Von Neumann's theory of measurement in quantum mechanics is reinterpreted so that the experimental arrangement specifies the location of the “cut” by calling for the separate observation of the object and the measuring apparatus after the initial measurement interaction. The measurement ascertains which element of the mixture describing the final state of the apparatus is actually present. The relevance and feasibility of observing the final coherent state of the object plus apparatus is criticized and the paradoxes of “Schrödinger's cat” and (...) “Wigner's friend” are discussed. (shrink)
Verifiable physical theories can deal only with reproducible phenomena. To the extent that some objectively real aspects of quantum phenomena are inherently not reproducible, to that extent quantum theory cannot be expected to provide a complete description of reality. Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen argued, however, that quantum mechanics does not even provide a complete description of reproducible reality. But their reasoning fails to distinguish between the “predictability” and the “predictedness” of a physical quantity. It is shown that in quantum mechanics, (...) as in classical mechanics, predictability is not affected by a nondisturbing measurement, only predictedness is affected. Since Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen define the (reproducible) reality of a quantity on the basis of its predictability, we find that the quantum mechanical description of this reproducible reality is unaffected by nondisturbing measurements and does not need to be considered incomplete. (shrink)
The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the corporate social performance of an organization and three variables: the size of the organization, the financial performance of the organization, and the environmental performance of the organization. By empirically testing data from 1987 to 1992, the results of the study show that a firm's corporate social performance is indeed impacted by the size of the firm, the level of profitability of the firm, and the amount of pollution emissions (...) released by the firm. (shrink)
There are several strategies to promote health in individuals and populations. Two general approaches to health promotion are behavior change and empowerment. The aim of this article is to present those two kinds of strategies, and show that the behavior-change approach has some moral problems, problems that the empowerment approach (on the whole) is better at handling. Two distinct ‘ideal types’ of these practices are presented and scrutinized. Behavior change interventions use various kinds of theories to target people’s behavior, which (...) they do through information, persuasion, coercion and manipulation. Empowerment is a collaborative method where those ‘facilitated’ participate in the change process. Some ethical problems with the behavior-change model are that it does not sufficiently respect the right to autonomy of the individuals involved and risks reducing their ability for autonomy, and that it risks increasing health inequalities. Empowerment, on the other hand, respects the participant’s right to autonomy, tends to increase the ability for autonomy, as well as increasing other coping skills, and is likely to reduce inequalities. A drawback with this approach is that it often takes longer to realize. (shrink)
Social evolution theory conventionally takes an externalist explanatory stance, treating observed cooperation as explanandum and the positive assortment of cooperative behaviour as explanans. We ask how the circumstances bringing about this positive assortment arose in the first place. Rather than merely push the explanatory problem back a step, we move from an externalist to an interactionist explanatory stance, in the spirit of Lewontin and the Niche Construction theorists. We develop a theory of ‘social niche construction’ in which we consider biological (...) entities to be both the subject and object of their own social evolution. Some important cases of the evolution of cooperation have the side-effect of causing changes in the hierarchical level at which the evolutionary process acts. This is because the traits that act to align the fitness interests of particles in a collective can also act to diminish the extent to which those particles are bearers of heritable fitness variance, while augmenting the extent to which collectives of such particles are bearers of heritable fitness variance. In this way, we can explain upward transitions in the hierarchical level at which the Darwinian machine operates in terms of particle-level selection, even though the outcome of the process is a collective-level selection regime. Our theory avoids the logical and metaphysical paradoxes faced by other attempts to explain evolutionary transitions. (shrink)
Current focus in the health care ethics literature on the character of the practitioner has a reputable pedigree. Rather than offer a staple diet of Aristotelian ethics in the undergraduate curricula, perhaps instead one should follow Murdoch's suggestion and help the practitioner to develop vision and moral imagination, because this has a practical rather than a theoretical aim. The imaginative capacity of the practitioner plays an important part in both the quality of the nurse's role enactment and the moral strategies (...) which the nurse uses. It also plays a central part in the practitioner's ability to communicate with a patient and in the type of person which the practitioner becomes. Can the moral imagination be stimulated and nurtured? Some philosophers and literary critics argue that not only is this possible, but that literature is the means of doing so. If this is the case then a place should be made for literature in already crowded health care curricula. (shrink)
This chapter aims to provide materials with which to substantiate the claim that, under the appropriate circumstances, the notion of analyticity can help explain how one might have a priori knowledge even in the strong sense. It argues that Implicit Definition, properly understood, is completely independent of any form of irrealism about logic. The chapter defends the thesis of Implicit Definition against Quine's criticisms, and examines the sort of account of the apriority of logic that this doctrine is able to (...) provide. The chapter shows that, against the background of a rejection of indeterminacy, its insolubility cannot be conceded. It also argues that neither a non‐factualism about Frege‐analyticity, nor an error thesis about it, can plausibly fall short of an outright rejection of meaning itself. The chapter shows how the doctrine that appears to offer the most promising account of how we grasp the meanings of the logical constants. (shrink)
A principle that many have found attractive is one that goes by the name “'Ought' Implies 'Can'.” According to this principle, one morally ought to do something only if one can do it. This essay has two goals: to show that the principle is false and to undermine the motivations that have been offered for it. Toward the end, a proposal about moral obligation according to which something like a restricted version of 'Ought' Implies 'Can' is true is floated. Though (...) no full-fledged argument for this proposal is offered, that it fits with a rather natural and intuitive picture of the structure of morality and seems to explain certain salient features of the debate over whether the principle is true, goes some way toward recommending it. (shrink)
In her paper, “The Doctrine of Double Effect: Problems of Interpretation,” Nancy Davis attempts to find an interpretation of the means-end relationship that would provide a foundation for the Doctrine of Double Effect and its reliance on the distinction between what an agent intends or brings about intentionally and what that agent merely foresees will result from his/her action, but does not intend. Davis’s inability to find such an interpretation lessens the plausibility of the view that theDDE is an acceptable (...) moral doctrine. In the present paper, it is suggested that Davis’s inability to find an interpretation of the means-end relationship that will support the DDE results from her assumption that an agent must intend to produce whatever he/she produces intentionally. Borrowing an argument from Michael Bratman, this article shows that Davis’s assumption is false. Thatrealization paves the way toward a defense of the DDE. (shrink)
When David Lewis ( 1986 ) told us that possible worlds were a ‘paradise for philosophers’, he neglected to add that they are a minefield for decision theorists. Possibilities — be they nomological, metaphysical, or epistemic possibilities — have little to do with subjective probabilities, and it is these latter that matter most to decision theory. Bernard Katz and Doris Olin ( 2007 ) have tried to solve the two-envelope problem by appealing to possible worlds and counterfactual conditionals. In this (...) article, I explain why any such attempt is misguided, and why we, qua decision theorists, must focus on the probable rather than the possible. (shrink)
This book brings together both new and previously published essays on the Greek political history of the fifth century BC and historiography. It examines the relationship between philosophy and social/political conditions, and includes a new analysis of Aristotle's views on slavery and a discussion of the practicality of Plato's political theories.
We know that John Milton read Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy with very great care, and there is evidence suggesting that initially he found its argument attractive. In the end, however, he repudiated Machiavelli’s peculiar populism in no uncertain terms, and he did so by embracing Aristotle and Cicero in a manner that highlights the radical break which the Florentine initiated with the republicanism of the ancient Romans and Greeks.
Given any proposition, is it possible to have rationally acceptable attitudes towards it? Absent reasons to the contrary, one would probably think that this should be possible. In this paper I provide a reason to the contrary. There is a proposition such that, if one has any opinions about it at all, one will have a rationally unacceptable set of propositional attitudes—or if one doesn’t, one will end up being cognitively imperfect in some other manner. The proposition I am concerned (...) with is a self-referential propositional attitude ascription involving the propositional attitude of rejection. Given a basic assumption about what constitutes irrationality, and a few assumptions about the nature of cognitively ideal agents, a paradox results. This paradox is superficially like the Liar, but it is importantly different in that no alethic notions are involved at all. As such, it stands independent of the Liar and is not a ‘revenge’ version of it. After setting out the paradox I discuss possible responses. After considering several I argue that one is best off simply accepting that the paradox shows us something surprising and interesting about rationality: that some cognitive shortfall is unavoidable even for ideal agents. I argue that nothing disastrous follows from accepting this conclusion. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the doctrine of double effect is disposed toward abuse. I try to identify two distinct sources of abuse of double effect: the conditions associated with standard formulations of double effect and the difficulty of fully understanding one’s own intentions in action. Both of these sources of abuse are exacerbated in complex circumstances, where double effect is most often employed. I raise this concern about abuse not as a criticism of double effect but rather as (...) a problem that defenders should observe and try to prevent. I go on to suggest certain methods for avoiding the abuse of double effect such as hesitating to use it, applying it only with other agents, and selectively and carefully propagating it. (shrink)
The criminal law presently distinguishes between actions and omissions, and only rarely proscribes failures to avert consequences that it would be an offense to bring about. Why? In recent years it has been persuasively argued by both Glover and Bennett that, celeris paribus, omissions to prevent a harm are just as culpable as are actions which bring that harm about. On the other hand, and acknowledging that hitherto “lawyers have not been very successful in finding a rationale for it,” Tony (...) Honoré has sought to defend the law's differential treatment. He proposes a “distinct-duties theory” that in addition to the general duties we owe to everyone, we also owe distinct duties to a more limited collection of people and associations, specified by features of our relationship with them. Where a distinct duty holds, breach by omission may well be no better than breach by positive action. But absent a distinct duty, omissions, per Honoré, are less culpable. They are mere failures to intervene and improve or rectify things, whereas actions are positive interventions which make things worse. And, thus, the law has good reason to differentiate between them. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Perception-Action Mutuality Obviates Mental Construction” by Martin Flament Fultot, Lin Nie & Claudia Carello. Upshot: In my view, the clash between ecological psychology, enactivism, and constructivism in general has more to do with irreconcilable metaphysical and theoretical incommensurabilities than disagreements about specific mechanisms or processes of perception. Even with mutual enabling of action and perception, some internal process of self-modification is still needed if novel behavior is to be adequately explained.
Objectives To investigate empirically the motivations for not consenting to DNA biobanking in a Swedish population-based study and to discuss the implications. Design Structured questionnaires and semistructured interviews. Setting A longitudinal epidemiological project (PART) ongoing since 1998 in Stockholm, Sweden. The DNA-collection wave took place during 2006–7. Participants 903 individuals completed the questionnaire (participation rate 36%) and 23 were interviewed. All individuals had participated in both non-genetic waves of the project, but refused to contribute saliva samples during the DNA-collection wave. (...) Main outcome measures Motivations behind refusing to consent to DNA biobanking, with subsequent focus on participants' explanations regarding this unwillingness. Results Public refusal to consent to DNA biobanking, as revealed by the questionnaire, was mainly explained by a lack of personal relevance of DNA contribution and feelings of discomfort related to the DNA being used for purposes other than the respective study. Interviews of individuals representing the second motivation, revealed a significant mistrust of DNA biobank studies. The underlying beliefs and attitudes were associated with concerns about integrity, privacy, suspiciousness and insecurity. However, most interviewees were supportive of genetic research per se and interpreted their mistrust in the light of distressing environmental influences. Conclusion The results suggest a need for guidelines on benefit sharing, as well as trustworthy and stable measures to maintain privacy, as a means for increasing personal relevance and trust among potential participants in genetic research. Measures taken from biobanks seem insufficient in maintaining and increasing trust, suggesting that broader societal measures should be taken. (shrink)
When David Lewis (1986) told us that possible worlds were a ‘paradise for philosophers,’ he neglected to add that they are a minefield for decision theorists. Possibilities—be they nomological, metaphysical, or epistemic possibilities—have little to do with subjective probabilities, and it is these latter that matter most to decision theory. Bernard Katz and Doris Olin (2007) have tried to solve the two-envelope problem by appealing to possible worlds and counterfactual conditionals. In this paper I explain why any such attempt is (...) misguided, and why we, qua decision theorists, must focus on the probable rather than the possible. (shrink)
A relative value of life dependent on age has been produced from a survey of 721 randomly selected individuals together with other observations of professional practice. The results are presented in diagrammatic form. If two identical people, except for age, present for medical treatment for a life-threatening condition and only one can be treated then the diagram indicates what the choice should be.