In an earlier paper, Hestia (R. Vesta)-guardian of the family hearthfire and center of household/family ritual activities in the ancient Greek oikos-was re-claimed as a metaphor for philosophical analysis of the private sphere in everyday life (SPCW, 1996). This paper undertakes a comparable project of reclamation for Hermes (R. Mercury), guardian of the public sphere of the ancient Greek polis and its later manifestations. The goal of this project of reclamation is not to introduce unnecessary neologisms or to support “New (...) Age” spirituality. It is, rather, to help philosophers and social theorists to hold in mind two distinctive systems of human action within a singleexplanatory paradigm. Doing so allows us to compare and contrast in a consistent and coherent manner events, institutions, and actions in each of two systems operating in everyday life without privileging one (usually the polis and the political) over the other (theoikos and the familial). It is hoped that doing so may promote a dual standpoint theory that can take contemporary feminist theory (which seems to have painted itself into a corner) beyond gender. (shrink)
If stem cell-based therapies are developed, we will likely confront a difficult problem of justice: for biological reasons alone, the new therapies might benefit only a limited range of patients. In fact, they might benefit primarily white Americans, thereby exacerbating long-standing differences in health and health care.
The concept of brain death — first defined decades ago — still presents medical, ethical, and legal challenges despite its widespread acceptance in clinical practice and in law. This article reviews the medicine, law, and ethics of brain death, including the current inconsistencies in brain death determinations, which a lack of standardized federal policy promotes, and argues that a standard brain death policy to be used by all hospitals in all states should be created.
The concept of brain death evolved because advancements in medical science permitted unprecedented artificial maintenance of vital body functions by external means. Although the concept of brain death is accepted clinically, ethically, and legally in the United States, there is no national standard for the determination of brain death. There is evidence that variability and inconsistency in the process of determining brain death exist both in clinical settings and in State statutes. Several studies demonstrate that medical personnel determine brain death (...) in variable ways, and have variable understandings of the definition of brain death. The declaration of death has significant legal consequences such as probate proceedings and liability issues for wrongful death. Inconsistencies in the determination of death may therefore be medically, ethically, and legally problematic. (shrink)
Equality in the present age has become an idol, in much the same way as property was in the age of Locke. Many people worship it, and think that it provides the key to the proper understanding of politics, and that on it alone can a genuinely just society be reconstructed. This is a mistake. Although, like property, it is a useful concept, and although, like property, there are occasions when we want to have it in practice, it is not (...) a fundamental concept any more than property is, nor can having it vouchsafe to us the good life. In an earlier paper I argued against equality by showing that the concept of equality was confused and that many of the arguments i egalitarians adduced were either invalid or else supported conclusions I which were not really egalitarian at all. Many egalitarians, however, have complained that my arguments were not fair, because I had failed to elucidate the concept adequately, or because the position I attacked was not one that any egalitarian really wished to maintain, or because I had overlooked other arguments which were effective in establishing egalitarian conclusions, or because the positive counter-arguments of my own I put forward more as a matter of taste than of serious political commitment. In this paper, therefore, I want to elucidate the concept more fully, concede what I should to my critics, point out that, even so, their conclusions do not follow, and give further reasons not only for supposing that egalitarian arguments are invalid but for discerning positive merits in some forms of inequality. (shrink)
Plato was the first feminist. In the Republic he puts forward the view that women are just the same as men, only not quite so good. It is a view which has often been expressed in recent years, and generates strong passions. Some of these have deep biological origins, which a philosopher can only hope to recognize and not to assuage. But much of the heat engendered is due to unnecessary friction between views which are certainly compatible and probably correct. (...) And here a philosopher can help. If we can divide the issues neatly, at the joints, then we need not quarrel with one another for saying something, probably true, because what is being maintained is misconstrued and taken to mean something else, probably false. (shrink)
Whatever good or ill it did to Guy Fawkes, his resuscitation at the hands of Bernard Williams has, by any utilitarian reckoning, been a Good Thing. A casual glance at the literature that has accumulated over the past thirty-five years leaves no doubt that the topic has been reduplicated many times over, to the great enjoyment of undergraduates, who have been able to write science fiction under the guise of essays in the Philosophy of Mind, and of dons, who in (...) an age of cvs and Assessments, have been able to notch up page after page of counter-replies to replies to rebuttals of previous papers, not to mention an often welcome tally of references in the citation index. But the actual arguments adduced by Williams can be turned to support a much more traditional view of the self, as a necessarily unique agent whose individuality is established by his capacity for autonomous action. (shrink)
Children's comprehension of the universal quantifiers all and each was explored in a series of experiments using a picture selection task. The first experiment examined children's ability to restrict a quantifier to the noun phrase it modifies. The second and third experiments examined children's ability to associate collective, distributive, and exhaustive representations with sentences containing universal quantifiers. The collective representation corresponds to the "group" meaning (for All the flowers are in a vase all of the flowers are in the same (...) vase). The distributive representation implies a pairing (e.g., each flower paired with a vase for Each flower is in a vase). The exhaustive representation exhausts both sets (e.g., for The flowers are in the vases all the flowers are in vases and all the vases have flowers in them). Four- to 10-year-olds children had little difficulty restricting the quantifier all to the noun it modified in a task which required them to attend to the group feature of all. In contrast, only 9- and 10-year-olds were able to solve the task when the quantifier was each and the pictures showed entities in partial one-to-one correspondence. Children showed a preference for associating collective pictures with sentences containing all and distributive pictures with sentences containing each. The results suggest that between the ages of 5 and 10 years, children's semantic representations undergo less radical changes than others have proposed. Instead, developmental change may occur gradually as children acquire linguistic cues which map onto existing semantic representations. (shrink)
This study shows the link between teaching ethics in a college setting and the evolution of student thinking about ethical dilemmas. At the beginning of the semester, students have a rigid "black and white" conception of ethics. By the end of the semester, they are thinking more flexibly about the responsibilities of leaders in corporate ethical dilemmas, and they are able to appreciate complex situations that influence ethical behavior. The study shows that education in ethics produces more "enlightened" consumers of (...) ethics information who are able to make sound determinations about responsibility in ethical dilemmas. (shrink)
Responsibility is a key concept in our moral, social, and political thinking, but it is not itself properly understood. J.R. Lucas here presents a lively, broad, and accessible discussion of responsibility in various areas of human life, from personal and sexual relations to politics.
In this article, Lucas maintains the falseness of Mechanism - the attempt to explain minds as machines - by means of Incompleteness Theorem of Gödel. Gödel’s theorem shows that in any system consistent and adequate for simple arithmetic there are formulae which cannot be proved in the system but that human minds can recognize as true; Lucas points out in his turn that Gödel’s theorem applies to machines because a machine is the concrete instantiation of a formal system: therefore, for (...) every machine consistent and able of doing simple arithmetic, there is a formula that it can’t produce as true but that we can see to be true, and so human minds and machines have to be different. Lucas considers as well in this article some possible objections to his argument: for any Gödelian formula we could, for instance, construct a machine able to produce it or we could put the Gödelian formulae that we had proved as axioms of a further machine. However - as Lucas underlines - for every of such machines we could again formulate another Gödelian formula, the Gödelian formula of these machines, that they are not able to proof but that we can recognize as true. More general arguments, such as the possibility to escape Gödelian argument by suggesting that Gödel’s theorem applies to consistent systems while we could be inconsistent ones, are moreover refuted by Lucas by maintaining that our inconsistency corresponds to occasional malfunctioning of a machine and not to his normal inconsistency; indeed, a inconsistent machine is characterized by producing any statement, on the contrary human being are selective and not disposed to assert anything. (shrink)
“Towards a Theory of Taxation” is a proper theme for an Englishman to take when giving a paper in America. After all it was from the absence of such a theory that the United States derived its existence. The Colonists felt strongly that there should be no taxation without representation, and George III was unable to explain to them convincingly why they should contribute to the cost of their defense. Since that time, understanding has not advanced much. In Britain we (...) still maintain the fiction that taxes are a voluntary gift to the Crown, and taxing statutes are given the Royal Assent with the special formula, “La Reine remercie ses bons sujets, accepte leur benevolence, et ainsi le veult” instead of the simple “La Reine le veult,” and in the United States taxes have regularly been levied on residents of the District of Columbia who until recently had no representation in Congress, and by the State of New York on those who worked but did not reside in the State, and so did not have a vote. Taxes are regularly levied, in America as elsewhere, on those who have no say on whether they should be levied or how they should be spent. I am taxed by the Federal Government on my American earnings and by state governments on my American spending, but I should be hard put to it to make out that it was unjust. Florida is wondering whether to follow California in taxing multinational corporations on their world-wide earnings. (shrink)
At the beginning of Book II of the Republic , Glaucon and Adeimantus ask Socrates to tell them what it is to be just or unjust, and why a man should be the former. Socrates suggests in reply that they consider first what it is for a polis to be just or unjust—a polis is bigger than an individual, he says, so its justice should be more readily visible. Now if we were to view in imagination a polis coming into (...) existence, he goes on, we should see also its justice and injustice coming into existence, and this might help us to discover what these qualities are. (shrink)
We examined the attitudes of 600 students in large introductory algebra and psychology classes toward an actual or hypothetical cheating incident and the subsequent retake procedure. Overall, 57% of students in one class and 49Y0 in the other reported that they either cheated or would have cheated if given the opportunity. More men (59%) than women (53%) reported cheating or potential cheating. Students who had actually experienced a retake procedure to handle cheating were more satisfied with such a procedure than (...) others were about a hypothetical situation. Despite having a retake, cheaters were significantly more likely than noncheaters to predict that they would cheat again. Results suggest that instructors who require a retake following extensive cheating should devote class time to a discussion of the issue and all possible alternatives. (shrink)
This paper considers prevailing environmental policy in the United States with the emphasis on liberty, markets, utilizing information, entrepreneurial discovery, and the economic analysis of political decisions. The general discussion is illustrated by the concern over global warming and policies for addressing this concern. The political incentives to confront environmental problems directly with mandates, restrictions, and subsidies ignore the power of liberty and market incentives to solve problems by fostering an impressive network of information transfer, increasing innovation, and expanding prosperity. (...) Indeed, most environmental policies systematically suppress liberty, censor the communication of information, and retard innovation and prosperity, with the result that they provide less environmental quality at greater cost than is possible. While such flawed policies might be justified in cases where pollution problems pose clear, serious, and immediate threats, we argue this is not true of global warming, and the most effective response to concerns over carbon emissions may be limiting the discretionary power of government to take direct action and rely on the indirect effects of liberty and market incentives to move us beyond the petroleum age more quickly and efficiently than will result from the direct action of government. (shrink)
This paper addresses the definition and the operational use of intuitions in philosophical methods in the form of a research study encompassing several regions of the globe, involving 282 philosophers from a wide array of academic backgrounds and areas of specialisation. The authors tested whether philosophers agree on the conceptual definition and the operational use of intuitions, and investigated whether specific demographic variables and philosophical specialisation influence how philosophers define and use intuitions. The results obtained point to a number of (...) significant findings, including that philosophers distinguish between intuitions used to formulate (discovery) and to test (justification) philosophical theory. The survey results suggest that strategies implemented to characterise philosophical intuition are not well motivated since, even though philosophers do not agree on a single account of intuition, they fail to capture a preferred usage of intuitions as aspects of discovery. The quantitative summary of survey findings informs the debate on this topic, and advances more defined routes for subsequent approaches to the study of intuitions. (shrink)