Late in 1990, the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at Illinois Institute of Technology (lIT) received a grant of more than $200,000 from the National Science Foundation to try a campus-wide approach to integrating professional ethics into its technical curriculum.! Enough has now been accomplished to draw some tentative conclusions. I am the grant's principal investigator. In this paper, I shall describe what we at lIT did, what we learned, and what others, especially philosophers, can learn (...) from us. We set out to develop an approach that others could profitably adopt. I believe that we succeeded. (shrink)
Some engineering educators recognize the necessity and challenges of teaching students moral sensitivity. As recently pointed out by some scholars, along with moral sensitivity, promoting “self-knowledge” is significantly lacking in engineering curricula. We suggest that the “ethics autobiography” employed in some health and psychological science programs can serve as a useful tool for helping engineering students develop moral sensitivity and self-reflective competencies. First, this paper briefly discusses some unique potential strengths of introducing ethics autobiography as a tool for moral pedagogy (...) to engineering education. Second, this paper provides five specific examples on how to implement ethics autobiography in the classroom. Among the five examples, two are directly related to engineering education and the other three can easily be adapted to meet the needs of engineering education. Finally, this paper concludes with some discussion of the implications of ethics autobiography for engineering ethics education reform and the limitations and ethical considerations of using autobiography in moral pedagogy. (shrink)
This paper documents a conversation between a philosopher and a human computer interaction researcher whose research has been enormously influenced by Wittgenstein. In particular, the in vivo use of categories in the design of communications and AI technologies are discussed, and how this meaning needs to evolve to allow creative design to flourish. The paper will be of interest to anyone concerned with philosophical tools in everyday action.
I here respond to James Warren and John Shand's replies to my paper ‘In Defence of Four Socratic Doctrines’ by questioning the supremacy of contextualist history of philosophy over the so-called ‘analytic’ approach.
I consider the broad perspectives in biology known as ‘functionalism’ and ‘structuralism’, as well as a modern version of functionalism, ‘adaptationism’. I do not take a position on which of these perspectives is preferable; my concern is with the prior question, how should they be understood? Adapting van Fraassen’s argument for treating materialism as a stance, rather than a factual belief with propositional content, in the first part of the paper I offer an argument for construing functionalism and structuralism as (...) stances also. The argument draws especially on Gould’s insights concerning functionalism and structuralism, in particular their apparent historical continuity from the pre-Darwinian period through to today. In the second part of the paper I consider Godfrey-Smith’s distinction between empirical and explanatory adaptationism, and suggest that while the former is an empirical scientific hypothesis, the latter is closely related to the functionalist stance. (shrink)
Clinical practice and research are governed by distinct rules and regulations and have different approaches to, for example, consent and providing results. However, genomics is an example of where research and clinical practice have become codependent. The 100 000 genomes project is a hybrid venture where a person can obtain a clinical investigation only if he or she agrees to also participate in ongoing research—including research by industry and commercial companies. In this paper, which draws on 20 interviews with professional (...) stakeholders involved in 100kGP, we investigate the ethical issues raised by this project’s hybrid nature. While some interviewees thought the hybrid nature of 100kGP was its vanguard, interviewees identified several tensions around hybrid practice: how to decide who should be able to participate; how to determine whether offering results might unduly influence participation into wide-ranging but often as yet unknown research and how to ensure that patients/families do not develop false expectations about receiving results. These areas require further debate as 100kGP moves into routine healthcare in the form of the national genomic medicine service. To address the tensions identified, we explore the appropriateness of Faden et al.’s framework of ethical obligations for when research and clinical care are completely integrated. We also argue that enabling ongoing transparent and trustworthy communication between patients/families and professionals around the kinds of research that should be permitted in 100kGP will help to understand and ensure that expectations remain realistic. Our paper aims to encourage a focused discussion about these issues and to inform a new ‘social contract’ for research and clinical care in the health service. (shrink)
In this paper I formulate the thesis of the Division of Epistemic Labor as a thesis of epistemic dependence, illustrate several ways in which individual subjects are epistemically dependent on one or more of the members of their community in the process of knowledge acquisition, and draw conclusions about the cognitively distributed nature of some knowledge acquisition.
Accounts of human and animal action have been central to modern philosophy from Suarez and Hobbes in the sixteenth century to Wittgenstein and Anscombe in the mid-twentieth century via Locke, Hume, Kant, and Hegel, among many others. Philosophies of action have thus greatly influenced the course of both moral philosophy and the philosophy of mind. This book gathers together specialists from both the philosophy of action and the history of philosophy with the aim of re-assessing the wider philosophical impact of (...) action theory. It thereby explores how different notions of action, agency, reasons for action, motives, intention, purpose, and volition have affected modern philosophical understandings of topics as diverse as those of human nature, mental causation, responsibility, free will, moral motivation, rationality, normativity, choice and decision theory, criminal liability, weakness of will, and moral and social obligation. In so doing, it reinterprets the history of modern philosophy through the lens of action theory while also tracing the origins of contemporary questions in the philosophy of action back across half a millennium. This book was originally published as a special issue of Philosophical Explorations. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to defend a novel characterization of epistemic luck. Helping myself to the notions of epistemic entitlement and adequate explanation, I propose that a true belief suffers from epistemic luck iff an adequate explanation of the fact that the belief acquired is true must appeal to propositions to which the subject herself is not epistemically entitled. The burden of the argument is to show that there is a plausible construal of the notions of epistemic entitlement (...) and adequate explanation on which the resulting characterization of epistemic luck, though admittedly programmatic, has several important virtues. It avoids difficulties which plague modal accounts of epistemic luck; it can explain the conflicting temptations one can feel in certain alleged cases of epistemic luck; it offers a novel account of the value of knowledge, without committing itself to any particular analysis of knowledge; and it illuminates the significance for epistemology of the phenomenon of epistemic luck itself. (shrink)
What can nurse scientists learn from Rorty in the development of a philosophical foundation? Indeed, Rorty in his 1989 text entitled Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity tantalizes the reader with debates of reason 'against' philosophizing. Forget truth seeking; move on to what matters. Rorty would rather the 'high brow' thinking go to those that do the work in order to make the effort useful. Nursing as an applied science, has something real that is worth looking at, and that nurse researchers need (...) to think about. And as a profession built upon relationships, we should be thinking of the exchanges we have with those around us, of the contrasts in vocabularies used and of the contingencies involved, letting this launch us into our imaginings and areas of enquiry. The business of nurse researchers is to study what nurses do – how we care; Rorty would have us care. But, not to dismiss the reflective thinker as Rorty advocates for the self-doubting ironist to continue to seek the final vocabulary, the ideal of what 'this' means, accepting this as the best to be offered at the time. As a science struggling to find foundation, we need only to look at what we do and value – as antifoundational as Rorty portrays himself, Rorty 'ironically' may have revealed a foundation for nursing science that is consistent with its path. (shrink)
This paper has the aim of making Johannes von Kries’s masterpiece, Die Principien der Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung of 1886, a little more accessible to the modern reader in three modest ways: first, it discusses the historical background to the book ; next, it summarizes the basic elements of von Kries’s approach ; and finally, it examines the so-called “principle of cogent reason” with which von Kries’s name is often identified in the English literature.
Since van Fraassen first put forward the suggestive idea that many philosophical positions should be construed as ‘stances’ rather than factual beliefs, there have been various attempts to spell out precisely what a philosophical stance might be, and on what basis one should be adopted. In this paper I defend a particular account of stances, the view that they are pragmatically justified perspectives or ways of seeing the world, and compare it to some other accounts that have been offered. In (...) Sect. 2 I consider van Fraassen’s argument for construing empiricism as a stance, and look at some responses to it. In Sect. 3 I outline my conception of stances as perspectives or ways of seeing, and explain how stances so understood may be justified. I illustrate this conception by way of a discussion of the model pluralist position with respect to the units of selection debate in biology, and suggest that on the model pluralist view different perspectives on the units of selection, such as the gene’s eye view, are in fact van Fraassian stances. In Sect. 4 I discuss the view put forward by Teller and Chakravartty among others that stances should be understood as epistemic policies, and argue that it is consistent with the conception of stances as perspectives. In the final section I criticise Rowbottom’s attempt to assimilate stances to Kuhnian paradigms. I argue that he has overlooked some important disanalogies between stances and paradigms, so that the comparison obscures more than it reveals. (shrink)
I consider two attempts to combine realism with pluralism about the units of selection: Sober and Wilson’s combination of “model” and “unit” pluralism, and Sterelny and Griffiths’ “local pluralism”. I argue that both of these attempts fail to show that realism and pluralism are compatible. Sober and Wilson’s pluralism turns out, on closer inspection, to be a kind of monism in disguise, while Sterelny and Griffiths’ local pluralism involves a combination of realism and anti-realism about interactors, and the units of (...) selection, that is fundamentally unstable. My conclusion is that one must choose whether to be a realist or a pluralist in this area: one cannot be both. The question of which we should choose is a further question that I do not take a stand on. (shrink)
We propose an "explanation scheme" for why the Gibbs phase average technique in classical equilibrium statistical mechanics works. Our account emphasizes the importance of the Khinchin-Lanford dispersion theorems. We suggest that ergodicity does play a role, but not the one usually assigned to it.
Cladism, today the dominant school of systematics in biology, includes a classification component – the view that classification ought to reflect phylogeny only, such that all and only taxa are monophyletic (i.e. consist of an ancestor and all its descendants) - and a metaphysical component – the view that all and only real groups or kinds of organisms are monophyletic. For the most part these are seen as amounting to much the same thing, but I argue they can and should (...) be distinguished, in particular that cladists about classification need not accept the typically cladist view about real groups or kinds. Cladists about classification can and should adopt an explanatory criterion for the reality of groups or kinds, on which being monophyletic is neither necessary nor sufficient for being real or natural. Thus the line of reasoning that has rightly led to cladism becoming dominant within systematics, and the attractive line of reasoning in the philosophical literature that advocates a more liberal approach to natural kinds, are seen to be, contrary to appearances, compatible. (shrink)
This paper introduces an innovative curricular approach—the Health Humanities Portrait Approach —and its pedagogical tool—the Health Humanities Portrait. Both enable health professions learners to examine pressing social issues that shape, and are shaped by, experiences of health and illness. The Portrait Approach is grounded in a set of “critical portraiture” principles that foster humanities-driven analytical skills. The HHP’s architecture is distinctively framed around a pressing social theme and utilizes a first-person narrative and scholarship to explore how the dimensions of the (...) personal and the structural are mutually constituted. We argue that when creator-educators adopt the Portrait Approach and its critical portraiture principles to design and teach the HHP, they enable learners to become proficient in synthesizing and analyzing—with both depth and breadth—the human and social dimensions of patients’ lives. This inventive curricular intervention provides a needed contribution to health professions education in that it utilizes health humanities methodologies to elucidate the multiple aspects of health, illness, disability, and healthcare. (shrink)
I argue that the Conceptual Ethics and Conceptual Engineering framework, in its pragmatist version as recently defended by Thomasson, provides a means of articulating and defending the conventionalist interpretation of projects of conceptual extension (e.g. the extended mind, the extended phenotype) in biology and psychology. This promises to be illuminating in both directions: it helps to make sense of, and provides an explicit methodology for, pragmatic conceptual extension in science, while offering further evidence for the value and fruitfulness of the (...) Conceptual Ethics/Engineering framework itself, in particular with respect to conceptual change within science, which has thus-far received little attention in the literature on Conceptual Ethics/Engineering. (shrink)
An understanding of human nature has been central to the work of some of the greatest philosophical thinkers including Plato, Descartes, Hume, Hobbes, Rousseau, Freud and Marx. Questions such as 'what is human nature?', 'is there such a thing as an exclusively human nature?', 'through what methods might we best discover more about our nature?', and 'to what extent are our actions and beliefs constrained by it?' are of central importance not only to philosophy, but to our general understanding of (...) ourselves as part of the human species. This volume addresses such questions through the inclusion of special commissioned essays by specialists including John Cottingham, Hans-Johann Glock, P. M. S. Hacker, Wolfram Hinzen, Rosalind Hursthouse, Peter Kail, Sarah Patterson and Richard Samuels. (shrink)
This essay introduces a tension between the public Wittgenstein’s optimism about knowledge of other minds and the private Wittgenstein’s pessimism about understanding others. There are three related reasons which render the tension unproblematic. First, the barriers he sought to destroy were metaphysical ones, whereas those he struggled to overcome were psychological. Second, Wittgenstein’s official view is chiefly about knowledge while the unofficial one is about understanding. Last, Wittgenstein’s official remarks on understanding themselves fall into two distinct categories that don’t match (...) the focus of his unofficial ones. One is comprised of those remarks in the Investigations that challenge the thought that understanding is an inner mental process. The other consists primarily of those passages in PPF and On Certainty concerned with the difficulty of understanding others without immersing oneself into their form of life. In its unofficial counterpart, Wittgenstein focuses on individuals, rather than collectives. The official and the unofficial sets of remarks are united in assuming a distinction between understanding a person and understanding the meaning of their words. If to understand a language is to understand a form of life, then to understand a person is to understand a whole life. (shrink)
Recent years have seen a high increase in the teaching of Philosophy in schools. Programs such as Pathways Schools in Australia International Society for Philosophers, since 2003), 'Philosophy in Schools' in the UK (Royal Institute of Philosophy, since 1999), and 'Philosophy for Children' in the USA, Australia, and the UK (International Council for Philosophical Inquiry since 1985 & Society for Advancing Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education since 1993) are spreading around the world. Within a decade of its introduction Philosophy (...) (AS/A2) has become one of the most popular standard subjects taught across UK secondary.. (shrink)
In this paper, we argue that there are patterns of innovation occurring in less economically developed countries (LEDCs) that have been historically overlooked by the innovation studies literature, including the literature on innovation systems and the triple helix. This paper briefly surveys cases in agriculture, banking, biomedicine and information and communications technologies that demonstrate organizational, scientific and technological innovation in Africa, South Asia, and Brazil. In particular, we track new developments in two distinctive patterns within LEDCs: (1) civil society as (...) a site of innovation and; (2) innovation through appropriation. By systematically uncovering patterns of innovation in LEDCs, science and technology policy scholars may make new theoretical gains in innovation studies that can potentially contribute to innovation policies in the global South. (shrink)
_The Philosophy of Action: An Anthology_ is an authoritative collection of key work by top scholars, arranged thematically and accompanied by expert introductions written by the editors. This unique collection brings together a selection of the most influential essays from the 1960s to the present day. An invaluable collection that brings together a selection of the most important classic and contemporary articles in philosophy of action, from the 1960’s to the present day No other broad-ranging and detailed coverage of this (...) kind currently exists in the field Each themed section opens with a synoptic introduction and includes a comprehensive further reading list to guide students Includes sections on action and agency, willing and trying, intention and intentional action, acting for a reason, the explanation of action, and free agency and responsibility Written and organised in a style that allows it to be used as a primary teaching resource in its own right. (shrink)
This article derives from a doctoral thesis in which a particular discourse was used as a ‘paradigm case’. From this discourse an ethic set within a South African culture arose. Using many cultural ‘voices’ to aid the understanding of this narrative, the ethic shows that one can build on both a ‘justice’ and a ‘care’ ethic. With further development based on African culture one can take the ethic of care deeper and reveal ‘layers of understanding’. Care, together with compassion, forms (...) the foundation of morality. Nursing ethics has followed particular western moral philosophers. Often nursing ethics has been taught along the lines of Kohlberg’s theory of morality, with its emphasis on rules, rights, duties and general obligations. These principles were universalistic, masculine and noncontextual. However, there is a new ethical movement among Thomist philosophers along the lines to be expounded in this article. Nurses such as Benner, Bevis, Dunlop, Fry and Gadow - to name but a few - have welcomed the concept of an ‘ethic of care’. Gilligan’s work gave a feminist view and situated ethics in the everyday aspects of responsiveness, responsibility, context and concern. Shutte’s search for a ‘philosophy for Africa’ has resulted in finding similarities in Setiloane and in Senghor with those of Thomist philosophers. Using this African philosophy and a research participant’s narrative, an African ethic evolves out of the African proverb: ‘A person is a person through other persons’, or its alternative rendering: ‘I am because we are: we are because I am.’ This hermeneutic narrative reveals ‘the way affect imbues activity with ethical meaning’ within the context of a black nursing sister in a rural South African hospital. It expands upon the above proverb and incorporates the South African constitutional idea of ‘Ubuntu’ (compassion and justice or humanness). (shrink)
Where most discussions of trust focus on the rationality of trust, in this paper I explore the doxastic justification of beliefs formed through trust. I examinetwo forms of trust: the self-trust that is involved when one trusts one’s own basic cognitive faculties, and the interpersonal trust that is involved when one trusts another speaker. Both cases involve regarding a source of information as dependable for the truth. In thinking about the epistemic significance regarding a source in this way, I call (...) upon Process Reliabilism (PR). With its core idea that the epistemic goodness of a belief tracks the reliability of the process through which the belief was formed, PR suggests one way to think about the (potential) epistemic benefits and risks of trust: in cases of trust the process through which belief is formed includes reliance on an information source, where the reliability with which the source produced its information is the main determinant of the epistemic status of the beliefs formed through trusting that source. While it is much more common to find something like this picture endorsed in connection withcases of self-trust, I argue that it ought to be endorsed for cases of interpersonal trust as well. The failure to do so, I submit, reflects a commitment to an individualistic orientation that proponents of PR need not, and should not, endorse. (shrink)
This article is in two parts. The first part critically examines the foundations of Weinrib’s theory of corrective justice. It casts doubt upon his claim that private law faces incoherence if it is not entirely based upon corrective justice and questions the normative appeal of that view. The second part makes a variety of critical observations in relation to Weinrib’s corrective-justice-based treatment of particular areas of private law.
The starting point for my reading of the exchanges between Marx and Balzac is the repetition in The Eighteenth Brumaire of a striking image employed in Colonel Chabert to represent the force of ideology as experienced by a man forcibly set outside the conventions it endorses. Balzac first: “The social and judicial world weighted on his breast like a nightmare.”3 Marx’s appropriation occurs in a much-quoted meditation on the past as impediment to the future.Men make their own history, but they (...) do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.4What is the weight of an nightmare, and why do Balzac and Marx agree that invoking it is a valid means to express humanity’s relation to its history?5 4. Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, p. 15; my emphasis. Further references to this work, abbreviated EB, will be included in the text.5. In French and German: “Le monde social et judiciare lui pesait sur la poitrine comme un cauchemar”; “Die Tradition aller toten Geschlechter lastet wie ein Alp auf dem Gehirne der Lebenden.” This strikes me as so obvious a borrowing that I have to wonder why it does not seem to be generally known. On contributing factor may be that the standard French translation of The Eighteenth Burmaire gives a fanciful version of the sentence in Marx: “La tradition de toutes les generations mortes pèse d’un poids très lourd sur le cerveau des vivants”. Does this poids très lourd come from a misreading of ein Alp as eine Alp? Sandry Petrey is professor of French and comparative literature at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. The author of History in the Text: Quatrevingt-Treize and the French Revolution, he is completing a book entitled Realism and Revolution. (shrink)
Van Fraassen has argued that many philosophical positions should be understood as stances rather than factual beliefs. In this paper I discuss the vexed question of whether and how such stances can be rationally justified. Until this question has been satisfactorily answered, the otherwise promising stance approach cannot be considered a viable metaphilosophical option. One can find hints, and the beginnings of an answer to this question, in van Fraassen’s (and others’) writings, but no general, fully clear and convincing account (...) has been offered. I aim to provide such an account. In the first section I introduce the concept of a stance. In the second section I argue that stances may be justified pragmatically, in terms of both their epistemic fruits, and their coherence with values. In the third section I further consider the relationship between stances and values, arguing that the value-ladenness of a stance does not render it immune to rational scrutiny. In the final section I look at van Fraassen’s version of epistemological voluntarism, which plays a central role in his conception of the basis on which a stance may be rationally adopted. I show that voluntarism provides a theoretical framework, and approach to epistemology, within which the forms of justification appropriate to stance choice I outline in sections 2 and 3 find a natural home. (shrink)
To mark the 50th anniversary of Donald Davidson's 'Actions, reasons and causes', eight philosophers with distinctive and contrasting views revisit and update the reasons/causes debate. Their essays are preceded by a historical introduction which traces current debates to their roots in the philosophy of history and social science, linking the rise of causalism to a metaphysical backlash against the linguistic turn. Both historically grounded and topical, this volume will be of great interest to both students and scholars in the philosophy (...) of action and related areas of study. (shrink)
The aim of this book is to provide an in-depth account of Hegel’s writings on human action as they relate to contemporary concerns in the hope that it will encourage fruitful dialogue between Hegel scholars and those working in the philosophy of action. During the past two decades, preliminary steps towards such a dialogue were taken, but many paths remain uncharted. The book thus serves as both a summative document of past interaction and a promissory note of things to come. (...) We begin this introduction with some general words regarding the philosophy of action before singling out reasons for exploring Hegel’s thought in relation to it. We next present a brief overview of studies conducted to this day, followed by a thematic appraisal of the contributions appearing in this volume. (shrink)
This paper examines the relation between the various forces which underlie human action and verbal reports about our reasons for acting as we did. I maintain that much of the psychological literature on confabulations rests on a dangerous conflation of the reasons for which people act with a variety of distinct motivational factors. In particular, I argue that subjects frequently give correct answers to questions about the considerations they acted upon while remaining largely unaware of why they take themselves to (...) have such reasons to act. Pari passu, experimental psychologists are wrong to maintain that they have shown our everyday reason talk to be systematically confused. This is significant because our everyday reason-ascriptions affect characterizations of action that are morally and legally relevant. I conclude, more positively, that far from rendering empirical research on confabulations invalid, my account helps to reveal its true insights into human nature. (shrink)