Kommentar.Geir Hoff - 2009 - Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics 1 (1):84-85.details
I dette nummeret av Etikk i Praksis belyses et etisk dilemma om premiering eller sanksjoner for deltakelse/ikke-deltakelse i nasjonale screeningprogram for kreft, i artikkelen «En etisk diskussion af screening for kræftsygdomme» av John Brodersen, Peter Laurs Sørensen, Fía Lindenskov og Lonny Henriksen. Dette er belyst gjennom intervjuer hvor divergerende meninger gjenspeiler at vi har svært begrenset kunnskap om både kort- og langtidseffekt av screening for kreft. Den politiske viljen til å innføre screeningprogram har utvilsomt vært sterkere enn viljen til å (...) fremskaffe vitenskapelig bevis for eventuell nytteeffekt gjennom randomiserte studier. Randomiserte studier på screening er svært dyre og har ofte et langt tidsperspektiv før resultater kan foreligge og danne et relevant kunnskapsgrunnlag for en nasjonal screeningstrategi. Resultatene kan også være kulturavhengige. Det understreker behovet for flere randomiserte studier. Det må også poengteres at ethvert land som har råd til å vurdere innføring av et screeningprogram, har også råd til å finansiere randomiserte studier i forkant. En omfattende randomisert studie på fleksibel sigmoidoskopiscreening for tarmkreft har vist at deltakelse i screeningprogram kan føre til et redusert egenansvar for sunn livsstil og dermed økt risiko for livsstilssykdommer. Her ligger det altså en pedagogisk utfordring som kan variere fra land til land og mellom forskjellige screeningmetoder. (shrink)
In the framework of ethical social choice theory, sustainability is justified by efficiency and equity as ethical axioms. These axioms correspond to the Suppes–Sen grading principle. In technologies that are productive in a certain sense, the set of Suppes–Sen maximal utility paths is shown to equal the set of non-decreasing and efficient paths. Since any such path is sustainable, efficiency and equity can thus be used to deem any unsustainable path as ethically unacceptable. This finding is contrasted with results that (...) seem to indicate that an infinite number of generations cannot be treated equally. (shrink)
The paper presents a semantics for quantified modal logic which has a weaker axiomatization than the usual Kripke semantics. In particular, the Barcan Formula and its converse are not valid with the proposed semantics. Subclasses of models which validate BF and other interesting formulas are presented. A completeness theorem is proved, and the relation between this result and completeness with respect to Kripke models is investigated.
It is a common view that radical contextualism about linguistic meaning is incompatible with a compositional explanation of linguistic comprehension. Recently, some philosophers of language have proposed theories of 'pragmatic' compositionality challenging this assumption. This paper takes a close look at a prominent proposal of this kind due to François Recanati. The objective is to give a plausible formulation of the view. The major results are threefold. First, a basic distinction that contextualists make between mandatory and optional pragmatic processes needs (...) to be revised. Second, the pragmatic theory can withstand a Davidsonian objection only by rejecting the importance of a distinction between primitive and non-primitive semantic items. Thirdly, however, the theory is now open to a worry about how it should be understood: either the theory consists in a very broad functionalist generalization about communication, which makes it explanatorily inert, or it boils down to a highly particularist view about linguistic meaning. Finally, I argue that Recanati's notion of 'occasion meaning' is problematic and suggest replacing it with the notion of speaker meaning, which is explanatorily more basic. (shrink)
According to the dominant view, the later Wittgenstein identified the meaning of an expression with its use in the language and vehemently rejected any kind of mentalism or intentionalism about linguistic meaning. I argue that the dominant view is wrong. The textual evidence, which has either been misunderstood or overlooked, indicates that at least since the Blue Book Wittgenstein thought speakers' intentions determine the contents of linguistic utterances. His remarks on use are only intended to emphasize the heterogeneity of natural (...) language. Taking into account remarks written after he finished the Investigations, I show how Wittgenstein anticipated the basic tenets of Gricean intention-based semantics. These are, in particular, the distinction between ‘natural’ and ‘non-natural’ meaning and the distinction between what a speaker means by an utterance and what the expression uttered means in the speaker’s natural language. Importantly, Wittgenstein also believed that only the meaning of the speaker determined the content of ambiguous expressions, such as ‘bank’, on a particular occasion of utterance. (shrink)
A modified version of Normann's hierarchy of domains with totality  is presented and is shown to be suitable for interpretation of Martin-Löf's intuitionistic type theory. This gives an interpretation within classical set theory, which is natural in the sense that $\Sigma$ -types are interpreted as sets of pairs and $\Pi$ -types as sets of choice functions. The hierarchy admits a natural definition of the total objects in the domains, and following an idea of Berger  this makes possible an (...) interpretation where a type is defined to be true if its interpretation contains a total object. In particular, the empty type contains no total objects and will therefore be false (in any non-empty context). In addition, there is a natural equivalence relation on the total objects, so we derive a hierarchy of topological spaces (quotient spaces wrt. the Scott topology), and give a second interpretation using this hierarchy. (shrink)
Our late modernity has been characterized by Zygmunt Bauman and Hartmut Rosa as, respectively, “liquid” and “accelerated”. These are demanding aspects of reality that have elicited both adaptive and resisting responses. While the drive to adapt has generally been favoured, especially by the corporate sector, a certain resistance to the tendency is also notable among ordinary citizens. It will be argued in this paper, first, that while adaptation evokes Daoist insights, such an association is misleading and an unqualified kind of (...) adaptation is not a viable option; secondly, while many ritualistic and ceremonial practices are being revived as a part of the resistance, many of these are undesirable; thirdly, that an introduction of ritual inspired by the ancient Confucian understanding of li 禮 is a beneficial way to alleviate the harmful effects of late modernity; and fourthly, that this understanding of li can be strengthened and clarified through Neo-Daoist interpretations. (shrink)
The Repugnant Conclusion served an important purpose in catalyzing and inspiring the pioneering stage of population ethics research. We believe, however, that the Repugnant Conclusion now receives too much focus. Avoiding the Repugnant Conclusion should no longer be the central goal driving population ethics research, despite its importance to the fundamental accomplishments of the existing literature.
Respect and tolerance are key values in education. They are also among the aims of education and are brought to the foreground in educational policy. We argue that these values are neither philosophically nor politically given aims for which education is a means. Instead, respect and tolerance are enacted and negotiated through educational practices. We emphasize that respect and tolerance should be empirically and critically studied in educational practices. The discussion is based in two previous research projects and the material (...) includes interviews with teachers and students and classroom observations. Moral philosophy is positioned as a conversation partner with the data material. We conclude that respect and tolerance are performed in different modes in practice. These two values cannot be understood as individual cognitive aspects but as multimodal processes and as aspects of collective, bodily and material practices. This article provides a contribution to the theorizing about educating for respect and tolerance. (shrink)
Dienes & Perner present a very interesting analysis of two types of knowledge. It is not clear, however, that the words “implicit” and “explicit” are the best basis on which to build a theory of the two types of knowledge. One is also left uncertain as to whether this theory is the best way of ordering the greatest possible amount of relevant data in a way that yields the simplest account possible.
Understanding the causes of behavior is one of philosophy's oldest challenges. In analyzing human desires, Bertrand Russell's position was clearly related to that of psychological hedonism. Still, though he seems to have held quite consistently that desires and emotions govern human behavior, he claimed that they do not necessarily do so by making us want to maximize pleasure. This claim is related to several being made in today's psychology and philosophy. I point out a string of facts and arguments indicating (...) the weakness of this position, and briefly discuss the possibility of developing a set of assumptions regarding behavioral causation common to students of thinking and behavior. (shrink)
Self-control is in the eye of the beholder. However, we speak of if a person has come to think conscious thoughts that change the motivational value of stimuli in the outside world. It is claimed that conscious thinking, and not habits bordering on compulsion, is behind self-control.
Critical thinking is currently much celebrated in the contemporary West and beyond, not least in higher education. Tertiary education students are generally expected to adopt a critical attitude in order to become responsible and constructive participants in the development of modern democratic society. Currently, the perceived desirability of critical thinking has even made it into a seemingly successful marketable commodity. A brief online search yields a vast number of books that are mostly presented as self-help manuals to enable readers to (...) enhance their critical abilities. But how should critical thinking be taught? Is it at all possible? Instead of attempting to provide a direct answer to this pressing question, this paper seeks inspiration in a culturally rather remote philosophy of education that hitherto has not been regarded as a stimulant for critical thinking, namely the ancient philosophy of Confucianism. The paper argues that not only are most if not all types of thinking regarded in the West as ‘critical’ also present in Confucianism, but also that the Confucian philosophy presides over a particular type which increasingly tends to be neglected in the contemporary West; a type that I call ‘transformative self-critical attitude’. Through a comparison with the well-known Teaching Perspectives Inventory in higher education, the transformative self-critical attitude is used to elucidate some further aspects of the Confucian philosophy of education that may offer valuable insights to contemporary educators. (shrink)
Individual soccer performance is notoriously difficult to measure due to the many contributing sub-variables and the variety of contexts within which skills must be utilised. Furthermore, performance differs across rather specialised playing positions. In research, soccer performance is often measured using combinations of, or even single, sub-variables. All too often these variables have not been validated against actual performance. Another approach is the use of proxies. In sports research, the age of athletes when winning championship medals has been used as (...) a proxy for determining their age of peak performance. In soccer, studies have used the average age of players in top European leagues or in the Champions League to determine the age of individual peak performance. Such approaches have methodological shortcomings and may underestimate the peak. We explore the use of a new proxy, the age at nomination for major individual awards, to determine the average age at peak individual soccer performance. A total of 1,981 players nominated for major awards from 1956 to 2019 were included, and a subset of 653 retired players was extracted, thus including players’ complete careers. Players’ average ages at nomination, at their first nomination, and at their last ever nomination were calculated, and differences across playing positions were calculated together with changes over time in the average age at peak. Based on our proxy, the age of individual peak soccer performance occurs around 27–28 years, varying across playing positions from 26 to 31 years. A player’s first peak, on average, seems to coincide with known peaks of physiological variables; their last-ever peak occurs long after physiological performance has started to decline, indicating that the decline can be compensated for by other variables. The peak age is higher than previously reported for soccer; however, it is similar to those in other team ball sports. The average age at peak performance has increased over time, especially in the last decade. Our approach of using proxies for unearthing information about hidden features of otherwise immeasurable complex performance appears to be viable, and such proxies may be used to validate sub-variables that measure complex behaviour. (shrink)
SUMMARYScottish publisher and naturalist Robert Chambers pursued an amateur interest in geology through much of his life. His early measurements of raised beaches in Scotland earned him membership in the Geological Society of London in 1844, a recognition much appreciated by the anonymous author of the ‘scandalous’ Vestiges published the same year. Although familiar with emerging ice age theories, Chambers remained with most British geologists a sceptic through the 1840s, even after a trip to the glaciers of the Alps in (...) 1848, which nevertheless prepared him for the turning point, which came in 1849 during an extensive field trip in Norway and Sweden. Here a wealth of observations left him in no doubt that vast glaciers had formerly covered Scandinavia, polishing cliffs, scouring striations, depositing old moraines and erratic boulders. This also led him to a new glacial reading of the British landscape, and with the ardent conviction of a fresh convert he became one of the most vocal supporters of glacial theory in Britain in the 1850s at a time when the iceberg drift theory for boulder transport was still favoured by most prominent British geologists. While Chambers through his popular Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal communicated his travels and ice age vision to a wide audience, and also pointed out ice age evidence on guided excursions around Edinburgh, he did not enter this new vision into subsequent editions of Vestiges, probably in order not to reveal its author. This paper explores Chambers’s contributions to the ice age debate, his field trips and the genesis of his convictions, and evaluates his impact on the scientific debate. (shrink)
In Transcendence and Sensoriness , scholars of theology, philosophy, art, music, and architecture, discuss questions of transcendence, the human senses, and the arts through case studies considered in a broad theological framework of religious aesthetics of the arts.
This experimental article claims that relatively recent trends in Western philosophy provide a much more open approach to philosophies originating in nonwestern traditions, including the Chinese, than found in most mainstream Western philosophy. More specifically, I argue that a slightly modified version of Jacques Derrida’s concept of différance offers a hermeneutic parallel to native Chinese philosophical approaches to interpretation. These converge in the view that Western and Chinese philosophies cannot be reduced to the other in conceptual terms and that a (...) finalized meaning or interpretation of each is a priori unattainable, thus providing a future opening for – and even integration of – a Chinese-Western dialogue in global philosophy and ethics. *. (shrink)
Educational sociologists and philosophers have long recognised that educational institutions play a significant role in shaping as well as supporting societal norms. In the face of growing global social, political, and environmental challenges, should conservatoires be more overt in expressing a mission to sustain and improve the societies in which they are located? In times of ever-increasing scepticism emanating from governments and the broader populace alike about the efficacy of public spending, if not the public sphere itself, this essay suggests (...) it is both timely and necessary for conservatoires to reconsider, reinvigorate and re-articulate their capacity to contribute to broader social goods. Drawing on the authors’ professional experience as well as current literature and debates, the essay is both deliberately provocative and open-ended, articulating a number of points of departure that institutions might consider in addressing the challenge of maintaining and exercising their relevance to broader society. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore the possible contributions of empirical moral philosophy to professional ethics in teacher education. We argue that it is both possible and desirable to connect knowledge of how teachers empirically do and understand professional ethics with normative theories of teachers’ professional ethics. Our argument is made in dialogue with the moral philosophy of Charles Taylor and the emerging tradition of ‘empirical ethics’ in psychiatry. We also draw on empirical data from a larger empirical project on teachers’ (...) professional ethics in Norway. Our main contribution is the development of a method for empirical professional ethics that involves three steps: articulation, disturbance and expansion. (shrink)