Researchers from across the social sciences have found consistent deviations from the predictions of the canonical model of self-interest in hundreds of experiments from around the world. This research, however, cannot determine whether the uniformity results from universal patterns of human behavior or from the limited cultural variation available among the university students used in virtually all prior experimental work. To address this, we undertook a cross-cultural study of behavior in ultimatum, public goods, and dictator games in a range of (...) small-scale societies exhibiting a wide variety of economic and cultural conditions. We found, first, that the canonical model – based on self-interest – fails in all of the societies studied. Second, our data reveal substantially more behavioral variability across social groups than has been found in previous research. Third, group-level differences in economic organization and the structure of social interactions explain a substantial portion of the behavioral variation across societies: the higher the degree of market integration and the higher the payoffs to cooperation in everyday life, the greater the level of prosociality expressed in experimental games. Fourth, the available individual-level economic and demographic variables do not consistently explain game behavior, either within or across groups. Fifth, in many cases experimental play appears to reflect the common interactional patterns of everyday life. Key Words: altruism; cooperation; cross-cultural research; experimental economics; game theory; ultimatum game; public goods game; self-interest. (shrink)
We would like to thank the commentators for their generous comments, valuable insights and helpful suggestions. We begin this response by discussing the selfishness axiom and the importance of the preferences, beliefs, and constraints framework as a way of modeling some of the proximate influences on human behavior. Next, we broaden the discussion to ultimate-level (that is evolutionary) explanations, where we review and clarify gene-culture coevolutionary theory, and then tackle the possibility that evolutionary approaches that exclude culture might be sufficient (...) to explain the data. Finally, we consider various methodological and epistemological concerns expressed by our commentators. (shrink)
A philosophical study of the ethics of good and evil. Ch. 6 (pp. 163-207), "Banality and Originality, " takes issue with Hannah Arendt's thesis of the banality of evil. Contends that no legally sane Nazi was free of evil. The individual has free choice in regard to doing good and evil, and is responsible for his evil acts. Takes issue, also, with Raul Hilberg's view that the Jews did not resist the Nazi terror, and asks "What is the right way (...) to act during one's Holocaust?" Ch. 7 (pp. 209-220), "Thinking Like a Nazi, " analyzes the Nazi mentality, again showing that the individual cannot claim to have been led astray or to have been controlled by his subconscious - at every stage he was a free agent deliberately choosing evil. (shrink)
With no statutory definition of death, the accepted medical definition relies on brain stem death criteria as a definitive measure of diagnosing death. However, the use of brain stem death criteria in this way is precarious and causes widespread confusion amongst both medical and lay communities. Through critical analysis, this paper considers the insufficiencies of brain stem death. It concludes that brain stem death cannot be successfully equated with either biological death or the loss of integrated bodily function. The overemphasis (...) of the brain-stem and its consequences leaves the criteria open to significant philosophical critique. Further, in some circumstances, the use of brain stem death criteria causes substantial emotional conflict for families and relatives. Accordingly, a more holistic and comprehensive definition of death is required. (shrink)
Donald A. Barr's Introduction to U.S. Health Policy: The Organization, Financing, and Delivery of Health Care in America (second edition, 2007) offers a lucid and informative overview of the U.S. health system and the dilemmas policy makers currently face. Barr has provided a balanced introduction to the way health care is organized, financed, and delivered in the United States. The thirteen chapters of the book are quite comprehensive in the topics they cover. Even those knowledgeable about the U.S. (...) health care system are likely to find much to stimulate their thinking in the text. The book can also appropriately serve as a basic text for a health policy course or in the medical or nursing school curriculum. (shrink)
Recently, commentators close to and within the UK government have claimed that patient choice can increase equity in the context of the National Health Service. This article critically examines the basis for this claim through analysis of recent speeches and publications authored by secretaries of state for health and their policy advisers. It is concluded that this claim has not developed prospectively from an analysis of the causes of healthcare inequity, or even with a consistent normative definition of equity. The (...) limited justification that is “framed in causal explanations” of inequity has suffered from an apparent disregard of the available evidence. (shrink)
The Dutch philosopher of religion Hent de Vries has explored and complicated the boundaries between religion and modern thought in order to create the space for an innovative “minimal theology.” This article reconstructs de Vries's interpretation of the changes in Theodor W. Adorno's thought between Dialectic of Enlightenment and Negative Dialectics in order to demonstrate its fecundity for a philosophical account of otherness. It also examines and defends de Vries's own rhetorical mode of reading texts as an exemplary approach to (...) philosophical dialogue. Finally, however, the essay challenges de Vries's privileging of the religious as the site of ethical relationality and his intentional bracketing of Adorno's critical social theory. (shrink)
The distinctly contemporary proliferation of pornography and hate speech poses a challenge to liberalism's traditional ideal of a 'marketplace of ideas' facilitated by state neutrality about the content of speech. This new study argues that the liberal state ought to depart from neutrality to meet this challenge.
Conversions: A Philosophic Memoir belongs to the tradition of Augustine and Rousseau: the "confession" of a life that is a quest for truth. It is in large part the story of two major episodes from Abigail Rosenthal's early adulthood, bought putting personal identity dramatically at risk. As a young Fulbright scholar in Paris, Rosenthal met and entered reluctantly into a love affair with a young Greek communist philosopher who believed that force and deception were justified by a utopian vision (...) of world history. In the inevitable collision of values--between Jew and Greek, liberal and revolutionary, theist and atheist, woman and man in unequal truggle--they separated. Suffering in the aftermath, she at last turned for help to a young African American woman graduate student whom she met in London. This woman's Gnostic Christian rejection of personal and cultural history eventually left Rosenthal without defense against her new mentor's remarkable use of charisma, ridicule, and moralistic reproach to usurp the author's life story. These stratagems of mind control reached a climactic phase in Portugal, where the two went--Rosenthal to paint the other woman to write--in what would turn out to be the terrifying reverse of a summer idyll. With the U.S. State Department, the Portuguese Policía Internacional devised an extraordinary rescue. This arresting narrative, which deals with relations between blacks and whites, Christians and Jews, and men and women, delivers its own philosophic theory of the individual in history. Author note: Abigail L. Rosenthal is Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College of The City University of New York and the author of A Good Look at Evil. (shrink)
This book considers what responsibilities affluent individuals have toward global poverty, given that global poverty is a problem with structural, political causes, and one that generally requires collective action. By looking at the intersection of moral, political, and legal philosophy, this book gives a pluralistic and differentiated account of individual duties based on a person's moral agency, her roles within collective groups , and her institutional identities as citizen and consumer.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have become increasingly dissatisfied with how science funding is distributed. Traditional grant funding processes are seen as stifling the creativity of researchers, in addition to being bureaucratic, slow, and inefficient. Consequently, there have been increasing popular calls to make “fast funding” – fast, unbureaucratic grant applications – a new standard for scientific funding. Though this approach to funding, implemented by Fast Grants, has been successful as a pandemic response strategy, we believe there (...) are serious costs to its wide-scale adoption, particularly for transparency and equity, and that the purported benefits – increased creativity and efficiency – are unlikely to materialize. While traditional funding mechanisms are certainly not perfect, scientific communities should think twice before adopting fast funding as a new standard for funding. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Psychological or political criticism of the parent‐child relation presupposes a normative account of that relation. Such an account is here provided. The normative account can shed most light when the parent‐child relation is presented recognizably, not in Utopian disguise. The purposes of reasonable people partly depend on their interpretations of those of their parents. This is so whether such people accept or reject any particular parental purposes. The filial art sticks to the project of working out the enacted interpretation—until (...) it gets it approximately right. There is a corresponding parental art, neither compensatory nor sacrificial. (shrink)
The predominant narratives of addiction—Disease and Choice narratives—frame addiction as a personal problem to be addressed by controlling an individual’s behavior. By analyzing the epistemic function of narratives of addiction, this paper shows that these narratives construct a story about the nature of addiction by assuming simplistic views about human agency, leading to drug policies that narrowly focus on individual behavior. Assumptions embedded within narratives must be made transparent so that the partial, perspectival, and situated nature of the knowledge that (...) narratives convey is made evident and can be evaluated. As a result of their over-simplistic assumptions about human agency, Disease and Choice narratives neglect a significant factor in addiction: the social context which informs and sets limits on the reasons and values that enter into decision-making. This paper argues for the adoption of Social Constraint narratives, which would require policy agendas to focus on the social contexts that make drug use so appealing. As a result, agencies dealing with drug policy would need to collaborate with other agencies focusing on relevant social issues in order to create structural change, thus affecting the social environment and not merely the individual. (shrink)
A lost childhood -- The stranger -- Confidence in the unknown -- Violence and grace -- A little bridge thrown across the abyss -- Raïssa's guests -- God or Jean Cocteau? -- The sound of hidden springs -- Return from Rome -- The darkest part of ourselves -- The fullness of the day -- Poor means -- A Catholic in the resistance -- The archipelago on the sea -- The memory of the angels.
This paper addresses the killing of Freya the Walrus by the Norwegian fishing authorities in August 2022. Freya became famous for sunbathing on boats in the marina in the Oslo fjord, but she was soon euthanized in the name of public safety. Her death caused international outrage, and the aim of our paper is to demonstrate using philosophical argument why her death was unjust. We examine her plight through frameworks developed by animal ethicists involving co-sovereignty, capability, and individuality, concluding that (...) any one of these frameworks, let alone several, would have led to a more just outcome for Freya. We argue that policy makers could put these insights into practice in a number of concrete ways going forward, as such incidents are likely to reoccur given the changes in migration patterns for animals in the Anthropocene era. (shrink)
In Darwinian Heresies, which was originally published in 2004, prominent historians and philosophers of science trace the history of evolutionary thought, and challenge many of the assumptions that have built up over the years. Covering a wide range of issues starting in the eighteenth century, Darwinian Heresies brings us through the time of Charles Darwin and the Origin, and then through the twentieth century to the present. It is suggested that Darwin's true roots lie in Germany, not his native England, (...) that Russian evolutionism is more significant than many are prepared to allow, and that the true influence on twentieth-century evolution biology was not Charles Darwin at all, but his often-despised contemporary, Herbert Spencer. The collection was intended to interest, to excite, to infuriate, and to stimulate further work. (shrink)
The international protest surrounding the Copenhagen Zoo’s recent decision to kill a healthy giraffe in the name of population management reveals a deep moral tension between contemporary zoological display practices—which induce zoo-goers to view certain animals as individuals, quasi-persons, or friends—and the traditional objectives of zoos, which ask us only to view animals as specimens. I argue that these zoological display practices give rise to moral obligations on the part of zoos to their visitors, and thus ground indirect duties on (...) behalf of zoos to their animals. I conclude that zoos might take on interspecies friendship as a new zoological objective. (shrink)
Contemporary egalitarian liberals—unlike their classical counterparts—have lived through many contentious events where the right to freedom of expression has been tested to its limits—the Skokie, Illinois, skinhead marches, hate speech incidents on college campuses, Internet pornography and hate speech sites, Holocaust deniers, and cross-burners, to name just a few. Despite this contemporary tumult, freedom of expression has been nearly unanimously affirmed in both the U.S. jurisprudence and philosophical discourse. In what follows, I will examine Ronald Dworkin's influential contemporary justification for (...) freedom of expression, which claims that a thoroughgoing right to freedom of expression is justified by the fact that it guarantees and preserves liberalism's commitment to equality by offering everyone an opportunity to speak, whereas any other policy, such as state regulation, would fail to offer this equal opportunity. This justification has been challenged by feminists and critical race theorists, who find the cases of pornography and hate speech to be sufficient threats to the freedom of expression and equality of their targets—women and minorities—to warrant limiting freedom of expression in these cases. I will argue that if Dworkin is to take equality as seriously as he claims to, then, by his own lights, he must back away from an unrestricted freedom of expression, in light of these distinctly contemporary challenges of the harms of systemic racism and sexism, which underlie hate speech and pornography. (shrink)
Introduction: Middle-Earth, The lord of the rings, and international relations -- Order, justice, and Middle-Earth -- Thinking about international relations and Middle-Earth -- Middle-Earth and three great debates in international relations -- Middle-Earth, levels of analysis, and war -- Middle-Earth and feminist theory -- Middle-Earth and feminist analysis of conflict -- Middle-Earth as a source of inspiration and enrichment -- Conclusion: international relations and our many worlds.
In this paper I explore the way that mental illness stigma impacts epistemic credibility in people who have mental illness. While any kind of stigma has the potential to discredit a person’s epistemic agency, in the case of mental illness the basis for discrediting is in some cases and to some extent justifiable, for impairments in rationality, control, and reality perception can indeed be obstacles to participating appropriately in epistemic activities such as normal conversation and public discourse. People with mental (...) illness are still potentially subject to epistemic injustices, however, especially when we rely on stereotypes and fail to make complicated and nuanced judgments which are more accurate. In this paper, I explain some of the ways that people with mental illness may be subject to epistemic injustices, and I propose some suggestions for how epistemic injustice can be avoided. (shrink)
In the past three decades, feminist scholars have produced an extraordinary rich body of theoretical writing in humanities and social science disciplines. This revised and updated second edition of Theorizing Feminism: Parallel Trends in the Humanities and Social Sciences, is a genuinely interdisciplinary anthology of significant contributions to feminist theory.This timely reader is creatively edited, and contains insightful introductory material. It illuminates the historical development of feminist theory as well as the current state of the field. Emphasizing common themes and (...) interests in the humanities and social sciences, the editors have chosen topics that remain relevant to current debates, reflect the interests of a diverse community of thinkers, and have been central to feminist theory in many disciplines.The contributors include leading figures from the fields of psychology, literary criticism, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, art history, law, and economics. This is the ideal text for any advanced course on interdisciplinary feminist theory, one that fills a long-standing gap in feminist pedagogy. (shrink)
The problem of the manipulation of data that arises when there is both opportunity and incentive to mislead is better accepted and studied — though by no means solved — in financial accounting than in medicine. This article analyzes pharmaceutical company manipulation of medical research as part of a broader problem of corporate manipulation of data in the creation of accounting profits. The article explores how our understanding of accounting fraud and misinformation helps us understand the risk of similar information (...) manipulation in the medical sciences. This understanding provides a framework for considering how best to improve the quality of medical research and analysis in light of the current system of medical information production. I offer three possible responses: (1) use of the Dodd-Frank whistleblower provisions to encourage reporting of medical research fraud; (2) a two-step academic journal review process for clinical trials; and (3) publicly subsidized trial-failure insurance. These would improve the release of negative information about drugs, thereby increasing the reliability of positive information. (shrink)
Good decision-making requires reliable information. In medicine, relevant information comes from clinical trials and other forms of scientific research. In business, one source is in corporate annual financial statements. As for-profit, publicly traded companies whose business is discovering, manufacturing, and marketing drugs, pharmaceutical companies sit at the nexus of these two fields. Determining the safety and efficacy of a pharmaceutical product and determining the profitability of a complex enterprise are similarly difficult tasks: each is fraught with deeply ambiguous information that (...) requires sophisticated judgment to interpret reasonably. (shrink)