ArgumentThe Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory was developed at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in the 1930s and 1940s. It became a highly successful and highly controversial psychometric tool. In professional terms, psychometric tools such as the MMPI transformed psychology and psychiatry. Psychometric instruments thus readily fit into the developmental history of psychology, psychiatry, and neurology; they were a significant part of the narrative of those fields’ advances in understanding, intervening, and treating people with mental illnesses. At the same time, the (...) advent of such tools also fits into a history of those disciplines that records the rise of obsessional observational and evaluative techniques and technologies in order to facilitate patterns of social control that became typical during the Progressive Era in the United States and after. It was those patterns that also nurtured the resistance to psychometrics that emerged during the Vietnam War and after. (shrink)
This book brings together international academics from a range of Social Science and Humanities disciplines to reflect on how Deleuze's philosophy is opening up and shaping methodologies and practices of empirical research.
Former NAACP chapter head Rachel Dolezal's attempted transition from the white to the black race occasioned heated controversy. Her story gained notoriety at the same time that Caitlyn Jenner graced the cover of Vanity Fair, signaling a growing acceptance of transgender identity. Yet criticisms of Dolezal for misrepresenting her birth race indicate a widespread social perception that it is neither possible nor acceptable to change one's race in the way it might be to change one's sex. Considerations that support transgenderism (...) seem to apply equally to transracialism. Although Dolezal herself may or may not represent a genuine case of a transracial person, her story and the public reaction to it serve helpful illustrative purposes. (shrink)
I explore how gender can shape the pragmatics of speech. In some circumstances, when a woman deploys standard discursive conventions in order to produce a speech act with a specific performative force, her utterance can turn out, in virtue of its uptake, to have a quite different force—a less empowering force—than it would have if performed by a man. When members of a disadvantaged group face a systematic inability to produce a specific kind of speech act that they are entitled (...) to perform—and in particular when their attempts result in their actually producing a different kind of speech act that further compromises their social position and agency—then they are victims of what I call discursive injustice. I examine three examples of discursive injustice. I contrast my account with Langton and Hornsby's account of illocutionary silencing. I argue that lack of complete control over the performative force of our speech acts is universal, and not a special marker of social disadvantage. However, women and other relatively disempowered speakers are sometimes subject to a distinctive distortion of the path from speaking to uptake, which undercuts their social agency in ways that track and enhance existing social disadvantages. (shrink)
Originally published in 1963.This volume provides a rigorous interpretation that portrays science and religion in their actualities as personal, communal and cultural phenomena involving different concerns, conceptions and modes of inquiry. The role of key aspects of their life and thought are investigated. They are found to be remarkably alike and their basic differences, far from making them mutually exclusive, reveal them as potentially complimentary and mutually helpful.
Miranda Fricker claims that a “gap” in collective hermeneutical resources with respect to the social experiences of marginalized groups prevents members of those groups from understanding their own experiences (Fricker 2007). I argue that because Fricker misdescribes dominant hermeneutical resources as collective, she fails to locate the ethically bad epistemic practices that maintain gaps in dominant hermeneutical resources even while alternative interpretations are in fact offered by non-dominant discourses. Fricker's analysis of hermeneutical injustice does not account for the possibility that (...) marginalized groups can be silenced relative to dominant discourses without being prevented from understanding or expressing their own social experiences. I suggest that a gap in dominant hermeneutical resources is ambiguous between two kinds of unknowing: hermeneutical injustice suffered by members of marginalized groups, and epistemically and ethically blameworthy ignorance perpetrated by members of dominant groups. (shrink)
I explore how we negotiate sexual encounters with one another in language and consider the pragmatic structure of such negotiations. I defend three theses: Discussions of consent have dominated the philosophical and legal discourse around sexual negotiation, and this has distorted our understanding of sexual agency and ethics. Of central importance to good-quality sexual negotiation are sexual invitations and gift offers, as well as speech designed to set up safe frameworks and exit conditions. Sexual communication that goes well does not (...) just prevent harm; it enables forms of agency, pleasure, and fulfillment that would not otherwise be possible. (shrink)
The scientific, ethical, and policy issues raised by research involving the engraftment of human neural stem cells into the brains of nonhuman primates are explored by an interdisciplinary working group in this Policy Forum. The authors consider the possibility that this research might alter the cognitive capacities of recipient great apes and monkeys, with potential significance for their moral status.
It is a truism that humans are social animals. Thus, it is no surprise that we understand the world, each other, and ourselves in terms of social kinds such as money and marriage, war and women, capitalists and cartels, races, recessions, and refugees. Social kinds condition our expectations, inform our preferences, and guide our behavior. Despite the prevalence and importance of social kinds, philosophy has historically devoted relatively little attention to them. With few exceptions, philosophers have given pride of place (...) to the kinds studied by the natural sciences, especially physics. However, philosophical interest in social kinds is growing in recent years. I critically examine answers to a cluster of related questions concerning the metaphysics of social kinds. Are social kinds natural kinds? Do social kinds have essences? Are social kinds mind dependent? Are social kinds real? (shrink)
Previous work in Game Studies has centered on several loci of investigation in seeking to understand virtual gameworlds. First, researchers have scrutinized the concept of the virtual world itself and how it relates to the idea of “the magic circle”. Second, the field has outlined various forms of experienced “presence”. Third, scholarship has noted that the boundaries between the world of everyday life and virtual worlds are porous, and that this fosters a multiplicity of identities as players identify both with (...) themselves-offline and themselves-in-game. Despite widespread agreement that these topics are targets for research, so far those working on these topics do not have mutually agreed-upon framework. Here we draw upon the work of Alfred Schutz to take up this call. We provide a phenomenological framework which can be used to describe the phenomena of interest to Game Studies, as well as open new avenues of inquiry, in a way acceptable and useful to all. This helps to distinguish the core of the field from the supplemental theoretical and critical commitments which characterize diverse approaches within the field. (shrink)
Mass Hysteria examines the medical and cultural practices surrounding pregnancy, new motherhood, and infant feeding. Late eighteenth century transformations in these practices reshaped mothers' bodies, and contemporary norms and routines of prenatal care and early motherhood have inherited the legacy of that era. As a result, mothers are socially positioned in ways that can make it difficult for them to establish and maintain healthy and safe boundaries and appropriate divisions between public and private space.
The claim that we have a moral obligation, where a choice can be made, to bring to birth the 'best' child possible, has been highly controversial for a number of decades. More recently Savulescu has labelled this claim the Principle of Procreative Beneficence. It has been argued that this Principle is problematic in both its reasoning and its implications, most notably in that it places lower moral value on the disabled. Relentless criticism of this proposed moral obligation, however, has been (...) unable, thus far, to discredit this Principle convincingly and as a result its influence shows no sign of abating. I will argue that while criticisms of the implications and detail of the reasoning behind it are well founded, they are unlikely to produce an argument that will ultimately discredit the obligation that the Principle of Procreative Beneficence represents. I believe that what is needed finally and convincingly to reveal the fallacy of this Principle is a critique of its ultimate theoretical foundation, the notion of impersonal harm. In this paper I argue that while the notion of impersonal harm is intuitively very appealing, its plausibility is based entirely on this intuitive appeal and not on sound moral reasoning. I show that there is another plausible explanation for our intuitive response and I believe that this, in conjunction with the other theoretical criticisms that I and others have levelled at this Principle, shows that the Principle of Procreative Beneficence should be rejected. (shrink)
Mathematicians judge proofs to possess, or lack, a variety of different qualities, including, for example, explanatory power, depth, purity, beauty and fit. Philosophers of mathematical practice have begun to investigate the nature of such qualities. However, mathematicians frequently draw attention to another desirable proof quality: being motivated. Intuitively, motivated proofs contain no "puzzling" steps, but they have received little further analysis. In this paper, I begin a philosophical investigation into motivated proofs. I suggest that a proof is motivated if and (...) only if mathematicians can identify (i) the tasks each step is intended to perform; and (ii) where each step could have reasonably come from. I argue that motivated proofs promote understanding, convey new mathematical resources and stimulate new discoveries. They thus have significant epistemic benefits and directly contribute to the efficient dissemination and advancement of mathematical knowledge. Given their benefits, I also discuss the more practical matter of how we can produce motivated proofs. Finally I consider the relationship between motivated proofs and proofs which are explanatory, beautiful and fitting. (shrink)
I explore the role that values and interests, especially ideological interests, play in managing and balancing epistemic risks in medicine. I will focus in particular on how diseases are identified and operationalized. Before we can do biomedical research on a condition, it needs to be identified as a medical condition, and it needs to be operationalized in a way that lets us identify sufferers, measure progress, and so forth. I will argue that each time we do this, we engage in (...) epistemic risk balancing that inevitably draws upon values and interests, often including social and ideological values. My main interest here is in the conceptualization of infertility as a disease. Infertility is a rich test case for exploring the interplay between interests and epistemic risk management. There is no uncontested or standardized definition of infertility. The various definitions of it are internally ambiguous and tension-ridden, and in spectacular contradiction with one another. Many interest groups who are invested in framing infertility as a pressing problem deserving of social and medical redress are quick to insist that it is a legitimate ‘disease,’ but they cannot agree on which disease it is, what its symptoms or diagnostic markers are, or even what its basic ontology is. I suggest that there are political explanations for this epistemic mess. Indeed, I contend that there are good scientific and ethical reasons to reduce away the category of ‘infertility,’ especially understood as a scientific or medical category; I argue that we should excise the concept from our research and clinical practices. (shrink)
In 1837, Dirichlet proved that there are infinitely many primes in any arithmetic progression in which the terms do not all share a common factor. Modern presentations of the proof are explicitly higher-order, in that they involve quantifying over and summing over Dirichlet characters, which are certain types of functions. The notion of a character is only implicit in Dirichlet’s original proof, and the subsequent history shows a very gradual transition to the modern mode of presentation. In this essay, we (...) describe an approach to the philosophy of mathematics in which it is an important task to understand the roles of our ontological posits and assess the extent to which they enable us to achieve our mathematical goals. We use the history of Dirichlet’s theorem to understand some of the reasons that functions are treated as ordinary objects in contemporary mathematics, as well as some of the reasons one might want to resist such treatment. We also use these considerations to illuminate the formal treatment of functions and objects in Frege’s logical foundation, and we argue that his philosophical and logical decisions were influenced by many of the same factors. (shrink)
The view that social kinds (e.g., money, migrant, marriage) are mind-dependent is a prominent one in the social ontology literature. However, in addition to the claim that social kinds are mind-dependent, it is often asserted that social kinds are not real because they are mind-dependent. Call this view social kind anti-realism. To defend their view, social kind anti-realists must accomplish two tasks. First, they must identify a dependence relation that obtains between social kinds and our mental states. Call this the (...) Dependence Task. Second, they must show that social kinds are not real because they are mind-dependent. Call this the Anti-Realist Task. In this paper, I consider several different ways of defining the relation that is supposed to obtain between social kinds and our mental states. With respect to each relation, I argue that either it fails to accomplish the Dependence Task, or it fails to accomplish the Anti-Realist Task. As such, anyone who wishes to defend social kind anti-realism must provide an alternative explanation of how social kinds depend on our mental states in a way that impugns their reality. In the absence of such an explanation, there is no reason to endorse social kind anti-realism. (shrink)
Perceived consistency, and even more so inconsistency of behavior is an important factor in the evaluation of other people. This is especially true for leaders, whose behavior is typically closely monitored and interpreted by their followers. While perceived consistency is typically rewarded, behaving inconsistently as a leader can be ethically problematic, as it violates fundamental ethical principles. To theoretically capture how followers interpret and react to unexpected, ambiguous and/or confusing leader behavior, we introduce the concept of inconsistent leadership. We define (...) this new concept as a process in which over a longer period of time the activities, experiences, and/or relationships of an individual or the members of a group are repeatedly influenced by their leader in a way that followers cannot make sense of in light of prior behavior or traits of that leader. We propose that a sensemaking process is triggered in followers whenever they register salient/important leader behavior that is novel, ambiguous and/or confusing when compared to behavioral expectations for that leader. Ascriptions of inconsistent leadership arise when followers’ sensemaking strategies temporarily or permanently fail to resolve the behavior–expectation discrepancy. Moreover, we clarify the relationships to other leadership concepts and delineate relevant follower and environmental influences on the sensemaking process. In doing so, we offer a clear conceptualization of inconsistent leadership and provide a solid base for future research. (shrink)
Open-mindedness is widely valued as an important intellectual virtue. Definitional debates about open-mindedness have focused on whether open-minded believers must possess a particular first-order attitude toward their beliefs or a second-order attitude toward themselves as believers, taking it for granted that open-mindedness is motivated by the pursuit of propositional knowledge. In this article, Rebecca Taylor develops an alternative to knowledge-centered accounts of open-mindedness. Drawing on recent work in epistemology that reclaims understanding as a primary epistemic good, Taylor argues for (...) an expanded account of open-mindedness as an intellectual virtue motivated by the pursuit of both knowledge and understanding. Incorporating understanding allows for a more robust account of open-mindedness that better accommodates common usage, avoids common criticisms, and better explains the widespread acceptance of open-mindedness as an important intellectual virtue. Taylor also identifies the connections between open-mindedness and several other intellectual virtues, including intellectual humility, intellectual courage, and intellectual diligence. (shrink)
Scientific explanations are widely recognized to have instrumental value by helping scientists make predictions and control their environment. In this paper I raise, and provide a first analysis of, the question whether explanatory proofs in mathematics have analogous instrumental value. I first identify an important goal in mathematical practice: reusing resources from existing proofs to solve new problems. I then consider the more specific question: do explanatory proofs have instrumental value by promoting reuse of the resources they contain? In general, (...) I argue that the answer to this question is “no” and demonstrate this in detail for the theory of mathematical explanation developed by Marc Lange. (shrink)
Questions of what a self-driving car ought to do if it encounters a situation analogous to the ‘trolley problem’ have dominated recent discussion of the ethics of self-driving cars. This paper argues that this interest is misplaced. If a trolley-style dilemma situation actually occurs, given the limits on what information will be available to the car, the dynamics of braking and tyre traction determine that, irrespective of outcome, it is always least risky for the car to brake in a straight (...) line rather than swerve. (shrink)
I defend a novel view of how social kinds (e.g., money, women, permanent residents) depend on our mental states. In particular, I argue that social kinds depend on our mental states in the following sense: it is essential to them that they exist (partially) because certain mental states exist. This analysis is meant to capture the very general way in which all social kinds depend on our mental states. However, my view is that particular social kinds also depend on our (...) mental states in more specific ways—some of them causal, others metaphysical. I defend a minimal but metaphysically important notion of essence—one that takes as primary that the essential properties of a kind constitute its identity—and argue that this minimal notion of essence is all that is needed to vindicate my claim that social kinds are essentially mind-dependent. (shrink)
Prominent mathematician William Thurston was praised by other mathematicians for his intellectual generosity. But what does it mean to say Thurston was intellectually generous? And is being intellectually generous beneficial? To answer these questions I turn to virtue epistemology and, in particular, Roberts and Wood's (2007) analysis of intellectual generosity. By appealing to Thurston's own writings and interviewing mathematicians who knew and worked with him, I argue that Roberts and Wood's analysis nicely captures the sense in which he was intellectually (...) generous. I then argue that intellectual generosity is beneficial because it counteracts negative effects of the reward structure of mathematics that can stymie mathematical progress. (shrink)
I develop and defend the following neo-Aristotelian account of supererogation: an action is supererogatory if and only if it is overall virtuous and either the omission of an overall virtuous action in that situation would not be overall vicious or there is some overall virtuous action that is less virtuous than it and whose performance in its place would not be overall vicious. I develop this account from within the virtue-ethical tradition. And I argue that it is intuitively defensible and (...) fully compatible with the doctrine of the mean. (shrink)