What is lying? -- Why do people lie? -- Little lies -- Lying hurts! -- When someone lies to you -- What if you tell a lie? -- What if you get caught? -- Making it right -- Put an end to lying -- Start telling the truth.
In this provocative book, a professor of philosophy examines the arguments for and against euthanasia, analyzes specific case studies, including those of Baby Jane Doe and Barney Clark, and offers an alternate theory on the morality of euthanasia. Various traditional distinctions--between "human" and "non-human," intentional and nonintentional, killing and "letting die"--are taken into account to determine whether euthanasia is permissible or not. Rachels presents a systematic argument against the traditional view, defending an alternative position based on the belief that there (...) is a profound difference between having a life and merely being alive. (shrink)
Kant's Critique of Judgment has often been interpreted by scholars as comprising separate treatments of three uneasily connected topics: beauty, biology, and empirical knowledge. Rachel Zuckert's book interprets the Critique as a unified argument concerning all three domains. She argues that on Kant's view, human beings demonstrate a distinctive cognitive ability in appreciating beauty and understanding organic life: an ability to anticipate a whole that we do not completely understand according to preconceived categories. This ability is necessary, moreover, for (...) human beings to gain knowledge of nature in its empirical character as it is, not as we might assume it to be. Her wide-ranging and original study will be valuable for readers in all areas of Kant's philosophy. (shrink)
Some ethicists assert that there is a consensus that maximising medical outcomes takes precedence as a principle of resource allocation in emergency triage of absolutely scarce resources. But the nature of the current severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 pandemic and the history of debate about balancing equity and efficiency in resource allocation do not support this assertion. I distinguish a number of concerns with justice and balancing considerations that should play a role in critical care triage policy, focusing on (...) discrimination and on fundamental egalitarian and social justice concerns. (shrink)
What words we use, and what meanings they have, is important. We shouldn't use slurs; we should use 'rape' to include spousal rape (for centuries we didn’t); we should have a word which picks out the sexual harassment suffered by people in the workplace and elsewhere (for centuries we didn’t). Sometimes we need to change the word-meaning pairs in circulation, either by getting rid of the pair completely (slurs), changing the meaning (as we did with 'rape'), or adding brand new (...) word-meaning pairs (as with 'sexual harassment'). A problem, though, is how to do this. One might worry that any attempt to change language in this way will lead to widespread miscommunication and confusion. I argue that this is indeed so, but that's a feature, not a bug of attempting to change word-meaning pairs. The miscommunications and confusion such changes cause can lead us, via a process I call transformative communicative disruption, to reflect on our language and its use, and this can be further, rather than hinder, our goal of improving language. (shrink)
There's been a great deal of interest in epistemology regarding what it takes for a hearer to come to know on the basis of a speaker's say-so. That is, there's been much work on the epistemology of testimony. However, what about when hearers don't believe speakers when they should? In other words, what are we to make of when testimony goes wrong? A recent topic of interest in epistemology and feminist philosophy is how we sometimes fail to believe speakers due (...) to inappropriate prejudices – implicit or explicit. This is known as epistemic injustice. In this article, I discuss Miranda Fricker's groundbreaking work on epistemic injustice, as well as more recent developments that both offer critique and expansion on the nature and extent of epistemic injustice. (shrink)
Are the small and indolent cancers found in abundance in cancer screening normal variations, risk factors, or disease? Naturalists in philosophy of medicine turn to pathophysiological findings to decide such questions objectively. To understand the role of pathophysiological findings in disease definition, we must understand how they mislead in diagnostic reasoning. Participants on all sides of the definition of disease debate attempt to secure objectivity via reductionism. These reductivist routes to objectivity are inconsistent with the Bayesian nature of clinical reasoning; (...) when they appeal to the sciences, they are inconsistent with what philosophy of biology tells us about its natural kinds. Proposals that we narrow the scope of our claims in the disease definition debates are useful, but paradigms can still distort our reasoning in particular cases, even when we are self-conscious about their status. (shrink)
The university years present the culmination of the formative years in the life of a student and an important time to consolidate the years of study while developing career and life aspirations of any youth. However, ignorance and apathy characterize the university life of many a student more than the ideal desire for an intellectual experience that would be expected. Much of this apathy and ignorance can be attributed to a failure to help the students appreciate what the university ought (...) to be and what they can gain from it in their time there. As definitive institutions of higher learning, universities ought to play a big part in shaping the next generation of leaders. (shrink)
‘An honest religious thinker’, Wittgenstein remarked, ‘is like a tightrope walker. He almost looks as though he were walking on nothing but air. His support is the slenderest imaginable. And yet it really is possible to walk on it’.
Despite the increased prevalence of bioethics research that seeks to use empirical data to answer normative research questions, there is no consensus as to what an appropriate methodology for this would be. This review aims to search the literature, present and critically discuss published Empirical Bioethics methodologies.
Fair Trade companies have pulled off an astonishing tour de force. Despite their relatively small size and lack of resources, they have managed to achieve considerable commercial success and, in so doing, have put the fair trade issue firmly onto industry agendas. We analyse the critical role played by social capital in this success and demonstrate the importance of values as an exploitable competitive asset. Our research raises some uncomfortable questions about whether fair trade has 'sold out' to the mainstream (...) and whether these companies have any independent future or whether their ultimate success lies in the impact they have had on day-to-day trading behaviour. (shrink)
Some argue that the concept of medical need is inadequate to inform the design of a universal health care system—particularly an institutional rather than a residual system. They argue that the concept contradicts the idea of comprehensiveness; leads to unsustainable expenditures; is too indeterminate for policy; and supports only a prioritarian distribution. I argue that ‘comprehensive’ understood as ‘including the full continuum of care’ and ‘medically necessary’ understood as ‘prioritized by medical criteria’ are not contradictory, and that UHC is a (...) solution to the problem of sustainability, not its cause. Those who criticize ‘medical need’ for indeterminacy are not transparent about the source of their commitment to their standards of determinacy: they promote standards that are higher than is necessary for legitimate policy, ignoring opportunity costs. Furthermore, the indeterminacy of concepts affects all risk-sharing systems and all systems that rely on medical standard of care. I then argue that the concept of need in itself does not imply a minimal sufficientist standard or a prioritarian distribution; neither does the idea of legitimate public policy dictate that public services be minimalist. The policy choice for a system of health care that is comprehensive and offers as good care as can be achieved when delivered on equal terms and conditions for all is a coherent option. (shrink)
This book is about the norms of the speech act of assertion. This is a topic of lively contemporary debate primarily carried out in epistemology and philosophy of language. Suppose that you ask me what time an upcoming meeting starts, and I say, “4 p.m.” I’ve just asserted that the meeting starts at 4 p.m. Whenever we make claims like this, we’re asserting. The central question here is whether we need to know what we say, and, relatedly, whether what we (...) assert must be true. If the meeting is really at 3:30 p.m., you’ll be late, and probably rather upset that I told you the wrong time. In some sense, it seems like I’m on the hook for having said something false. This sense that I’ve done something wrong suggests that there are certain standards of evaluating assertions: a way of distinguishing between good and bad, appropriate and inappropriate. We call these standards norms. And so the debate about what, if any, norms govern the linguistic practice of assertion is known as the norms of assertion debate. When one’s assertion satisfies the norm, we say that the assertion is warranted. -/- Various philosophers have typically focused their views of the norms of assertion on articulating the level of epistemic support required for properly asserting. Some argue, for example, that one must know what one asserts. Others argue that one merely needs to justifiably believe what one asserts–an epistemic standing weaker than knowledge. The purpose of this book is to defend what I propose as the central norm governing our practice of assertion, which I call the Supportive Reasons Norm. Here’s what it looks like: -/- One may assert that p only if: One has supportive reasons for p, The relevant conventional and pragmatic elements of the context are present, and One asserts that p at least in part because the assertion that p satisfies and. -/- In rough outline, the standards for warrantedly asserting shift with changes in context, although knowledge is never required for warrantedly asserting. In fact, in some special contexts, speakers may warrantedly lie. This latter feature particularly sets apart my view from others in the debate. This also means that truth, knowledge, and even belief aren’t necessary conditions for warrantedly asserting. (shrink)
Over the last fifty years, traditional farming has been replaced by industrial farming. Unlike traditional farming, industrial farming is abhorrently cruel to animals, environmentally destructive, awful for rural America, and wretched for human health. In this essay, I document those facts, explain why the industrial system has become dominant, and argue that we should boycott industrially produced meat. Also, I argue that we should not even kill animals humanely for food, given our uncertainty about which creatures possess a right to (...) life. In practice, then, we should be vegetarians. To underscore the importance of these issues, I use statistics to show that industrial farming has caused more pain and suffering than the Holocaust. (shrink)
From Bishop Wilberforce in the 1860s to the advocates of "creation science" today, defenders of traditional mores have condemned Darwin's theory of evolution as a threat to society's values. Darwin's defenders, like Stephen Jay Gould, have usually replied that there is no conflict between science and religion--that values and biological facts occupy separate realms. But as James Rachels points out in this thought-provoking study, Darwin himself would disagree with Gould. Darwin, who had once planned on being a clergyman, was convinced (...) that natural selection overthrew our age-old religious beliefs. Created from Animals offers a provocative look at how Darwinian evolution undermines many tenets of traditional philosophy and religion. James Rachels begins by examining Darwin's own life and work, presenting an astonishingly vivid and compressed biography. We see Darwin's studies of the psychological links in evolution (such as emotions in dogs, and the "mental powers" of worms), and how he addressed the moral implications of his work, especially in his concern for the welfare of animals. Rachels goes on to present a lively and accessible survey of the controversies that followed in Darwin's wake, ranging from Herbert Spencer's Social Darwinism to Edward O. Wilson's sociobiology, and discusses how the work of such influential intellects as Descartes, Hume, Kant, T.H. Huxley, Henri Bergson, B.F. Skinner, and Stephen Jay Gould has contributed to--or been overthrown by--evolutionary science. Western philosophy and religion, Rachels argues, have been shaken by the implications of Darwin's work, most notably the controversial idea that humans are simply a more complex kind of animal. Rachels assesses a number of studies that suggest how closely humans are linked to other primates in behavior, and then goes on to show how this idea undercuts the work of many prominent philosophers. Kant's famous argument that suicide reduces one to the level of an animal, for instance, is meaningless if humans are, in fact, animals. Indeed, humanity's membership in the animal kingdom calls into question the classic notions of human dignity and the sacredness of human life. What we need now, Rachels contends, is a philosophy that does not discriminate between different species, one that addresses each being on an individual basis. With this sweeping survey of the arguments, the philosophers, and the deep implications surrounding Darwinism, Rachels lays the foundations for a new view of morality. Vibrantly written and provocatively argued, Created from Animals offers a new perspective on issues ranging from suicide to euthanasia to animal rights. (shrink)
The seriousness of the risk that healthcare workers faced during SARS, and their response of service in the face of this risk, brings to light unrealistic assumptions about duty and risk that informed the debate on duty to care in the early years of HIV/AIDS. Duty to care is not based upon particular virtues of the health professions, but arises from social reflection on what response to an epidemic would be consistent with our values and our needs, recognizing our shared (...) vulnerability to disease and death. Such reflection underwrites a strong duty of care, but one not to be borne solely by the altruism and heroism of individual healthcare workers. (shrink)
In this paper I present my proposal for the central norm governing the practice of assertion, which I call the Supportive Reasons Norm of Assertion (SRNA). The critical features of this norm are that it's highly sensitive to the context of assertion, such that the requirements for warrantedly asserting a proposition shift with changes in context, and that truth is not a necessary condition for warrantedly asserting. In fact, I argue that there are some cases where a speaker may warrantedly (...) assert something she knows to be false. Only SRNA seems able to account for such cases. (shrink)
What happens when we consider transformative experiences from the perspective of gender transitions? In this paper I suggest that at least two insights emerge. First, trans* persons’ experiences of gender transitions show some limitations to L.A. Paul’s (forthcoming) decision theoretic account of transformative decisions. This will involve exploring some of the phenomenology of coming to know that one is trans, and in coming to decide to transition. Second, what epistemological effects are there to undergoing a transformative experience? By connecting some (...) experiences of gender transitions to feminist standpoint epistemology, I argue that radical changes in one’s identity and social location also radically affects one’s access to knowledge in ways not widely appreciated in contemporary epistemology. (shrink)
Disease.Rachel Cooper - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 33 (2):263-282.details
This paper examines what it is for a condition to be a disease. It falls into two sections. In the first I examine the best existing account of disease (as proposed by Christopher Boorse) and argue that it must be rejected. In the second I outline a more acceptable account of disease. According to this account, by disease we mean a condition that it is a bad thing to have, that is such that we consider the afflicted person to have (...) been unlucky, and that can potentially be medically treated. All three criteria must be fulfilled for a condition to be a disease. The criterion that for a condition to be a disease it must be a bad thing is required to distinguish the biologically different from the diseased. The claim that the sufferer must be unlucky is needed to distinguish diseases from conditions that are unpleasant but normal, for example teething. Finally, the claim that for a condition to be a disease it must be potentially medically treatable is needed to distinguish diseases from other types of misfortune, for example economic problems and legal problems. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the interrelated topics of stereotype threat and attributional ambiguity as they relate to gender and gender identity. The former has become an emerging topic in feminist philosophy and has spawned a tremendous amount of research in social psychology and elsewhere. But the discussion, at least in how it connects to gender, is incomplete: the focus is only on cisgender women and their experiences. By considering trans women's experiences of stereotype threat and attributional ambiguity, we gain (...) a deeper understanding of the phenomena and their problematic effects. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis paper is about the relevance of attitude-ascriptions to debates about singular thought. It examines a methodology reject this methodology, the literature lacks a detailed examination of its implications and the challenges faced by proponents and critics. I isolate an assumption of the methodology, which I call the tracking assumption: that an attitude-ascription which states that s Φ's that P is true iff s has an attitude, of Φ-ing, which is an entertaining of the content P. I argue that the (...) tracking assumption must be rejected, not because it has deflationary consequences, but because it leads to unstable commitments. I also show that there are independent reasons to reject it, because ordinary attitude ascriptions underdetermine even the truth-conditions of the mental-states they ascribe. However, I argue, this does not involve rejecting the claim that attitude-ascriptions express relations between agents and contents. Instead, they state different relations depending on contextual factors other than the nature of the mental-states ascribed. (shrink)
Temkin asks how we should distribute resources between the social determinants of health and health care; Sreenivasan argues that if our goal is fair opportunity, funding universal health coverage is the wrong policy. He argues that social equality in health has not improved under UHC and concludes that fair opportunity would be better served by using the resources to address the SDOH instead. His criticism applies more broadly than he claims: it applies to any argument for UHC based on health (...) equity. However, neither his strong causal conclusion nor his stark policy proposal is justified. I review methodological challenges for establishing the relative causal contributions of health care and social policy, concluding that we may never have a robust causal account to support a consequentialist choice. Fortunately, we may not need to answer the allocation question as a dichotomy. Given what Sen calls the multidimensional nature of health equity and the role of UHC in cost containment, UHC may not be a threat to health equity. I also argue against Sreenivasan's claim that the data he discusses should not trouble sufficientists and prioritarians. The worst-off are not simply lagging in improvement; rather, their health status is stagnating or worsening. (shrink)
It has become popular of late to identify the phenomenon of thinking a singular thought with that of thinking with a mental file. Proponents of the mental files conception of singular thought claim that one thinks a singular thought about an object o iff one employs a mental file to think about o. I argue that this is false by arguing that there are what I call descriptive mental files, so some file-based thought is not singular thought. Descriptive mental files (...) are mental files for which descriptive information plays four roles: determines which object the file is about, if any, it sets limits on possible mistakes that fall within the scope of successful reference for the file, it acts as a ‘gatekeeper’ for the file, and it determines persistence conditions for the file. Contrary to popular assumption, a description playing these roles is consistent with the file-theoretic framework. Recognising this allows us to distinguish the notion of singular thought from that of file-thinking and better understand the nature and role of both. (shrink)
This paper offers three objections to Leslie’s recent and already influential theory of generics :375–403, 2007a, Philos Rev 117:1–47, 2008): her proposed metaphysical truth-conditions are subject to systematic counter-examples, the proposed disquotational semantics fails, and there is evidence that generics do not express cognitively primitive generalisations.
I aim to show that (i) there are good ways to argue about what has intrinsic value; and (ii) good ethical arguments needn't make ethical assumptions. I support (i) and(ii) by rebutting direct attacks, by discussing nine plausible ways to argue about intrinsic value, and by arguing for pains intrinsic badness without making ethical assumptions. If (i) and (ii) are correct, then ethical theory has more resources than many philosophers have thought: empirical evidence, and evidence bearing on intrinsic value. With (...) more resources, we can hope to base all of our moral beliefs on evidence rather than on, say, emotion or mere intuition. (shrink)
Introduction: philosophy of science in practice Content Type Journal Article Category Editorial Article Pages 303-307 DOI 10.1007/s13194-011-0036-4 Authors Rachel Ankeny, School of History & Politics, University of Adelaide, Napier Building, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia Hasok Chang, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RH UK Marcel Boumans, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Amsterdam, Valckenierstraat 65-67, 1018 XE Amsterdam, The Netherlands Mieke Boon, Department of Philosophy, University (...) of Twente, Postbox 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands Journal European Journal for Philosophy of Science Online ISSN 1879-4920 Print ISSN 1879-4912 Journal Volume Volume 1 Journal Issue Volume 1, Number 3. (shrink)
Classifying Madness (Springer, 2005) concerns philosophical problems with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, more commonly known as the D.S.M. The D.S.M. is published by the American Psychiatric Association and aims to list and describe all mental disorders. The first half of Classifying Madness asks whether the project of constructing a classification of mental disorders that reflects natural distinctions makes sense. Chapters examine the nature of mental illness, and also consider whether mental disorders fall into natural kinds. The (...) second half of the book addresses epistemic worries. Even supposing a natural classification system to be possible in principle, there may be reasons to be suspicious of the categories included in the D.S.M. I examine the extent to which the D.S.M. depends on psychiatric theory, and look at how it has been shaped by social and financial factors. I aim to be critical of the D.S.M. without being antagonistic towards it. Ultimately, however, I am forced to conclude that although the D.S.M. is of immense practical importance, it is unlikely to come to reflect the natural structure of mental disorders. (shrink)
We offer a novel account of metalinguistic comparatives, such as 'Al is more wise than clever'. On our view, metalinguistic comparatives express comparative commitments to conventions. Thus, 'Al is more wise than clever' expresses that the speaker has a stronger commitment to a convention on which Al is wise than to a convention on which she is clever. This view avoids problems facing previous approaches to metalinguistic comparatives. It also fits within a broader framework—independently motivated by metalinguistic negotiations and convention-shiftingexpressions— (...) that gives linguistic conventions a role in the semantics. (shrink)
This paper has a narrow and a broader target. The narrow target is a particular version of what I call the mental-files conception of singular thought, proposed by Robin Jeshion, and known as cognitivism. The broader target is the MFC in general. I give an argument against Jeshion's view, which gives us preliminary reason to reject the MFC more broadly. I argue Jeshion's theory of singular thought should be rejected because the central connection she makes between significance and singularity does (...) not hold. However, my argument grants Jeshion's claim that there is a connection between significance and file-thinking. The upshot is not only that we have reason to reject Jeshion's significance constraint on singular thought, but that we have reason to question the connection made by MFC proponents between file-thinking and singularity. (shrink)
In Canada, laws and policies consistently reject the commodification of human organs and tissues, and Canadian practice is consistent with international standards in this regard. Until the Assisted Human Reproduction Act of 2004, gamete donation in Canada was an exception: Canadians could pay and be paid open market rates for gametes for use in in vitro fertilization. As sections of the AHR Act forbidding payment for gametes and permitting only reimbursement of receipted expenses gradually came into effect in 2005, Canada (...) did away with this anomaly. Medical practice and legal prohibitions in assisted human reproduction are now consistent with other areas of medicine where tissues and organs are taken from one person to benefit others: Altruistic donation, rather than selling and buying, will be the norm. (shrink)
I argue that we are sometimes morally responsible for having and using (or not using) our concepts, despite the fact that we generally do not choose to have them or have full or direct voluntary control over how we use them. I do so by extending an argument of Angela Smith's; the same features that she says make us morally responsible for some of our attitudes also make us morally responsible for some of our concepts. Specifically, like attitudes, concepts can (...) be (a) conceptually and rationally connected to our evaluative judgments, (b) in principle subject to rational revision (reasons‐responsive), and (c) the basis for actual and potential moral assessments of people that we have good reasons to endorse. Thus, we are open to moral appraisal on the basis of having and using (or not using) our concepts when they reflect our evaluative judgments, though even then it is not always appropriate to praise or blame us on that basis. (shrink)
Faultless disagreement and faultless retraction have been taken to motivate relativism for predicates of personal taste, like ‘tasty’. Less attention has been devoted to the question of what aspect of their meaning underlies this relativist behavior. This paper illustrates these same phenomena with a new category of expressions: appearance predicates, like ‘tastes vegan’ and ‘looks blue’. Appearance predicates and predicates of personal taste both fall into the broader category of experiential predicates. Approaching predicates of personal taste from this angle suggests (...) that their relativist behavior is due to their experience-sensitivity, rather than their evaluative meaning. Furthermore, appearance predicates hold interest beyond what they can teach us about predicates of personal taste. Examination of a variety of uses of appearance predicates reveals that they give rise to relativist behavior for a variety of reasons—including some that apply also to other types of expressions, such as epistemic modals and comparative terms. This paper thus serves both to probe the source of relativist behavior in discourse about personal taste, as well as to map out this kind of behavior in the rich and under-explored discourse about appearances. (shrink)
This article employs Foucauldian and feminist analytics to advance a critical approach to wearable digital health- and activity-tracking devices. Following Foucault’s insight that the growth of individual capabilities coincides with the intensification of power relations, I argue that digital self-tracking devices expand individuals’ capacity for self-knowledge and self-care at the same time that they facilitate unprecedented levels of biometric surveillance, extend the regulatory mechanisms of both public health and fashion/beauty authorities, and enable increasingly rigorous body projects devoted to the attainment (...) of normative femininity. These technologies of surveillance, normalization, and discipline thus function to augment, and facilitate the cooperation of, neoliberal-era biopower and post-feminist patriarchal power. My analysis of digital self-tracking devices’ instrumentality to biopower and patriarchy contributes to the emergent field of critical digital health studies and builds new connections between political, social, and feminist theories of embodiment; biopower studies; fat studies; and trans-disciplinary body studies. (shrink)
This article discusses recent theories of the meaning of generics. The discussion is centred on how the theories differ in their approach to addressing the primary difficulty in providing a theory of generic meaning: The notoriously complex ways in which the truth conditions of generics seem to vary. In addition, the article summarizes considerations for and against each theory.