Nietzsche was struck by the similarities between Greek and Indian philosophy. From the perspective elaborated in On the Genealogy of Morality - in which values are derived from the physiological, psychological, and social domains - we would expect the similarities of thought to derive from similarities in the conditions of the two cultures. A role is played here by the agonal spirit manifest in the Iliad, Hesiod, and Heraclitus as well as in Indian philosophy and in the Mahabharata and Ramayana. (...) Nietzsche found in both cultures viable models of self and state, born from an agonal context, that provided for him modes of being alternative to the Christian slave morality that he despised. (shrink)
Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality includes several cases of agents who are, prima facie, self-deceived. Recent work has linked these cases to deflationary accounts on the one hand and intentionalist Sartrean accounts on the other. But neither is fully satisfactory. I suggest a new account that gives a central role to focused daydreaming and imagination, especially as related to affective content that threatens to destabilize self-deception. This approach, not neatly categorizable, builds upon both deflationary and intentionalist accounts, emphasizing links (...) between vengefulness and forgiveness in Nietzsche's psychology. (shrink)
Rights of Women attracted much UK media attention in late 2014 by bringing a judicial review that challenged the reduced provisions for family law legal aid available for victims of domestic violence: R v The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 35. In June 2015, within Rights of Women’s 40th anniversary year, Hannah Camplin interviewed the organisation’s Director Emma Scott about the decision to bring the judicial review, the advantages and challenges of the judicial review (...) process, and the experience of strategic litigation within the context of Rights of Women’s long history of campaigning for women’s rights. What emerged is a portrait of a feminist organisation in 2015, and, in a fast changing political and financial landscape, the dual importance of collaborative working and the need for flexibility in service provision and campaigning tools. (shrink)
Minimal Semantics asks what a theory of literal linguistic meaning is for - if you were to be given a working theory of meaning for a language right now, what would you be able to do with it? Emma Borg sets out to defend a formal approach to semantic theorising from a relatively new type of opponent - advocates of what she call 'dual pragmatics'. According to dual pragmatists, rich pragmatic processes play two distinct roles in linguistic comprehension: as (...) well as operating in a post-semantic capacity to determine the implicatures of an utterance, they also operate prior to the determination of truth-conditional content for a sentence. That is to say, they have an integral role to play within what is usually thought of as the semantic realm. Borg believes dual pragmatic accounts constitute the strongest contemporary challenge to standard formal approaches to semantics since they challenge the formal theorist to show not merely that there is some role for formal processes on route to determination of semantic content, but that such processes are sufficient for determining content. Minimal Semantics provides a detailed examination of this school of thought, introducing readers who are unfamiliar with the topic to key ideas like relevance theory and contextualism, and looking in detail at where these accounts diverge from the formal approach. Borg's defence of formal semantics has two main parts: first, she argues that the formal approach is most naturally compatible with an important and well-grounded psychological theory, namely the Fodorian modular picture of the mind. Then she argues that the main arguments adduced by dual pragmatists against formal semantics - concerning apparent contextual intrusions into semantic content - can in fact be countered by a formal theory. The defence holds, however, only if we are sensitive to the proper conditions of success for a semantic theory. Specifically, we should reject a range of onerous constraints on semantic theorizing (e.g., that it answer epistemic or metaphysical questions, or that it explain our communicative skills) and instead adopt a quite minimal picture of semantics. (shrink)
Emma Borg examines the relation between semantics and pragmatics, and assesses recent answers to fundamental questions of how and where to draw the divide between the two. She argues for a minimal account of the interrelation between them--a 'minimal semantics'--which holds that only rule-governed appeals to context can influence semantic content.
Philosophers often assume that folk hold pain to be a mental state – to be in pain is to have a certain kind of feeling – and they think this state exhibits the classic Cartesian characteristics of privacy, subjectivity, and incorrigibility. However folk also assign pains bodily locations: unlike most other mental states, pains are held to exist in arms, feet, etc. This has led some to talk of the ‘paradox of pain’, whereby the folk notion of pain is inherently (...) conflicted. Recently, several authors have rejected the paradox view, arguing instead that folk hold a univocal, bodily view. This paper presents six objections to the bodily view of the folk concept of pain. We then outline a direction for future research – the ‘polyeidic approach’ – whereby the folk notion of pain is held to encompass various divergent strands and we suggest that certain problems surrounding the treatment and communication of pain might be usefully be viewed through the lens of the polyeidic approach. (shrink)
A standard objection to so-called ‘minimal semantics’ is that minimal contents are explanatorily redundant as they play no role in an adequate account of linguistic communication. This paper argues that this standard objection is mistaken. Furthermore, I argue that seeing why the objection is mistaken sheds light both on how we should draw the classic Gricean distinction between saying and implicating, and how we should think about the key philosophical notion of assertion. Specifically, it reveals that these ideas are best (...) understood primarily in socio-linguistic terms. (shrink)
Scientists, philosophers, and policymakers disagree about how to define microaggression. Here, we offer a taxonomy of existing definitions, clustering around (a) the psychological motives of perpetrators, (b) the experience of victims, and (c) the functional role of microaggression in oppressive social structures. We consider conceptual and epistemic challenges to each and suggest that progress may come from developing novel hybrid accounts of microaggression, combining empirically tractable features with sensitivity to the testimony of victims.
Epistemic paternalism is the thesis that a paternalistic interference with an individual's inquiry is justified when it is likely to bring about an epistemic improvement in her. In this article I claim that in order to motivate epistemic paternalism we must first account for the value of epistemic improvements. I propose that the epistemic paternalist has two options: either epistemic improvements are valuable because they contribute to wellbeing, or they are epistemically valuable. I will argue that these options constitute the (...) foundations of a dilemma: either epistemic paternalism collapses into general paternalism, or a distinctive project of justified epistemic paternalism is implausible. (shrink)
‘Pragmaticist’ positions posit a three-way division within utterance content between: the standing meaning of the sentence, a somewhat pragmatically enhanced meaning which captures what the speaker explicitly conveys, and further indirectly conveyed propositions which the speaker merely implies. Here I re-examine the notion of an explicature, asking how it is defined and what work explicatures are supposed to do. I argue that explicatures get defined in three different ways and that these distinct definitions can and do pull apart. Thus the (...) notion of an explicature turns out to be ill-defined. (shrink)
Microaggressions are seemingly negligible slights that can cause significant damage to frequently targeted members of marginalized groups. Recently, Scott O. Lilienfeld challenged a key platform of the microaggression research project: what’s aggressive about microaggressions? To answer this challenge, Derald Wing Sue, the psychologist who has spearheaded the research on microaggressions, needs to theorize a spectrum of aggression that ranges from intentional assault to unintentional microaggressions. I suggest turning to Bonnie Mann’s “Creepers, Flirts, Heroes and Allies” for inspiration. Building from Mann’s (...) richer theoretical framework will allow Sue to answer Lilienfeld’s objection and defend the legitimacy of the concept, ‘microaggression’. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to explore the proper content of a formal semantic theory in two respects: first, clarifying which uses of expressions a formal theory should seek to accommodate, and, second, how much information the theory should contain. I explore these two questions with respect to occurrences of demonstratives and pronouns – the so- called ‘deferred’ uses – which are often classified as non-standard or figurative. I argue that, contrary to initial impressions, they must be treated as (...) semantically identical to ordinary, perceptual uses of these expression-types, and that this finding has important repercussions for our view of the scope and limits of a semantic theory. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that a definition of paternalism must meet certain methodological constraints. Given the failings of descriptivist and normatively charged definitions of paternalism, I argue that we have good reason to pursue a normatively neutral definition. Archard's 1990 definition is one such account. It is for this reason that I return to Archard's account with a critical eye. I argue that Archard's account is extensionally inadequate, failing to capture some cases which are clear instances of paternalism. I (...) refine each of his three conditions, ultimately providing an improved definition of paternalistic interference. This revised definition meets specific methodological constraints, offering a definition that is both neutral between anti- and pro-paternalistic intuitions, but that also explains why paternalism is normatively significant. Specifically, this definition captures the conflict between interfering with an individual's choices and treating the individual benevolently, without making paternalism permissible or impermissible by definition. (shrink)
Understanding in Epistemology Epistemology is often defined as the theory of knowledge, and talk of propositional knowledge has dominated the bulk of modern literature in epistemology. However, epistemologists have recently started to turn more attention to the epistemic state or states of understanding, asking questions about its nature, relationship … Continue reading Understanding in Epistemology →.
Feminists have long argued that women who offend are judged by who they are, not what they do, with idealised images of femininity and motherhood used as measures of culpability. The ability to meet the expectations of motherhood and femininity are particularly difficult for women who experience a crisis pregnancy, as evident in cases where women have been convicted of concealment of birth. The offence prohibits the secret disposal of the dead body of a child, to conceal knowledge of its (...) birth. Traditionally used to prosecute women suspected of killing their newborn children, analysis of court transcripts suggests the offence is also used to punish women who fail to meet expectations of motherhood. This paper analyses three contemporary cases in light of the historical origins of the offence, illustrating the legacy of prejudice against ‘deviant’ mothers. Finally, it questions the continued existence of this archaic offence. (shrink)
Microstructuralism in the philosophy of chemistry is the thesis that chemical kinds can be individuated in terms of their microstructural properties (Hendry in Philos Sci 73:864–875, 2006 ). Elements provide paradigmatic examples, since the atomic number should suffice to individuate the kind. In theory, Microstructuralism should also characterise higher-level chemical kinds such as molecules, compounds, and macromolecules based on their constituent atomic properties. In this paper, several microstructural theses are distinguished. An analysis of macromolecules such as moonlighting proteins suggests that (...) all the forms of microstructuralism cannot accommodate them. (shrink)
Twelve essays by the influential radical include "Marriage and Love," "The Hypocrisy of Puritanism," "The Traffic in Women," Anarchism," and "The Psychology of Political Violence." Other enduringly relevant essays examine patriotism, the failure of the penal system, and drama as a means of conveying political theory.
Harvey Siegel's epistemologically-informed conception of critical thinking is one of the most influential accounts of critical thinking around today. In this article, I seek to open up an account of critical thinking that goes beyond the one defended by Siegel. I do this by re-reading an opposing view, which Siegel himself rejects as leaving epistemology ‘pretty much as it is’. This is the view proposed by Charles Taylor in his paper ‘Overcoming Epistemology’. Crucially, my aim here is not to defend (...) Taylor's challenge to epistemology per se, but rather to demonstrate how, through its appeal to certain key tropes within Heideggerian philosophy, Taylor's paper opens us towards a radically different conception of thinking and the human being who thinks. Indeed, as will be argued, it is through this that Taylor and Heidegger come to offer us the resources for re-thinking the nature of critical thinking—in a way that exceeds the epistemological, and does more justice to receptive and responsible conditions of human thought. (shrink)
Literature in epistemology tends to suppose that there are three main types of understanding – propositional, atomistic, and objectual. By showing that all apparent instances of propositional understanding can be more plausibly explained as featuring one of several other epistemic states, this paper argues that talk of propositional understanding is unhelpful and misleading. The upshot is that epistemologists can do without the notion of propositional understanding.
We report the results of a cross-cultural investigation of person-body reasoning in the United Kingdom and northern Brazilian Amazon (Marajó Island). The study provides evidence that directly bears upon divergent theoretical claims in cognitive psychology and anthropology, respectively, on the cognitive origins and cross-cultural incidence of mind-body dualism. In a novel reasoning task, we found that participants across the two sample populations parsed a wide range of capacities similarly in terms of the capacities’ perceived anchoring to bodily function. Patterns of (...) reasoning concerning the respective roles of physical and biological properties in sustaining various capacities did vary between sample populations, however. Further, the data challenge prior ad-hoc categorizations in the empirical literature on the developmental origins of and cognitive constraints on psycho-physical reasoning (e.g., in afterlife concepts). We suggest cross-culturally validated categories of “Body Dependent” and “Body Independent” items for future developmental and cross-cultural research in this emerging area. (shrink)
"[N]o matter how much of a coalition space this is, it ain't nothing like the coalescing you've got to do tomorrow, and Tuesday and Wednesday."This essay is a critical reflection on the centrality of coalitional politics for decolonial feminist philosophy. Decolonial feminisms emerge from multisited struggles with colonization and, as a result, are rich and heterogeneous.1 Thus, the starting point for decolonial feminists must be one that centers on coalitional politics. Women of color have long emphasized the importance of coalition (...) to collective struggle against a matrix of systems of oppression.2 However, the work of forging coalitions is just that, work. Indeed, the work of coalition building, as Bernice... (shrink)
In Searle’s social ontology, collective intentionality is an essential component of all institutional facts. This is because the latter involve the assignment of functions, namely "status functions," on entities whose physical features do not guarantee their performance, therefore requiring our acceptance that it be performed. One counter-example to that claim can be found in Carl Menger’s individualistic account of the money system. Menger’s commitment to the self-interest assumption, however, prevents him from accounting for the deontic dimensions of institutional facts.
Background A topic of great concern in bioethics is the medical research conducted in poor countries sponsored by wealthy nations. Western drug companies increasingly view Latin America as a proper place for clinical research trials. The region combines a large population, modern medical facilities, and low per capita incomes. Participants from developing countries may have little or non alternative means of treatment other than that offered through clinical trials. Therefore, the provision of a valid informed consent is important. Methods To (...) gain insight about some aspects of the informed consent procedure in a major cancer centre in Mexico, we conducted a three-step evaluation process: 1) a ten point multiple choice survey questionnaires, was used to explore some aspects of the patients' experiences during the informed consent process, 2) researchers' knowledge about specific aspects of the informed consent was evaluated in this study using survey questionnaires; and 3) the comprehensibility, readability and number of pages of the consent forms were analysed. The socioeconomic and educational level of the patients, were also considered. Results were reported using a numerical scale. Results Thirty five patients, 20 doctors, and 10 individuals working at the hospital agreed to participate in the study. Eighty three percent of the patients in the study were classified as living in poverty; education level was poor or non existent, and 31% of the patients were illiterate. The consent forms were difficult to understand according to 49% of the patients, most doctors agreed that the forms were not comprehensible to the patients. The average length of the IC documents analysed was 14 pages, and the readability average score was equivalent to 8TH Grade. Conclusion The results presented in this work describe some relevant characteristics of the population seen at public health care institutions in Mexico. Poverty, limited or no education, and the complexity of the information provided to the patients may question the validity of the informed consent procedure in this group of patients. (shrink)
The biomedical industry relies on the skills of animal technologists to put laboratory animal welfare into practice. This is the first study to explore how this is achieved in relation to their participation in implementing refinement and reduction, two of the three key guiding ethical principles––the “3Rs”––of what is deemed to be humane animal experimentation. The interpretative approach contributes to emerging work within the social sciences and humanities exploring care and ethics in practice. Based on qualitative analysis of participant observation (...) within animal research facilities in UK universities, in-depth interviews with ATs, facility managers, and other stakeholders, and analysis of regulatory guidelines, we draw a contrast between the minimum required of ATs by law and how their care work not only meets but often exceeds these requirements. We outline how ATs constitute a key source of innovation and insight into the refinement of animal care and the reduction of animal use, hitherto not formally acknowledged. Exploring AT care work as an example of ethics in practice makes an original contribution to broader debates within health care and animal welfare about how technology, regulation, and behavior can foster and sustain a “culture of care”. (shrink)
Objective: Ethical guidelines are designed to ensure benefits, protection and respect of participants in clinical research. Clinical trials must now be registered on open-access databases and provide details on ethical considerations. This systematic survey aimed to determine the extent to which recently registered clinical trials report the use of standard of care and post-trial obligations in trial registries, and whether trial characteristics vary according to setting. Methods: We selected global randomized trials registered on http://www.clinicaltrials.gov and http://www.controlled-trials.com. We searched for intervention (...) trials of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis from 9 October 2004, the date of the most recent version of the Helsinki Declaration, to 10 April 2007. Results: We collected data from 312 trials. Fifty-eight percent (58%, 95% CI = 53 to 64) of trial protocols report informed consent. Fifty-eight percent (58%, 95% CI = 53 to 64) of trials report active controls. Almost no trials (1%, 95% CI = 0.5 to 3) mention post-trial provisions. Most trials measure surrogate outcomes. Twenty percent (20%, 95% CI = 16 to 25) of trials measure patient-important outcomes, such as death; and the odds that these outcomes are in a low income country are five times greater than for a developed country (odds ratio (OR) 5.03, 95% CI = 2.70 to 9.35, p = < 0.001). Pharmaceutical companies are involved in 28% (CI = 23 to 33) of trials and measure surrogate outcomes more often than nonpharmaceutical companies (OR 2.45, 95% CI = 1.18 to 5.09, p = 0.31). Conclusion: We found a large discrepancy in the quality of reporting and approaches used in trials in developing settings compared to wealthier settings. (shrink)
Mirror neurons are neurons which fire in two distinct conditions: (i) when an agent performs a specific action, like a precision grasp of an object using fingers, and (ii) when an agent observes that action performed by another. Some theorists have suggested that the existence of such neurons may lend support to the simulation approach to mindreading (e.g. Gallese and Goldman, 1998, 'Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mind reading'). In this note I critically examine this suggestion, in both (...) its original and a revised form (due to Iacoboni et al., 2005, 'Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system'), and argue that the existence of mirror neurons can in fact tell us very little about how intentional attribution actually proceeds. (shrink)
While openmindedness is often cited as a paradigmatic example of an intellectual virtue, the connection between openmindedness and truth is tenuous. Several strategies for reconciling this tension are considered, and each is shown to fail; it is thus claimed that openmindedness, when intellectually virtuous, bears no interesting essential connection to truth. In the final section, the implication of this result is assessed in the wider context of debates about epistemic value.
In this article, we redefine classical notions of theory reduction in such a way that model-theoretic preferential semantics becomes part of a realist depiction of this aspect of science. We offer a model-theoretic reconstruction of science in which theory succession or reduction is often better - or at a finer level of analysis - interpreted as the result of model succession or reduction. This analysis leads to 'defeasible reduction', defined as follows: The conjunction of the assumptions of a reducing theory (...) T with the definitions translating the vocabulary of a reduced theory T' to the vocabulary of T, defeasibly entails the assumptions of reduced T'. This relation of defeasible reduction offers, in the context of additional knowledge becoming available, articulation of a more flexible kind of reduction in theory development than in the classical case. Also, defeasible reduction is shown to solve the problems of entailment that classical homogeneous reduction encounters. Reduction in the defeasible sense is a practical device for studying the processes of science, since it is about highlighting different aspects of the same theory at different times of application, rather than about naive dreams concerning a metaphysical unity of science. (shrink)
On 27 September 2013, the Centre for the Humanities and Health (CHH) at King's College London hosted a 1-day workshop on ‘Medical knowledge, Medical Duties’. This workshop was the fifth in a series of five workshops whose aim is to provide a new model for high-quality, open interdisciplinary engagement between medical professionals and philosophers. This report identifies the key points of discussion raised throughout the day and the methodology employed.
Uncertainty around the role ‘super-spreaders’ play in the transmission and escalation of infectious disease is compounded by its broad and vague definition. It is a term that has been much used in relation to COVID-19, particularly in social media. On its widest definition, it refers to a propensity to infect a larger than average number of people. Given the biological, behavioural and environmental variables relevant to infectivity, this might be pertinent to almost any infected individual who is not physically isolated (...) from others. Nor is the term confined to individuals with a propensity to spread infectious disease: it can potentially be used to describe events, policies or settings. This article explores the use of the term and considers circumstances in which the wide definition can be problematic. One problem is that it can lead to undeserved apportionment of moral blame to alleged super-spreaders. Another is that it can detract from scientific investigation of the heterogeneity of COVID-19 transmission. The author calls for a clearer epidemiological definition. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to examine two philosophical accounts of thinking—yet examine them anew by considering what I take to be their under-examined relationship. These are the accounts of Gilbert Ryle and Martin Heidegger. It is often supposed that these two philosophers belong to differing, even conflicting, philosophical traditions. However, this article will seek to demonstrate that an unrecognised affinity exists between them on account of their shared endeavour to venture ahead of the ‘beaten tracks’ of Modern Philosophy. (...) In this way, I will seek to challenge a number of preconceptions that inform the way these thinkers are interpreted and utilised by philosophers of education—particularly preconceptions about Ryle that appear to be active in much ‘thinking skills’ literature. Through exploring certain under-attended-to aspects of Ryle's work this article will seek to offer a renewed investigation into these two philosophical accounts of thinking, in terms of both their limitations and the ways of thinking they open. (shrink)