In this paper, I explore Martin Heidegger’s and Herbert Marcuse’s critiques of technology, and their suggestions on how to neutralise the negative effects of technology, in order to articulate a potential path to an authentic, unalienated life. Martin Heidegger’s view of technology and its negative effects are first explored before presenting Marcuse’s critique of Heidegger. The dissimilarities between Heidegger’s ‘Gestell’ and Marcuse’s ‘Technological Rationality’ are then explored, before then examining the differences between Heidegger’s and Marcuse’s ideas of how one may (...) overcome the alienating impact of technology. Favouring Marcuse’s suggestions, Hans Jonas’ work on technological ethics is then posited as a necessary guide for Marcuse’s vision of a post-alienated existence. I conclude that the continued appropriation and integration of Heideggerian thought into critiques of technology could be valuable for the field, especially when answering questions concerning individual authenticity in the context of rapid technological progress and ecological decline. (shrink)
This paper addresses the problem of reflexivity in modern social inquiry in general and in sociology in particular. This problem is inherited from Weber''s very conception of sociology, is transformed by phenomenology and ethnomethodology, deepened by the linguistic turn of hermeneutics and Wittgenstein''s later philosophy, and has been the central concern of the work of Alan Blum and Peter McHugh. The issues and spectres raised by reflexivity are methodological arbitrariness, the need to take responsibility for one''s own talk (and the (...) cultural assumptions embedded in talk) and, finally, the deep fear of nihilism – the sense that with regard to inquiry (along with everything else in the world) nothing matters. As such, reflexivity raises the most fundamental issue that can be raised for modern social inquiry. Through an oriented interpretation of the work of Blum and McHugh and other contemporary social theorists (particularly Gadamer and Arendt), this paper works through what a dialectical engagement with these issues look like. (shrink)
This paper takes the passing of Peter McHugh as an occasion to examine the intellectual development of his work. The paper is mainly focused on the product of his collaboration with his colleague and friend, Alan Blum. As such, it addresses the tradition of social inquiry, Analysis, which they cofounded. It traces the influence of Harold Garfinkel’s Ethnomethodology on McHugh and on the beginning of Analysis. The collaboration with Blum is examined through a variety of coauthored works but most especially (...) in the two books On the Beginning of Social Inquiry (1974) and Self Reflection in the Arts and Sciences (1984). It also examines the relation of his independent writing before 1974, and since 1984 to the expression of the tradition of inquiry as exemplified in those two texts. The paper builds on some interview material with Peter McHugh and reflects on the influence of Peter the teacher as well as the theorist McHugh. Most especially, through its engagement with this material, it seeks to exemplify the dialectic and living nature of the program called Analysis. (shrink)
Tragedy is superior to comedy. This is the received view in much philosophical aesthetics, literary criticism and amongst many ordinary literary appreciators. The paper outlines three standard types of reasons given to underwrite the conceptual nature of the superiority claim, focusing on narrative structure, audience response and moral or human significance respectively. It sketches some possible inter-relations amongst the types of reasons given and raises various methodological worries about how the argument for tragedy’s superiority typically proceeds. The paper then outlines (...) a new normative account of a type of literary or dramatic comedy – ‘high comedy’ – which proves to be tragedy’s equal. High comedies, it will be argued, have complex narrative structures shaping audience responses underwriting the moral significance of the comic mode. The received view is unjustified and appreciating why this is so casts light on the nature and value of comedy. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that philosophy’s potential to influence technological change is impeded by the presence of two common and influential myths surrounding technology—the myth of progress and the myth of technological determinism. Such myths, I suggest, hinder philosophy’s influence by presenting a distorted image of technology—respectively, as an unqualified good, and as an entity with its own autonomous logic. Steven Pinker and Martin Heidegger are selected as influential advocates for progress and technological determinism respectively, and their work is (...) explored in turn. The work of John Gray and of Herbert Marcuse is then employed to demythologise technology by articulating an alternative image of technology that is not just more accurate, but also more conducive to philosophical influence. Finally, the work of Hans Jonas and Luciano Floridi is used to ground the conclusion that, should philosophy wish to influence technological change, an effective method of doing so could be the articulation of ethical maxims and the supervision of their translation into a real world setting. (shrink)
BackgroundBiobanks are considered to be key infrastructures for research development and have generated a lot of debate about their ethical, legal and social implications. While the focus has been on human genomic research, rapid advances in human microbiome research further complicate the debate.DiscussionWe draw on two cystic fibrosis biobanks in Toronto, Canada, to illustrate our points. The biobanks have been established to facilitate sample and data sharing for research into the link between disease progression and microbial dynamics in the lungs (...) of pediatric and adult patients. We begin by providing an overview of some of the ELSI associated with human microbiome research, particularly on the implications for the broader society. We then discuss ethical considerations regarding the identifiability of samples biobanked for human microbiome research, and examine the issue of return of results and incidental findings. We argue that, for the purposes of research ethics oversight, human microbiome research samples should be treated with the same privacy considerations as human tissues samples. We also suggest that returning individual microbiome-related findings could provide a powerful clinical tool for care management, but highlight the need for a more grounded understanding of contextual factors that may be unique to human microbiome research.ConclusionsWe revisit the ELSI of biobanking and consider the impact that human microbiome research might have. Our discussion focuses on identifiability of human microbiome research samples, and return of research results and incidental findings for clinical management. (shrink)
Presents a plethora of approaches to developing human potential in areas not conventionally addressed. Organized in two parts, this international collection of essays provides viable educational alternatives to those currently holding sway in an era of high-stakes accountability.
Public participation is increasingly an aspect of policy development in many areas, and the governance of biomedical research is no exception. There are good reasons for this: biomedical research relies on public funding; it relies on biological samples and information from large numbers of patients and healthy individuals; and the outcomes of biomedical research are dramatically and irrevocably changing our society. There is thus arguably a democratic imperative for including public values in strategic decisions about the governance of biomedical research. (...) However, it is not immediately clear how this might best be achieved. While different approaches have been proposed and trialled, we focus here on the use of public deliberation as a mechanism to develop input for policy on biomedical research. We begin by explaining the rationale for conducting public deliberation in biomedical research. We focus, in particular, on the ELS (ethical, legal, social) aspects of human tissue biobanking. The last few years have seen the development of methods for conducting public deliberation on these issues in several jurisdictions, for the purpose of incorporating lay public voices in biobanking policy. We explain the theoretical foundation underlying the notion of deliberation, and outline the main lessons and capacities that have been developed in the area of conducting public deliberation on biobanks. We next provide an analysis of the theoretical and practical challenges that we feel still need to be addressed for the use of public deliberation to guide ethical norms and governance of biomedical research. We examine the issues of: (i) linking the outcomes of deliberation to tangible action; (ii) the mandate under which a deliberation is conducted; (iii) the relative weight that should be accorded to a public deliberative forum vs other relevant voices; (iv) evaluating the quality of deliberation; and (5) the problem of scalability of minipublics. (shrink)
This book provides a significant contribution to scholarship on the psychology of science and the psychology of technology by showcasing a range of theory and research distinguished as psychological studies of science and technology. Science and technology are central to almost all domains of human activity, for which reason they are the focus of subdisciplines such as philosophy of science, philosophy of technology, sociology of knowledge, and history of science and technology. To date, psychology has been marginal in this space (...) and limited to relatively narrow epistemological orientations. By explicitly embracing pluralism and an international approach, this book offers new perspectives and directions for psychological contributions. The book brings together leading theorists and researchers from around the world and spans scholarship across a variety of traditions that include theoretical psychology, critical psychology, feminist psychology and social constructionist approaches. Following a historical and conceptual introduction, the collection is divided into three sections: Scoping a New Psychology of Science and Technology, Applying Psychological Concepts to the Study of Science and Technology and Critical Perspectives on Psychology as a Science. The book will interest interdisciplinary scholars who work in the space of Science and Technology Studies and psychologists interested in the diverse human aspects of science and technology. (shrink)
In the first part of Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit argues that common‐sense morality, or M, is self‐defeating, so that it must be rejected or revised. I defend M. We can rebut Parfit’s argument if we make an assumption about the moral importance of doing what is morally right. We need to assume that this end has sufficient weight in M.
It is argued that instrumentalizing the value of art does an injustice to artistic appreciation and provides a hostage to fortune. Whilst aestheticism offers an intellectual bulwark against such an approach, it focuses on what is distinctive of art at the expense of broader artistic values. It is argued that artistic appreciation and creativity involve not just skills but excellences of character. The nature of particular artistic or appreciative virtues and vices are briefly explored, such as snobbery, aestheticism and creativity, (...) in order to motivate a virtue theoretic approach. Artistic virtues are intrinsically valuable excellences of character that enable us to create or appreciate all sorts of things from everyday recipes to the finest achievements of humankind. Such an approach offers a new way to resist the age old temptation to instrumentalize the values of art. (shrink)
From Plato through Aquinas to Kant and beyond beauty has traditionally been considered the paradigmatic aesthetic quality. Thus, quite naturally following Socrates' strategy in The Meno, we are tempted to generalize from our analysis of the nature and value of beauty, a particular aesthetic value, to an account of aesthetic value generally. When we look at that which is beautiful, the object gives rise to a certain kind of pleasure within us. Thus aesthetic value is characterized in terms of that (...) which affords us pleasure. Of course, the relation cannot be merely instrumental. Many activities may lead to consequent pleasures that we would not consider to be aesthetic in any way. For example, playing tennis, going swimming or finishing a book. (shrink)
Modern philosophy has been vexed by the question "Why should I be moral?" and by doubts about the rational authority of moral virtue. In Reasons without Rationalism, Kieran Setiya shows that these doubts rest on a mistake. The "should" of practical reason cannot be understood apart from the virtues of character, including such moral virtues as justice and benevolence, and the considerations to which the virtues make one sensitive thereby count as reasons to act. Proposing a new framework for (...) debates about practical reason, Setiya argues that the only alternative to this "virtue theory" is a form of ethical rationalism in which reasons derive from the nature of intentional action. Despite its recent popularity, however, ethical rationalism is false. It wrongly assumes that we act "under the guise of the good," or it relies on dubious views about intention and motivation. It follows from the failure of rationalism that the virtue theory is true: we cannot be fully good without the perfection of practical reason, or have that perfection without being good. Addressing such topics as the psychology of virtue and the explanation of action, Reasons without Rationalism is essential reading for philosophers interested in ethics, rationality, or the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Can we have objective knowledge of right and wrong, of how we should live and what there is reason to do? Can it be anything but luck when our moral beliefs are true? Kieran Setiya confronts these questions in their most compelling and articulate forms, and argues that if there is objective ethical knowledge, human nature is its source.
This chapter argues that people have a human right to immigrate to other states. People have essential interests in being able to make important personal decisions and engage in politics without state restrictions on the options available to them. It is these interests that other human rights, such as the human rights to internal freedom of movement, expression and association, protect. The human right to immigrate is not absolute. Like other human freedom rights , it can be restricted in certain (...) extreme circumstances. Outside these circumstances, however, immigration restrictions are unjust. Having presented the argument for a human right to immigrate, the chapter responds to objections from distributive justice, culture and scarcity. (shrink)
Reasons without Rationalism has two related parts, devoted to action theory and ethics, respectively. In the second part, I argue for a close connection between reasons for action and virtues of character. This connection is mediated by the idea of good practical thought and the disposition to engage in it. The argument relies on the following principle, which is intended as common ground: " Reasons: The fact that p is a reason for A to ϕ just in case A has (...) a collection of psychological states, C, such that the disposition to be moved to ϕ by C-and-the-belief-that- p is a good disposition of practical thought, and C contains no false beliefs."In effect, reasons are premises for episodes of sound practical thinking whose other conditions already …. (shrink)
This article considers one seemingly compelling justification for immigration restrictions: that they help restrict the brain drain of skilled workers from poor states. For some poor states, brain drain is a severe problem, sapping their ability to provide basic services. Yet this article finds that justifying immigration restrictions on brain drain grounds is far from straightforward. For restrictions to be justified, a series of demanding conditions must be fulfilled. Brain drain does provide a successful argument for some immigration restrictions, but (...) it is an argument that fails to justify restrictions beyond a small minority of cases. (shrink)
Argues that we know without observation or inference at least some of what we are doing intentionally and that this possibility must be explained in terms of knowledge-how. It is a consequence of the argument that knowing how to do something cannot be identified with knowledge of a proposition.
Argues for a "cognitivist" account of the instrumental principle, on which it is the application of theoretical reason to the beliefs that figure in our intentions. This doctrine is put to work in solving a puzzle about instrumental reason that plagues alternative views.
Because the poorest people tend to die from easily preventable diseases, addressing poverty is a relatively cheap way to save lives. War, by contrast, is extremely expensive. This article argues that, since states that wage war could alleviate poverty instead, poverty can render war unjust. Two just war theory conditions prove relevant: proportionality and last resort. Proportionality requires that war does not yield excessive costs in relation to the benefits. Standardly, just war theorists count only the direct costs: the death (...) and destruction wrought by war. This article argues that it can sometimes be appropriate to add the opportunity costs of a failure to alleviate poverty. Last resort is the condition that there must be no better alternative means of achieving the same just end for which the war is waged. This article argues that there are some cases in which alleviating poverty may constitute a better alternative. These are cases in which the most fitting description of the just end for war is sufficiently general that poverty alleviation offers a means to pursue it. The idea that poverty can sometimes render war unjust has, to date, been largely overlooked. It is, nevertheless, an idea with profound implications since, once taken seriously, war becomes much harder to justify. Wars that, in every other respect, seem just may prove disproportionate or unnecessary given the alternative of alleviating poverty. (shrink)
Kieran Cronin aims in this book to show how a Christian perspective may have something fruitful to contribute to the language of rights. In so doing, he examines some of the complexities involved in using this language, drawing from literature in moral philosophy and jurisprudence in the process. The novelty of his approach lies in the attempt to distinguish two complimentary aspects within metaethics, aspects which the author calls the 'discursive' and the 'imaginative'. Cronin regards the use of models (...) (which are extended metaphors) as providing a bridge between these two aspects, and the imaginative metaethics which emerges is seen to be rich in possibilities for both secular and Christian understandings of rights-talk. (shrink)
This essay develops a theory of representation that confirms realism – an objective dependent on establishing that reality is autonomous of representation. I argue that the autonomy of reality is not incompatible with epistemic access and that an adequate account of representation is capable of satisfying both criteria. Pursuit of this argument brings the work of C. S. Peirce and Roy Bhaskar together. Peirce’s doctrine of semiotics is essentially a realist theory of representation and is thus relevant to the project (...) of critical realism. However, critical realism is also required to finesse Peirce’s intricate over-theorising. Although a complete treatment remains absent from Bhaskar’s writings, his philosophy, I discovered, incorporates an implicit theory of representation. Peirce can be employed to extract this theory and amplify it. The only way the problem of representation can be addressed adequately is to locate it in a realist framework. This, however, is contingent on re-conceiving representation as a process rather than an object. Such a ‘perspectival switch’ reconfirms the intentional structure of representation but also suggests that it be considered in teleological terms as an activity oriented to a trans-representational object. Representation finally emerges as a form of inquiry with the aim to make being accessible in its autonomy. (shrink)
Argues from the possibility of basic intentional action to a non-propositional theory of knowing how. The argument supports a broadly Anscombean conception of the will as a capacity for practical knowledge.
What are the ethical implications of global poverty for immigration policy? This article finds substantial evidence that migration is effective at reducing poverty. There is every indication that the adoption of a fairly open immigration policy by rich countries, coupled with selective use of immigration restrictions in cases of deleterious brain drain, could be of significant assistance to people living in poor countries. Empirically there is nothing wrong with using immigration policy to address poverty. The reason we have to reject (...) such an approach is not empirical but normative. People have human rights to stay in their home country and to migrate elsewhere. Counter poverty measures that require people to move or to stay are likely to violate these rights. Everyone should be free to migrate but no one should be forced to migrate. Using immigration policy to address global poverty, in place of alternatives, fails on both these counts. (shrink)
In this volume, Kieran McGroarty provides a philosophical commentary on a section of the Enneads written by the last great Neoplatonist thinker, Plotinus. The treatise is entitled "Concerning Well-Being" and was written at a late stage in Plotinus' life when he was suffering from an illness that was shortly to kill him. Its main concern is with the good man and how he should pursue the good life. The treatise is therefore central to our understanding of Plotinus' ethical theory, (...) and the commentary seeks to explicate and elucidate that theory. Plotinus' views on how one should live in order to fulfill oneself as a human being are as relevant now as they were in the third century AD. All Greek and Latin is translated, while short summaries introducing the content of each chapter help to make Plotinus' argument clear even to the non-specialist. (shrink)
Using as a springboard a three-way debate between theoretical physicist Lee Smolin, philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright and myself, I address in layman’s terms the issues of why we need a unified theory of the fundamental interactions and why, in my opinion, string and M-theory currently offer the best hope. The focus will be on responding more generally to the various criticisms. I also describe the diverse application of string/M-theory techniques to other branches of physics and mathematics which render the (...) whole enterprise worthwhile whether or not “a theory of everything” is forthcoming. (shrink)
Argues that there is no one it is irrational to love, that it is rational to act with partiality to those we love, and that the rationality of doing so is not conditional on love. It follows that Anscombe and Taurek are right: you are not required to save three instead of one, even when those you could save are perfect strangers.
Argues for a deflationary account of epistemic agency. We believe things for reasons and our beliefs change over time, but there is no further sense in which we are active in judgement, inference, or belief.
Creativity matters. We want people to be more creative and admire those who are. Yet creativity is deeply puzzling. Just what is it to be creative? Why is it valuable? Who or what can be creative and how? Creativity and Philosophy is an outstanding collection of specially commissioned chapters by leading philosophers who explore these problems and many more. It provides a comprehensive and creative picture of creativity, including the following themes: creativity as a virtue, imagination, epistemic virtue, moral virtue (...) and personal vice; creativity with and without value, the definition of creativity, creative failures and suffering; creativity in nature, divine creativity and human agency; naturalistic explanations of creativity and the extended mind; creativity in philosophy, mathematics and logic, and the role of heuristics; creativity in art, morality and politics; individual and group creativity. A major feature of the collection is that it explores creativity not only from the perspective of art and aesthetics, but also from a variety of philosophical disciplines, including epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophical psychology, philosophy of science, political philosophy and ethics. The volume is essential reading for anyone fascinated by creativity, whether their interests lie in philosophy, music, art and visual studies, literature, psychology, neuroscience, management or education, or they are simply intent on learning more about this vital human trait. (shrink)
Philosophical perplexity about intention begins with its appearance in three guises: intention for the future, as when I intend to complete this entry by the end of the month; the intention with which someone acts, as I am typing with the further intention of writing an introductory sentence; and intentional action, as in the fact that I am typing these words intentionally. As Elizabeth Anscombe wrote in a similar context, ‘it is implausible to say that the word is equivocal as (...) it occurs in these different cases’ and from the fact that ‘we are tempted to speak of “different senses” of a word which is clearly not equivocal, we may infer that we are pretty much in the dark about the character of the concept which it represents’ (Anscombe 1963, p. 1). (shrink)
Philosophical wisdom and practical advice for overcoming the problems of middle age How can you reconcile yourself with the lives you will never lead, with possibilities foreclosed, and with nostalgia for lost youth? How can you accept the failings of the past, the sense of futility in the tasks that consume the present, and the prospect of death that blights the future? In this self-help book with a difference, Kieran Setiya confronts the inevitable challenges of adulthood and middle age, (...) showing how philosophy can help you thrive. You will learn why missing out might be a good thing, how options are overrated, and when you should be glad you made a mistake. You will be introduced to philosophical consolations for mortality. And you will learn what it would mean to live in the present, how it could solve your midlife crisis, and why meditation helps. Ranging from Aristotle, Schopenhauer, and John Stuart Mill to Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir, as well as drawing on Setiya’s own experience, Midlife combines imaginative ideas, surprising insights, and practical advice. Writing with wisdom and wit, Setiya makes a wry but passionate case for philosophy as a guide to life. (shrink)
Argues that, in acting for a reason, one takes that reason to explain one's action, not to justify it: reasons for acting need not be seen "under the guise of the good". The argument turns on the need to explain the place of "practical knowledge" - knowing what one is doing - in intentional action. A revised and expanded version of this material appears in Part One of "Reasons without Rationalism" (Princeton, 2007).
Argues that it is not by inference from intention that I know what I am doing intentionally. Instead, the reverse is true: groundless knowledge of intention rests on the will as a capacity for non-perceptual, non-inferential knowledge of action. The argument adapts and clarifies considerations of "transparency" more familiar in connection with belief.
Argues that, while human beings may act "under the guise of the good," this is not true of rational agents, as such. Themes discussed along the way – extending the argument of "Reasons without Rationalism" (Princeton, 2007) – include: desires as appearances of the good, the intelligibility of vice, and the kind of essentialist claim that permits exceptions.
This article questions the use of immigration as a tool to counter global poverty. It argues that poor people have a human right to stay in their home state, which entitles them to receive development assistance without the necessity of migrating abroad. The article thus rejects a popular view in the philosophical literature on immigration which holds that rich states are free to choose between assisting poor people in their home states and admitting them as immigrants when fulfilling duties to (...) assist the global poor. Since the human right to stay is entailed by values that feature prominently in the philosophical debate on immigration, the article further contends that participants in that debate have particular reason to reject the popular ‘choice view’ and endorse the alternative position presented in the article. (shrink)
Argues that we cannot form beliefs at will without failure of attention or logical confusion. The explanation builds on Williams' argument in "Deciding to Believe," attempting to resolve some well-known difficulties. The paper ends with tentative doubts about the idea of judgement as intentional action.