In this book, David B. Wong defends an ambitious and important new version of moral relativism. He does not espouse the type of relativism that says anything goes, but he does start with a relativist stance against alternative theories such that there need not be only one universal truth. Wong proposes that there can be a plurality of true moralities existing across different traditions and cultures, all with one core human question as to how we can all live (...) together. (shrink)
The burgeoning literature on the ethical issues raised by climate engineering has explored various normative questions associated with the research and deployment of climate engineering, and has examined a number of responses to them. While researchers have noted the ethical issues from climate engineering are global in nature, much of the discussion proceeds predominately with ethical framework in the Anglo-American and European traditions, which presume particular normative standpoints and understandings of human–nature relationship. The current discussion on the ethical issues, therefore, (...) is far from being a genuine global dialogue. The aim of this article is to address the lack of intercultural exchange by exploring the ethics of climate engineering from a perspective of Confucian environmental ethics. Drawing from the existing discussion on Confucian environmental ethics and Confucian ethics of technology, I discuss what Confucian ethics can contribute to the ethical debate on climate engineering. (shrink)
I thought the paper by Kai-yee Wong and Chris Fraser was fascinating and insightful. Two things I especially appreciated are the clarity with which they summarize my views. I think they are quite fair and accurate. Second, I appreciate their suggestion that the way to deal with the practical problem of weakness of will has much to do with the role of the Background in shaping our actions. I think they are especially on the right track when they say (...) that the improvement of Background skills may actually narrow the range of real options for action, (p. 21) nonetheless, they do not decrease freedom. As they say, “It is a process of strengthening the self, and the agent is likely to experience the concomitant restriction of ‘live’ options not as a limitation but as strength of character.” (p. 21). That seems to me very much on the right track. What they are suggesting, and it is a powerful addition to my own writings, is that we should not just think of the Background as facilitating languages, games and social practices generally, but for morality as well (p. 23). (shrink)
Researchers have explored questions concerning public participation and consent in geoengineering governance. Yet, the notion of consent has received little attention from researchers, and it is rarely discussed explicitly, despite being prescribed as a normative requirement for geoengineering research and being used in rejecting some geoengineering options. As it is noted in the leading geoengineering governance principles, i.e. the Oxford Principles, there are different conceptions of consent; the idea of consent ought to be unpacked more carefully if, and when, we (...) invoke it in the discussion. This article offers a theoretical reflection on different conceptions of consent and their place in geoengineering governance. More specifically, I discuss three models of consent, i.e. explicit consent, implied consent and hypothetical consent, and assess their applicability to geoengineering governance. Although there are different models of consent, much discussion of geoengineering governance has committed only to explicit consent. I note that such a commitment springs from a specific ideal political order. Accordingly, we should be wary of any naïve commitment to it so long as the political order we hope for remains open to debate. Finally, I illustrate two approaches to introduce consent into a geoengineering governance framework. (shrink)
This essay explains the inescapability of moral demands. I deny that the individual has genuine reason to comply with these demands only if she has desires that would be served by doing so. Rather, the learning of moral reasons helps to shape and channel self- and other-interested motivations so as to facilitate and promote social cooperation. This shaping happens through the “embedding” of reasons in the intentional objects of motivational propensities. The dominance of the instrumental conception of reason, according to (...) which reasons must be based in desires of the individual, has made it harder to recognize that reasons shape desires. I attempt to undermine this dominance by arguing that the concept of a self that extends over time is constructed to meet the demands of social cooperation. Prudential reasons to act on behalf of the persisting self's desires are often taken to constitute the paradigm of reasons based on desires of the individual. But such reasons, along with the very concept of the persisting self, are constructed to promote human cooperation and to shape the individual's desires. (shrink)
Neuropsychiatrist Michael T. H. Wong argues that the notions of soul, mind, brain, self and consciousness are no longer adequate on their own to explain humanity. He formulates a “third discourse” that brings philosophy neuroscience theology and psychiatry together as an innovative multilayered narrative for the person in the twenty-first century.
In most of the introductions to Rawls and contemporary contractarianism, Rawls is seen as the representative of Kantian contractarianism. He is understood as inheriting a contractarian tradition that can be traced back to Kant and which has inspired followers such as Barry and Scanlon. This paper argues that the label does not fit Rawls. While a Kantian contractarian would presuppose a monistic conception of practical reason, Rawls is a hybrid contractarian who presupposes a dual conception. I shall first argue that (...) the way in which a contractarian model is labeled is determined by its conception of practical reason. Then I show that Rawls and Kantian contractarians assume different conceptions of practical reason, and therefore should be seen as belonging to two strands of thought. I further argue that, although Rawls acknowledges his intellectual affiliation with Kant, he cannot be considered a Kantian contractarian in the commonly understood way. In his Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy, Rawls interprets Kant as endorsing a hybrid contractarian model that is similar to his. By understanding Rawls as a hybrid contractarian and not confusing his philosophical project with that of Kantian contractarians, Rawls’s contribution to the history of contractarianism can be better evaluated. (shrink)
Metaphors of adorning, crafting, water flowing downward, and growing sprouts appear in the Analects , the Mencius , and the Xunzi 荀子. They express and guide thinking about what there is in human nature to cultivate and how it is to be cultivated. The craft metaphor seems to imply that our nature is of the sort that must be disciplined and reshaped to achieve goodness, while the adorning, water, and sprout metaphors imply that human nature has an inbuilt directionality toward (...) the ethical that should be protected or nurtured. I argue that all the metaphors capture different aspects of human nature and how one must work with these aspects. There is much in contemporary psychology and neuroscience to suggest that the early Confucians were on the right track. It is also argued that they point to a fruitful conception of ethical development that is relational and holistic. (shrink)
Contractualism is a normative theory which characterizes principles of right in terms of the idea of mutual respect. In this theory, mutual respect is regarded as having deliberative priority over other values. This essay aims to examine how contractualists can provide a satisfactory justification for prioritizing mutual respect. I will argue that the ‘value of mutual respect argument,’ which is a justification commonly adopted by contractualists, is inadequate because an unconditional priority of mutual respect cannot be grounded on the desirability (...) of a relationship of mutual respect. Then I will suggest that a ‘consistency argument’ can provide a better justification of why the idea of mutual respect should have priority. Mutual respect is of special importance, not because it is highly desirable, but rather because it is required by an a priori guiding principle of consistency. Individuals become inconsistent if they ask others to respect them as reason-assessing individuals, while at the same time refusing to respect others in the same way. (shrink)
This volume engages in conversation with the thinking and work of Max Charlesworth as well as the many questions, tasks and challenges in academic and public life that he posed. It addresses philosophical, religious and cultural issues, ranging from bioethics to Australian Songlines, and from consultation in a liberal society to intentionality. The volume honours Max Charlesworth, a renowned and celebrated Australian public intellectual, who founded the journal Sophia, and trained a number of the present heirs to both Sophia and (...) academic disciplines as they were further developed and enhanced in Australia: Indigenous Australian studies, philosophy of religion, the study of the tension between tradition and modernity, phenomenology and existentialism, hermeneutics, feminist philosophy, and philosophy of science that is responsive to environmental issues. (shrink)
Closed-loop transcutaneous auricular vagal nerve stimulation was officially proposed in 2020. This work firstly reviewed two existing CL-taVNS forms: motor-activated auricular vagus nerve stimulation and respiratory-gated auricular vagal afferent nerve stimulation, and then proposed three future CL-taVNS systems: electroencephalography -gated CL-taVNS, electrocardiography -gated CL-taVNS, and subcutaneous humoral signals -gated CL-taVNS. We also highlighted the mechanisms, targets, technical issues, and patterns of CL-taVNS. By reviewing, proposing, and highlighting, this work might draw a preliminary blueprint for the development of CL-taVNS.
This anthology examines the practical role of well-being in contemporary society. It discusses developments such as globalization, consumerism and the rapid innovation and use of new and emerging technologies and focuses on the significant impact of these developments on the well-being of people living today. The anthology brings together researchers from various disciplines, including psychology, economics, sociology, philosophy and development studies. It provides concrete insight on the role and importance of well-being in contemporary society, using a mix of empirical grounding, (...) philosophical rigour and an emphasis on real-world applications. It is unique in that it seeks to understand the relation between well-being research and its application towards real problems. (shrink)
This is my contribution to a symposium on David Wong’s paper, “Early Confucian Philosophy and the Development of Compassion.” I simply grant Wong his reading of the relevant texts and consider the merits of the ideas about ethical development on their own terms. In particular, my aim is to see how fruitful these ideas might be in the contemporary philosophical landscape.
The view defended is one sense externalist on the relation between moral reasons and motivation: A's having a moral reason to do X does not necessarily imply that A has a motivation that would support A's doing X via some appropriate deliberative route. However, it is in another sense externalist in holding that there are the kind of moral reasons there are only if the relevant motivational capacities are "generally present" in human beings, if not in all individuals. The process (...) of socialization is an attempt to embed the recognition of what we have moral reason to do in the intentional content of one's feelings. E.g., learning that about others' suffering embeds their suffering as a reason to help in the intentional content of incipient compassionate feelings. This endows the reason with motivational efficacy while conferring further direction to the feelings in ways that shape us for social cooperation. (shrink)
Political liberals assume an accessibility requirement, which means that, for ensuring civic respect and non-manipulation, public officials should offer accessible reasons during political advocacy. Recently, critics have offered two arguments to show that the accessibility requirement is unnecessary. The first is the pluralism argument: Given the pluralism in evaluative stan- dards, when officials offer non-accessible reasons, they are not disrespectful because they may merely try to reveal their strongest reason. The second is the honesty argument: As long as officials honestly (...) confess their beliefs after offering non-accessible reasons, disrespect and non-manipulation do not occur. This paper defends the accessibility requirement and asserts that these two arguments overlook a unique feature of the political domain. While all citizens collectively own political power as a corporate body, an official does not privately own her political power. Instead, she is a trustee who has a duty to act on behalf of the corporate body, that is, she has to make decisions on grounds that are accessible to others. This duty explains why, despite pluralism, the accessibility requirement is necessary. Moreover, given that political decisions are profoundly influential to each person, requiring people to be honest is ineffective in discouraging disrespectful and manip- ulative acts. (shrink)
In this essay we provide (1) an argument for why ethics should be naturalized, (2) an analysis of why it is not yet naturalized, (3) a defense of ethical naturalism against two fallacies—Hume’s and Moore’s—that ethical naturalism allegedly commits, and (4) a proposal that normative ethics is best conceived as part of human ecology committed to pluralistic relativism. We explain why naturalizing ethics both entails relativism and also constrains it, and why nihilism about value is not an especially worrisome for (...) ethical naturalists. The substantive view we put forth constitutes the essence of Duke Naturalism. (NOTE: This is a slightly modified reprint of Flangan et al 2007 of the same title.). (shrink)
In this essay we provide (1) an argument for why ethics should be naturalized, (2) an analysis of why it is not yet naturalized, (3) a defense of ethical naturalism against two fallacies—Hume’s and Moore’s—that ethical naturalism allegedly commits, and (4) a proposal that normative ethics is best conceived as part of human ecology committed to pluralistic relativism. We explain why naturalizing ethics both entails relativism and also constrains it, and why nihilism about value is not an especially worrisome for (...) ethical naturalists. The substantive view we put forth constitutes the essence of Duke Naturalism. (shrink)
Considered by many Taoists and non-Taoists alike to be an essential guide to living, Lao-tzu's Treatise on the Response of the Tao was written by the twelfth-century sage Le Ying-chang. Presenting foundational teachings and practices of the Action and Karma school of Taoism, it is replete with folk stories illustrating the teachings and an introductory essay that discusses the more esoteric meaning of the passages. Told with clarity and depth, these seminal Taoist teachings offer guidance on leading a balanced healthy (...) life. (shrink)
The Art of War application to education is about solving problems to improve student and school success. The Art of War describes the significance of a leader and his knowledge and prudent application of the strategies. At the core of theses strategies is the non-negotiable moral purpose of the leader to be reinforced by other fine qualities as wisdom, commitment, discipline, and courage.
ABSTRACT The discussion of moral dilemmas has long been a teaching strategy for moral education. However, the questioning techniques teachers use to lead moral discussions are not fully understood. With reference to a collaborative teaching research project on a values education video-story, this study explored the authentic practice of teacher questioning in moral education classes. Data were collected in a Hong Kong primary school through lesson observations, interviews, document reviews and field notes. Teachers used three techniques when leading moral discussions: (...) posing hypothetical questions, asking role-switching questions and playing devil’s advocate. Collectively, these three techniques helped to enhance students’ thinking. The study suggests that teachers’ questioning in moral discussions can be seen as a contextualised activity that involves the analysis of the key characters, plot points and moral values embedded in the story throughout the processes of curriculum planning and teaching. Teacher questioning strategies offer directions for future studies of moral discussions. (shrink)
David B. Wong proposes that there can be a plurality of true moralities, moralities that exist across different traditions and cultures, all of which address facets of the same problem: how we are to live well together. Wong examines a wide array of positions and texts within the Western canon as well as in Chinese philosophy, and draws on philosophy, psychology, evolutionary theory, history, and literature, to make a case for the importance of pluralism in moral life, and (...) to establish the virtues of acceptance and accommodation. Wong's point is that there is no single value or principle or ordering of values and principles that offers a uniquely true path for human living, but variations according to different contexts that carry within them a common core of human values. We should thus be modest about our own morality, learn from other approaches, and accommodate different practices in our pluralistic society. (shrink)
The present study investigates the dynamics of emotional processing and awareness using an affective facial priming paradigm in conjunction with a multimodal assessment of awareness. Key facial primes are visually masked, and are presented for brief and extended durations. Using a preference measure, we examine whether the effects of the primes differ qualitatively . We show that: unconscious affective priming with faces emerges strongly in initial presentations and diminishes rapidly with repetition; conscious affective priming also emerges strongly in initial presentations, (...) however it persists in strength with repetition; and in contrast to other reports on the salience of negative stimuli, happy faces appear more salient than sad faces when presented outside awareness. We discuss the limits and extensions of unconscious affective priming with faces, and consider several methodological and conceptual questions concerning emotional processing out of awareness. (shrink)
Distributed agile teams are increasingly employed in organizations, partly due to the increased focus on digital transformation. However, research findings about the performance of such teams appear to be inconsistent, calling for more research to investigate the conditions under which distributed agile teams may thrive. Given that task coordination is particularly challenging when team members are not co-located, the present study investigates the roles of the two types of task interdependence, i.e., initiated versus received task interdependence. Survey results from 191 (...) participants working in distributed agile teams within three companies in Norway confirm our hypotheses. Specifically, we show that high initiated task interdependence is associated with higher role clarity of others, while received task interdependence is associated with higher role clarity of self, and that both subsequently result in higher team performance in distributed agile teams. Thus, we argue that each type of task interdependence contributes in a unique way to team performance in distributed agile teams. (shrink)
This paper starts by investigating Ackermann's interpretation of finite set theory in the natural numbers. We give a formal version of this interpretation from Peano arithmetic (PA) to Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory with the infinity axiom negated (ZF−inf) and provide an inverse interpretation going the other way. In particular, we emphasize the precise axiomatization of our set theory that is required and point out the necessity of the axiom of transitive containment or (equivalently) the axiom scheme of ∈-induction. This clarifies the (...) nature of the equivalence of PA and ZF−inf and corrects some errors in the literature. We also survey the restrictions of the Ackermann interpretation and its inverse to subsystems of PA and ZF−inf, where full induction, replacement, or separation is not assumed. The paper concludes with a discussion on the problems one faces when the totality of exponentiation fails, or when the existence of unordered pairs or power sets is not guaranteed. (shrink)
The practice of covertly administering medication is controversial. Although condemned by some as overly paternalistic, others have suggested that it may be acceptable if patients have permanent mental incapacity and refuse needed treatment. Ethical, legal, and clinical considerations become more complex when the mental incapacity is temporary and when the medication actually serves to restore autonomy. We discuss these issues in the context of a young man with schizophrenia. His mother had been giving him antipsychotic medication covertly in his soup. (...) Should the doctor continue to provide a prescription, thus allowing this to continue? We discuss this case based on the “four principles” ethical framework, addressing the conflict between autonomy and beneficence/non-maleficence, the role of antipsychotics as an autonomy restoring agent, truth telling and the balance between individual versus family autonomy. (shrink)