Focusing particularly on the role of the clock in social life, this article explores the conventions we use to “tell the time.” I argue that although clock time generally appears to be an all-encompassing tool for social coordination, it is actually failing to coordinate us with some of the most pressing ecological changes currently taking place. Utilizing philosophical approaches to performativity to explore what might be going wrong, I then draw on Derrida’s and Haraway’s understandings of social change in order (...) to suggest a fairly unconventional, but perhaps more accurate, mode of reckoning time in the context of climate change, resource depletion, and mass extinctions. (shrink)
Most non-consequentialists “let the numbers count” when one can save either a lesser or greater number from equal or similar harm. But they are wary of doing so when one can save either a small number from grave harm or instead a very large number from minor harm. Limited aggregation is an approach that reconciles these two commitments. It is motivated by a powerful idea: our decision whom to save should respect each person who has a claim to our help, (...) including those whom we fail to save. However, it has recently been argued that it is open to decisive objections. I develop a new limitedly aggregative view: Hybrid Balance Relevant Claims. This view is well grounded in the reasons we have to be skeptical of aggregation and resolves all recent challenges by paying careful attention to the rationale for limited aggregation. (shrink)
Pain is most often an unpleasant experience that alerts us to actual or possible tissue damage. However, insisting that pain is always bad news may hinder understanding of pain’s many facets. Despite its unpleasantness – or perhaps because of it – pain is known to enhance the perceived value of certain activities, such as punishment or endurance sports. Here, we review evidence for a series of mechanisms involved in putative benefits of pain. A byproduct of pain’s attention-grabbing quality can be (...) enhanced perception of concurrent pleasurable stimuli. This is thought to explain why pain may augment the pleasure of spicy foods. By providing an aversive contrast, pain can also improve the experience of events that follow pain’s offset and lead to pleasant relief. Other potential benefits of pain derive from its ability to inhibit other unpleasant experiences and to elicit empathy and social support. The experience of pain can benefit our defence systems, since pain can enhance motivation to accumulate resources such as social support and calorie-rich foods. It can also reduce the guilt we feel after self-indulgence or moral transgressions. In sum, we highlight a series of potentially positive effects linked to pain. This framework can aid the understanding of why people sometimes seek out, enjoy, and gain rewards from pain as well as pleasure. (shrink)
How should contractualists assess the permissibility of risky actions? Both main views on the question, ex ante and ex post, fail to distinguish between different kinds of risk. In this article, I argue that this overlooks a third alternative that I call “objective ex ante contractualism”. Objective ex ante substitutes discounting complaints by epistemic risk in favor of discounting by objective risk. I further argue in favor of this new view. Objective ex ante contractualism provides the best model of justifiability (...) to each. (shrink)
Derek Parfit famously argued that personal identity is not what matters for prudential concern about the future. Instead, he argues what matters is Relation R, a combination of psychological connectedness and continuity with any cause. This revisionary conclusion, Parfit argued, has profound implications for moral theory. It should lead us, among other things, to deny the importance of the separateness of persons as an important fact of morality. Instead, we should adopt impersonal consequentialism. In this paper, I argue that Parfit (...) is mistaken about this last step. His revisionary arguments about personal identity and rationality have no implications for moral theory. We need not decide whether Relation R or personal identity contain what matters if we want to retain the importance of the separateness of persons. (shrink)
Teachers' social-emotional competence is considered important in order to master the social and emotional challenges inherent in their profession and to build positive teacher-student relationships. In turn, this is key to both teachers' occupational well-being and positive student development. Nonetheless, an instrument assessing the profession-specific knowledge and skills that teachers need to master the social and emotional demands in the classroom is still lacking. Therefore, we developed the Test of Regulation in and Understanding of Social Situations in Teaching, which is (...) a theory-based situational judgment test measuring teachers' knowledge about strategies for emotion regulation and relationship management in emotionally and socially challenging situations with students. Results from three studies showed satisfactory internal consistency for both the emotion regulation and relationship management subtests. Furthermore, confirmatory factor analyses supported the differentiation between the two facets of social-emotional competence. Regarding convergent validity, results from Study 3 revealed a positive association between the profession-specific TRUST and pre-service teachers' general emotional intelligence. Furthermore, small to moderate correlations with the Big Five personality traits provided evidence for the discriminant validity of TRUST. In Studies 1 and 2, we found evidence for a correlation with external criteria, that is, teachers with higher test scores reported providing more emotional support for students and having better teacher-student relationships. For teachers' occupational well-being, we found a link with symptoms of depersonalization and job satisfaction, but none for emotional exhaustion. We will discuss the use of TRUST in research, for the evaluation of interventions, in teacher education, and professional development and will illustrate ideas for enhancing the tool. (shrink)
Moral Relativism can be considered an attractive alternative to realism because relativists can make good sense of cultural and societal disagreements by seeing them as faultless. However, we can show that this advantage is made possible by systematically disagreeing with moral phenomenology. Relativists make a substantial distinction between intercultural and intracultural discourses which turns out to be incoherent. This can be shown by making use of Crispin Wright’s notion of Cognitive Command.
You and I lead different lives. While we share a society and a world, our existence is separate from one another. You and I matter individually, by ourselves. My dissertation is about this simple thought. I argue that this simple insight, the separateness of persons, tells us something fundamental about morality. My dissertation seeks to answer how the separateness of persons matters. I develop a precise view of the demands of the separateness of persons. The separateness of persons imposes both (...) a requirement on the justification of first-order moral principles as well as a requirement on the content of first-order moral principles. In specifying these demands, I argue that respecting the separateness of persons requires taking into consideration each person’s point of view separately. This requires taking into account the moral relations in which individuals stand to one another. I make use of this relational understanding of the separateness of persons to advance various debates in moral and political philosophy. I argue for a framework to assess to which extent the veil of ignorance can be reconciled with the separateness of persons. I also argue for a new view on the ethics of risk which is a form of contractualism that discounts risks only by their objective risk. Furthermore, I argue for a new solution to the problem of aggregation that is skeptical of aggregation and can set plausible limits to aggregation. Lastly, I provide a new relational agent-based justification for deontological constraints. In addition to answering how the separateness of persons matters, I defend the separateness of persons against challenges. Most importantly, I argue that the importance of the separateness of persons is not undermined even if we believe that our personal identity, i.e. whether we persist as the same person, is unimportant. (shrink)
One of the basic notions of ethics is certainly the concept of the will. Although in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein excludes that ethical sentences can be meaningfully formulated, the conception of the will occupies a prominent position in his book. This supposed tension in the Tractatus is not accidental, but an integral part of Wittgenstein's concern to reach a new, non-philosophical approach towards ethics.
Whether there are philosophically relevant connections between the expressive role of first-personal vocabulary and self-knowledge is an on-going debate in analytical philosophy. We will take a look at this debate by considering Ludwig Wittgenstein’s distinction between the two uses of ‘I’ as object and as subject and work out a further distinction within the subject-use of ‘I’. This relates to a problem that is inherent in Robert Brandom’s inferentialist program regarding the role of first-personal vocabulary. It can be shown that (...) subject-related aspects of language are necessary elements of inferentially articulated discourses—and not, like Brandom assumes, merely contingent features. (shrink)
During the last century of meta-ethical debates, moral realism was much criticized for its ontological assumptions. These assumptions arise from the semantic intuition that lies at the heart of realist theories – namely, the intuition that language represents states of affairs. This makes moral realism hardly compatible with a naturalist world view and gives rise to consider ontologically more economic approaches. Moral constructivists can explain objectivity in ethics without inheriting the realist’s ontological burden. Nevertheless, constructivists tend to ignore the semantic (...) task of giving an account of what moral sentences mean. The semantics of moral discourse, however, cannot be considered representational because, then, constructivism would lapse back into realism. I argue that semantic pragmatism is an appropriate partner for moral constructivism. Thereby, we can see the personal standpoint as an engagement in asserting moral sentences. (shrink)
Are persons rational because they are self-conscious or are they self-conscious because they are rational? Wittgenstein's remarks on the grammatical peculiarities of first-person expressions are not only a criticism of the conception of a Cartesian Ego but also give rise to systematical extensions which help to answer our question. The distinction between subject- and object-usage of ,,I” – which is made in the ,,Blue Book” – enables Wittgenstein to conceive of sentences like ,,I am in pain” as non-referential expressions. With (...) this distinction, Wittgenstein criticizes the ontological commitment to an Ego which results from the referential usage of ,,I”. Nevertheless, Wittgenstein's distinction stands in need of an addition: We will distinguish an epistemic form of expression from a phenomenal form. On this basis, we can show that self-consciousness systematically builds on rationality – and not the other way around. Competent usage of epistemic-expressive I-sentences is antecedent to talking meaningfully of a self-conscious person. In turn, the competent usage of such sentences is embedded in a social structure. Self-consciousness has a social place. (shrink)
One branch of practical philosophy in whichWittgenstein’s writings might be fruitful, is political philosophy. The concept “forms of life” gives rise to a pluralistic interpretation of society. However, the question arises how societal conflicts in such a pluralistic view con be solved. We will develop a method of criticism which relies on Wittgenstein’s later work and which combines the normative demands of practical philosophy with methodological standards from ethnology and cultural anthropology.
Innovation is a key component of most definitions of culture and intelligence. Additionally, innovations may affect a species' ecology and evolution. Nonetheless, conceptual and empirical work on innovation has only recently begun. In particular, largely because the existing operational definition (first occurrence in a population) requires long-term studies of populations, there has been no systematic study of innovation in wild animals. To facilitate such study, we have produced a new definition of innovation: Innovation is the process that generates in an (...) individual a novel learned behavior that is not simply a consequence of social learning or environmental induction. Using this definition, we propose a new operational approach for distinguishing innovations in the field. The operational criteria employ information from the following sources: (1) the behavior's geographic and local prevalence and individual frequency; (2) properties of the behavior, such as the social role of the behavior, the context in which the behavior is exhibited, and its similarity to other behaviors; (3) changes in the occurrence of the behavior over time; and (4) knowledge of spontaneous or experimentally induced behavior in captivity. These criteria do not require long-term studies at a single site, but information from multiple populations of a species will generally be needed. These criteria are systematized into a dichotomous key that can be used to assess whether a behavior observed in the field is likely to be an innovation. (shrink)
The following introduction has two parts: the first part provides a sketch of the Frankfurt School’s history, highlighting the circumstances under which the authors discussed in this issue engaged philosophically with matters of economy. We thereby follow the prevailing periodization, starting with the school’s foundation in 1924 and ending with Theodor W. Adorno’s death in 1969 and the school’s preliminary dissolution. The second part of the introduction explores the legacy of the Frankfurt School’s philosophical critique of economy. Max Horkheimer’s writings (...) thereby serve as a model case for such a critique and become the point of departure for the discussion of contemporary critical theories of the economic. (shrink)
Henry Charlton Bastian's support for spontaneous generation is shown to have developed from his commitment to the new evolutionary science of Darwin, Spencer, Huxley and Tyndall. Tracing Bastian's early career development shows that he was one of the most talented rising young stars among the Darwinians in the 1860s. His argument for a logically necessary link between evolution and spontaneous generation was widely believed among those sympathetic to Darwin's ideas. Spontaneous generation implied materialism to many, however, and it (...) had associations in Britain with radical politics and amateur science. Huxley and the X Club were trying to create a public posture of Darwinism that kept it at arm's length from those negative associations. Thus, the conflict that developed when Huxley and the X Club opposed Bastian was at least as much about factional in-fighting among the Darwinians as it was about the experiments under dispute. Huxley's strategy to defeat Bastian and define his position as "non-Darwinian" contributed significantly to the shaping of Huxley's famous address "Biogenesis and Abiogenesis." Rhetorically separating Darwinism from Bastian was thus responsible for Huxley's first clear public statement that a naturalistic origin of life was compatible with Darwin's ideas, but only in the earth's distant past. The final separation of the discourse on the meaning of Brownian movement and "active molecules" from any possible link with spontaneous generation also grew out of Huxley's strategy to defeat Bastian. Clashes between Bastian and the X Club are described at the BAAS, the Royal Society, and in the pages of "Nature" and other journals. (shrink)