Prologue. It is evident from the title that this is a philosophical discussion. I shall not apologize for the philosophy, though I am well aware that most scientists, engineers, and mathematicians have little regard for it; instead, I shall give this short prologue to justify the approach.
Eye movements during false-belief tasks can reveal an individual's capacity to implicitly monitor others' mental states (theory of mind - ToM). It has been suggested, based on the results of a single-trial-experiment, that this ability is impaired in those with a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD), despite neurotypical-like performance on explicit ToM measures. However, given there are known attention differences and visual hypersensitivities in ASD it is important to establish whether such impairments are evident over time. In addition, investigating implicit (...) ToM using a repeated trial approach allows an assessment of whether learning processes can reduce the ASD impairment in this ability, as is the case with explicit ToM. Here we investigated the temporal profile of implicit ToM in individuals with ASD and a control group. Despite similar performance on explicit ToM measures, ASD-diagnosed individuals showed no evidence of implicit false-belief tracking even over a one-hour period and many trials, whereas control participants did. These findings demonstrate that the systems involved in implicit and explicit ToM are distinct and hint that impaired implicit false-belief tracking may play an important role in ASD. Further, they indicate that learning processes do not alleviate this impairment across the presentation of multiple trials. (shrink)
This article develops an unconventional perspective on the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill in at least four areas. First, it is shown that both authors conceived of utility as irreducibly multi-dimensional, and that Bentham in particular was very much aware of the ambiguity that multi-dimensionality imposes upon optimal choice under the greatest happiness principle. Secondly, I argue that any attribution of intrinsic worth to any form of human behaviour violates the first principles of Bentham's and Mill's utilitarianism, and that this (...) renders both authors immune to the claim by G. E. Moore that they committed a ‘naturalistic fallacy’. Thirdly, in light of these contentions, I find no flaw in Mill's ‘proof of utility’. Fourthly, I use the notion of intrapersonal utility weights to provide an interpretation of Mill's qualitative hedonism that is entirely consistent with his value monism. (shrink)
There are many questions we can ask about time, but perhaps the most fundamental is whether there are metaphysically interesting differences between past, present and future events. An eternalist believes in a block universe: past, present and future events are all on an equal footing. A gradualist believes in a growing block: he agrees with the eternalist about the past and the present but not about the future. A presentist believes that what is present has a special status. My first (...) claim is that the familiar ways of articulating these views result in there being no substantive disagreement at all between the three parties. I then show that if we accept the controversial truthmaking principle, we can articulate a substantive disagreement. Finally, I apply this way of formulating the debate to related questions such as the open future and determinism, showing that these do not always line up in quite the way one would expect. (shrink)
This is an extremely thorough revision of the leading textbook of bioethics. The authors have made many improvements in style, organization, argument and content. These changes reflect advances in the bioethics literature over the past five years. The most dramatic expansions of the text are in the comprehensiveness with which the authors treat different currents in ethical theory and the greater breadth and depth of their discussion of public policy and public health issues. In every chapter, readers will find new (...) material and refinements of old discussions. This is evident in the many new sections on topics like communitarianism, ethics of care, relationship-based accounts, casuistry, case-based reasoning, principle-based common-morality theories, the justification of assistance in dying, rationing through priorities in the health care budget, and virtues in professional roles. The most extensive revisions are in chapters 1, 2 and 8. (shrink)
Kant's claim that modality is a 'category' provides an approach to modality to be contrasted with Lewis's reductive analysis. Lewis's position is unsatisfactory, since it depends on an inherently modal conception of a world. This suggests that modality is 'primitive'; and the Kantian position is a prima facie plausible position of this kind, which is filled out by considering the relationship between modality and inference. This provides a context for comparing the Kantian position with Wright's non-cognitivist 'conventionalism'. Wright's position is (...) vulnerable to the type of argument used against ethical non-cognitivism, and the Kantian position is further confirmed by Blackburn's acknowledgment that modality is 'antinaturalistic to its core'. The position is further elaborated to show that it can accommodate the famous Kripkean categories of the empirically necessary and the contingent a priori, and finally defended against the criticisms used by Quine against Carnap. (shrink)
Tested the 2-process theory of detection, search, and attention presented by the current authors in a series of experiments. The studies demonstrate the qualitative difference between 2 modes of information processing: automatic detection and controlled search; trace the course of the learning of automatic detection, of categories, and of automatic-attention responses; and show the dependence of automatic detection on attending responses and demonstrate how such responses interrupt controlled processing and interfere with the focusing of attention. The learning of categories is (...) shown to improve controlled search performance. A general framework for human information processing is proposed. The framework emphasizes the roles of automatic and controlled processing. The theory is compared to and contrasted with extant models of search and attention. (shrink)
Western ethics and law have been slow to come to conclusions about the right to choose the time and manner of one's death. However, policies, practices, and legal precedents have evolved quickly in the last quarter of the twentieth century, from the forgoing of respirators to the use of Do Not Resuscitate orders, to the forgoing of all medical technologies, and now, in one U.S. state, to legalized physician-assisted suicide. The sweep of history—from the Quinlan case in New Jersey to (...) legislation in Oregon that allows physician-assisted suicide—has been as rapid as it has been revolutionary. (shrink)
Laurel Schneider takes the reader on a vivid journey from the origins of "the logic of the One" - only recently dubbed monotheism - through to the modern day, where monotheism has increasingly failed to adequately address spiritual, scientific, and ethical experiences in the changing world. In Part I, Schneider traces a trajectory from the ancient history of monotheism and multiplicity in Greece, Israel, and Africa through the Constantinian valorization of the logic of the One, to medieval and (...) modern challenges to that logic in poetry and science. She pursues an alternative and constructive approach in Part II: a "logic of multiplicity" already resident in Christian traditions in which the complexity of life and the presence of God may be better articulated. Part III takes up the open-ended question of ethics from within that multiplicity, exploring the implications of this radical and realistic new theology for the questions that lie underneath theological construction: questions of belonging and nationalism, of the possibility of love, and of unity. In this groundbreaking work of contemporary theology, Schneider shows that the One is not lost in divine multiplicity, and that in spite of its abstractions, divine multiplicity is realistic and worldly, impossible ultimately to abstract. (shrink)
Taking the case of H. pylori and ulcer, Lynch et al., demonstrate how framing Koch’s postulate by an interventionist account clarifies the latter’s explanatory strength in proportionality with the weaknesses in specificity and stability due to the influence of background conditions. They suggest this approach as an efficient way to bypass the enigma of background conditions and microbial activity in the microbiome’s causal relations. However, it is the background conditions and the microbial interactions in the stomach that determine whether the (...) presence of H. pylori results in an ulcer. I agree with their analysis of the problems and challenges with the microbiome causal explanation but argue that their suggested framework is insufficient without a proper understanding and inclusion of the background conditions and microbial interactions. The reductionist approach fits well within the model of causal explanation that centers on one causal entity. However, such a model is weak in specificity and is too broad because it does not address the factors of microbial activity and background conditions. I argue that for a better causal explanation with explanatory strength in specificity, it is essential to include the background conditions and microbial interactions. Furthermore, I argue that this inclusion changes the framework of the causal relations from looking for the causal entity to looking at the causal process. (shrink)
(From the book cover in 2007) The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness is the most thorough and comprehensive survey of contemporary scientific research and philosophical thought on consciousness currently available. Its 55 newly commissioned, peer-reviewed chapters combine state-of-the-art surveys with cutting edge research. Taken as a whole, these essays by leading lights in the philosophy and science of consciousness create an engaging dialog and unparalleled source of information regarding this most fascinating and mysterious subject.
There is widespread agreement that it would be both morally and legally wrong to treat a competent patient, or to carry out research with a competent participant, without the voluntary consent of that patient or research participant. Furthermore, in medical ethics it is generally taken that that consent must be informed. The most widely given reason for this has been that informed consent is needed to respect the patient’s or research participant’s autonomy. In this article I set out to challenge (...) this claim by considering in detail each of the three most prominent ways in which ‘autonomy’ has been conceptualized in the medical ethics literature. I will argue that whilst these accounts support the claim that consent is needed if the treatment of competent patients, or research on competent individuals, is to respect their autonomy, they do not support the claim that informed consent is needed for this purpose. (shrink)
Armstrong's combinatorialism, in his own words, is the following project: "My central metaphysical hypothesis is that all there is is the world of space and time. It is this world which is to supply the actual elements for the totality of combinations. So what is proposed is a Naturalistic form of a combinatorial theory."2 Armstrong calls his central hypothesis "Naturalism." He intends his well−known theory of universals to satisfy this thesis. He now attempts to give a naturalistic theory of modality.
The principal thesis in this book is that bioethics emerged—in the 1960s through the 1980s—under the influence of philosophers who claimed to have universally valid principles that could steer medicine and research to the solution of ethical problems, including even those arising at the bedside of patients. Tom Koch contends that these philosophers and their allied bioethicists “stole medicine” and its traditional values, substituting a philosophical discourse generally inaccessible to the average person. Philosophers thereby refashioned medical ethics in accordance with (...) their vision of a morally and intellectually robust new field. Koch maintains that philosophers have failed to deliver on their promises and that .. (shrink)
What does it mean to do philosophy historically, and when does the legend of philosophy begin? When Hegel tried to give a logical explanation of philosophy's history, was he doing the same thing as Eduard Zeller in his account of Creek thought, or Kuno Fischer in his narrative of modern philosophy? l do not believe so, and I shall sugges t in the following that we should carefully differentiate between the different activities commonly referred to as the history of philosophy. (...) I will point out the enormous productivity of the 19th century in terms of printed books devoted to the history of philosophy. I will also point to the context in which these were produced and used rather than examining individual works or authors. There is an entirely new context in the 19th century, which is the study of philosophy. A proper culture developed around the historical interest in philosophy, and it is this culture I want to sketch here. (shrink)
It is generally held that doctors and researchers have an obligation to obtain informed consent. Over time there has been a move in relation to this obligation from a requirement to disclose information to a requirement to ensure that that information is understood. Whilst this change has been resisted, in this article I argue that both sides on this matter are mistaken. When investigating what information is needed for consent to be informed we might be trying to determine what information (...) a person would need in order to consent at all, or we might be trying to determine what information a person needs in order to make an informed choice about whether or not to consent. I argue that the obligation to ensure understanding only applies to information generated by the first type of enquiry; but that much of the information generally thought necessary in order for consent to be informed is only required if our concern is with the second type of enquiry. For this reason it is neither the case that doctors and researchers should ensure all the information they provide is understood, nor is it the case that their only obligation is to disclose it. (shrink)
ABSTRACTPrevious work has shown that a stooped posture may activate negative mood. Extending this work, the present experiments examine how stooped body posture influences recovery from pre-existing negative mood. In Experiment 1, participants were randomly assigned to receive either a negative or neutral mood induction, after which participants were instructed to take either a stooped, straight, or control posture while writing down their thoughts. Stooped posture led to less mood recovery in the negative mood condition, and more negative mood in (...) the neutral mood condition. Furthermore, stooped posture led to more negative thoughts overall compared to straight or control postures. In Experiment 2, all participants underwent a negative mood induction, after which half received cognitive reappraisal instructions and half received no instructions. Mood-congruent cognitions were assessed through autobiographical memory recall. Again, stooped position led to less mood recovery. Notably, this was independent of regulation instruction. These findings demonstrate for the first time that posture plays an important role in recovering from negative mood. (shrink)
The literature regarding social and environmental sustainability of business focuses primarily on rationales for adopting sustainability strategies and operational practices in support of that goal. In contrast, we examine sustainability from a perspective that has received far less research attention—attitudes that inform managerial decision-making. We develop a conceptual model that identifies six elemental categories of attitudes that can be held independently or aggregated to yield a meta-attitude representing the legitimacy of sustainability. Our model distinguishes among three types of internally held (...) attitudes and externally perceived subjective norms: pragmatic, moral, and cognitive. We propose a refinement of Ajzen's (In: Kuhl J, Beckmann J (eds) Action control: from cognition to behavior, 1985; Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 50:179-211, 1991) Theory of planned behavior (TPB) that incorporates these sub-categories of personal attitudes and subjective norms. Practical implications are discussed including how organizations considering adopting sustainability programs might use the model as a conceptual tool to help achieve and assess program success. (shrink)
In a health service with limited resources we must make decisions about who to treat first. In this paper I develop a version of the restoration argument according to which those whose need for resources is a consequence of their voluntary choices should receive lower priority when it comes to health care. I then consider three possible problems for this argument based on those that have been raised against other theories of this type: that we don't know in a particular (...) case that the illness is self-inflicted, that it seems that all illness is self-inflicted in the sense used in my argument, and finally that this type of approach incorporates an unacceptable moralising element if it is to avoid giving those like fire-fighters a lower priority for treatment. I argue that the position outlined here has the resources to respond to each of these objections. (shrink)
Most answers to the mind-body problem are claims about the nature of mental properties and substances. But advocates of non-reductive physicalism have generally neglected the topic of the nature of substance, quickly nodding to the view that all substances are physical, while focusing their intellectual energy on understanding how mental properties relate to physical ones. Let us call the view that all substances are physical or are exhaustively composed of physical substances substance physicalism (SP). Herein, I argue that non-reductive physicalism (...) (NRP) cannot uphold substance physicalism and is thereby false. For NRP faces a mind problem: its commitment to property irreducibility prevents that which bears the mental properties—the mind, or on some views, the self or person—from being a physical thing. (shrink)
In this essay I defend a theory of psychological explanation that is based on the joint commitment to direct reference and computationalism. I offer a new solution to the problem of Frege Cases. Frege Cases involve agents who are unaware that certain expressions corefer (e.g. that 'Cicero' and 'Tully' corefer), where such knowledge is relevant to the success of their behavior, leading to cases in which the agents fail to behave as the intentional laws predict. It is generally agreed that (...) Frege Cases are a major problem, if not the major problem, that this sort of theory faces. In this essay, I hope to show that the theory can surmount the Frege Cases. (shrink)