In H.M. Advocate v. Grimmond1 the judge in a Scottish High Court trial refused permission for expert psychological evidence to be admitted on behalf of the Crown in a prosecution involving sexual offences against two children. The Crown had sought to lead an expert witness to explain to the jury about patterns of disclosure in child sexual abuse cases. The case was remarkable, not so much for the strict application of the longstanding rule in R. v. Turner that constrains the (...) use in the courtroom of expert evidence from the behavioural sciences, but for the way in which the arguments presented by the Crown in Grimmond resonate with enduring feminist critiques regarding the treatment of women in rape trials. The theoretical issues raised by the decision include the quest for context to counter rigid evidential frameworks, and the choice of a child sexual abuse case as the medium for challenging the boundaries of the admissibility of expert evidence in the courtroom. The ramifications of Grimmond are tangible as legislation intended to benefit children and women has already been enacted by the Scottish Parliament to ameliorate the effects of the decision. This article suggests that while this legislation should be given a cautious welcome it remains to be seen whether the heralded benefits will actually materialise. (shrink)
This article explores some of the issues raised by Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP) and the relationship between medicine and law, specifically the discourses which feature in the courtroom portraying motherhood and expectations of parenting. These discourses are often hidden yet play a determining role in prosecutions for alleged maltreatment of children involving medically unexplained infant death syndrome. We offer a critique of MSbP and seek to unveil the assumptions about mothers, the parent predominantly affected by the ‘diagnosis’, and mothering (...) that underlie the association of women accused of deliberating harming their children. We suggest such insights are valuable because although the syndrome has never acquired a clear medical or legal definition, it has had repeated appearances in the literature and courtroom over the last 25 years and has more recently attracted attention from government, health care practitioners, academics and the media. We explore these issues through an examination of two recent Court of Appeal decisions in England: those of Sally Clark and Angela Cannings. (shrink)
Abstract I argue for a new interpretation of the argument for the non-identity of Being and Difference at Sophist 255c-e, which turns on a distinction between modes of being a property. Though indebted to Frede (1967), the distinction differs from his in an important respect: What distinguishes the modes is not the subject's relation to itself or to something numerically distinct, but whether it constitutes or conforms to the specification of some property. Thus my view, but not his, allows self-participation (...) for Forms. Against Frede and the more traditional interpretation, I maintain that the distinction is not introduced by way of the pros alla / kath' hauta distinction, or by way of uses or senses of the verb `to be', but is established prior to the argument and is deployed in its frame. Moreover, since I read the argument's scope as restricted to properties in what I shall call the attribute mode, my interpretation can explain, as its rivals cannot, why the criterion of difference at 255d6-7 does not apply to the Form, Difference, itself. (shrink)
A July, 1990, controversy in British Columbia, Canada, involved a set of audiotapes detailing an apparent abuse of power by the province's attorney general and a relationship between the attorney general and a member of the press. The controversy was covered extensively in local media. A discussion of relevant ethical issues is followed by an analysis of their coverage in the press. Recommendations are made for more effective handling of ethical issues by media organizations and more meaningful reporting of such (...) issues. (shrink)
Patient outcome after serious brain injury is highly variable. Following a period of coma, some patients recover while others progress into a vegetative state (unresponsive wakefulness syndrome) or minimally conscious state. In both cases, assessment is difficult and misdiagnosis may be as high as 43%. Recent advances in neuroimaging suggest a solution. Both functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography have been used to detect residual cognitive function in vegetative and minimally conscious patients. Neuroimaging may improve diagnosis and prognostication. These techniques (...) are beginning to be applied to comatose patients soon after injury. Evidence of preserved cognitive function may predict recovery, and this information would help families and health providers. Complex ethical issues arise due to the vulnerability of patients and families, difficulties interpreting negative results, restriction of communication to “yes” or “no” answers, and cost. We seek to investigate ethical issues in the use of neuroimaging in behaviorally nonresponsive patients who have suffered serious brain injury. The objectives of this research are to: (1) create an approach to capacity assessment using neuroimaging; (2) develop an ethics of welfare framework to guide considerations of quality of life; (3) explore the impact of neuroimaging on families; and, (4) analyze the ethics of the use of neuroimaging in comatose patients. (shrink)
The system of realist philosophy developed by John Anderson — situational realism — has recently been dismissed as ‘positivist’ by a prominent critical realist. The reason for this dismissal appears not to be the usual list of ideas deemed positivist, but the conviction that situational realism mistakenly defends a form of actualism, i.e. that to conceive of causal laws as constant conjunctions reduces the domain of the real to the domain of the actual. This is, in part, a misreading of (...) Anderson’s philosophy because, contrary to Hume’s constant conjunction account, Anderson viewed causation as pluralistic and non-linear. However, the critical realist charge does point to two important ontological differences between these realist philosophies — a levels-of-reality thesis and the notion of causal powers. Situational realism has always maintained that the arguments for both lead to difficulties that are logically insurmountable. Unfortunately, this is not addressed in the critical realists’ dismissal of Anderson’s philosophy. Regardless of who makes the charge of positivism, it frequently involves inattention to the real character of its target. (shrink)
This is a commentary on MM McCabe's "First Chop your logos... Socrates and the sophists on language, logic, and development". In her paper MM analyses Plato's Euthydemos, in which Plato tackles the problem of falsity in a way that takes into account the speaker and complements the Sophist's discussion of what is said. The dialogue looks as if it is merely a demonstration of the silly consequences of eristic combat. And so it is. But a main point of MM's paper (...) is that there is serious philosophy in the Euthydemos, too. MM argues that to counter the sophist brothers Euthydemos and Dionysodoros, Socrates points out that that there are different aspects to the verb 'to say' that run in parallel to the different aspects of the very 'to learn'. So just as there is continuity rather than ambiguity between 'to learn' and 'to understand', so there is continuity between the different aspects of saying. Thus Socrates puts forward a teleological account of both learning and meaning. Following up on some of MM's thoughts, I argue that the sophists subscribe, despite appearance, to a theory of meaning that respects serious and widely accepted philosophical theses on meaning. -/- Forthcoming in the Australasian Philosophical Review. The curator of the volume is Fiona Leigh, and the committee also has Hugh Benson and Tim Clarke. You can find MM's paper as well as the commentaries by Nicholas Denyer and Russell E. Jones and Ravi Sharma (and myself) by registering. (shrink)
Can the phenomenal character of perceptual experience be altered by the states of one's cognitive system, for example, one's thoughts or beliefs? If one thinks that this can happen then one thinks that there can be cognitive penetration of perceptual experience; otherwise, one thinks that perceptual experience is cognitively impenetrable. I claim that there is one alleged case of cognitive penetration that cannot be explained away by the standard strategies one can typically use to explain away alleged cases. The case (...) is one in which it seems subjects' beliefs about the typical colour of objects affects their colour experience. I propose a two-step mechanism of indirect cognitive penetration that explains how cognitive penetration may occur. I show that there is independent evidence that each step in this process can occur. I suspect that people who are opposed to the idea that perceptual experience is cognitively penetrable will be less opposed to the idea when they come to consider this indirect mechanism and that those who are generally sympathetic to the idea of cognitive penetrability will welcome the elucidation of this plausible mechanism. (shrink)
Fiona Woollard presents an original defence of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, according to which doing harm seems much harder to justify than merely allowing harm. She argues that the Doctrine is best understood as a principle that protects us from harmful imposition, and offers a moderate account of our obligations to offer aid to others.
This powerfully iconoclastic book reconsiders the influential nativist position toward the mind. Nativists assert that some concepts, beliefs, or capacities are innate or inborn: "native" to the mind rather than acquired. Fiona Cowie argues that this view is mistaken, demonstrating that nativism is an unstable amalgam of two quite different--and probably inconsistent--theses about the mind. Unlike empiricists, who postulate domain-neutral learning strategies, nativists insist that some learning tasks require special kinds of skills, and that these skills are hard-wired into (...) our brains at birth. This "faculties hypothesis" finds its modern expression in the views of Noam Chomsky. Cowie, marshaling recent empirical evidence from developmental psychology, psycholinguistics, computer science, and linguistics, provides a crisp and timely critique of Chomsky's nativism and defends in its place a moderately nativist approach to language acquisition. Also in contrast to empiricists, who view the mind as simply another natural phenomenon susceptible of scientific explanation, nativists suspect that the mental is inelectably mysterious. Cowie addresses this second strand in nativist thought, taking on the view articulated by Jerry Fodor and other nativists that learning, particularly concept acquisition, is a fundamentally inexplicable process. Cowie challenges this explanatory pessimism, and argues convincingly that concept acquisition is psychologically explicable. What's Within? is a clear and provocative achievement in the study of the human mind. (shrink)
Representationalism is the position that the phenomenal character of an experience is either identical with, or supervenes on, the content of that experience. Many representationalists hold that the relevant content of experience is nonconceptual. I propose a counterexample to this form of representationalism that arises from the phenomenon of Gestalt switching, which occurs when viewing ambiguous figures. First, I argue that one does not need to appeal to the conceptual content of experience or to judgements to account for Gestalt switching. (...) I then argue that experiences of certain ambiguous figures are problematic because they have different phenomenal characters but that no difference in the nonconceptual content of these experiences can be identified. I consider three solutions to this problem that have been proposed by both philosophers and psychologists and conclude that none can account for all the ambiguous figures that pose the problem. I conclude that the onus is on representationalists to specify the relevant difference in content or to abandon their position. (shrink)
This paper provides a categorization of cross-modal experiences. There are myriad forms. Doing so allows us to think clearly about the nature of different cross-modal experiences and allows us to clearly formulate competing hypotheses about the kind of experiences involved in different cross-modal phenomena.
I defend the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing: the claim that doing harm is harder to justify than merely allowing harm. A thing does not genuinely belong to a person unless he has special authority over it. The Doctrine of Doing and Allowing protects us against harmful imposition – against the actions or needs of another intruding on what is ours. This protection is necessary for something to genuinely belong to a person. The opponent of the Doctrine must claim that (...) nothing genuinely belongs to a person, even his own body. (shrink)
The Demandingness Objection is the objection that a moral theory or principle is unacceptable because it asks more than we can reasonably expect. David Sobel, Shelley Kagan and Liam Murphy have each argued that the Demandingness Objection implicitly – and without justification – appeals to moral distinctions between different types of cost. I discuss three sets of cases each of which suggest that we implicitly assume some distinction between costs when applying the Demandingness Objection. We can explain each set of (...) cases, but each set requires appeal to a separate dimension of the Demandingness Objection. (shrink)
In this paper I examine whether representationalism can account for various thought experiments about colour inversions. Representationalism is, at minimum, the view that, necessarily, if two experiences have the same representational content then they have the same phenomenal character. I argue that representationalism ought to be rejected if one holds externalist views about experiential content and one holds traditional exter- nalist views about the nature of the content of propositional attitudes. Thus, colour inver- sion scenarios are more damaging to externalist (...) representationalist views than have been previously thought. More specifically, I argue that representationalists who endorse externalism about experiential content either have to become internalists about the content of propositional attitudes or they have to adopt a novel variety of externalism about the content of propositional attitudes. This novel type of propositional attitude externalism is investigated. It can be seen that adopting it forces one to reject Putnam. (shrink)
I propose a counterexample to naturalistic representational theories of phenomenal character. The counterexample is generated by experiences of novel colours reported by Crane and Piantanida. I consider various replies that a representationalist might make, including whether novel colours could be possible colours of objects and whether one can account for novel colours as one would account for binary colours or colour mixtures. I argue that none of these strategies is successful and therefore that one cannot fully explain the nature of (...) the phenomenal character of perceptual experiences using a naturalistic conception of representation. (shrink)
G.E. Moore, more than either Bertrand Russell or Ludwig Wittgenstein, was chiefly responsible for the rise of the analytic method in twentieth-century philosophy. This selection of his writings shows Moore at his very best. The classic essays are crucial to major philosophical debates that still resonate today. Amongst those included are: * A Defense of Common Sense * Certainty * Sense-Data * External and Internal Relations * Hume's Theory Explained * Is Existence a Predicate? * Proof of an External World (...) In addition, this collection also contains the key early papers in which Moore signals his break with idealism, and three important previously unpublished papers from his later work which illustrate his relationship with Wittgenstein. (shrink)
Many philosophers believe that God has been put to rest. Naturalism is the default position, and the naturalist can explain what needs to be explained without recourse to God. This book agrees that we should be naturalists, but it rejects the more prevalent scientific naturalism in favour of an 'expansive' naturalism inspired by David Wiggins and John McDowell. Fiona Ellis draws on a wide range of thinkers from theology and philosophy, and spans the gulf between analytic and continental philosophy. (...) She tackles various philosophical problems including the limits of nature and the status of value; some theological problems surrounding the natural/ supernatural relation, the Incarnation, and the concept of myth; and offers a model to comprehend the relation between philosophy and theology. (shrink)
Introduction -- The ethics of care and global politics -- Rethinking human security -- 'Women's work' : the global care and sex economies -- Humanitarian intervention and global security governance -- Peacebuilding and paternalism : reading care through postcolonialism -- Health and human security : gender, care and HIV/AIDS -- Gender, care, and the ethics of environmental security -- Conclusion. Security through care.
This article develops an approach to ethical globalization based on a feminist, political ethic of care; this is achieved, in part, through a comparison with, and critique of, Thomas Pogge's World Poverty and Human Rights. In his book, Pogge makes the valid and important argument that the global economic order is currently organized such that developed countries have a huge advantage in terms of power and expertise, and that decisions are reached purely and exclusively through self-interest. Pogge uses an institutional (...) rights framework to argue that direct responsibility for global poverty and inequality lies with the citizens of developed countries, since suffering and death are caused by global economic arrangements designed and imposed by our governments. While this argument is certainly compelling, I have argued that it tells us little about the actual effects of globalization on the real people of the South - including women, children and the elderly. As a result, it can offer little in the way of real alternatives or policy prescriptions. As a moral orientation, a care ethic relies on a relational moral ontology, and leads us to consider different values in terms of human flourishing. Moreover, it pushes us to consider the normative implications of aspects of the global political economy which are usually not 'seen' at all, including the global distribution of care work and the corresponding patterns of gender and racial inequality, the underprovision of care and resources for caring work in both the developed and developing world, and the ways in which unpaid or low-paid caring work helps to sustain a cycle of exploitation and inequality on a global scale. (shrink)
According to the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, the distinction between doing and allowing harm is morally significant. Doing harm is harder to justify than merely allowing harm. This paper is the first of a two paper critical overview of the literature on the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing. In this paper, I consider the analysis of the distinction between doing and allowing harm. I explore some of the most prominent attempts to analyse this distinction:. Philippa Foot’s sequence account, Warren (...) Quinn’s action/ inaction account, and counterfactual test accounts put forward by Shelly Kagan and Jonathan Bennett. I also discuss Jeff McMahan’s account of the removal of barriers to harm. I argue that analysis of the distinction has often been made more difficult by two mistaken assumption: (1) the assumption that when an agent does or allows harm his behaviour makes the difference to whether or not the harm occurs (2) the assumption that the distinction between doing and allowing and the distinction between action and inaction are interchangeable. I suggest that Foot’s account is the most promising account of the doing/allowing distinction, but that it requires further development. (shrink)
Discussion of the behaviour of pregnant women and mothers, in academic literature, medical advice given to mothers, mainstream media and social media, assumes that a mother who fails to do something to benefit her child is liable for moral criticism unless she can provide sufficient countervailing considerations to justify her decision. I reconstruct the normally implicit reasoning that leads to this assumption and show that it is mistaken. First, I show that the discussion assumes that if any action might benefit (...) her child, the mother has a defeasible duty to perform that action. I suggest that this assumption is implicitly supported by two arguments but that each argument is unsound. The first argument conflates moral reasons and defeasible duties; the second misunderstands the scope of a defeasible duty to benefit. This argument has important practical and theoretical implications: practically, it provides a response to a highly damaging discourse on maternal behaviour; theoretically, it provides the framework for a clearer understanding of the scope and nature of defeasible duties to benefit. (shrink)
Reflection on skeptical scenarios in the philosophy of perception, made vivid in the arguments from illusion and hallucination, have led to the formulation of theories of the metaphysical and epistemological nature of perceptual experience. In recent times, the locus of the debate concerning the nature of perceptual experience has been the dispute between disjunctivists and common-kind theorists. Disjunctivists have held that there are substantial dissimilarities (either metaphysical or epistemological or both) between veridical perceptual experiences occurring when one perceives and perceptual (...) experiences involved in hallucination. Common-kind theorists have denied this. In this paper, I examine the nature of introspection – a faculty that has often been compared and contrasted to perception. I reflect on cases where introspection goes wrong in ways analogous to that in which our perceptual faculties can go wrong and formulate, what I take to be, an attractive theory of introspection. The cases that I focus on in which things go wrong are the case of zombies and the case of subjects with Anton’s syndrome. (Anton’s syndrome is a condition in which people who are blind claim that they can see.) I suggest that, just as it is possible to be a disjunctivist about perception, it is possible to be a disjunctivist about introspection. I argue that this is a good view of one type of introspection, namely, introspection of states that have phenomenal character, such as perceptual experiences. It has a good account to give of the cases in which such introspection seems to go wrong and it yields a plausible metaphysical and epistemological view of the nature of introspection. However, while I favour a disjunctive view of introspection, I do not favour a disjunctive view of perception. And, I suspect, that many disjunctivists about perception would not wish to condone my disjunctivist theory of introspection. I therefore go on to examine to what extent.. (shrink)
According to the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, the distinction between doing and allowing harm is morally significant. Doing harm is harder to justify than merely allowing harm. This paper is the second of a two paper critical overview of the literature on the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing. In this paper, I consider the moral status of the distinction between doing and allowing harm. I look at objections to the doctrine such as James’ Rachels’ Wicked Uncle Case and Jonathan (...) Bennett’s argument that any acceptable analysis of the distinction leaves it implausible that the distinction is morally relevant. I consider putative defences of the Doctrine from Philippa Foot and Warren Quinn. I argue that neither Foot not Quinn provides a satisfactory justification of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, but that the idea of self-ownership discussed by Quinn can be developed to provide a justification of the doctrine. (shrink)
Drawing on resources from both the analytical and continental traditions, this book argues that a comprehension of Immanuel Kant's aesthetics is necessary for grasping the scope and force of his epistemology. It draws on phenomenological and aesthetic resources to bring out the continuing relevance of Kant's project. One of the difficulties faced in reading ‘The Critique of Pure Reason’ is finding a way of reading the text as one continuous discussion. This book offers a reading at each stage of Kant's (...) epistemological argument, showing how various elements of Kant's argument, often thought of as extraneous or indefensible, can be integrated. Arguing for the centrality of aesthetics in philosophy, and within experience in general, it challenges a blind spot in the Anglo-American tradition of philosophy and will contribute to a growing interest in the general significance of aesthetic culture. (shrink)
Although the focus of "Globalizing Democracy and Human Rights" is practical, Gould does not shy away from hard theoretical questions, such as the relentless debate over cultural relativism, and the relationship between terrorism and democracy.
: This paper responds to the sense of "crisis" or "trouble" that dominates contemporary feminist debate about the categories of sex and gender. It argues that this perception of crisis has emerged from a fundamental confusion of theoretical and political issues concerning the implications of the sex/gender debate for political representation and agency. It explores the sense in which this confusion is manifest in a debate between Seyla Benhabib and Judith Butler.
Our pollution of the environment seems set to lead to widespread problems in the future, including disease, scarcity of resources, and bloody conflicts. It is natural to think that we are required to stop polluting because polluting harms the future individuals who will be faced with these problems. This natural thought faces Derek Parfit’s famous Non-Identity Problem ( 1984 , pp. 361–364). The people who live on the polluted earth would not have existed if we had not polluted. Our polluting (...) behaviour does not make these individuals worse off. It may therefore seem that we do not harm them by polluting. Parfit argues that we should replace person-affecting principles with an impersonal principle of beneficence, Principle Q ( 1984 , p. 360.). I argue that Principle Q cannot give an adequate account of our duties to refrain from polluting. I consider attempts to solve the Non-Identity Problem by denying that to harm someone an agent must make them worse off. I argue that such responses provide a partial solution to the Non-Identity Problem. They do show that we harm future individuals in a morally relevant sense by polluting. Nonetheless, this is only a partial solution. The Non-Identity Problem still suggests that our harm-based reasons not to pollute are less strong than we intuitively believe. Thus on its own an appeal to the claim that we harm future individuals is not able to give a fully satisfactory account of why we are required not to pollute. (shrink)
The Architecture of Mind is an ambitious and informative work, surveying an impressive range of empirical literature and arguing that the mind is massively modular. However, it suffers from two major theoretical flaws. First, Carruthers’ concept of a module is weak, so much so that it robs his thesis of massive modularity of any real substance. Second, his conception of how the mind’s modules evolved ignores the role of niche construction and cultural evolution to its detriment.
The senses, or sensory modalities, constitute the different ways we have of perceiving the world, such as seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. But how many senses are there? How many could there be? What makes the senses different? What interaction takes place between the senses? This book is a guide to thinking about these questions. Together with an extensive introduction to the topic, the book contains the key classic papers on this subject together with nine newly commissioned essays.One reason (...) that these questions are important is that we are receiving a huge influx of new information from the sciences that challenges some traditional philosophical views about the senses. This information needs to be incorporated into our view of the senses and perception. Can we do this whilst retaining our pre-existing concepts of the senses and of perception or do we need to revise our concepts? If they need to be revised, then in what way should that be done? Research in diverse areas, such as the nature of human perception, varieties of non-human animal perception, the interaction between different sensory modalities, perceptual disorders, and possible treatments for them, calls into question the platitude that there are five senses, as well as the pre-supposition that we know what we are counting when we count them as five.This book will serve as an inspiring introduction to the topic and as a basis from which further new research will grow. (shrink)
Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of ‘passivity’ is a key to his account of perception. For Merleau-Ponty, perception is the way in which we are involved in the world, and it is on perception that the functions of understanding, reason, and reflection ultimately rest. While in his Phenomenology of Perception it is already clear that passive and active are intertwined, from a series of lectures he gave in 1954–5 we learn that inauguration or ‘institution’ arises out of a passivity that is not merely (...) an absence of activity. I show how the thoroughly temporal status of the subject as ‘instituting’ distinguishes it from a certain model of the ‘constituting’ subject. Next, I argue that, to grasp the sense in which Merleau-Ponty intends ‘passivity’, we must recognize its mediating or transitional status. Specifically, I examine terms that arise repeatedly in his analysis of the Freudian account of the unconscious — namely, ‘pivot’ and ‘enjambment’ — to show how they reveal the peculiar status of a passivity that operates through a dialectic focused on its transitional terms rather than on opposing poles. Finally, I suggest the exchange between passivity and institution that Merleau-Ponty has in mind can be illuminated through consideration of late Palaeolithic cave paintings, where the rock itself seems to begin an expression that the artist completes. (shrink)