A common objection to paternalism concerns its expressive content. Many reject paternalistic policies and actions on the ground that they arguably involve insulting expressions of disrespect toward those subjected to them. The paper challenges this view. It argues that refraining from acting paternalistically can be disrespectful. Specifically, the paper argues that there is a relevant way in which A disregards the moral worth of B if A stands idly by when B is about to act very imprudently. If true, treating (...) others with equal respect and concern, as relational egalitarians and others rightly ask us to do, will somewhat surprisingly sometimes involve treating them paternalistically. (shrink)
Euler ’s wave theory of light developed from a mere description of this notion based on an analogy between sound and light to a more and more mathematical elaboration on that notion. He was very successful in predicting the shape of achromatic lenses based on a new dispersion law that we now know is wrong. Most of his mathematical arguments were, however, guesswork without any solid physical reasoning. Guesswork is not always a bad thing in physics if it leads to (...) new experiments or makes the theory coherent with other theories. And Euler tried to find such experiments. He saw the construction of achromatic lenses, the explanation of colors of thin plates and of the opaque bodies as proof of his theory. When it came to the fundamental issues, the correctness of his dispersion law and the prediction of frequencies of light he was not at all successful. His wave theory degenerated, and it was not until Augustin Fresnel introduced transverse waves and an elaborate notion of interference that the wave theory again progressed. (shrink)
Opponents of paternalism have sought to formulate non-paternalistic arguments for some seemingly reasonable but apparently paternalistic policies. This article addresses two such non-paternalistic arguments—the public charge argument and the psychic harm argument. The gist of both arguments is that a person’s imprudent or risky behavior often affects the interests of others adversely, and that this justifies restricting his or her behavior in various ways. The article shows that both arguments face important problems. It thus throws serious doubt on the prospect (...) of holding on to apparently sound and well-founded policies whilst at the same time avoiding paternalism. (shrink)
Historians of science have proposed many theories to explain why Copernicus rejected the Ptolemaic system and advanced his own heliocentric system. In support of his new cosmological system Copernicus always employed theoretical considerations and never the existence of discrepancies between the positions given in the Tables and those observed. It is shown that the general acceptance of the heliocentric system through the work of the astronomers resulted not so much from empirical considerations but rather from the fact that this system (...) was suited to a comprehensive, general dynamics. (shrink)
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, his main work of theoretical philosophy, frequently uses metaphors from law. In this first book-length study in English of Kant's legal metaphors and their role in the first Critique, Sofie Møller shows that they are central to Kant's account of reason. Through an analysis of the legal metaphors in their entirety, she demonstrates that Kant conceives of reason as having a structure mirroring that of a legal system in a natural right framework. Her study shows (...) that Kant's aim is to make cognisers become similar to authorized judges within such a system, by proving the legitimacy of the laws and the conditions under which valid judgments can be pronounced. These elements consolidate her conclusion that reason's systematicity is legal systematicity. (shrink)
In this article I assess the Invariance Principle, which states that only quantities that are invariant under the symmetries of our theories are physically real. I argue, contrary to current orthodoxy, that the variance of a quantity under a theory’s symmetries is not a sufficient basis for interpreting that theory as being uncommitted to the reality of that quantity. Rather, I argue, the variance of a quantity under symmetries only ever serves as a motivation to refrain from any commitment to (...) the quantity in question. (shrink)
There exists a common view that for theories related by a ‘duality’, dual models typically may be taken ab initio to represent the same physical state of affairs, i.e. to correspond to the same possible world. We question this view, by drawing a parallel with the distinction between ‘interpretational’ and ‘motivational’ approaches to symmetries.
We have no patterns for relating across our human differences as equals.Advocating the mere tolerance of difference between women is the grossest reformism.... Differences must be not merely tolerated, but seen as a fund of necessary polarities.... Audre Lorde.
Sociobiology has ignored the results of psychology, which is the discipline between biology and society. Campbell's target article fills some of the gaps beautifully, but the fact that women's direct and physical aggression has increased during the past 20 years, undermines Campbell's evolutionary explanation of female aggression. The two classical types of theoretical explanations of aggression are that (1) aggression is a drive and (2) aggression is instrumental behavior. Expressive aggression, assumed to be typical of women, is no more drive (...) aggression than is men's aggression. (shrink)
The concept ‘hereditary breast cancer’ is commonly used to delineate a group of people genetically at risk for breast cancer—all of whom also having risk for other cancers. People carrying pathogenic variants of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are often referred to as those having predisposition for ‘hereditary breast cancer’. The two genes, however, are when altered, associated with different risks for and dying from breast cancer. The main risk for dying for carriers of both genes is from ovarian cancer. (...) These biological facts are of philosophical interest, because they are the facts underlying the public debate on BRCA1/2 genetic testing as a model for the discussion of how to implement genetic knowledge and technologies in personalized medicine. A contribution to this public debate describing inherited breast cancer as ‘biological citizenship’ recently printed in Med Health Care and Philos illustrated how fragmented and detached from the biological and socio-political facts this debate sometimes is. We here briefly summarize some of the biological facts and how they are implemented in today’s healthcare based on agreed philosophical, ethical and moral principles. The suggestion of a ‘biological citizenship’ defined by hereditary breast cancer is incorrect and ill-advised. ‘Identity politics’ focusing hereditary breast cancer patients as a group based on a bundle of ill-defined negative arguments is well known, but is supported neither by scientific nor philosophical arguments. To those born with the genetic variants described, the philosophical rule of not doing harm is violated by unbalanced negative arguments. (shrink)
This article explores yet another paradox – aside from the privacy paradox – related to the datafication of media: citizens trust least the media they use most It investigates the role that daily life plays in shaping the trust that citizens place in datafied media. The study reveals five sets of heuristics guiding the trust assessments of citizens: characteristics of media organisations, old media standards, context of use and purpose, experiences of datafication and understandings of datafication. The article discusses the (...) use of these heuristics and the value that everyday life holds in assessing trust in datafied media. It concludes that, guided by a partial ‘structure of perception’ and enticed into trusting datafied media in the context of their daily lives, citizens may be highly concerned by the datafication of media but use them nevertheless. (shrink)
This essay has two aims: to affirm the significance of private banking in fourthcentury B.C. Athens, and to propose a model of its role in the economy. Such a project is desirable because there has been a tendency since the publication of Finley's The Ancient Economy to minimalize the significance of banking in ancient Greece. Banking is seen as a ‘fringe activity’ largely carried out by such ‘outsiders’ as metics and ex-slaves.Consequently historians have frequently overlooked the value of banking as (...) a tool for understanding the Greek economy. (shrink)
Data-intensive science comes with increased risks concerning quality and reliability of data, and while trust in science has traditionally been framed as a matter of scientists being expected to adhere to certain technical and moral norms for behaviour, emerging discourses of open science present openness and transparency as substitutes for established trust mechanisms. By ensuring access to all available information, quality becomes a matter of informed judgement by the users, and trust no longer seems necessary. This strategy does not, however, (...) take into consideration the networks of professionals already enabling data-intensive science by providing high-quality data. In the life sciences, biological data- and knowledge bases managed by expert biocurators have become crucial for data-intensive research. In this paper, I will use the case of biocurators to argue that openness and transparency will not diminish the need for trust in data-intensive science. On the contrary, data-intensive science requires a reconfiguration of existing trust mechanisms in order to include those who take care of and manage scientific data after its production. (shrink)
In Kant’s Politics in Context, Reidar Maliks offers a compelling account of Kant’s political philosophy as part of a public debate on rights, citizenship, and revolution in the wake of the French Revolution. Maliks argues that Kant’s political thought was developed as a moderate middle ground between radical and conservative political interpretations of his moral philosophy. The book’s central thesis is that the key to understanding Kant’s legal and political thought lies in the public debate among Kant’s followers and that (...) in this debate we find the political challenges which Kant’s political philosophy is designed to solve. Kant’s Politics in Context raises crucial questions about how to understand political thinkers of the past and is proof that our understanding of the past will remain fragmented if we limit our studies to the great men of the established canon. (shrink)
This paper challenges the role individual autonomy has played in debates on moral neuroenhancement (MN). It shows how John Hyman’s analysis of agency as consisting of functionally integrated dimensions allows us to reassess the impact of MN on practical agency. I discuss how MN affects what Hyman terms the four dimensions of agency: psychological, ethical, intellectual, and physical. Once we separate the different dimensions of agency, it becomes clear that many authors in the debate conflate the different dimensions in the (...) concept they call ‘autonomous agents’. They contend that, for example, reason-giving and previous autonomous acts are relevant to agency as such, when in fact they capture only one aspect of functionally integrated agency. This paper reconsiders MN in light of the functional integration of reason and emotions in practical agency. To illustrate the impact of MN on different aspects of agency, I consider examples from legal practice, which show that autonomy cannot be our sole focus when evaluating the moral implications of MN. (shrink)