What is the nature of law and what is the best way to discover it? This book argues that law is best understood in terms of the social functions it performs wherever it is found in human society. In order to support this claim, law is explained as a kind of institution and as a kind of artefact. To say that it is an institution is to say that it is designed for creating and conferring special statuses to people so (...) as to alter their rights and responsibilities toward each other. To say that it is an artefact is to say that it is a tool of human creation that is designed to signal its usability to people who interact with it. This picture of law's nature is marshalled to critique theories of law that see it mainly as a product of reason or morality, understanding those theories via their conceptions of law's function. It is also used to argue against those legal positivists who see law's functions as relatively minor aspects of its nature. -/- This method of conceptualizing law's nature helps us to explain how the law, understood as social facts, can make normative demands upon us. It also recommends a methodology for understanding law that combines elements of conceptual analysis with empirical research for uncovering the purposes to which diverse peoples put their legal activities. (shrink)
Applying the analytical methods of modern logic to problems of interpretation in Plato, the author traces the development of Plato's analytic method from the crude form expressed in the Phaedo to the considerably more sophisticated and powerful techniques practiced in the later methodological dialogues.
The most influential theory of law in current analytic legal philosophy is legal positivism, which generally understands law to be a kind of institution. The most influential theory of institutions in current analytic social philosophy is that of John Searle. One would hope that the two theories are compatible, and in many ways they certainly are. But one incompatibility that still needs ironing out involves the relation of the social rule that undergirds the validity of any legal system (H.L.A. Hart's (...) rule of recognition) to Searle's notion of codification: the idea that institutions need official declarations of their constitutive rules in order to enjoy the full benefits of institutions. The incompatibility arises from the fact that, in order to do its institutional work, the basic validity rule must be codified in Searle's sense—yet, given the particular role it has in legal positivism, it may be impossible to codify in the Searlean sense. In this paper I develop the incompatibility in detail, consider and reject consigning the basic validity rule to Searle's “Background” capacities that support institutional facts, and conclude that the best route to eliminating it while doing a minimum of damage to the two theories is to make a slight emendation to Searle's theory of institutions. (shrink)
A practical and thought provoking introduction to the most important ethical issues in medicine today. Over 700 entries, from short essays to brief definitions of key terms and concepts, have been contributed by leading clinicians and medical ethicists.
Parmenides is generally recognized as Plato's most difficult dialogue. This work argues that the key to unlocking the puzzles of Parmenides II lies in the proper interpretive pairing of the eight hypotheses under which its arguments are grouped.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly becoming a popular business concept in developed economies. As typical of other business concepts, it is on its way to globalization through practices and structures of the globalized capitalist world order, typified in Multinational Corporations (MNCs). However, CSR often sits uncomfortably in this capitalist world order, as MNCs are often challenged by the global reach of their supply chains and the possible irresponsible practices inherent along these chains. The possibility of irresponsible practices puts global (...) firms under pressure to protect their brands even if it means assuming responsibilities for the practices of their suppliers. Pressure groups understand this burden on firms and try to take advantage of the situation. This article seeks to challenge the often taken-for-granted-assumption that firms should be accountable for the practices of their suppliers by espousing the moral (and sometimes legal) underpinnings of the concept of responsibility. Except where corporate control and or corporate grouping exist, it identifies the use of power as a critical factor to be considered in allocating responsibility in firm-supplier relationship; and suggests that the more powerful in this relationship has a responsibility to exert some moral influence on the weaker party. The article highlights the use of code of conducts, corporate culture, anti-pressure group campaigns, personnel training and value reorientation as possible sources of wielding positive moral influence along supply chains. (shrink)
This article responds to two unresolved and crucial problems of cognitive science: (1) What is actually accomplished by functions of the nervous system that we ordinarily describe in the intentional idiom? and (2) What makes the information processing involved in these functions semantic? It is argued that, contrary to the assumptions of many cognitive theorists, the computational approach does not provide coherent answers to these problems, and that a more promising start would be to fall back on mathematical communication theory (...) and, with the help of evolutionary biology and neurophysiology, to attempt a characterization of the adaptive processes involved in visual perception. Visual representations are explained as patterns of cortical activity that are enabled to focus on objects in the changing visual environment by constantly adjusting to maintain levels of mutual information between pattern and object that are adequate for continuing perceptual control. In these terms, the answer proposed to (1) is that the intentional functions of vision are those involved in the establishment and maintenance of such representations, and to (2) that semantic features are added to the information processes of vision with the focus on objects that these representations accomplish. The article concludes with proposals for extending this account of intentionality to the higher domains of conceptualization and reason, and with speculation about how semantic information-processing might be achieved in mechanical systems. (shrink)
At the beginning of his Metaphysics, Aristotle attributed several strange-sounding theses to Plato. Generations of Plato scholars have assumed that these could not be found in the dialogues. In heated arguments, they have debated the significance of these claims, some arguing that they constituted an 'unwritten teaching' and others maintaining that Aristotle was mistaken in attributing them to Plato. In a prior book-length study on Plato's late ontology, Kenneth M. Sayre demonstrated that, despite differences in terminology, these claims correspond (...) to themes developed by Plato in the Parmenides and the Philebus. In this book, he shows how this correspondence can be extended to key, but previously obscure, passages in the Statesman. He also examines the interpretative consequences for other sections of that dialogue, particularly those concerned with the practice of dialectical inquiry. (shrink)
This book, published in 1976, presents an entirely original approach to the subject of the mind-body problem, examining it in terms of the conceptual links between the physical sciences and the sciences of human behaviour. It is based on the cybernetic concepts of information and feedback and on the related concepts of thermodynamic and communication-theoretic entropy. The foundation of the approach is the theme of continuity between evolution, learning and human consciousness. The author defines life as a process of energy (...) exchange between organism and environment, and evolution as a feedback process maintaining equilibrium between environment and reproductive group. He demonstrates that closely related feedback processes on the levels of the behaving organism and of the organism’s nervous system constitute the phenomena of learning and consciousness respectively. He analyses language as an expedient for extending human information-processing and control capacities beyond those provided by one’s own nervous system, and shows reason to be a mode of processing information in the form of concepts removed from immediate stimulus control. The last chapter touches on colour vision, pleasure and pain, intentionality, self-awareness and other subjective phenomena. Of special interest to the communication theorist and philosopher, this study is also of interest to psychologists and anyone interested in the connection between the physical and life sciences. (shrink)
Business school faculty have begun to increase ethics instruction, but very little has been done to assess the effectiveness of this instruction. Curricula-wide studies present conflicting results of the effect of ethics integration into the business curricula. Several studies suggest that courses like business ethics and business and society might have an effect on the ethical awareness or ethical reasoning of business students. A belief of many individuals interested in business ethics is that students must be exposed to ethical awareness (...) and ethical reasoning in business ethics and business and society-type courses and this should be supplemented by discussions of these topics in various business courses such as Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and others.This study reports the results of integrating a unit of business ethics into eleven accounting classes at two universities. An approach for measuring the effect of ethics integration into accounting and other business courses is suggested, and an assessment is made of the impact of ethics integration on students in accounting classes. Results indicate that the principles on which students rely when making moral decisions were affected by ethics integration. After ethics integration, students relied more heavily on the disclosure rule, the golden rule, and the professional ethic. (shrink)
Abstract: We sometimes say our moral claims are "objectively true," or are "right, even if nobody believes it." These additional claims are often taken to be staking out metaethical positions, representative of a certain kind of theorizing about morality that "steps outside" the practice in order to comment on its status. Ronald Dworkin has argued that skepticism about these claims so understood is not tenable because it is impossible to step outside such practices. I show that externally skeptical metaethical theory (...) can withstand his attacks, thereby defending the possibility of this kind of metatheoretical method and showing that the additional objectivity claims still make sense as external claims. Four interpretations of the additional objectivity claims can still be understood externally: as secondary properties, as arguing for some form of causal correspondence, as explaining error, and under Blackburn's expressivism. In the end, Dworkin's argument can be turned against itself. (shrink)
I argue that there is methodological space for a functional explanation of the nature of law that does not commit the theorist to a view about the value of that function for society, nor whether law is the best means of accomplishing it. A functional explanation will nonetheless provide a conceptual framework for a better understanding of the nature of law. First I examine the proper role for function in a theory of law and then argue for the possibility of (...) a neutral functional theory, addressing issues raised by Leslie Green, Stephen Perry, Michael Moore and John Finnis. (shrink)
I argue that law is not best considered an essentially contested concept. After first explaining the notion of essential contestability and disaggregating the concept of law into several related concepts, I show that the most basic and general concept of law does not fit within the criteria generally offered for essential contestation. I then buttress this claim with the additional explanation that essential contestation is itself a framework for understanding complex concepts and therefore should only be applied when it is (...) useful to gain a greater understanding of uses of the concept to which it is applied (adducing criteria for making such judgments of usefulness). With that in mind, I then show that applying the appellation of essential contestation to the concept of law does not helpfully illuminate the most general concept of law (usually of most interest to legal philosophers) and therefore it should not be used, while allowing that it might be more useful for the related concept of the rule of law. (shrink)
Contesting much contemporary epistemology and cognitive science, noted philosopher Kenneth M. Sayre argues that, while some cognitive attitudes such as believing take propositions as objects, there are many others whose objects are instead states of affairs.
Just as recognition and pursuit of the human good take place in language and action, so too do they unfold in encounter with the material and visual. The ethical crises, projects, and striving we see in everyday religious life are worked out not just in the intersubjective play and politics of language but also in encounter with, in dwelling with, material and visual substances and forms. This essay considers the material conditions that make possible the “ethical pleasures” sought by Indonesian (...) painter A. D. Pirous in making and displaying contemporary works of “Islamic art,” most especially works that make “visual recitation” of passages from the Qur'an. (shrink)
I have argued that law is a genre of institutionalized abstract artifact, meaning that laws are purposive products of human creation designed to signal norms of behavior with respect to them. Its institutional nature is seen in the fact that it is a system of artificial statuses that convey deontic powers to status holders understood in their institutional roles. Following Searle in explaining institutions, however, is also to see the institution as the 'continuing possibility of a practice.' Hence there is (...) no tension in seeing law as both a practice and a genre of artifact. (shrink)
I examine the impact of the presence of anarchists among key legal officials upon the legal positivist theories of H.L.A. Hart and Joseph Raz. For purposes of this paper, an anarchist is one who believes that the law cannot successfully obligate or create reasons for action beyond prudential reasons, such as avoiding sanction. I show that both versions of positivism require key legal officials to endorse the law in some way, and that if a legal system can continue to exist (...) and function when its key officials reject the reason-giving character of law, then we have a reason to re-examine and amend legal positivism. (shrink)
The problem of semantic content is the problem of explicating those features of brain processes by virtue of which they may properly be thought to possess meaning or reference. This paper criticizes the account of semantic content associated with fodor's version of cognitive science, And offers an alternative account based on mathematical communication theory. Its key concept is that of a neuronal representation maintaining a high-Level of mutual information with a designated external state of affairs under changing conditions of perceptual (...) presentation. (shrink)
A model of causation is presented which shares the advantages of Reichenbach's definition in terms of the screening-off relation, but which has the added advantage of distinguishing cause and effect without reference to temporal directionality. This model is defined in terms of the masking relation, which in turn is defined in terms of the equivocation relation of communication theory.
If medical complicity is understood as compliance with a directive to act against the professional's best medical judgment, the question arises whether it can ever be justified. This paper will trace the contours of what would legitimate a directive to act against a professional's best medical judgment (and in possible contravention of her oath) using Joseph Raz's service conception of authority. The service conception is useful for basing the legitimacy of authoritative directives on the ability of the putative authority to (...) enable subjects to comply better with reasons that already apply to them. Hence, the service conception bases the legitimacy of practical authority on a certain kind of greater knowledge or expertise. This helps to focus the conundrum regarding complicity on the clash of expertise between the medical expert and the governing body tasked with coordinating behaviour and otherwise devising rules for the social good. The ethical dilemma presented by a hypothetically legitimate directive to act against a professional's best medical judgment also serves to highlight the moral dimension of one's duty to obey a legitimate authority. (shrink)
In his 1827 work Rationale of Judicial Evidence, Jeremy Bentham famously argued against exclusionary rules such as hearsay, preferring a policy of “universal admissibility” unless the declarant is easily available. Bentham’s claim that all relevant evidence should be considered with appropriate instructions to fact finders has been particularly influential among judges, culminating in the “principled approach” to hearsay in Canada articulated in R. v. Khelawon. Furthermore, many scholars attack Bentham’s argument only for ignoring the realities of juror bias, admitting universal (...) admissibility would be the best policy for an ideal jury. This article uses the theory of epistemic contextualism to justify the exclusion of otherwise relevant evidence, and even reliable hearsay, on the basis of preventing shifts in the epistemic context. Epistemic contextualism holds that the justification standards of knowledge attributions change according to the contexts in which the attributions are made. Hearsay and other kinds of information the assessment of which rely upon fact finders’ more common epistemic capabilities push the epistemic context of the trial toward one of more relaxed epistemic standards. The exclusion of hearsay helps to maintain a relatively high standards context hitched to the standard of proof for the case and to prevent shifts that threaten to try defendants with inconsistent standards. (shrink)
I argue that law is best understood as an institutionalized abstract artifact. Using the ideas of John Searle on institutions and Amie Thomasson on artifacts, I show how the law is capable of generating new reasons for action, arguing against recent work by David Enoch who holds that legal reason-giving is ultimately a form of triggering conditional reasons.
Scott Shapiro’s theory that law is a social plan is helpful in seeing law essentially as a tool of human creation and as such is sympathetic to understanding law in terms of the social functions it performs, a method I argue for elsewhere. I focus here on two problems with the theory as presented. The planning theory does not adequately explain the persistence of law beyond the utility of those who implement it. Generally, plans can cease to exist as soon (...) as those engaged in them have no more use for them. Laws however, must usually be declared invalid or otherwise nullified for them to have no further effect. Shapiro’s use of self-certification to explain how law is differentiated from other forms of social planning is ad hoc and threatens circularity when he admits it to be a matter of degree. Both of these issues can be better solved by seeing law as an institutionalised abstract artefact, with a greater emphasis upon the nature of institutions doing much of the work done by the idea of planning. (shrink)
Kenneth M. Sayre - Plato's Forms in Transition: A Reading of the Parmenides - Journal of the History of Philosophy 46:1 Journal of the History of Philosophy 46.1 169-170 Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents Kenneth M. Sayre University of Notre Dame Samuel C. Rickless. Plato's Forms in Transition: A Reading of the Parmenides. Cambridge-New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Pp. v + 272. Cloth, $90.00. Rickless construes Plato's middle-period account of the Forms as a theory comprising axioms, (...) auxiliary principles, fundamental theorems, and specific premises and conclusions constituting particular arguments. This book attempts to reconstruct that theory , to trace its further development and subsequent criticism in Parmenides 126a–35c.. (shrink)
Joseph Raz argues that legal authority includes a claim by the law to replace subjects’ contrary reasons. I reply that this cannot be squared with the existence of choice-of-evils defenses to criminal prosecutions, nor with the view that the law has gaps (which Raz shares). If the function of authority is to get individuals to comply better with reason than they would do if left to their own devices, it would not make sense for law to claim both to pre-empt (...) our contrary reasons and to leave open spaces or catch-all exceptions which we must use our own devices to fill. (shrink)
BackgroundThe widespread sharing of biological and biomedical data is recognised as a key element in facilitating translation of scientific discoveries into novel clinical applications and services. At the same time, twenty-first century states are increasingly concerned that this data could also be used for purposes of bioterrorism. There is thus a tension between the desire to promote the sharing of data, as encapsulated by the Open Data movement, and the desire to prevent this data from ‘falling into the wrong hands’ (...) as represented by ‘dual use’ policies. Both frameworks posit a moral duty for life sciences researchers with respect to how they should make their data available. However, Open data and dual use concerns are rarely discussed in concert and their implementation can present scientists with potentially conflicting ethical requirements.DiscussionBoth dual use and Open data policies frame scientific data and data dissemination in particular, though different, ways. As such they contain implicit models for how data is translated. Both approaches are limited by a focus on abstract conceptions of data and data sharing. This works to impede consensus-building between the two ethical frameworks. As an alternative, this paper proposes that an ethics of responsible management of scientific data should be based on a more nuanced understanding of the everyday data practices of life scientists. Responsibility for these ‘micromovements’ of data must consider the needs and duties of scientists as individuals and as collectively-organised groups.SummaryResearchers in the life sciences are faced with conflicting ethical responsibilities to share data as widely as possible, but prevent it being used for bioterrorist purposes. In order to reconcile the responsibilities posed by the Open Data and dual use frameworks, approaches should focus more on the everyday practices of laboratory scientists and less on abstract conceptions of data. (shrink)
Notions of procedural justice alone are sufficient to support evidentiary exclusions in a wide variety of legal and law-like institutions that focus on conflict resolution, including courts. Special attention is paid to the relevance and need for exclusion of parties’ own assessments of the value of their claims.