only provides a formal structure within which those other considerations determine how people may be treated, but it does not generate its own practical demands. (shrink)
Biomedical moral enhancement, or BME for short, aims to improve people’s moral behaviors through augmenting, via biomedical means, their virtuous dispositions such as sympathy, honesty, courage, or generosity. Recently, it has been challenged, on particularist grounds, however, that the manifestations of the virtuous dispositions can be morally wrong. For instance, being generous in terrorist financing is one such case. If so, biomedical moral enhancement, by enhancing people’s virtues, might turn out to be counterproductive in terms of people’s moral behaviors. In (...) this paper, we argue, via a comparison with moral education, that the case for the practice of biomedical moral enhancement is not weakened by the particularists’ stress on the variable moral statuses of the manifestations of our virtues. The real challenge from the particularists, we argue, lies elsewhere. It is that practical wisdom, being essentially context-sensitive, cannot be enhanced via biomedical means. On the basis of this, we further argue that BME ought to be used with great caution, for it may wrongly enhance, for instance, a terrorist financier’s generosity, a robber’s courage, or an undercover detective’s honesty. Finally, we sketch how boundaries can be set on the use of BME, and address some potential objections to our position. (shrink)
Fred Adams and collaborators advocate a view on which empty-name sentences semantically encode incomplete propositions, but which can be used to conversationally implicate descriptive propositions. This account has come under criticism recently from Marga Reimer and Anthony Everett. Reimer correctly observes that their account does not pass a natural test for conversational implicatures, namely, that an explanation of our intuitions in terms of implicature should be such that we upon hearing it recognize it to be roughly correct. Everett argues that (...) the implicature view provides an explanation of only some our intuitions, and is in fact incompatible with others, especially those concerning the modal profile of sentences containing empty names. I offer a pragmatist treatment of empty names based upon the recognition that the Gricean distinction between what is said and what is implicated is not exhaustive, and argue that such a solution avoids both Everett’s and Reimer’s criticisms.Selon Fred Adams et ses collaborateurs, les phrases comportant des noms propres vides codent sémantiquement des propositions incomplètes, bien qu’elles puissent être utilisées pour impliquer des propositions descriptives dans le contexte d’une conversation. Marga Reimer et Anthony Everett ont récemment critiqué cette théorie. Reimer note judicieusement que leur théorie ne résiste pas à l’examen naturel des implications conversationnelles; une explication de nos intuitions concernant l’implication doit être telle que lorsque nous l’entendons, elle nous apparaît globalement correcte. Everett soutient que la théorie de l’implication ne parvient à expliquer qu’un certain nombre de nos intuitions et reste incompatible avec d’autres, notamment celles qui concernent la dimension modale des phrases contenant des noms propres vides. Je propose ici un traitement pragmatiste des noms propres vides fondé sur l’observation que la distinction Gricéenne entre ce qui est dit et ce qui est impliqué n’est pas exhaustive; je soutiens que cette solution échappe aux critiques d’Everett et de Reimer. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Beall and Restall's claim that there is one true logic of metaphysical modality is incompatible with the formulation of logical pluralism that they give. I investigate various ways of reconciling their pluralism with this claim, but conclude that none of the options can be made to work.
Evidence does not support the claim that observers universally recognize basic emotions from signals on the face. The percentage of observers who matched the face with the predicted emotion (matching score) is not universal, but varies with culture and language. Matching scores are also inflated by the commonly used methods: within-subject design; posed, exaggerated facial expressions (devoid of context); multiple examples of each type of expression; and a response format that funnels a variety of interpretations into one word specified by (...) the experimenter. Without these methodological aids, matching scores are modest and subject to various explanations. (shrink)
The way in which we characterize the structural and functional differences between psychopath and normal brains – either as biological disorders or as mere biological differences – can influence our judgments about psychopaths’ responsibility for criminal misconduct. However, Marga Reimer (Neuroethics 1(2):14, 2008) points out that whether our characterization of these differences should be allowed to affect our judgments in this manner “is a difficult and important question that really needs to be addressed before policies regarding responsibility... can be implemented (...) with any confidence”. This paper is an attempt to address Reimer’s difficult and important question; I argue that irrespective of which of these two characterizations is chosen, our judgments about psychopaths’ responsibility should not be affected, because responsibility hinges not on whether a particular difference is (referred to as) a disorder or not, but on how that difference affects the mental capacities required for moral agency. (shrink)
A heterogeneous survey sample of for-profit, non-profit and government employees revealed that organizational factors but not personal characteristics were significant antecedents of misconduct and job satisfaction. Formal organizational compliance practices and ethical climate were independent predictors of misconduct, and compliance practices also moderated the relationship between ethical climate and misconduct, as well as between pressure to compromise ethical standards and misconduct. Misconduct was not predicted by level of moral reasoning, age, sex, ethnicity, job status, or size and type of organization. (...) Demographic variables predicted job satisfaction and organizational variables added significant incremental variance. Results suggest the importance of promoting a moral organization through the words and actions of senior managers and supervisors, independent of formal mechanisms such as codes of conduct. (shrink)
The high turnover of nurses has become a global problem. Several studies have proposed that nurses’ perceptions of the ethical climate of their organization are related to higher job satisfaction and organizational commitment and thus lead to higher organizational citizenship behaviors. This study uses hierarchical regression to understand which types of ethical climate, facets of job satisfaction, and the three components of organizational commitment influence different dimensions of organizational citizenship behaviors. Questionnaires were distributed to 450 nurses, and 352 usable questionnaires (...) were returned. The findings of the article suggest that hospitals can increase organizational citizenship behaviors by influencing an organization’s ethical climate, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Hospital administrators can foster within organizations, the climate types of caring, law and code and rules climate, satisfaction with coworkers, and affective commitment and normative commitment that increase organizational citizenship behavior, while preventing organizations from developing the type of instrumental climate and continuance commitment that decreases it. (shrink)
There is a growing realisation that the current upward trend in levels of disclosure of social, ethical and environmental performance by corporations and other organisations is not being accompanied by simultaneous greater levels of public trust. Low levels of confidence in the information communicated in public reporting is probably undermining the impetus for this disclosure. This article suggests that this credibility gap can be narrowed through the use of third party independent assurance. However, this is not an unqualified panacea. Much (...) verification and assurance practice itself has to date been of questionable robustness, reliability and consistency, and has been framed by financial assurance models that are inadequate for the broader, qualitative dimensions of social, ethical and environmental performance. The paper argues that there is need for a universal standard for the provision of assurance of social, ethical and environmental reporting, and indeed for the credibility of the assurance providers themselves. The new AA1000S Assurance Standard, developed by the Institute of Social and Ethical AccountAbility, offers an approach and a tool for addressing these gaps. (shrink)
John Harris recently argues that the moral bioenhancement proposed by Persson and Savulescu can damage moral agency by depriving the recipients of their freedom to fall (freedom to make wrongful choices) and therefore should not be pursued. The link Harris makes between moral agency and the freedom to fall, however, implies that all forms of moral enhancement, including moral education, that aim to make the enhancement recipients less likely to “fall” are detrimental to moral agency. In this paper, I present (...) a new moral agency-based critique against the moral bioenhancement program envisaged by Persson and Savulescu. I argue that the irresistible influences exerted by the bioenhancement program harms our capabilities for conducting accurate self-reflection and forming decisions that truly express our will, which subsequently undermine our moral agency. (shrink)
The study of expertise is difficult to do in a laboratory environment due to the challenge of finding people at different skill levels and the lack of time for participants to acquire mastery. In this paper, we report on two studies that analyze naturalistic gameplay data using cohort analysis to better understand how skill relates to practice and habit. Two cohorts are analyzed, each from two different games. Our work follows skill progression through 7 months of Halo matches for a (...) holistic perspective, but also explores low-level in-game habits when controlling game units in StarCraft 2. Players who played moderately frequently without long breaks were able to gain skill the most efficiently. What set the highest performers apart was their ability to gain skill more rapidly and without dips compared to other players. At the beginning of matches, top players habitually warmed up by selecting and re-selecting groups of units repeatedly in a meaningless cycle. They exhibited unique routines during their play that aided them when under pressure. (shrink)
Disputes about logic are commonplace and undeniable. It is sometimes argued that these disputes are not genuine disagreements, but are rather merely verbal ones. Are advocates of different logics simply talking past each other? In this paper we argue that pluralists (and anyone who sees competing logics as genuine rivals), should reject the claim that real disagreement requires competing logics to assign the same meaning to logical connectives, or the same logical form to arguments. Along the way we argue that (...) ascriptions of logical form, as well as connective meaning, are always theory-relative. (shrink)