This paper examines a series of Schelling-like models of residential segregation, in which agents prefer to be in the minority. We demon- strate that as long as agents care about the characteristics of their wider community, they tend to end up in a segregated state. We then investigate the process that causes this, and conclude that the result hinges on the similarity of informational states amongst agents of the same type. This is quite di erent from Schelling-like behavior, and sug- (...) gests (in his terms) that segregation is an instance of macro behavior which can arise from a wide variety of micro motives. (shrink)
The traditional common consent argument for the existence of God has largely been abandoned—and rightly so. In this paper, I attempt to salvage the strongest version of the argument. Surprisingly, the strongest version of the argument supports the proposition, not that a god exists, but that animism is probably true and that such things as mountain, river, and forest spirits probably exist. I consider some plausible debunking arguments, ultimately finding that it is trickier to debunk the animist’s claims than it (...) might first appear. I conclude that there exists one significant argument in favour of animism that has hitherto gone unstated in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Viable Values examines the most basic foundations of value and morality, demonstrating the shortcomings of major traditional views and proposing that morality is grounded in the objective requirements of human life. Smith argues that morality depends on a proper understanding of the concept of values, and that values depend on the alternative of life or death. She proposes that human beings need to be moral in order to live, explaining how life is the standard of morality, how flourishing is the (...) proper end and reward of living morally, and how an intelligent egoism is the path to flourishing. (shrink)
Ayn Rand is well known for advocating egoism, but the substance of that instruction is rarely understood. Far from representing the rejection of morality, selfishness, in Rand's view, actually demands the practice of a systematic code of ethics. This book explains the fundamental virtues that Rand considers vital for a person to achieve their objective well-being: rationality, honesty, independence, justice, integrity, productiveness, and pride. Tracing Rand's account of the value and harmony of human beings' rational interests, Smith examines what each (...) of these virtues consists of, why it is a virtue, and what it demands of people in practice. Along the way she addresses the status of several conventional virtues within Rand's theory, considering traits such as kindness, charity, generosity, temperance, courage, forgiveness, and humility. Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics thus offers an in-depth exploration of several specific virtues and an illuminating integration of these with the broader theory of egoism. (shrink)
I compare Bratman’s theory with Gilbert’s. I draw attention to their similarities, query Bratman’s claim that his theory is the more parsimonious, and point to one theoretical advantage of Gilbert’s theory.
“The contemporary” is a phrase in frequent use in artworld discourse as a placeholder term for broader, world-picturing concepts such as “the contemporary condition” or “contemporaneity”. Brief references to key texts by philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Rancière, and Peter Osborne often tend to suffice as indicating the outer limits of theoretical discussion. In an attempt to add some depth to the discourse, this paper outlines my approach to these questions, then explores in some detail what these three theorists (...) have had to say in recent years about contemporaneity in general and contemporary art in particular, and about the links between both. It also examines key essays by Jean-Luc Nancy, Néstor García Canclini, as well as the artist-theorist Jean-Phillipe Antoine, each of whom have contributed significantly to these debates. The analysis moves from Agamben’s poetic evocation of “contemporariness” as a Nietzschean experience of “untimeliness” in relation to one’s times, through Nancy’s emphasis on art’s constant recursion to its origins, Rancière’s attribution of dissensus to the current regime of art, Osborne’s insistence on contemporary art’s “post-conceptual” character, to Canclini’s preference for a “post-autonomous” art, which captures the world at the point of its coming into being. I conclude by echoing Antoine’s call for artists and others to think historically, to “knit together a specific variety of times”, a task that is especially pressing when presentist immanence strives to encompasses everything. (shrink)
I defend some of Gilbert’s central claims about our capacity jointly to commit ourselves, and what follows from an exercise of it. I argue that, to explain these claims, we do not need to suppose, as Gilbert does, that we ever are jointly committed, that is, jointly in a state of being committed. I offer a diagnosis of why the gratuitousness of this supposition has been overlooked.
The sciences are characterized by what is sometimes called a “methodological naturalism,” which disregards talk of divine agency. In response to those who argue that this reflects a dogmatic materialism, a number of philosophers have offered a pragmatic defense. The naturalism of the sciences, they argue, is provisional and defeasible: it is justified by the fact that unsuccessful theistic explanations have been superseded by successful natural ones. But this defense is inconsistent with the history of the sciences. The sciences have (...) always exhibited what we call a domain naturalism. They have never invoked divine agency, but have always focused on the causal structure of the natural world. It is not the case, therefore, that the sciences once employed theistic explanations and then abandoned them. The naturalism of the sciences is as old as science itself. (shrink)
The processes associated with globalization have reinforced and even increased prevailing conditions of inequality among human beings with respect to their political, economic, cultural, and social opportunities. Yet-or perhaps precisely because of this trend-there has been, within political philosophy, an observable tendency to question whether equality in fact should be treated a as central value within a theory of justice. In response, I examine a number of nonegalitarian positions to try to show that the concept of equality cannot be dispensed (...) with in any adequate consideration of justice. (shrink)
I adapt an old example of Frank Jackson's, in order to show that it is not only possible that actions with different individual agents are sub-optimal when each is not, but that they are impermissible when each is not, and blameworthy when each is not.
The understanding of emergent, self-organizing phenomena has been immensely deepened in recent years on the basis of simulation-based theoretical research. We discuss these new ideas, and illustrate them using examples from several fields. Our discussion serves to introduce equivalent self-organized phenomena in social interaction. Interaction systems appear to be structured partly by virtue of such emergents. These appear under specific conditions: When cognitive buffering is inadequate relative to the levels of stress persons are subjected to, anxiety-spreading has the potential of (...) pushing their interaction into nonlinear conditions. Arousal in these conditions produces effects on behavior arising from biological sources-indeed, behavior can come under the control of reflex patterns. When this occurs, psychological activity no longer screens off biological controls over behavior. As the direct effects of biological activity spill into interaction, attachment behavior introduced into an interaction system can produce effects that are transmitted beyond dyads to produce global social patterns. These effects illustrate how strong interactions based in biological activity can produce an architecture for social systems. (shrink)
Methodological naturalism has been defended on both intrinsic and pragmatic grounds. Both of these defenses agree that methodological naturalism is a principle of science according to which the scientist ought to eschew talk of causally efficacious disembodied minds. I argue that this is the wrong interpretation of methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism does not constrain the theories that scientists may conjecture, but how those theories may be justified. On this view, methodological naturalism is a principle of science according to which supernatural (...) methods of justification, such as faith, are eschewed. (shrink)
The argument presented here explores homosexuality within the context of applied Christian ethics. The argument works by asking students to grapple with and define the common characteristics of all eros relationships. Once the students analytically break down eros relationships, and wrestle with defining concepts such as “love,” “sex,” and “desires,” basic biblical moral precepts are applied. After this biblical application it can be shown that there is latitude enough in Christian morality to openly permit homosexuality that iscompatible with biblically stated (...) ethical dictums. The argument is pedagogical in nature, and is a challenging, engaging, and accessible argument that avoids the educational pitfalls that entangle other arguments of this nature. (shrink)
Fluctuations in endogenous opioid activity in the brain, controlled under ordinary conditions by attachment, are capable of producing patterns of dependence in social behavior resembling those appearing in substance abusers. Withdrawal symptoms arising in relation to these fluctuations, short of producing dependence, ordinarily fuel everyday social interaction, and interaction then serves to modulate opioid activity within a range associated with comfort. Comfort-constraints in this sense operate in all settings of social interaction, part of an innate caregiving mechanism conserved by evolution (...) in human behavior. In this paper we present a formal model of the neurosociological mechanism embodying these comfort constraints. Conceptualized as a hyperstructure, the mechanism grounds thinking about social interaction in recent biological discoveries about the brain, and enables sociologists to study how activity in core brain systems constrains deep patterns in social life, including the human tendencies to altruism and reciprocity. Using computational methods, we undertake simulations to study the mechanism, deriving implications about moral behavior. The theory of the hyperstructure leads to new conclusions about reciprocity and altruism, and bears upon sociological understanding of related subjects such as justice and social comparison. (shrink)
This essay contends that the debate between subjectivism and objectivism in ethics is better understood as a dispute among three alternatives: subjectivism, objectivism, and intrinsicism. Ayn Rand has identified intrinsicism – the belief that certain things are good “in, by, and of” themselves – as the doctrine that is actually operative in many defenses of moral objectivity. What intrinsicism fails to appreciate, however, is the significant role of the subject, the person to whom and for whom anything can be valuable. (...) Objective value, in Rand's view, is relational. Its existence depends on contributions of both external reality and human consciousness. Values are not reducible to psychological states, as in subjectivism, but nor are they independent of them, as in intrinsicism. Objectivity in ethics is attained neither through revelation of the intrinsic property of goodness nor through the subject's creation of goodness, but through a rational procedure of evaluation that is governed by the method of objectivity. This essay is in three parts, explaining Rand's view of exactly what intrinsicism is; elaborating on her view of the nature of moral objectivity; and highlighting certain features that make plain the differences between an intrinsicist and an objectivist account of value. (shrink)
Nozick provides us with a compelling characterization of romantic love, but, as I argue, he under-describes the phenomenon, for he fails to distinguish it from attitudes that those who are not romantically involved may bear to each other. Frankfurt also offers a compelling characterization of love, but he is sceptical about its application to the case of romantic love. I argue that each account has the resources with which to complete the other. I consider a preliminary synthesis of the two (...) accounts, which I find wanting. The synthesis I then favour relies upon two thoughts: each romantic partner has loving concern for a plural object viz. the two of them, and romantic partners are, in addition, beloved of a plural subject, viz. the two of them. A corollary is that Frankfurt is wrong to think that, whilst self-love is a pure form of love, romantic love is an impure form of love, for romantic love just is a form of self-love. In an appendix, I defend the coherence of the thought that love can have plural relata. (shrink)
We deny that asymmetrical information is a market failure. In order to make this case, we subject to critical scrutiny the strongest case for this thesis: the view that laws prohibiting insider trading are viable, necessary, or compatible with the rule of law.
The consensus in the philosophical literature on joint action is that, sometimes at least, when agents intentionally jointly φ, this is explicable by their intending that they φ, for a period of time prior to their φ-ing. If this be granted, it poses a dilemma. For agents who so intend either severally or jointly intend that they φ. The first option is ruled out by two stipulations that we may consistently make: (i) that at least one of the agents non-akratically (...) believes that, all things considered, the agents ought not to φ, and (ii) that an agent is akratic, if she intends a thing that she believes, all things considered, ought not to be done. But the second option seems to entail the existence of a mental state with multiple subjects, which, in turn, seems to commit us to the existence of a group mind modified by that state: an incautious posit to say the least. I resolve the dilemma by noting that ‘They jointly intend’ is indeterminate between ‘They intend, jointly’, which does indeed entail that some mental state is an intention with multiple subjects, and ‘Jointly, they intend’, which entails a weaker claim, viz. that some mental state or states is an intention with multiple subjects. I then sketch an account of how a plurality of mental states, distributed among subjects, might, collectively, do service as their intention that they φ. It makes novel use of notions of participation and of doing a thing jointly with others. A corollary is that either intentions are not attitudes towards propositions, or propositions are individuated more finely than is often assumed. (shrink)
According to Jonathan Berg’s Theory of Direct Belief, a belief about some individual is an unmediated dyadic relation between the believer and that individual. Berg’s thesis incorporates a Millian account of proper names, and invokes conversational implicature to explain well-known anti-substitution intuitions. In this critical note, I present a puzzle for the Theory of Direct Belief involving symmetrical substitution in false identity belief reports.
According to a Millian theory of names, co-referring names are intersubstitutable salva veritate in all contexts, including the that-clauses of belief reports. This leads the Millian to famously argue, among other things, that if Lois Lane believes that Superman can fly then she also believes that Clark Kent can fly. Although the Millian provides an ingenious account that explains our strong anti-substitution intuitions in such cases, this paper argues that the Millian account leads to a new problem of enlightenment in (...) identity reports. Specifically, a believer A may come to discover that two names refer to the same individual S, but whether A is enlightened about the identity of S will depend on the number of guises through which A holds contradictory beliefs about S. (shrink)
This study examines the self-reported ethics of both current and future advertising practitioners, and compares their responses to four scenarios and 17 statements on advertising ethics. Stepwise discriminant analysis was used to determine the extent to which both groups applied the classical ethical theory of deontology to the scenarios and statements. Results indicate significant differences between both groups. For example, current advertising practitioners are significantly less likely than future practitioners to apply deontology to decision making. The implications of these results (...) are discussed and suggestions for future research are outlined. (shrink)
It is not obvious how one might reconcile Frege's claim that different numbers may not 'belong to the same thing' with his apparent identification of one pair with two boots, even if one grants his view of 'statements of number'. I suggest a way. It requires some revision of the semantic theory that is generally attributed to Frege.
Ayn Rand is well known for advocating egoism, but the substance of that instruction is rarely understood. Far from representing the rejection of morality, selfishness, in Rand's view, actually demands the practice of a systematic code of ethics. This book explains the fundamental virtues that Rand considers vital for a person to achieve his objective well-being: rationality, honesty, independence, justice, integrity, productiveness, and pride. Tracing Rand's account of the harmony of human beings' rational interests, Smith examines what each of these (...) virtues consists of, why it is a virtue, and what it demands of a person in practice. Along the way she addresses the status of several conventional virtues within Rand's theory, considering traits such as kindness, charity, generosity, temperance, courage, forgiveness, and humility. Ayn Rand's Normative Ethics thus offers an in-depth exploration of several specific virtues and an illuminating integration of these with the broader theory of egoism. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive and practical guide to the ethical issues raised by different kinds of medical research, and is the first such book to be written with the needs of the researcher in mind. Clearly structured and written in a plain and accessible style, the book covers every significant ethical issue likely to be faced by researchers and research ethics committees. The author outlines and clarifies official guidelines, gives practical advice on how to adhere to these, and suggests procedures (...) in areas where official recommendations are vague or absent. This invaluable handbook will help researchers identify and address the ethical issues at an early stage in the design of their studies, to avoid unnecessary delay and to safeguard the wellbeing of patients and healthy volunteers. It will also be extremely useful to members of research ethics committees. (shrink)