The present paper focuses on essentialism about natural kinds as a case study in order to illustrate this more general point. Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam famously argued that natural kinds have essences, which are discovered by science, and which determine the extensions of our natural kind terms and concepts. This line of thought has been enormously influential in philosophy, and is often taken to have been established beyond doubt. The argument for the conclusion, however, makes critical use of intuitions, (...) and I note that the intuitions are of the sort had by preschool children, and that they are traceable to a deep-seated cognitive outlook, which is often called “psychological essentialism.” Further, if we did not have such a cognitive outlook or implicit belief set—a belief set which is in fact in place by at least age 4—then we would not have the relevant philosophical intuitions. In light of this, I consider the question of whether natural kinds actually have scientifically discovered or discoverable essences, and whether these putative essences could determine the extensions of our terms and concepts as Kripke, Putnam, and many others have supposed. In fact, a number of philosophers of biology and chemistry have argued that biological and chemical kinds do not have such essences, yet these arguments—particularly in the case of chemistry—have not been assimilated by philosophers more generally. The reason for this poor assimilation is, I suggest, that the Kripke/Putnam view is just so intuitive. But this fact, I argue, is due to a deep-seated cognitive bias, rather than to any special insight into the nature of reality. (shrink)
Higginbotham argues that conditionals embedded under quantifiers constitute a counterexample to the thesis that natural language is semantically compositional. More recently, Higginbotham and von Fintel and Iatridou have suggested that compositionality can be upheld, but only if we assume the validity of the principle of Conditional Excluded Middle. I argue that these authors’ proposals deliver unsatisfactory results for conditionals that, at least intuitively, do not appear to obey Conditional Excluded Middle. Further, there is no natural way to extend their accounts (...) to conditionals containing ‘unless’. I propose instead an account that takes both ‘if’ and ‘unless’ statements to restrict the quantifiers in whose scope they occur, while also contributing a covert modal element to the semantics. In providing this account, I also offer a semantics for unquantified statements containing ‘unless’. (shrink)
Generic generalizations such as ‘mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus’ or ‘sharks attack bathers’ are often accepted by speakers despite the fact that very few members of the kinds in question have the predicated property. Previous work suggests that such low-prevalence generalizations may be accepted when the properties in question are dangerous, harmful, or appalling. This paper argues that the study of such generic generalizations sheds light on a particular class of prejudiced social beliefs, and points to new ways in (...) which those beliefs might be undermined and combatted. (shrink)
Ducks lay eggs' is a true sentence, and `ducks are female' is a false one. Similarly, `mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus' is obviously true, whereas `mosquitoes don't carry the West Nile virus' is patently false. This is so despite the egg-laying ducks' being a subset of the female ones and despite the number of mosquitoes that don't carry the virus being ninety-nine times the number that do. Puzzling facts such as these have made generic sentences defy adequate semantic treatment. (...) However complex the truth conditions of generics appear to be, though, young children grasp generics more quickly and readily than seemingly simpler quantifiers such as `all' and `some'. I present an account of generics that not only illuminates the strange truth conditions of generics, but also explains how young children find them so comparatively easy to acquire. I then argue that generics give voice to our most cognitively primitive generalizations and that this hypothesis accounts for a variety of facts ranging from acquisition patterns to cross-linguistic data concerning the phonological articulation of operators. I go on to develop an account of the nature of these cognitively fundamental generalizations and argue that this account explains the strange truth-conditional behavior of generics. (shrink)
"The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark." As an English corset-maker's son, Thomas Paine was expected to spend his life sewing women's underwear. But as a teenager, Thomas dared to change his destiny, enduring years of struggle until a meeting with Benjamin Franklin brought Thomas to America in 1774-and into the American Revolution. Within fourteen months, Thomas would unleash the persuasive power of the written word in Common Sense-a brash wake-up call that rallied the American people to declare independence (...) against the mightiest empire in the world. This fascinating and extensively researched biography, based on numerous primary sources, will immerse readers in Thomas Paine's inspiring journey of courage, failure, and resilience that led a penniless immigrant to change the world with his words. (shrink)
Mouton Series in Pragmatics is a timely response to the growing demand for innovative and authoritative monographs and edited volumes from all angles of pragmatics. Recent theoretical work on the semantics/pragmatics interface, applications of evolutionary biology to the study of language, and empirical work within cognitive and developmental psychology and intercultural communication has directed attention to issues that warrant reexamination, as well as revision of some of the central tenets and claims of the field of pragmatics. The series welcomes proposals (...) that reflect this endeavour and exploration within the discipline and neighboring fields such as language philosophy, communication, information science, sociolinguistics, second language acquisition and cognitive science. MSP will provide a forum for authors who represent different subfields of pragmatics including the linguistic, cognitive, social, and intercultural paradigms, and have important and intriguing ideas and research findings to share with scholars who are interested in linguistics in general and pragmatics in particular. (shrink)
This research project investigated the extent to which nurses engage in two important kinds of ethical behaviours: ethical activism (where they try to make hospitals more receptive to nurses’ participation in ethics deliberations) and ethical assertiveness (where they participate in ethics deliberations even when not formally invited). This research probed not only the extent to which nurses engage in these ethical behaviours but also whether this is influenced by professional, training and organizational factors. A random sample of 165 nurses from (...) three major hospitals in Los Angeles provided the data. Regression analyses indicate that both ethical activism and ethical assertiveness are strongly influenced by nurses’ perceptions of the receptivity of hospitals to their inclusion in ethics deliberations. In addition, nurses’ education in ethics is a significant predictor of ethical activism. The findings have important implications for the content of nurses’ ethics training as well as for expanding the boundaries of nurses’ participation in ethics deliberations. The authors define ethics deliberations as specific meetings of a number of people to discuss an ethical issue, such as one regarding the care of a patient. (shrink)
Academic women experience working in higher education differently to their male counterparts. This article argues that the unequal position of women academics is unethical, irrespective of whether one takes a consequentialist or deontological ethical position. By drawing on a range of international studies, the article explores the reasons for this inequity, suggesting that the ?cult of individual responsibility?, the positioning of women academics as ?other? and the impact of having a family are significant factors. Having identified the reasons why university (...) women experience the system differently, the article then reflects on how the ethical university can move towards bringing about greater equity between male and female colleagues. (shrink)
Over the last few years, policies have been introduced in the UK that identify and treat patients as potential organ donors before death. Patients incapacitated due to catastrophic brain injury may now undergo intensive ante-mortem interventions to improve the chances of successfully transplanting their organs into third parties after death. The most significant ethical and legal problem with these policies is that they are not based on the individual’s specific wishes in the circumstances. Policy-makers appear reluctant to inform potential registrants (...) on the Organ Donor Register about ante-mortem donor optimisation procedures and to provide an opportunity to record specific wishes in advance. They are reliant on blind trust in the organ donation programme, which as I argue in this paper, presents significant risks for the achievement of its aim of securing an adequate supply of organs for transplantation. I argue that informed trust, based on accurate information about the future consequences of registra... (shrink)
We argue that generic generalizations about racial groups are pernicious in what they communicate (both to members of that racial group and to members of other racial groups), and may be central to the construction of social categories like racial groups. We then consider how we should change and challenge uses of generic generalizations about racial groups.
Across the UK, there has been an increase in anti-abortion activism outside abortion clinics. The activism deployed includes explicitly religious activities such as ‘prayerful witnessing’ and ‘pavement counselling’, which aim to discourage women from entering clinics. This article stems from a wider ethnographic study of public activism over abortion to determine what claims about motherhood are being made within these debates. Two arguments are presented. First, how women’s role as mothers is central and essentialised in anti-abortion discourses, with the body (...) of the mother often disappearing as activists seek to erode the distinction between a foetus and a baby by constructing pregnancy as a foetal environment. Motherhood is constructed as ‘natural’ and sacred, therefore abortion must be damaging because it destroys women’s ‘natural’ position. Second, the article argues that although the activists’ arguments are always religiously framed, their activism takes place in a largely secular context, meaning that they have to find ways of appealing to secular audiences. This leads to a complex interrelationship between secular and religious discourses, where theological viewpoints sit alongside ‘scientific’ claims to buttress activists’ views. This article explores how the presence and absence of mothers within activists’ narratives is due to the tensions between religiously based understandings of motherhood, and the need to appeal to a secular audience. (shrink)
Ding und Begriff stellen den Kern von Peter F. Strawsons Philosophie dar: Worauf beziehen wir uns in unserem alltaglichen Denken und Sprechen und unter welchen Bedingungen konnen wir uns darauf beziehen? Mit dieser Frage, wie wir die Welt begrifflich erfassen, sind eine Reihe von Problemstellungen metaphysisch-ontologischer, epistemologischer, logischer und sprachphilosophischer Natur verbunden. An sie knupfen die hier versammelten Beitrage an. Die systematische Auseinandersetzung mit Strawsons Themen zeigt einige Schwachen seiner Positionen auf, weist aber auch Wege zu moglichen Losungen und bettet (...) Strawsons Philosophieren dadurch in aktuelle Debatten ein.". (shrink)
In Altered Sensations: Rudolph Koenig’s Acoustical Workshop in Nineteenth-Century Paris, David Pantalony achieves the difficult goal of balancing technical detail and historical narrative in his account of Rudolph Koenig and the nineteenth-century Parisian scientific instrument trade. The Parisian instrument making trade, particularly that of acoustical instruments, was at a high point in the mid-nineteenth century. Chief among scientific instrument makers was Rudolph Koenig (1832-1901), whose atelier at 30 Hautefeuille was at once an artisanal studio, a laboratory, a workshop and a (...) showroom. The negotiations necessary for one building, and one person, to channel such different activities is one of the main themes of Pantalony’s book. Pantalony shows that Koenig’s atelier was central to disputes surrounding the creation of the “modern soundscape” (p. 170). Debates regarding analytic versus holistic conceptions of sound, “objective” visual versus “subjective” by-ear modes of perception and measurement, and experimental versus theoretical results are all prominent in the text, and all framed by the different, but not disparate, functions of Koenig’s atelier; the building acts as a multi-faceted lens through which Pantalony considers Koenig and his instruments in their artistic, intellectual, commercial and social contexts. (shrink)
Teens' experiences with reproductive health care have been ignored by both the “social problems” moral discourse on teen pregnancy and feminist critiques of medicalization. These perspectives are both gendered and racialized in ways that marginalize African American teen mothers. Interview data with 51 poor African American teen mothers suggest that their reproductive experiences occur within very different contexts than those that have inspired feminist criticisms of medicalization. Before their pregnancies, teens are largely denied access to formal health care services and (...) reproductive information and knowledge, and once pregnant, like adult women, they alternately embrace and resist specific aspects of medical care. Their perspectives provide insights into women's experiences with the formal medical system from an understudied social location, and their narratives expand our understanding of how women's and girls' sexuality is socially constructed as problematic and managed, controlled, and regulated in particular ways depending on their social locations. (shrink)
The ordination of women to the priesthood in the Church of England in 1994 signified great change. The impact of the new priests was well documented, and their integration became the focus of much research in the following years. One important area of change was the altered dynamics of gender identity. New roles had opened up for women, but new identities had also emerged for men. While women priests were a new historical emergence, so too were clergy husbands. This paper (...) will consider the historical construction of masculinities and femininities within the church and will go on to look at this in the context of clergy spouses, specifically focusing on men occupying this role. Some provisional findings, acting as work in progress, will be considered. (shrink)
In 1992, in a historic move, the Church of England voted to allow women's ordination to priesthood and in 1994 the first women priests started to be ordained. Despite much research interest, the experiences of priests who are mothers to dependent children have been minimally investigated. Based on in-depth interviews with seventeen mothers ordained in the Church, this paper will focus on how the sacred-profane boundary is managed. Priests who are mothers have a particular insight into the Church hierarchy as (...) they symbolically straddle the competing discourses of sacred and profane. However, instead of reifying these binaries, the experiences of these women show how such dualisms are challenged and managed in everyday life. Indeed, in terms of experience, ritual, ministry and preaching, priests who are mothers are resisting, recasting and renegotiating sacred terrain in subtle and nuanced ways. Mothers thus not only negotiate the practical and sacramental demands placed on priests, but also illuminate how the sacred domain is regulated and constructed. (shrink)
Fast food companies like Siam Burger that participate in health awareness campaigns create a conflict of interest between the social responsibility of promoting health and the business interest of increasing sales through marketing strategies like advertising. Alternative options of raising health awareness without mitigating the involvement of fast food companies either by denying advertisements or having a third party foundation should be explored.
Abstract:According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the conjoining of “teaching” and “about” suggests a modality of orientation never not regulated by an imposed telos. To teach about suggests a place of unknowability that can be resolved with the successful illustration of beginnings and possible ends, a way of getting from there to here.Beginnings and ends themselves are upset by accounts of racialized and sexualized subjection. As students consider Harriet Jacobs' nineteenth century slave narrative alongside contemporary accounts of anti-black violence, for (...) example, the silliness of a syllabus unravels in the violence of palimpsestic life, texts becoming other texts, scenes collapsing into each other. In that way, the temporality of a classroom must reorient itself in the face of the terrible reach and collapsings engendered by violence and to acknowledge the complex contingencies shaping our philosophical engagements. (shrink)
This paper explores the role of generics in social cognition. First, we explore the nature and effects of the most common form of generics about social kinds. Second, we discuss the nature and effects of a less common but equally important form of generics about social kinds. Finally, we consider the implications of this discussion for how we ought to use language about the social world.