We conducted a survey of residents of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, to understand their attitudes to and experiences of waste management and governance. Currently, the municipality is emphasising waste diversion and exploring new waste processing systems to reduce costs. Using Foucault's governmentality theory, our data suggest Kingston's reliance on an attitude-behaviour-context model of behaviour change successfully fosters an environmental citizenship identity based on waste diversion. However, we argue that the neoliberal governmentality upon which the attitude-behaviour-context model is predicated elides the need (...) for, and inhibits consideration of, broader societal change concerning urgent environmental issues involving consumption and waste. (shrink)
BackgroundDelirium is highly prevalent in the general hospital patient population, characterized by acute onset, fluctuating levels of consciousness, and global impairment of cognitive functioning. Mental capacity, its assessment and subsequent consent are therefore prominent within this cohort, yet under-explored.AimThis study of patients with delirium sought to determine the processes by which consent to medical treatment was attempted, how capacity was assessed, and any subsequent actions thereafter.MethodA retrospective documentation review of patients identified as having a delirium for the twelve months February (...) 2013 to January 2014 was undertaken. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were used; demographic and descriptive data collected. A total of n=1153 patients were identified with n=310 meeting inclusion criteria.ResultA random sample of one hundred patients were subsequently reviewed. One third of patients had documentation relating to consent, while four patients had documentation relating to capacity. Median delirium duration was three days, with treatment refusal occurring in twenty-two patients and “duty of care” being used as an apparent beneficent related treatment framework in twelve patients.ConclusionsWhile impaired decision-making was indicated, the review was unable to indicate what patient characteristics flag the need for capacity assessment. Documentation relating to consent processes appeared deficient for this cohort. (shrink)
Australian prisons are overpopulated with people suffering from numerous health problems. COVID-19 presents a significant threat to prisoner health. This article examines the current regulatory responses from Australian state and territory governments to COVID-19 and a recent case which tested the human rights of prisoners during a pandemic.
This article tries to grapple with the difficulty of hearing the call of the other and recognizing it as a call that obligates us to ethical response, especially when such a “call” is not issued by a human other but by other species or environmental precarity more broadly. I briefly review how ethical responsibility is articulated by Emmanuel Lévinas and then consider some of the ways in which his philosophy has been applied to environmental questions. I suggest that while some (...) calls might be obvious and obligate by the blatant need almost impossible to ignore, in many cases a hermeneutic context and predisposition is required in order to “hear” a call and understand it as ethically obligating. I conclude with one example of how it might be possible to inculcate such dispositions that would attune us to more careful hearing and might cause us to recognize ethical obligation. (shrink)
‘Bah! Humbug!’ It's the most famous line in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol , but is it the most important? Surely not, for this Christmas classic is not centrally about Christmas, but about a man, the holiday being the convenient setting for his transformation. What kind of transformation? Why a moral transformation of course, because the man, Ebenezer Scrooge, through multiple encounters with the spirit world, becomes a good man by the end of the story. But where does this story (...) begin, what are we to think of Scrooge at the outset and how is his transformation accomplished? These are the questions I take up here, for while Scrooge is tightfisted, covetous and hard-hearted, he is still a man of principle. Judged by the standards of some views on ethics, Scrooge isn't actually all that bad. How can that be? Let's start with a quick overview of two centuries of ethical theory. (shrink)
The current ethical structure for collaborative international health research stems largely from developed countries' standards of proper ethical practices. The result is that ethical committees in developing countries are required to adhere to standards that might impose practices that conflict with local culture and unintended interpretations of ethics, treatments, and research. This paper presents a case example of a joint international research project that successfully established inclusive ethical review processes as well as other groundwork and components necessary for the conduct (...) of human behavior research and research capacity building in the host country. (shrink)
The doctrine of consent is built upon presumptions of mental capacity. Those presumptions must be tested according to legal rules that may be difficult to apply to COVID-19 patients during emergency presentations. We examine the principles of mental capacity and make recommendations on how to assess the capacity of COVID-19 patients to consent to emergency medical treatment. We term this the CARD approach.
Ethical research with children requires a special concern for their well-being as individuals. Researchers are therefore expected to report problems children experience and to refer children for assistance. This article addresses difficulties that can arise as researchers attempt to meet this obligation in research with low-income ethnic minority children. Potential difficulties include both failure to report and overreporting suspected problems. The role of institutional review boards in researchers' reporting and referring behavior is also discussed.
In ‘Two Notions of Being: Entity and Essence’ E. J. Lowe defends “serious essentialism”. Serious essentialism is the position that everything has an essence, essences are not themselves things, and essences are the ground for metaphysical necessity and possibility. Lowe's defence of serious essentialism is both metaphysical and epistemological. In what follows I use Lowe's discussion as a point of departure for, first, adding some considerations for the plausibility of essentialism and, second, some work on modal epistemology.
This collection of 30 essays covers living a moral and ethical life as a lawyer and Christian, following the example of J. Reuben Clark, Jr. The mission and history of the BYU Law School is also adressed.
Feminist standpoint epistemology suggests that women are cognitively privileged, since gender-specific forms of oppression produce insights systematically denied to men. Yet if many forms of oppression exist, what happens when they overlap? Some reject such theories as irredeemably essentialist, triumphalist, and relativist, but I argue that their original versions in Hegel and Lukács as supplemented by Sabina Lovibond generate both the strongest arguments for standpoint theories and a way through their deepest difficulties.
From Santa, elves and Ebenezer Scrooge, to the culture wars and virgin birth, _Christmas - Philosophy for Everyone_ explores a host of philosophical issues raised by the practices and beliefs surrounding Christmas. Offers thoughtful and humorous philosophical insights into the most widely celebrated holiday in the Western world Contributions come from a wide range of disciplines, including philosophy, theology, religious studies, English literature, cognitive science and moral psychology The essays cover a wide range of Christmas themes, from a defence of (...) the miracle of the virgin birth to the relevance of Christmas to atheists and pagans. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to argue against a certain view of what terrorism is. In particular, I wish to dispute the definition of terrorism used by philosophers Andrew Vails and Angelo Corlett who separately put forward arguments defending the possibility of morally legitimate acts of terrorism. In support of this conclusion, they each employ a broad definition of terrorism that makes room for highly discriminate, i.e., precisely targeted, acts of political violence to count as terrorism. Defending a broad (...) definition of terrorism requires the inclusion of such cases. I argue in defense of a more narrow definition of terrorism, one that associates terrorism with more indiscriminate acts of violence. I believe that this definition better accords with common usage and commonsense. (shrink)
Offense to Others, the second in Joel Feinberg's four volume series The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law, provides the most extensive discussion to date of the problem of offensive conduct. Much that is here has been presented before in various places, which is not surprising as Feinberg has written as much, if not more on this subject than anyone else. But much that is here is new, and goes beyond just the discussion of whether the so called offense principle (...) is a legitimate basis for legislation. (shrink)
One of the first things that one notices about Lawrence Becker's book Reciprocity is its unique layout. Becker weaves together several different writing styles to produce a book of great force and clarity. Most notably, Becker makes frequent use of "extended epigraphs." In these engaging stories, some of them several pages long, he manages not merely to illustrate a particular point, but also to bring out the richness and complexity of our human relationships. In this way Becker brings home the (...) importance of his central topic, reciprocity, in our moral and social lives. (shrink)
The author recommends the incorporation of communitarian theories and critics of dominant political theory as a foundation for an advanced political philosophy course. The course is structured for students who are already familiar with the Western political philosophical tradition. Structuring the course around the liberal-communitarian debate allows students to be introduced to dominant liberal political theory and contemporary critiques of liberalism around issues of gender, race and class. Students are exposed to a wide range of views in readings that are (...) accessible to undergraduates. The author provides recommendations of current literature and anthologies that accommodate the structure of the course. (shrink)
There is widespread agreement that there should be a principle requiring that artificial intelligence be ‘explicable’. Microsoft, Google, the World Economic Forum, the draft AI ethics guidelines for the EU commission, etc. all include a principle for AI that falls under the umbrella of ‘explicability’. Roughly, the principle states that “for AI to promote and not constrain human autonomy, our ‘decision about who should decide’ must be informed by knowledge of how AI would act instead of us” :689–707, 2018). There (...) is a strong intuition that if an algorithm decides, for example, whether to give someone a loan, then that algorithm should be explicable. I argue here, however, that such a principle is misdirected. The property of requiring explicability should attach to a particular action or decision rather than the entity making that decision. It is the context and the potential harm resulting from decisions that drive the moral need for explicability—not the process by which decisions are reached. Related to this is the fact that AI is used for many low-risk purposes for which it would be unnecessary to require that it be explicable. A principle requiring explicability would prevent us from reaping the benefits of AI used in these situations. Finally, the explanations given by explicable AI are only fruitful if we already know which considerations are acceptable for the decision at hand. If we already have these considerations, then there is no need to use contemporary AI algorithms because standard automation would be available. In other words, a principle of explicability for AI makes the use of AI redundant. (shrink)
A global target of stabilizing greenhouse-gas concentrations at between 450 and 550 parts per million carbon-dioxide equivalent has proven robust to recent developments in the science and economics of climate change. Retrospective analysis of the Stern Review suggests that the risks were underestimated, indicating a stabilization target closer to 450 ppm CO2e. Climate policy at the international level is now moving rapidly towards agreeing an emissions pathway, and distributing responsibilities between countries. A feasible framework can be constructed in which each (...) country takes on its own responsibilities and targets, based on a shared understanding of the risks and the need for action and collaboration on climate change. The global deal should contain six key features: a pathway to achieve the world target of 50 per cent reductions by 2050, where rich countries contribute at least 75 per cent of the reductions; global emissions trading to reduce costs; reform of the clean development mechanism to scale up emission reductions on a sectoral or benchmark level; scaling up of R&D funding for low-carbon energy; an agreement on deforestation; and adaptation finance. (shrink)
Why does God allow evil? One hypothesis is that God desires the existence and activity of free creatures but He was unable to create a world with such creatures and such activity without also allowing evil. If Molinism is true, what probability should be assigned to this hypothesis? Some philosophers claim that a low probability should be assigned because there are an infinite number of possible people and because we have no reason to suppose that such creatures will choose one (...) way rather than another. Arguments like this depend on the principle of indifference. But that principle is rejected by most philosophers of probability. Some philosophers claim that a low probability should be assigned because doing otherwise violates intuitions about freewill. But such arguments can be addressed through strategies commonly employed to defend theories with counterintuitive results across ethics and metaphysics. (shrink)
As more and more instances of corporate hypocrisy become public, consumers have developed an inherent general skepticism towards firms’ corporate social responsibility claims. As CSR skepticism bears heavily on consumers’ attitudes and behavior, this paper draws from Construal Level Theory to identify how it can be pre-emptively abated. We posit that this general skepticism towards CSR leads people to adopt a low-level construal mindset when processing CSR information. Across four studies, we show that matching this low-level mindset with concrete CSR (...) messaging works to effectively mitigate the negative effects of inherent CSR skepticism on consumers’ attitudes, purchase intentions, and word of mouth. The resulting construal-mindset congruency strengthens the favorability of consumer responses through increased positive elaboration and perceptions of CSR message credibility. Furthermore, this congruency effect is shown to persist over time in skeptical domains but to dissipate in less skeptical domains. (shrink)
People use commonsense science knowledge to flexibly explain, predict, and manipulate the world around them, yet we lack computational models of how this commonsense science knowledge is represented, acquired, utilized, and revised. This is an important challenge for cognitive science: Building higher order computational models in this area will help characterize one of the hallmarks of human reasoning, and it will allow us to build more robust reasoning systems. This paper presents a novel assembled coherence theory of human conceptual change, (...) whereby people revise beliefs and mental models by constructing and evaluating explanations using fragmentary, globally inconsistent knowledge. We implement AC theory with Timber, a computational model of conceptual change that revises its beliefs and generates human-like explanations in commonsense science. Timber represents domain knowledge using predicate calculus and qualitative model fragments, and uses an abductive model formulation algorithm to construct competing explanations for phenomena. Timber then scores competing explanations with respect to previously accepted beliefs, using a cost function based on simplicity and credibility, identifies a low-cost, preferred explanation and accepts its constituent beliefs, and then greedily alters previous explanation preferences to reduce global cost and thereby revise beliefs. Consistency is a soft constraint in Timber; it is biased to select explanations that share consistent beliefs, assumptions, and causal structure with its other, preferred explanations. In this paper, we use Timber to simulate the belief changes of students during clinical interviews about how the seasons change. We show that Timber produces and revises a sequence of explanations similar to those of the students, which supports the psychological plausibility of AC theory. (shrink)
Bioethicists have long been concerned that seriously ill patients entering early phase (‘phase I’) treatment trials are motivated by therapeutic benefit even though the likelihood of benefit is low. In spite of these concerns, consent forms for phase I studies involving seriously ill patients generally employ indeterminate benefit statements rather than unambiguous statements of unlikely benefit. This seeming mismatch between attitudes and actions suggests a need to better understand research ethics committee members’ attitudes toward communication of potential benefits and risks (...) of early phase studies to potential subjects. We surveyed the members of two U.S. research ethics committees using a phase I gene transfer study scenario, and compared the results to a previous survey of potential subjects’ perceptions and attitudes toward benefit and risk for the same protocol. The results show that there is indeed a gap between the subjects’ perceptions and the committee members’ views on what is appropriate to be communicated to research subjects. This discrepancy is the product of both the commonly assumed optimism of the subjects and to a “protective pessimism” of the research ethics committee members. We discuss this discrepancy using “frameworks of trust” and demonstrate the need to incorporate these frameworks into the existing model of informed consent. (shrink)
Studies using Posner’s spatial cueing paradigm have demonstrated that participants can allocate their attention to specific target locations based on the predictiveness of preceding cues. Four experiments were conducted to investigate attentional orienting processes operating in a high probability condition as compared to a low probability condition using various types of centrally-presented cues. Spatially-informative cues resulted in cueing effects for both probability conditions, with significantly larger CEs in the high probability conditions than the low probability conditions. Participants in the high (...) probability conditions reported little or no awareness of cue–target probabilities after task completion. Our results provide support for an implicit learning account of the proportion valid effect under experimental conditions involving spatially-informative central cues and relatively short stimulus onset asynchronies. (shrink)
In this article, cluster analysis is used to explore the conflicting results reported when the Defining Issues Test is used to explain moral reasoning ability in business situations. Using a convenience sample, gender, age, work experience, and ethics training were examined to determine their impact on the level of moral reasoning ability as measured by the Defining Issues Test. Using the whole sample, a significant difference was found for average P scores reported for males and females, but no significant differences (...) were found based on age, work experience, and ethics training. However, the sample fell into distinct clusters that identified distinct male and female groupings. While females naturally fell into two distinct high- and low-moral reasoning ability clusters, male clusters were dominated more by work experience and ethics training. Clearly there are other factors mitigating the level of moral reasoning ability for males which require further exploration. The findings suggest that while the P score provides an initial point of comparison, the real benefit to the test is in exploring what is different for males and females in terms of training needs, and the impact of work experience on the moral reasoning ability, and most importantly, how to make ethics training enticing. Recommendations for future research are also discussed. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the views of Robert Kane on the one hand and John Fischer and Mark Ravizza on the other both lead to the following conclusion: we should have very low confidence in our ability to judge that someone is acting freely or in a way for which they can be held responsible. This in turn means, I claim, that these views, in practice, collapse into a sort of hard incompatibilist position, or the position of a (...) free will denier. That would at least be an unintended consequence, and it might be regarded as a virtual reductio. Versions of the objection could likely be made against a number of other accounts of free will, but I will limit my focus to Kane and Fischer. Along the way, by way of response to some possible objections to my argument, I make some comments about epistemic closure principles. (shrink)
This paper tackles some issues arising from Plato's account of the democratic man in Rep. VIII. One problem is that Plato tends to analyse him in terms of the desires that he fulfils, yet sends out conflicting signals about exactly what kind of desires are at issue. Scholars are divided over whether all of the democrat's desires are appetites. There is, however, strong evidence against seeing him as exclusively appetitive: rather he is someone who satisfies desires from all three parts (...) of his soul, although his rational and spirited desires differ significantly from those of the philosopher or the timocrat. A second problem concerns the question why the democrat ranks so low in Plato's estimation, especially why he is placed beneath the oligarch. My explanation is that Plato presents him as a jumble of desires, someone in whom order and unity have all but disintegrated. In this way he represents a step beyond the merely bipolarised oligarch. The final section of the paper focuses on the democrat's rational part, and asks whether it plays any role in shaping his life as a whole. For the disunity criticism to hold, Plato ought to allow very little global reasoning: if there were a single deliberating reason imposing a life plan upon his life, the fragmentation of life and character discussed earlier would only be superficial. I argue that Plato attributes very little global reasoning to the democrat. Aside from the fact that the text fails to mention such reasoning taking place, Plato's views on the development of character and his use of the state-soul analogy show that the democrat's lifestyle is determined just by the strength of the desires that he happens to feel at any one time. (shrink)
In ‘Two Notions of Being: Entity and Essence’ E. J. Lowe defends “serious essentialism”. Serious essentialism is the position that (a) everything has an essence, (b) essences are not themselves things, and (c) essences are the ground for metaphysical necessity and possi- bility. Lowe’s defence of serious essentialism is both metaphysical and epistemological. In what follows I use Lowe’s discussion as a point of departure for, first, adding some considerations for the plausi- bility of essentialismand, second, somework (...) onmodal epistemology. (shrink)
The authors, one an ethicist and the other an economist, look at the issue of free trade with Mexico and other low wage rate countries from the viewpoints of their disciplines. The conclusion of the paper is that these disciplines differ on their priorities and analytical methods, not on their objectives.