G. E. Moore's ‘A Defence of Common Sense’ has generated the kind of interest and contrariety which often accompany what is new, provocative, and even important in philosophy. Moore himself reportedly agreed with Wittgenstein's estimate that this was his best article, while C. D. Broad has lamented its very great but largely unfortunate influence. Although the essay inspired Wittgenstein to explore the basis of Moore's claim to know many propositions of common sense to be true, A. J. Ayer judges its (...) enduring value to lie in provoking a more sophisticated conception of the very type of metaphysics which disputes any such unqualified claim of certainty. (shrink)
The thesis of this article is that there has never been any ground for the controversy between the doctrine of free will and determinism, that it is based upon a misapprehension, that the two assertions are entirely consistent, that one of them strictly implies the other, that they have been opposed only because of our natural want of the analytical imagination. In so saying I do not tamper with the meaning of either phrase. That would be unpardonable. I mean free (...) will in the natural and usual sense, in the fullest, the most absolute sense in which for the purposes of the personal and moral life the term is ever employed. I mean it as implying responsibility, merit and demerit, guilt and desert. I mean it as implying, after an act has been performed, that one " could have done otherwise " than one did. I mean it as conveying these things also, not in any subtly modified sense but in exactly the sense in which we conceive them in life and in law and in ethics. These two doctrines have been opposed because we have not realised that free will can be analysed without being destroyed, and that determinism is merely a feature of the analysis of it. And if we are tempted to take refuge in the thought of an "ultimate ", an "innermost" liberty that eludes the analysis, then we have implied a deterministic basis and constitution for this liberty as well. For such a basis and constitution lie in the idea of liberty. -/- The thesis is not, like that of Green or Bradley, that the contending opinions are reconciled if we adopt a certain metaphysic of the ego, as that it is timeless, and identifies itself with a desire by a " timeless act". This is to say that the two are irreconcilable, as they are popularly supposed to be, except by a theory that delivers us from the conflict by taking us out of time. Our view on the contrary is that from the natural and temporal point of view itself there never was any need of a reconciliation but only of a comprehension of the meaning of terms. (The metaphysical nature of the self and its identity through time is a problem for all who confront memory, anticipation, etc.; it has no peculiar difficulties arising from the present problem.) -/- I am not maintaining that determinism is true; only that it is true insofar as we have free will. That we are free in willing is, broadly speaking, a fact of experience. That broad fact is more assured than any philosophical analysis. It is therefore surer than the deterministic analysis of it, entirely adequate as that in the end appears to be. But it is not here affirmed that there are no small exceptions, no slight undetermined swervings, no ingredient of absolute chance. All that is here said is that such absence of determination, if and so far as it exists, is no gain to freedom, but sheer loss of it; no advantage to the moral life, but blank subtraction from it. -- When I speak below of "the indeterminist" I mean the libertarian indeterminist, that is, him who believes in free will and holds that it involves indetermination. (shrink)
This study represents an improvement in the ethics scales inventory published in a 1988 Journal of Business Ethics article. The article presents the distillation and validation process whereby the original 33 item inventory was reduced to eight items. These eight items comprise the following ethical dimensions: a moral equity dimension, a relativism dimension, and a contractualism dimension. The multidimensional ethics scale demonstrates significant predictive ability.
Corporate social responsibility is a recognised and common part of business activity. Some of the regularly cited motives behind CSR are employee morale, recruitment and retention, with employees acknowledged as a key organisational stakeholder. Despite the significance of employees in relation to CSR, relatively few studies have examined their engagement with CSR and the impediments relevant to this engagement. This exploratory case study-based research addresses this paucity of attention, drawing on one to one interviews and observation in a large UK (...) energy company. A diversity of engagement was found, ranging from employees who exhibited detachment from the CSR activities within the company, to those who were fully engaged with the CSR activities, and to others who were content with their own personal, but not organisational, engagement with CSR. A number of organisational context impediments, including poor communication, a perceived weak and low visibility of CSR culture, and lack of strategic alignment of CSR to business and personal objectives, served to explain this diversity of employee engagement. Social exchange theory is applied to help explore the volition that individual employees have towards their engagement with CSR activities, and to consider the implications of an implicit social, rather than explicit economic, contract between an organisation and its employees in their engagement with CSR. (shrink)
This essay explores the role of informal logicand its application in the context of currentdebates regarding evidence-based medicine. This aim is achieved through a discussion ofthe goals and objectives of evidence-basedmedicine and a review of the criticisms raisedagainst evidence-based medicine. Thecontributions to informal logic by StephenToulmin and Douglas Walton are explicated andtheir relevance for evidence-based medicine isdiscussed in relation to a common clinicalscenario: hypertension management. This essayconcludes with a discussion on the relationshipbetween clinical reasoning, rationality, andevidence. It is argued that (...) informal logic hasthe virtue of bringing explicitness to the roleof evidence in clinical reasoning, and bringssensitivity to understanding the role ofdialogical context in the need for evidence inclinical decision making. (shrink)
No one is excused from doing what he ought to do merely because he is unwilling to do it. But what if others are unwilling to play their necessary role in some joint venture that you all ought to undertake: might that excuse you from doing what you yourself ought to do as part of that? It would, if you were genuinely willing to play your necessary part if they were. But the unwillingness of everyone involved cannot reciprocally serve to (...) excuse one another from doing what they ought to do. (shrink)
“To whom is the Consecration of Medal, Stature or even Pyramid more jusly due, than to … the late Illustraious Boyle? … for the happy Improvement of Otto Guericks Magdeburg Exhausterm and for his Profound and Noble Researches into all the abstruser Parts and Recesses of the most useful Philosophy … I have named the Illustrious Boyle, and fix his Trophy here.”John Evelyn, Numismata, 1697.
Evidence based medicine has been a topic of considerable controversy in medical and health care circles over its short lifetime, because of the claims made by its exponents about the criteria used to assess the evidence for or against the effectiveness of medical interventions. The central epistemological debates underpinning the debates about evidence based medicine are reviewed by this paper, and some areas are suggested where further work remains to be done. In particular, further work is needed on the theory (...) of evidence and inference; causation and correlation; clinical judgment and collective knowledge; the structure of medical theory; and the nature of clinical effectiveness. (shrink)
Background: Patient autonomy has been promoted as the most important principle to guide difficult clinical decisions. To examine whether practising physicians indeed value patient autonomy above other considerations, physicians were asked to weight patient autonomy against three other criteria that often influence doctors’ decisions. Associations between physicians’ religious characteristics and their weighting of the criteria were also examined. Methods: Mailed survey in 2007 of a stratified random sample of 1000 US primary care physicians, selected from the American Medical Association masterfile. (...) Physicians were asked how much weight should be given to the following: (1) the patient’s expressed wishes and values, (2) the physician’s own judgment about what is in the patient’s best interest, (3) standards and recommendations from professional medical bodies and (4) moral guidelines from religious traditions. Results: Response rate 51% (446/879). Half of physicians (55%) gave the patient’s expressed wishes and values “the highest possible weight”. In comparative analysis, 40% gave patient wishes more weight than the other three factors, and 13% ranked patient wishes behind some other factor. Religious doctors tended to give less weight to the patient’s expressed wishes. For example, 47% of doctors with high intrinsic religious motivation gave patient wishes the “highest possible weight”, versus 67% of those with low (OR 0.5; 95% CI 0.3 to 0.8). Conclusions: Doctors believe patient wishes and values are important, but other considerations are often equally or more important. This suggests that patient autonomy does not guide physicians’ decisions as much as is often recommended in the ethics literature. (shrink)
Translational research in medicine requires researchers to identify the steps to transfer basic scientific discoveries from laboratory benches to bedside decision-making, and eventually into clinical practice. On a parallel track, philosophical work in ethics has not been obliged to identify the steps to translate theoretical conclusions into adequate practice. The medical ethicist A. Cribb suggested some years ago that it is now time to debate ‘the business of translational’ in medical ethics. Despite the very interesting and useful perspective on the (...) field of medical ethics launched by Cribb, the debate is still missing. In this paper, I take up Cribb’s invitation and discuss further analytic distinctions needed to base an ethics aiming to translate between theory and practice. (shrink)
When loyalty is discussed, a very rare thing in recent years, it is sometimes listed as one of the virtues and just as often derided. Its relationship to the virtues, or to the other virtues, is difficult to discern, and that is at least partly because the role that judgement plays in loyalty seems odd. The argument of this paper is that there is a core value to loyalty, and that understanding this core value is of critical importance in understanding (...) the virtues despite the fact that loyalty is not itself one of them. I shall suggest at the end of the paper that it is the raw material of the virtues and of at least some vices. (shrink)
There has been much discussion about how to obtain legitimacy at macro-level priority setting in health care by use of fair procedures, but how should we consider priority setting by individual clinicians or health workers at the micro-level? Despite the fact that just health care totally hinges upon their decisions, surprisingly little attention seems being paid to the legitimacy of these decisions. This paper addresses the following question: what are the conditions that have to be met in order to ensure (...) that individual claims on health care are well aligned with an overall concept of just health care? Drawing upon a distinction between individual and aggregated needs, I argue that even though we assume the legitimacy of macro-level guidelines, this legitimacy is not directly transferable to decisions at micro-level simply by adherence to the guidelines’ recommendation. Further, I argue that individual claims are subject to the formal principle of equality and the demands of vertical and horizontal equity in a way that gives context- and patient-related equity concerns precedence over equity concerns captured at the macro-level. I conclude that if we aim to achieve just health care, we need to develop a complementary framework for legitimising individual judgment of patients’ claims on health care resources. Moreover, I suggest the basic structure of such a framework. (shrink)
An apparent paradox proposed by Aharonov and Vaidman in which a single particle can be found with certainty in two (or more) boxes is analyzed by way of a simple thought experiment. It is found that the apparent paradox arises from an invalid counterfactual usage of the Aharonov-Bergmann-Lebowitz (ABL) rule and effectively attributes conflicting properties not to the same particle but no different particles. A connection is made between the present analysis and the consistent histories formulation of Griffiths. Finally, a (...) critique is given of some recent counterarguments by Vaidman against the rejection of the counterfactual usage of the ABL rule. (shrink)
I shall be dealing, throughout this book, with a set of related problems: the relationship between morality and reasoning in general, the way in which moral reasoning is properly to be carried on, and why morality is not arbitrary. The solutions to these problems come out of the same train of argument. Morality is not arbitrary, I shall argue, because the acceptance of certain qualities of character as virtues and the rejection of others as vices is forced on us by (...) the co-operative basis of human life. The co-operation in human life is unavoidable; the alternative is a literal Hobbesian state of nature, and that is impossible. It is not that co-operation between people is a good thing or even a very good thing; it is simply unavoidable in human life, and it is impossible unless the qualities of character counted as virtues are encouraged and are at least fairly common. The possibility of human life presupposes a theory of human nature, and working out that theory of human nature is the main job of moral philosophy. These virtues or qualities of character or attitudes lead us towards a theory of reasons. A person with a sense of justice is a person inclined to accept certain sorts of facts as reasons for acting, and if the virtues are presupposed by human life then the acceptance of those sorts of facts as reasons for acting is presupposed by human life. A condition of the life of reasoning beings (a more accurate term here than 'human beings') is that moral reasons are reasons for acting and are at the very basis of reasoning. And from this it follows that properly conducted moral reasoning is ultimately guided by the virtues rather than ultimately guided by a set of rules. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between concepts of probability and hermeneutics. It seeks to examine the relationship between subjective (Bayesian) views of probability and hermeneutic descriptions of understanding. It is argued that Gadamer'saccount of the prejudicial nature of understanding, derived from Heidegger'sanalysis of foreunderstanding, offers a provocative model of clinical reasoning. The implications of this model for evidence-based medicine are discussed in conclusion.
This distinction has sometimes been read as purely epistemic, resting not on things, but on our knowledge of them: there is one world, not two, though it may be apprehended in two ways. But this view is patently at odds with the text. Knowledge and opinion are δυνάμεις, "faculties," to be distinguished and defined by their objects, no less than by the state of mind they produce, and Plato clearly states that the fallibility and unclearness of opinion is rooted in (...) the relative unreality of opinables. (shrink)