This dissertation offers a phenomenology of that mode of self-interpretation in which it becomes possible for an interpreter to intentionally participate in the production of moral norms to which the interpreter himself or herself feels bound. Part One draws on Richard Rorty's notion of the "ironist" in order to thematize the phenomenon I call "moral friction"; a condition in which an interpreter becomes explicitly aware of the historical and cultural contingencies of their own moral vocabularies, practices, and concerns and as (...) a result find themselves incapable of feeling the normative weight implicit in these. Part Two draws on Heidegger's existential analytic of human being, Gadamer's development of Hermeneutic Phenomenology, and Hegel's notion of "sublation" in order to map how novel interpretations can irreversibly displace the coherence of older interpretations. I call this form of interpretation "moral phenomenology." Finally, in Part Three, I utilize a selective phenomenology of musical improvisation to plot the unique temporal orientation of self-interpretation that results from intentionally deploying this irreversible displacement of older interpretations that involve normative moral implications. I call the form of life that is marked by this hermeneutic mode the "improviser." The result is a description of a form of life in which it becomes possible to explicitly participate in the production of moral norms within a historical and culturally contingent context that nevertheless preserves standards of rational justification for normative moral judgment without the need for atemporal first principles. The availability of this mode of self-interpretation displaces the sharp distinction between non-normative descriptive phenomenology and normative moral reasoning by placing the latter within a non-teleological historical practice that engages in the production of interpretations which irreversibly displace older interpretations--a practice that is governed by the critical cultivation of contingent moral norms within the open investigation into the good life for human being. (shrink)
Bias and prejudice are well known aspects of all societies and political arenas. They motivate a wide variety of fear-mongering policies and seem to be deeply ingrained in the hearts and minds of people, interfering with their reasoning and better judgement. In this paper, I explore how bias and prejudice come about and how they can be put to more productive use in a democratic context. Humans aren’t as rational as we might expect. We often fail to think logically and (...) applying abstract reasoning is a challenge. When concepts are difficult for us to grasp, we often use our pre-existing ideas and experiences. Our biases and pre-conceived notions allow us to make better sense of complex problems. Bias is unavoidable. If we accept that we have pre-existing beliefs and can identify them accurately, they can serve an epistemic purpose in deliberation. We can use bias and prejudice as the starting point for meaningful inquiry as well as critical self-reflection. In order to accomplish this we need to place a greater educational focus on critical thinking skills. This type of education develops both our specific skills for analysis, evaluation and problem solving, but also builds the essential dispositions for open-mindedness and tolerance that are essential for effective deliberation. (shrink)
One of the most significant obstacles to inquiry and deliberation is citizenship education. There are few mechanisms for the development of citizens’ democratic character within most societies, and greater opportunities need to be made to ensure our democracies are epistemically justifiable. The character and quality of citizens’ interactions are a crucial aspect for any democracy; their engagement make a significant difference between a deliberative society and an electoral oligarchy. I contend that through demarchic procedures, citizens are subject to collective learning (...) process in virtue of being part of communal decision-making and in so doing can develop their capacities for deliberation with practice over time. Demarchic bodies can be utilised as communities of inquiry. By viewing democracy as both a learning process and a decision-making mechanism, the quality of deliberation and participation can improve over time as well. (shrink)
Traditional just war doctrine holds that political leaders are morally responsible for the decision to initiate war, while individual soldiers should be judged solely by their conduct in war. According to this view, soldiers fighting in an unjust war of aggression and soldiers on the opposing side seeking to defend their country are morally equal as long as each obeys the rules of combat. Revisionist scholars, however, maintain that soldiers who fight for an unjust cause bear at least some responsibility (...) for advancing an immoral end, even if they otherwise fight ethically. This article examines the attitudes of the American public regarding the moral equality of combatants. Utilizing an original survey experiment, we find that the public's moral reasoning is generally more consistent with that of the revisionists than with traditional just war theory. Americans in our study judged soldiers who participate in unjust wars as less ethical than soldiers in just wars, even when their battlefield conduct is identical, and a large proportion supported harsh punishments for soldiers simply for participating in unjust wars. We also find, however, that much of the American public is willing to extend the moral license of just cause significantly further than revisionist scholars advocate: half of the Americans in our survey were willing to allow an unambiguous war crime—a massacre of innocent women and children—to go unpunished when the act was committed by soldiers fighting for a just cause. Our findings suggest that incorporation of revisionist principles into the laws of war would reinforce dangerous moral intuitions encouraging the killing of civilians. (shrink)
The dominant unspoken philosophical basis of medical care in the United States is a form of Cartesian reductionism that views the body as a machine and medical professionals as technicians whose job is to repair that machine. The purpose of this paper is to advocate for an alternative philosophy of medicine based on the concept of healing relationships between clinicians and patients. This is accomplished first by exploring the ethical and philosophical work of Pellegrino and Thomasma and then by connecting (...) Martin Buber's philosophical work on the nature of relationships to an empirically derived model of the medical healing relationship. The Healing Relationship Model was developed by the authors through qualitative analysis of interviews of physicians and patients. Clinician-patient healing relationships are a special form of what Buber calls I-Thou relationships, characterized by dialog and mutuality, but a mutuality limited by the inherent asymmetry of the clinician-patient relationship. The Healing Relationship Model identifies three processes necessary for such relationships to develop and be sustained: Valuing, Appreciating Power and Abiding. We explore in detail how these processes, as well as other components of the model resonate with Buber's concepts of I-Thou and I-It relationships. The resulting combined conceptual model illuminates the wholeness underlying the dual roles of clinicians as healers and providers of technical biomedicine. On the basis of our analysis, we argue that health care should be focused on healing, with I-Thou relationships at its core. (shrink)
We report on the development and initial validation of the Moralization of Everyday Life Scale, designed to measure variations in people's assignment of moral weight to commonplace behaviors. In Study 1, participants reported their judgments for a large number of potential moral infractions in everyday life; principal components analysis revealed 6 main dimensions of these judgments. In Study 2, scores on the 30-item MELS showed high reliability and distinctness from the Big 5 personality traits. In Study 3, scores on the (...) MELS were strongly correlated with scores on an early scale of moral judgments, suggesting convergent validity. (shrink)
Psychologism is the attempt to account for the necessary truths of mathematics in terms of contingent psychological facts. It is widely regarded as a fallacy. Jackendoff's view of reference and truth entails psychologism. Therefore, he needs to either provide a defense of the doctrine, or show that the charge doesn't apply.
In their contributions to the symposium “Just War and Unjust Soldiers,” Michael Walzer, Jeff McMahan, and Robert O. Keohane add greatly to our understanding of how best to study and apply just war doctrine to real-world conflicts. We argue, however, that they underestimate both the degree to which the American public seeks revenge, rather than just reciprocity, and the extent of popular acceptance of violations of noncombatant immunity by soldiers perceived to be fighting for a just cause. We call on (...) empirical political scientists, lawyers, psychologists, and historians to engage with moral philosophers and political theorists in debates about the influence of just war theory and the laws of armed conflict. (shrink)
Different types of consent are used to obtain human biospecimens for future research. This variation has resulted in confusion regarding what research is permitted, inadvertent constraints on future research, and research proceeding without consent. The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center's Department of Bioethics held a workshop to consider the ethical acceptability of addressing these concerns by using broad consent for future research on stored biospecimens. Multiple bioethics scholars, who have written on these issues, discussed the reasons for consent, the (...) range of consent strategies, and gaps in our understanding, and concluded with a proposal for broad initial consent coupled with oversight and, when feasible, ongoing provision of information to donors. This article describes areas of agreement and areas that need more research and dialogue. Given recent proposed changes to the Common Rule, and new guidance regarding storing and sharing data and samples, this is an important and tim.. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:At St. Isidore’s Franciscan College in Rome, the following maxim attributed to St. Patrick is inscribed above the door-way of the church: Si quae difficiles quaestiones in hac insula oriantur ad Sedem Apostolicam referantur; ut Christiani ita et Romani sitis.1 The college was founded in 1625 by Luke Wadding, O.F.M. and, under his direction, became a major seat of theological learning and political influence for the Irish in (...) Rome.2 In the nineteenth century, the Friars Minor of the Province of Ireland assigned many documents from St. Isidore’s for use in their Irish friaries. In 1872, amid the unrest caused by the Risorgimento, medieval and early-modern Irish Franciscan manuscripts were transferred to Dublin.3 At the Merchants’ Quay Convent, the librarians T.A. O’Reilly, O.F.M. and E.B. Fitzmaurice, O.F.M. divided the manuscripts into sections with alphabetically ordered shelf-marks.4 This practical approach followed the long-established system used at Italian libraries and archives in Franciscan custody.5 From 1947 until 2000, the manuscripts of the Irish Friars Minor were kept at the Franciscans’ Dún Mhuire House of Studies in Killiney, County Dublin, before their transfer to the Archives, University College Dublin.The ‘D’ collection is preserved in twenty-six sets of volumes, folders and boxed papers. The greater part consists of Luke Wadding’s correspondence, relating to his activities as theologian, historian, Irish agent in Rome and consultor to several congregations and commissions at the papal secretariat.6 In the 1920s, Paul Grosjean, S.J. included four manuscripts then housed at Merchants’ Quay in a catalogue of hagiographical works.7 Clement Schmitt, O.F.M. treated of a collection of the Franciscan documents kept in Dublin in 1964.8Letters to and from Luke Wadding are also preserved at the Vatican Library; the Archivo Generale at the General Curia of Friars Minor, Rome; the Biblioteca Landiana, Piacenza; the Biblioteca Nazionale, Naples; the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan; the Archives of the Bollandists, Brussels; the Archives Générales de Royaume, Brussels; the Von Harrach Archive, Vienna; and the Franciscan friary of St. Jerome in Vienna.9Compared to some six hundred that Luke Wadding received, “the text of approximately one hundred of his letters, in whole or in part, has survived.”10 Nearly all Wadding’s extant correspondence dates from the three decades after the publication of his Acta legationis on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1624. Most of his letters were sent from St. Isidore, some from the friaries of Aracoeli and San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, and a few from Naples.11Luke Wadding was born in Waterford on October 16, 1588, the eleventh of fourteen children.12 He was baptized two days later on the Feast of St. Luke. His father Walter was a well-established Waterford merchant and his mother Anastasia a kinswoman of the prominent Lombard family of Waterford. After the death of his parents, Luke left Ireland with his elder brother, Matthew, who enrolled him at the Irish Jesuits’ College in Lisbon. At seventeen years of age, Wadding made his way to Matozinhos in northern Portugal, near Oporto, where he entered the Franciscan Order. On completion of his novitiate, Wadding’s superiors sent him to the University of Coimbra and from there, to Salamanca. At Easter 1613, Luke Wadding was ordained to the priesthood after his studies. He was then appointed as a professor of theology at the Franciscan College of León and later at his own alma mater, Salamanca.13Called to the Spanish capital, Luke Wadding stayed at the Convent of Jesus and Mary in the south-east of Madrid where “lived not only the heads of the Franciscan Order in Spain but also the principal preachers.”14 Such was the distinction Wadding achieved that he was chosen by Philip III for the office of theologian in the embassy sent to defend the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in Rome.15 He lived there for almost forty years, in which time he founded St. Isidore Franciscan College, the.. (shrink)
Ex-Machina and Morgan, two recent science-fiction films that deal with the creation of humanoids, also explored the relationship between artificial intelligence, spatiality and the lingering question mark regarding artificial consciousness. In both narratives, the creators of the humanoids have tried to mimic human consciousness as closely as possible, which has resulted in the imprisonment of the humanoids due to proprietary concerns in Ex-Machina and due to the violent behavior of the humanoid in Morgan. This article addresses the dilemma of whether (...) or not the humanoids in both films possess high levels of artificial consciousness and its possible consequences regarding focalization, a narrative term that presupposes subjectivity, as well as offer two new categories of posthuman focalization—X-focalization and A-focalization. The issue of captivity also has far-reaching ethical implications when considering the underlying assumption of artificial consciousness—if humanoids are indeed endowed with a subjective inner life, then they are entitled to be treated as moral agents, equivalent to humans rather than animals. (shrink)
The study of anarchism as a philosophical, political, and social movement has burgeoned both in the academy and in the global activist community in recent years. Taking advantage of this boom in anarchist scholarship, Nathan J. Jun and Shane Wahl have compiled twenty-six cutting-edge essays on this timely topic in New Perspectives on Anarchism.
As privacy concerns among consumers rise, service providers increasingly want to provide services that support privacy enhancing technologies. At the same time, online service providers must be able to protect themselves against misbehaving users. For instance, users that do not pay their bill must be held accountable for their behavior. This tension between privacy and accountability is fundamental, however a tradeoff is not always required. In this article we propose the concept of a time capsule, that is, a verifiable encryption (...) with timed and revocable decryptability. The time capsule together with its related protocols offer support of privacy while retaining strong accountability. In our scheme an honest user may enjoy full anonymity, but dishonest users who do not pay their bill have their identity revealed. In contrast to existing revocable anonymity systems, our proposed scheme requires less trust in an external authority, while simultaneously making accountability easier (and less costly) to achieve. (shrink)
Designer Biology: The Ethics of Intensively Engineering Biological and Ecological Systems consists of thirteen chapters that address the ethical issues raised by technological intervention and design across a broad range of biological and ecological systems. Among the technologies addressed are geoengineering, human enhancement, sex selection, genetic modification, and synthetic biology.
This is the first collection of all of the major philosophical works of Cadwallader Colden, one of the most accomplished intellectual and political figures in the American colonies before the Revolution. As Lieutenant Governor of New York he was intimately involved in the tumultuous political life of the times, and he represented the colonial government to the five nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. His History of the Five Indian Nations was the first English history of the Iroquois and a popular (...) book both in the colonies and in Europe. A prolific letter writer, Colden corresponded with many of the major intellectuals of his day, including Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Johnson. He also wrote extensively on a wide range of topics, including philosophy, history, the natural sciences, and mathematics. Although several of Colden's works have been available in anthologies, until now there has never been a collection of all of his philosophical writings. This anthology includes The Principles of Action in Matter, the Introduction to Phylosophy, the Introduction to The History of the Five Indian Nations, and the complete correspondence with Samuel Johnson on the subject of materialism and idealism. Also included is the first publication of Principles of Morality, written in 1745, but never published till now. For students of American philosophy, as well as those interested in the intellectual history of the colonial period, this is an essential work. (shrink)
In his influential 1987 essay, “Equipoise and The Ethics of Randomized Clinical Research,” Benjamin Freedman argued that Charles Fried’s theoretical equipoise requirement threatened clinical research because it was overwhelmingly fragile and rendered unethical too many randomized clinical trials. Freedman, therefore, proposed an alternative requirement, the clinical equipoise requirement, which is now considered to be the fundamental or guiding principle concerning the ethics of enrolling patients in randomized clinical trials. In this essay I argue that Freedman’s clinical equipoise requirement is (...) ambiguous and can be interpreted in (at least) two different ways. I furthermore claim that, ironically, the best interpretation of the clinical equipoise requirement opens Freedman to the same objection that he leveled against Fried twenty-five years ago; namely, that it (Freedman’s clinical equipoise requirement) renders unethical too many randomized clinical trials. (shrink)
A semantics for quantified modal logic is presented that is based on Kleene's notion of realizability. This semantics generalizes Flagg's 1985 construction of a model of a modal version of Church's Thesis and first-order arithmetic. While the bulk of the paper is devoted to developing the details of the semantics, to illustrate the scope of this approach, we show that the construction produces (i) a model of a modal version of Church's Thesis and a variant of a modal set theory (...) due to Goodman and Scedrov, (ii) a model of a modal version of Troelstra's generalized continuity principle together with a fragment of second-order arithmetic, and (iii) a model based on Scott's graph model (for the untyped lambda calculus) which witnesses the failure of the stability of non-identity. (shrink)
Luke Fildes's iconic painting The Doctor, first exhibited in 1891, has long served as a symbol of the caring, priest-like physician, watching over a sick child as the child's parents place their faith in his ministrations, technologically meager as they may be. As physicians acquired more visible and potent interventions—x-rays, antibiotics, the complex infrastructure of the hospital itself—the 19th-century British scene depicted by Fildes of an individual doctor's watchful waiting would be appropriated by the likes of the American Medical (...) Association in the 1940s to remind the American public of this idealized patient-doctor relationship, augmented by increasingly powerful curative tools at the disposal of... (shrink)
Ethics and Danger examines Heidegger’s association with German National Socialism and attempts to understand both the question of politics in Heidegger’s thought and the thought that gives rise to that question. It explores the contribution of Heidegger’s work to issues of ethics, technology, and social theory, as well as his relationship to other thinkers such as Parmenides, Aristotle, Hegel, Husserl, Benjamin, Levinas, Rorty, Foucault, and Derrida. Finally, it addresses the more general question of the future of ethical thought within (...) continental philosophy. In order to engage the ethical issues surrounding Heidegger’s life and thought, the authors speak of dangers such as facism and the facile, self-congratulatory moral stance that Heidegger exemplifies. The question of how to speak in the wake of Heidegger’s thought takes many forms, and the answers represent a diversity of viewpoints from both American and continental thinkers. (shrink)