Research in which participants report potentially dangerous health-related behaviors raises ethical and professional questions about what to do with that information. Policies and laws regarding reportable behaviors vary across states and Institutional Review Boards (IRB). In alcohol research, IRBs often require researchers to respond to participants who report dangerous drinking practices. Researchers have little guidance regarding how best to respond in such cases. Personalized feedback or general nonpersonalized information may prove differentially effective as a function of gender and/or level of (...) self-determination. This study evaluated response strategies for reducing peak blood alcohol concentration (BAC) among participants reporting dangerous BACs (≥ .35%) in the context of a two-year longitudinal intervention trial with 818 heavy drinking college students. After each assessment, participants who reported drinking to estimated BACs at or greater than .35% were sent either a personalized letter expressing concern and indicating their reported BAC or a nonpersonalized pamphlet that included general information about alcohol and other substances, referral information, and a BAC handout. Hierarchical linear modeling results revealed that both strategies were associated with reduced peak BAC when controlling for previous BAC. The personalized letter was more effective for women and for students who tend to regulate their behavior based on others' expectations and contingencies in the environment. This research provides some guidance for researchers considering appropriate responses to participants who report dangerous health behavior in the context of a research trial. (shrink)
Although research has examined factors influencing understanding of informed consent in biomedical and forensic research, less is known about participants' attention to details in consent documents in psychological survey research. The present study used a randomized experimental design and found the majority of participants were unable to recall information from the consent form in both in-person and online formats. Participants were also relatively poor at recognizing important aspects of the consent form including risks to participants and confidentiality procedures. Memory effects (...) and individual difference characteristics also appeared to influence recall and recognition of consent form information. (shrink)
Ever since 1942, when Carl Hempel declared that historical events are explained by subsuming them under laws governing the occurrence of similar events, philosophers have debated the validity of explanations based on "covering laws." In _The Logic of Historical Explanation_, Clayton Roberts provides a key to understanding the role of covering laws in historical explanation. He does so by distinguishing between their use at the macro- and micro- levels, a distinction that no other scholar has made. Roberts contends that (...) the positivists were right to believe that covering laws are indispensable in historical explanations but wrong to think that these laws apply to macro-events. Similarly, the humanists were right to declare that historians do not explain the occurrence of macro-events by subsuming them under covering laws but wrong to deny the role of covering laws in tracing the course of events leading to the macro-event. Roberts resolves this debate by showing that, though useless in explaining macro-events, covering laws are indispensable in connecting the steps in an explanatory narrative. He then sets forth the logic of an explanatory narrative, explores the nature of rational explanation, and distinguishes the logic of historical interpretation from the logic of historical explanation. (shrink)
I consider the question of the possibility of the coexistence of neighborly love (love for strangers) and preferential love (love for persons because of or despite their attributes). This question has long perplexed interpreters of Kierkegaard. I make a threefold intervention into this interpretive debate. First, I aim to show that we shouldn’t privilege preferential love over neighborly love. Second, I reformulate preferential and neighborly love on a ‘topological’ model, so as to get a better grip on them. And third, (...) I argue that preferential love can coexist with neighborly love insofar as the latter is granted primacy over the former. (shrink)
This paper discusses Claytons theory on Comprehensive enrolment of children by their parents. This paper supports Claytons view that we should not enrol children. However, Cameron raises objections which cause problems for the application of this framework. Namely, the cost of giving up a belief, choices made for us in childhood and the application of the PRR (Public Reason Restriction) to the way the parent-child relationship should function. Some modifications to Clayton’s framework and further debate is required to fully (...) address these issues. The conclusion is that we should be able to enrol children in activities that would be of low future cost if rejected but we should not enrol children in activities of high future rejection cost. This enrolment is tempered by the statement “the fundamental motivation of parents should be to conform with public reason i.e. to treat their children in accordance with norms that are capable of acceptance by any free and equal person”. As Clayton states: “I am not ruling out the imposition of a comprehensive doctrine on the child. I am rejecting its imposition in the absence of an argument from public reason”. The structure of this essay is as follows: In Section One I explore Clayton’s theories of end state autonomy and autonomy as a precondition, I then look at the plausible relationship between the state-citizen and child-parent relationships. The Public Reason Restriction is then examined in connection with comprehensive enrolment. In the next section, I look at objections to Clayton’s view from Cameron and any subsequent replies to this from Clayton. I then conclude by discussing the differences between the two views and add my own view to this. (shrink)
The internalism-externalism debate is one of the oldest debates in epistemology. Internalists assert that the justification of our beliefs can only depend on facts internal to us, while externalists insist that justification can depend on additional, for example environmental, factors. Clayton Littlejohn proposes and defends a new strategy for resolving this debate. Focussing on the connections between practical and theoretical reason, he explores the question of whether the priority of the good to the right might be used to defend (...) an epistemological version of consequentialism, and proceeds to formulate a new 'deontological externalist' view. On this view, the justificatory status of a belief depends upon whether it is fit for the purposes of practical reasoning. Only beliefs that meet externalist standards are fit for such a purpose. If we want to understand how a wide range of norms (e.g., moral norms) apply to rational agents regardless of what their evidence or outlook is like, we have to embrace an externalist account of the justification. (shrink)
There are many different oughts. There is a moral ought, a prudential ought, an epistemic ought, the legal ought, the ought of etiquette, and so on. These oughts can prescribe incompatible actions. What I morally ought to do may be different from what I self-interestedly ought to do. Philosophers have claimed that these conflicts are resolved by an authoritative ought, or by facts about what one ought to do simpliciter or all-things-considered. However, the only coherent notion of an ought simpliciter (...) has preposterous first-order normative commitments. It is more reasonable to reject the ought simpliciter in favor of the form of normative pluralism advocated in (Tiffany 2007). (shrink)
What makes something a unity? In his 2014 monograph One Graham Priest alleges the Socratic tradition was aware of a problem it never completely solves. Plato, Aristotle, and their medieval expositors contend the form of something is what makes it a unity. These authorities, however, have only multiplied what they meant to explain, for form is now a part of something that stands in need of unification. Taking up the issue on their behalf, Priest argues for the existence of “paraconsistent” (...) material components instead of forms to explain the unity of things. Gluons, as he designates them, are contradictory objects that solve the enduring problem of unity without generating infinite regresses he associates with other accounts of unity. Replying especially to the historical dimension of Priest’s argument, this paper summarizes Priest’s view but finds in Aristotle’s work that which Priest overlooks. Gluons superadd the unity Aristotle discovers further upstream. The source of unity is to be detected instead in the intelligent reach for an understanding of what makes something what it is. (shrink)
How our everyday interactions as neighbors shape—and sometimes undermine—democracy "Love thy neighbor" is an impossible exhortation. Good neighbors greet us on the street and do small favors, but neighbors also startle us with sounds at night and unleash their demons on us, they monitor and reproach us, and betray us to authorities. The moral principles prescribed for friendship, civil society, and democratic public life apply imperfectly to life around home, where we interact day to day without the (...) formal institutions, rules of conduct, and means of enforcement that guide us in other settings. In Good Neighbors, Nancy Rosenblum explores how encounters among neighbors create a democracy of everyday life, which has been with us since the beginning of American history and is expressed in settler, immigrant, and suburban narratives and in novels, poetry, and popular culture. During disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, the democracy of everyday life is a resource for neighbors who improvise rescue and care. Degraded, this framework can give way to betrayal by neighbors, as faced by the Japanese Americans interned during World War II, or to terrible violence such as the lynching of African Americans. Under extreme conditions the barest act of neighborliness is a bulwark against total ethical breakdown. The elements of the democracy of everyday life—reciprocity, speaking out, and "live and let live"—comprise a democratic ideal not reducible to public principles of justice or civic virtue, but it is no less important. The democracy of everyday life, Rosenblum argues, is the deep substrate of democracy in America and can be its saving remnant. (shrink)
The typical epistemology course begins with a discussion of the distinction between justification and knowledge and ends without any discussion of the distinction between justification and excuse. This is unfortunate. If we had a better understanding of the justification-excuse distinction, we would have a better understanding of the intuitions that shape the internalism-externalism debate. My aims in this paper are these. First, I will explain how the kinds of excuses that should interest epistemologists exculpate. Second, I will explain why the (...) intuitions that underwrite the new evil demon argument don't provide support for the internalist claim that justification is just in the head. The positive response that Cohen's example elicits is an indication that the subject should be excused if she violates an epistemic norm, not an indication that no norm has been violated. For just about any conceivable norm we can think of we can imagine situations in which someone violates that norm because they're moved by evidence that misleadingly suggests that they'd conform to it. When that happens, we'll respond positively in just the way we do when we consider Cohen's deceived subjects. When that happens, we cannot say that the subjects' responses were justified because we've stipulated that the subjects' responses contravene the relevant norms. Regardless of whether you think of norms along internalist or externalist lines, you should see that the intuitions that underwrite the new evil demon objection tell us nothing at all about whether a subject conforms to a norm. They tell us nothing about justification. (shrink)
In this paper, we propose a new theory of rationality defeat. We propose that defeaters are "indicators of ignorance", evidence that we’re not in a position to know some target proposition. When the evidence that we’re not in a position to know is sufficiently strong and the probability that we can know is too low, it is not rational to believe. We think that this account retains all the virtues of the more familiar approaches that characterise defeat in terms of (...) its connection to reasons to believe or to confirmation but provides a better approach to higher-order defeat. We also think that a strength of this proposal is that it can be embedded into a larger normative framework. On our account the no-defeater condition is redundant. We can extract our theory of defeat from our theory of what makes it rational to believe—it is rational to believe when it is sufficiently probable that our belief would be knowledge. Thus, our view can provide a monistic account of defeat, one that gives a unifying explanation of the toxicity of different defeaters that is grounded in a framework that either recognises knowledge as the norm of belief or identifies knowledge as the fundamental epistemic good that full belief can realise. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a puzzle about epistemic rationality. It seems plausible that it should be rational to believe a proposition if you have sufficient evidential support for it. It seems plausible that it rationality requires you to conform to the categorical requirements of rationality. It also seems plausible that our first-order attitudes ought to mesh with our higher-order attitudes. It seems unfortunate that we cannot accept all three claims about rationality. I will present three ways of trying to (...) resolve this tension and argue that the best way to do this is to reject the idea that strong evidential support is the stuff rationality is made of. In the course of doing this, I shall argue that there is a special class of propositions about the requirements of rationality that we cannot make rational mistakes about and explain how this can be. (shrink)
There is much to like about the idea that justification should be understood in terms of normality or normic support (Smith 2016, Goodman and Salow 2018). The view does a nice job explaining why we should think that lottery beliefs differ in justificatory status from mundane perceptual or testimonial beliefs. And it seems to do that in a way that is friendly to a broadly internalist approach to justification. In spite of its attractions, we think that the normic support view (...) faces two serious challenges. The first is that it delivers the wrong result in preface cases. These cases suggest that the view is either too sceptical or too externalist. The second is that the view struggles with certain kinds of Moorean absurdities. It turns out that these problems can easily be avoided. If we think of normality as a condition on *knowledge*, we can characterise justification in terms of its connection to knowledge and thereby avoid the difficulties discussed here. The resulting view does an equally good job explaining why we should think that our perceptual and testimonial beliefs are justified when lottery beliefs cannot be. Thus, it seems that little could be lost and much could be gained by revising the proposal and adopting a view on which it is knowledge, not justification, that depends directly upon normality. (shrink)
Belief does aim at the truth. When our beliefs do not fit the facts, they cannot do what they are supposed to do, because they cannot provide us with reasons. We cannot plausibly deny that a truth norm is among the norms that govern belief. What we should not say is that the truth norm is the fundamental epistemic norm. In this paper, I shall argue that knowledge is the norm of belief and that the truth norm has a derivative (...) status. Only a knowledge‐first approach to epistemic normativity can explain why epistemic assessment has its inward‐looking focus. (shrink)
Inappropriately reductive or deterministic appropriations of science haunt Philip Clayton’s otherwise instructive appropriation of Michael Polanyi’s thought for theological and ethical reflection. The work at hand utilizes contemporary complexity theory to augment Polanyi’s notions of emergence and hierarchy and to provide a vision within which moral responsibility and theological inquiry make sense. It sets forth types and orders of emergence that bypass untenable notions of causality, reducibility, and determinism.
A defense of the idea that knowledge is first in the sense that there is nothing prior to knowledge that puts reasons or evidence in your possession. Includes a critical discussion of the idea that perception or perceptual experience might provide reasons and a defense of a knowledge-first approach to justified belief.
This paper discusses varieties of normative phenomena, ranging from morality, to epistemic justification, to the rules of chess. It canvases a number of distinctions among these different normative phenomena. The most significant distinction is between formal and authoritative normativity. The prior is the normativity exhibited by any standard one can meet or fail to meet. The latter is the sort of normativity associated with phenomena like the "all-things-considered" ought. The paper ends with a brief discussion of reasons for skepticism about (...) authoritative normativity. (shrink)
Strong claims have been made for emergence as a new paradigm for understanding science, consciousness, and religion. Tracing the past history and current definitions of the concept, Clayton assesses the case for emergent phenomena in the natural world and their significance for philosophy and theology. Complex emergent phenomena require irreducible levels of explanation in physics, chemistry and biology. This pattern of emergence suggests a new approach to the problem of consciousness, which is neither reducible to brain states nor proof (...) of a mental substance or soul. Although emergence does not entail classical theism, it is compatible with a variety of religious positions. Clayton concludes with a defence of emergentist panentheism and a Christian constructive theology consistent with the new sciences of emergence. (shrink)
At what age should children acquire adult rights? To what extent are parents morally permitted to shape the beliefs of their children? How should childbearing rights and resources be distributed? Matthew Clayton provides a controversial set of answers to these and related issues in this pivotal new work.
The specific heat of hydrogen gas at low temperatures was first measured in 1912 by Arnold Eucken in Walther Nernst’s laboratory in Berlin, and provided one of the earliest experimental supports for the new quantum theory. Even earlier, Nernst had developed a quantum theory of rotating diatomic gas molecules that figured in the discussions at the first Solvay conference in late 1911. Between 1913 and 1925, Albert Einstein, Paul Ehrenfest, Max Planck, Fritz Reiche, and Erwin Schrödinger, among many others, attempted (...) theoretical descriptions of the rotational specific heat of hydrogen, with only limited success. Quantum theory also was central to the study of molecular spectra, where initially it was more successful. Moreover, the two problems interacted in sometimes surprising ways. Not until 1927, following Werner Heisenberg’s discovery of the behavior of indistinguishable particles in modern quantum mechanics, did American theorist David Dennison find a successful theory of the specific heat of hydrogen. (shrink)
This paper looks at whether it is possible to unify the requirements of rationality with the demands of normative reasons. It might seem impossible to do because one depends upon the agent’s perspective and the other upon features of the situation. Enter Reasons Perspectivism. Reasons perspectivists think they can show that rationality does consist in responding correctly to reasons by placing epistemic constraints on these reasons. They think that if normative reasons are subject to the right epistemic constraints, rational requirements (...) will correspond to the demands generated by normative reasons. While this proposal is prima facie plausible, it cannot ultimately unify reasons and rationality. There is no epistemic constraint that can do what reasons perspectivists would need it to do. Some constraints are too strict. The rest are too slack. This points to a general problem with the reasons-first program. Once we recognize that the agent’s epistemic position helps determine what she should do, we have to reject the idea that the features of the agent’s situation can help determine what we should do. Either rationality crowds out reasons and their demands or the reasons will make unreasonable demands. (shrink)
The central thesis of robust virtue epistemology (RVE) is that the difference between knowledge and mere true belief is that knowledge involves success that is attributable to a subject's abilities. An influential objection to this approach is that RVE delivers the wrong verdicts in cases of environmental luck. Critics of RVE argue that the view needs to be supplemented with modal anti-luck condition. This particular criticism rests on a number of mistakes about the nature of ability that I shall try (...) to rectify here. (shrink)
In this essay, I examine Philip Clayton’s efforts to construct a philosophical theology that fits the current scientific view of organism. Clayton capitalizes on an evolutionary outlook, which sees organism as an emergent entity composed of lower organic unities, and which, at the highest level of organic development (brain), yields an emergent, non-physical phenomenon (mind). Presuming a bilateral relationship between mind and body, Clayton argues for a picture of God-world relations where world is analogous to body and (...) God is analogous to emergent mind. Contrary to Clayton, I argue that panentheism does not naturally accommodate the current scientific picture of organic development, and as an alternative, I submit St. Augustine of Hippo’s theistic modifications to Plotinian NeoPlatonism. My goal is to demonstrate that Augustine’s metaphysic offers a strong foundation for the construction of a theologically robust and scientifically satisfying philosophy of organism. (shrink)
Cases of reasonable, mistaken belief figure prominently in discussions of the knowledge norm of assertion and practical reason as putative counterexamples to these norms. These cases are supposed to show that the knowledge norm is too demanding and that some weaker norm ought to put in its place. These cases don't show what they're intended to. When you assert something false or treat some falsehood as if it's a reason for action, you might deserve an excuse. You often don't deserve (...) even that. (shrink)
The wide range of views and practices represent some aggressively postmodern approaches and some profound skepticism about postmodernism. Paper edition (unseen), $19.95. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.