Practical wisdom is the intellectual virtue that enables a person to make reliably good decisions about how, all-things-considered, to live. As such, it is a lofty and important ideal to strive for. It is precisely this loftiness and importance that gives rise to important questions about wisdom: Can real people develop it? If so, how? What is the nature of wisdom as it manifests itself in real people? I argue that we can make headway answering these questions by modeling wisdom (...) on expert skill. Presenting the main argument for this expert skill model of wisdom is the focus of this paper. More specifically, I’ll argue that wisdom is primarily the same kind of epistemic achievement as expert decision-making skill in areas such as firefighting. Acknowledging this helps us see that, and how, real people can develop wisdom. It also helps to resolve philosophical debates about the nature of wisdom. For example, philosophers, including those who think virtue should be modeled on skills, disagree about the extent to which wise people make decisions using intuitions or principled deliberation and reflection. The expert skill model resolves this debate by showing that wisdom includes substantial intuitive and deliberative and reflective abilities. (shrink)
In Beyond Blood Identities, Jason D. Hill presents a bold defense of a form of cosmopolitanism according to which only individual persons—not cultures, races, or ethic groups—are the bearers of rights and the possessors of an inviolable status worthy of respect.
In Beyond Blood Identities, Jason D. Hill presents a bold defense of a form of cosmopolitanism according to which only individual persons_not cultures, races, or ethic groups_are the bearers of rights and the possessors of an inviolable status worthy of respect.
In this highly original book, Jason Hill defends a strong form of moral cosmopolitanism and lays the groundwork for a new view of the self. To achieve a radical cosmopolitan identity, he argues it may be necessary to forget aspects of one's racial and ethnic socialization. The idea of forgetting where one came from demands that morally recreated persons disown parts or even all of their cultures if these cultures are oppressive or denigrate human life. Hill draws on existentialism, (...) developmental psychology, and his own experiences as a Caribbean immigrant to the United States to present a philosophy for the new millennium. (shrink)
Virtues, broadly understood as stable and robust dispositions for certain responses across morally relevant situations, have been a growing topic of interest in psychology. A central topic of discussion has been whether studies showing that situations can strongly influence our responses provide evidence against the existence of virtues (as a kind of stable and robust disposition). In this review, we examine reasons for thinking that the prevailing methods for examining situational influences are limited in their ability to test dispositional stability (...) and robustness; or, then, whether virtues exist. We make the case that these limitations can be addressed by aggregating repeated, cross-situational assessments of environmental, psychological and physiological variables within everyday life—a form of assessment often called ecological momentary assessment (EMA, or experience sampling). We, then, examine how advances in smartphone application (app) technology, and their mass adoption, make these mobile devices an unprecedented vehicle for EMA and, thus, the psychological study of virtue. We, additionally, examine how smartphones might be used for virtue development by promoting changes in thought and behavior within daily life; a technique often called ecological momentary intervention (EMI). While EMA/I have become widely employed since the 1980s for the purposes of understanding and promoting change amongst clinical populations, few EMA/I studies have been devoted to understanding or promoting virtues within non-clinical populations. Further, most EMA/I studies have relied on journaling, PDAs, phone calls and/or text messaging systems. We explore how smartphone app technology provides a means of making EMA a more robust psychological method, EMI a more robust way of promoting positive change, and, as a result, opens up new possibilities for studying and promoting virtues. (shrink)
This essay argues that an account of vocation that ties one’s work with divine calling stands counter to the biblical witness of calling in the New Testament. Rather than calling to a particular profession, the biblical account of calling is to a unique way of living that is to exemplify the followers of Christ. Therefore, the re-enchantment of medicine is not accomplished when one makes the practice itself sacred simply by imagining it as one’s divine calling. Rather, the sacredness of (...) medicine is rooted in the character of the physician whose daily decisions and patient interactions are the outcomes of virtues inculcated in worship, prayer, Bible study, and all other practices that mark the life of faith. Thus, the practitioner avoiding burnout asks not “Am I called to be a physician?” but “How as a physician in the daily practice of medicine might I exemplify my calling to Christ-likeness?”. (shrink)
One important aim of moral philosophy courses is to help students build the skills necessary to make their own well-reasoned decisions about moral issues. This includes the skill of determining when a particular moral reason provides a good answer to a moral question or not. Helping students think critically about religious reasons like “because God says so” and “because scripture explicitly says so” can be challenging because such lessons can be misperceived as coercive or anti-religious. I describe a framework for (...) teaching about religion and moral reasons that I have found overcomes these challenges while also building generalizable skill at analyzing and evaluating moral reasons. (shrink)
Objective: Compassion has been associated with eudaimonia and prosocial behavior, and has been regarded as a virtue, both historically and cross-culturally. However, the psychological study of compassion has been limited to laboratory settings and/or standard survey assessments. Here, we use an experience sampling method (ESM) to compare naturalistic assessments of compassion with standard assessments, and to examine compassion, its variability, and associations with eudaimonia and prosocial behavior. -/- Methods: Participants took a survey which included standard assessments of compassion and eudaimonia. (...) Then, over four days, they were repeatedly asked about their level of compassion, eudaimonia, and situational factors within the moments of daily life. Finally, prosocial behavior was tested using the Dual Gamble Task and an opportunity to donate task winnings. -/- Results: Analyses revealed within-person associations between ESM compassion and eudaimonia. ESM compassion also predicted eudaimonia at the next ESM time point. While not impervious to situational factors, considerable consistency was observed in ESM compassion in comparison with eudaimonia. Further, ESM compassion along with eudaimonia predicted donating behavior. Standard assessments did not. -/- Conclusion: Consistent with virtue theory, some individual’s reports displayed a probabilistic tendency toward compassion, and ESM compassion predicted ESM eudaimonia and prosocial behavior toward those in need. (shrink)
Introduction -- Moral reasoning from a cosmopolitan perspective : the problem of culture -- Culturalism and moral reasoning -- Towards a moral conceptual base of culture -- Cosmopolitanism : a definition and the question of tolerance -- Who owns culture : a moral cosmopolitan inquiry -- Culture-faith : the mystification of culture -- Culture-faith applied : cultural privacy and the ownership of native culture -- Counter arguments against applied culture faith : the right to cultural privacy -- Representation without authorization (...) -- Who has the right to speak for whom? -- Ethnocide or culture killings : is it so bad? -- Dismantling the tribes from within : modernization and the capabilities approach -- Moral culture is public culture : cosmopolitanism and culture warfare -- Sylvia Plath : daddy and the creation of moral culture -- Moral incommensurability and the clash of cultures -- The anatomy of anti-assimilationism and the logic of contagion -- The cult of death and the worship of ancestry : the genesis of group arcissism -- The psychopathology of tribalism : an exposé -- The tribalist as moral appropriator -- Symbolic ethnicity -- Ethnic vs. ethnic : the problem of definition -- Tribalism, untouchability, and human slime -- The art of symbolic necrophilia -- Imagistic and emblematic representations : tribal epistemology and the impossibility of knowing the other -- Moral masochism and Black identity : a tragic tale -- Jim in Africa -- Theorizing post humanity : radical inclusion, Jews as the chosen people, and the identity politics of St. Paul -- Laissez-faire existential engagement -- Post human in the flesh : Jews and the fragility of chosennes -- How God became a cosmopolitan -- The identity politics of St. Paul. (shrink)
This project is an attempt to frame and develop the questions: What is the relation between the economy, what Marx called the mode of production, and transformations of subjectivity and social relations? How is it possible to think these relations without reducing one to the other, or effacing one for the sake of the other? In short, how can we think the materiality of subjectivity? Several different discourses and lines of research provoke these questions. First, recent and not so recent (...) work within continental philosophy in relation to the "critique of the subject," argues for an investigation of the practices of knowledge, power, and desire productive of historically determinate forms of subjectivity. The second line of research includes a history of heterogeneous Marxist thinkers all of whom attempt to locate in Marx's texts a series of questions, largely unresolved, regarding the relations between production and power, politics and the economy, culture and materiality. To identify these two discourses as provocations, however, is not to suggest that what is at stake in this project is the simple adjudication, or settling of accounts, between Marxism and post-structuralism---a question which would only be of interest to a handful of academics. Rather the investigation into these two lines of research has as its framework a larger and somewhat inchoate series of questions regarding the contemporary socio-historical condition. These questions all begin from the intuition that contemporary society, what is called "post-industrial," "postmodern," or "information society," entails a fundamental transformation of the relations, or an accelerated breakdown of the divisions, between the spheres of the economy, culture, politics, and subjectivity. I argue that these questions, and the current juncture which they attempt to grasp, can be clarified through an articulation of the complex relation between the mode of production and the production of subjectivity; such an articulation takes the form of a genealogy of various critical junctures in the writing of Marx, the debates within western Marxism and critical theory, and contemporary continental philosophy. (shrink)
According to the Social Security Administration, 98% of minor children are eligible to receive survivors benefits if a working parent dies. However, the eligibility of children born, and even conceived, after a working parent dies is less clear. In recent years, the Social Security Administration has received more than 100 applications for survivors benefits filed on behalf of children conceived after a parent's death, and one such case, Astrue v. Capato, was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012. In (...) that case, whether the child is eligible to inherit under state intestacy law was accepted as a reasonable — and is a common — approach for determining eligibility for Social Security survivors benefits. The purpose of this study is to examine attitudes concerning access to Social Security survivors benefits in the context of various reproductive pathways and varying state intestacy laws. (shrink)
Most minor children are eligible for Social Security survivors benefits if a wage-earning parent dies, but eligibility of children not in utero at the time of death is more nuanced. The purpose of this study was to examine attitudes concerning access to Social Security survivors benefits in the context of posthumous reproduction. A probability sample of 540 Florida households responded to a multiple-segment factorial vignette designed to examine the effects of state intestacy laws and five reproductive pathways – normative, posthumous (...) birth, cryopreserved embryo, cryopreserved gametes, and posthumous gamete retrieval – on attitudes toward eligibility for the Social Security survivors benefits. Broad support was found for the survivors benefits following normative and posthumous birth pathways, but attitudes were decidedly less favorable when the child was not in utero at the time of parental death. In addition, in stark contrast to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Astrue v. Capato, the vast majority of respondents did not believe state intestacy laws should determine eligibility for Social Security survivors benefits. (shrink)
Teaching healthcare ethics at the doctoral level presents a particular challenge. Ethics is often taught to medical students, but rarely is medicine taught to graduate students in health care ethics. In this paper, Medicine for Ethicists [MfE] — a course taught both didactically and experientially — is described. Eight former MfE students were independently interviewed in a semi-structured, open-ended format regarding their experience in the experiential component of the course. Themes included concrete elements about the course, elements related to the (...) broader PhD student learning experience, and themes related to the students’ past and future career experiences. Findings are related to the educational philosophy of John Dewey and David Kolb’s experiential learning theory. Broader implications of this work are explored. (shrink)
In this paper, we examine whether relational mobility on a country level related to individuals’ tendencies to restrict their movement following the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic and following the issuance of stay-at-home orders in their country. We use data on geographic mobility, composed of records of geolocation information provided via mobile phones, to examine changes in geographic mobility at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We show that individuals in countries with higher RM tended to decrease their geographic (...) mobility more than those in countries with lower RM following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar results were found for wealth gross domestic product, but were independent of RM. These results suggest that individuals in countries with higher RM were more responsive to calls to reduce geographic mobility. (shrink)
We maintain that in many contexts promising to try is expressive of responsibility as a promiser. This morally significant application of promising to try speaks in favor of the view that responsible promisers favor evidentialism about promises. Contra Marušić, we contend that responsible promisers typically withdraw from promising to act, and instead promise to try, in circumstances where they recognize that there is a significant chance that they will not succeed.
Successful interactions between people are dependent on rapid recognition of social cues. We investigated whether head direction – a powerful social signal – is processed in the absence of conscious awareness. We used continuous flash interocular suppression to render stimuli invisible and compared the reaction time for face detection when faces were turned towards the viewer and turned slightly away. We found that faces turned towards the viewer break through suppression faster than faces that are turned away, regardless of eye (...) direction. Our results suggest that detection of a face with attention directed at the viewer occurs even in the absence of awareness of that face. While previous work has demonstrated that stimuli that signal threat are processed without awareness, our data suggest that the social relevance of a face, defined more broadly, is evaluated in the absence of awareness. (shrink)
A viatical settlement (or viatical) is a transaction in which an investor purchases the life insurance policy from a terminally ill person for a lump sum so that the investor can receive those benefits at the time of death. While there is an ongoing debate in the insurance and financial planning industry about viaticals, including the ethics of this practice, the focus has been predominantly on abuses in the course of buying and selling viaticals and less on the fundamental ethicality (...) of the economic idea behind viaticals. This paper offers a systematic ethical analysis of viaticals that leverages the distinction between the ethicality of an economic idea and the ethicality of economic reality to isolate and discuss the fundamental ethical problems of viaticals. By unpacking the evaluative content of our negative emotional reactions to viaticals, we show that, even under ideal circumstances, the economic idea of viaticals is, at its core, unethical. (shrink)
Literacy is an essential skill. Learning to read is a requirement for becoming a self-providing human being. However, while spoken language is acquired naturally with exposure to language without explicit instruction, reading and writing need to be taught explicitly. Decades of research have shown that well-structured teaching of phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and letter-to-sound mapping is crucial in building solid foundations for the acquisition of reading. During the COVID-19 pandemic, children worldwide did not have access to consistent and structured teaching (...) and are, as a consequence, predicted to be behind in the development of their reading skills. Subsequent evidence confirms this prediction. With the best evidence-based practice in mind, we developed an online version of a well-structured early literacy training program for 5-year-old children. This 2-week online Reading Camp program is designed for pre-K children. It incorporates critical components of the fundamental skills essential to learning to read and is taught online in an interactive, multi-sensory, and peer-learning environment. We measure the participants’ literacy skills and other related skills before and after participating in the online Reading Camp and compare the results to no-treatment controls. Results show that children who participated in the online Reading Camp improved significantly on all parameters in relation to controls. Our results demonstrate that a well-structured evidence-based reading instruction program, even if online and short-term, benefits 5-year-old children in learning to read. With the potential to scale up this online program, the evidence presented here, alongside previous evidence for the efficacy of the in-person program, indicates that the online Reading Camp program is effective and can be used to tackle a variety of questions regarding structural and functional plasticity in the early stages of reading acquisition. (shrink)