This paper uses chronic beryllium disease as a case study to explore some of the challenges for decision-making and some of the problems for obtaining meaningful informed consent when the interpretation of screening results is complicated by their probabilistic nature and is clouded by empirical uncertainty. Although avoidance of further beryllium exposure might seem prudent for any individual whose test results suggest heightened disease risk, we will argue that such a clinical precautionary approach is likely to be a mistake. Instead, (...) advice on the interpretation of screening results must focus not on risk per se, but on avoidable risk, and must be carefully tailored to the individual. These points are of importance for individual decision-making, for informed consent, and for occupational health. (shrink)
Twentieth century philosophers introduced the distinction between “objective rightness” and “subjective rightness” to achieve two primary goals. The first goal is to reduce the paradoxical tension between our judgments of what is best for an agent to do in light of the actual circumstances in which she acts and what is wisest for her to do in light of her mistaken or uncertain beliefs about her circumstances. The second goal is to provide moral guidance to an agent who may be (...) uncertain about the circumstances in which she acts, and hence is unable to use her standard moral principle directly in deciding what to do. This paper distinguishes two important senses of “moral guidance”; proposes criteria of adequacy for accounts of subjective rightness; canvasses existing definitions for “subjective rightness”; finds them all deficient; and proposes a new and more successful account. It argues that each comprehensive moral theory must include multiple principles of subjective rightness to address the epistemic situations of the full range of moral decision-makers, and shows that accounts of subjective rightness formulated in terms of what it would reasonable for the agent to believe cannot provide that guidance. (shrink)
This paper asks how we should conceptualize the relationship between responsibility and obligation. Its central concern is the relevance of considerations of obligation to the attribution of responsibility for what we do or bring about. The paper approaches this issue through an examination of Kant's complex, challenging and instructive theory of responsibility, in which strict obligation plays a pivotal role in attributions of responsibility for the outcomes of our actions. Even if we do not accept Kant's strongly juridical concept of (...) responsibility, his theory provides insight into the way in which we should see the connection between responsibility and obligation. (shrink)
Some scholars have argued that CEOs may have excessive influence on their foundation's trustees to give away a portion of company profits to charitable causes in order to gain access to elite circles or support the CEO's personal causes. This may result in charitable contributions that ultimately serve the personal interests of the CEOs without regard to corporate interests or social needs. We examine the extent that CEOs appear to direct charitable giving to be compatible with their own personal interests, (...) and if CEO participation on the foundation board affects the relationship between CEO personal interests and charitable giving. Using a sample of 160 corporate foundations, our results showed that CEOs' interests, as measured by membership in different non-profit organizations, was associated with foundation charitable giving. This association decreased, but was not eliminated, when CEOs were absent from the foundation board. Implications of these findings for researchers and managers are discussed in regards to both agency theory and stewardship theory. (shrink)
Recently two distinct forms of rule-utilitarianism have been introduced that differ on how to measure the consequences of rules. Brad Hooker advocates fixed-rate rule-utilitarianism, while Michael Ridge advocates variable-rate rule-utilitarianism. I argue that both of these are inferior to a new proposal, optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism. According to optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism, an ideal code is the code whose optimum acceptance level is no lower than that of any alternative code. I then argue that all three forms of rule-utilitarianism fall prey to two fatal (...) problems that leave us without any viable form of rule-utilitarianism. (shrink)
John L. Austin believed that in the illocution he had discovered a fundamental element of our speech, the understanding of which would disclose the significance of all kinds of linguistic action: not only proposing marriage and finding guilt, but also stating, reporting, conjecturing, and all the rest of the things men can do linguistically. 2 We claim that the illocution, the full-fledged speech-act, is central to religious utterances as well, and that it provides a perspicuity in understanding them not elsewhere (...) provided in the work of recent philosophy of religion. In particular we hold that understanding religious talk through the illocution shows the way in which the representative and affective elements are connected to one another and to the utterance as a whole. There may, further, be features in such an analysis which can be extended to other forms of discourse than religious. (shrink)
The fact that many modal operators are part of an adjunction is probably folklore since the discovery of adjunctions. On the other hand, the natural idea of a minimal propositional calculus extended with a pair of adjoint operators seems to have been formulated only very recently. This recent research, mainly motivated by applications in computer science, concentrates on technical issues related to the calculi and not on the significance of adjunctions in modal logic. It then seems a worthy enterprise (both (...) for these contemporary topical pursuits and also for historical interest) to trace the concept of adjunction back to the origins of the algebraic semantics of modal logic and to make explicit its ubiquity in this branch of mathematics. (shrink)
Current efforts to think holistically about mental disorder may be assisted by considering the integrative strategies used by Hildegard of Bingen, a twelfth-century abbess and healer. We search for integrative strategies in the detailed records of Hilde-gard’s treatment of the noblewoman Sigewiza and in Hildegard’s more general writings. Three strategies support Hildegard’s holistic thinking: the use of narrative approaches to mental illness, acknowledging interdependence between perspectives, and applying principles of balance to the relationships between perspectives. Applying these three strategies to (...) the present-day conceptualization and treatment of mental disorder could move us toward a more thoroughly integrated understanding of the field. (shrink)
My discussion is concerned with how symbolic power constitutively structures our very identities in relation to one another and at the bodily level of lived experience. Although many accounts of the self and of subjectivity as socially situated have difficulties in their explanations of agency, Zaners work suggests a basis upon which the selfs independence from others can be understood. His phenomenology of embodied subjectivity explains how the emerging self presupposes presence with others. At the same time, however, co-presence also (...) reveals the selfs distinct perspective and capacity for circumstantial possibilizing, that is to say, actualizing another possible than the actual. My aim is to examine critically the intersections between Zaners phenomenology and other theoretical accounts of the socially situated self. I also show how Zaners work contributes to these discussions a way of understanding the possibility of agency that is rooted in embodied experience. (shrink)
As sharing and secondary research use of biospecimens increases, IRBs and researchers face the challenge of protecting and respecting donors without comprehensive regulations addressing the human subject protection issues posed by biobanking. Variation in IRB biobanking policies about these issues has not been well documented.
Toward A Sociological Imagination builds on the ideas C. Wright Mills expressed in The Sociological Imagination for an approach to the scientific method broad enough to open up to the full range of knowledge within the sociology discipline. In this book, nine sociologists and one philosopher provide detailed tests of the utility of the approach within diverse substantive sociological areas.
Three-dimensionalists , sometimes referred to as endurantists, think that objects persist through time by being “wholly present” at every time they exist. But what is it for something to be wholly present at a time? It is surprisingly difficult to say. The threedimensionalist is free, of course, to take ‘is wholly present at’ as one of her theory’s primitives, but this is problematic for at least one reason: some philosophers claim not to understand her primitive. Clearly the three-dimensionalist would be (...) better off if she could state her theory in terms accessible to all. We think she can. What is needed is a definition of ‘is wholly present at’ that all can understand. in this paper, we offer one. (shrink)
Cognitive categories in the geographic realm appear to manifest certain special features as contrasted with categories for objects at surveyable scales. We have argued that these features reflect specific ontological characteristics of geographic objects. This paper presents hypotheses as to the nature of the features mentioned, reviews previous empirical work on geographic categories, and presents the results of pilot experiments that used English-speaking subjects to test our hypotheses. Our experiments show geographic categories to be similar to their non-geographic counterparts in (...) the ways in which they generate instances of different relative frequencies at different levels. Other tests, however, provide preliminary evidence for the existence of important differences in subjects’ categorizations of geographic and non-geographic objects, and suggest further experimental work especially with regard to the role in cognitive categorization of different types of object-boundaries at different scales. (shrink)