In all disciplines there is the question of how to promote progress and offset decline. But, what are progress and decline ? For this short article, the main discussion centers on biology. A solution called functional specialization begins to emerge as relevant to all of the sciences, technologies and arts. This introductory article ends with some heuristics on various follow-up issues.
In his 1958 seminal paper “Saints and Heroes”, J. O. Urmson argued that the then dominant tripartite deontic scheme of classifying actions as being exclusively either obligatory, or optional in the sense of being morally indifferent, or wrong, ought to be expanded to include the category of the supererogatory. Colloquially, this category includes actions that are “beyond the call of duty” and hence actions that one has no duty or obligation to perform. But it is a controversial category. Some have (...) argued that the concept of supererogation is paradoxical because on one hand, supererogatory actions are supposed to be morally good, indeed morally best, actions. But then if they are morally best, why aren't they morally required, contrary to the assumption that they are morally optional? In short: how can an action that is morally best to perform fail to be what one is morally required to do? The source of this alleged paradox has been dubbed the ‘good-ought tie-up’. In our article, we address this alleged paradox by first making a phenomenological case for the reality of instances of genuine supererogatory actions, and then, by reflecting on the relevant phenomenology, explaining why there is no genuine paradox. Our explanation appeals to the idea that moral reasons can play what we call a merit conferring role. The basic idea is that moral reasons that favor supererogatory actions function to confer merit on the actions they favor—they play a merit conferring role—and can do without also requiring the actions in question. Hence, supererogatory actions can be both good and morally meritorious to perform yet still be morally optional. Recognition of a merit conferring role unties the good-ought tie up, and there are good reasons, independent of helping to resolve the alleged paradox, for recognizing this sort of role that moral reasons may play. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Part I -- Doctors -- Dr. Joseph Messer -- Dr. Sharon Sandell -- ER -- Dr. John Barrett -- Marc and Noreen Levison, a paramedic and a nurse -- Lloyd (Pete) Haywood, a former gangbanger -- Claire Hellstern, a nurse -- Ed Reardon, a paramedic -- Law and Order -- Robert Soreghan, a homicide detective -- Delbert Lee Tibbs, a former death-row inmate -- War -- Dr. Frank Raila -- Haskell Wexler, a cinematographer -- Tammy Snider, (...) a Hiroshima survivor (hibakusha) -- Mothers and Sons -- V.I.M. (Victor Israel Marquez), a Vietnam vet -- Angelina Rossi, his mother -- Guadalupe Reyes, a mother -- God's Shepherds -- Rev. Willie T. Barrow -- Father Leonard Dubi -- Rabbi Robert Marx -- Pastor Tom Kok -- Rev. Ed Townley -- The Stranger -- Rick Rundle, a city sanitation worker -- Part II -- Seeing Things -- Randy Buescher, an associate architect -- Chaz Ebert, a lawyer -- Antoinette Korotko-Hatch, a church worker -- Karen Thompson, a student -- Dimitri Mihalas, an astronomer and physicist -- A View from the Bridge -- Hank Oettinger, a retired printer -- Ira Glass, a radio journalist -- Kid Pharaoh, a retired "collector" -- Quinn Brisben, a retired teacher -- Kurt Vonnegut, a writer -- The Boomer -- Bruce Bendinger, an advertising executive and writer -- Part III -- Fathers and Sons -- Doc Watson, a folksinger -- Vernon Jarrett, a journalist -- Country Women -- Peggy Terry, a retired mountain woman -- Bessie Jones, a Georgia Sea Island Singer (1972) -- Rosalie Sorrels, a traveling folksinger -- The Plague I -- Tico Valle, a young man -- Lori Cannon, "curator" of the Open Hand Society -- Brian Matthews, an ex-bartender, writer for a gay weekly -- Jewell Jenkins, a hospital aide -- Justin Hayford, a journalist, musician -- Matta Kelly, a case manager -- The Old Guy -- Jim Hapgood -- The Plague II -- Nancy Lanoue -- Out There -- Dr. Gary Slutkin -- Day of the Dead -- Carlos Cortez, a painter and poet -- Vine Deloria, a writer and teacher -- Helen Sclair, a cemetery familiar -- The Other Son -- Steve Young, a father -- Maurine Young, a mother -- The Job -- William Herdegen, an undertaker -- Rory Moina, a hospice nurse -- The End and the Beginning -- Mamie Mobley, a mother -- Dr. Marvin Jackson, a son -- Epilogue -- Kathy Fagan and Linda Gagnon, mothers. (shrink)
My topic is a long-standing tension in the interpretation of religion. On the one hand, it seems undeniable — seems almost to go without saying — that liturgical and sacrificial practices, sacred dance, divination, procession and pilgrimage are intentional actions undertaken by persons. Yet there is a distinguished tradition in the study of religion according to which religious activity is typically caused by forces over which the agent has little or no control. Visible, latter-day members of this tradition include Hume, (...) Nietzsche, Marx, Durkheim, Freud, and, in some moods, Wittgenstein, but its roster is by no means limited to the religiously unmusical. (shrink)
Warren Quinn was widely regarded as a moral philosopher of remarkable talent. This collection of his most important contributions to moral philosophy and the philosophy of action has been edited for publication by Philippa Foot. Quinn laid out the foundations for an anti-utilitarian moral philosophy that was critical of much contemporary work in ethics, such as the anti-realism of Gilbert Harman and the neo-subjectivism of Bernard Williams. Quinn's own distinctive moral theory is developed in the discussion of (...) substantial, practical moral issues. For example, there are important pieces here on the permissibility of abortion, the justification of punishing criminals when no particular good seems likely to result, and on the distinction between killing and allowing to die, a distinction crucial to the subject of euthanasia and other topics in medical ethics. The volume would be ideally suited to upper-level undergraduate courses and graduate seminars on the foundations of ethics. (shrink)
Philip Quinn, John A. O’Brien Professor at the University of Notre Dame from 1985 until his death in 2004, was well known for his work in the philosophy of religion, political philosophy, and core areas of analytic philosophy. Although the breadth of his interests was so great that it would be virtually impossible to identify any subset of them as representative, the contributors to this volume provide an excellent introduction to, and advance the discussion of, some of the questions (...) of central importance to Quinn in the last years of his working life. Paul J. Weithman argues in his introduction that Quinn’s interest and analyses in many areas grew out of a distinctive and underlying sensibility that we might call “liberal faith.” It included belief in the value of a liberal education and in rigorous intellectual inquiry, the acceptance of enduring religious, cultural, and political pluralism, along with a keen awareness of problems posed by pluralism, and a deeply held but non-utopian faith in liberal democratic politics. These provocative essays, at the cutting edge of epistemology, the philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, and political philosophy, explore the tenets of liberal faith and invite continuing engagement with the philosophical issues. “Philip Quinn was admired enormously throughout the world of professional philosophy.... His reputation for rigor, his tireless service to the profession, and his essentially ‘non-dogmatic,’ but philosophically sophisticated faith is widely admired... The essays in this volume are first-rate contemporary philosophy along with an excellent introduction to Quinn’s work.” —_Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf College_ "The papers that form _Liberal Faith_ give insightful treatments of three types of questions: first, how can we conscientiously believe something when there are many people we admire who do not believe it, and what is the underlying relation here between justification and rationality; second, what does it mean to desire union with God, and can Christians properly believe in the possibility of eternal self-annihilation; third, how should liberal democracy accommodate the religious convictions of its members, whether some comprehensive doctrine such as a religion is required to justify a commitment to human equality, and whether there is an absolute moral prohibition on the state use of torture. The volume has an unusually good introduction putting the papers into dialog with each other and with the work of Philip Quinn. The papers are cohesive because the central themes of Philip Quinn's work hold together into a picture of how Christianity and Liberal Democracy fit together." —_John Hare, Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale Divinity School _ “This is a collection of high quality essays dealing with various topics related to Philip Quinn’s work. The book makes an original contribution by virtue of its individual papers, each of which is new. These essays will be of interest to scholars and students who followed Quinn’s work, especially in philosophy of religion and political philosophy.“ —_John Greco, The Leonard and Elizabeth Eslick Chair in Philosophy, Saint Louis University _. (shrink)
The Phenomenology of Spirit is both one of Hegel's most widely read books and one of his most obscure. The book is the most detailed commentary on Hegel's work available. It develops an independent philosophical account of the general theory of knowledge, culture, and history presented in the Phenomenology. In a clear and straightforward style, Terry Pinkard reconstructs Hegel's theoretical philosophy and shows its connection to ethical and political theory. He sets the work in a historical context and shows (...) the contemporary relevance of Hegel's thought for European and Anglo-American philosophers. The principal audience for the book is teachers and students of philosophy, but the great interest in Hegel's work and the clarity of Pinkard's exposition ensure that historians of ideas, political scientists, and literary theorists will also read it. (shrink)
Understanding Computers and Cognition presents an important and controversial new approach to understanding what computers do and how their functioning is related to human language, thought, and action. While it is a book about computers, Understanding Computers and Cognition goes beyond the specific issues of what computers can or can't do. It is a broad-ranging discussion exploring the background of understanding in which the discourse about computers and technology takes place. Understanding Computers and Cognition is written for a wide audience, (...) not just those professionals involved in computer design or artificial intelligence. It represents an important contribution to the ongoing discussion about what it means to be a machine, and what it means to be human. Book jacket. (shrink)
In this wide-ranging study, Quinn argues that human moral autonomy is compatible with unqualified obedience to divine commands. He formulates several versions of the crucial assumptions of divine command ethics, defending them against a battery of objections often expressed in the philosophical literature.
This article summarizes the multitude of empirical studies that test ethical decision making in business and suggests additional research necessary to further theory in this area. The studies are categorized and related to current theoretical ethical decision making models. The studies are related to awareness, individual and organizational factors, intent, and the role of moral intensity in ethical decision making. Summary tables provide a quick reference for the sample, findings, and publication outlet. This review provides insights for understanding organizational ethical (...) decision constructs, where ethical decision making theory currently stands, and provides insights for future empirical work on organizational ethical decision making. (shrink)
It has often been thought that our knowledge of ourselves is _different_ from, perhaps in some sense _better_ than, our knowledge of things other than ourselves. Indeed, there is a thriving research area in epistemology dedicated to seeking an account of self-knowledge that would articulate and explain its difference from, and superiority over, other knowledge. Such an account would thus illuminate the descriptive and normative difference between self-knowledge and other knowledge.<sup>1</sup> At the same time, self- knowledge has also encountered its (...) share of skeptics – philosophers who refuse to accord it any descriptive, let alone normative, distinction. In this paper, we argue that there is at least one _species_ of self-knowledge that is different from, and better than, other knowledge. It is a specific kind of knowledge of one’s concurrent phenomenal experiences. Call knowledge of one’s own phenomenal experiences _phenomenal knowledge_. Our claim is that some (though not all) phenomenal knowledge is different from, and better than, non-phenomenal knowledge. In other. (shrink)
Metaethics, understood as a distinct branch of ethics, is often traced to G. E. Moore's 1903 classic, Principia Ethica. Whereas normative ethics is concerned to answer first order moral questions about what is good and bad, right and wrong, metaethics is concerned to answer second order non-moral questions about the semantics, metaphysics, and epistemology of moral thought and discourse. Moore has continued to exert a powerful influence, and the sixteen essays here represent the most up-to-date work in metaethics after, and (...) in some cases directly inspired by, the work of Moore. (shrink)
It is a mixed pleasure to see F. Matthias Alexander acknowledged in the fall 2007 issue of Education and Culture ("Dewey, women, and weirdoes: Or, the potential rewards for scholars who dialog across difference," 23, 27-62). As a professional descendant of Alexander who has been teaching the Alexander Technique (AT) for 30 years, I am glad to see Cunningham et al. including him in the list of positive influences in John Dewey's life. However, I believe Cunningham's contribution to this article, (...) "Shared explorations of body-mind: The reciprocal influences of Dewey and F. M. Alexander," falls short in its acknowledgement of Alexander and in one important aspect is incorrect. In this response, I hope to set the .. (shrink)
Despite concerns about the relationships between health professionals and the medical device industry, the issue has received relatively little attention. Prevalence data are lacking; however, qualitative and survey research suggest device industry representatives, who are commonly present in clinical settings, play a key role in these relationships. Representatives, who are technical product specialists and not necessarily medically trained, may attend surgeries on a daily basis and be available to health professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide (...) advice. However, device representatives have a dual role: functioning as commissioned sales representatives at the same time as providing advice on approaches to treatment. This duality raises the concern that clinical decision-making may be unduly influenced by commercial imperatives. In this paper, we identify three key ethical concerns raised by the relationship between device representatives and health professionals: impacts on healthcare costs, the outsourcing of expertise and issues of accountability and informed consent. These ethical concerns can be addressed in part through clarifying the boundary between the support and sales aspects of the roles of device representatives and developing clear guidelines for device representatives providing support in clinical spaces. We suggest several policy options including hospital provision of expert support, formalising clinician conduct to eschew receipt of meals and payments from industry and establishing device registries. (shrink)
Hegel is one of the most often cited and least read of all major philosophers. He is alternately regarded as the best and the worst that philosophy has produced. Nobody, however, disputes his influence. In Hegel's Dialectic, Terry Pinkard offers a new interpretation of Hegel's program that assesses his conception of the role of philosophy, his method, and some of the specific theses that he defended. Hegel's dialectic is interpreted as offering explanations of the possibility of basic categories. Pinkard (...) argues that the traditional standard reading of Hegel as the esoteric metaphysician of Absolute Spirit overlooks major elements of his thought. In presenting this alternative reading of Hegel, Pinkard offers a new understanding of the role of history in Hegel's thought and a new perspective on his moral and political thought. Departing from the tradition of explicating Hegel exclusively in Hegelian terms, Pinkard discusses the much disputed philosopher in a way that is accessible and appealing to both analytic and non-analytic philosophers. Hegel's Dialectic is not just an interpretation of Hegel's thought: it is also a reconstruction and defense of Hegel's philosophy as having something of importance to say to late twentieth-century philosophers. (shrink)
The result is a one-dimensional, economistic and bleakly utilitarian conception of the educational task.In Mindfulness and Learning: Celebrating the Affective Dimension of Education, Terry Hyland advances the thesis that education stands in ...
It has become fashionable to try to prove the impossibility of there being a God. Findlay's celebrated ontological disproof has in the past quarter century given rise to vigorous controversy. More recently James Rachels has offered a moral argument intended to show that there could not be a being worthy of worship. In this paper I shall examine the position Rachels is arguing for in some detail. I shall endeavor to show that his argument is unsound and, more interestingly, that (...) the genuine philosophical perplexity which motivates it can be dispelled without too much difficulty. (shrink)
The phrase "the meaning of life" for many seems a quaint notion fit for satirical mauling by Monty Python or Douglas Adams. But in this spirited, stimulating, and quirky enquiry, famed critic Terry Eagleton takes a serious if often amusing look at the question and offers his own surprising answer. Eagleton first examines how centuries of thinkers and writers--from Marx and Schopenhauer to Shakespeare, Sartre, and Beckett--have responded to the ultimate question of meaning. He suggests, however, that it is (...) only in modern times that the question has become problematic. But instead of tackling it head-on, many of us cope with the feelings of meaninglessness in our lives by filling them with everything from football to sex, Kabbala, Scientology, "New Age softheadedness," or fundamentalism. On the other hand, Eagleton notes, many educated people believe that life is an evolutionary accident that has no intrinsic meaning. If our lives have meaning, it is something with which we manage to invest them, not something with which they come ready made. Eagleton probes this view of meaning as a kind of private enterprise, and concludes that it fails to holds up. He argues instead that the meaning of life is not a solution to a problem, but a matter of living in a certain way. It is not metaphysical but ethical. It is not something separate from life, but what makes it worth living--that is, a certain quality, depth, abundance and intensity of life. Here then is a brilliant discussion of the problem of meaning by a leading thinker, who writes with a light and often irreverent touch, but with a very serious end in mind. "If you were to ask what provides some meaning in life nowadays for a great many people, especially men, you could do worse than reply 'football.' Not many of them perhaps would be willing to admit as much; but sport stands in for all those noble causes--religious faith, national sovereignty, personal honor, ethnic identity--for which, over the centuries, people have been prepared to go to their deaths. It is sport, not religion, which is now the opium of the people.". (shrink)
In a recent paper, Robert A. Oakes argues that a doctrine central to, and partially constitutive of, classical theism implies a certain sort of pantheism. The doctrine in question is a modal form of the claim that God conserves in existence the world of contingent things; alternatively, it is the view that all contingently existing things are necessarily continuously dependent upon God for their existence. And the variety of pantheism at stake is a modal form of the thesis that all (...) contingent things are, in some sense, included within the being of God. (shrink)
This paper argues that many so-called digital technologies can be construed as notational technologies, explored through the example of Monegraph, an art and digital asset management platform built on top of the blockchain system originally developed for the cryptocurrency bitcoin. As the paper characterizes it, a notational technology is the performance of syntactic notation within a field of reference, a technologized version of what Nelson Goodman called a “notational system.” Notational technologies produce abstracted entities through positive and reliable, or constitutive, (...) tests of socially acceptable meaning. Accordingly, this account deviates from typical narratives of blockchains, instead demonstrating that blockchain technologies are effective at managing digital assets because they produce abstracted identities through the performance of notation. Since notational technologies rely on configurations of socially acceptable meaning, this paper also provides a philosophical account of how blockchain technologies are socially embedded. (shrink)
Neuhouser’s book is one of the most important contributions to the revival of Hegelian philosophy that has been taking place in Anglo-American philosophy over the last few years. Much of the debate in moral and political philosophy of the last few years has been set in terms of “the right” versus “the good,” and it is tempting to want to put Hegel in one of those categories and thereby also to classify him as either a “liberal,” a “communitarian,” or perhaps (...) a “romantic.” Neuhouser develops a powerful case for understanding him as none of these things. Instead he wants to understand Hegel as developing a social and political philosophy around the central conception of “self-determi- nation.” At first blush, that makes Hegel sound very much like the post-Kantian many now take him to be, but Neuhouser argues that, however true that might be, Hegel is best understood as continuing and developing certain key Rousseauian insights. In Neuhouser’s treatment, both Hegel and Kant are “post- Rousseauians,” and his understanding of what this means throws new and great light on understanding why Hegel’s social philosophy may still be of importance to us. (shrink)
Conflicts of interest, stemming from relationships between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry, remain a highly divisive and inflammatory issue in healthcare. Given that most jurisdictions rely on industry to self-regulate with respect to its interactions with health professionals, it is surprising that little research has explored industry leaders’ understandings of conflicts of interest. Drawing from in-depth interviews with ten pharmaceutical industry leaders based in Australia, we explore the normalized and structural management of conflicts of interest within pharmaceutical companies. We (...) contrast this with participants’ unanimous belief that the antidote to conflicts of interest with health professionals were “informed consumers.” It is, thus, unlikely that a self-regulatory approach will be successful in ensuring ethical interactions with health professionals. However, the pharmaceutical industry’s routine and accepted practices for disclosing and managing employees’ conflicts of interest could, paradoxically, serve as an excellent model for healthcare. (shrink)
The Lysis is one of Plato's most engaging but also puzzling dialogues; it has often been regarded, in the modern period, as a philosophical failure. The full philosophical and literary exploration of the dialogue illustrates how it in fact provides a systematic and coherent, if incomplete, account of a special theory about, and special explanation of, human desire and action. Furthermore, it shows how that theory and explanation are fundamental to a whole range of other Platonic dialogues and indeed to (...) the understanding of the corpus as a whole. Part One offers an analysis of, or running commentary on, the dialogue. In Part Two Professors Penner and Rowe examine the philosophical and methodological implications of the argument uncovered by the analysis. The whole is rounded off by an epilogue of the relation between the Lysis and some other Platonic texts. (shrink)
In this book Macdonald elaborates a democratic framework based on the new theoretical concepts of 'public power', 'stakeholder communities' and 'non-electoral representation', and illustrates the practical implications of these proposals for projects of global institutional reform.
This article takes as its starting point the observation that neoliberalism is a concept that is ‘oft-invoked but ill-defined’. It provides a taxonomy of uses of the term neoliberalism to include: an all-purpose denunciatory category; ‘the way things are’; an institutional framework characterizing particular forms of national capitalism, most notably the Anglo-American ones; a dominant ideology of global capitalism; a form of governmentality and hegemony; and a variant within the broad framework of liberalism as both theory and policy discourse. It (...) is argued that this sprawling set of definitions are not mutually compatible, and that uses of the term need to be dramatically narrowed from its current association with anything and everything that a particular author may find objectionable. In particular, it is argued that the uses of the term by Michel Foucault in his 1978–9 lectures, found in The Birth of Biopolitics, are not particularly compatible with its more recent status as a variant of dominant ideology or hegemony theories. It instead proposes understanding neoliberalism in terms of historical institutionalism, with Foucault’s account of historical change complementing Max Weber’s work identifying the distinctive economic sociology of national capitalisms. (shrink)
This book is based on work on God and evil that Marilyn McCord Adams did over a period of more than a decade. In her acknowledgments Adams lists fourteen journal articles or book chapters, dating from 1986 to 1997, in which some of her key ideas were first introduced to readers. But the book is by no means a mere collection of previously published essays. As she observes, in the book most of these ideas “have undergone significant development, transformation and (...) recontextualization among new materials”. In addition, the book integrates them into a unified whole that highlights their coherence and displays connections among them. So even those who are very familiar with her earlier work on God and evil will profit from reading the book carefully. (shrink)
Why do leaders fail ethically? In this book, Terry L. Price applies a multi-disciplinary approach to an understanding of immorality in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. He argues that leaders can know that a certain kind of behavior is generally required by morality but nonetheless be mistaken as to whether the relevant moral requirement applies to them in a particular situation and whether others are protected by this requirement. Price articulates how leaders make exceptions of themselves, explains how (...) the justificatory force of leadership gives rise to such exception-making, and develops normative prescriptions that leaders should adopt as a response to this feature of their moral psychology. (shrink)
In Chapters 4 and 5 of his 1998 book From Metaphysics to Ethics: A Defence of Conceptual Analysis, Frank Jackson propounds and defends a form of moral realism that he calls both ‘moral functionalism’ and ‘analytical descriptivism’. Here we argue that this metaethical position, which we will henceforth call ‘analytical moral functionalism’, is untenable. We do so by applying a generic thought-experimental deconstructive recipe that we have used before against other views that posit moral properties and identify them with certain (...) natural properties, a recipe that we believe is applicable to virtually any metaphysically naturalist version of moral realism. The recipe deploys a scenario we call Moral Twin Earth. (shrink)
Terry F. Godlove discovers in Immanuel Kant's theoretical philosophy resources that have much wider implications beyond Christianity and the philosophical issues that concern monotheism and its beliefs. For Godlove, Kant's insights, when properly applied, can help rejuvenate our understanding of the general study of religion and its challenges. He therefore bypasses what is usually considered to be the "Kantian philosophy of religion" and instead focuses on more fundamental issues, such as Kant's account of concepts, experience, and reason and their (...) significance in controversial matters. _Kant and the Meaning of Religion_ is a subtle and penetrating effort by a leading contemporary philosopher of religion to redefine and reshape the contours of his discipline through a sustained reflection on Kant's so-called "humanizing project.". (shrink)
According to legal tradition, the ideal judge is entirely dispassionate. Affective science calls into question the legitimacy of this ideal; further, it suggests that no judge could ever meet this standard, even if it were the correct one. What judges can and should do is to learn to effectively manage—rather than eliminate—emotion. Specifically, an emotion regulation perspective suggests that judicial emotion is best managed by cognitive reappraisal and, often, disclosure; behavioral suppression should be used sparingly; and suppression of emotional experience (...) is rarely helpful. We argue that the dispassionate-judge ideal presents a barrier to achieving the flexibility necessary for adaptive judicial emotion regulation. We suggest a new ideal, that of the emotionally well-regulated judge, and propose several directions for future research to strengthen ties between law and psychology, with particular attention to the study of emotion. (shrink)
This paper raises a slightly uncomfortable question: are some delusional subjects responsible for their delusions? This question is uncomfortable because we typically think that the answer is pretty clearly just ‘no’. However, we also accept that self-deception is paradigmatically intentional behavior for which the self-deceiver is prima facie blameworthy. Thus, if there is overlap between self-deception and delusion, this will put pressure on our initial answer. This paper argues that there is indeed such overlap by offering a novel philosophical account (...) of self-deception. The account offered is independently plausible and avoids the main problems that plague other views. It also yields the result that some delusional subjects are self-deceived. The conclusion is not, however, that those subjects are blameworthy. Rather, a distinction is made between blameworthiness and ‘attributability’. States or actions can be significantly attributable to a subject—in the sense that they are expressions of their wills—without it being the case that the subject is blameworthy, if the subject has an appropriate excuse. Understanding delusions within this framework of responsibility and excuses not only illuminates the ways in which the processes of delusional belief formation and maintenance are continuous with ‘ordinary’ processes of belief formation and maintenance, it also provides a way of understanding the innocence of the delusional subject that does not involve the denial of agency. (shrink)