The article presents the sociology of knowledge approach to discourse (SKAD). SKAD, which has been in the process of development since the middle of the 1990s, is now a widely used framework among social scientists in discourse research in the German-speaking area. It links arguments from the social constructionist tradition, following Berger and Luckmann, with assumptions based in symbolic interactionism, hermeneutic sociology of knowledge, and the concepts of Michel Foucault. It argues thereby for a consistent theoretical and methodological grounding of (...) a genuine social sciences perspective on discourse interested in the social production, circulation and transformation of knowledge, that is in social relations and politics of knowledge in the so-called ‘knowledge societies’. Distancing itself from Critical Discourse Analysis, Linguistics, Ethnomethodology inspired discourse analysis and the Analysis of Hegemonies, following Laclau and Mouffe, SKAD’s framework has been built up around research questions and concerns located in the social sciences, referring to public discourse and arenas as well as to more specific fields of (scientific, religious, etc.) discursive struggles and controversies around problematizations (Foucault). (shrink)
"-Barbara Ehrenreich, Mother Jones "This book represents the expression of a particular feminist perspective made all the more compelling by Keller's evident commitment to and understanding of science.
We prize loyalty in our friends, lovers and colleagues, but loyalty raises difficult questions. What is the point of loyalty? Should we be loyal to country, just as we are loyal to friends and family? Can the requirements of loyalty conflict with the requirements of morality? In this book, originally published in 2007, Simon Keller explores the varieties of loyalty and their psychological and ethical differences, and concludes that loyalty is an essential but fallible part of human life. He (...) argues that grown children can be obliged to be loyal to their parents, that good friendship can sometimes conflict with moral and epistemic standards, and that patriotism is intimately linked with certain dangers and delusions. He goes on to build an approach to the ethics of loyalty that differs from standard communitarian and universalist accounts. His book will interest a wide range of readers in ethics and political philosophy. (shrink)
In this 1999 book Pierre Keller examines the distinctive contributions, and the respective limitations, of Husserl's and Heidegger's approach to fundamental elements of human experience. He shows how their accounts of time, meaning, and personal identity are embedded in important alternative conceptions of how experience may be significant for us, and discusses both how these conceptions are related to each other and how they fit into a wider philosophical context. His sophisticated and accessible account of the phenomenological philosophy of (...) Husserl and the existential phenomenology of Heidegger will be of wide interest to students and specialists in these areas, while analytic philosophers of mind will be interested by the detailed parallels which he draws with a number of concerns of the analytic philosophical tradition. (shrink)
Simon Keller's The Limits of Loyalty makes an important and valuable contribution to a neglected area of moral psychology, both in presenting a clear and subtle account of loyalty in its various manifestations, and in challenging some assumptions about the role of loyalty in a morally decent life. Loyalty's domain is that of special relationships, and for some relationship types, Keller argues that these relationships rightly carry some motivational force, as in his analysis of filial duties. In other (...) cases, such as patriotism, ‘there is always something unfortunate about such loyalties’, for example, that they involve dispositions to ‘fall into bad faith’ or other confusions.Keller begins by examining diverse particular loyalties, then moves to more general questions about loyalty. He considers friendship patriotism, and the obligations of grown children to parents. He argues that loyalty tends to conflict with other values, such as epistemic integrity and draws the conclusion that loyalty as such should not …. (shrink)
In Kant and the Demands of Self-Consciousness, Pierre Keller examines Kant's theory of self-consciousness and argues that it succeeds in explaining how both subjective and objective experience are possible. Previous interpretations of Kant's theory have held that he treats all self-consciousness as knowledge of objective states of affairs, and also that self-consciousness can be interpreted as knowledge of personal identity. By developing this striking new interpretation Keller is able to argue that transcendental self-consciousness underwrites a general theory of (...) objectivity and subjectivity at the same time. (shrink)
What does it mean to drive a Cadillac? What does 'cuckoo' suggest about the bird? -- two examples explored in this investigation of the history of language signs and of what philosophers, linguists, and others have had to say about them. Rudi Keller shows how signs emerge, function, and develop in the permanent process of language change. He recombines thoughts and ideas from Plato to the present day to create a new theory of the meaning and evolution of icons (...) and symbols. By assuming no prior knowledge and by developing his argument from first principles, Rudi Keller has written a basic text which includes all the necessary features: easy style, good organization, original scholarship, and historical depth. This is a non-technical book which will interest linguists, philosophers, students of communications and cultural studies, semioticians/semanticists, sociologists, and anthropologists. (shrink)
Despite clear parallels between Jürgen Habermas’s discourse ethics and recent scholarship in feminist ethics, feminists are often suspicious of discourse ethics and have kept themselves mostly separate from the field. By developing a sustained application of Habermas’s discourse ethics to friendship, Keller demonstrates that feminist misgivings of discourse ethics are largely misplaced and that Habermas’s theory can be used to develop a compelling moral phenomenology of interpersonal relations.
In this concluding chapter, Allan and Keller posit that Just Peace should be defined as a process resting on four necessary and sufficient conditions: thin recognition whereby the other is accepted as autonomous; thick recognition whereby identities need to be accounted for; renouncement, requiring significant sacrifices from all parties; and rule, the objectification of a Just Peace by a ‘text’ requiring a common language respecting the identities of each, and defining their rights and duties. This approach, based on a (...) language-oriented process amongst directly concerned parties, goes beyond liberal and culturalist perspectives. By moving beyond the idea of a peace founded on norms claiming universal scope, each side of a conflict has a place at the negotiating table to present their own perspective on what justice might entail. This inclusion into the decision-making process helps create the feeling of personal investment in the final negotiated product. In addition, negotiators need to work towards building a novel shared reality as well as a new common language to help foster an enduring harmony between previously clashing peoples. (shrink)
In these excerpts from his diary, Adam Keller, spokesperson for Gush Shalom, relates some of the protest actions undertaken by the Israeli peace movement during the Second Intifada, as well as the sense of urgency and occasional confusion that permeates these activities.
In these excerpts from his diary, Adam Keller, spokesperson for Gush Shalom, relates some of the protest actions undertaken by the Israeli peace movement during the Second Intifada, as well as the sense of urgency and occasional confusion that permeates these activities.
According to Keller, we have no hope of explaining what is or is not a Just Peace in global relations unless we pay more attention to the intellectual context in which international law was formed. From its birth in the 16th century, there was a progressive retreat by Europeans from conceding sovereign rights to specific non-European peoples, to then only recognizing a conditional sovereignty, and eventually to denying any right to self-determination of non-white peoples. However, there was a tradition (...) of thought that recognized and accommodated cultural diversity that can be found in the writings of Montesquieu and Rousseau, among others. This chapter argues that these writers proposed one of the cornerstones of the concept of a Just Peace, the principle of recognition. This notion was developed from an effort to understand another’s point of view and an appreciation of otherness. (shrink)
John Keller presents a set of new essays on ontology, time, freedom, God, and philosophical method. Our understanding of these subjects has been greatly advanced, since the 1970s, by the work of Peter van Inwagen. The contributions, from some of the most prominent living philosophers, engage with van Inwagen's work and offer new insights in metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of philosophy. Van Inwagen himself gives selective responses. In metaphysics, the volume will particularly interest philosophers working on (...) free will, relational vs constituent ontologies, and time travel; in philosophy of religion, notable topics include the ontological argument, the compatibility of theism and evolution, the problem of evil, and the doctrine of atonements. And there are three papers on the hot topic of philosophical success, with responses from van Inwagen. (shrink)
The experience of the impossible churns up in our epoch whenever a collective dream turns to trauma: politically, sexually, economically, and with a certain ultimacy, ecologically. Out of an ancient theological lineage, the figure of the cloud comes to convey possibility in the face of the impossible. An old mystical nonknowing of God now hosts a current knowledge of uncertainty, of indeterminate and interdependent outcomes, possibly catastrophic. Yet the connectivity and collectivity of social movements, of the fragile, unlikely webs of (...) an alternative notion of existence, keep materializing--a haunting hope, densely entangled, suggesting a more convivial, relational world. Catherine Keller brings process, feminist, and ecopolitical theologies into transdisciplinary conversation with continental philosophy, the quantum entanglements of a "participatory universe," and the writings of Nicholas of Cusa, Walt Whitman, A. N. Whitehead, Gilles Deleuze, and Judith Butler, to develop a "theopoetics of nonseparable difference." Global movements, personal embroilments, religious diversity, the inextricable relations of humans and nonhumans--these phenomena, in their unsettling togetherness, are exceeding our capacity to know and manage. By staging a series of encounters between the nonseparable and the nonknowable, Keller shows what can be born from our cloudiest entanglement. (shrink)
Vigorous debate over the moral propriety of cognitive enhancement exists, but the views of the public have been largely absent from the discussion. To address this gap in our knowledge, four experiments were carried out with contrastive vignettes in order to obtain quantitative data on public attitudes towards cognitive enhancement. The data collected suggest that the public is sensitive to and capable of understanding the four cardinal concerns identified by neuroethicists, and tend to cautiously accept cognitive enhancement even as they (...) recognize its potential perils. The public is biopolitically moderate, endorses both meritocratic principles and the intrinsic value of hard work, and appears to be sensitive to the salient moral issues raised in the debate. Taken together, these data suggest that public attitudes toward enhancement are sufficiently sophisticated to merit inclusion in policy deliberations, especially if we seek to align public sentiment and policy. (shrink)
The psycholinguistic literature has identified two syntactic adaptation effects in language production: rapidly decaying short-term priming and long-lasting adaptation. To explain both effects, we present an ACT-R model of syntactic priming based on a wide-coverage, lexicalized syntactic theory that explains priming as facilitation of lexical access. In this model, two well-established ACT-R mechanisms, base-level learning and spreading activation, account for long-term adaptation and short-term priming, respectively. Our model simulates incremental language production and in a series of modeling studies, we show (...) that it accounts for (a) the inverse frequency interaction; (b) the absence of a decay in long-term priming; and (c) the cumulativity of long-term adaptation. The model also explains the lexical boost effect and the fact that it only applies to short-term priming. We also present corpus data that verify a prediction of the model, that is, that the lexical boost affects all lexical material, rather than just heads. (shrink)
Some authors have called for increased research on various forms of geoengineering as a means to address global climate change. This paper focuses on the question of whether a particular form of geoengineering, namely deploying sulfate aerosols in the stratosphere to counteract some of the effects of increased greenhouse gas concentrations, would be a just response to climate change. In particular, we examine problems sulfate aerosol geoengineering (SAG) faces in meeting the requirements of distributive, intergenerational, and procedural justice. We argue (...) that SAG faces obstacles to meeting the requirements of all three considered kinds of justice, because its impacts can harm some persons and communities much more than others; it poses serious risks to future generations; and SAG is especially prone to unilateral implementation. While we do not claim that SAG ought not to be implemented, we argue that it is the responsibility of proponents of SAG to recognize and address these ethical obstacles before advocating its implementation. (shrink)
This collection breaks new ground in four key areas of feminist social thought: the sex/gender debates; challenges to liberalism/equality; feminist ethics; and feminist perspectives on global ethics and politics in the 21st century. Altogether, the essays provide an innovative look at feminist philosophy while making substantive contributions to current debates in gender theory, ethics, and political thought.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a simple means of brain stimulation, possesses a trifecta of appealing features: it is relatively safe, relatively inexpensive and relatively effective. It is also relatively easy to obtain a device and the do-it-yourself (DIY) community has become galvanised by reports that tDCS can be used as an all-purpose cognitive enhancer. We provide practical recommendations designed to guide balanced discourse, propagate norms of safe use and stimulate dialogue between the DIY community and regulatory authorities. We call (...) on all stakeholders—regulators, scientists and the DIY community—to share in crafting policy proposals that ensure public safety while supporting DIY innovation. (shrink)
In this essay we develop and argue for the adoption of a more comprehensive model of research ethics than is included within current conceptions of responsible conduct of research (RCR). We argue that our model, which we label the ethical dimensions of scientific research (EDSR), is a more comprehensive approach to encouraging ethically responsible scientific research compared to the currently typically adopted approach in RCR training. This essay focuses on developing a pedagogical approach that enables scientists to better understand and (...) appreciate one important component of this model, what we call intrinsic ethics . Intrinsic ethical issues arise when values and ethical assumptions are embedded within scientific findings and analytical methods. Through a close examination of a case study and its application in teaching, namely, evaluation of climate change integrated assessment models, this paper develops a method and case for including intrinsic ethics within research ethics training to provide scientists with a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the critical role of values and ethical choices in the production of research outcomes. (shrink)
Paraphrase is ubiquitous in philosophy, especially in discussions about ontological commitment. But should it be? Paraphrases are seldom accompanied by evidence that would convince, say, a linguist that the paraphrase and the paraphrased sentence have the same meaning. Indeed, from the perspective of linguistics, many paraphrases would seem to be nothing but bad jokes. For this reason, many philosophers have become deeply suspicious about paraphrase. I ague in this paper that this worry is misguided--that successful paraphrases do not need to (...) preserve semantic content, and that the way that paraphrase has been used in Quinean meta-ontology, and philosophical inquiry more generally, corresponds, at least roughly, to the way it should be used. (shrink)
I defend the view that an individual''s welfareis in one respect enhanced by the achievementof her goals, even when her goals are crazy,self-destructive, irrational or immoral. This``Unrestricted View'''' departs from familiartheories which take welfare to involve only theachievement of rational aims, or of goals whoseobjects are genuinely valuable, or of goalsthat are not grounded in bad reasons. I beginwith a series of examples, intended to showthat some of our intuitive judgments aboutwelfare incorporate distinctions that only theUnrestricted View can support. Then, (...) I show howthe view can be incorporated into a broadertheory of welfare in ways that do not produceimplausible consequences. This in hand, Ifinish by providing a more philosophicalstatement of the Unrestricted View and the casein its favor, and respond to some objections. (shrink)
Two decades of critique have sensitized historians and philosophers of science to the inadequacies of conventional dichotomies between theory and practice, thereby prompting the search for new ways of writing about science that are less beholden than the old ways to the epistemological mores of theoretical physics, and more faithful to the actual practices not only of physics but of all the natural sciences. The need for alternative descriptions seems particularly urgent if one is to understand the place of theory (...) (and, in parallel, the role of modeling) in contemporary molecular biology, a science where, until now, no division between theory and experiment has obtained, and where distinctions between representing and intervening, and more generally, between basic and applied science, are daily becoming more blurred. Indeed, the very division between theory and experiment threatens to slight the extensive and sophisticated theoretical analyses (and even modeling) on which experimental work in contemporary molecular biology so often depends. My aim in this paper is to find a way of talking about theoretical practices in biology that is directly rooted in the mix of conceptual and material work that biologists do. As an example of such theoretical practices, I choose for the focus of my analysis the development of a model for gene regulation out of the experimental work of Eric Davidson and his colleagues at Cal Tech. (shrink)
Strategies for improving individual decision making have attracted attention from a range of disciplines. Surprisingly, neuroscience has been largely absent from this conversation, despite the fact that it has recently begun illuminating the neural bases of how and why we make decisions, and is poised for further such advances. Here we address empirical and normative questions about “nudging” through the lens of neuroscience. We suggest that the neuroscience of decision making can provide a framework for understanding how nudges work, and (...) how they can be improved. Towards this end, we first examine how nudges can be incorporated into a leading model of decision making supported by neurobiological data, and use the model to make predictions about the relative effectiveness of different classes of nudges. We then use the model to demonstrate how nudges can both infringe upon and promote autonomy. Finally, we explore the normative implications of the converging consensus from neuroscience and related fields that many everyday decisions are susceptible to covert external influences. (shrink)
Given that natural selection is so powerful at optimizing complex adaptations, why does it seem unable to eliminate genes (susceptibility alleles) that predispose to common, harmful, heritable mental disorders, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder? We assess three leading explanations for this apparent paradox from evolutionary genetic theory: (1) ancestral neutrality (susceptibility alleles were not harmful among ancestors), (2) balancing selection (susceptibility alleles sometimes increased fitness), and (3) polygenic mutation-selection balance (mental disorders reflect the inevitable mutational load on the thousands (...) of genes underlying human behavior). The first two explanations are commonly assumed in psychiatric genetics and Darwinian psychiatry, while mutation-selection has often been discounted. All three models can explain persistent genetic variance in some traits under some conditions, but the first two have serious problems in explaining human mental disorders. Ancestral neutrality fails to explain low mental disorder frequencies and requires implausibly small selection coefficients against mental disorders given the data on the reproductive costs and impairment of mental disorders. Balancing selection (including spatio-temporal variation in selection, heterozygote advantage, antagonistic pleiotropy, and frequency-dependent selection) tends to favor environmentally contingent adaptations (which would show no heritability) or high-frequency alleles (which psychiatric genetics would have already found). Only polygenic mutation-selection balance seems consistent with the data on mental disorder prevalence rates, fitness costs, the likely rarity of susceptibility alleles, and the increased risks of mental disorders with brain trauma, inbreeding, and paternal age. This evolutionary genetic framework for mental disorders has wide-ranging implications for psychology, psychiatry, behavior genetics, molecular genetics, and evolutionary approaches to studying human behavior. (Published Online November 9 2006) Key Words: adaptation; behavior genetics; Darwinian psychiatry; evolution; evolutionary genetics; evolutionary psychology; mental disorders; mutation-selection balance; psychiatric genetics; quantitative trait loci (QTL). (shrink)
Concerns about the risks of unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions are growing. At the same time, confidence that international policy agreements will succeed in considerably lowering anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is declining. Perhaps as a result, various geoengineering solutions are gaining attention and credibility as a way to manage climate change. Serious consideration is currently being given to proposals to cool the planet through solar-radiation management. Here we analyze how the unique and nontrivial risks of geoengineering strategies pose fundamental questions at (...) the interface between science and ethics. To illustrate the importance of integrated ethical and scientific analysis, we define key open questions and outline a coupled scientific-ethical research agenda to analyze solar-radiation management geoengineering proposals. We identify nine key fields of coupled research including whether solar-radiation management can be tested, how quickly learning could occur, normative decisions embedded in how different climate trajectories are valued, and justice issues regarding distribution of the harms and benefits of geoengineering. To ensure that ethical analyses are coupled with scientific analyses of this form of geoengineering, we advocate that funding agencies recognize the essential nature of this coupled research by establishing an Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications program for solar-radiation management. (shrink)
The debate over the propriety of cognitive enhancement evokes both enthusiasm and worry. To gain further insight into the reasons that people may have for endorsing or eschewing pharmacological enhancement, we used empirical tools to explore public attitudes towards PE of twelve cognitive, affective, and social domains. Participants from Canada and the United States were recruited using Mechanical Turk and were randomly assigned to read one vignette that described an individual who uses a pill to enhance a single domain. After (...) reading the vignette, participants were asked how comfortable they were with the individual using the enhancement. People were significantly more comfortable when they read about enhancement of certain CAS domains than others. We found a modest negative correlation between comfort level and the degree to which the PE was perceived as changing core features of the person. We also found a modest correlation between comfort level and the degree to which the PE was perceived as improving success in life. Finally, using a sequential mixed method technique, we found that participants who felt uncomfortable about PE use overwhelmingly focused on a lack of need and, to a lesser degree, expressed concerns about safety; those who felt comfortable about PE use most frequently mentioned the safety of the pill and its ability to provide a positive outcome. The data provide novel insights into public enthusiasms and concerns over the use of PE. (shrink)
The National Science Foundation's Second Merit Criterion, or Broader Impacts Criterion , was introduced in 1997 as the result of an earlier Congressional movement to enhance the accountability and responsibility as well as the effectiveness of federally funded projects. We demonstrate that a robust understanding and appreciation of NSF BIC argues for a broader conception of research ethics in the sciences than is currently offered in Responsible Conduct of Research training. This essay advocates augmenting RCR education with training regarding broader (...) impacts. We demonstrate that enhancing research ethics training in this way provides a more comprehensive understanding of the ethics relevant to scientific research and prepares scientists to think not only in terms of responsibly conducted science, but also of the role of science in responding to identified social needs and in adhering to principles of social justice. As universities respond to the mandate from America COMPETES to “provide training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research”, we urge institutions to embrace a more adequate conception of research ethics, what we call the Ethical Dimensions of Scientific Research, that addresses the full range of ethical issues relevant to scientific inquiry, including ethical issues related to the broader impacts of scientific research and practice. (shrink)
This study found that death depression, general depression, and positive attitudes toward, and attachment to, companion animals were associated with greater grief following the death of cats and dogs both in a veterinary client group who had recently lost their companion animals and in a college student group with a history of companion animal loss. The correlations of both the above variables and the demographic and death circumstance variables tended to be higher with the veterinary clients. Death of a dog (...) by accident as opposed to illness correlated .81 with extended grief in the veterinary clients. Not having their dogs euthanized correlated .70 with extended grief in this group as well. (shrink)
Children have special duties to their parents: there are things that we ought to do for our parents, but not for just anyone. Three competing accounts of filial duty appear in the literature: the debt theory, the gratitude theory and the friendship theory. Each is unsatisfactory: each tries to assimilate the moral relationship between parent and child to some independently understood conception of duty, but this relationship is different in structure and content from any that we are likely to share (...) with anyone apart from a parent. A more promising account will concentrate on what is unique about the parent-child relationship. I articulate and defend the 'special goods theory', according to which filial duties arise from the distinctive kinds of goods that healthy parent-child relationships typically involve. (shrink)