Low levels of public trust in data practices have led to growing calls for changes to data-driven systems, and in the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation provides a legal motivation for such changes. Data management is a vital component of data-driven systems, but what constitutes ‘good’ data management is not straightforward. Academic attention is turning to the question of what ‘good data’ might look like more generally, but public views are absent from these debates. This paper addresses this gap, (...) reporting on a survey of the public on their views of data management approaches, undertaken by the authors and administered in the UK, where departure from the EU makes future data legislation uncertain. The survey found that respondents dislike the current approach in which commercial organizations control their personal data and prefer approaches that give them control over their data, that include oversight from regulatory bodies or that enable them to opt out of data gathering. Variations of data trusts – that is, structures that provide independent stewardship of data – were also preferable to the current approach, but not as widely preferred as control, oversight and opt out options. These features therefore constitute ‘good data management’ for survey respondents. These findings align only in part with principles of good data identified by policy experts and researchers. Our findings nuance understandings of good data as a concept and of good data management as a practice and point to where further research and policy action are needed. (shrink)
One way of understanding the reduplicative formula ‘Christ is, qua God, omniscient, but qua man, limited in knowledge’ is to take the occurrences of the ‘ qua ’ locution as picking out different parts of Christ: a divine part and a human part. But this view of Christ as a composite being runs into paradox when combined with the orthodox understanding of the Incarnation, according to which Christ is identical to the second person of the Trinity. In response, we have (...) to choose between modifying the orthodox understanding, adopting a philosophically and theologically contentious perdurantist account of persistence through time, or rejecting altogether the idea of the composite Christ. (shrink)
Though John Stuart Mill's long employment by the East India Company did not limit him to drafting despatches on relations with the princely states, that activity must form the centrepiece of any satisfactory study of his Indian career. As yet the activity has scarcely been glimpsed. It produced, on average, about a draft a week, which he listed in his own hand. He subsequently struck out items that he sought to disown in consequence of substantial revisions made by the Company's (...) directors or the Board of Control. He also listed items that achieved publication as parliamentary papers and they amount to about ten per cent of his drafts. The two lists, published in the most recent volume of his Collected Works, reveal, at the least, the ‘political’ despatches from which he did not seek to dissociate himself. The despatches were not entirely his work and authorship in the conventional sense may not be assumed. They were the product of an elaborate process, in which many hands were engaged. At worst, they were his work in much the same way that an Act of Parliament is the work of the Crown Solicitor who drafts the bill. At best they were his as are the drafts of a civil servant who believes in policy statements that he prepares for his political masters. The greatest English philosopher and social scientist of the nineteenth century was, in his daily occupation, an employee. His Company was charged with initiating policies for the Indian states and they were subject to the control of a minister of the Crown. (shrink)
Photographs, paintings, rigid sculptures: all these provide examples of static images. It is true that they change—photographs fade, paintings darken and sculptures crumble—but what change they undergo is irrelevant to their representational content. A static image is one that represents by virtue of properties which remain largely unchanged throughout its existence. Because of this defining feature, according to a long tradition in aesthetics, a static image can only represent an instantaneous moment, or to be more exact the state of affairs (...) obtaining at that moment'. It cannot represent movement and the passage of time. This traditional view mirrors a much older one in metaphysics: that change is to be conceived of as a series of instantaneous states and hence that an interval of time is composed of extensionless moments. The metaphysical view has been involved in more controversy than its aesthetic counterpart. Aristotle identified it as one of the premises of Zeno's arrow paradox and Augustine employed it in his proof of the unreality of time. (shrink)
Alan Carter's recent review in Mind of my Ethics of the Global Environment combines praise of biocentric consequentialism with criticisms that it could advocate both minimal satisfaction of human needs and the extinction of ‘inessential species’ for the sake of generating extra people; Carter also maintains that as a monistic theory it is predictably inadequate to cover the full range of ethical issues, since only a pluralistic theory has this capacity. In this reply, I explain how the counter-intuitive implications of (...) biocentric consequentialism suggested by Carter are not implications, and argue that since pluralistic theories either generate contradictions or collapse into monistic theories, the superiority of pluralistic theories is far from predictable. Thus Carter's criticisms fail to undermine biocentric consequentialism as a normative theory applicable to the generality of ethical issues. (shrink)
relations between events both require a more complex structure on the domain underlying the meaning representations than is commonly assumed. This paper proposes an ontology based on such notions as causation and consequence, rather than on purely temporal primitives. A central notion in the ontology..
Both formal semantics and cognitive semantics are the source of important insights about language. By developing precise statements of the rules of meaning in fragmentary, abstract languages, formalists have been able to offer perspicuous accounts of how we might come to know such rules and use them to communicate with others. Conversely, by charting the overall landscape of interpretations, cognitivists have documented how closely interpretations draw on the commonsense knowledge that lets us make our way in the world. There is (...) no opposition between these insights. Sooner or later we will have a semantics that responds to both. However, developing such a semantics is profoundly difficult, because there are certain tensions to be overcome in reconciling the two perspectives. For one thing, the overall landscape of meaning does seem to be characterized by a much richer ontology and more dynamic categories than are exhibited by the fragments typically studied in the formal tradition. One sign of strain is the recent tendency to talk of “procedural”, “non-compositional”, or “computational” semantics, as in Hamm, Kamp and van Lambalgen 2006, hereafter HK&vL. We think such locutions can serve as useful reminders to keep semantics fixed on the central question of how language allows us to share information that some have and others need to get. However, there is some danger that formalists will merely by put off by an idea that, taken literally, may not be such a good one. In this short article, we want to explore and defend the traditional realist view attributed by HK&vL to Lewis among others. In fact, this view offers a well-developed, extremely straightforward and robust account of the relation between semantics and cognition. Moreover, while the realist view has ways of accommodating the representationalist insights of DRT (Lewis 1979; Thomason 1990; Stalnaker 1998), it remains unclear how “computational” semantics can account for the key data for the realist view: cases where we judge interlocutors to be ignorant about aspects of meaning in their native language (Kripke 1972; Putnam 1975; Stalnaker 1979; Williamson 1994).. (shrink)
Alex Byrne’s article, “Are Women Adult Human Females?”, asks a question that Byrne treats as nearly rhetorical. Byrne’s answer is, ‘clearly, yes’. Moreover, Byrne claims, 'woman' is a biological category that does not admit of any interpretation as (also) a social category. It is important to respond to Byrne’s argument, but mostly because it is paradigmatic of a wider phenomenon. The slogan “women are adult human females” is a political slogan championed by anti-trans activists, appearing on billboards, pamphlets, and anti-trans (...) online forums. In this paper, I respond to Byrne’s argument, revealing significant problems with its background assumptions, content, and methodology. (shrink)
By considering the experience of historians in national and regional archives, the relationship of memory to history and historical practice is discussed. The professional experience of historians is connected to wider social and psychological uses of the past, and of history in Euro pean societies, over the 200 years since official archives were inaugur ated.
In this paper, I address two connected issues that arise when one considers a rational agent facing a decision problem. One is whether or not the agent may find that the dictates of rationality are such that they cannot all be followed. For example, one may ask whether or not the requirements on the agent's actions imposed by rationality can conflict in an irreconcilable way, making it impossible to satisfy all of them. Put differently, one may ask whether or not (...) any apparent conflict of this type must in fact be capable of rational resolution. I shall say that an agent who is in a position in which the requirements of rationality cannot all be satisfied faces a feasibility dilemma, and I shall characterize certain conceptions of rationality that differ according to whether or not they admit such a possibility. A second issue concerns the number of options that may be deemed rational in a decision problem. Is rationality sufficiently determinate that it always dictates precisely one choice, or may there be more than one rationally permissible option? Is there anything about rationality itself that guarantees that any of the possible options could rationally be chosen? I shall call this issue – whether the concept of rationality itself places any limits on the number of options that may be deemed rational in a given problem – the numbers problem. (shrink)
Postmodernism and Education responds to the interest in postmodernism as a way of understanding social, cultural and economic trends. Robin Usher and Richard Edwards explore the impact which postmodernism has had upon the theory and practice of education, using a broad analysis of postmodernism and an in-depth introduction to key writers in the field, including Lacan, Derrida, Foucault and Lyotard. In examining the impact which this thinking has had upon contemporary theory and practice of education, Usher and Edwards concentrate (...) particularly upon how postmodernist ideas challenge existing concepts, structures and hierarchies. (shrink)
Characteristic of metaphysics are general questions of existence, such as ‘Are there numbers?’ This kind of question is the target of Carnap's argument for deflationism, to the effect that general existential questions, if taken at face value, are meaningless. This paper considers deflationism in a theological context, and argues that the question ‘Does God exist?’ can appropriately be grouped with the ‘metaphysical’ questions attacked by Carnap. Deflationism thus has the surprising consequence that the correct approach to theism is that of (...) radical theology. The paper attempts to show why Carnap's argument fails, and why, nevertheless, enough remains of it for us to conclude that God cannot be outside time and space. (shrink)
We want to know what gender is. But metaphysical approaches to this question solely have focused on the binary gender kinds men and women. By overlooking those who identify outside of the binary–the group I call ‘genderqueer’–we are left without tools for understanding these new and quickly growing gender identifications. This metaphysical gap in turn creates a conceptual lacuna that contributes to systematic misunderstanding of genderqueer persons. In this paper, I argue that to better understand genderqueer identities, we must recognize (...) a new type of gender kind: critical gender kinds, or kinds whose members collectively destabilize one or more pieces of dominant gender ideology. After developing a model of critical gender kinds, I suggest that genderqueer is best modeled as a critical gender kind that destabilizes the ‘binary axis’, or the piece of dominant gender ideology that says that the only possible genders are the binary, discrete, exclusive, and exhaustive kinds men and women. (shrink)
In this paper, we defend two main claims. The first is a moderate claim: we have a negative duty to not use binary gender-specific pronouns he or she to refer to genderqueer individuals. We defend this with an argument by analogy. It was gravely wrong for Mark Latham to refer to Catherine McGregor, a transgender woman, using the pronoun he; we argue that such cases of misgendering are morally analogous to referring to Angel Haze, who identifies as genderqueer, as he (...) or she. The second is a radical claim: we have a negative duty to not use any gender-specific pronouns to refer to anyone, regardless of their gender identity. We offer three arguments in favor of this claim (which appeal to concerns about inegalitarianism and risk, invasions of privacy, and reinforcing essentialist ideologies). We also show why the radical claim is compatible with the moderate claim. Before concluding, we examine common concerns about incorporating either they or a neologism such as ze as a third-person singular gender-neutral pronoun. These concerns, we argue, do not provide sufficient reason to reject either the moderate or radical claim. (shrink)
Ordinary discourse is filled with discussions about ‘sexual orientation’. This discourse might suggest a common understanding of what sexual orientation is. But even a cursory search turns up vastly differing, conflicting, and sometimes ethically troubling characterizations of sexual orientation. The conceptual jumble surrounding sexual orientation suggests that the topic is overripe for philosophical exploration. This paper lays the groundwork for such an exploration. In it, I offer an account of sexual orientation – called ‘Bidimensional Dispositionalism’ – according to which sexual (...) orientation concerns what sex[es] and gender[s] of persons one is disposed to sexually engage, and makes no reference to one’s own sex and gender. (shrink)
Let us take, as a starting assumption, the Benthamic understanding of the point of law: We should make laws that will increase the overall happiness of the people whose lives are affected by them. But how should we go about doing that? And more particularly, what role, if any, should our held desires play in the task of ascertaining the content of our happiness? And when, if ever, should we defer to the desires of the affected masses, and when should (...) we not, in determining what will or will not promote happiness? The classical, or “hedonic,” utilitarians of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries suggested a number of answers to these related questions, of which I will mention two. (shrink)
What responsibility do individuals bear for structural injustice? Iris Marion Young has offered the most fully developed account to date, the Social Connections Model. She argues that we all bear responsibility because we each causally contribute to structural processes that produce injustice. My aim in this article is to motivate and defend an alternative account that improves on Young’s model by addressing five fundamental challenges faced by any such theory. The core idea of what I call the “Role-Ideal Model” is (...) that we are each responsible for structural injustice through and in virtue of our social roles, i.e. our roles as parents, colleagues, employers, citizens, etc., because roles are the site where structure meets agency. In short, the Role-Ideal Model explains how individual action contributes to structural change, justifies demands for action from each particular agent, specifies what kinds of acts should be undertaken, moderates between demanding too much and too little of individual agents, and provides an account of the critical responses appropriate for holding individuals accountable for structural injustice. (shrink)
Sally Haslanger has recently argued that philosophical focus on implicit bias is overly individualist, since social inequalities are best explained in terms of social structures rather than the actions and attitudes of individuals. I argue that questions of individual responsibility and implicit bias, properly understood, do constitute an important part of addressing structural injustice, and I propose an alternative conception of social structure according to which implicit biases are themselves best understood as a special type of structure.
The goal of this article is to show that mainstream liberal accounts of civil disobedience fail to fully capture the latter’s specific characteristics as a genuinely political and democratic practice of contestation that is not reducible to an ethical or legal understanding either in terms of individual conscience or of fidelity to the rule of law. In developing this account in more detail, I first define civil disobedience with an aim of spelling out why the standard liberal model, while providing (...) a useful starting point, ultimately leads to an overly constrained, domesticated and sanitized understanding of this complex political practice. Second, I place the political practice of civil disobedience between two opposing poles: symbolic politics and real confrontation. I argue that the irreducible tension between these poles precisely accounts for its politicizing and democratizing potential. Finally, I briefly examine the role of civil disobedience in representative democracies, addressing a series of recent challenges made in response to this radically democratic understanding of disobedience. (shrink)
This is the first anthology to bring together a selection of the most important contemporary philosophical essays on the nature and moral significance of self-respect. Representing a diversity of views, the essays illustrate the complexity of self-respect and explore its connections to such topics as personhood, dignity, rights, character, autonomy, integrity, identity, shame, justice, oppression and empowerment. The book demonstrates that self-respect is a formidable concern which goes to the very heart of both moral theory and moral life. Contributors: Bernard (...) Boxill, Stephen L. Darwall, John Deigh, Robin S. Dillon, Thomas E. Hill, Jr., Aurel Kolnai, Stephen J. Massey, Diana T. Meyers, Michelle M. Moody-Adams, John Rawls, Gabriele Taylor, Elizabeth Telfer, Laurence L. Thomas. (shrink)
Iris Marion Young’s influential Social Connections Model of responsibility offers a compelling approach to theorizing structural injustice. However, the precise nature of the kind of responsibility modelled by the SCM, along with its relationship to the liability model, has remained unclear. I offer a reading of Young that takes the difference between the liability model and the SCM to be an instance of a more longstanding distinction in the literature on moral responsibility: attributability vs. accountability. I show that interpreting the (...) SCM as a conception of accountability resolves a number of objections, while also highlighting the SCM’s distinctive stance on the relationship between ethics and politics. (shrink)
This book provides an overview of recent debates about critical theory from Pierre Bourdieu via Luc Boltanski to the Frankfurt School. Robin Celikates investigates the relevance of the self-understanding of ordinary agents and of their practices of critique for the theoretical and emancipatory project of critical theory.
We live in a world saturated in both racial and gendered divisions. Our focus is on one place where attitudes about these divisions diverge: language. We suspect most everyone would be horrified at the idea of adding race-specific pronouns, honorifics, generic terms, and so on to English. And yet gender-specific terms of the same sort are widely accepted and endorsed. We think this asymmetry cannot withstand scrutiny. We provide three considerations against incorporating additional race-specific terms into English, and argue that (...) these considerations also support eliminating the analogous gender-specific terms. With respect to these parts of speech, English should be no more gender-specific than it already is race-specific. (shrink)
Epistemic contextualists think that the truth-conditions of ‘knowledge’ ascriptions depend in part on the context in which they are uttered. But what features of context play a role in determining truth-conditions? The idea that the making salient of error possibilities is a central part of the story has often been attributed to contextualists, and a number of contextualists seem to endorse it (see Cohen (Philos Perspect, 13:57–89, 1999) and Hawthorne, (Knowledge and lotteries, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004)). In this paper (...) I argue that the focus on salience relations is a mistake. On the view I defend, the relevant features of context are facts about what error-possibilities and alternatives those in the context have a reason to consider, not facts about what error-possibilities and alternatives those in the context actually consider. As I will argue, this view has certain advantages over the standard view. (shrink)
Overview The debate over the semantics of proper names has, of late, heated up, focusing on the relative merits of referentialism and predicativism. Referentialists maintain that the semantic function of proper names is to designate individuals. They hold that a proper name, as it occurs in a sentence in a context of use, refers to a specific individual that is its referent and has just that individual as its semantic content, its contribution to the proposition expressed by the sentence. Furthermore, (...) a proper name contributes its referent to the proposition expressed by virtue of mechanisms of direct reference to individuals, not by virtue of expressing properties. Predicativists embrace an opposing view according to which proper names are just a special kind of common noun. Their semantic function is to designate properties of individuals. A proper name, as it occurs in a sentence in a context of use, expresses a property, and that property is its contribution to the proposition expr .. (shrink)
It is commonly observed that we live in an increasingly polarised world. Strikingly, we are polarised not only about political issues, but also about scientific issues that have political implications, such as climate change. This raises two questions. First, why are we so polarised over these issues? Second, does this mean our views about these issues are all equally ir/rational? In this chapter I explore both questions. Specifically, I draw on the literature on ideologically motivated reasoning to develop an answer (...) to the first question. Put briefly, we exhibit “directional biases” in our information processing: we try to assimilate new information into our existing webs of beliefs. This means that those who are predisposed to accept the case for climate change end up accepting it, whereas those who are predisposed to reject it end up rejecting it. Based on this answer, I then address the second question. I look at some reasons for thinking that, because we all exhibit such biases in our thinking, we are all equally rational (or, as the case may be, irrational). I also suggest some ways you might try reject these reasons. (shrink)
The idea that natural language grammar and planned action are relatedsystems has been implicit in psychological theory for more than acentury. However, formal theories in the two domains have tendedto look very different. This article argues that both faculties sharethe formal character of applicative systems based on operationscorresponding to the same two combinatory operations, namely functional composition and type-raising. Viewing them in thisway suggests simpler and more cognitively plausible accounts of bothsystems, and suggests that the language faculty evolved in the (...) speciesand develops in children by a rather direct adaptation of a moreprimitive apparatus for planning purposive action in the world bycomposing affordances of objects or tools. Theknowledge representation that underlies such planning is alsoreflected in the natural language semantics of tense, mood, andaspect, which the paper begins by arguing provides the key tounderstanding both systems. (shrink)
Recent work in psychology on ‘cultural cognition’ suggests that our cultural background drives our attitudes towards a range of politically contentious issues in science such as global warming. This work is part of a more general attempt to investigate the ways in which our wants, wishes and desires impact on our assessments of information, events and theories. Put crudely, the idea is that we conform our assessments of the evidence for and against scientific theories with clear political relevance to our (...) pre-existing political beliefs and convictions. In this paper I explore the epistemological consequences of cultural cognition. What does it mean for the rationality of our beliefs about issues such as global warming? I argue for an unsettling conclusion. Not only are those on the ‘political right’ who reject the scientific consensus on issues like global warming unjustified in doing so, some of those on the ‘political left’ who accept the consensus are also unjustified in doing so. I finish by addressing the practical implications of my conclusions. (shrink)
Moral agency is limited, imperfect, and structurally constrained. This is evident in the many ways we all unwittingly participate in widespread injustice through our everyday actions, which I call ‘structural wrongs’. To do justice to these facts, I argue that we should distinguish between summative and formative moral criticism. While summative criticism functions to conclusively assess an agent's performance relative to some benchmark, formative criticism aims only to improve performance in an ongoing way. I show that the negative sanctions associated (...) with summative responses are only justifiably imposed under certain conditions when persons exercise their agency wrongly — conditions that do not always hold for structural wrongs. Yet even in such cases we can still use formative responses, which are warranted whenever agents fall short of moral ideals. Expanding our repertoire of moral criticism to include both summative and formative responses enables us to better appreciate both the powers and limitations of our agency, and the complexity of moral life. (shrink)
In this peer commentary on Maura Priest's "Transgender Children and the Right to Transition: Medical Ethics When Parents Mean Well but Cause Harm", I argue against the "mismatch" model of trans identity. On this model, which is prevalent in institutional and medical contexts, to be trans is to have one's gender identity "mismatch" with one's sexed body.
For as long as realists and instrumentalists have disagreed, partisans of both sides have pointed in argument to the actions and sayings of scientists. Realists in particular have often drawn comfort from the literal understanding given even to very theoretical propositions by many of those who are paid to deploy them. The scientists' realism, according to the realist, is not an idle commitment: a literal understanding of past and present theories and concepts underwrites their employment in the construction of new (...) theories. The theme of this book is philosophy and technology, and here's the connection: new theories point out—and explain— new phenomena. So realism, claim the realists, is at the heart of science's achievement of what Bacon, that early philosopher of technology, identified as science's aim: new knowledge offering new powers. (shrink)
What’s important about ‘coming out’? Why do we wear business suits or Star Trek pins? Part of the answer, we think, has to do with what we call agential identity. Social metaphysics has given us tools for understanding what it is to be socially positioned as a member of a particular group and what it means to self-identify with a group. But there is little exploration of the general relationship between self-identity and social position. We take up this exploration, developing (...) an account of agential identity—the self-identities we make available to others. Agential identities are the bridge between what we take ourselves to be and what others take us to be. Understanding agential identity not only fills an important gap in the literature, but also helps us explain politically important phenomena concerning discrimination, malicious identities, passing, and code-switching. These phenomena, we argue, cannot be understood solely in terms of self-identity or social position. (shrink)
Chinese translation courtesy of Zhuanxu Xu. We want to know what gender is. But metaphysical approaches to this question solely have focused on the binary gender kinds men and women. By overlooking those who identify outside of the binary–the group I call ‘genderqueer’–we are left without tools for understanding these new and quickly growing gender identifications. This metaphysical gap in turn creates a conceptual lacuna that contributes to systematic misunderstanding of genderqueer persons. In this paper, I argue that to better (...) understand genderqueer identities, we must recognize a new type of gender kind: critical gender kinds, or kinds whose members collectively resist dominant gender ideology. After developing a model of critical gender kinds, I suggest that genderqueer is best modeled as a critical gender kind that stands in opposition to `the binary assumption', or the prevalent assumption that the only possible genders are the binary, discrete, exclusive, and exhaustive kinds men and women. (shrink)