This article reassess Rorty’s contribution to human rights theory. It addresses two key questions: (1) Does Rorty sustain his claim that there are no morally relevant transcultural facts? (2) Does Rorty’s proposed sentimental education offer an adequate response to contemporary human rights challenges? Although both questions are answered in the negative, it is argued here that Rorty’s focus on suffering, sympathy, and security, offer valuable resources to human rights theorists. The article concludes by considering the idea of a dual approach (...) to human rights, combining Rorty’s emphasis on sentiment with an analysis of patterns of responsibility for the underfulfilment of human rights. (shrink)
This article draws out two implications for cosmopolitan or global friendship from an examination of a recent work on civic friendship in the domestic sphere: (1) Insofar as it is the case that civic friendship, as defined by Schwarzenbach (On civic friendship: Including women in the state. Columbia University Press, New York, 2009) is necessary for justice in the state, it is also the case that the absence of global justice can be partially explained by the absence of what might (...) be called cosmopolitan friendship. (2) If we consider the practicalities of civic friendship, we find that cosmopolitan friendship is an even more difficult and demanding project than we might have imagined. (shrink)
This article draws out two implications for cosmopolitan or global friendship from an examination of a recent work on civic friendship in the domestic sphere: Insofar as it is the case that civic friendship, as defined by Schwarzenbach is necessary for justice in the state, it is also the case that the absence of global justice can be partially explained by the absence of what might be called cosmopolitan friendship. If we consider the practicalities of civic friendship, we find that (...) cosmopolitan friendship is an even more difficult and demanding project than we might have imagined. (shrink)
Population-level biomedical research has become crucial to the health system’s ability to improve the health of the population. This form of research raises a number of well-documented ethical concerns, perhaps the most significant of which is the inability of the researcher to obtain fully informed specific consent from participants. Two proposed technical solutions to this problem of consent in large-scale biomedical research that have become increasingly popular are meta-consent and dynamic consent. We critically examine the ethical and practical credentials of (...) these proposals and find them lacking. We suggest that the consent problem is not solved by adopting a technology driven approach grounded in a notion of ‘specific’ consent but by taking seriously the role of research governance in combination with broader conceptions of consent. In our view, these approaches misconstrue the rightful location of authority in the way in which population-level biomedical research activities are structured and organized. We conclude by showing how and why the authority for determining the nature and shape of choice making about participation ought not to lie with individual participants, but rather with the researchers and the research governance process, and that this necessarily leads to the endorsement of a fully articulated broad consent approach. (shrink)
Since its inception in 2010, the Network for Public Health Law has aligned with federal, state, tribal, and local public health practitioners to assess how law can promote and protect the public’s health. In 2013, Network authors illustrated major trends in public health laws and policies emanating from an internal assessment of thousands of requests for technical assistance nationally. More recently, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has invited the Network and other partners to consider new ideas and strategies toward building (...) a “culture of health.” Per Figure 1, RWJF’s conception of a culture of health emphasizes key action areas essential to the promotion of health across all sectors and diverse populations. (shrink)
Certainly I am in no way opposed to philosophy, or metaphysics in the sense that Wm. James defined it as a particularly intense effort to think clearly. Indeed, Klein would like to say that what I am talking about is nothing but metaphysics. But the kind of philosophy/metaphysics that is needed here is of a particular kind: a kind that does not separate philosophy/metaphysics and physics into two disjoint realms. It is of the kind that seeks to construct useful testable (...) physical theories that are adequately connected to what we can know. (shrink)
In the following reflection Claudio Corradetti and Allen Wood engage in a controversy concerning the possibilities and the limits of textual interpretation. Should an interpreter still be authorized to call an author’s interpretation the logical stretch of text beyond its black printed letters? The authors offer two different standpoints on what can still be defined as textual interpretation. Whereas for Allen Wood a clear-cut separation must be kept between what a text shows and what an interpreter argues starting from the (...) text, for Claudio Corradetti such distinction remains internal to textual exegesis in so far as the interpreter’s conclusions follow a logical pattern of jus tification starting from evidential hints. (shrink)
Most versions of utilitarianism depend on the plausibility and coherence of some conceptionof maximizing well-being, but these conceptions have been attacked on various grounds. This paper considers two such contentions. First, it addresses the argument that because goods are plural and incommensurable, maximization is incoherent. It is shown that any conception of incommensurability strong enough to show the incoherence of maximization leads to an intolerable paradox. Several misunderstandings of what maximization requires are also addressed. Second, this paper responds to the (...) argument that rationality is not a matter of maximizing, but of expressing proper attitudes. This ‘expressivist’ position is first explicated through the elaboration of several paradoxes. It is then shown how, through an application of economic and strategic thinking, these paradoxes can be dissolved. The paper then concludes with some reflections on the indispensability of calculation for moral and prudential reasoning. (shrink)
It is commonly thought that exploitation is unjust; some think it is part of the very meaning of the word ‘exploitation’ that it is unjust. Those who think this will suppose that the just society has to be one in which people do not exploit one another, at least on a large scale. I will argue that exploitation is not unjust by definition, and that a society might be fundamentally just while nevertheless being pervasively exploitative. I do think that exploitation (...) is nearly always a bad thing, and wul try to identify the moral belief which makes most of us think it is. But I will argue that its badness does not always consist in its being unjust. (shrink)
The number of colleges and universities with campus agriculture projects in the US has grown from an estimated 23 in 1992 to nearly 300 today with possible increased numbers predicted. The profile emerging from campus agriculture projects looks a lot different from the traditional land grant colleges of agriculture. In spite of this emergent trend and staunch advocacy for campus agriculture projects, limited empirical research on agriculture-based learning in higher education exists outside agriculture degrees and theoretical work of scholars such (...) as Liberty Hyde Bailey and David Orr. This study explored the diversity of characteristics and pedagogical objectives of emerging campus agriculture projects through a nationwide compilation, surveying campus agriculture project directors and educators, and multiple case studies. Data collected gives empirical evidence supporting claims agriculture is taking on a different identity in higher education. Issues of sustainability, food, and agriculture are not only influencing the physical workings of colleges and universities, but pedagogy on a departmental and institutional scale. Findings illustrate a re-visioning of how higher education is interfacing with agriculture and agriculture-based education beyond traditional agriculture degrees at land grant colleges of agriculture to focus teaching sustainability, critical thinking and inquiry skills, and fostering a sense of belonging to community. (shrink)
In this article, I address concerns that the ontological priority claims definitive of ontic structural realism are as they stand unclear, and I do so by placing these claims on a more rigorous formal footing than they typically have been hitherto. I first of all argue that Kit Fine’s analysis of ontological dependence furnishes us with an ontological priority relation that is particularly apt for structuralism. With that in place, and with reference to two case studies prominent within the structuralist (...) literature, I consider whether any of structuralism’s distinctive priority claims may be regarded as warranted. The discussion as a whole has largely negative implications for the radical structuralism of French and Ladyman (including their ‘eliminativist’ interpretation of it), largely positive implications for the moderate structuralism primarily advocated by Esfeld and Lam, and some broad lessons for contemporary fundamentalist metaphysics as a whole. 1 Introduction2 The Right Priority Relation for Structuralism: Supervenience or Dependence?3 Introducing Ontological Dependence4 Fine’s System5 The Priority of Structure 1: Entangled Quantum Particles6 The Priority of Structure 2: The Group-Theoretic Conception of Elementary Particles7 Concluding Remarks. (shrink)
Ontic structural realism is a thesis of fundamentality metaphysics: the thesis that structure, not objects, has fundamental status. Claimed as the metaphysic most befitting of modern physics, OSR first emerged as an entreaty to eliminate objects from the metaphysics of fundamental physics. Such elimination was urged by Steven French and James Ladyman on the grounds that only it could resolve the ‘underdetermination of metaphysics by physics’ that they claimed reduced any putative objectual commitment to a merely ‘ersatz’ form of realism. (...) Few, however, have joined French and Ladyman either in acknowledging that such underdetermination exists or in attributing to it such drastic consequences. However, an alternative view that physics does sanction objects, albeit merely as ontologically secondary entities, represents a different and seemingly less extreme route to the same conclusion regarding the fundamentality of structure. But since what it means to be ‘ontologically prior’ is itself a vexed philosophical question, a stance must be taken as to how we are to understand priority before its prospects may be evaluated. In an earlier paper, I outlined how Fine’s notion of ontological dependence might be utilized to defend the priority-based approach to structuralism. Since then, however, I have become convinced that that ontological dependence is not a relation of priority after all. As a result, the arguments outlined in that paper stand in need of reassessment. In this work, I consider the prospects for priority-based structuralism when expressed in the idiom of determination. My conclusion will be that it has yet to be vindicated by our best physical theories, owing to the failure of symmetry structures to determine the world’s inventory of fundamental kinds. Nevertheless, the same symmetry considerations point towards there being renewed prospects for eliminativism—an eliminativism, moreover, of more naturalistic appeal than that hitherto associated with OSR. 1Introduction 2Structuralist Strategies 3Defining Ontological Priority: Dependence or Determination? 4Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination 4.1Determining plurality 4.2Determining kind properties 5A Reinvigorated Eliminativism. (shrink)
In metaphysics, the fundamental is standardly equated with that which has no explana- tion – with that which is, in other words, ‘brute’. But this doctrine of brutalism is in tension with physicists’ ambitions to not only describe but also explain why the fundamental is as it is. The tension would ease were science taken to be incapable of furnishing the sort of explanations that brutalism is concerned with, given that these are understood to be dis- tinctively ‘metaphysical’ in character. (...) But to assume this is to assume a sharp demarcation between physics and metaphysics that surely cannot be taken for granted. This paper sets out to examine the standing of brutalism from the perspective of contem- porary fundamental physics, together with theories of explanation drawn from philosophy of science and metaphysics. Focusing on what fundamental kinds the world instantiates and how physicists go about determining them, I argue that a partial explanation, in Hempel’s sense, may be given of this fundamental feature. Moreover, since this partial explanation issues, at least in part, from stipulations as to the essential nature of the kinds involved, I claim that it has as much right to be regarded as a metaphysical explanation as do grounding explanations. As such, my conclusion will be that the doctrine of brutalism can no longer be regarded as tenable: at least modulo certain plausible essentialist assumptions, it is no longer the case that no explanation can be given of the fundamental. (shrink)
Ontic structural realism is at its core the view that “structure is ontologically fundamental.” Informed from its inception by the scientific revolutions that punctuated the 20th century, its advocates often present the position as the perspective on ontology best befitting of modern physics. But the idea that structure is fundamental has proved difficult to articulate adequately, and what OSR's claimed naturalistic credentials consist in is hard to precisify as well. Nor is it clear that the position is actually supported by (...) our most fundamental physical theories. What is clear, however, is that structuralists have revealed a seam of material at the core of modern physics that is replete with implications for metaphysics. This article will survey some positions subsumed under the rubric of OSR, considering both their warrant and the interconnections that exist between them. It will be argued that the fundamental kind properties pose a challenge to ontic structuralism, because it seems that these properties do not supervene upon the relevant structures. But it will also be argued that the development of structuralist metaphysics will require both an engagement with the details of modern physical theories and the deployment of tools more typically developed in a priori metaphysics. As such, it seems armchair metaphysicians have not just a stake in whether OSR's claims may ultimately be shown to stand up, but a crucial role to play in getting them to the point where they can be subjected to scrutiny in the first place. (shrink)
This paper aims to open up discussion on the relationship between fundamentality and naturalism, and in particular on the question of whether fundamentality may be denied on naturalistic grounds. A historico-inductive argument for an anti-fundamentalist conclusion, prominent within contemporary metaphysical literature, is examined; finding it wanting, an alternative ‘internal’ strategy is proposed. By means of an example from the history of modern physics - namely S-matrix theory - it is demonstrated that this strategy can generate similar anti-fundamentalist conclusions on more (...) defensible naturalistic grounds, and that fundamentality questions can be empirical questions. Some implications and limitations of the proposed approach are discussed. (shrink)
This book follows hard upon Korsgaard's The Sources of Normativity. Both present the author's influential version of a Kantian theory of normative ethics and metaethics. Whereas The Sources of Normativity was a systematic investigation of "normativity" written as a single unit, the present volume is a collection of previously published papers, some of them already well known and much discussed, dating between 1983 and 1993. By the nature of the case, one might expect less thematic unity in this book than (...) in the other one, but the present book is a deeper and more wide ranging presentation of the author's views. Korsgaard's historical focus in The Sources of Normativity is less on Kant and more on the British moralists. Creating the Kingdom of Ends deals quite explicitly with the interpretation of Kant's moral philosophy. The papers in this book contain, in my judgment, the heart of Korsgaard's work: a variety of fresh and illuminating insights into Kant's moral theory and its relation to contemporary ethical theory which have helped to reshape the image of Kant's ethics and to refocus the issues dealt with in current moral philosophy. Or to make claims less grand but of more immediate relevance to this review, there is no question that some of the papers in this book have helped to reshape both the present writer's image of Kant's ethics and his conception of the way questions of ethical theory should be addressed. I hope below to say something both about where I think Korsgaard has gotten these matters right, and where I find her position either unclear or dubious. (shrink)
The view that it is symmetries, not particles, that are fundamental to nature is frequently expressed by physicists. But comparatively little has been written either on what this claim means or whether it should be regarded as true. After placing the claim into a general fundamentality framework, I consider whether the priority of symmetries over particles can be defended. The conclusions drawn are largely negative.
I argue that certain species of belief, such as mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs, are insulated from a form of Harman-style debunking argument whereas moral beliefs, the primary target of such arguments, are not. Harman-style arguments have been misunderstood as attempts to directly undermine our moral beliefs. They are rather best given as burden-shifting arguments, concluding that we need additional reasons to maintain our moral beliefs. If we understand them this way, then we can see why moral beliefs are vulnerable (...) to such arguments while mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs are not—the very construction of Harman-style skeptical arguments requires the truth of significant fragments of our mathematical, logical, and normative beliefs, but requires no such thing of our moral beliefs. Given this property, Harman-style skeptical arguments against logical, mathematical, and normative beliefs are self-effacing; doubting these beliefs on the basis of such arguments results in the loss of our reasons for doubt. But we can cleanly doubt the truth of morality. (shrink)
We claim that if a complete philosophy of evidence-based practice is intended, then attention to the nature of causation in health science is necessary. We identify how health science currently conceptualises causation by the way it prioritises some research methods over others. We then show how the current understanding of what causation is serves to constrain scientific progress. An alternative account of causation is offered. This is one of dispositionalism. We claim that by understanding causation from a dispositionalist stance, many (...) of the processes within an evidence-based practice framework are better accounted for. Further, some of the problems associated with the health research, e.g. external validity of causal findings, dissolve. (shrink)
A priori metaphysics has come under repeated attack by naturalistic metaphysicians, who take their closer connection to the sciences to confer greater epistemic credentials on their theories. But it is hard to see how this can be so unless the problem of theory change that has for so long vexed philosophers of science can be addressed in the context of scientific metaphysics. This paper argues that canonical metaphysical claims, unlike their scientific counterparts, cannot meaningfully be regarded as ‘approximately true,’ and (...) that this means that the epistemic progress that science arguably enjoys through episodes of theory change cannot be expected to transfer to its metaphysics. What the value of engaging in metaphysics of science before the emergence of a final theory becomes correspondingly unclear. (shrink)
The view that the fundamental kind properties are intrinsic properties enjoys reflexive endorsement by most metaphysicians of science. But ontic structural realists deny that there are any fundamental intrinsic properties at all. Given that structuralists distrust intuition as a guide to truth, and given that we currently lack a fundamental physical theory that we could consult instead to order settle the issue, it might seem as if there is simply nowhere for this debate to go at present. However, I will (...) argue that there exists an as-yet untapped resource for arguing for ontic structuralism – namely, the way that fundamentality is conceptualized in our most fundamental physical frameworks. By arguing that physical objects must be subject to the ‘Goldilock's principle’ if they are to count as fundamental at all, I argue that we can no longer view the majority of properties defining them as intrinsic. As such, ontic structural realism can be regarded as the most promising metaphysics for fundamental physics, and that this is so even though we do not yet claim to know precisely what that fundamental physics is. (shrink)
Since the publication of Edmund Gettier's challenge to the traditional epistemological doctrine of knowledge as justified true belief, Roberts and Wood claim that epistemologists lapsed into despondency and are currently open to novel approaches. One such approach is virtue epistemology, which can be divided into virtues as proper functions or epistemic character traits. The authors propose a notion of regulative epistemology, as opposed to a strict analytic epistemology, based on intellectual virtues that function not as rules or even as skills (...) but as habits of the heart. To that end, they divide the task of clarifying and expounding their notion in the book's two parts.In the first part, Roberts and Wood examine various components that constitute their notion of regulative epistemology. The first are the epistemic goods or goals that drive the epistemic process. What is needed, claim Roberts and Wood, is an enriched notion of these goods rather than the restricted notion of justified true belief. Epistemic agents are more than calculating devices in that …. (shrink)
Over the past decade, a flurry of media stories devoted to sports-related concussions have drawn attention to the previously “silent epidemic” of traumatic brain injury in athletes. From 2001 to 2009, the annual number of sports-related TBI emergency department visits in individuals age 19 and under climbed from 153,375 to 248,414, an increase of increase of 62 percent. Multiple head injuries place youth athletes at risk for serious health conditions, including cerebral swelling, brain herniation, and even death — postconcussive conditions (...) that have collectively been referred to as “second impact syndrome.” Studies have shown that children and teens — and girls, in particular — are more likely to sustain a concussion and have a longer recovery time than adults. Recent research also suggests that even subconcussive hits in children and adolescents may result in longer-term health effects such as decreased cognitive functioning, increased rates of depression, memory problems, and mild cognitive impairment. (shrink)
While provisions of youth sports concussion laws are very similar, little is known as to how they are being implemented, factors that promote or impede implementation, or the level of compliance in each jurisdiction. We aimed to describe state experiences with implementation in order to inform ongoing efforts to reduce the harm of sports-related traumatic brain injury and to guide future evaluations of the laws’ impacts and the development of future public health laws. We conducted key-informant interviews in 35 states (...) with recently enacted concussion legislation. States varied considerably in their readiness and capacity for implementation. Factors facilitating implementation included existing partnerships, procedures, and resources; centralized implementation authority; prior related efforts; and involvement in the policymaking process by those now charged with implementation. Inhibitors included ambiguous statutory language, unclear delegation of authority, and compliance difficulties. Ongoing challenges persist, including primary prevention; determining which providers are qualified to make return-to-play assessments and contents of those assessments; compliance difficulties in rural and under-served areas; and unclear responsibility for enforcement. Despite the similarity of youth sports concussion laws, early evidence suggests there is considerable variation in their implementation. These findings are critical for ongoing empirical investigations to accurately evaluate the laws’ provisions and to identify successful legal approaches to protecting young athletes. (shrink)
This paper proposes a reformulation of the treatment of boundaries, at parts and aggregates of entities in Basic Formal Ontology. These are currently treated as mutually exclusive, which is inadequate for biological representation since some entities may simultaneously be at parts, boundaries and/or aggregates. We introduce functions which map entities to their boundaries, at parts or aggregations. We make use of time, space and spacetime projection functions which, along the way, allow us to develop a simple temporal theory.
This is an opinionated overview of the Frege-Geach problem, in both its historical and contemporary guises. Covers Higher-order Attitude approaches, Tree-tying, Gibbard-style solutions, and Schroeder's recent A-type expressivist solution.
From the ferment of recent debates about the intellectual virtues, Roberts and Wood develop an approach they call 'regulative epistemology', exploring the connection between knowledge and intellectual virtue. In the course of their argument they analyse particular virtues of intellectual life - such as courage, generosity, and humility - in detail.