Ethical and legal discourse pertaining to the ability to consent to treatment and research in England operates within a dualist framework of “competence” and “capacity”. This is confusing, as while there exists in England two possible senses of legal capacity – “first person” legal capacity and “delegable” legal capacity, currently neither is formulated to bear a necessary relationship with decision-making competence. Notwithstanding this, judges and academic commentators frequently invoke competence to consent in discussions involving the validity of offering or withholding (...) consent as a synonym for legal capacity to consent. I argue that this gives rise to a conflation, jeopardising clarity and consistency in law. This is somewhat less problematic in instances of “first-person” legal capacity that are heavily informed by criteria for decision-making competence than in the second sense of legal capacity, which is qualitatively different from decision-making competence, or with first-person legal capacity when defined in different terms from competence. The paper concludes by proposing that the soundest resolution to this problem is by making decision-making competence a necessary and sufficient condition of first-person legal capacity, affording a more scrupulous distinction between the two different forms of legal capacity that exist. (shrink)
Philosophy is often conceived in the Anglophone world today as a subject that focuses on questions in particular ‘‘core areas,’’ pre-eminently epistemology and metaphysics. This article argues that the contemporary conception is a new version of the scholastic ‘‘self-indulgence for the few’’ of which Dewey complained nearly a century ago. Philosophical questions evolve, and a first task for philosophers is to address issues that arise for their own times. The article suggests that a renewal of philosophy today should turn the (...) contemporary conception inside out, attending to and developing further the valuable work being done on the supposed ‘‘periphery’’ and attending to the ‘‘core areas’’ only insofar as is necessary to address genuinely significant questions. (shrink)
Mountaineering is a dangerous activity. For many mountaineers, part of its very attraction is the risk, the thrill of danger. Yet mountaineers are often regarded as reckless or even irresponsible for risking their lives. In this paper, we offer a defence of risk-taking in mountaineering. Our discussion is organised around the fact that mountaineers and non-mountaineers often disagree about how risky mountaineering really is. We hope to cast some light on the nature of this disagreement – and to argue that (...) mountaineering may actually be worthwhile because of the risks it involves. Section 1 introduces the disagreement and, in doing so, separates out several different notions of risk. Sections 2–4 then consider some explanations of the disagreement, showing how a variety of phenomena can skew people's risk judgements. Section 5 then surveys some recent statistics, to see whether these illuminate how risky mountaineering is. In light of these considerations, however, we suggest that the disagreement is best framed not simply in terms of how risky mountaineering is but whether the risks it does involve are justified. The remainder of the paper, sections 6–9, argues that risk-taking in mountaineering often is justified – and, moreover, that mountaineering can itself be justified by and because of the risks it involves. (shrink)
If someone abstains from meat-eating for reasons of taste or personal economics, no moral or philosophical question arises. But when a vegetarian attempts to persuade others that they, too, should adopt his diet, then what he says requires philosophical attention. While a vegetarian might argue in any number of ways, this essay will be concerned only with the argument for a vegetarian diet resting on a moral objection to the rearing and killing of animals for the human table. The vegetarian, (...) in this laense, does not merely require us to change or justify our eating habits, but to reconsider our attitudes and behaviour towards members of other species across a wide range of practices. (shrink)
Is rhetoric just a new and trendy way to épater les bourgeois? Unfortunately, I think that the newfound interest of some economists in rhetoric, and particularly Donald McCloskey in his new book and subsequent responses to critics, gives that impression. After economists have worked so hard for the past five decades to learn their sums, differential calculus, real analysis, and topology, it is a fair bet that one could easily hector them about their woeful ignorance of the conjugation of Latin (...) verbs or Aristotle's Six Elements of Tragedy. Moreover, it has certainly become an academic cliché that economists write as gracefully and felicitously as a hundred monkeys chained to broken typewriters. The fact that economists still trot out Keynes's prose in their defense is itself an index of the inarticulate desperation of an inarticulate profession. (shrink)
Roger Crisp has inspired two important criticisms of Scanlon's buck-passing account of value. I defend buck-passing from the wrong kind of reasons criticism, and the reasons and the good objection. I support Rabinowicz and Rønnow-Rasmussen's dual role of reasons in refuting the wrong kind of reasons criticism, even where its authors claim it fails. Crisp's reasons and the good objection contends that the property of goodness is buck-passing in virtue of its formality. I argue that Crisp conflates general and formal (...) properties, and that Scanlon is ambiguous about whether the formal property of a reason can stop the buck. Drawing from Wallace, I respond to Crisp's reasons and the good objection by developing an augmented buck-passing account of reasons and value, where the buck is passed consistently from the formal properties of both to the substantive properties of considerations and evaluative attitudes. I end by describing two unresolved problems for buck-passers. (shrink)
Jonathan Glover and I, while not in such deep disagreement about the ethics of killing as to make all communication impossible, still disagree enough to make sustained confrontation worthwhile. At minimum, such confrontation should make it clear what are the most fundamental issues at stake in ethical arguments about various kinds of killing.
The following objection to the ‘ontological’ argument of St Anselm has a continuing importance. The argument begs the question by introducing into the first premise the name ‘God’. In order for something to be truly talked about, to have properties truly attributed to it—it has been said—it must exist; a statement containing a vacuous name must either be false, meaningless, or lacking in truth-value, if it is not a misleading formulation to be explained by paraphrase into other terms. In any (...) case the question of the divine existence is begged. (shrink)
It has become fashionable to try to prove the impossibility of there being a God. Findlay's celebrated ontological disproof has in the past quarter century given rise to vigorous controversy. More recently James Rachels has offered a moral argument intended to show that there could not be a being worthy of worship. In this paper I shall examine the position Rachels is arguing for in some detail. I shall endeavor to show that his argument is unsound and, more interestingly, that (...) the genuine philosophical perplexity which motivates it can be dispelled without too much difficulty. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Robert A. Oakes argues that a doctrine central to, and partially constitutive of, classical theism implies a certain sort of pantheism. The doctrine in question is a modal form of the claim that God conserves in existence the world of contingent things; alternatively, it is the view that all contingently existing things are necessarily continuously dependent upon God for their existence. And the variety of pantheism at stake is a modal form of the thesis that all (...) contingent things are, in some sense, included within the being of God. (shrink)
This brief opening for a special issue of Tradition and Discovery: The Polanyi Society Periodical on Philip Clayton’s thought and its connection with that of Michael Polany introduces Clayton’s essay and the responses by Martinez Hewlett, Gregory R. Peterson, Andy F. Sanders and Waler B. Gulick.
For several decades Rafael Capurro has been at the forefront of defining the relationship between information and modernity through both phenomenological and ethical formulations. In exploring both of these themes Capurro has re-vivified the transcultural and intercultural expressions of how we bring an understanding of information to bear on scientific knowledge production and intermediation. Capurro has long stressed the need to look deeply into how we contextualize the information problems that scientific society creates for us and to re-incorporate a pragmatic (...) dimension into our response that provides a balance to the cognitive turn in information science. -/- With contributions from 35 scholars from 15 countries, Information Cultures in the Digital Age focuses on the culture and philosophy of information, information ethics, the relationship of information to message, the historic and semiotic understanding of information, the relationship of information to power and the future of information education. This Festschrift seeks to celebrate Rafael Capurro’s important contribution to a global dialogue on how information conceptualisation, use and technology impact human culture and the ethical questions that arise from this dynamic relationship. (shrink)
Striving to boldly redirect the philosophy of science, this book by renowned philosopher Philip Kitcher examines the heated debate surrounding the role of science in shaping our lives. Kitcher explores the sharp divide between those who believe that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is always valuable and necessary--the purists--and those who believe that it invariably serves the interests of people in positions of power. In a daring turn, he rejects both perspectives, working out a more realistic image of the (...) sciences--one that allows for the possibility of scientific truth, but nonetheless permits social consensus to determine which avenues to investigate. He then proposes a democratic and deliberative framework for responsible scientists to follow. Controversial, powerful, yet engaging, this volume will appeal to a wide range of readers. Kitcher's nuanced analysis and authorititative conclusion will interest countless scientists as well as all readers of science--scholars and laypersons alike. (shrink)
The ninth edition of Media Ethics: Issues and Cases has been updated to reflect the most pressing ethical issues in media. Featuring 25 new cases on hot topic issues from fake news to drones and a new chapter on social justice, this authoritative case book gives students the tools to make ethical decisions in an increasingly complex environment.
The problem which motivates this paper bears on the relationship between Marxism and morality. It is not the well-established question of whether the Marxist's commitments undermine an attachment to ethical standards, but the more neglected query as to whether they allow the espousal of political ideals. The study and assessment of political ideals is pursued nowadays under the title of theory of justice, the aim of such theory being to provide a criterion for distinguishing just patterns of social organization from (...) unjust ones. The main rivals in the field represent justice respectively as legitimacy, welfare and fairness. Marxism does not put forward a distinctive conception of justice itself and the question is whether the Marxist is free to choose as he thinks fit among the candidates on offer. (shrink)
The advance of science and human knowledge is impeded by misunderstandings of various statistics, insufficient reporting of findings, and the use of numerous standardized and non-standardized presentations of essentially identical information. Communication with journalists and the public is hindered by the failure to present statistics that are easy for non-scientists to interpret as well as by use of the word significant, which in scientific English does not carry the meaning of "important" or "large." This article promotes a new standard method (...) for reporting two-group and two-variable statistics that can enhance the presentation of relevant information, increase understanding of findings, and replace the current presentations of two-group ANOVA, t-tests, correlations, chi-squares, and z-tests of proportions. A brief call to highly restrict the publication of risk ratios, odds ratios, and relative increase in risk percentages is also made, since these statistics appear to provide no useful scientific information regarding the magnitude of findings. (shrink)
Despite the bad reputation of the legal profession, law remains king in America. A highly diverse society relies on the laws to maintain a working sense of the dignity and inviability of each individual. And a persistent element in contemporary debates is the fear that naturalistic theories of the human person will erode our belief that we have a dignity greater than that of other natural objects. Thus the endurance of the creation vs. evolution debate is due less to the (...) arguments of creationists, or to the continued influence of the book of Genesis, than to the reading of the evidence provided by Phillip E. Johnson of the University of California, Berkeley, Law School. (shrink)
Can groups be rational agents over and above their individual members? We argue that group agents are distinguished by their capacity to mimic the way in which individual agents act and that this capacity must “supervene” on the group members’ contributions. But what is the nature of this supervenience relation? Focusing on group judgments, we argue that, for a group to be rational, its judgment on a particular proposition cannot generally be a function of the members’ individual judgments on that (...) proposition. Rather, it must be a function of their individual sets of judgments across many propositions. So knowing what the group members individually think about some proposition does not generally tell us how the group collectively adjudicates that proposition: the supervenience relation must be “setwise,” not “proposition-wise.” Our account preserves the individualistic view that group agency is nothing mysterious but also suggests that a group agent may hold judgments that are not directly continuous with its members’ corresponding individual judgments. (shrink)
Building on more than two decades offeminist analysis of the family, this article takes a neoinstitutionalist approach to examine some of the ways that sex, gender, and sexual orientation intersect in lesbianheaded two-parent families, affecting how they construct their roles as mothers. Institutionalist theory tends to de-emphasize how actors deliberately construct social arrangements such as parenting roles within the family. The authors' analysis of interviews from 14 lesbian mothers remedies this deficiency by focusing both on how they draw upon and (...) transform institutionalized scripts, practices, and understandings of family roles and relations. Their findings reveal how these mothers reinscribed gendered understandings while simultaneously challenging heteronormative ones in their efforts to construct and maintain socially viable two-parent families. (shrink)
Many philosophers maintain that the ability to do otherwise is compatible with comprehensive divine foreknowledge but incompatible with the truth of causal determinism. But the Fixity of the Past principle underlying the rejection of compatibilism about the ability to do otherwise and determinism appears to generate an argument also for the incompatibility of the ability to do otherwise and divine foreknowledge. By developing an account of ability that appeals to the notion of explanatory dependence, we can replace the Fixity of (...) the Past with a principle that does not generate this difficulty. I develop such an account and defend it from objections. I also explore some of the account's implications, including whether the account is consistent with presentism. (shrink)
Distinctive features of culture industries suggest that women culture workers face formidable barriers to career advancement. Using longitudinal data on the careers of screenwriters, we examine gender inequality in the labor market for writers of feature films. We hypothesize and test three different models of labor market dynamics and find support for a model of cumulative disadvantage whereby the gender gap in earnings grows as men and women move through their careers. We suggest that the transition of screenwriting from a (...) mixed to a male-dominated occupation parallels the “empty field” phenomenon described in a study by Tuchman of nineteenth-century novelists. The institutionalization of male dominance of the film industry in the 1930s and the typecasting of women writers has had a lasting impact on gender inequality, which shows little change through the early 1990s. (shrink)
Suppose that a person P 1 dies some time during 1978. Many years later, the resurrection world, a perennial object of Christian concern, begins on the morning of the day of judgment. On its first morning there are in that world distinct persons, P 2 and P 3 , each of whom is related in remarkably intimate ways to P 1 . You are to imagine that each of them satisfies each of the criteria or conditions necessary for identity with (...) P 1 to some extent, that both of them satisfy these conditions to exactly the same extent, and that every other denizen of the resurrection world satisfies each of these conditions to a lesser extent than P 2 and P 3 do. Thus, for example, philosophers often claim that bodily continuity is a necessary condition for personal identity. If it is, you might assume that the body P 2 has on the morning of the day of judgment contains some of the same atoms the body of P1 1 contained when P 1 died, and that P 2 's body on that day contains exactly n atoms from P 1 's body at the time of death just in case P 3 's body on that day contains exactly n atoms from P 1 's body at the time of death. Or, again, some philosophers hold that connectedness of memory is necessary for personal identity. If so, you are to suppose that on the morning of the day of judgment P 3 seems to remember some of the events in the life of P 1 having happened to him, and that P 3 seems to remember a certain event in the life of P 1 having happened to him just in case P 2 seems to remember that very event in the life of P 1 having happened to him. You are to fill in the details by adding complete parity between P 2 and P 3 with respect to similarity of DNA molecules, character traits and whatever else you deem relevant to personal identity. And, finally, you are to complete the story by imagining that P 2 and P 3 live very different sorts of lives in the resurrection world. To heighten the poignancy of the story, you might imagine that P 2 enjoys forever after the beatitude promised to the blessed while P 3 suffers the everlasting torments reserved for the damned. (shrink)
The widespread impression that recent philosophy of science has pioneered exploration of the “social dimensions of scientific knowledge” is shown to be in error, partly due to a lack of appreciation of historical precedent, and partly due to a misunderstanding of how the social sciences and philosophy have been intertwined over the last century. This paper argues that the referents of “democracy” are an important key in the American context, and that orthodoxies in the philosophy of science tend to be (...) molded by the actual regimes of science organization within which they are embedded. These theses are illustrated by consideration of three representative philosophers of science: John Dewey, Hans Reichenbach, and Philip Kitcher.Author Keywords: Social dimensions of science; Logical positivism; Democracy; Context of discovery/justification; Goals of science. (shrink)
Abstract In this essay, a new approach for the ethical study of emerging technology ethics will be presented, called anticipatory technology ethics (ATE). The ethics of emerging technology is the study of ethical issues at the R&D and introduction stage of technology development through anticipation of possible future devices, applications, and social consequences. I will argue that a major problem for its development is the problem of uncertainty, which can only be overcome through methodologically sound forecasting and futures studies. I (...) will then consider three contemporary approaches to the ethics of emerging technologies that use forecasting: ethical technology assessment, the techno-ethical scenarios approach and the ETICA approach, and I considered their strengths and weaknesses. Based on this critical study, I then present my own approach: ATE. ATE is a conceptually and methodologically rich approach for the ethical analysis of emerging technologies that incorporates a large variety of ethical principles, issues, objects and levels of analysis, and research aims. It is ready to be applied to contemporary and future emerging technologies. Content Type Journal Article Category Original Paper Pages 1-13 DOI 10.1007/s11569-012-0141-7 Authors Philip A. E. Brey, Department of Philosophy, School of Behavioral Sciences, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands Journal NanoEthics Online ISSN 1871-4765 Print ISSN 1871-4757. (shrink)
A theory of the first-person plural occupies a unique place in philosophical investigations into intersubjectivity and social cognition. In order for the referent of the first-person plural—“the We”—to come into existence, it seems there must be a shared ground of communicative possibility, but this requires a non-circular explanation of how this ground could be shared in the absence of a pre-existing context of communicative conventions. Margaret Gilbert’s and John Searle’s theories of collective intentionality capture important aspects of the We, but (...) fail to fully account for this shared ground of communicative possibility. This paper argues that Merleau-Ponty’s concept of intercorporeity helps reconcile the positive aspects of these accounts while also explaining how the genesis of the social world is continuous with perceptual life in general. This enables an account of the first-person plural as dependent on reciprocal communicative interaction without the need to posit a primitive or primordial “we-mode” of consciousness. “Intercorporeity” designates a bodily openness to others that is not fundamentally different in kind from the general style of bodily comportment found in Merleau-Ponty’s rich analyses of perceptual life. (shrink)
This essay aims to disentangle various types of anti-realism, and to disarm the considerations that are deployed to support them. I distinguish empiricist versions of anti-realism from constructivist versions, and, within each of these, semantic arguments from epistemological arguments. The centerpiece of my defense of a modest version of realism - real realism - is the thought that there are resources within our ordinary ways of talking about and knowing about everyday objects that enable us to extend our claims to (...) unobservable entities. This strategy, the Galilean strategy, is explained using the historical example of the telescope. (shrink)
Philip Quinn, John A. O’Brien Professor at the University of Notre Dame from 1985 until his death in 2004, was well known for his work in the philosophy of religion, political philosophy, and core areas of analytic philosophy. Although the breadth of his interests was so great that it would be virtually impossible to identify any subset of them as representative, the contributors to this volume provide an excellent introduction to, and advance the discussion of, some of the questions (...) of central importance to Quinn in the last years of his working life. Paul J. Weithman argues in his introduction that Quinn’s interest and analyses in many areas grew out of a distinctive and underlying sensibility that we might call “liberal faith.” It included belief in the value of a liberal education and in rigorous intellectual inquiry, the acceptance of enduring religious, cultural, and political pluralism, along with a keen awareness of problems posed by pluralism, and a deeply held but non-utopian faith in liberal democratic politics. These provocative essays, at the cutting edge of epistemology, the philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, and political philosophy, explore the tenets of liberal faith and invite continuing engagement with the philosophical issues. “Philip Quinn was admired enormously throughout the world of professional philosophy.... His reputation for rigor, his tireless service to the profession, and his essentially ‘non-dogmatic,’ but philosophically sophisticated faith is widely admired... The essays in this volume are first-rate contemporary philosophy along with an excellent introduction to Quinn’s work.” —_Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf College_ "The papers that form _Liberal Faith_ give insightful treatments of three types of questions: first, how can we conscientiously believe something when there are many people we admire who do not believe it, and what is the underlying relation here between justification and rationality; second, what does it mean to desire union with God, and can Christians properly believe in the possibility of eternal self-annihilation; third, how should liberal democracy accommodate the religious convictions of its members, whether some comprehensive doctrine such as a religion is required to justify a commitment to human equality, and whether there is an absolute moral prohibition on the state use of torture. The volume has an unusually good introduction putting the papers into dialog with each other and with the work of Philip Quinn. The papers are cohesive because the central themes of Philip Quinn's work hold together into a picture of how Christianity and Liberal Democracy fit together." —_John Hare, Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale Divinity School _ “This is a collection of high quality essays dealing with various topics related to Philip Quinn’s work. The book makes an original contribution by virtue of its individual papers, each of which is new. These essays will be of interest to scholars and students who followed Quinn’s work, especially in philosophy of religion and political philosophy.“ —_John Greco, The Leonard and Elizabeth Eslick Chair in Philosophy, Saint Louis University _. (shrink)
The principle of alternative possibilities tells us that an agent is morally responsible for an action only if he could have done otherwise. Frankfurt-style cases provide an extremely influential challenge to the PAP . And Frankfurt-style compatibilists are motivated to accept compatibilism about responsibility and determinism in part due to FSCs. But there is a significant tension between our judgments about responsibility in FSCs and our judgments about responsibility in certain omissions cases. This tension has thus far largely been treated (...) as an internal puzzle for defenders of FSCs to solve. My goal here is to regiment this tension into a clear argument which undermines the FSC based critique of PAP. I will also argue that there is an in principle reason to doubt that Frankfurt-Style Compatibilists will be able to successfully respond to my argument. (shrink)
In late March of 2020, a new hashtag, #FilmYourHospital, made its first appearance on social media. The hashtag encouraged people to visit local hospitals to take pictures and videos of empty hospitals to help “prove” that the COVID-19 pandemic is an elaborate hoax. Using techniques from Social Network Analysis, this case study examines how this conspiracy theory propagated on Twitter and whether the hashtag virality was aided by the use of automation or coordination among Twitter users. We found that while (...) much of the content came from users with limited reach, the oxygen that fueled this conspiracy in its early days came from a handful of prominent conservative politicians and far right political activists on Twitter. These power users used this hashtag to build awareness about the campaign and to encourage their followers to break quarantine and film what is happening at their local hospitals. After the initial boost by a few prominent accounts, the campaign was mostly sustained by pro-Trump accounts, followed by a secondary wave of propagation outside the U.S. The rise of the #FilmYourHospital conspiracy from a single tweet demonstrates the ongoing challenge of addressing false, viral information during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the spread of misinformation can be potentially mitigated by fact-checking and directing people to credible sources of information from public health agencies, false and misleading claims that are driven by politics and supported by strong convictions and not science are much harder to root out. (shrink)
It seems clear that the ontological argument can no longer be dismissed as a silly fallacy. The dogma of the impossibility of necessary existence is seriously threatened by the case of necessary existential truths in mathematics, and as for the claim that the ontological argument must beg the question, since by mentioning God in the premise his existence is presupposed, it is undermined by the fact that we often refer to things—Hamlet for instance— we do not for a moment think (...) exist. The doctrine that existence is not a property , insofar as it does not reduce to one of the foregoing points, is very murky, for the sense in which ‘red’ is a predicate and ‘exists’ is not has never been clearly defined. Moreover, the way many believers hold that ‘God exists’ is immune to empirical refutation strongly suggests that we are dealing here with an analytic statement, which is just what the ontological argument should be expected to produce. It seems in order, then, to conduct theological discussion under the supposition that the argument is in fact sound. (shrink)
There are almost as many versions of realism as there are antirealists, each ready to supply a preferred characterization before undertaking demolition. Even in the case of scientific realism, my topic here, I recognize two major antirealist themes.