This article explores universal normative bases that could help to shape a workable legal construct that would facilitate a global use of advance directives. Although I believe that advance directives are of universal character, my primary aim in approaching this issue is to remain realistic. I will make three claims. First, I will argue that the principles of autonomy, dignity and informed consent, embodied in the Oviedo Convention and the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, could arguably be regarded (...) as universal bases for the global use of advance directives. Second, I will demonstrate that, despite the apparent consensus of ethical authorities in support of their global use, it is unlikely, for the time being, that such consensus could lead to unqualified legal recognition of advance directives, because of different understandings of the nature of the international rules, meanings of autonomy and dignity which are context-specific and culture-specific, and existing imperfections that make advance directives either unworkable or hardly applicable in practice. The third claim suggests that the fact that the concept of the advance directive is not universally shared does not mean that it should not become so, but never as the only option in managing incompetent patients. A way to proceed is to prioritize work on developing higher standards in managing incompetent patients and on progressing towards the realization of universal human rights in the sphere of bioethics, by advocating a universal, legally binding international convention that would outlaw human rights violations in end-of-life decision-making. (shrink)
Van Ingen's aim aim is to vindicate the moral life by mounting and then meeting a powerful challenge. But he makes it so easy to be moral - it is enough to care about one other person - and so tough to be amoral - it involves being absolutely selfish - that his challenge is no challenge at all. It's not much of a vindication of morality if the morality you vindicate makes Tony Soprano a moral person.
In this paper, I challenge a familiar argument -- a composite of arguments in the literature -- for the view that “Why be moral?” is a pseudo-question. I do so by refuting a component of that argument, a component that is not only crucial to the argument but important in its own right. That component concerns the status of moral reasons in replies to “Why be moral?”; consequently, this paper concerns reasons and rationality no less than it concerns morality. The (...) work I devote to those topics shows not only that the argument I address is unsound, but that the conclusion of that argument is false. “Why be moral?” is no pseudo-question. (shrink)
The Anselmian claim that God is that than which a greater cannot be thought in virtue of being ‘whatever it is better to be than not to be’ may be accused of incoherence or even unintelligibility. By proposing a non-relative but apparently meaningful analysis thereof, I attempt to defend it against such criticism. In particular, I argue that ‘whatever it is better to be than not to be’ can be plausibly interpreted so as to imply very many attributes traditionally predicated (...) of that than which a greater cannot be thought. Central to this line of reasoning is the assumption that whatever is an actual moral being is greater, simpliciter, than whatever is not an actual moral being. (shrink)
It is natural to oppose morality and self-interest; it is customary also to oppose morality to interests as such, an inclination encouraged by Kantian tradition. However, if “interest” is understood simply as what moves a person to do this rather than that, then – if persons ever actually are good and do what is right – there must be moral interests. Bradley, in posing the “Why should I be moral?” question, raises Kant-inspired objections to the possibility of moral interests qua (...) particular, conditional causes. The paper argues that these objections can be met if (a) one distinguishes between what makes something right and what makes something right happen, and (b) doing what is right is intrinsic to a person’s interests and not merely a means to ulterior ends. The requisite completeness of rational morality is shown to exclude pluralistic approaches. Given rational monism, people can find intrinsic advantage in morality’s justifiability, cooperativeness and communality. (shrink)
This paper revisits the “morality pays” approach to answering the “Why be moral?” question in business. First I argue that “morality pays” is weakest when it needs to be strongest, and thus inadequate to the task. Then I examine and reject a proposed virtue-ethics alternative, arguing that it either collapses into “morality pays” or else introduces a new problem. After sketching an account of moral reasons, I go on to argue that “morality pays” can be reframed, not so much as (...) an answer to “Why be moral,” but as a prescription for reforming corporate institutions. (shrink)
The children of today live in a time when the images of themselves and their childhood, their needs, interests, and skills, are discussed, researched, challenged, and changed. Childhood, education and educational settings for young children are to a great extent governed by temporality. In this paper, temporality and temporal notions in education are explored and discussed. We especially illuminate two different ways of thinking about children in education and care for younger children in the West— the predominant biased notions of (...) the child as becoming or being. The child as becoming, is manifested primarily in classical developmental psychology while the notion of the child as being, has been highlighted mainly by sociological researchers in their critique of developmental psychology. This latter notion is also visible in a totally different manner in the philosophy of Rousseau, emphasizing the free and natural child. In addition, we explore an alternative way of thinking about temporality and children. Drawing upon the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gilles Deleuze, we argue for a rethinking of temporality beyond linear views on time and biased notions of children as ‘either or’. A movement towards a perspective which not only combines notions, but where the whole is more than merely the sum of the parts, is proposed. This leads to an ambiguous, intertwined and ongoing connection between the temporal notions of have been, being and becoming, described by a novel concept—a chiasmic be(com)ing. We suggest that this alternative may be a fruitful way to overcome binary approaches and expand the discussion of temporality, and temporal notions of children, in education. Such an alternative could function as a counterweight to the predominant notions of education and teachers’ work. It may also be seen as a significant foundation for an ethical education since it is built upon ongoing and intertwined relationships, which appreciate openness and unpredictability. (shrink)
Normativity involves two kinds of relation. On the one hand, there is the relation of being a reason for. This is a relation between a fact and an attitude. On the other hand, there are relations specified by requirements of rationality. These are relations among a person's attitudes, viewed in abstraction from the reasons for them. I ask how the normativity of rationality—the sense in which we ‘ought’ to comply with requirements of rationality—is related to the normativity of reasons—the sense (...) in which we ‘ought’ to have the attitudes what we have conclusive reason to have. The normativity of rationality is not straightforwardly that of reasons, I argue; there are no reasons to comply with rational requirements in general. First, this would lead to ‘bootstrapping’, because, contrary to the claims of John Broome, not all rational requirements have ‘wide scope’. Second, it is unclear what such reasons to be rational might be. Finally, we typically do not, and in many cases could not, treat rational requirements as reasons. Instead, I suggest, rationality is only apparently normative, and the normativity that it appears to have is that of reasons. According to this ‘Transparency Account’, rational requirements govern our responses to our beliefs about reasons. The normative ‘pressure’ that we feel, when rational requirements apply to us, derives from these beliefs: from the reasons that, as it seems to us, we have. (shrink)
Here, we argue that any neurobiological theory based on an experience/function division cannot be empirically confirmed or falsified and is thus outside the scope of science. A ‘perfect experiment’ illustrates this point, highlighting the unbreachable boundaries of the scientific study of consciousness. We describe a more nuanced notion of cognitive access that captures personal experience without positing the existence of inaccessible conscious states. Finally, we discuss the criteria necessary for forming and testing a falsifiable theory of consciousness.
_ Source: _Volume 53, Issue 2-4, pp 170 - 193 Boethius identifies beings that _are in_ a subject with what the Scholastics called predicamental accident, and predication by accident with the predication of what _is in_ a subject. The first of these questionable assimilations went on to become terminology commonly accepted by Scholastics of all eras. On the other hand, the second, which seems quite consistent with the thinking of Aristotle, was only admitted with many reservations, probably because of the (...) bewildering claims of Aristotle in _Cat._ 5, 2a27-34 about the predication of what _is in_ the subject. In what follows I will try to show how these phrases, properly understood, are consistent with the idea that what _is in_ the subject is said by accident of the substance, although they implicate a difficulty poorly resolved by Boethius himself and those who followed him on this point, of whom I will only mention by way of example some Scholastics from the 16th century. (shrink)
According to a captivating picture, epistemic justification is essentially a matter of epistemic or evidential likelihood. While certain problems for this view are well known, it is motivated by a very natural thought – if justification can fall short of epistemic certainty, then what else could it possibly be? In this paper I shall develop an alternative way of thinking about epistemic justification. On this conception, the difference between justification and likelihood turns out to be akin to the more widely (...) recognised difference between ceteris paribus laws and brute statistical generalisations. I go on to discuss, in light of this suggestion, issues such as classical and lottery-driven scepticism as well as the lottery and preface paradoxes. (shrink)
This paper provides an account of what it is to have faith in a proposition p, in both religious and mundane contexts. It is argued that faith in p doesn’t require adopting a degree of belief that isn’t supported by one’s evidence but rather it requires terminating one’s search for further evidence and acting on the supposition that p. It is then shown, by responding to a formal result due to I.J. Good, that doing so can be rational in a (...) number of circumstances. If expected utility theory is the correct account of practical rationality, then having faith can be both epistemically and practically rational if the costs associated with gathering further evidence or postponing the decision are high. If a more permissive framework is adopted, then having faith can be rational even when there are no costs associated with gathering further evidence. (shrink)
Dialetheism is the view that some contradictions are true. This is a view which runs against orthodoxy in logic and metaphysics since Aristotle, and has implications for many of the core notions of philosophy. Doubt Truth to Be a Liar explores these implications for truth, rationality, negation, and the nature of logic, and develops further the defense of dialetheism first mounted in Priest's In Contradiction, a second edition of which is also available.
This paper investigates whether, in theoretical terms, corporations can be citizens. The argument is based on the observation that thedebate on “corporate citizenship” (CC) has only paid limited attention to the actual notion of citizenship. Where it has been discussed, authors have either largely left the concept of CC unquestioned, or applied rather unidimensional and decontextualized notions of citizenship to the corporate sphere. The paper opens with a critical discussion of a major contribution to the CC literature, the work of (...) Logsdon and Wood (Wood and Logsdon 2001; Logsdon and Wood 2002). It continues with a consideration of the nature and role of metaphors for business and of the contestable nature of the political concept of citizenship. It evaluates corporations as citizens through a four-dimensional framework of democratic citizenship offered by Stokes (2002). The analysis suggests that corporations do not easilyfit the “liberal minimalist” model of citizenship. It finds, however some possibilities for fit with the three more participatory models. The paper concludes by cautioning against basing corporate citizenship on legal and administrative status or identity, and mapping out specific criteria by which we might determine whether corporations could be considered as citizens by virtue of their participation in processes of governance. (shrink)
It is always awkward when someone asks me informally what I’m working on and I answer that I’m trying to figure out what gender is. For outside a rather narrow segment of the academic world, the term ‘gender’ has come to function as the polite way to talk about the sexes. And one thing people feel pretty confident about is their knowledge of the difference between males and females. Males are those human beings with a range of familiar primary and (...) secondary sex characteristics, most important being the penis; females are those with a different set, most important being the vagina or, perhaps, the uterus. Enough said. Against this background, it isn’t clear what could be the point of an inquiry, especially a philosophical inquiry, into “what gender is”. (shrink)
Review of extant research on the corporate environmental performance (CEP) and corporate financial performance (CFP) link generally demonstrates a positive relationship. However, some arguments and empirical results have demonstrated otherwise. As a result, researchers have called for a contingency approach to this research stream, which moves beyond the basic question “does it pay to be green?” and instead asks “when does it pay to be green?” In answering this call, we provide a meta-analytic review of CEP–CFP literature in which we (...) identify potential moderators to the CEP–CFP relationship including environmental performance type (e.g., reactive vs. proactive performance), firm characteristics (e.g., large vs. small firms), and methodological issues (e.g., self-report measures). By analyzing these contingencies, this study attempts to provide a basis on which to draw conclusions regarding some inconsistencies and debates in the CEP–CFP research. Some of the results of the moderator analysis suggest that small firms benefit from environmental performance as much or more than large firms, US firms seem to benefit more than international counterparts, and environmental performance seems to have the strongest influence on market-measures of financial performance. (shrink)
An examination of the relation between war and politics, by one of the twentieth century’s most influential thinkers From 1971 until 1984 at the College de France, Michel Foucault gave a series of lectures ranging freely and conversationally over the range of his research. In Society Must Be Defended , Foucault deals with the emergence in the early seventeenth century of a new understanding of war as the permanent basis of all institutions of power, a hidden presence within society that (...) could be deciphered by an historical analysis. Tracing this development, Foucault outlines the genealogy of power and knowledge that had become his dominant concern. (shrink)
Anthropology and the other cognitive science (CS) subdisciplines currently maintain a troubled relationship. With a debate in topiCS we aim at exploring the prospects for improving this relationship, and our introduction is intended as a catalyst for this debate. In order to encourage a frank sharing of perspectives, our comments will be deliberately provocative. Several challenges for a successful rapprochement are identified, encompassing the diverging paths that CS and anthropology have taken in the past, the degree of compatibility between (1) (...) CS and (2) anthropology with regard to methodology and (3) research strategies, (4) the importance of anthropology for CS, and (5) the need for disciplinary diversity. Given this set of challenges, a reconciliation seems unlikely to follow on the heels of good intentions alone. (shrink)
When there is truth, there must be some thing (or things) to account for that truth: some thing(s) that couldn’t exist and the true proposition fail to be true. That is the truthmaker principle. True propositions are made true by entities in the mind-independently existing external world. The truthmaker principle seems attractive to many metaphysicians, but many have wanted to weaken it and accept not that every true proposition has a truthmaker but only that some important class of propositions require (...) truthmakers.1 Let us, following Armstrong, call the claim that all true propositions, without exception, have a truthmaker, Truthmaker Maximalism. Why might one be tempted to the spirit of truthmaker theory but reject Truthmaker Maximalism? Well, you might deny that necessary truths need truthmakers, for one, and insist that only contingent truths have truthmakers. But I think it’s fair to say that the most common motivation for rejecting maximalism concerns negative truths. The thought that negative truths are exempt from the demand for truthmakers could be justified in one of two ways: there is the claim that we don’t need truthmakers for negative truths, and there is the claim that we can’t have.. (shrink)
It is hypothesised and argued that “the four principles of medical ethics” can explain and justify, alone or in combination, all the substantive and universalisable claims of medical ethics and probably of ethics more generally. A request is renewed for falsification of this hypothesis showing reason to reject any one of the principles or to require any additional principle(s) that can’t be explained by one or some combination of the four principles. This approach is argued to be compatible with a (...) wide variety of moral theories that are often themselves mutually incompatible. It affords a way forward in the context of intercultural ethics, that treads the delicate path between moral relativism and moral imperialism. Reasons are given for regarding the principle of respect for autonomy as “first among equals”, not least because it is a necessary component of aspects of the other three. A plea is made for bioethicists to celebrate the approach as a basis for global moral ecumenism rather than mistakenly perceiving and denigrating it as an attempt at global moral imperialism. (shrink)
Philosophers are very fond of making non-factualist claims—claims to the effect that there is no fact of the matter as to whether something is the case. But can these claims be coherently stated in the context of classical logic? Some care is needed here, we argue, otherwise one ends up denying a tautology or embracing a contradiction. In the end, we think there are only two strategies available to someone who wants to be a non-factualist about something, and remain within (...) the province of classical logic. But one of these strategies is rather controversial, and the other requires substantially more work than is often supposed. Being a non-factualist is no easy business, and it may not be the most philosophically perspicuous way to go. (shrink)
In Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale, philosopher Debra Satz takes a penetrating look at those commodity exchanges that strike most of us as problematic. What considerations, she asks, ought to guide the debates about such markets? What is it about a market involving prostitution or the sale of kidneys that makes it morally objectionable? How is a market in weapons or pollution different than a market in soybeans or automobiles? Are laws and social policies banning the more (...) noxious markets necessarily the best responses to them? Satz contends that categories previously used by philosophers and economists are of limited utility in addressing such questions because they have assumed markets to be homogenous. Accordingly, she offers a broader and more nuanced view of markets--one that goes beyond the usual discussions of efficiency and distributional equality--to show how markets shape our culture, foster or thwart human development, and create and support structures of power. (shrink)
The paper shows why and how an empirical study of fast-and-frugal heuristics can provide norms of good reasoning, and thus how (and how far) rationality can be naturalized. We explain the heuristics that humans often rely on in solving problems, for example, choosing investment strategies or apartments, placing bets in sports, or making library searches. We then show that heuristics can lead to judgments that are as accurate as or even more accurate than strategies that use more information and computation, (...) including optimization methods. A standard way to defend the use of heuristics is by reference to accuracy-effort trade-offs. We take a different route, emphasizing ecological rationality (the relationship between cognitive heuristics and environment), and argue that in uncertain environments, more information and computation are not always better (the “less-can-be-more” doctrine). The resulting naturalism about rationality is thus normative because it not only describes what heuristics people use, but also in which specific environments one should rely on a heuristic in order to make better inferences. While we desist from claiming that the scope of ecological rationality is unlimited, we think it is of wide practical use. (shrink)
: In the 1980s, the analysis of presupposition projection contributed to a ‘dynamic turn’ in semantics: the classical notion of meanings as truth conditions was replaced with a dynamic notion of meanings as Context Change Potentials. We argue that this move was misguided, and we offer an alternative in which presupposition projection follows from the combination of a fully classical semantics and a new pragmatic principle, which we call Be Articulate. This principle requires that a meaning pp’ conceptualized as involving (...) a pre-condition p should be articulated as … … rather than as … pp’ …, unless the full conjunction is ruled out because the first or the second conjunct is semantically idle. In particular, … … is infelicitous - and hence … pp’ … is acceptable - if one can determine as soon as p and is uttered that no matter how the sentence ends these words could be eliminated without affecting its contextual meaning. An equivalence theorem guarantees that this condition suffices to derive Heim’s results in almost all cases. Extensions of the condition lead to several new predictions, in particular concerning some ‘symmetric readings’, as well as presupposition projection in quantified structures, which displays a complex interaction between the nature of the trigger and the monotonicity of the quantifier. (shrink)
The idea of basic action is a fixed point in the contemporary investigation of the nature of action. And while there are arguments aimed at putting the idea in place, it is meant to be closer to a gift of common sense than to a hard-won achievement of philosophical reflection. It first appears at the stage of innocuous description and before the announcement of philosophical positions. And yet, as any decent magician knows, the real work so often gets done in (...) the set-up. I argue that the seemingly innocent idea of basic action is, in fact, bound up with a wide-spread conception of the nature of bodily or physical action (section 3). Its legitimacy is vital to the intelligibility of the causal theory of action, according to which physical action consists of a mere event and a condition of mind joined (in the right way) by the bond of causality. Left unchecked, means-end reason threatens to permeate physical action, and thus threatens the sovereignty of the sphere of material events at the center of the causal theory: such events, including the movements of one’s body when one intentionally moves it, are thought to be constitutively independent of the subject’s rational capacities. Basic action is a necessary countermeasure, a sort of metaphysical containment wall needed to preserve the separate jurisdictions of the mind of the acting subject and what merely happens. I argue that so long as action theory proceeds under the assumption that there must be basic action, it must regard our relation to the progress of our own deeds as not different in principle from Marx’s understanding of the relation of the non-worker (Nichtarbeiter) to the material processes that realize his own ideas, namely the work done on the factory floor. Each is alienated from the progress, or getting done, of his deeds. In each the process of doing something intentionally turns out to be a case of delegating tasks to another power. How the process comes to completion is not willed, and at best watched: the causal work is not the agent’s work, his knowledge not self-knowledge (section 5). We should find this unacceptable. And if this is right, it should be a pressing question whether there must be basic action. I argue that we have no good reason to think so: basic action is not forced on us by argument (sections 2 and 4). It is open to us to consider an alternative, one on which action is not, in the fundamental case, barren of means- end structure, but instead permeated by it: we register as a force in nature not at the limit of the means-end order but precisely in its constitution. [from article introduction]. (shrink)
Professional philosophers are members of bioethical committees and regulatory bodies in areas of interest to bioethicists. This suggests they possess moral expertise even if they do not exercise it directly and without constraint. Moral expertise is defined, and four arguments given in support of scepticism about their possession of such expertise are considered and rejected: the existence of extreme disagreement between moral philosophers about moral matters; the lack of a means clearly to identify moral experts; that expertise cannot be claimed (...) in that which lacks objectivity; and that ordinary people do not follow the advice of moral experts.I offer a better reason for scepticism grounded in the relation between moral philosophy and common-sense morality: namely that modern moral philosophy views even a developed moral theory as ultimately anchored in common-sense morality, that set of basic moral precepts which ordinary individuals have command of and use to regulate their own lives.Even if moral philosophers do nevertheless have a limited moral expertise, in that they alone can fully develop a set of moral judgments, I sketch reasons – grounded in the values of autonomy and of democracy – why moral philosophers should not wish non-philosophers to defer to their putative expertise. (shrink)
Running head: Implicit sequence learning ABSTRACT Can we learn without awareness? Although this issue has been extensively explored through studies of implicit learning, there is currently no agreement about the extent to which knowledge can be acquired and projected onto performance in an unconscious way. The controversy, like that surrounding implicit memory, seems to be at least in part attributable to unquestioned acceptance of the unrealistic assumption that tasks are process-pure, that is, that a given task exclusively involves either implicit (...) or explicit knowledge. (shrink)
Are there any advantages to thinking and speaking about ethical business in the language of citizenship? We will address this question in part by looking at the possible relevance of a vast literature on individual citizenship that has been produced by political philosophers over the last fifteen years. Some of the central elements of citizenship do not seem to apply straightforwardly to corporations. E.g., “citizenship” typically implies membership in a state and an identity akinto national identity; but this connotation of (...) citizenship is obviously problematic for multinational corporations. However, the language of citizenship does help to focus our attention on various legal and political virtues (or vices) for corporations—topics that have been largely neglected by discussions under other rubrics, such as CSR or sustainability. We finish with an evaluation of the potential benefits and costs of conceptualizing and talking about ethical business practices in thelanguage of citizenship.“Citizen” and “Citizenship” are powerful words. They speak of respect, of rights, of dignity. . . . We find no perjorative uses. It is a weighty, monumental, humanist word.—Fraser and Gordon 1994: 90[The rhetorical appeal to citizenship often] seems to have no purpose other than to add normative weight to a policy, institution or practice that could just asaptly be described without reference to citizenship.—Weinstock 2002: 244. (shrink)
It is well known that classical, aka ‘sharp’, Bayesian decision theory, which models belief states as single probability functions, faces a number of serious difficulties with respect to its handling of agnosticism. These difficulties have led to the increasing popularity of so-called ‘imprecise’ models of decision-making, which represent belief states as sets of probability functions. In a recent paper, however, Adam Elga has argued in favour of a putative normative principle of sequential choice that he claims to be borne out (...) by the sharp model but not by any promising incarnation of its imprecise counterpart. After first pointing out that Elga has fallen short of establishing that his principle is indeed uniquely borne out by the sharp model, I cast aspersions on its plausibility. I show that a slight weakening of the principle is satisfied by at least one, but interestingly not all, varieties of the imprecise model and point out that Elga has failed to motivate his stronger commitment. (shrink)
The New Evil Demon Problem is supposed to show that straightforward versions of reliabilism are false: reliability is not necessary for justification after all. I argue that it does no such thing. The reliabilist can count a number of beliefs as justified even in demon worlds, others as unjustified but having positive epistemic status nonetheless. The remaining beliefs---primarily perceptual beliefs---are not, on further reflection, intuitively justified after all. The reliabilist is right to count these beliefs as unjustified in demon worlds, (...) and it is a challenge for the internalist to be able to do so as well. (shrink)
Darwin's greatest accomplishment was to show how life might be explained as the result of natural selection. But does Darwin's theory mean that life was unintended? William A. Dembski argues that it does not. In this book Dembski extends his theory of intelligent design. Building on his earlier work in The Design Inference (Cambridge, 1998), he defends that life must be the product of intelligent design. Critics of Dembski's work have argued that evolutionary algorithms show that life can be explained (...) apart from intelligence. But by employing powerful recent results from the No Free Lunch Theory, Dembski addresses and decisively refutes such claims. As the leading proponent of intelligent design, Dembski reveals a designer capable of originating the complexity and specificity found throughout the cosmos. Scientists and theologians alike will find this book of interest as it brings the question of creation firmly into the realm of scientific debate. (shrink)
The contrast typically made between utilitarianism and virtue theory is overdrawn. Utilitarianism is a universal emulator: it implies that we should lie, cheat, steal, even appropriate Aristotle, when that is what brings about the best outcomes. In some cases and in some worlds it is best for us to focus as precisely as possible on individual acts. In other cases and worlds it is best for us to be concerned with character traits. Global environmental change leads to concerns about character (...) because the best results will be produced by generally uncoupling my behavior from that of others. Thus, in this case and in this world, utilitarians should be virtue theorists. (shrink)
Confirmation of a hypothesis by evidence can be measured by one of the so far known incremental measures of confirmation. As we show, incremental measures can be formally defined as the measures of confirmation satisfying a certain small set of basic conditions. Moreover, several kinds of incremental measure may be characterized on the basis of appropriate structural properties. In particular, we focus on the so-called Matthew properties: we introduce a family of six Matthew properties including the reverse Matthew effect; we (...) further prove that incremental measures endowed with reverse Matthew effect are possible; finally, we shortly consider the problem of the plausibility of Matthew properties. (shrink)
My subject is what I will call the “Myth of Formal Coherence.” In its normative telling, the Myth is that there are “requirements of formal coherence as such,” which demand just that our beliefs and intentions be formally coherent.1 Some examples are.
It is universally accepted in bioethics that doctors and other medical professionals have an obligation to procure the informed consent of their patients. Informed consent is required because patients have the moral right to autonomy in furthering the pursuit of their most important goals. In the present work, it is argued that evidence from psychology shows that human beings are subject to a number of biases and limitations as reasoners, which can be expected to lower the quality of their decisions (...) and which therefore make it more difficult for them to pursue their most important goals by giving informed consent. It is further argued that patient autonomy is best promoted by constraining the informed consent procedure. By limiting the degree of freedom patients have to choose, the good that informed consent is supposed to protect can be promoted. (shrink)
One of the striking, even amusing, spectacles to be enjoyed at the many workshops and conferences on consciousness these days is the breathtaking overconfidence with which laypeople hold forth about the nature of consciousness Btheir own in particular, but everybody =s by extrapolation. Everybody =s an expert on consciousness, it seems, and it doesn =t take any knowledge of experimental findings to secure the home truths these people enunciate with such conviction.
Negative causation occurs when an absence serves as cause, effect, or causal intermediary. Negative causation is genuine causation, or so I shall argue. It involves no physical connection between cause and effect. Thus causes need not be physically connected to their effects.
Note: this is the first published presentation and defense of the 'proper subset strategy' for making sense of non-reductive physicalism or the associated notion of realization; this is sometimes, inaccurately, called "Shoemaker's subset strategy"; if people could either call it the 'subset strategy' or better yet, add my name to the mix I would appreciate it. Horgan claims that physicalism requires "superdupervenience" -- supervenience plus robust ontological explanation of the supervenient in terms of the base properties. I argue that Horgan's (...) account fails to rule out physically unacceptable emergence. I rather suggest that this and other unacceptable possibilities may be ruled out by requiring that each individual causal power in the set associated with a given supervenient property be numerically identical with a causal power in the set associated with its base property. I go on to show that a wide variety of physicalist accounts, both reductive and non-reductive, are implicitly or explicitly designed to meet this condition, and so are more similar than they seem. In particular, non-reductive physicalism accounts typically appeal to a relation plausibly ensuring that the powers of a higher-level property are a proper subset of those of its physical base property. (shrink)
Many international business training programs present a viewpoint of cultural relativism that encourages business people to adapt to the host country's culture. This paper presents an argument that cultural relativism is not always appropriate for business ethics; rather, a code of conduct must be adapted which presents guidelines for core ethical business conduct across cultures. Both moral and economic evidence is provided to support the argument for a universal code of ethics. Also, four steps are presented that will help ensure (...) that company ethical standards are followed internationally. (shrink)
After a sketch of the optimism and high aspirations of History and Philosophy of Science when I first joined the field in the mid 1960s, I go on to describe the disastrous impact of "the strong programme" and social constructivism in history and sociology of science. Despite Alan Sokal's brilliant spoof article, and the "science wars" that flared up partly as a result, the whole field of Science and Technology Studies is still adversely affected by social constructivist ideas. I then (...) go on to spell out how in my view STS ought to develop. It is, to begin with, vitally important to recognize the profoundly problematic character of the aims of science. There are substantial, influential and highly problematic metaphysical, value and political assumptions built into these aims. Once this is appreciated, it becomes clear that we need a new kind of science which subjects problematic aims - problematic assumptions inherent in these aims - to sustained imaginative and critical scrutiny as an integral part of science itself. This needs to be done in an attempt to improve the aims and methods of science as science proceeds. The upshot is that science, STS, and the relationship between the two, are all transformed. STS becomes an integral part of science itself. And becomes a part of an urgently needed campaign to transform universities so that they become devoted to helping humanity create a wiser world. (shrink)
In this paper I am concerned with the question of whether degrees of belief can figure in reasoning processes that are executed by humans. It is generally accepted that outright beliefs and intentions can be part of reasoning processes, but the role of degrees of belief remains unclear. The literature on subjective Bayesianism, which seems to be the natural place to look for discussions of the role of degrees of belief in reasoning, does not address the question of whether degrees (...) of belief play a role in real agents’ reasoning processes. On the other hand, the philosophical literature on reasoning, which relies much less heavily on idealizing assumptions about reasoners than Bayesianism, is almost exclusively concerned with outright belief. One possible explanation for why no philosopher has yet developed an account of reasoning with degrees of belief is that reasoning with degrees of belief is not possible for humans. In this paper, I will consider three arguments for this claim. I will show why these arguments are flawed, and conclude that, at least as far as these arguments are concerned, it seems like there is no good reason why the topic of reasoning with degrees of belief has received so little attention. (shrink)
In this essay, I describe and explain the standard accounts of agency, natural agency, artificial agency, and moral agency, as well as articulate what are widely taken to be the criteria for moral agency, supporting the contention that this is the standard account with citations from such widely used and respected professional resources as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I then flesh out the implications of some of these well-settled theories (...) with respect to the prerequisites that an ICT must satisfy in order to count as a moral agent accountable for its behavior. I argue that each of the various elements of the necessary conditions for moral agency presupposes consciousness, i.e., the capacity for inner subjective experience like that of pain or, as Nagel puts it, the possession of an internal something-of-which-it is-is-to-be-like. I ultimately conclude that the issue of whether artificial moral agency is possible depends on the issue of whether it is possible for ICTs to be conscious. (shrink)
This study examined ethical attitudes and perceptions of 691 undergraduate seniors and freshmen in a college of business. Gender was found to be correlated to perceptions of "what the ethical climate should be" with female subjects showing significantly more favorable attitude towards ethical behaviors than males. Further, Seniors had a more cynical view of the current ethical climate than freshmen. Freshmen were significantly more likely than seniors to believe that good business ethics is positively related to successful business outcomes. Ethical (...) education was significantly correlated to both perceptions of "current ethical climate" as well as "what the ethical climate should be". Students who had been exposed to ethical issues in a course were more likely to believe both, that ethical behavior is, and should be, positively associated with successful business outcomes. (shrink)
Can a musical work be created? Some say ‘no’. But, we argue, there is no handbook of universally accepted metaphysical truths that they can use to justify their answer. Others say ‘yes’. They have to find abstract objects that can plausibly be identified with musical works, show that abstract objects of this sort can be created, and show that such abstract objects can persist. But, we argue, none of the standard views about what a musical work is allows musical works (...) both to be created and to persist. (shrink)
More and more people seem to think that constructivism - in political philosophy, in moral philosophy, and perhaps in practical reasoning most generally - is the way to go. And yet it is surprisingly hard to even characterize the view. In this paper, I go to some lengths trying to capture the essence of a constructivist position - mostly in the realm of practical reason - and to pinpoint its theoretical attractions. I then give some reason to suspect that there (...) cannot be a coherent constructivist view about practical reason as a whole, at least not if it is to be interestingly constructivist, in a sense I make reasonably precise. (shrink)
Most bioethicists and professional medical societies condemn the practice of ?slow codes.? The American College of Physicians ethics manual states, ?Because it is deceptive, physicians or nurses should not perform half-hearted resuscitation efforts (?slow codes?).? A leading textbook calls slow codes ?dishonest, crass dissimulation, and unethical.? A medical sociologist describes them as ?deplorable, dishonest and inconsistent with established ethical principles.? Nevertheless, we believe that slow codes may be appropriate and ethically defensible in situations in which cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is likely (...) to be ineffective, the family decision makers understand and accept that death is inevitable, and those family members cannot bring themselves to consent or even assent to a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. In such cases, we argue, physicians may best serve both the patient and the family by having a carefully ambiguous discussion about end-of-life options and then providing resuscitation efforts that are less vigorous or prolonged than usual. (shrink)
Anti-individualists claim that concepts are individuated with an eye to purely external facts about a subject's environment about which she may be ignorant or mistaken. This paper offers a novel reason for thinking that anti-individualistic concepts are an ineliminable part of commonsense psychology. Our commitment to anti-individualism, I argue, is ultimately grounded in a rational epistemic agent's commitment to refining her own representational practices in the light of new and surprising information about her environment. Since anti-individualism is an implicit part (...) of responsible epistemic practices, we cannot abandon it without compromising our own epistemic agency. The story I tell about the regulation of one's own representational practices yields a new account of the identity conditions for anti-individualistic concepts. (shrink)
Logical Pluralists maintain that there is more than one genuine/true logical consequence relation. This paper seeks to understand what the position could amount to and some of the challenges faced by its formulation and defence. I consider in detail Beall and Restall’s Logical Pluralism—which seeks to accommodate radically different logics by stressing the way that they each fit a general form, the Generalised Tarski Thesis (GTT)—arguing against the claim that different instances of GTT are admissible precisifications of logical consequence. I (...) then consider what it is to endorse a logic within a pluralist framework and criticise the options Beall and Restall entertain. A case study involving many-valued logics is examined. I next turn to issues of the applications of different logics and questions of which logic a pluralist should use in particular contexts. A dilemma regarding the applicability of admissible logics is tackled and it is argued that application is a red herring in relation to both understanding and defending a plausible form of logical pluralism. In the final section, I consider other ways to be and not to be a logical pluralist by examining analogous positions in debates over religious pluralism: this, I maintain, illustrates further limitations and challenges for a very general logical pluralism. Certain less wide-ranging pluralist positions are more plausible in both cases, I suggest, but assessment of those positions needs to be undertaken on a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
Religion is an important element of end-of-life care on the paediatric intensive care unit with religious belief providing support for many families and for some staff. However, religious claims used by families to challenge cessation of aggressive therapies considered futile and burdensome by a wide range of medical and lay people can cause considerable problems and be very difficult to resolve. While it is vital to support families in such difficult times, we are increasingly concerned that deeply held belief in (...) religion can lead to children being potentially subjected to burdensome care in expectation of ‘miraculous’ intervention. We reviewed cases involving end-of-life decisions over a 3-year period. In 186 of 203 cases in which withdrawal or limitation of invasive therapy was recommended, agreement was achieved. However, in the 17 remaining cases extended discussions with medical teams and local support mechanisms did not lead to resolution. Of these cases, 11 (65%) involved explicit religious claims that intensive care should not be stopped due to expectation of divine intervention and complete cure together with conviction that overly pessimistic medical predictions were wrong. The distribution of the religions included Protestant, Muslim, Jewish and Roman Catholic groups. Five of the 11 cases were resolved after meeting religious community leaders; one child had intensive care withdrawn following a High Court order, and in the remaining five, all Christian, no resolution was possible due to expressed expectations that a ‘miracle’ would happen. (shrink)