This paper examines and critiques the ethical issues in postmortem sperm retrieval and the use of postmortem sperm to create new life. The article was occasioned by the recent request of the parents of a West Point cadet who died in a skiing accident at the Academy to retrieve and use his sperm to honor his memory and perpetuate the family name. The request occasioned national media attention. A trial court judge in New York in a two-page order authorized both (...) the retrieval and use of the postmortem sperm. (shrink)
It is a curious thing about the philosophy of mind, that it includes surprisingly little about minds. In an average anthology on the subject, or a book like Ryle's, one finds discussions of thinking, imagining, believing, willing, remembering, and so on, but not of minds. It seems to be assumed that investigating these topics is investigating minds; but whether that is true is not itself made a topic for investigation.
The following are not among the least puzzling remarks in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations : 572. Expectation is, grammatically, a state; like: being of an opinion, hoping for something, knowing something, being able to do something. But in order to understand the grammar of these states it is necessary to ask: ‘What counts as a criterion for anyone's being in such a state?’ 573.… What, in particular cases, do we regard as criteria for someone's being of such and such an opinion? (...) When do we say: he reached this opinion at that time? When he has altered his opinion? And so on. The picture which the answers to these questions give us shews what gets treated grammatically as a state here. (shrink)
This lecture is divided, roughly, into three parts. First, there is a general and perhaps rather simple-minded discussion of what are the ‘facts’ that social anthropologists study; is there anything special about these ‘facts’ which makes them different from other kinds of facts? It will be useful to start with the common-sense distinction between two kinds or, better, aspects of social facts; first—though neither is analytically prior to the other—and putting it very crudely, ‘what people do’, the aspect of social (...) interaction, and second, ‘what—and how—people think’, the conceptual, classifying, cognitive component of human culture. Now in reality, of course , these two aspects are inextricably intertwined. But it is essential to distinguish them analytically, because each aspect gives rise to quite different kinds of problems of understanding for the social anthropologist. We shall see that the problem of how to be ‘objective’, and so to avoid ethnographic error, arises in both contexts, but in rather different forms in each. (shrink)
The idea that deep brain stimulation induces changes to personality, identity, agency, authenticity, autonomy and self is so deeply entrenched within neuroethics discourses that it has become an unchallenged narrative. In this article, we critically assess evidence about putative effects of DBS on PIAAAS. We conducted a literature review of more than 1535 articles to investigate the prevalence of scientific evidence regarding these potential DBS-induced changes. While we observed an increase in the number of publications in theoretical neuroethics that mention (...) putative DBS-induced changes to patients’ postoperative PIAAAS, we found a critical lack of primary empirical studies corroborating these claims. Our findings strongly suggest that the theoretical neuroethics debate on putative effects of DBS relies on very limited empirical evidence and is, instead, reliant on unsubstantiated speculative assumptions probably in lieu of robust evidence. As such, this may reflect the likelihood of a speculative neuroethics bubble that may need to be deflated. Nevertheless, despite the low number of first-hand primary studies and large number of marginal and single case reports, potential postoperative DBS changes experienced by patients remain a critical ethical concern. We recommend further empirical research in order to enhance theoretical neuroethics work in the area. In particular, we call for the development of better instruments capable of capturing potential postoperative variations of PIAAAS. (shrink)
Building on a well-developed philosophy of language, Shibles proposes a theory of metaphor. Whereas one philosophy of language may regard metaphor as an inadequate or fallacious form of reasoning, another may consider it to be the very foundation of language. Shibles’ views lie in the latter direction, and he employs Wilbur Urban’s philosophy of language, presented in his Language and Reality, to develop his theory. Urban’s importance lies in his avoidance of reducing the philosophy of language to symbolic logic and (...) recognition of the importance of metaphor, symbol, and analogy. Also significant for a theory of metaphor is the fact that Urban saw a "high evaluation" of language as being more adequate than a "low evaluation" of language. (shrink)
It has been a common assumption that words are substances that instantiate or have properties. In this paper, I question the assumption that our ontology of words requires posting substances by outlining a bundle theory of words, wherein words are bundles of various sorts of properties (such as semantic, phonetic, orthographic, and grammatical properties). I argue that this view can better account for certain phenomena than substance theories, is ontologically more parsimonious, and coheres with claims in linguistics.
While there seems to be much evidence that perceptual states can occur without being conscious, some theorists recently express scepticism about unconscious perception. We explore here two kinds of such scepticism: Megan Peters and Hakwan Lau's experimental work regarding the well-known problem of the criterion -- which seems to show that many purported instances of unconscious perception go unreported but are weakly conscious -- and Ian Phillips' theoretical consideration, which he calls the 'problem of attribution' -- the worry that many (...) purported examples of unconscious perception are not perceptual, but rather merely informational and subpersonal. We argue that these concerns do not undermine the evidence for unconscious perception and that this sceptical approach results in a dilemma for the sceptic, who must either deny that there is unconscious mentality generally or explain why perceptual states are unique in the mind such that they cannot occur unconsciously. Both options, we argue, are problematic. (shrink)
The effects in a quantum-mechanical system form a partial algebra and a partially ordered set which is the prototypical example of the effect algebras discussed in this paper. The relationships among effect algebras and such structures as orthoalgebras and orthomodular posets are investigated, as are morphisms and group- valued measures (or charges) on effect algebras. It is proved that there is a universal group for every effect algebra, as well as a universal vector space over an arbitrary field.
What are words? What makes two token words tokens of the same word-type? Are words abstract entities, or are they (merely) collections of tokens? The ontology of words tries to provide answers to these, and related questions. This article provides an overview of some of the most prominent views proposed in the literature, with a particular focus on the debate between type-realist, nominalist, and eliminativist ontologies of words.
In recent years, many philosophers of modern physics came to the conclusion that the problem of how objectivity is constituted (rather than merely given) can no longer be avoided, and therefore that a transcendental approach in the spirit of Kant is now philosophically relevant. The usual excuse for skipping this task is that the historical form given by Kant to transcendental epistemology has been challenged by Relativity and Quantum Physics. However, the true challenge is not to force modern physics into (...) a rigidly construed static version of Kant's philosophy, but to provide Kant's method with flexibility and generality. In this book, the top specialists of the field pin down the methodological core of transcendental epistemology that must be used in order to throw light on the foundations of modern physics. First, the basic tools Kant used for his transcendental reading of Newtonian Mechanics are examined, and then early transcendental approaches of Relativistic and Quantum Physics are revisited. Transcendental procedures are also applied to contemporary physics, and this renewed transcendental interpretation is finally compared with structural realism and constructive empiricism. The book will be of interest to scientists, historians and philosophers who are involved in the foundational problems of modern physics. (shrink)