The thesis of this article is that there has never been any ground for the controversy between the doctrine of free will and determinism, that it is based upon a misapprehension, that the two assertions are entirely consistent, that one of them strictly implies the other, that they have been opposed only because of our natural want of the analytical imagination. In so saying I do not tamper with the meaning of either phrase. That would be unpardonable. I mean free (...) will in the natural and usual sense, in the fullest, the most absolute sense in which for the purposes of the personal and moral life the term is ever employed. I mean it as implying responsibility, merit and demerit, guilt and desert. I mean it as implying, after an act has been performed, that one " could have done otherwise " than one did. I mean it as conveying these things also, not in any subtly modified sense but in exactly the sense in which we conceive them in life and in law and in ethics. These two doctrines have been opposed because we have not realised that free will can be analysed without being destroyed, and that determinism is merely a feature of the analysis of it. And if we are tempted to take refuge in the thought of an "ultimate ", an "innermost" liberty that eludes the analysis, then we have implied a deterministic basis and constitution for this liberty as well. For such a basis and constitution lie in the idea of liberty. -/- The thesis is not, like that of Green or Bradley, that the contending opinions are reconciled if we adopt a certain metaphysic of the ego, as that it is timeless, and identifies itself with a desire by a " timeless act". This is to say that the two are irreconcilable, as they are popularly supposed to be, except by a theory that delivers us from the conflict by taking us out of time. Our view on the contrary is that from the natural and temporal point of view itself there never was any need of a reconciliation but only of a comprehension of the meaning of terms. (The metaphysical nature of the self and its identity through time is a problem for all who confront memory, anticipation, etc.; it has no peculiar difficulties arising from the present problem.) -/- I am not maintaining that determinism is true; only that it is true insofar as we have free will. That we are free in willing is, broadly speaking, a fact of experience. That broad fact is more assured than any philosophical analysis. It is therefore surer than the deterministic analysis of it, entirely adequate as that in the end appears to be. But it is not here affirmed that there are no small exceptions, no slight undetermined swervings, no ingredient of absolute chance. All that is here said is that such absence of determination, if and so far as it exists, is no gain to freedom, but sheer loss of it; no advantage to the moral life, but blank subtraction from it. -- When I speak below of "the indeterminist" I mean the libertarian indeterminist, that is, him who believes in free will and holds that it involves indetermination. (shrink)
Hobart’s classic 1934 paper “Free Will as Involving Determination and Inconceivable Without It” has been widely cited (and taught in many undergraduate courses) as an example of an argument for the view that free will requires the truth of determinism. In this paper, I argue that this reading of Hobart’s paper is mistaken and that we should instead read Hobart as arguing that an agent exercises her free will only if the proximate causes of the agent’s action (...) deterministically cause her action. After arguing that Hobart’s view, rightly understood, escapes the problems typically raised for Hobart’s compatibilism, I also argue that Hobart’s view is problematic for different reasons. Nevertheless, I argue that there is a crucial insight (concerning the relation between indeterminacy and free will) to be gleaned from Hobart’s paper—one that provides compatibilists with a new recipe for challenging libertarian accounts of free will. (shrink)
G. E. Moore's ‘A Defence of Common Sense’ has generated the kind of interest and contrariety which often accompany what is new, provocative, and even important in philosophy. Moore himself reportedly agreed with Wittgenstein's estimate that this was his best article, while C. D. Broad has lamented its very great but largely unfortunate influence. Although the essay inspired Wittgenstein to explore the basis of Moore's claim to know many propositions of common sense to be true, A. J. Ayer judges its (...) enduring value to lie in provoking a more sophisticated conception of the very type of metaphysics which disputes any such unqualified claim of certainty. (shrink)
This study represents an improvement in the ethics scales inventory published in a 1988 Journal of Business Ethics article. The article presents the distillation and validation process whereby the original 33 item inventory was reduced to eight items. These eight items comprise the following ethical dimensions: a moral equity dimension, a relativism dimension, and a contractualism dimension. The multidimensional ethics scale demonstrates significant predictive ability.
This is a comprehensive study of the English word 'or', and the logical operators variously proposed to present its meaning. Although there are indisputably disjunctive uses of or in English, it is a mistake to suppose that logical disjunction represents its core meaning. 'Or' is descended from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning second, a form which survives in such expressions as "every other day." Its disjunctive uses arise through metalinguistic applications of an intermediate adverbial meaning which is conjunctive rather than disjunctive (...) in character. These conjunctive uses have puzzled philosophers and logicians, and have been discussed extensively under such headings as "free choice permission." This study examines the textbook myths that have clouded our understanding of how or and other "logical" vocabulary comes to have something approaching its logical meaning in natural languages. It considers the various historical conceptions of disjunction and its place in logic from the Stoics to the present day. (shrink)
There has been much discussion about how to obtain legitimacy at macro-level priority setting in health care by use of fair procedures, but how should we consider priority setting by individual clinicians or health workers at the micro-level? Despite the fact that just health care totally hinges upon their decisions, surprisingly little attention seems being paid to the legitimacy of these decisions. This paper addresses the following question: what are the conditions that have to be met in order to ensure (...) that individual claims on health care are well aligned with an overall concept of just health care? Drawing upon a distinction between individual and aggregated needs, I argue that even though we assume the legitimacy of macro-level guidelines, this legitimacy is not directly transferable to decisions at micro-level simply by adherence to the guidelines’ recommendation. Further, I argue that individual claims are subject to the formal principle of equality and the demands of vertical and horizontal equity in a way that gives context- and patient-related equity concerns precedence over equity concerns captured at the macro-level. I conclude that if we aim to achieve just health care, we need to develop a complementary framework for legitimising individual judgment of patients’ claims on health care resources. Moreover, I suggest the basic structure of such a framework. (shrink)
Corporate social responsibility is a recognised and common part of business activity. Some of the regularly cited motives behind CSR are employee morale, recruitment and retention, with employees acknowledged as a key organisational stakeholder. Despite the significance of employees in relation to CSR, relatively few studies have examined their engagement with CSR and the impediments relevant to this engagement. This exploratory case study-based research addresses this paucity of attention, drawing on one to one interviews and observation in a large UK (...) energy company. A diversity of engagement was found, ranging from employees who exhibited detachment from the CSR activities within the company, to those who were fully engaged with the CSR activities, and to others who were content with their own personal, but not organisational, engagement with CSR. A number of organisational context impediments, including poor communication, a perceived weak and low visibility of CSR culture, and lack of strategic alignment of CSR to business and personal objectives, served to explain this diversity of employee engagement. Social exchange theory is applied to help explore the volition that individual employees have towards their engagement with CSR activities, and to consider the implications of an implicit social, rather than explicit economic, contract between an organisation and its employees in their engagement with CSR. (shrink)
No one is excused from doing what he ought to do merely because he is unwilling to do it. But what if others are unwilling to play their necessary role in some joint venture that you all ought to undertake: might that excuse you from doing what you yourself ought to do as part of that? It would, if you were genuinely willing to play your necessary part if they were. But the unwillingness of everyone involved cannot reciprocally serve to (...) excuse one another from doing what they ought to do. (shrink)
David Benatar argues that coming into existence is always a harm, and that – for all of us unfortunate enough to have come into existence – it would be better had we never come to be. We contend that if one accepts Benatar’s arguments for the asymmetry between the presence and absence of pleasure and pain, and the poor quality of life, one must also accept that suicide is preferable to continued existence, and that his view therefore implies both anti-natalism (...) and pro-mortalism. This conclusion has been argued for before by Elizabeth Harman – she takes it that because Benatar claims that our lives are ‘awful’, it follows that ‘we would be better off to kill ourselves’. Though we agree with Harman’s conclusion, we think that her argument is too quick, and that Benatar’s arguments for non-pro-mortalism deserve more serious consideration than she gives them. We make our case using a tripartite structure. We start by examining the prima facie case for the claim that pro-mortalism follows from Benatar’s position, presenting his response to the contrary, and furthering the dialectic by showing that Benatar’s position is not just that coming into existence is a harm, but that existence itself is a harm. We then look to Benatar’s treatment of the Epicurean line, which is important for him as it undermines his anti-death argument for non-pro-mortalism. We demonstrate that he fails to address the concern that the Epicurean line raises, and that he cannot therefore use the harm of death as an argument for non-pro-mortalism. Finally, we turn to Benatar’s ro-life argument for non-pro-mortalism, built upon his notion of interests, and argue that while the interest in continued existence may indeed have moral relevance, it is almost always irrational. Given that neither Benatar’s anti-death nor pro-life arguments for non-pro-mortalism work, we conclude that pro-mortalism follows from his anti-natalism, As such, if it is better never to have been, then it is better no longer to be. (shrink)
This essay explores the role of informal logicand its application in the context of currentdebates regarding evidence-based medicine. This aim is achieved through a discussion ofthe goals and objectives of evidence-basedmedicine and a review of the criticisms raisedagainst evidence-based medicine. Thecontributions to informal logic by StephenToulmin and Douglas Walton are explicated andtheir relevance for evidence-based medicine isdiscussed in relation to a common clinicalscenario: hypertension management. This essayconcludes with a discussion on the relationshipbetween clinical reasoning, rationality, andevidence. It is argued that (...) informal logic hasthe virtue of bringing explicitness to the roleof evidence in clinical reasoning, and bringssensitivity to understanding the role ofdialogical context in the need for evidence inclinical decision making. (shrink)
Purpose Prescription stimulant use as “cognitive enhancers” has been described among undergraduate college students. However, the use of prescription stimulants among future health care professionals is not well characterized. This study was designed to determine the prevalence of prescription stimulant misuse among students at an academic health sciences center. -/- Method Electronic surveys were e-mailed to 621 medical, pharmacy, and respiratory therapy students at East Tennessee State University for four consecutive weeks in fall 2011. Completing the survey was voluntary and (...) anonymous. Surveys asked about reasons for, frequency of, and side effects of nonprescription misuse of prescription stimulants. Given the sensitive material, an opportunity to win one of ten $50 gift cards was used as an incentive. -/- Results Three hundred seventy-two (59.9%) students completed the survey from three disciplines (47.6% medical, 70.5% pharmacy, and 57.6% respiratory therapy). Overall, 11.3% of responders admitted to misusing prescription stimulants. There was more misuse by respiratory therapy students, although this was not statistically significant (10.9% medicine, 9.7% pharmacy, 26.3% respiratory therapy; P = .087). Reasons for prescription stimulant misuse included to enhance alertness/ energy (65.9%), to improve academic performance (56.7%), to experiment (18.2%), and to use recreationally/get high (4.5%). -/- Conclusions Prescription stimulant misuse was prevalent among participating students, but further research is needed to describe prevalence among future health care workers more generally. The implications and consequences of such misuse require further study across professions with emphasis on investigating issues of academic dishonesty (e.g., “cognitive enhancement”), educational quality, and patient safety or health care quality. (shrink)
Evidence based medicine has been a topic of considerable controversy in medical and health care circles over its short lifetime, because of the claims made by its exponents about the criteria used to assess the evidence for or against the effectiveness of medical interventions. The central epistemological debates underpinning the debates about evidence based medicine are reviewed by this paper, and some areas are suggested where further work remains to be done. In particular, further work is needed on the theory (...) of evidence and inference; causation and correlation; clinical judgment and collective knowledge; the structure of medical theory; and the nature of clinical effectiveness. (shrink)
This book is a timely new interpretation of the moral and political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. Staying close to Hobbes's text and working from a careful examination of the actual substance of the account of natural law, R.E. Ewin argues that Hobbes well understood the importance of moral behavior to civilized society. This interpretation stands as a much-needed corrective to readings of Hobbes that emphasize the rationally calculated, self-interested nature of human behavior. It poses a significant challenge to currently fashionable (...) game theoretic reconstructions of Hobbesian logic. It is generally agreed that Hobbes applied what he took to be a geometrical method to political theory. But, as Ewin forcefully argues, modern readers have misconstrued Hobbes's geometric method, and this has led to a series of misunderstandings of Hobbes's view of the relationship between politics and morality. Important implications of Ewin's reading are that Hobbes never thought that "the war of each against all" was an empirical possibility for citizens; that his political theory actually presupposes moral agency; and that Hobbes's account of natural law forces us to the conclusion that Hobbes was a virtue theorist. This major contribution to Hobbes studies will be praised and criticized, welcomed and challenged, but it cannot be ignored. All philosophers, political theorists, and historians of ideas dealing with Hobbes will need to take account of it. (shrink)
“To whom is the Consecration of Medal, Stature or even Pyramid more jusly due, than to … the late Illustraious Boyle? … for the happy Improvement of Otto Guericks Magdeburg Exhausterm and for his Profound and Noble Researches into all the abstruser Parts and Recesses of the most useful Philosophy … I have named the Illustrious Boyle, and fix his Trophy here.”John Evelyn, Numismata, 1697.
Background: Patient autonomy has been promoted as the most important principle to guide difficult clinical decisions. To examine whether practising physicians indeed value patient autonomy above other considerations, physicians were asked to weight patient autonomy against three other criteria that often influence doctors’ decisions. Associations between physicians’ religious characteristics and their weighting of the criteria were also examined. Methods: Mailed survey in 2007 of a stratified random sample of 1000 US primary care physicians, selected from the American Medical Association masterfile. (...) Physicians were asked how much weight should be given to the following: (1) the patient’s expressed wishes and values, (2) the physician’s own judgment about what is in the patient’s best interest, (3) standards and recommendations from professional medical bodies and (4) moral guidelines from religious traditions. Results: Response rate 51% (446/879). Half of physicians (55%) gave the patient’s expressed wishes and values “the highest possible weight”. In comparative analysis, 40% gave patient wishes more weight than the other three factors, and 13% ranked patient wishes behind some other factor. Religious doctors tended to give less weight to the patient’s expressed wishes. For example, 47% of doctors with high intrinsic religious motivation gave patient wishes the “highest possible weight”, versus 67% of those with low (OR 0.5; 95% CI 0.3 to 0.8). Conclusions: Doctors believe patient wishes and values are important, but other considerations are often equally or more important. This suggests that patient autonomy does not guide physicians’ decisions as much as is often recommended in the ethics literature. (shrink)
Disloyalty is always a vice, but loyalty is not always a virtue, so ethical management should not seek simply whatever loyalty it can get. Loyalty can make it possible for us to trust each other, and, when it takes appropriate objects and does not take extreme or improper forms, it can lie at the heart of much of what makes life worthwhile. Hence, it is understandable that corporations and management seek loyalty despite the fact that it can so easily go (...) wrong. This paper deals with the issues of the grounds and objects of the employee loyalty that it is appropriate for management to seek. (shrink)
Did Plato abandon, or sharply modify, the Theory of Forms in later life? In the _Phaedo, Symposium, _and _Republic_ it is generally agreed that Plato held that universals exist. But in Parmenides, he subjected that theory to criticism. If the criticism were valid, and Plato knew so, then the _Parmenides_ marks a turning point in his thought. If, however, Plato became aware that there are radical differences in the logical behaviour of concepts, and the later dialogues are a record of (...) his attempt to analyse those differences, then Plato’s thought can be said to have moved in a new and vitally important direction after the _Parmenides_. _Studies in Plato’s Metaphysics_ brings together twenty essays by leading philosophers from the UK and the USA reflecting upon this important issue and upon the questions arising from it. (shrink)
Translational research in medicine requires researchers to identify the steps to transfer basic scientific discoveries from laboratory benches to bedside decision-making, and eventually into clinical practice. On a parallel track, philosophical work in ethics has not been obliged to identify the steps to translate theoretical conclusions into adequate practice. The medical ethicist A. Cribb suggested some years ago that it is now time to debate ‘the business of translational’ in medical ethics. Despite the very interesting and useful perspective on the (...) field of medical ethics launched by Cribb, the debate is still missing. In this paper, I take up Cribb’s invitation and discuss further analytic distinctions needed to base an ethics aiming to translate between theory and practice. (shrink)
An apparent paradox proposed by Aharonov and Vaidman in which a single particle can be found with certainty in two (or more) boxes is analyzed by way of a simple thought experiment. It is found that the apparent paradox arises from an invalid counterfactual usage of the Aharonov-Bergmann-Lebowitz (ABL) rule and effectively attributes conflicting properties not to the same particle but no different particles. A connection is made between the present analysis and the consistent histories formulation of Griffiths. Finally, a (...) critique is given of some recent counterarguments by Vaidman against the rejection of the counterfactual usage of the ABL rule. (shrink)
Mark Heller has recently offered a proposal in defense of a fairly strong version of doxastic voluntarism. Heller looks to the compatibilist theory of free will proposed by R.E. Hobart in the first half of the twentieth century for an account of doxastic control. Heller’s defense of Hobartian Voluntarism is motivated by an appeal to epistemic deontologism. In this paper I argue that Heller’s defense of a version of strong or direct doxastic voluntarism ultimately fails. I finally argue that (...) the failure of his theory of epistemic agency does not imply the untenability of epistemic deontologism. (shrink)
Hume's is/ought distinction has long limited the role of empirical research in ethics, saying that data about what something is cannot yield conclusions about the way things ought to be. However, interest in empirical research in ethics has been growing despite this countervailing principle. We attribute some of this increased interest to a conceptual breakdown of the is/ought distinction. MacIntyre, in reviewing the history of the is/ought distinction, argues that is and ought are not strictly separate realms but exist in (...) a close relationship that is clarified by adopting a teleological orientation. We propose that, instead of recovering a teleological orientation, society tends to generate its own goals via democratic methods like those described by Rousseau or adopt agnosticism about teleology such as described by Richard Rorty. In both latter scenarios, the distinction between is and ought is obscured, and the role for empirical research grows, but for controversial reasons. MacIntyre warns that the is/ought distinction should remain, but reminds ethicists to make careful arguments about when and why it is legitimate to move from is to ought. (shrink)
"Remarkable how well Bouwsma understood Wittgenstein's approach to philosophical problems and how intelligently he was able to recount Wittgenstein's discussions. The bits about sensation are especially good. And the asides about the other philosophers--e.g. Dewey, Russell, Anscombe--are, while not frivolous, gossipy and titillating." --Riley Wallihan, Western Oregon University.
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