The world has surpassed three million deaths from COVID-19, and faces potentially catastrophic tipping points in the global climate system. Despite the urgency, governments have struggled to address either problem. In this paper, we argue that COVID-19 and anthropogenic climate change (ACC) are critical examples of an emerging type of governance challenge: severe collective action problems that require significant individual behavior change under conditions of hyper- partisanship and scientific misinformation. Building on foundational political science work demonstrating the potential for norms (...) (or informal rules of behavior) to solve collective action problems, we analyze more recent work on norms from neighboring disciplines to offer novel recommendations for more difficult challenges like COVID-19 and ACC. Key insights include more attention to (1) norm-based messaging strategies that appeal to individuals across the ideological spectrum or that reframe collective action as consistent with resistant subgroups’ pre-existing values, (2) messages that emphasize both the prevalence and the social desirability of individual behaviors required to address these challenges, (3) careful use of public policies and incentives that make individual behavior change easier without threatening norm internalization, and (4) greater attention to epistemic norms governing trust in different information sources. We conclude by pointing out that COVID-19 and climate change are likely harbingers of other polarized collective action problems that governments will face in the future. By connecting work on norms and political governance with a broader, interdisciplinary literature on norm psychology, motivation, and behavior change, we aim to improve the ability of political scientists and policy makers to respond to these and future collective action challenges. (shrink)
Last year I published a short article urging bioethicists to carefully examine the question of what ought to constitute the canonical issues topics and questions driving research and teaching in bioethics. Why some subjects dominate the field whereas other topics are regarded as matters for scholars in other disciplines is a question that has intrigued me for nearly a decade. How are the boundaries of bioethics established? What factors influence research agendas and the creation of bioethics curricula? How do funding (...) agencies, editors, and leading scholars shape the field of bioethics? These questions are increasingly receiving scrutiny from Charles Bosk, Raymond De Vries, and other researchers as they explore the sociology of bioethics and the “construction” of the “ethical enterprise.". (shrink)
The Raymond Tallis Reader provides a comprehensive survey of the work of this passionate, perceptive, and often controversial thinker. Key selections from Tallis's major works are supplemented by Michael Grant's detailed introduction and linking commentary. From nihilism to Theorrhoea, from literary theory to the role of the unconscious, The Raymond Tallis Reader guides us through the panoptic sweep of Tallis's critical insights and reveals a way of thinking for the 21st century.
Former colleagues of distinguished philosopher Raymond Klibansky examine tolerance from a number of perspectives, including historical roots in Bayle and Locke, the plea for tolerance in literature and poetry, as well as judicial, cultural and societal aspects.
Does anyone ever survive his or her bodily death ? Could anyone? No speculative questions are older than these, or have been answered more frequently or more variously. None have been laid to rest more often, or — in our times — with more claimed decisiveness. Jay Rosenberg, for instance, no doubt speaks for many contemporary philosophers when he claims, in his recent book, to have ‘ demonstrated ’ that ‘ we cannot [even] make coherent sense of the supposed possibility (...) that a person's history might continue beyond that person's [bodily] death’. (shrink)
In a devastating critique Raymond Tallis exposes the exaggerated claims made for the ability of neuroscience and evolutionary theory to explain human consciousness, behaviour, culture and society. While readily acknowledging the astounding progress neuroscience has made in helping us understand how the brain works, Tallis directs his guns at neuroscience’s dark companion – "Neuromania" as he describes it – the belief that brain activity is not merely a necessary but a sufficient condition for human consciousness and that consequently our (...) everyday behaviour can be entirely understood in neural terms. With the formidable acuity and precision of both clinician and philosopher, Tallis dismantles the idea that "we are our brains", which has given rise to a plethora of neuro-prefixed pseudo-disciplines laying claim to explain everything from art and literature to criminality and religious belief, and shows it to be confused and fallacious, and an abuse of the prestige of science, one that sidesteps a whole range of mind–body problems. The belief that human beings can be understood essentially in biological terms is a serious obstacle, argues Tallis, to clear thinking about what human beings are and what they might become. To explain everyday behaviour in Darwinian terms and to identify human consciousness with the activity of the evolved brain denies human uniqueness, and by minimising the differences between us and our nearest animal kin, misrepresents what we are, offering a grotesquely simplified and degrading account of humanity. We are, shows Tallis, infinitely more interesting and complex than we appear in the mirror of biologism. Combative, fearless and always thought-provoking, _Aping Mankind _is an important book, one that scientists, cultural commentators and policy-makers cannot ignore. (shrink)
In “Global Knowledge Frameworks and the Tasks of Cross-Cultural Philosophy,” Leigh Jenco searches for the conception of knowledge that best justifies the judgment that one can learn from non-local traditions of philosophy. Jenco considers four conceptions of knowledge, namely, in catchwords, the esoteric, Enlightenment, hermeneutic, and self- transformative conceptions of knowledge, and she defends the latter as more plausible than the former three. In this critical discussion of Jenco’s article, I provide reason to doubt the self-transformative conception, and also (...) advance a fifth, pluralist conception of knowledge that I contend best explains the prospect of learning from traditions other than one’s own. (shrink)
Economies are complicated systems encompassing micro behaviors, interaction patterns, and global regularities. Whether partial or general in scope, studies of economic systems must consider how to handle difficult real-world aspects such as asymmetric information, imperfect competition, strategic interaction, collective learning, and the possibility of multiple equilibria. Recent advances in analytical and computational tools are permitting new approaches to the quantitative study of these aspects. One such approach is Agent-based Computational Economics (ACE), the computational study of economic processes modeled as dynamic (...) systems of interacting agents. This chapter explores the potential advantages and disadvantages of ACE for the study of economic systems. General points are concretely illustrated using an ACE model of a two-sector decentralized market economy. Six issues are highlighted: Constructive understanding of production, pricing, and trade processes; the essential primacy of survival; strategic rivalry and market power; behavioral uncertainty and learning; the role of conventions and organizations; and the complex interactions among structural attributes, institutional arrangements, and behavioral dispositions. (shrink)
This Element considers the relationship between the traditional view of God as all-powerful, all-knowing and wholly good on the one hand, and the idea of human free will on the other. It focuses on the potential threats to human free will arising from two divine attributes: God's exhaustive foreknowledge and God's providential control of creation.
The Internet has drastically changed how people interact, communicate, conduct business, seek jobs, find partners, and shop. Millions of people are using social networking sites to connect with others, and employers are using these sites as a source of background information on jobapplicants.Employers report making decisions not to hire people based on the information posted on social networking sites. Few employers have policies in place to govern when and how these online character checks should be used and how to ensure (...) that the information viewed is accurate. In this article, we explore how these inexpensive, informal online character checks are harmful to society. Guidance is provided to employers on when and how to use these sites in a socially responsible manner. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for the superiority of a critical realist understanding of interdisciplinarity over a mainstream understanding of it. I begin by exploring the reasons for the failure of mainstream researchers to achieve interdisciplinarity. My main argument is that mainstream interdisciplinary researchers tend to hypostatize facts, fetishize constant conjunctions of events and apply to open systems an epistemology designed for closed systems. I also explain how mainstream interdisciplinarity supports oppression and gross inequality. I argue that mainstream interdisciplinarity is (...) not true interdisciplinarity and refer to it accordingly as ‘condisciplinarity’. By way of example, I examine the condisciplinarity of the World Health Organization’s ecological model applied to the issue of men’s violence against women. Specifically, I argue that critical realist interdisciplinarity is preferable because it acknowledges inter alia the empirical, actual and real layers of reality, which allows it to develop depth-explanations of phenomena. In practice, this means that critical realist interdisciplinarity can potentially provide explanations that, compared to condisciplinarity, are broader and deeper. In the World Health Organization’s example of the causes of men’s violence against women, condisciplinarity resulted in the absence of historical, global and unconscious aspects of the problem. It is also restricted the analysis to reductive, constant-conjunction based theories of the causes of the problem, specifically ‘risk factors’, thereby providing a relatively shallow explanation for the problem. (shrink)
Leigh Van Valen was an American evolutionary biologist who made major contributions to evolutionary theory. He is particularly remembered for his groundbreaking paper “A New Evolutionary Law” where he provided evidence from fossil record data that the probability of extinction within any group remains essentially constant through time. In order to explain such an unexpected result, Van Valen formulated a very influential idea that he dubbed the “Red Queen hypothesis.” It states that the constant decay must be a consequence (...) of evolutionary interactions among connected species within ecological networks. In Van Valen’s picture, species do not merely evolve: they also coevolve with other species. As a consequence, when thinking about adaptation to an external environment, the other species must be considered as part of such an external world. Van Valen’s law provided the first complex systems theory of coevolutionary dynamics and inspired a whole range of theoretical and experimental developments from very diverse fields, percolating far beyond its original formulation. Red Queen arms races are nowadays considered a widespread feature of complex adaptive systems. (shrink)
Many proponents of libertarian freedom assume that the free choices we might make have particular objective probabilities of occurring. In this paper, I examine two common motivations for positing such probabilities: first, to account for the phenomenal character of decision-making, in which our reasons seem to have particular strengths to incline us to act, and second, to naturalize the role of reasons in influencing our decisions, such that they have a place in the causal order as we know it. I (...) argue, however, that neither introspective reflection nor the metaphysics of causation gives us reason for thinking there are such particular objective probabilities of our free choices. (shrink)
: Many bioethicists assume that morality is in a state of wide reflective equilibrium. According to this model of moral deliberation, public policymaking can build upon a core common morality that is pretheoretical and provides a basis for practical reasoning. Proponents of the common morality approach to moral deliberation make three assumptions that deserve to be viewed with skepticism. First, they commonly assume that there is a universal, transhistorical common morality that can serve as a normative baseline for judging various (...) actions and practices. Second, advocates of the common morality approach assume that the common morality is in a state of relatively stable, ordered, wide reflective equilibrium. Third, casuists, principlists, and other proponents of common morality approaches assume that the common morality can serve as a basis for the specification of particular policies and practical recommendations. These three claims fail to recognize the plural moral traditions that are found in multicultural, multiethnic, multifaith societies such as the United States and Canada. A more realistic recognition of multiple moral traditions in pluralist societies would be considerably more skeptical about the contributions that common morality approaches in bioethics can make to resolving contentious moral issues. (shrink)
There are grave issues with how the U.K. government approaches the issue of wellbeing. Specifically, policy interventions that might improve the material conditions of citizens are being down-played, and at times out-rightly dismissed. Instead, an individualist, instrumental message is being promoted, namely, that the best way to improve wellbeing is by improving individual happiness and mental health. I argue that this instrumental message – which in practice blames the victims for their lack of happiness and removes state responsibility – can (...) be made to sound feasible because of a reliance on positivist-based research, whether obtained objectively or subjectively. In this paper, I therefore detail the failings of mainstream wellbeing research and its policy conclusions, and argue that critical realism offers solutions. (shrink)
Raymond Martin and John Barresi trace the development of Western ideas about personal identity and reveal the larger intellectual trends, controversies, and ideas that have revolutionized the way we think about ourselves.
The Internet has drastically changed how people interact, communicate, conduct business, seek jobs, find partners, and shop. Millions of people are using social networking sites to connect with others, and employers are using these sites as a source of background information on job applicants. Employers report making decisions not to hire people based on the information posted on social networking sites. Few employers have policies in place to govern when and how these online character checks should be used and how (...) to ensure that the information viewed is accurate. In this article, we explore how these inexpensive, informal online character checks are harmful to society. Guidance is provided to employers on when and how to use these sites in a socially responsible manner. (shrink)
ABSTRACTEmpirical realist ecologists, such as C. S. Holling, face significant methodological contradictions; for instance, they must cope with the problem that ecological models and theories of climate change, resilience and succession cannot make predictions in open systems. Generally, they respond to this problem by supplementing their empirical realism with transcendental idealism: they therefore say that their models are simply metaphorical or heuristic, that is, 'not true' in that they are not empirical. Thus, they explicitly deny an ontology for what their (...) models are about. Nevertheless, in their practice, ecologists act as if their theories do have an ontology and thus tell us something truthful about the real world. This discrepancy leaves ecology vulnerable to unnecessary critique, such as that climate science is not real science. Transcendental realism offers a solution because it releases ecologists from the requirement to make predictions; but it does so without denying ontology. This provides several advantages to ecologists. (shrink)
_Decolonizing Educational Research_ examines the ways through which coloniality manifests in contexts of knowledge and meaning making, specifically within educational research and formal schooling. Purposefully situated beyond popular deconstructionist theory and anthropocentric perspectives, the book investigates the longstanding traditions of oppression, racism, and white supremacy that are systemically reseated and reinforced by learning and social interaction. Through these meaningful explorations into the unfixed and often interrupted narratives of culture, history, place, and identity, a bold, timely, and hopeful vision emerges to (...) conceive of how research in secondary and higher education institutions might break free of colonial genealogies and their widespread complicities. (shrink)
Hume maintained that, philosophically speaking, there is no difference between exiting a room out of the first-floor window and using the door. Nevertheless, Hume’s reason and common sense prevailed over his scepticism and he advocated that we should always use the door. However, we are currently living in a world that is more seriously committed to the Humean philosophy of empiricism than he was himself and thus the potential to act inappropriately is an ever-present potential. In this paper, I explore (...) how Hume’s two versions of causality have detrimentally affected our ability both to arrive at and to use research to improve human well-being. I illustrate my argument with an example of what I think is an incorrect yet supposedly scientifically sound assumption: that absenteeism causes poor school attainment. Instead I make the interdisciplinary argument that absenteeism is better understood as an aggravating symptom of a number of other causes of poor attainment, such as poverty and individual psychological factors. I suggest that an instrumental, punitive policy against parents whose children tend to be absent from school may be ineffectual or even counterproductive if the objective is to improve the well-being of those children. To support my argument, I introduce the critical realist idea of transfactuality. Using the example of research into moon rocks, I show how mainstream science uses transfactuality despite its empiricist aversion to it. I also suggest that it is our honesty, integrity, and stoicism that lead us to the extreme overthrow of reason and common sense that we see today in many of the UK’s social policies; an overthrow that Hume himself did not achieve. Metaphorically speaking, British professionals, stoically and honestly believing in the ability of their trusted research correlations to guide their action, are exiting out of the first-floor window rather than using the door. This is a significant barrier to our ability to devise and implement social policy. (shrink)
This study examines the relationship between procedural justice and employee job insecurity, and the boundary conditions of this relationship. Drawing upon uncertainty management theory and ethical leadership research, we hypothesized that procedural justice is negatively related to job insecurity, and that this relationship is moderated by ethical leadership. We further predicted that the moderating relationship would be more pronounced among employees with a low power distance orientation. We tested our hypotheses using a sample of 381 workers in Macau and Southern (...) China. The results support all of our hypotheses. The implications of these results for research and practice are discussed. (shrink)
There is strong theoretical support for a relationship between various characteristics of religiousness and attitudes towards business ethics. This paper examines three frequently- studied dimensions of religiousness (fundamentalism, conservatism, and intrinsic religiousness) and their ability to predict students' willingness to behave unethically. Because prior research indicated a possible relationship between the religious affiliation of an institution and its members' ethical orientation, we studied students at universities with three different types of religious affiliation: evangelical, Catholic, and none.Results of the study lend (...) support to a negative relationship between the above-mentioned dimensions of religiousness and willingness to behave unethically. In addition, students at the Evangelical university were far less willing to engage in unethical behavior than were students at either the Catholic or the unaffiliated institutions. (shrink)