Recently three studies have reported on the test-retest reliability of the Francis Scale of Attitude toward Christianity; however, these studies were limited to comparatively small samples . The present study examined the temporal stability of the 7-item version of the Francis Scale of Attitude toward Christianity over a 15-week period among a sample of 581 English children aged between 10 and 12 years. Data demonstrated that stability across the two administrations was very high ; however, there was a significant change (...) in mean scores between Time 1 and Time 2. (shrink)
Non-invasive prenatal testing is at the forefront of prenatal screening. Current uses for NIPT include fetal sex determination and screening for chromosomal disorders such as trisomy 21. However, NIPT may be expanded to many different future applications. There are a potential host of ethical concerns around the expanding use of NIPT, as examined by the recent Nuffield Council report on the topic. It is important to examine what NIPT might be used for before these possibilities become consumer reality. There is (...) limited research exploring views of women on possible future uses of NIPT, particularly those of women who have undergone NIPT. In this study, we examined the views of women who undertook NIPT previously on the acceptability of and interest levels in using NIPT for a number of current and possible future applications. These included several medical conditions encompassing psychiatric, neurodevelopmental and adult-onset conditions as well as non-medical traits such as intelligence. One thousand women were invited to participate and 235 eligible surveys were received. Women generally reported an interest in using NIPT for medical conditions that severely impacted quality of life and with an onset earlier in life and stressed the importance of the accuracy of the test. Concerns were raised about the use of NIPT for non-medical traits. Respondents indicated that termination of pregnancy was not their only reason for testing, particularly in the case of sex. These results can further inform the ethical debate around the increasing integration of NIPT into healthcare systems. (shrink)
Harman and Lewis credit Kripke with having formulated a puzzle that seems to show that knowledge entails dogmatism. The puzzle is widely regarded as having been solved. In this paper we argue that this standard solution, in its various versions, addresses only a limited aspect of the puzzle and holds no promise of fully resolving it. Analyzing this failure and the proper rendering of the puzzle, it is suggested that it poses a significant challenge for the defense of epistemic (...) closure. (shrink)
Second part of the translation into Spanish of David Lewis' "New Work for a Theory of Universals", corresponding to the last sections of the original paper. || Segunda parte de la traducción al español del trabajo de David Lewis "New Work for a Theory of Universals", correspondiente a últimas secciones del artículo original. Artículo original publicado en: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 61, No. 4, Dec. 1983, pp. 343-377.
Contemporary realist theories of value claim to be compatible with natural science. In this paper, I call this claim into question by arguing that Darwinian considerations pose a dilemma for these theories. The main thrust of my argument is this. Evolutionary forces have played a tremendous role in shaping the content of human evaluative attitudes. The challenge for realist theories of value is to explain the relation between these evolutionary influences on our evaluative attitudes, on the one hand, and the (...) independent evaluative truths that realism posits, on the other. Realism, I argue, can give no satisfactory account of this relation. On the one hand, the realist may claim that there is no relation between evolutionary influences on our evaluative attitudes and independent evaluative truths. But this claim leads to the implausible skeptical result that most of our evaluative judgements are off track due to the distorting pressure of Darwinian forces. The realist’s other option is to claim that there is a relation between evolutionary influences and independent evaluative truths, namely that natural selection favored ancestors who were able to grasp those truths. But this account, I argue, is unacceptable on scientific grounds. Either way, then, realist theories of value prove unable to accommodate the fact that Darwinian forces have deeply influenced the content of human values. After responding to three objections, the third of which leads me to argue against a realist understanding of the disvalue of pain, I conclude by sketching how antirealism is able to sidestep the dilemma I have presented. Antirealist theories of value are able to offer an alternative account of the relation between evolutionary forces and evaluative facts — an account that allows us to reconcile our understanding of evaluative truth with our understanding of the many non-rational causes that have played a role in shaping our evaluative judgements. (shrink)
This article is concerned with two interrelated questions: what, if anything, distinguishes synthetic from natural organisms, and to what extent, if any, creating the former is of moral significance. These are ontological and ethical questions, respectively. As the title indicates, I address both from a broadly neo-Aristotelian perspective, i.e. a teleological philosophy of life and virtue ethics. For brevity’s sake, I shall not argue for either philosophical position at length, but instead hope to demonstrate their legitimacy through their explanatory power. (...) I firstly argue that synthetic organisms differ in kind from natural organisms and machines, and differ only by degree from genetically modified organisms. I then suggest that this is nevertheless sufficient to give us specific ethical reservations about synthetic biology: namely, that more than any other widely used biotechnology, it is characterised by a drive to mastery that stands opposed to due appreciation of the giftedness of life. (shrink)
This selection of articles by Lewis E. Hahn addresses the philosophical school of contextualism and four contemporary American philosophers: John Dewey, Henry Nelson Wieman, Stephen C. Pepper, and Brand Blanshard. Stressing the relatively recent contextualistic worldview, which he considers one of the best world hypotheses, Hahn seeks to achieve a broad perspective within which all things may be given their due place. After providing a brief outline, Hahn explains contextualism in relation to other philosophies. In his opening chapter, as (...) in later chapters, he expresses contextualism as a form of pragmatic naturalism. In spite of Hahn’s high regard for contextualism, however, he does not think it would be good if we were limited to a single worldview. “The more different views we have and the more different sources of possible light we have, the better our chances that some of these cosmic maps will shed light on our world and our place in it.”. (shrink)
For many philosophical thinkers down through the centuries, the notion of a creation out of sheer nothing has been found to be quite unintelligible. Nevertheless the idea of creation preserves an important insight and needs to be freed from the difficulties of this traditional formulation. Alfred North Whitehead has offered an alternative theory of creation worth exploring: each individual actuality creates itself out of prior creative acts. God then serves to direct this creative process.
Most agree that when it comes to so-called 'first-order' normative ethics and political philosophy, constructivist views are a powerful family of positions. When it comes to metaethics, however, there is serious disagreement about what, if anything, constructivism has to contribute. In this paper I argue that constructivist views in ethics include not just a family of substantive normative positions, but also a distinct and highly attractive metaethical view. I argue that the widely accepted 'proceduralist characterization' of constructivism in ethics is (...) inadequate, and I propose what I call the 'practical standpoint characterization' in its place. I then offer a general taxonomy of constructivist positions in ethics. Since constructivism's standing as a family of substantive normative positions is relatively uncontested, I devote the remainder of the paper to addressing skeptics' worries about the distinctiveness of constructivism understood as a metaethical view. I compare and contrast constructivism with three other standard metaethical positions with which it is often confused or mistakenly thought to be compatible: realism; naturalist reductions in terms of an ideal response; and expressivism. In discussing the contrast with expressivism, I explain the sense in which, according to the constructivist, the distinction between substantive normative ethics and metaethics breaks down. I conclude by distinguishing between two importantly different debates about the mind-dependence of value. I argue that a failure to make this distinction is part of what explains why the possibility of constructivism as a metaethical view is often overlooked. (shrink)
Recently, the practice of deciding legal cases on purely statistical evidence has been widely criticised. Many feel uncomfortable with finding someone guilty on the basis of bare probabilities, even though the chance of error might be stupendously small. This is an important issue: with the rise of DNA profiling, courts are increasingly faced with purely statistical evidence. A prominent line of argument—endorsed by Blome-Tillmann 2017; Smith 2018; and Littlejohn 2018—rejects the use of such evidence by appealing to epistemic norms that (...) apply to individual inquirers. My aim in this paper is to rehabilitate purely statistical evidence by arguing that, given the broader aims of legal systems, there are scenarios in which relying on such evidence is appropriate. Along the way I explain why popular arguments appealing to individual epistemic norms to reject legal reliance on bare statistics are unconvincing, by showing that courts and individuals face different epistemic predicaments (in short, individuals can hedge when confronted with statistical evidence, whilst legal tribunals cannot). I also correct some misconceptions about legal practice that have found their way into the recent literature. (shrink)
In Science as Social Knowledge, Helen Longino offers a contextual analysis of evidential relevance. She claims that this "contextual empiricism" reconciles the objectivity of science with the claim that science is socially constructed. I argue that while her account does offer key insights into the role that values play in science, her claim that science is nonetheless objective is problematic.
The question of what constitutions should do is deeply connected to what constitutions are. In the American founding conception, a constitution was a fundamental law, hierarchically superior to the decisions of the legislature, and intended to act as a restraint on legislative action. Despite the massive gulf between the ancient Greeks and the Americans, classical Athens offers an important lesson about how the failure to recognize fundamental laws can lead to catastrophic consequences. The evidence suggests that the Athenians understood the (...) need for conceptual, procedural, and institutional distinctions between the fundamental laws and the more specific decrees of the governing institutions. The Athenian and American experiences also suggest that certain philosophical positions conditioned their understanding of their fundamental laws, and guided the practices that followed from that understanding. (shrink)
Unlike most texts in critical thinking, _Reason in the Balance_ focuses broadly on the practice of critical inquiry, the process of carefully examining an issue in order to come to a reasoned judgment. Although analysis and critique of individual arguments have an important role to play, this text goes beyond that dimension to emphasize the various aspects that go into the practice of inquiry, including identifying issues and relevant contexts, understanding competing cases, and making a comparative judgment._ Distinctive Features of (...) the Text:_ Emphasis on applying critical thinking to complex issues with competing arguments Inclusion of chapters on inquiry in specific contexts Attention to the dialogical aspects of inquiry, including sample dialogues Emphasis on the spirit of inquiry _The Second Edition Features:_ Updated examples and items of current interest New dialogues on vaccination, prostitution, and climate change New material on biases in reasoning, including emotional, psychological, social, and cognitive _The _Reason in the Balance_ Website includes:_ An Appendix on Logic Exercises Quizzes. (shrink)
This chapter accepts for the sake of argument Ronald Dworkin’s point that the only viable form of normative skepticism is internal, and develops an internal skeptical argument directed specifically at normative realism. There is a striking and puzzling coincidence between normative judgments that are true, and normative judgments that causal forces led us to believe—a practical/theoretical puzzle to which the constructivist view has a solution. Normative realists have no solution, but are driven to conclude that we are probably hopeless at (...) recognizing the independent normative truths they posit. Since this is an unacceptable conclusion, we must conclude that normative realism is false. Drawing on evolutionary considerations, it is explained why this internal skeptical argument does not carry over to our knowledge of objects in our manifest surroundings, and why the challenge does not depend on any assumption that the epistemology of the normative domain must be a causal one. (shrink)
First part of the translation into Spanish of David Lewis' "New Work for a Theory of Universals", corresponding to the introduction and the first two sections of the original paper. || Primera parte de la traducción al español del trabajo de David Lewis "New Work for a Theory of Universals", correspondiente a la introducción y las dos primeras secciones del artículo original. Artículo original publicado en: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 61, No. 4, Dec. 1983, pp. 343-377.
In this article, I discuss a trivialization worry for Hartry Field’s official formulation of the access problem for mathematical realists, which was pointed out by Øystein Linnebo (and has recently been made much of by Justin Clarke-Doane). I argue that various attempted reformulations of the Benacerraf problem fail to block trivialization, but that access worriers can better defend themselves by sticking closer to Hartry Field’s initial informal characterization of the access problem in terms of (something like) general epistemic norms of (...) coincidence avoidance. (shrink)
In many ways set theory lies at the heart of modern mathematics, and it does powerful work both philosophical and mathematical – as a foundation for the subject. However, certain philosophical problems raise serious doubts about our acceptance of the axioms of set theory. In a detailed and original reassessment of these axioms, Sharon Berry uses a potentialist approach to develop a unified determinate conception of set-theoretic truth that vindicates many of our intuitive expectations regarding set theory. Berry further (...) defends her approach against a number of possible objections, and she shows how a notion of logical possibility that is useful in formulating Potentialist set theory connects in important ways with philosophy of language, metametaphysics and philosophy of science. Her book will appeal to readers with interests in the philosophy of set theory, modal logic, and the role of mathematics in the sciences. (shrink)
The lottery paradox has been discussed widely. The standard solution to the lottery paradox is that a ticket holder is justified in believing each ticket will lose but the ticket holder is also justified in believing not all of the tickets will lose. If the standard solution is true, then we get the paradoxical result that it is possible for a person to have a justified set of beliefs that she knows is inconsistent. In this paper, I argue that the (...) best solution to the paradox is that a ticket holder is not justified in believing any of the tickets are losers. My solution avoids the paradoxical result of the standard solution. The solution I defend has been hastily rejected by other philosophers because it appears to lead to skepticism. I defend my solution from the threat of skepticism and give two arguments in favor of my conclusion that the ticket holder in the original lottery case is not justified in believing that his ticket will lose. (shrink)