This article explores how the diversity of board resources and the number of women on boards affect firms' corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings, and how, in turn, CSR influences corporate reputation. In addition, this article examines whether CSR ratings mediate the relationships among board resource diversity, gender composition, and corporate reputation. The OLS regression results using lagged data for independent and control variables were statistically significant for the gender composition hypotheses, but not for the resource diversitybased hypotheses. CSR ratings had (...) a positive impact on reputation and mediated the relationship between the number of women on the board and corporate reputation. (shrink)
Rather than think about citizenship in minimal terms, I argue for a more aspirational “bearing” of the public self, one appropriate for the challenges of globalizing, late-modern political life. For left democratic theory this is hardly an abstract issue, given how successful groups like the Tea Party have been in articulating a right-leaning aspirational portrait. What might a counter-portrait look like that was comparably scripted for the middle classes in affluent liberal democracies? An answer is not immediately clear, given that (...) left democratic theory’s attention has been traditionally focused on an overly simple, two-entity social ontology: elites and demos. The question I consider is what script might be articulated for middle segments of society in relation to how they should bear themselves toward less advantaged segments of society? This does not replace thinking about the demos, but rather supplements it with reflection on the complex alignments of contemporary political life. (shrink)
Tench Coxe, a member of the second rank of this nation's Founders and a leading proponent of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, wrote prolifically about the right to keep and bear arms. In this Article, the authors trace Coxe's story, from his early writings in support of the Constitution, through his years of public service, to his political writings in opposition to the presidential campaigns of John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The authors note that Coxe described (...) the Second Amendment as guaranteeing an individual right, and believed that an individual right to bear arms was necessary for self-defense and hunting, as well as for militia purposes and protection against oppression by large standing armies. The views of this important Founding Era political commentator and public servant inform the ongoing Second Amendment debate. The authors argue that Coxe's depiction of an individual right to bear arms encompassing hunting, self-defense, and the public militia power supports the "Standard Model" of the Second Amendment prevalent in the legal literature. This Article also discusses Coxe's important role as an economic scholar in early America, and in the creation of the protectionist system of the early Republic, as both an journalistic advocate and as an executive branch official. One of his executive branch positions involved heading the federal government program to give guns to militiamen who could not afford their own. (shrink)
In this article, I comment on Stephen White’s version of critical theory as presented in A Democratic Bearing. I specifically focus on his version of the “colonization thesis” and the social analysis this leads to. I also scrutinize his normative framework, especially the claim of non-foundationalism and the difference between his view and Kantian discourse theory.
In this paper I pose two questions for Stephen White and his aspirational model of citizenship. The first is to ask what ethical sources do citizens need to oppose the presence of Nazis in our public sphere. The second is to question White’s deep suspicion of foundationalism and theism as sources of an open and democratic bearing and indeed as sources from which we can build strong opposition to Nazis.
Aboutness has been studied from any number of angles. Brentano made it the defining feature of the mental. Phenomenologists try to pin down the aboutness-features of particular mental states. Materialists sometimes claim to have grounded aboutness in natural regularities. Attempts have even been made, in library science and information theory, to operationalize the notion. But it has played no real role in philosophical semantics. This is surprising; sentences have aboutness-properties if anything does. Aboutness is the first book to examine through (...) a philosophical lens the role of subject matter in meaning. A long-standing tradition sees meaning as truth-conditions, to be specified by listing the scenarios in which a sentence is true. Nothing is said about the principle of selection--about what in a scenario gets it onto the list. Subject matter is the missing link here. A sentence is true because of how matters stand where its subject matter is concerned. Stephen Yablo maintains that this is not just a feature of subject matter, but its essence. One indicates what a sentence is about by mapping out logical space according to its changing ways of being true or false. The notion of content that results--directed content--is brought to bear on a range of philosophical topics, including ontology, verisimilitude, knowledge, loose talk, assertive content, and philosophical methodology. Written by one of today's leading philosophers, Aboutness represents a major advance in semantics and the philosophy of language. (shrink)
What is it for something to be good for you? It is for that thing to contribute to the appeal of being in your position or, more informally, “in your shoes.” To be in one’s position or shoes in the broadest possible sense is to have that person’s life. Accordingly, something is good or bad for a person in the broadest possible sense if and only if it contributes to or detracts from the appeal of having her life. What, then, (...) is a prudentially good life, or a life that goes well for the one living it? It is an appealing life. More precisely, it is a life such that having it is worthy of appeal, in and of itself. This dissertation is a defense and exploration of this way of understanding prudential value. I call it the "appealing life analysis." In Chapter I, I argue that this analysis fits well with our ways of talking about prudential value; preserves the relationship between prudential value and the attitudes of concern, love, pity, and envy; yields promising analyses of the concepts of well-being, luck, selfishness, self-sacrifice, and paternalism; and succeeds where three rival analyses fail. I also examine how this analysis bears on the relationship between prudence and morality and the debate between subjectivists and objectivists about prudential value. Chapter II draws upon the appealing life analysis to interpret a long-standing puzzle about prudential value and time. I highlight various ways in which this interpretation is informative and moves us closer to a solution to the puzzle. Chapter III provides a preliminary investigation and defense of an ethical theory that I call "prudentialism," which prescribes maximizing the appeal of having one’s own life. On certain conceptions of the appealing life, this theory has the virtue of avoiding the charge of being either too morally demanding or not morally demanding enough. I examine the structure of this theory, sketch a partial, substantive account of the appealing life, and discuss how the prudentialist can respond to various objections. (shrink)
Postmodernism has evoked great controversy and it continues to do so today, as it disseminates into general discourse. Some see its principles, such as its fundamental resistance to metanarratives, as frighteningly disruptive, while a growing number are reaping the benefits of its innovative perspective. In Political Theory and Postmodernism, Stephen K. White outlines a path through the postmodern problematic by distinguishing two distinct ways of thinking about the meaning of responsibility, one prevalent in modern and the other in postmodern (...) perspectives. Using this as a guide, White explores the work of Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard, and Habermas, as well as 'difference' feminists, with the goal of showing how postmodernism can inform contemporary ethical-political reflection. In his concluding chapter, White examines how this revisioned postmodern perspective might bear on our thinking about justice. (shrink)
Often, when there is a reason for you to do something, it is the kind of thing to motivate you to do it. For example, if Max and Caroline are deciding whether to go to the Alcove for dinner, Caroline might mention as a reason in favor, the fact that the Alcove serves onion rings the size of doughnuts, and Max might mention as a reason against, the fact that it is so difficult to get parking there this time of (...) day. It is some sign—perhaps not a perfect sign, but some sign—that each of these really is a reason, that Max and Caroline feel the tug in each direction. Mention of the Alcove's onion rings makes them feel to at least some degree inclined to go, and mention of the parking arrangements makes them feel to at least some degree inclined not to. According to some philosophers, reasons for action always bear some relation like this to motivation. This idea is variously known as ‘ reasons internalism’, ‘internalism about reasons ’, or ‘the internal reasons theory’. According to other philosophers, not all reasons are related to motivation in any of the ways internalists say. This idea is known as ‘ reasons externalism’ or ‘externalism about reasons ’. (shrink)
In a world where every person is exposed daily through the mass media to images of violence and suffering, as most dramatically exemplified in recent years by the ongoing tragedy in Darfur, the question naturally arises: What responsibilities do we, as bystanders to such social injustice, bear in holding accountable those who have created the conditions for this suffering? And what is our own complicity in the continuance of such violence—indeed, how do we contribute to and benefit from it? (...) How is our responsibility as individuals connected to our collective responsibility as members of a society? Such questions underlie Stephen Esquith’s investigation in this book. For Esquith, being responsible means holding ourselves accountable as a people for the institutions we have built or tolerated and the choices we have made individually and collectively within these institutional constraints. It is thus more than just acknowledgment; it involves settling accounts as well as recognizing our own complicity even as bystanders. (shrink)
Can hybridism about moral claims be made to work? I argue it can if we accept the conventional implicature approach developed in Barker (Analysis 2000). However, this kind of hybrid expressivism is only acceptable if we can make sense of conventional implicature, the kind of meaning carried by operators like ‘even’, ‘but’, etc. Conventional implictures are a form of pragmatic presupposition, which involves an unsaid mode of delivery of content. I argue that we can make sense of conventional implicatures, but (...) doing so requires we embrace a form of pure, non-hybrid expressivism. This is a cognitivist expressivism I have developed elsewhere. We need cognitivist expressivism to make sense of how we evaluate—judge as correct or incorrect—implicature-bearing sentences. Once we embraced the possibility of this pure expressivism, we might as well be pure expressivists about normative discourse too. I show how we can do that. The motivations for a specifically hybrid theory are dialectically undercut. (shrink)
The concept of "practices"--whether of representation, of political or scientific traditions, or of organizational culture--is central to social theory. In this book, Stephen Turner presents the first analysis and critique of the idea of practice as it has developed in the various theoretical traditions of the social sciences and the humanities. Understood broadly as a tacit understanding "shared" by a group, the concept of a practice has a fatal difficulty, Turner argues: there is no plausible mechanism by which a (...) "practice" is transmitted or reproduced. The historical uses of the concept, from Durkheim to Kripke's version of Wittgenstein, provide examples of the contortions that thinkers have been forced into by this problem, and show the ultimate implausibility of the idea. Turner's conclusion sketches a picture of what happens when we do without the notion of a shared practice, and how this bears on social theory and philosophy. It explains why social theory cannot get beyond the stage of constructing fuzzy analogies, and why the standard constructions of the contemporary philosophical problem of relativism depend upon this defective notion. This first book-length critique of practice theory is sure to stir discussion and controversy in a wide range of fields, from philosophy and science studies to sociology, anthropology, literary studies, and political and legal theory. (shrink)
The most comprehensive collection of essays on Descartes' scientific writings ever published, this volume offers a detailed reassessment of Descartes' scientific work and its bearing on his philosophy. The 35 essays, written by some of the world's leading scholars, cover topics as diverse as optics, cosmology and medicine, and will be of vital interest to all historians of philosophy or science.
Metaphysics and Science brings together important new work within an emerging philosophical discipline: the metaphysics of science. In the opening chapter, a definition of the metaphysics of science is offered, one which explains why the topics of laws, causation, natural kinds, and emergence are at the discipline's heart. The book is then divided into four sections, which group together papers from leading academics on each of those four topics. Among the questions discussed are: How are laws and measurement methods related? (...) Can a satisfactory reductive account of laws be given? How can Lorentz transformation laws be explained? How are dispositions triggered? What role should dispositional properties play in our understanding of causation? Are natural kinds and natural properties distinct? How is the Kripke-Putnam semantics for natural kind terms related to the natural kind essentialist thesis? What would have to be the case for natural kind terms to have determinate reference? What bearing, if any, does nonlinearity in science have on the issue of metaphysical emergence? (shrink)
The concept of "practices"—whether of representation, of political or scientific traditions, or of organizational culture—is central to social theory. In this book, Stephen Turner presents the first analysis and critique of the idea of practice as it has developed in the various theoretical traditions of the social sciences and the humanities. Understood broadly as a tacit understanding "shared" by a group, the concept of a practice has a fatal difficulty, Turner argues: there is no plausible mechanism by which a (...) "practice" is transmitted or reproduced. The historical uses of the concept, from Durkheim to Kripke's version of Wittgenstein, provide examples of the contortions that thinkers have been forced into by this problem, and show the ultimate implausibility of the idea. Turner's conclusion sketches a picture of what happens when we do without the notion of a shared practice, and how this bears on social theory and philosophy. It explains why social theory cannot get beyond the stage of constructing fuzzy analogies, and why the standard constructions of the contemporary philosophical problem of relativism depend upon this defective notion. This first book-length critique of practice theory is sure to stir discussion and controversy in a wide range of fields, from philosophy and science studies to sociology, anthropology, literary studies, and political and legal theory. (shrink)
Let us call dispositional monism the view that all natural properties have their identities fixed purely by their dispositional features, that is, by the patterns of stimulus and response in which they participate. DM implies that natural properties are pure powers: things whose natures are fully identified by their roles in determining the potentialities of events to cause or be caused. As pure powers, properties are meant to lack quiddities in Black's sense. A property possesses a quiddity just in case (...) its identity is fixed by something independent of the causal–nomological roles it may enter into. Paradigmatically, a categorical property is thought of as a property whose identity is fixed by a quiddity .The key question about the viability of DM as a theory of properties is how properties can be pure powers devoid of any quiddity. Bird provides an answer. According to Bird , ‘all there is to a property is a matter of second-order relations to other properties’. The second-order relation is just the relation that a disposition, its stimulus condition, and a manifestation condition bear to each other. Call this relation SR. SR is not causation or physical necessitation. The latter relations are first-order relations between concrete events. SR is a second-order relation. Its possession by properties explains why events featuring those properties can enter into certain first-order relations of causation or necessitation.Bird's thought then is this: the sense in which properties have their identities fixed purely by their causal–nomological roles is that they are relationally constituted, where the relation doing the constituting is SR. 1 This thesis of relational constitution does not imply that natural properties are themselves relations. Nothing prevents the identity …. (shrink)
Attempts within sociolinguistics to model the African American speech community require a sound account of what a competent participant knows when they give correct interpretations of utterances made within such a community, a phenomenon any larger theory of language use ought to address. To provide this account, I reconstruct a line of argument from the philosophical history of discussions on African American speech communities. I give this history in terms of pragmatic arguments, that is, in terms of the ability of (...) vernacular speakers to manage the "slip" between speaker meaning and conventional meaning so as to effectively communicate, and thus be interpretable to competent auditors. ;In the writings of African American philosophers Alexander Crummell and Alain Locke especially, the general pragmatic strategy is to take the regulative background of speech acts to play a central role in vernacular interpretation, particularly as it relates language use to patterns of interpretation available to a speech community and to communicative aspects of the socialization of members of that community . In terms of meaning, interpretation is seen by Crummell as a function of publicly accessible meaning; he endorses the claim that the content which a word expresses is an idea in the mind of a speaker--what I call the Semantic Identity Thesis. Locke's insight, however, that cognitive meaning and content-bearing linguistic vehicles can be assessed independently provides him with the leverage to treat speaker meaning and symbol meaning as distinct components of a speaker's competence to successfully interpret utterances--what I call the Semantic Distance Thesis. ;Using these accounts to model inferences in communication, I argue that a complete account of interpretation will show how a speaker accesses inferential, conventional and social knowledge. These sorts of knowledge are tied to the prevailing norms emerging from a regulative background for communication within the language use of a speech community. In this way, the slip between conventional meaning and speaker meaning can be understood as structuring the communicative context of vernacular speech, in that social knowledge plays a central role in effective interpretive inference. (shrink)
Essence and causation are fundamental in metaphysics, but little is said about their relations. Some essential properties are of course causal, as it is essential to footprints to have been caused by feet. But I am interested less in causation's role in essence than the reverse: the bearing a thing's essence has on its causal powers. That essencemight make a causal contribution is hinted already by the counterfactual element in causation; and the hint is confirmed by the explanation essence offers (...) of something otherwise mysterious, namely, how events exactly alike in every ordinary respect, like the bolt'ssuddenly snapping and its snapping per se, manage to disagree in what they cause. Some prior difference must exist between these events to make their causal powers unlike. Paradoxically, though, it can only be in point of a property, suddenness, which both events possess in common. Only by postulating a difference in themanner — essential or accidental — of the property's possession is the paradox resolved. Next we need an account of causation in which essence plays an explicit determinative role. That account, based on the idea that causes should becommensurate with their effects, is thatx causesy only if nothing essentially poorer would have done, and nothing essentially richer was needed. (shrink)
In The Things We Mean I argue that there exist such things as the things we mean and believe, and that they are what I call pleonastic propositions. The first two chapters offer an initial motivation and articulation of the theory of pleonastic propositions, and of pleonastic entities generally. The remaining six chapters bring that theory to bear on issues in the theory of content: the existence and nature of meanings; knowledge of meaning; the meaning relation and compositional semantics; (...) the relation between content-involving facts and underlying physical facts; vagueness and indeterminacy; conditionals; normative discourse; and the role of propositional content in explanation, prediction, and knowledge acquisition. (shrink)
Knowledge is closed under implication, according to standard theories. Orthodoxy can allow, though, that apparent counterexamples to closure exist, much as Kripkeans recognize the existence of illusions of possibility which they seek to explain away. Should not everyone, orthodox or not, want to make sense of “intimations of openness”? This paper compares two styles of explanation: evidence that boosts P’s probability need not boost that of its consequence Q; evidence bearing on P’s subject matter may not bear on the (...) subject matter of Q. (shrink)
This essay explores claims made frequently by artists, critics, and philosophers that artworks bear personifying traits. Rejecting the notion that artists possess the Pygmalion-like power to bring works of art to life, the article looks seriously at how parallels may exist between the ontological structures of the artwork and human personhood. The discussion focuses on Arthur Danto’s claim that the “artworld” itself manifests properties that are an imprint of the historical representation of the “world.” These “world” representations are implicitly (...) embodied in the artist’s style. The “world” that is stamped on the people of a historical period entails a point of view that influences how they might act, something like the logic that guides a conversation. This “conversational” logic is also extant in the artworks that artists of a given period create. This analysis of Danto’s account of how people are connected to their world clarifies Danto’s assertions that a parallel structure of personification in the artwork and the human exists. It also explains his claims that artworks themselves appear to be in a kind of dialogue. (shrink)
In this essay I draw on the work of novelist J. M. Coetzee and philosophers Cora Diamond, Stanley Cavell, and Stephen Mulhall to reflect on what it might mean to do Christian ethics without denying the "difficulty of reality." I then turn to John Howard Yoder's 1987 SCE presidential address to show how his call to see history doxologically enables the Christian to acknowledge the "difficulty of reality" without succumbing to despair. To acknowledge humanity's limitations without falling into despair (...) or hopeless skepticism is only possible because the community founded on the crucified and risen Lord means we never bear reality alone. (shrink)
This article analyzes the wages (costs) of contempt. It argues that the social and political division and dysfunction caused by contempt and imagined content undermines political discussion and creates terrible costs for contemned and contemner in the burdens of shame and guilt they must bear.
_Disorientation_ is the first publication in English of the second volume of _Technics and Time_, in which French philosopher Bernard Stiegler engages in a close dialogue with Husserl, Derrida, and other philosophers who have devoted their energies to technics, such as Heidegger and Simondon.The author's broad intent is to respond to Western philosophy's historical exclusion of technics and techniques from its metaphysical questionings, and in so doing to rescue critical and philosophical thinking. For many years, Stiegler has explored the origins (...) and philosophical, ethical, and political stakes of a global process he calls "the industrial temporalization of consciousness." Here, demonstrating that technology—including alphabetical writing—is memory, he argues that through new technologies of retention and inscription we have come to live in a world where time devours space, a disoriented world in which we have lost our bearings. Immersed in the multimedia of an over-connected world, with time and space as we know them abolished, we no longer find "cardinal points" to guide us and may even be led where we do not wish to go. We must therefore prepare to confront new spheres of ideological control and discover new possibilities in the digital environment. (shrink)
This book addresses what it means to teach and learn ethics. While teaching ethics is universally applauded, how one goes about it is much more difficult and contested than is often recognized. The approach of the work is historical, philosophical, and theological. It begins with the historical transformation in the mid nineteenth century by Henry Sidgwick, who rejected establishing ethics on theology or metaphysics. G. E. Moore, John Rawls, Thomas Hurka, Bart Schultz, and Peter Singer later explicitly developed ethics indebted (...) to Sidgwick. However, G. E. M. Anscombe and Philippa Foot's important interventions in modern moral philosophy opened new possibilities for teaching and learning ethics that bear strong resemblances to pre-Sidgwick moral philosophy. The common thread between them is Thomas Aquinas, who had a different understanding of human action than Sidgwick. For Aquinas, Foot, and Anscombe, ethics does not concern a procedure to guide action to what is right or what ought to be, but exists within a metaphysical and theological realm in which the good is more basic than the right. The good is attractive so desire for it is an essential element of the moral life. (shrink)
In the second chapter of her <i>Institutions de Physique</i> Emilie Du Chatelet gives two cosmological arguments for the existence of God. In this chapter I focus on the first of these arguments. I argue that, while it bears some significant similarities to arguments given by John Locke and Christian Wolff, it improves on these arguments in at least two ways. First, it avoids a potential equivocation in Locke's argument; and second, it avoids Wolff's mere stipulation that whoever claims that there (...) cannot be an infinite regress of contingent beings does not understand what a sufficient reason is. I finally argue that her argument avoids a related objection, considered by David Hume, on which to explain a causal chain is merely to explain each link in the chain. (shrink)
Programmatic concepts have elements that point in a valued direction or name a desired goal. We provide a detailed analysis of the nature of programmatic concepts and cite examples of the programmatic elements found in conceptions of scientific literacy. Next we describe what values underlie these elements and what theories of value might be brought to bear in assessing them. We present an analysis of approximately 70 conceptions of scientific literacy found in the literature since the year 2000. We (...) identify the goals that each of these conceptions of scientific literacy implies and uncover the programmatic elements that are used to justify these goals. Our purpose is to present a sufficiently wide range of views to have a good representation of goals and programmatic elements. Third, we point to a number of pitfalls in any attempt to make preferential selections among the programmatic elements of conceptions of scientific literacy. (shrink)
Stephen Jay Gould's Wonderful Life is a study of the fossils of the Burgess Shale of British Columbia. My concern is with the morals that Gould draws, with the ?new picture of life? that, he says, the reinterpreted Burgess animals compel. I conclude that his case is not established. (1) There may have been reasons to do with ?fitness? why most of the Burgess animals left no descendants, even if we cannot guess exactly what they were. (2) We do (...) not know that our past is dotted with the kind of mass extinctions that are needed for the random evolution that he proposes. (3) Even if what happened does rest on random variation and largely random selection, it does not follow that there are no standing forms that will be constantly re?instantiated. If Rational Life, in particular, is not special, then we have no right to think the world we experience bears any remote resemblance to a putative real world. (4) Even if there are no such forms, the fact that nothing in the state of things required us to exist is no good reason to say that No one requires us to. What Gould says does count against a simple progressivism, but not against an older and more orthodox theology. It also has implications for the Search for Extra?Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). (shrink)
Modern developments in philosophy have provided us with tools, logical and methodological, that were not available to Medieval thinkers - a development that has its dangers as well as opportunities. Modern tools allow one to penetrate old texts and analyze old problems in new ways, offering interpretations that the old thinkers could not have known. But unless one remains sensitive to the fact that language has undergone changes, bringing with it a shift in the meaning of terminology, one can easily (...) perpetrate an anachronism. Yet there is a growing need to bring modern tools and to bear on the struggle for greater understanding of the problems studied and the solutions found by the ancient scholars. If we remain sensitive to the dangers, this openness to new methods can be expected to widen our perspectives and deepen our knowledge of old material. The focus in the present volume is on problems in Medieval and contemporary philosophy of religion. (shrink)
'I think, therefore I am' - Descartes..'Such tricks hath strong imagination..That, if it would but apprehend some joy,..It comprehends some bringer of that joy;..Or in the night, imagining some fear,..How easy is a bush supposed a bear?' - Shakespeare..A unique compendium of key texts of psychology, from Aristotle to cutting-edge neuroscience.
This book explores the overlooked but vital theoretical relationships between R. M. Hare, Alan Gewirth, and Jürgen Habermas. The author claims their accounts of value, while failing to address classic virtue-theoretical critiques, bear the seeds of a resolution to the ultimate question "What is most valuable?" These dialectical approaches, as claimed, justify a reinterpretation of value and value judgment according to the Carnapian conception of an empirical-linguistic framework or grammar. Through a further synthesis with the work of Philippa Foot (...) and Thomas Magnell, the author shows that "value" would be literally meaningless without four fundamental phenomena which constitute such a framework: Logical Judgment, Conceptual Synthesis, Conceptual Abstraction, and Freedom. As part of the 'grammar of goodness,' the excellence of these phenomena, in a highly concrete way, constitute the essence of the greatest good, as this book explains.. (shrink)
In what follows I propose to bring out certain methodological properties of projects of modelling the tacit realm that bear on the kinds of modelling done in connection with scientific cognition by computer as well as by ethnomethodological sociologists, both of whom must make some claims about the tacit in the course of their efforts to model cognition. The same issues, I will suggest, bear on the project of a cognitive psychology of science as well.
In this paper, I consider the question of why future generations need protecting, and how we might go about providing such protection. I begin by claiming that our basic position with respect to the further future can be characterized by what I call the problem of intergenerational buck-passing. This problem implies that our temporal position allows us to visit costs on future people that they ought not to bear, and to deprive them of benefits that they ought to have. (...) Next, I claim that it is plausible to think that this problem is manifest in the case of two serious intergenerational issues: climate change and nuclear protection. Third, I suggest that the problem is exacerbated by a problem of theoretical inadequacy: at present, we lack the basic conceptual tools with which to deal with problems involving the further future. I illustrate this problem through a discussion of the dominant theoretical approach in public policy, cost benefit analysis. Finally, I consider what is to be done. Here I make two basic proposals. The first is that we should investigate a promising form of the precautionary approach, which I call ‘the Global Core Precautionary Principle’. The second is that we should not lose sight of the fact that the problems of intergenerational buck passing and theoretical inadequacy create an atmosphere in which we are extremely vulnerable to moral corruption. (shrink)
:Neuroprosthetic speech devices are an emerging technology that can offer the possibility of communication to those who are unable to speak. Patients with ‘locked in syndrome,’ aphasia, or other such pathologies can use covert speech—vividly imagining saying something without actual vocalization—to trigger neural controlled systems capable of synthesizing the speech they would have spoken, but for their impairment.We provide an analysis of the mechanisms and outputs involved in speech mediated by neuroprosthetic devices. This analysis provides a framework for accounting for (...) the ethical significance of accuracy, control, and pragmatic dimensions of prosthesis-mediated speech. We first examine what it means for the output of the device to be accurate, drawing a distinction between technical accuracy on the one hand and semantic accuracy on the other. These are conceptual notions of accuracy.Both technical and semantic accuracy of the device will be necessary for the user to have sufficient control over the device. Sufficient control is an ethical consideration: we place high value on being able to express ourselves when we want and how we want. Sufficient control of a neural speech prosthesis requires that a speaker can reliably use their speech apparatus as they want to, and can expect their speech to authentically represent them. We draw a distinction between two relevant features which bear on the question of whether the user has sufficient control: voluntariness of the speech and the authenticity of the speech. These can come apart: the user might involuntarily produce an authentic output or might voluntarily produce an inauthentic output. Finally, we consider the role of the interlocutor in interpreting the content and purpose of the communication.These three ethical dimensions raise philosophical questions about the nature of speech, the level of control required for communicative accuracy, and the nature of ‘accuracy’ with respect to both natural and prosthesis-mediated speech. (shrink)
The hermeneutic movement in philosophy and criticism has done us a service by directing our attention to the role of critical interpretation in understanding the humanities. But it has done us a disservice also because it does not recognize any comparable role for interpretation in the natural sciences and in this way sharply separates the two fields of scholarship and experience.1 Consequently, I shall argue, the central truths and virtues of hermeneutics have become encumbered with a whole string of false (...) interferences and misleading dichotomies. These distortions have had two effects. On the one hand, they have rationality which are crucial goals of the natural sciences; and, on the other hand, they have encouraged an exaggerated idea of the extent to which difference in personal and/or cultural standpoint rule out any such goal for the humanities. Once we recognize that the natural sciences too are in the business of "construing" reality, we shall be better able to preserve the central insights of the hermeneutic method, without succumbing to the misleading implications of its rhetorical misuse.Physics, in particular, has always required its participants to adopt an interpretive standpoint, and this standpoint has changed more than once during the historical development of that science. Yet this variable standpoint has done nothing to undercut the commitment of physicists to rationality and objectivity: on the contrary, they have made it one of their chief aims to discover just what aspects of reality, or nature, lend themselves to interpretation and understanding as considered from any particular standpoint. If we can drive this wedge between scientific objectivity and hermeneutic relativity in the case of physics, we are free to return to the humanities and apply the same distinction there too. It has too often, and too readily, been assumed that whatever needs to be interpreted in order to be understood will, to that extent, become a matter of taste or subjectivity; and, as a result, any claims to rationality and objectivity in the critical realms–whether moral or aesthetic, political and intellectual–have been too hastily surrendered.The current sharp distinction between scientific explanations and hermeneutic interpretation was launched by Wilhelm Dilthey nearly a century ago; and, in justice to Dilthey, we need to bear in mind that the interpretive element in natural science was far less evident then than it is today. Scientists nowadays view the world from a new and less rigid standpoint. This period which Frederick Ferre calls "postmodern science," differs from the older one of "modern science" in just those respects that enable us to reconcile the rational claims that have always been central to the natural sciences with a new hermeneutic richness and variability.1. Some will respond that Edmund Husserl, for one, spoke of the natural sciences as being, in their own way, "interpretive"; but the role allotted to natural science by the phenomonologists and their successors—I have in mind Hans Georg Gadamer and Jürgen Habermass much as Martin Heidegger and Husserl—I an impoverished and unhistorical one. The hermeneutic philosophers have not, in this respect, fully recognized either the plurality or the historical variability of the interpretive modes adopted in one or another of the natural sciences for different intellectual purposes and at different stages in their historical development.Stephen Toulmin is a professor in the Committee on Social Thought, the Department of Philosophy, and the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. He is author of, among other works, Foresight and Understanding, Human Understanding, and Knowing and Acting and is currently at work on volume 2 of Human Understanding. His previous contribution to Critical Inquiry, "The Inwardness of Mental Life," appeared in the Autumn 1979 issue. (shrink)
When I see a mountain to be far away, there is non-reflective awareness of myself as that from which distance is measured. Likewise, there is self-awareness when I see a tree as offering shade or a hiding place. In such cases, how can the self I am aware of be the same as I who am aware of it? Can the perceived be its perceiver? Mobilizing infancy research, I offer the following thesis as to how one can be aware of (...) oneself, at a single stroke, as perceiver and as embodied entity. During face-to-face interaction at 2 or 3 months, the infant has a sensuous perception of the caregiver as well as a non-sensuous impression of something she is eyeing and vocalizing toward. This implicit target is the self as it first becomes present to the child. It is shown how the target of her attending is experienced by him as embodied, active, affective, and continuous. After acquiring language, however, the child becomes capable of playing the caregiver toward himself: He can speak in her manner while listening as the one addressed. Thus the relation is internalized. The outcome is the independent and secure self-awareness that typifies post-infancy life. Independence bears a price, which is assessed. (shrink)
A fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and of the Royal Society, William Clifford made his reputation in applied mathematics, but his interests ranged far more widely, encompassing ethics, evolution, metaphysics and philosophy of mind. This posthumously collected two-volume work, first published in 1879, bears witness to the dexterity and eclecticism of this Victorian thinker, whose commitment to the most abstract principles of mathematics and the most concrete details of human experience resulted in vivid and often unexpected arguments. Edited by Leslie (...)Stephen and Frederick Pollock, the essays show Clifford's thorough engagement with scientific thought as a method for illuminating ethical and moral questions. They include 'On Some of the Conditions of Mental Development', 'On the Scientific Basis of Morals' and 'The Ethics of Belief'. Pollock also supplied a biography which focuses on Clifford's devotion to the principles of scientific enquiry and experiment. (shrink)
The proposition that man is the only animal capable of laughter is at least as old as Aristotle . In a strictly physical sense, this is probably false; but it is undoubtedly true that as a psychologically expressive and socially potent means of communication, laughter is a distinctively human phenomenon. Any attempt to study sets of cultural attitudes towards laughter, or the particular types of personal conduct which these attitudes shape and influence, must certainly adopt a wider perspective than a (...) narrowly physical definition of laughter will allow. Throughout this paper, which will attempt to establish part of the framework of such a cultural analysis for the Greek world of, broadly speaking, the archaic and classical periods, ‘laughter’ must be taken, by a convenient synecdoche, to encompass the many behavioural and affective patterns which are associated with, or which characteristically give scope for, uses of laughter in the literal sense of the word. My concern, then, is with a whole network of feelings, concepts and actions; and my argument will try to elucidate the practices within which laughter fulfils a recognizable function in Greek societies, as well as the dominant ideas and values which Greek thought brings to bear upon these practices. The results of the enquiry will, I believe, give us some reason to accept a rapprochement between the universalist assumption for which my epigraph from Johnson speaks and the recognition of cultural specificity in laughter's uses for which many anthropologists would argue, as emphatically asserted, from a Marxizing point of view, in the quotation from Vladimir Propp. (shrink)
Hegel, Derrida, and Restricted Economy: The Case of Mechanical Memory STEPHEN HOULGA'FE A GLANCE AT THE TEXTS OF Jacques Derrida and at the texts and lectures of G. W. F. Hegel indicates that Hegel and Derrida are extraordi- narily different thinkers. Hegel is clearly what Derrida would regard as a philosopher of presence, working toward the point "where knowledge no longer needs to go beyond itself, where knowledge finds itself," where con- sciousness is present to itself as it is (...) in itself. 1 Derrida, on the other hand, suggests that everything that is present, here, now, at this moment, bears within it, as constitutive features of itself, the marks or traces of what is irredeemably past, and that, consequently, we can never talk of entities such as ourselves being simply or wholly present to themselves. ~ Derrida claims in Positions that he tries hard to distinguish "diff6rance" from tlegelian "differ- ence," indeed that "diff~rance" might well be defined precisely as "the inter- ruption, the destruction of Hegelian sublation [relive] wherever it operates"; and, to judge at least from the look of his texts, he would seem to have G. W. F. Hegel, Werke in zwamag B~inden, edited by E. Moldenhauer and K. M. Michel, 20 vols. and Index , Ill [Phi~nomenologie des Geistes], 74. For the English translation, see Hegel, Phenomenolog) of Spirit, translated by A. V. Miller, with analysis of the.. (shrink)
Pre-natal-diagnosis technologies allow parents to discover whether their child is likely to suffer from serious disability. One argument for state funding of access to such technologies is that doing so would be “cost-effective”, in the sense that the expected financial costs of such a programme would be outweighed by expected “benefits”, stemming from the births of fewer children with serious disabilities. This argument is extremely controversial. This paper argues that the argument may not be as unacceptable as is often assumed. (...) In doing so, it sets out a more general framework for assessing the relevance of efficiency calculations to policy-making. The final section also investigates the relationship between the paper’s arguments and claims about parental responsibility for child-bearing and rearing, with reference to Scanlon’s work on “substantive responsibility”. (shrink)
This is a unique book, drawing together the profound insights of Eastern philosophy (Advaita Vedanta), Western depth-psychology (Jungian), and spirituality (Ignatian) as applied to decision-making. Mention is made of Plato, C. G. Jung, Ira Progoff, Viktor Frankl, and Bernard Lonergan, amongst others. Powerful and practical tools and techniques for making wise decisions are offered. There are sections on Descartes's famous square, the ego and the Self, the I Ching and synchronicity, archetypes, neuroscience and the triune brain, biases and blind spots (...) which can derail decision-making, together with chapters on creativity, the "aha" experience, and the Enneagram with its nine decision-making styles. Dr. Costello is at pains to point out that heart (emotions), head (reason), and hands (action/doing) must be integrated before effective decision-making can take place and bear fruition. (shrink)
Hegel, Derrida, and Restricted Economy: The Case of Mechanical Memory STEPHEN HOULGA'FE A GLANCE AT THE TEXTS OF Jacques Derrida and at the texts and lectures of G. W. F. Hegel indicates that Hegel and Derrida are extraordi- narily different thinkers. Hegel is clearly what Derrida would regard as a philosopher of presence, working toward the point "where knowledge no longer needs to go beyond itself, where knowledge finds itself," where con- sciousness is present to itself as it is (...) in itself. 1 Derrida, on the other hand, suggests that everything that is present, here, now, at this moment, bears within it, as constitutive features of itself, the marks or traces of what is irredeemably past, and that, consequently, we can never talk of entities such as ourselves being simply or wholly present to themselves. ~ Derrida claims in Positions that he tries hard to distinguish "diff6rance" from tlegelian "differ- ence," indeed that "diff~rance" might well be defined precisely as "the inter- ruption, the destruction of Hegelian sublation [relive] wherever it operates"; and, to judge at least from the look of his texts, he would seem to have G. W. F. Hegel, Werke in zwamag B~inden, edited by E. Moldenhauer and K. M. Michel, 20 vols. and Index, Ill [Phi~nomenologie des Geistes], 74. For the English translation, see Hegel, Phenomenolog) of Spirit, translated by A. V. Miller, with analysis of the... (shrink)
How, if at all, does one's intention to realize an end bear on the justification for taking the means to that end? Theories that allow that intending an end directly provides a reason to take the means are subject to a well-known "bootstrapping" objection. On the other hand, "anti-psychologistic" accounts—which seek to derive instrumental reasons directly from the reasons that support adopting the end itself—have unacceptable implications where an agent faces multiple rationally permissible options. An alternative, predictive, role for (...) intention in means-end reasoning is considered and rejected. A new proposal is then developed, according to which instrumental reasons are not merely reasons to perform an act necessary for a given end, but to perform the act for the sake of that end. (shrink)