Laura Nader is a towering figure as anthropologist, teacher, and public intellectual. Her letters give a glimpse of academic life mostly unseen by academics and by the general public. The collection includes letters from academic colleagues, but it also contains correspondence from lawyers, politicians, citizens, people on death row, Peace Corps workers, members of the military, scientists, and more.
Many theists of a traditional bent have been bothered by the apparent tension between God's essential omnipotence and his essential moral goodness. Nelson Pike draws attention to the conflict between these two attributes in his article ‘Omnipotence and God's Ability to Sin’, and there have been many attempts to respond to it since that time. Most of these responses argue that the essential omnipotence and essential goodness of God are not logically incompatible, so that the traditional conception of God is (...) not incoherent; I think the arguments have been largely successful. However, some theists have found the typical responses to Pike less than convincing, and are tempted to surrender the claim that God has moral perfection essentially in favour of the more modest claim that God is morally perfect in the actual world though in some possible worlds God is morally defective. I argue in this paper that this fall-back position is incoherent. More accurately, I argue that a necessary being who is essentially omniscient and essentially omnipotent cannot be contingently morally perfect or contingently morally defective. Any such being is either essentially good or essentially evil. Since the latter alternative seems unattractive, I argue that theists should embrace the essential moral perfection of God. (shrink)
Philosophers of quantum mechanics have generally addressed exceedingly simple systems. Laura Ruetsche offers a much-needed study of the interpretation of more complicated systems, and an underexplored family of physical theories, such as quantum field theory and quantum statistical mechanics, showing why they repay philosophical attention. She guides those familiar with the philosophy of ordinary QM into the philosophy of 'QM infinity', by presenting accessible introductions to relevant technical notions and the foundational questions they frame--and then develops and defends answers (...) to some of those questions. Finally, Ruetsche highlights ties between the foundational investigation of QM infinity and philosophy more broadly construed, in particular by using the interpretive problems discussed to motivate new ways to think about the nature of physical possibility and the problem of scientific realism. (shrink)
In this comprehensive new study of human free agency, Laura Waddell Ekstrom critically surveys contemporary philosophical literature and provides a novel account of the conditions for free action. Ekstrom argues that incompatibilism concerning free will and causal determinism is true and thus the right account of the nature of free action must be indeterminist in nature. She examines a variety of libertarian approaches, ultimately defending an account relying on indeterministic causation among events and appealing to agent causation only in (...) a reducible sense. Written in an engaging style and incorporating recent scholarship, this study is critical reading for scholars and students interested in the topics of motivation, causation, responsibility, and freedom. In broadly covering the important positions of others along with its exposition of the author’s own view, Free Will provides both a significant scholarly contribution and a valuable text for courses in metaphysics and action theory. (shrink)
While various definitions of moral distress have been proposed, some agreement exists that it results from illegitimate constraints in clinical practice affecting healthcare professionals’ moral agency. If we are to reduce moral distress, instruments measuring it should provide relevant information about such illegitimate constraints. Unfortunately, existing instruments fail to do so. We discuss here several shortcomings of major instruments in use: their inability to determine whether reports of moral distress involve an accurate assessment of the requisite clinical and logistical facts (...) in play, whether the distress in question is aptly characterized as moral, and whether the moral distress reported is an appropriate target of elimination. Such failures seriously limit the ability of empirical work on moral distress to foster appropriate change. (shrink)
In this paper the exclusive focus on large firms in the field of business ethics is challenged. Some of the idiosyncrasies of small firms are explained, and links are made between these and potential ethical issues. A review of the existing literature on ethics in small firms demonstrates the lack of appropriate research, so that to date we can draw no firm conclusions in relation to ethics in the small firm. Recommendations are made as to the way forward for small (...) firm business ethics research. Questions for investigation are suggested using micro, meso and macro perspectives. Much exploratory work needs to be done to lay the groundwork for this important area of social and commercial research in the future. (shrink)
This article explores the relevance of ontological assumptions for justifications of agency and ethics. It critiques Kantian ethics for being based upon an ontological imaginary that starts from the substantialism of Newtonian physics. Substantialism shapes Western political philosophy’s view about who we are as subjects and how the world works. In this ontological imaginary, validation of ethics is based upon universality and abstractions. Furthermore, Kantian ethics underscores an anthropocentric and theocratic vision of how to govern societies. I argue Kantian criteria (...) are not only insufficient to make good choices but are also conducive to wrong ones, since they elicit self-appeasement in international intervention, and contribute to the conceptual repertoire of coloniality. I propose that an ontology of entanglements opens possibilities for overcoming the shortcomings of an ethos based upon abstractions and possibly for correcting some of its moral failures. In a quantum ontological imaginary, the validation of ethical choices relies instead upon the exploration of the apparatuses we deploy, as well as upon careful situational evaluation. Specific practices, rather than an abstract humanity, are the referents for devising such ethos. This position, I argue, resonates with the critical project of decoloniality and its acknowledgment of the political salience of ontological imaginaries. (shrink)
Deep brain stimulation is a well-accepted treatment for movement disorders and is currently explored as a treatment option for various neurological and psychiatric disorders. Several case studies suggest that DBS may, in some patients, influence mental states critical to personality to such an extent that it affects an individual’s personal identity, i.e. the experience of psychological continuity, of persisting through time as the same person. Without questioning the usefulness of DBS as a treatment option for various serious and treatment refractory (...) conditions, the potential of disruptions of psychological continuity raises a number of ethical and legal questions. An important question is that of legal responsibility if DBS induced changes in a patient’s personality result in damage caused by undesirable or even deviant behavior. Disruptions in psychological continuity can in some cases also have an effect on an individual’s mental competence. This capacity is necessary in order to obtain informed consent to start, continue or stop treatment, and it is therefore not only important from an ethical point of view but also has legal consequences. Taking the existing literature and the Dutch legal system as a starting point, the present paper discusses the implications of DBS induced disruptions in psychological continuity for a patient’s responsibility for action and competence of decision and raises a number of questions that need further research. (shrink)
This paper proposes a new relational account of concepts and shows how it is particularly well suited to characterizing normative concepts. The key advantage of our ‘connectedness’ model is that it explains how subjects can share the same normative concepts despite radical divergences in the descriptive or motivational commitments they associate with them. The connectedness model builds social and historical facts into the foundations of concept identity. This aspect of the model, we suggest, reshapes normative epistemology and provides new resources (...) for a vindication of realism in ethics. (shrink)
Bringing together Luce Irigaray's early psychoanalytically orientated writings with her more recent and more explicitly political writings, Irigaray and Politics weaves together the ontological, political and ethical dimensions of Irigaray's philosophy of sexuate difference in imaginative ways.
Anti-individualists claim that concepts are individuated with an eye to purely external facts about a subject's environment about which she may be ignorant or mistaken. This paper offers a novel reason for thinking that anti-individualistic concepts are an ineliminable part of commonsense psychology. Our commitment to anti-individualism, I argue, is ultimately grounded in a rational epistemic agent's commitment to refining her own representational practices in the light of new and surprising information about her environment. Since anti-individualism is an implicit part (...) of responsible epistemic practices, we cannot abandon it without compromising our own epistemic agency. The story I tell about the regulation of one's own representational practices yields a new account of the identity conditions for anti-individualistic concepts. (shrink)
Insights into the intelligence throughout the natural and technical environment, in the fabric of our devices and dwellings, in our clothes, and under our skin. Is there a way to understand the materials that surround us not as passive objects, but as other intelligences interacting with our own? In Parallel Minds, expert in materials science and nanotechnology Laura Tripaldi delivers not only detailed insights into the properties and emergent behaviors of matter as revealed by state-of-the-art chemistry, synthetic biology, and (...) nanotech, but also a rich philosophical reflection that crosses the frontier between nature and culture, where the most cutting-edge scientific syntheses resonate with ancient myth. The result is a technomaterial bestiary full of unexpected encounters with “strange minds”—from cobwebs to kevlar and carbon fibre, from centaurs to amoebas to arachnids, from polycephalic slime to resonating plasmons, from viruses to golems. Parallel Minds reveals the intelligence at large throughout the natural and technical environment, in the fabric of our devices and dwellings, in our clothes, and even under our skin. Full of lateral ideas and unexpected images, Tripaldi’s book imbues the study and synthesis of materials with a new urgency. For not only do the materials that surround us participate actively in the construction of the world in which we live, but harnessing their ability to interact intelligently with their environment could be the key to the future of our species. (shrink)
It's generally agreed that, for a certain a class of cases, a rational subject cannot be wrong in treating two elements of thought as co-referential. Even anti-individualists like Tyler Burge agree that empirical error is impossible in such cases. I argue that this immunity to empirical error is illusory and sketch a new anti-individualist approach to concepts that doesn't require such immunity.
Trust is a core feature of the physician-patient relationship, and risk is central to trust. Patients take risks when they trust their providers to care for them effectively and appropriately. Not all patients take these risks: some medical relationships are marked by mistrust and suspicion. Empirical evidence suggests that some patients and families of color in the United States may be more likely to mistrust their providers and to be suspicious of specific medical practices and institutions. Given both historical and (...) ongoing oppression and injustice in American medical institutions, such mistrust can be apt. Yet it can also frustrate patient care, leading to family and provider distress. In this paper, I propose one way that providers might work to reestablish trust by taking risks in signaling their own trustworthiness. This interpersonal step is not meant to replace efforts to remedy systemic injustice, but is an immediate measure for addressing mistrust in occurrent cases. (shrink)
Over the last decade, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been defined first as a concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and cleaner environment and, second, as a process by which companies manage their relationship␣with stakeholders (European Commission, 2001. Nowadays, CSR has become a priority issue on governments’ agendas. This has changed governments’ capacity to act and impact on social and environmental issues in their relationship with companies, but has also affected the framework in which CSR (...) public policies are designed: governments are incorporating multi-stakeholder strategies. This article analyzes the CSR public policies in European advanced democracies, and more specifically the EU-15 countries, and provides explanatory keys on how governments have understood, designed and implemented their CSR public policies. The analysis has entailed the classification of CSR public policies taking into consideration the actor to which the governments’ policies were addressed. This approach to the analysis of CSR public policies in the EU-15 countries leads us to observe coinciding lines of action among the different countries analyzed, which has enabled us to propose a ‹four ideal’ typology model for governmental action on CSR in Europe: Partnership, Business in the Community, Sustainability, and Citizenship, and Agora. The main contribution of this article is to propose an analytical framework to analyze CSR public policies, which provide a perspective on the relationships between governments, businesses, and civil society stakeholders, and enable us to incorporate the analysis of CSR public policies into a broader approach focused on social governance. (shrink)
The research presented in this paper focuses on business ethical values inChina, a country in which the process of institutional transformation has left cultural values in a state of flux. A survey was conducted in China and the U.S. by using five business scenarios. Survey results show similarities between the Chinese and American decision choices for three out of five scenarios. However, the results reveal significant differences in rationales, even forsimilar decisions. The implications of similarities and differences between the U.S. (...) and Chinese samples are discussed. (shrink)
The Victorian period in Britain was an “age of reform.” It is therefore not surprising that two of the era’s most eminent intellects described themselves as reformers. Both William Whewell and John Stuart Mill believed that by reforming philosophy—including the philosophy of science—they could effect social and political change. But their divergent visions of this societal transformation led to a sustained and spirited controversy that covered morality, politics, science, and economics. Situating their debate within the larger context of Victorian society (...) and its concerns, _Reforming Philosophy_ shows how two very different men captured the intellectual spirit of the day and engaged the attention of other scientists and philosophers, including the young Charles Darwin. Mill—philosopher, political economist, and Parliamentarian—remains a canonical author of Anglo-American philosophy, while Whewell—Anglican cleric, scientist, and educator—is now often overlooked, though in his day he was renowned as an authority on science. Placing their teachings in their proper intellectual, cultural, and argumentative spheres, Laura Snyder revises the standard views of these two important Victorian figures, showing that both men’s concerns remain relevant today. A philosophically and historically sensitive account of the engagement of the major protagonists of Victorian British philosophy, _Reforming Philosophy_ is the first book-length examination of the dispute between Mill and Whewell in its entirety. A rich and nuanced understanding of the intellectual spirit of Victorian Britain, it will be welcomed by philosophers and historians of science, scholars of Victorian studies, and students of the history of philosophy and political economy. (shrink)
Two central assumptions of current models of language acquisition were addressed in this study: (1) knowledge of linguistic structure is "mapped onto" earlier forms of non-linguistic knowledge; and (2) acquiring a language involves a continuous learning sequence from early gestural communication to linguistic expression. The acquisition of the first and second person pronouns ME and YOU was investigated in a longitudinal study of two deaf children of deaf parents learning American Sign Language (ASL) as a first language. Personal pronouns in (...) ASL are formed by pointing directly to the addressee (YOU) or self (I or ME), rather than by arbitrary symbols. Thus, personal pronouns in ASL resemble paralinguistic gestures that commonly accompany speech and are used prelinguistically by both hearing and deaf children beginning around 9 months. This provides a means for investigating the transition from prelinguistic gestural to linguistic expression when both gesture and language reside in the same modality.\nThe results indicate that deaf children acquired knowledge of personal pronouns over a period of time, displaying errors similar to those of hearing children despite the transparency of the pointing gestures. The children initially (ages 10 and 12 months) pointed to persons, objects, and locations. Both children then exhibited a long avoidance period, during which one function of the pointing gesture (pointing to self and others) dropped out completely. During this period their language and cognitive development were otherwise entirely normal, and they continued to use other types of pointing (e.g., to objects). When pointing to self and others returned, it was marked with errors typical of hearing children; one child exhibited consistent pronoun reversal errors, thinking the YOU point referred to herself, while the other child exhibited reversal errors inconsistently. Evidence from experimental tasks conducted with the first child revealed that pronoun errors occurred in comprehension as well. Full control of the ME and YOU pronouns was not achieved until 25-27 months, around the same time when hearing children master these forms. Thus, the study provides evidence for a discontinuity in the child's transition from prelinguistic to linguistic communication. It is argued that aspects of linguistic structure and its acquisition appear to involve distinct, language-specific knowledge. (shrink)
It's widely accepted that social facts about an individual's linguistic community can affect both the reference of her words and the concepts those words express. Theorists sympathetic to the internalist tradition have sought to accommodate these social dependence phenomena without altering their core theoretical commitments by positing deferential reference-fixing criteria. In this paper, we sketch a different explanation of social dependence phenomena, according to which all concepts are individuated in part by causal-historical relations linking token elements of thought.
Our main focus in this paper is Herman Cappelen’s claim, defended in Fixing Language, that reference is radically inscrutable. We argue that Cappelen’s inscrutability thesis should be rejected. We also highlight how rejecting inscrutability undermines Cappelen’s most radical conclusions about conceptual engineering. In addition, we raise a worry about his positive account of topic continuity through inquiry and debate.
Patient and citizen participation is now regarded as central to the promotion of sustainable health and health care. Involvement efforts create and encounter many diverse ethical challenges that have the potential to enhance or undermine their success. This article examines different expressions of patient and citizen participation and the support health ethics offers. It is contended that despite its prominence and the link between patient empowerment and autonomy, traditional bioethics is insufficient to guide participation efforts. In addition, the turn to (...) a “social paradigm” of ethics in examinations of biotechnologies and public health does not provide an account of values that is commensurable with the pervasive autonomy paradigm. This exacerbates rather than eases tensions for patients and citizens endeavoring to engage with health. Citizen and patient participation must have a significant influence on the way we do health ethics if its potential is to be fulfilled. (shrink)
Two-dimensional (2D) semantics is a formal framework that is used to characterize the meaning of certain linguistic expressions and the entailment relations among sentences containing them. 2D semantics has also been applied to thought contents. In contrast with standard possible worlds semantics, 2D semantics assigns extensions and truth-values to expressions relative to two possible world parameters, rather than just one. So a 2D semantic framework provides finer-grained semantic values than those available within standard possible world semantics, while using the same (...) basic model-theoretic resources. The 2D framework itself is just a formal tool. To develop a semantic theory for someone’s language, a proponent of 2D semantics must do three things: (i) explain what exactly the two possible world parameters represent, (ii) explain the rules for assigning 2D semantic values to a person’s words and sentences, and (iii) explain how 2D semantic values help in understanding the meanings of the person’s words and sentences. (shrink)
Laura Berchielli - Color, Space and Figure in Locke: An Interpretation of the Molyneux Problem - Journal of the History of Philosophy 40:1 Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.1 47-65 Color, Space, and Figure in Locke: An Interpretation of the Molyneux Problem Laura Berchielli THIS IS HOW LOCKE, in the second edition of his Essay Concerning Human Understanding , introduces a question that had been suggested to him in a letter from William Molyneux: . . . I (...) shall here insert a Problem of that very Ingenious and Studious promoter of Knowledge, the Learned and Worthy Mr. Molineux, which he was pleased to send me in a Letter some Months since; and it is this: Suppose a Man born blind, and now adult, and taught by his touch to distinguish between a Cube, and a Sphere of the same metal, and nighly of the same bigness, so as to tell, when he felt one and t'other, which is the Cube, which the Sphere. Suppose then the Cube and Sphere placed on a Table, and the Blind Man to be made to see. Quaere, Whether by his Sight, before he touch'd them, he could now distinguish, and tell, which is the Globe, which the Cube. In the standard interpretation of the Molyneux problem as presented in Locke, the question is always linked to the general issue of differences in the ideas of figure received by the various senses. This interpretation -- put forward by Berkeley --says that for Locke, the ideas of figure produced by sight are specifically different from.. (shrink)
It would be nice if good old a priori conceptual analysis were possible. For many years conceptual analysis was out of fashion, in large part because of the excessive ambitions of verificationist theories of meaning._ _However, those days are over._ _A priori conceptual analysis is once again part of the philosophical mainstream._ _This renewed popularity, moreover, is well-founded. Modern philosophical analysts have exploited developments in philosophical semantics to formulate analyses which avoid the counterintuitive consequences of verificationism, while vindicating our ability (...) to know a priori precisely what it is our words and thoughts represent._ _Despite its apparent promise, however, I. (shrink)
This innovative book takes a new look at environmental ethics and the need for ecological and biological integrity. Laura Westra explores the necessity for radical alteration not only of interpersonal ethics, but also of social institutions and public policy. In the process, Westra denies the validity of majority rule in environmentally ethical concerns. Issues discussed in the book include the link between ecological integrity and human health; an environmental evaluation of business and technology; biotechnology and transgenics in agriculture and (...) aquaculture; and the environmental ethics of the ancient Greeks and Kant. Living in Integrity is a valuable book for philosophers and environmentalists alike. (shrink)
Laura Papish’s Kant on Evil, Self-Deception, and Moral Reform is an ambitious attempt to breath new life into old debates and a welcome contribution to a recent renaissance of interest in Kant’s theory of evil. The book has eight chapters, and these chapters fall into three main divisions. Chapters 1 and 2 focus on the psychology of nonmoral and immoral action. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 focus on self-deception, evil, and dissimulation. And chapters 6, 7, and 8 focus on (...) self-cognition, moral reform, and moral progress. I shall begin with a brief summary of these chapters. Then I shall turn to commentary. (shrink)