In Think, Issue 7, Brendan Larvor took the Archbishop of Canterbury to task for suggesting that atheism and humanism should not be taught in schools alongside the major faiths. Here, Brenda Watson defends the Archbishop's position.
Laurence Peddle's article ‘the Meaning and the Mystery of Life’ poses fascinating questions concerning the purpose or non-purpose of life and the interpretation of experience. My response questions his use of terms such as meaning, mystery and life-after-death, and his appeal to Hume on personal identity. Reason per se cannot take us all the way, nevertheless I enumerate reasons for caution in dismissing other people's self-understanding. The link between interpretation of experience and assumptions already held argues strongly for accepting the (...) limits to human knowledge, thus enabling an openness which avoids premature foreclosure whether atheistic or religious. (shrink)
Often we feel there is something odd about death, and especially about our own. This latter at least we often feel beyond our ken. Well, I think in a sense it may be; but in another, clearly is not. Among those who have felt this strangeness is Ramchandra Gandhi who, in an excellent recent work, The Availability of Religious Ideas , maintained – There is no difficulty in seeing that I cannot intelligibly conceive of my own death – the ceasing (...) to be, for good, of myself, my consciousness. I can conceive of temporary lapses into unconsciousness, always overcome by a return to consciousness. The difficulty is this: in asking myself the question 'What will it be like to be irreversibly unconscious?' , I want both to remain self-conscious and visualize actual loss of capacity for self-consciousness. This cannot be done. (shrink)
In a previous article, we projected the future accumulation of profiles belonging to deceased users on Facebook. We concluded that a minimum of 1.4 billion users will pass away before 2100 if Facebook ceases to attract new users as of 2018. If the network continues expanding at current rates, on the other hand, this number will exceed 4.9 billion. Although these findings provided an important first step, one network alone remains insufficient to establish a quantitative foundation for further macro-level analysis (...) of the phenomenon of online death. Facebook is but one social media platform among many, and hardly the most representative in terms of their policy on deceased users. In this study, we use the same methodology to develop a complementary analysis of projected mortality on Instagram. Our models indicate that somewhere between 767 million and 4.2 billion Instagram users will die between 2019 and 2100, depending on the network’s future growth rate. Although the number of deceased Instagram profiles will likely be fewer than those on Facebook, we argue that they are nonetheless part of a shared digital cultural heritage, and should hence be curated with careful consideration. (shrink)
Paul Kurtz's article ‘Morality is natural’ in THINK 15 was most stimulating. It left me, however, somewhat dissatisfied. Whilst he is clearly right that that there is a fund of moral wisdom that has been developed by humankind, I question whether distancing morality from religion is the important priority for us today.
This collection addresses whether ethicists, like authorities in other fields, can speak as experts in their subject matter. Though ethics consultation is a growing practice in medical contexts, there remain difficult questions about the role of ethicists in professional decision-making. Contributors examine the nature and plausibility of moral expertise, the relationship between character and expertise, the nature and limits of moral authority, how one might become a moral expert, and the trustworthiness of moral testimony. This volume engages with the growing (...) literature in these debates and offers new perspectives from both academics and practitioners. The readings will be of particular interest to bioethicists, clinicians, ethics committees, and students of social epistemology. These new essays promise to advance discussions in the professionalization and accreditation of ethics consultation. (shrink)
In arguing that autistic people are socially motivated, Jaswal & Akhtar miss the opportunity to puncture the notion that social motivation is a prerequisite for humanity. Instead, we contend that some autistic people may indeed find social interactions to be unmotivating and that this doesn't have to be seen as a problem.
A dozen papers by internationally known scholars explore questions largely unthinkable without Richard Watson's classic Downfall of Cartesianism: Descartes in Holland, Descartes and Simon Foucher, and issues raised by Descartes for philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, translation and toleration.
A school of idealism: meditatio laici, by J. Cappon.--Beati possidentes, by R. M. Wenley.--Moral validity: a study in Platonism, by R. C. Lodge.--Plato and the poet's eidōla, by A. S. Ferguson.--Some reflections on Aristotle's theory of tragedy, by G. S. Brett.--The function of the phantasm in St. Thomas Aquinas, by H. Carr.--The development of the psychology of Maine de Biran, by N. J. Symons.--A plea for eclecticism, by H. W. Wright.--Some present-day tendencies in philosophy, by J. M. MacEachran.--Evolution and personality, (...) J. G. Hume.--Emergent realism, by J. Muirhead.--Bibliography of publications by Dr. John Watson (p. 343-346). (shrink)
Mozi was an important political and social thinker and formidable rival of the Confucianists. He advocated universal love--his most important doctrine according to which all humankind should be loved and treated as one's kinfolk--honoring and making use of worthy men in government, and identifying with one's superior as a means of establishing uniform moral standards. He also believed in the will of Heaven and in ghosts. He firmly opposed offensive warfare, extravagance--including indulgence in music and allied pleasures--elaborate funerals and mourning, (...) fatalistic beliefs, and Confucianism. (shrink)
This book is a defense of political liberalism as a feminist liberalism. A novel and restrictive account of public reason is defended. Then it is argued that political liberalism's core commitments restrict reasonable conceptions of justice to those that secure genuine, substantive equality for women and other marginalized groups.
The landscape of contemporary epistemology has significantly diversified in the past 30 years, shaped in large part by two complementary movements: virtue and social epistemology. This diversification provides an apt theoretical context for the epistemology of education. No longer concerned exclusively with the formal analysis of knowledge, epistemologists have turned their attention towards individuals as knowers, and the social contexts in which epistemic goods such as knowledge and understanding are acquired and exchanged. As such, the concerns of epistemology have once (...) again aligned with questions lying at the heart of the philosophy of education regarding the nature, aims and practice of education. Employing the conceptual tools and frameworks of the contemporary field, these questions are addressed by both epistemologists and education theorists in the emerging epistemology of education literature. (shrink)
Pornography is everywhere, and it raises a host of difficult questions. What counts as pornography, first of all? When does material cross the line from being erotic to being objectionable? Where does a person's entitlement to sexual freedom end and another person's right not to feel objectified begin? How should rights be weighed against consequences in deciding what laws and policies ought to be adopted? Philosophers Andrew Altman and Lori Watson explore these and other issues in this succinct and (...) readable for-and-against volume. (shrink)
In this "for and against" book, ethicists Lori Watson and Jessica Flanigan debate the criminalization of sex work. Watson argues for a sex equality approach to prostitution in which buyers are criminalized and sellers are decriminalized, known as the Nordic Model. Flanigan argues that sex work should be fully decriminalized because decriminalization ensures respect for sex workers' and clients' rights, and is more effective than alternative policies.
The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal Test is one of the oldest, most frequently used, multiple-choice critical-thinking tests on the market in business, government, and legal settings for purposes of hiring and promotion. I demonstrate, however, that the test has serious construct-validity issues, stemming primarily from its ambiguous, unclear, misleading, and sometimes mysterious instructions, which have remained unaltered for decades. Erroneously scored items further diminish the test’s validity. As a result, having enhanced knowledge of formal and informal logic could well (...) result in test subjects receiving lower scores on the test. That’s not how things should work for a CT assessment test. (shrink)
Iranians responded to Quest and Extrinsic Religious Orientation Scales in order to assess their validity and factor structure within a Muslim context. A sample of 251 Iranian university students received Persian versions of these instruments along with Intrinsic Religious Orientation, Interpersonal Reactivity, Constructive inking, Need for Cognition, and Openness to Experience Scales. Analysis of these data revealed that the Quest Scale contained four factors and validly measured Iranian religious commitments. Extrinsic and Intrinsic Religious Orientation Scales also clarified the psychological implications (...) of religion in Iran. Extrinsic factors corresponded to American data; and as in previous Pakistani studies, Extrinsic-Personal scores were higher on average than those for the Intrinsic Orientation, which in turn was higher than the Extrinsic-Social motivation. These findings confirmed that the Quest and Intrinsic Scales along with the Extrinsic factors may be useful in the construction of a Muslim psychology of religion. (shrink)
Since the 1970s Gary Watson has published a series of brilliant and highly influential essays on human action, examining such questions as: in what ways are we free and not free, rational and irrational, responsible or not for what we do? Moral philosophers and philosophers of action will welcome this collection, representing one of the most important bodies of work in the field.
The modern abundance and prominence of data has led to the development of “data science” as a new field of enquiry, along with a body of epistemological reflections upon its foundations, methods, and consequences. This article provides a systematic analysis and critical review of significant open problems and debates in the epistemology of data science. We propose a partition of the epistemology of data science into the following five domains: (i) the constitution of data science; (ii) the kind of enquiry (...) that it identifies; (iii) the kinds of knowledge that data science generates; (iv) the nature and epistemological significance of “black box” problems; and (v) the relationship between data science and the philosophy of science more generally. (shrink)
Richard A. Watson’s proposal that rights inhere only in those who can perform duties is here objected to as being too intellectualistic. Instead, it is suggested that rights inhere in all those who participate in the process of becoming, as A. N. Whitehead proposed half a century ago. Ecological science lends new support to this view.
John Watson arrived at Queens University Kingston, Ontario, in 1872. In the Preface to the first volume of The Gifford Lectures, The Interpretation of Religious Experience, John Watson expresses his indebtedness to his former teacher, Dr. Edward Caird, and to Dr. F.H. Bradley: “…to those [works of Dr. Bradley and the late Dr. Edward Caird] I owe more than I can well estimate”. But he had previously qualified this debt as one of inspired doubt, not considered apprenticeship. “With (...) the Absolutism of Dr. Bradley, as I need hardly say, I have the greatest sympathy; but I do not think that it successfully avoids in all cases the vice of Spinozism — though, in insisting upon the idea of ‘degrees of reality’, it seems to me to come very clear to an abandonment of the abstract Absolutism elsewhere apparently contended for”. (shrink)