Claire Katz & Lara Trout, Emmanuel Levinas. Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers ; Thomas Bedorf, Andreas Cremonini, Verfehlte Begegnung. Levinas und Sartre als philosophische Zeitgenossen ; Samuel Moyn, Origins of the Other: Emmanuel Levinas between Revelation and Ethics ; Pascal Delhom & Alfred Hirsch, Im Angesicht der Anderen. Levinas’ Philosophie des Politischen ; Sharon Todd, Learning from the other: Levinas, psychoanalysis and ethical possibilities in education ; Michel Henry, Le bonheur de Spinoza, suivi de: Etude sur le spinozisme de Michel (...) Henry, par Jean-Michel Longneaux ; Jean-François Lavigne, Husserl et la naissance de la phénoménologie. Des Recherches logiques aux Ideen: la genèse de l’idéalisme transcendantal phénoménologique ; Denis Seron, Objet et signification ; Dan Zahavi, Sara Heinämaa and Hans Ruin, Metaphysics, Facticity, Interpretation. Phenomenology in The Nordic Countries ; Dimitri Ginev, Entre anthropologie et herméneutique ; Magdalena Mărculescu-Cojocea, Critica metafizicii la Kant şi Heidegger. Problema subiectivităţii: raţiunea între autonomie şi deconstrucţie. (shrink)
Many philosophers believe that there exist distinctive obstacles to relying on moral testimony. In this paper, I criticize previous attempts to identify these obstacles and offer a new theory. I argue that the problems associated with moral deference can't be explained in terms of the value of moral understanding, nor in terms of aretaic considerations related to subjective integration. Instead, our uneasiness with moral testimony is best explained by our attachment to an ideal of authenticity that places special demands on (...) our moral beliefs. (shrink)
Upon discovering that certain beliefs we hold are contingent on arbitrary features of our background, we often feel uneasy. I defend the proposal that if such cases of contingency anxiety involve defeaters, this is because of the epistemic significance of disagreement. I note two hurdles to our accepting this Disagreement Hypothesis. Firstly, some cases of contingency anxiety apparently involve no disagreement. Secondly, the proposal may seem to make our awareness of the influence of arbitrary background factors irrelevant in determining whether (...) to revise our beliefs. I show that each of these problems can be successfully accommodated by the Disagreement Hypothesis. (shrink)
I argue that many of the priority rankings that have been proposed by effective altruists seem to be in tension with apparently reasonable assumptions about the rational pursuit of our aims in the face of uncertainty. The particular issue on which I focus arises from recognition of the overwhelming importance and inscrutability of the indirect effects of our actions, conjoined with the plausibility of a permissive decision principle governing cases of deep uncertainty, known as the maximality rule. I conclude that (...) we lack a compelling decision theory that is consistent with a longtermist perspective and does not downplay the depth of our uncertainty, while also supporting orthodox effective altruist conclusions about cause prioritization. (shrink)
Many moral philosophers accept the Debunking Thesis, according to which facts about natural selection provide debunking explanations for certain of our moral beliefs. I argue that philosophers who accept the Debunking Thesis beg important questions in the philosophy of biology. They assume that past selection can explain why you or I hold certain of the moral beliefs we do. A position advanced by many prominent philosophers of biology implies that this assumption is false. According to the Negative View, natural selection (...) cannot explain the traits of individuals. Hence, facts about past selection cannot provide debunking explanations for any of our moral beliefs. The aim of this paper is to explore the conflict between the Debunking Thesis and the Negative View. (shrink)
Many philosophers believe that natural selection explanations debunk our moral beliefs or would do so if moral realism were true, relying on the assumption that explanations of this kind show that moral facts play no role in explaining human moral beliefs. Here I argue that this assumption rests on a confusion of proximate and ultimate explanatory factors. Insofar as evolutionary debunking arguments hinge on the assumption that moral facts play no role in explaining human moral beliefs, these arguments fall short.
I consider the plausibility of discounting for kinship, the view that a positive rate of pure intergenerational time preference is justifiable in terms of agent-relative moral reasons relating to partiality between generations. I respond to Parfit's objections to discounting for kinship, but then highlight a number of apparent limitations of this approach. I show that these limitations largely fall away when we reflect on social discounting in the context of decisions that concern the global community as a whole, such as (...) those related to global climate change. (shrink)
People may disagree about moral issues because they have fundamentally different intuitions. I argue that we ought to suspend judgement in such cases. Since we trust our own moral intuitions without positive evidence of their reliability, we must necessarily extend this trust to the moral intuitions of others: a fundamental self-other asymmetry in moral epistemology is untenable. This ensures that disagreements in moral intuition are defeating. In addition, I argue that brute conflicts in moral intuition require suspension of judgement only (...) if we are required to exhibit this kind of default trust with respect to the moral intuitions of others. (shrink)
Increasing evidence from psychology and neuroscience suggests that emotion plays an important and sometimes critical role in moral judgment and moral behavior. At the same time, there is increasing psychological and neuroscientific evidence that brain regions critical in emotional and moral capacity are impaired in psychopaths. We ask how the criminal law should accommodate these two streams of research, in light of a new normative and legal account of the criminal responsibility of psychopaths.
Several scholars have recognized the limitations of theories of moral reasoning in explaining moral behavior. They have argued that moral behavior may also be influenced by moral identity, or how central morality is to one’s sense of self. This idea has been supported by findings that people who exemplify moral behavior tend to place more importance on moral traits when defining their self-concepts (Colby & Damon, 1995). This paper takes the next step of examining individual variation in a construct highly (...) associated with immoral behavior — psychopathy. In Study 1, we test the hypothesis that individuals with a greater degree of psychopathic traits have a weaker moral identity. Within a large online sample, we found that individuals who scored higher on a measure of psychopathic traits were less likely to base their self-concepts on moral traits. In Study 2, we test whether this reduced sense of moral identity can be attributed to differences in moral judgment, which is another factor that could influence immoral behavior. Our results indicated that the reduced sense of moral identity among more psychopathic individuals was independent of variation in moral judgment. These results suggest that individuals with psychopathic traits may display immoral behavior partially because they do not construe their personal identities in moral terms. (shrink)
Given the inevitability of scarcity, should public institutions ration healthcare resources so as to prioritize those who contribute more to society? Intuitively, we may feel that this would be somehow inegalitarian. I argue that the egalitarian objection to prioritizing treatment on the basis of patients’ usefulness to others is best thought of as semiotic: i.e. as having to do with what this practice would mean, convey, or express about a person's standing. I explore the implications of this conclusion when taken (...) in conjunction with the observation that semiotic objections are generally flimsy, failing to identify anything wrong with a practice as such and having limited capacity to generalize beyond particular contexts. (shrink)
Most people believe that some optimific acts are wrong. Since we are not permitted to perform wrong acts, we are not permitted to carry out optimific wrongs. Does the moral relevance of the distinction between action and omission nonetheless permit us to allow others to carry them out? I show that there exists a plausible argument supporting the conclusion that it does. To resist my argument, we would have to endorse a principle according to which, for any wrong action, there (...) is some reason to prevent that action over and above those reasons associated with preventing harm to its victim. I argue that it would be a mistake to value the prevention of wrong acts in the way required to resist my argument. (shrink)
This paper aims to open a dialogue between philosophers working in decision theory and operations researchers and engineers working on decision-making under deep uncertainty. Specifically, we assess the recommendation to follow a norm of robust satisficing when making decisions under deep uncertainty in the context of decision analyses that rely on the tools of Robust Decision-Making developed by Robert Lempert and colleagues at RAND. We discuss two challenges for robust satisficing: whether the norm might derive its plausibility from an implicit (...) appeal to probabilistic representations of uncertainty of the kind that deep uncertainty is supposed to preclude; and whether there is adequate justification for adopting a satisficing norm, as opposed to an optimizing norm that is sensitive to considerations of robustness. We discuss decision-theoretic and voting-theoretic motivations for robust satisficing, and use these motivations to select among candidate formulations of the robust satisficing norm. (shrink)
Ce livre propose une interprétation inédite de la biologie d'Aristote. Il montre que, dans la démarche aristotélicienne, à côté de la pensée discursive, oeuvre une pensée visuelle qui élabore une représentation de l'organisation spatiale du corps vivant, apportant ainsi une contribution décisive à la définition des deux tâches majeures de l'enquête scientifique aristotélicienne: l'explication causale et la détermination des genres.
I argue that there are cases in which ecumenical expressivism cannot distinguish between endorsement of certain trivial and substantive normative judgments. I consider the extent to which this problem generalizes across different formulations of the ecumenical view. I suggest that we may not be able to escape the problem if we hope to retain the ability to solve the Frege-Geach problem in the way promised by ecumenical expressivism.
Psychopathy is characterized by pronounced emotional deficits, yet individuals with psychopathic traits generally understand the law and the likely punishments for violating it. Vitacco, Erickson, and Lishner (2013) suggest that because of this appreciation, there is no question that psychopaths are criminally responsible. We make the modest argument that increasing psychological and neurological evidence calls into question whether conventional assumptions about an offender’s culpable states of mind hold true for psychopaths. It is likely, we suggest, that a wide range of (...) deficits found in psychopaths impair their ability to calculate risks of harm and utilize information about the consequences of their behavior. (shrink)
How Classification Works attempts to bridge the gap between philosophy and the social sciences using as a focus some of the work of Nelson Goodman. Throughout his long career Goodman has addressed the question: are some ways of conceptualizing more natural than others? This book looks at the rightness of categories, assessing Goodman's role in modern philosophy and explaining some of his ideas on the relation between aesthetics and cognitive theory. Two papers by Nelson Goodman are included in (...) the collection and there are analyses of his work by seven leading academics in anthropology, philosophy, sociology and musicology. (shrink)
Lying is one of the characteristic features of psychopathy, and has been recognized in clinical and diagnostic descriptions of the disorder, yet individuals with psychopathic traits have been found to have reduced neural activity in many of the brain regions that are important for lying. In this study, we examine brain activity in sixteen individuals with varying degrees of psychopathic traits during a task in which they are instructed to falsify information or tell the truth about autobiographical and non-autobiographical facts, (...) some of which was related to criminal behavior. We found that psychopathic traits were primarily associated with increased activity in the anterior cingulate, various regions of the prefrontal cortex, insula, angular gyrus, and the inferior parietal lobe when participants falsified information of any type. Associations tended to be stronger when participants falsified information about criminal behaviors. Although this study was conducted in a small sample of individuals and the task used has limited ecological validity, these findings support a growing body of literature suggesting that in some contexts, individuals with higher levels of psychopathic traits may demonstrate heightened levels of brain activity. (shrink)
In 1993, investigators from George Washington University Medical Center separated the cells of 17 human embryos and produced 48 embryos, an average of three embryos for each original. The method, variously called twinning, cloning, embryo splitting, and blastomere separation, demonstrated that human embryos could be split to create genetically identical entities during conception. When publicized, however, the experiment brought to mind a different view of cloning repeated since the beginning of the new reproductive technologies. In the early 1970s, when research (...) on in vitro fertilization was in its infancy, commentators worried that cloning–defined as the duplication of persons–would be next, leading to a scenario of “boys genetically exactly like the father, girls like the mother, or individuals like some true or false hero of art, science, or sports, or like some demagogue or some saint.”. (shrink)
Our paper explores how the affective energies and cultural expectations set in motion by best-selling American sentimental novels like Hannah Foster's The Coquette and Susanna Rowson's Charlotte Temple informed the notorious mid-nineteenth-century American trial of Amelia Norman, who attempted to kill the man who seduced her. Once newspapers, defense lawyers, and reformers such as Lydia Maria Child recast the defendant as a sentimental heroine, the trial became about seduction, and Norman was acquitted against the weight of the evidence. Sentimental novels (...) turn on the contrast between the passive victim status of the heroine and the active libidinal quest of the rake-villain. As Cathy Davidson points out, this fiction is "about silence, subservience, stasis (the accepted attributes of women as traditionally defined) in contradistinction to conflicting impulses toward independence, action, and self expression (the ideals of the new American nation)." The seduction plot diverts attention from this disparity by establishing an affective solidarity between heroine and reader and elevating the ruined woman to a tragic status. The sentimental emplotment of Norman's life marshaled a powerful set of emotional responses and moral judgements on her behalf. Norman claimed insanity. And since sentimental heroines are supposed to go mad when they are seduced and abandoned, the jury was prepared to interpret her symptoms according to her lawyers' very strategy for establishing her innocence. Ultimately, however, Norman embodied the plight of the sentimental heroine at the same time that she contested her fictional counterpart's fate. In this way, her trial spectacularized the disparity which the sentimental novel conjures up and displaces but never resolves. The common law theory of coverture, which severely limited the legal personhood of married women, has received a great deal of scholarly attention. Cases like Norman's remind us that unmarried women were also subject to draconian constraints on their legal personhood. The tort of seduction is a key example. Legal historians trace the development of the seduction tort from its common-law origins, when men's property interest in women's bodies formed the basis of the cause of action, to 1851, when Field Code authors (including Norman's lawyer David Graham) persuaded several states to grant seduced women standing to bring their own cause of action. Consequently, courts were forced to reckon with the seduced woman as a moral agent capable of consenting to sex. As trials like Norman's demonstrate, sentimental novels helped lay the groundwork for this shift in the law by elucidating a subjectivity for the seduced woman. Yet the doctrinal implications of Norman's precedent-setting trial had a second, more ambiguous strain. Norman's sentimental strategy proved so powerful that men on trial for killing their wive's seducers appropriated it to bring their own stories before juries and to reinforce male sexual norms. In the end, then, Norman's trial fostered legal reform, but it also suggested - as Child's fictionalization of the case in "Rosenglory" recognized - that only sustained and multifaceted efforts to change cultural as well as legal norms could improve the sexual status of women. Scholars such as Wai Chee Dimock have argued for a focus "on the historical and historically shifting relations between law and literature" - a view we endorse. Where we differ from Dimock is in our diversion of attention away from abstract ideas of law laid out by treatise writers and philosophers in favor of law experienced and manipulated by individuals. So, too, we are interested less in representations of concepts such as justice in legal and literary texts than we are in the ways in which literature (broadly conceived) can create provisional and fragile opportunities for concrete instantiations of justice and even generate legal change (for good or ill). Going further, we would argue that to the extent legal change motivates rather than simply mirrors cultural change, it needs literature to be effective. Thus, we see no need to characterize - and indeed reject the depiction of - law as "a limited arena" in which ideas of morality have little place. This project, then, responds to Gregg Crane's call for attention to "the complex and slippery historical interactions of law and literature that shape and are shaped by an ever changing cultural idiom of justice." The extended story of Amelia Norman not only constitutes a case study in the inescapable interaction between the overlapping and interdependent discourses of law and literature, but also reveals the literary and legal consequences of that interaction. (shrink)
The evolution of modern human life history has involved substantial changes in the overall length of the subadult period, the introduction of a novel early childhood stage, and many changes in the initiation, termination, and character of the other stages. The fossil record is explored for evidence of this evolutionary process, with a special emphasis on middle childhood, which many argue is equivalent to the juvenile stage of African apes. Although the “juvenile” and “middle childhood” stages appear to be the (...) same from a broad comparative perspective, in that they begin with the eruption of the first molar and the achievement of the majority of adult brain size and end with sexual maturity, the detailed differences in the expression of these two stages, and how they relate to the preceding and following stages, suggest that a distinction should be maintained between them to avoid blurring subtle, but important, differences. (shrink)
Recent research put forward the hypothesis that eye movements are integrated in memory representations and are reactivated when later recalled. However, “looking back to nothing” during recall might be a consequence of spatial memory retrieval. Here, we aimed at distinguishing between the effect of spatial and oculomotor information on perceptual memory. Participants’ task was to judge whether a morph looked rather like the first or second previously presented face. Crucially, faces and morphs were presented in a way that the morph (...) reactivated oculomotor and/or spatial information associated with one of the previously encoded faces. Perceptual face memory was largely influenced by these manipulations. We considered a simple computational model with an excellent match that expresses these biases as a linear combination of recency, saccade, and location. Surprisingly, saccades did not play a role. The results suggest that spatial and temporal rather than oculomotor information biases perceptual face memory. (shrink)
A paediatric clinical trial conducted in a developing country is likely to encounter conditions or illnesses in participants unrelated to the study. Since local healthcare resources may be inadequate to meet these needs, research clinicians may face the dilemma of deciding when to provide ancillary care and to what extent. The authors propose a model for identifying ancillary care obligations that draws on assessments of urgency, the capacity of the local healthcare infrastructure and the capacity of the research infrastructure. The (...) model lends itself to a decision tree that can be adapted to the local context and resources so as to provide procedural guidance. This approach can help in planning and establishing organisational policies that govern the provision of ancillary care. (shrink)