Situated in critiques of the “moral muteness” of technical rationality, we examine concepts of ethics and the avoidance of ethical language among Australian gas pipeline engineers. We identify the domains in which they saw ethics as operating, including public safety, environmental protection, sustainability, commercial probity, and modern slavery. Particularly with respect to ethical matters that bear on public safety, in the course of design and operational activities, engineers principally advocated for action using technical language, avoiding reference to potential consequences such (...) as death or destruction of property. Within their organizations, they saw themselves as occupying a technical “line of defense”. We argue that this focus on technical language is action-oriented. Ethics tells practitioners of unacceptable outcomes, but it does not guide them in what they need to do to avoid that outcome in practice. We observed some cases where engineers had not made the connection between their role and ethics in the sense of public safety. We argue that muteness on ethical matters can obscure the nature of the risk where technical advice is being taken on by non-technical actors, and where technical actors themselves do not have a clear sense of their public safety obligations. (shrink)
Presented here is the German translation of Jan Patočka’s fragment Nitro a svět which was written in the 1940s and belongs to the so called „Strahov Papers“. The fragment reflects Patočka’s early attempts towards a thinking of subjectivity and the world. Thereby Patočka’s approach is phenomenological, but also integrates motives of German Idealism. The critical impact of the fragment lies in its orientation against the scientific biologism of its times.
This paper describes the work of the Polish logician Jan Kalicki (1922?1953). After a biographical introduction, his work on logical matrices and equational logic is appraised. A bibliography of his papers and reviews is also included.
To get distracted, to enclose and to give oneself. The Gesture of Transcendence in Jan Patočka The problem of transcendence can be traced throughout the whole work of Jan Patočka. The appeal to transcend our bonds to mere objectivity is a constant issue of his thought. It finds a new substantiation in the 1960s in his studies focusing on the meaning of the other as human being. The relation to the other person offers a special "occasion" or "place" of transcendence (...) and poses the challenge to transcend one's own particular setting. While in the mid-1960s Patočka maintains his earlier dramatic vocabulary to describe the process of transcendence, in the late 1960s his idiom becomes less vehement. Yet, it is precisely within this more "sober" framework that he symbolizes the process of transcendence with an emphatic turn to a "myth of the divine man" and its key metaphor of resurrection. To transcend means, for Patočka, always to liberate oneself from a state of self-distraction between things. However, in his late lectures, he briefly refers to a deeper layer, suggesting that this self-distraction has its "roots" in a self-enclosure or self-isolation, in the exclusive concentration on our own interests and in the illusion of our self-sufficiency. Transcendence, then, means to overcome this self-enclosure by means of a self-forgetting love. Are these rarely mentioned "roots" perhaps implicitly present in all Patočka's accounts of transcendence? (shrink)
The article focuses on the report of the International Workshop on “17th Century Polish Jesuits in China: Michal Boym, Jan Mikolaj Smogulecki, and Andrzej Rudomina” held at the University School of Philosophy and Education in Poland organized by the Monumenta Serica Institute. The author focuses on the Chinese philosophy lecture by Professor Shi Yunli about the influence of Smogulecki on Xue Fengzou, Chinese culture and science and their work on astrology and astronomy.
A unifying framework of probabilistic reasoning Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9573-x Authors Jan Sprenger, Tilburg Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Aggregation in moral philosophy calls for the summing or averaging of values or utilities as a guide to individual behavior. But morality, it is argued, needs to be individualistic, in view of the evident separateness of persons, especially given the great disparities among individuals who nevertheless interact with each other in social life. The most plausible general moral program is the classical liberal one calling for mutual noninterference rather than treating others as equal to oneself in point of demands on (...) our action. Why, then, would we ever aggregate? The reason is that we are affected by behavior that has general effects, especially unintended side effects, on all sorts of people among whom we ourselves are often to be found. When we are randomly situated among such groups—as we sometimes are and often are not—minimizing aggregate harm is the plausible strategy, and sometimes promoting aggregate benefit as well. (shrink)
The subject of this essay is political, and therefore social, philosophy; and therefore, ethics. We want to know whether the right thing for a society to do is to incorporate in its structure requirements that we bring about equality, or liberty, or both if they are compatible, and if incompatible then which if either, or what sort of mix if they can to some degree be mixed. But this fairly succinct statement of the issue before us requires considerable clarification, even (...) as a statment of the issue. For it is widely, and in my view correctly, held that some sort of equality is utterly fundamental in these matters. We seek a principle, or principles, that apply to all, are the same for all. In that sense, certainly, equality is fundamental and inescapable. But this is a very thin sort of “equality.” It will almost equally widely be agreed that the principles in question should in some more interesting sense “treat” people equally, e.g., by allotting to all the same set of rights, and moreover, rights that are – again we have to say “in some sense” – nonarbitrary, so that whatever they are, persons of all races, sexes, and so on will have the same fundamental rights assigned to them. Taking this to be, again, essentially uncontroversial, though not without potentially worrisome points of unclarity, it needs, now, to be pointed out that this characterization does not settle the issue that this essay is concerned with. That issue is about economic matters in particular. (shrink)
Jan Sprenger and Stephan Hartmann offer a fresh approach to central topics in philosophy of science, including causation, explanation, evidence, and scientific models. Their Bayesian approach uses the concept of degrees of belief to explain and to elucidate manifold aspects of scientific reasoning.
Modern societies are characterized by a division of epistemic labor between laypeople and epistemic authorities. Authorities are often far more competent than laypeople and can thus, ideally, inform their beliefs. But how should laypeople rationally respond to an authority’s beliefs if they already have beliefs and reasons of their own concerning some subject matter? According to the standard view, the beliefs of epistemic authorities are just further, albeit weighty, pieces of evidence. In contrast, the Preemption View claims that, when one (...) discovers what an authority believes, it is not permissible to rely on any of one’s own reasons concerning the subject matter. The original version of this view, as proposed by Linda Zagzebski, has recently been severely criticized for recommending blind trust and for abandoning even minimal standards for critical thinking. In our paper, we defend a new version of the Preemption View—Defeatist Preemptionism—in a way that differs radically from Zagzebski’s. We argue that our view can be derived from certain widely accepted general epistemic principles. In particular, we claim that preemption can be identified as a special case of source sensitive defeat. Moreover, we argue that Defeatist Preemptionism does not lead to the undesirable consequences that critics ascribe to the Preemption View. The paper thus articulates the foundations and refinements of the Preemption View, such that it adequately captures the phenomenon of epistemic authority and the rational requirements related to it. (shrink)
The central role of gestural language in Buddhism is widely acknowledged, as in the story of the Buddha pointing at the moon, the point being the student’s seeing beyond the finger to its gesture. Gesture’s role in dance is similarly central, as noted by scholars in the emerging interdisciplinary field of dance studies. Unsurprisingly, then, the intersection of these two fields is well-populated, including the formal gestures Buddhism inherited from classical Indian dance, and the masked dance of the Mani Rimdu (...) Festival. In this investigation, I will articulate a new Buddhist philosophy of gestural language, based on a new conception of emptiness that I locate in the work of contemporary U.S. choreographer Deborah Hay, as influenced by Nāgārjuna and Zen. And this, finally, suggests that contemporary Western philosophy should incorporate this compassion as a normative dimension to its own theorizing and practice. (shrink)
History begins inseparably with the birth of the polis and of philosophy. Both represent a unity in strife. History is life that no longer takes itself for granted. To speak, then, of the meaning of history is not to tell a story with a projected happy or unhappy ending, as Western civilization has hoped, at least since the French Revolution. History's meaning is the meaning of the struggle in which being both reveals and conceals itself. Technological society represents both the (...) triumph of historicity and its implosion, since here humans turn from reaching for the sacrum imperium - life lived in the perspective of truth and justice - to the mundane satisfaction of mundane needs, to life lived for the sake of catering to life. (shrink)