Carey's book on conceptual change and the accompanying argument that children's biology initially is organized in terms of naïve psychology has sparked a great detail of research and debate. This body of research on children's biology has, however, been almost exclusively been based on urban, majority culture children in the US or in other industrialized nations. The development of folkbiological knowledge may depend on cultural and experiential background. If this is the case, then urban majority culture children may prove to (...) be the exception rather than the rule, because plants and animals do not play a significant role in their everyday life. Urban majority culture children, rural majority culture children, and rural Native American children were given a property projection task based on Carey's original paradigm. Each group produced a unique profile of development. Only urban children showed evidence for early anthropocentrism, suggesting that the co-mingling of psychology and biology may be a product of an impoverished experience with nature. In comparison to urban majority culture children even the youngest rural children generalized in terms of biological affinity. In addition, all ages of Native American children and the older rural majority culture children gave clear evidence of ecological reasoning. These results show that both culture and expertise play a role in the development of folkbiological thought. (shrink)
Inductive arguments from evil claim that evil presents evidence against the existence of God. Skeptical theists hold that some such arguments from evil evince undue confidence in our familiarity with the sphere of possible goods and the entailments that obtain between that sphere and God’s permission of evil. I argue that the skeptical theist’s skepticism on this point is inconsistent with affirming the truth of a given theodicy. Since the skeptical theist’s skepticism is best understood dialogically, I’ll begin by sketching (...) the kind of argument against which the skeptical theist’s skepticism is pitched. I will then define ‘skeptical theistic skepticism’, offer a precise definition of ‘theodicy’, and proceed with my argument. (shrink)
Many psychological studies of categorization and reasoning use undergraduates to make claims about human conceptualization. Generalizability of findings to other populations is often assumed but rarely tested. Even when comparative studies are conducted, it may be challenging to interpret differences. As a partial remedy, in the present studies we adopt a 'triangulation strategy' to evaluate the ways expertise and culturally different belief systems can lead to different ways of conceptualizing the biological world. We use three groups (US bird experts, US (...) undergraduates, and ordinary Itza' Maya) and two sets of birds (North American and Central American). Categorization tasks show considerable similarity among the three groups' taxonomic sorts, but also systematic differences. Notably, US expert categorization is more similar to Itza' than to US novice categorization. The differences are magnified on inductive reasoning tasks where only undergraduates show patterns of judgment that are largely consistent with current models of category-based taxonomic inference. The Maya commonly employ causal and ecological reasoning rather than taxonomic reasoning. Experts use a mixture of strategies (including causal and ecological reasoning), only some of which current models explain. US and Itza' informants differed markedly when reasoning about passerines (songbirds), reflecting the somewhat different role that songbirds play in the two cultures. The results call into question the importance of similarity-based notions of typicality and central tendency in natural categorization and reasoning. These findings also show that relative expertise leads to a convergence of thought that transcends cultural boundaries and shared experiences. (shrink)
The levers of natural selection are random genetic mutation, fitness for survival, and reproductive success. Defenders of the evolutionary debunking account hold that such mechanisms aren’t likely to produce cognitive faculties that reliably form true moral beliefs. So, according to EDA, given that our cognitive faculties are a product of unguided natural selection, we should be in doubt about the reliability of our moral cognition. Let the term ‘sanspsychism’ describe the view that no supramundane consciousness exists. In arguing against theism, (...) some sanspsychists advance a normative claim about the moral significance of phenomena like sentient suffering. But if no supramundane consciousness exists, our cognitive faculties are a product of unguided natural selection. It follows that if EDA is correct, the sanspsychist should not think that our moral cognition is reliable. So unless the sanspsychist has a defeater for EDA, she should not think herself justified in appealing to normative reasons for denying the existence of God. (shrink)
What sorts of things are there in the world? Clearly enough, there are concrete, material things; but are there other things too, perhaps nonconcrete or non-material things? Some people believe that there are such things, which are often called abstract ; purported examples of such objects include numbers, properties, possible but non-actual states of affairs, propositions, and sets. Following a long-standing tradition, I shall describe persons who believe that there are abstract objects as ‘platonists’. In this paper, I shall not (...) directly address the plausibility of platonism, as compared with its rivals; instead, I shall confine my attention to one way in which some people have tried to combine platonism and theism. More specifically, I shall concentrate upon the claim that abstract objects depend upon God ontologically ; I shall argue that platonistic theists should reject DEP in favour of the claim that abstract objects exist independently of God . In order to evaluate the relative merits of DEP versus IND, it will be helpful to examine in some detail a particular articulation of DEP. When it comes to recent work on DEP, we can do no better in this regard than to examine the recent work of Thomas V. Morris and Christopher H. Menzel. According Morris and Menzel, there is a sense in which God literally creates such abstracta through engaging in intellective activities. (shrink)
Rights of Women attracted much UK media attention in late 2014 by bringing a judicial review that challenged the reduced provisions for family law legal aid available for victims of domestic violence: R v The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 35. In June 2015, within Rights of Women’s 40th anniversary year, Hannah Camplin interviewed the organisation’s Director Emma Scott about the decision to bring the judicial review, the advantages and challenges of the judicial review (...) process, and the experience of strategic litigation within the context of Rights of Women’s long history of campaigning for women’s rights. What emerged is a portrait of a feminist organisation in 2015, and, in a fast changing political and financial landscape, the dual importance of collaborative working and the need for flexibility in service provision and campaigning tools. (shrink)
In this fascinating work, Scott Soames offers a new conception of the relationship between linguistic meaning and assertions made by utterances. He gives meanings of proper names and natural kind predicates and explains their use in attitude ascriptions. He also demonstrates the irrelevance of rigid designation in understanding why theoretical identities containing such predicates are necessary, if true.
There has been a flood of scholarship over the years on whether there is a “right to privacy” in the Constitution of the United States. Griswold v. Connecticut was, of course, the Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates to this river of commentary. A subject search for “privacy, right of” in the College of William and Mary's on-line library catalog located 360 book titles. A perusal of the leading law review bibliographic indices turned up still more. Whether the Constitution (...) contains some sort of “right to be let alone” is plainly one of the central questions of contemporary constitutional discourse. (shrink)
In this book, Scott Soames illuminates the notion of truth and the role it plays in our ordinary thought as well as in our logical, philosophical, and scientific theories. Soames aims to integrate and deepen the most significant insights on truth from a variety of sources. He powerfully brings together the best technical work and the most important philosophical reflection on truth and shows how each can illuminate the other. Investigating such questions as whether we need a truth predicate (...) at all, what theoretical tasks it allows us to accomplish, and how we are to understand the content of any predicate capable of accomplishing these tasks, Soames organizes his discussion into three parts. Part I addresses crucial foundational issues as it identifies the bearers of truth, provides a basis for distinguishing truth from other notions, and formulates positive responses to well-known forms of truth-skepticism. Part II explicates the formal theories of Alfred Tarski and Saul Kripke and evaluates the philosophical significance of their work. It discusses their treatments of the Liar paradox, the relationship between truth and proof, the notion of a partially defined predicate, the concepts of logical truth and logical consequence, and the connection between truth and meaning. Part III extends important lessons drawn from Tarski and Kripke into new domains: vague predicates, the Sorites paradox, and the development of a larger, deflationary perspective on truth. Throughout the book, Soames examines a wide range of deflationary theories of truth, and attempts to separate what is correct and worth preserving in them from what is not. In doing so, he seeks to clear up many of the most significant philosophical doubts about truth. Written for a general audience while offering engaging material to the specialist, this rich study will be profitably read by both. (shrink)
This ambitious, interdisciplinary book seeks to explain the origins of religion using our knowledge of the evolution of cognition. A cognitive anthropologist and psychologist, Scott Atran argues that religion is a by-product of human evolution just as the cognitive intervention, cultural selection, and historical survival of religion is an accommodation of certain existential and moral elements that have evolved in the human condition.
Article III of the U.S. Constitution establishes an independent federal judiciary: federal courts constitute a separate branch of the national government, federal judges enjoy tenure during good behavior, and their salaries cannot be diminished while they hold office. The framers who drafted Article III in 1787 were not working from whole cloth. Rather, they were familiar with the preceding colonial and state practices, including those from New York. This essay provides a case study of New York's judicial history: the Dutch (...) period, 1621-1664; the Ducal proprietary period, 1664-1685; the Royal period, 1685-1776; and the early state period. As will be seen, New York—among the most significant of the original thirteen states—was a state groping towards a new ideal of judicial independence: an ideal that became a reality a decade after its own constitution was enacted in 1777 and at a different level of government. Significantly, the uncertain status of New York's judiciary had profound consequences for the ultimate expression of judicial independence, judicial review. (shrink)
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.
[David Charles] Aristotle, it appears, sometimes identifies well-being with one activity, sometimes with several, including ethical virtue. I argue that this appearance is misleading. In the Nicomachean Ethics, intellectual contemplation is the central case of human well-being, but is not identical with it. Ethically virtuous activity is included in human well-being because it is an analogue of intellectual contemplation. This structure allows Aristotle to hold that while ethically virtuous activity is valuable in its own right, the best life available for (...) humans is centred around, but not wholly constituted by, intellectual contemplation. /// [Dominic Scott] In Nicomachean Ethics X 7-8, Aristotle distinguishes two kinds of eudaimonia, primary and secondary. The first corresponds to contemplation, the second to activity in accordance with moral virtue and practical reason. My task in this paper is to elucidate this distinction. Like Charles, I interpret it as one between paradigm and derivative cases; unlike him, I explain it in terms of similarity, not analogy. Furthermore, once the underlying nature of the distinction is understood, we can reconcile the claim that paradigm eudaimonia consists just in contemplation with a passage in the first book requiring eudaimonia to involve all intrinsic goods. (shrink)
Using the language of common-sense psychology, we explain human behavior by citing its reason or purpose, and this is central to our understanding of human beings as agents. On the other hand, since human beings are physical objects, human behavior should also be explicable in the language of physical science, in which causal accounts cast human beings as collections of physical particles. CSP talk of mind and agency, however, does not seem to mesh well with the language of physical science.In (...) Teleological Realism, Scott Sehon argues that CSP explanations are not causal but teleological -- that they cite the purpose or goal of the behavior in question rather than an antecedent state that caused the behavior. CSP explanations of behavior, Sehon claims, are answering a question different from that answered by physical science explanations, and, accordingly, CSP explanations and physical science explanations are independent of one another. Common-sense facts about mind and agency can thus be independent of the physical facts about human beings, and, contrary to the views of most philosophers of mind in recent decades, common-sense psychology will not be subsumed by physical science.Sehon defends his non-reductionist account of mind and agency in clear and nontechnical language. He carefully distinguishes his view from forms of "strong naturalism" that would seem to preclude it. And he evaluates key objections to teleological realism, including those posed by Donald Davidson's influential article "Actions, Reasons and Causes" and some put forth by more recent proponents of causal theories of action. CSP, Sehon argues, has a different realm than does physical science; the normative notions that are central to CSP are not reducible to physical facts and laws. (shrink)
David Schweickart has challenged a number of claims that are central to my argument that market socialism would probably degenerate into something only nominally distinguishable from capitalism. Chief among these is the claim that competitive pressures would force the workers in a worker-controlled firm to create pay and authority differentials that would make such firms structurally homologous to capitalist firms. Schweickart challenges this on two fronts: He argues that there is no good reason to believe that market forces under market (...) socialism would create the pay and authority differentials characteristic of capitalism. He further argues that certain structural features of market socialism would insure that competition would not be as intense as it is under capitalism. Consequently, even if capitalistically structured firms were more efficient, it would not make much difference, since no sword of Damocles would hang over the heads of those firms whose workers prefer more collectivist methods of control. Let us consider each of these points in turn. (shrink)
It is hard to think of a more banal statement one could make about the law than to say that it necessarily claims legal authority to govern conduct. What, after all, is a legal institution if not an entity that purports to have the legal power to create rules, confer rights, and impose obligations? Whether legal institutions necessarily claim the moral authority to exercise their legal powers is another question entirely. Some legal theorists have thought that they do—others have not (...) been so sure. But no one has ever denied that the law holds itself out as having the legal authority to tell us what we may or may not do. (shrink)
This is a major, wide-ranging history of analytic philosophy since 1900, told by one of the tradition's leading contemporary figures. The first volume takes the story from 1900 to mid-century. The second brings the history up to date.
_Matters of Mind_ examines the mind-body problem. It offers a chapter by chapter analysis of debates surrounding the problem, including visual experience, consciousness and the problem of Zombies and Ghosts. It will prove invaluable for those interested in epistemology, philosophy of mind and cognitive science.
This paper addresses a significant gap in the conceptualization of business ethics within different cultural influences. Though theoretical models of business ethics have recognized the importance of culture in ethical decision-making, few have examinedhow this influences ethical decision-making. Therefore, this paper develops propositions concerning the influence of various cultural dimensions on ethical decision-making using Hofstede''s typology.
This manuscript reviews and synthesizes most of the major research studies in the area of consumer ethics that have appeared since 1990. It examines both conceptual and empirical works with an objective of encouraging researchers to pursue research in the consumer ethics area. Toward this end, the paper also suggests directions for future research.
Many philosophers, psychologists, and medical practitioners believe that killing is no worse than letting die on the basis of James Rachels's Bare-Difference Argument. I show that his argument is unsound. In particular, a premise of the argument is that his examples are as similar as is consistent with one being a case of killing and the other being a case of letting die. However, the subject who lets die has both the ability to kill and the ability to let die (...) while the subject who kills lacks the ability to let die. Modifying the latter example so that the killer has both abilities yields a pair of cases with morally different acts. The hypothesis that killing is worse than letting die is the best explanation of this difference. (shrink)
This article presents the results of a study that investigated the roles that one's money ethic, religiosity and attitude toward business play in determining consumer attitudes/beliefs in various situations regarding questionable consumer practices. Two dimensions of religiosity - intrinsic and extrinsic religiousness - were studied. A global scale of money ethic was examined, as was a global measure of attitude toward business. Results indicate that both types of religiosity as well as one's money ethic and attitude toward business were significant (...) determinants of at least some types of consumer ethical beliefs. (shrink)
Business and marketing ethics have come to the forefront in recent years. While consumers have been surveyed regarding their perceptions of ethical business and marketing practices, research has been minimal with regard to their ethical beliefs and ideologies. This research investigates general attitudes of consumers relative to business, government and people in general, and compares these attitudes to their beliefs concerning various questionable consumer practices. The results show that consumers'' ethical beliefs are determined, in part, by who is at fault (...) in the unethical behavior (the seller or the buyer). The results also indicate that those with a more positive attitude toward business are less likely to engage in questionable consumer practices, but one''s attitudes toward salespeople, the government and people in general arenot related to the consumer''s ethical beliefs. (shrink)
Business and especially marketing ethics have come to the forefront in recent years. While consumers have been surveyed regarding their perceptions of ethical business and marketing practices, research has been minimal with regard to their perceptions of ethical consumer practices. In addition, few studies have examined the ethical beliefs of elderly consumers even though they are an important and rapidly growing segment. This research investigates the relationship between Machiavellianism, ethical ideology and ethical beliefs for elderly consumers. The results indicate that (...) elderly consumers, while generally being more ethical than younger consumers, are diverse in their eithical beliefs. (shrink)
The literature is replete with articles emphasizing the importance of corporate social responsibility. However, few, if any, of these articles discuss the role of the consumer in achieving corporate social responsibility. It is the premise of the current paper that it may be difficult for corporate social responsibility to succeed without the assistance of consumers. That is, for corporate social responsibility to flourish, it needs to be accompanied by consumer social responsibility. This paper examines this proposition, makes the distinction between (...) consumer ethics and CnSR, and presents research in these two expanding areas of inquiry, examining literature which supports the role of CnSR in complementing corporate social responsibility. (shrink)
Toward the end of Hume's Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, Philo catalogues the ‘frivolous observances’, ‘rapturous ecstasies’ and ‘bigotted credulity’ of ‘vulgar superstition’, concluding that ‘true religion, I allow, has no such pernicious consequences: But we must treat of religion, as it has com monly been found in the world’. This would be a mild enough sort of caveat were it not nigh on impossible to determine exactly what counts as true religion, and how it figures in Hume's argument. Typically, answers (...) to this puzzle have required identifying the positions of the discussants, and then arguing that one of them represents Hume's views. A catalogue of the options may prove instructive. (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)
This study compares college students with other adults in terms of the Muncy–Vitell (1992) consumer ethics scale. Further, the study updates the Muncy–Vitell consumer ethics scale with modifications that include rewording and the addition of new items. These new items can be grouped into three distinct categories – (1) downloading/buying counterfeit goods, (2) recycling/environmental awareness and (3) doing the right thing/doing good. The study also compares these two groups in terms of their attitude toward business. Results show that there is (...) indeed a significant difference between these two groups in terms of ethical perceptions, but not in terms of the “recycling” items and the “doing good” items. There was also little difference between the groups in terms of their attitude toward business indicating that attitude toward business does not explain their different ethical perspectives. (shrink)
This article presents the results of a study that investigated the roles that religiosity and ones money ethic play in determining consumer attitudes/beliefs in various situations regarding questionable consumer practices. One dimension of religiosity – intrinsic religiousness – was studied. Four separate dimensions of a money ethic scale were initially examined, but only one was used in the final analyses. Results indicated that both intrinsic religiousness and one’s money ethic were significant determinants of most types of consumer ethical beliefs.
In Bertrand Russell's 1903 Principles of Mathematics, he offers an apparently devastating criticism of the neo-Kantian Hermann Cohen's Principle of the Infinitesimal Method and its History (PIM). Russell's criticism is motivated by his concern that Cohen's account of the foundations of calculus saddles mathematics with the paradoxes of the infinitesimal and continuum, and thus threatens the very idea of mathematical truth. This paper defends Cohen against that objection of Russell's, and argues that properly understood, Cohen's views of limits and infinitesimals (...) do not entail the paradoxes of the infinitesimal and continuum. Essential to that defense is an interpretation, developed in the paper, of Cohen's positions in the PIM as deeply rationalist. The interest in developing this interpretation is not just that it reveals how Cohen's views in the PIM avoid the paradoxes of the infinitesimal and continuum. It also reveals some of what is at stake, both historically and philosophically, in Russell's criticism of Cohen. (shrink)