Earthcare: Readings and Cases in Environmental Ethics presents a diverse collection of writings from a variety of authors on environmental ethics, environmental science, and the environmental movement overall. Exploring a broad range of world views, religions and philosophies, David W. Clowney and Patricia Mosto bring together insightful thoughts on the ethical issues arising in various areas of environmental concern.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
A person sometimes forms moral beliefs by relying on another person''s moral testimony. In this paper I advance a cognitivist normative account of this phenomenon. I argue that for a person''s actions to be morally good, they must be based on a recognition of the moral reasons bearing on action. Morality requires people to act from an understanding of moral claims, and consequently to have an understanding of moral claims relevant to action. A person sometimes fails to meet this requirement (...) when she relies on another person''s moral testimony, and so there are moral limits on such reliance. (shrink)
In this short, elegant book, Philip Kitcher distills the case for Darwinian evolutionary theory and its implications in a clear and forceful way. Kitcher shows how the alleged rivals to Darwinism, like Intelligent Design, are essentially scientifically bankrupt - and that scientific discoveries, including Darwin's, pose a genuine problem for religious faith, one that neither Darwin's opponents nor his militant defenders have satisfactorily resolved.
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)
According to objectivism about the practical 'ought', what one ought to do depends on all the facts; according to perspectivism, it depends only on epistemically available facts. This essay presents a new argument against objectivism. The first premise says that it is at least sometimes possible for a normative theory to correctly guide action. The second premise says that, if objectivism is true, this is never possible. From this it follows that objectivism is false. Perspectivism, however, turns out to be (...) compatible with the plausible assumption about guidance. I defend the two premises on the basis of an account of what it is for a normative theory to guide action. Central to this account is the idea that correct action-guidance involves correct practical reasoning from a normative theory to an action, which requires that agents have the capacity to believe for the right reasons. Since objectivists about the practical 'ought' are committed to objectivism about the epistemic 'ought', it follows that agents lack this capacity and so are in principle unable to be correctly guided by a normative theory. This shows that recent attempts to reconcile objectivism with action-guidance are unsuccessful, which all assume that, if objectivism is true, it is at least sometimes possible for a normative theory to correctly guide action. (shrink)
In this chapter, we consider ethical and philosophical aspects of trust in the practice of medicine. We focus on trust within the patient-physician relationship, trust and professionalism, and trust in Western (allopathic) institutions of medicine and medical research. Philosophical approaches to trust contain important insights into medicine as an ethical and social practice. In what follows we explain several philosophical approaches and discuss their strengths and weaknesses in this context. We also highlight some relevant empirical work in the section on (...) trust in the institutions of medicine. It is hoped that the approaches discussed here can be extended to nursing and other topics in the philosophy of medicine. (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)
A person presented with adequate but not conclusive evidence for a proposition is in a position voluntarily to acquire a belief in that proposition, or to suspend judgment about it. The availability of doxastic options in such cases grounds a moderate form of doxastic voluntarism not based on practical motives, and therefore distinct from pragmatism. In such cases, belief-acquisition or suspension of judgment meets standard conditions on willing: it can express stable character traits of the agent, it can be responsive (...) to reasons, and it is compatible with a subjective awareness of the available options. (shrink)
Philip R. Shields shows that ethical and religious concerns inform even the most technical writings on logic and language, and that, for Wittgenstein, the need to establish clear limitations is both a logical and an ethical demand. Rather than merely saying specific things about theology and religion, major texts from the Tractatus to the Philosophical Investigations express their fundamentally religious nature by showing that there are powers which bear down upon and sustain us. Shields finds a religious view of (...) the world at the very heart of Wittgenstein's philosophy. "Shields argues that the appearance throughout Wittgenstein's writings of such concepts as ritual, limit, transgression, a change of will, pride, temptation, and judgment implies a relation between religion and the logical aspects of Wittgenstein's philosophy."-- Choice "Of the many recent books about Wittgenstein, Logic and Sin is one of the very few that are well worth having"--Fergus Kerr, Modern Theology "What Shields has uncovered in Wittgenstein's religious sensibility is something genuine and profound. . . . Shields has not just written an important book on Wittgenstein but an enlightening work that invites further reflection."--Eric O. Springsted, Cross Currents. (shrink)
Philip Kitcher is one of the leading figures in the philosophy of science today. Here he collects, for the first time, many of his published articles on the philosophy of biology, spanning from the mid-1980's to the present. The book's title refers to Gregor Mendel, an Augustinian monk who was one of the first scientists to develop a theory of heredity. Mendel's work has been deeply influential to our understanding of our selves and our world, just as the study (...) of genetics today will have a profound and long-term impact on future scientific research. Kitcher's articles cover a broad range of topics with similar philosophical and social significance: sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, species, race, altruism, genetic determinism, and the rebirth of creationism in Intelligent Design. Kitcher's work on the intersection of biology and the philosophy of science is both unprecedented and wide-ranging, and will appeal not only to philosophers of science, but to scholars and students across disciplines. (shrink)
Technology is a practically indispensible means for satisfying one’s basic interests in all central areas of human life including nutrition, habitation, health care, entertainment, transportation, and social interaction. It is impossible for any one person, even a well-trained scientist or engineer, to know enough about how technology works in these different areas to make a calculated choice about whether to rely on the vast majority of the technologies she/he in fact relies upon. Yet, there are substantial risks, uncertainties, and unforeseen (...) practical consequences associated with the use of technological artifacts and systems. The salience of technological failure (both catastrophic and mundane), as well as technology’s sometimes unforeseeable influence on our behavior, makes it relevant to wonder whether we are really justified as individuals in our practical reliance on technology. Of course, even if we are not justified, we might nonetheless continue in our technological reliance, since the alternatives might not be attractive or feasible. In this chapter I argue that a conception of trust in technological artifacts and systems is plausible and helps us understand what is at stake philosophically in our reliance on technology. Such an account also helps us understand the relationship between trust and technological risk and the ethical obligations of those who design, manufacture, and deploy technological artifacts. (shrink)
Husserl introduces a phenomenological concept called “motivation” early in the First Investigation of his magnum opus, the Logical Investigations. The importance of this concept has been overlooked since Husserl passes over it rather quickly on his way to an analysis of the meaningful nature of expression. I argue, however, that motivation is essential to Husserl’s overall project, even if it is not essen- tial for defining expression in the First Investigation. For Husserl, motivation is a relation between mental acts whereby (...) the content of one act make some fur- ther meaningful content probable. I explicate the nature of this relation in terms of “evidentiary weight” and differentiate it from Husserl’s notion of Evidenz, often translated as “self-evidence”. I elucidate the importance of motivation in Husserl’s overall phenomenological project by focusing on his analyses of thing-perception and empathy. Through these examples, we can better understand the continuity between the Logical Investigations and Husserl’s later work. (shrink)