When asked to describe wartime atrocities, terrorist acts, and serial killers, many of us reach for the word 'evil'. But what does it really mean? Luke Russell defends a new account of the nature of evil action and persons. Although the concept of evil is extreme and often misused, it has a legitimate place in contemporary secular moral thought.
This book explores a neglected philosophical question: How do groups of interacting minds relate to singular minds? Could several of us, by organizing ourselves the right way, constitute a single conscious mind that contains our minds as parts? And could each of us have been, all along, a group of mental parts in close cooperation? Scientific progress seems to be slowly revealing that all the different physical objects around us are, at root, just a matter of the right parts put (...) together in the right ways: How far could the same be true of minds? This book argues that we are too used to seeing the mind as an indivisible unity and that understanding our place in nature requires being willing to see minds as composite systems, simultaneously one conscious whole and many conscious parts. In thinking through the implications of such a shift of perspective, the book relates the question of mental combination to a range of different theories of the mind (in particular panpsychism, functionalism, and Neo-Lockeanism about personal identity) and identifies, clarifies, and addresses a wide array of philosophical objections (concerning personal identity, the unity of consciousness, the privacy of experience, and other issues) that have been raised against the idea of composite minds. The result is an account of the metaphysics of composition and consciousness that can illuminate many different debates in philosophy of mind, concerning split brains, collective intentionality, and the combination problem, among others. (shrink)
Moral relativism attracts and repels. What is defensible in it and what is to be rejected? Do we as human beings have no shared standards by which we can understand one another? Can we abstain from judging one another's practices? Do we truly have divergent views about what constitutes good and evil, virtue and vice, harm and welfare, dignity and humiliation, or is there some underlying commonality that trumps it all? These questions turn up everywhere, from Montaigne's essay on cannibals, (...) to the UN Declaration of Human Rights, to the debate over female genital mutilation. They become ever more urgent with the growth of mass immigration, the rise of religious extremism, the challenges of Islamist terrorism, the rise of identity politics, and the resentment at colonialism and the massive disparities of wealth and power between North and South. Are human rights and humanitarian interventions just the latest form of cultural imperialism? By what right do we judge particular practices as barbaric? Who are the real barbarians? In this provocative new book, the distinguished social theorist Steven Lukes takes an incisive and enlightening look at these and other challenging questions and considers the very foundations of what we believe, why we believe it, and whether there is a profound discord between "us" and "them.". (shrink)
The unity of consciousness has so far been studied only as a relation holding among the many experiences of a single subject. I investigate whether this relation could hold between the experiences of distinct subjects, considering three major arguments against the possibility of such ‘between-subjects unity’. The first argument, based on the popular idea that unity implies subsumption by a composite experience, can be deflected by allowing for limited forms of ‘experience-sharing’, in which the same token experience belongs to more (...) than one subject. The second argument, based on the phenomenological claim that unified experiences have interdependent phenomenal characters, I show to rest on an equivocation. Finally, the third argument accuses between-subjects unity of being unimaginable, or more broadly a formal possibility corresponding to nothing we can make sense of. I argue that the familiar experience of perceptual co-presentation gives us an adequate phenomenological grasp on what between-subjects unity might be like. (shrink)
It is reported that the moment anyone talked to Marx about morality, he would roar with laughter. Yet, plainly, he was fired by outrage and a burning desire for a better world. This paradox is the starting point for Marxism and Morality. Discussing the positions taken by Marx, Engels, and their descendants in relation to certain moral issues, Steven Lukes addresses the questions on which Marxist thinkers and actors have taken a number of characteristic stands as well as other questions--personal (...) relations and the moral virtues of the individual, for example--on which Marxism falls silent. A provocative exploration of the gray area where Marxism and morality meet, this book argues that Marxism makes a number of major moral claims and that its appeal has always been, in large part, a moral one. (shrink)
Chalmers (2002) argues against physicalism in part using the premise that no truth about consciousness can be deduced a priori from any set of purely structural truths. Chalmers (2012) elaborates a detailed definition of what it is for a truth to be structural, which turns out to include spatiotemporal truths. But Chalmers (2012) then proposes to define spatiotemporal terms by reference to their role in causing spatial and temporal experiences. Stoljar (2015) and Ebbers (Ms) argue that this definition of spatiotemporal (...) terms allows for the trivial falsification of Chalmers (2002)’s premise about structure and consciousness. I show that this result can be avoided by tweaking the relevant premise, and moreover that this tweak is well-motivated and not ad hoc. (shrink)
This fascinating study, Steven Lukes, one of the foremost political theorists writing in English today, examines value pluralism and moral conflict and their implications for political thinking and practice. In Parts I and II he discusses them directly and their consequences for how we are to think about equality, liberty, power, and authority. In Part III he focuses on the non-obvious role of morality in Marxist theory and practice, and in Part IV he examines the contributions of contemporary political thinkers, (...) including Vaclav Havel. In the final section he puts theory to the test, looking at important political issues and showing how political moralities influence the world we live in. This book will be of particular interest to teachers and students of political theory, political philosophy, and moral philosophy. (shrink)
Many philosophical views have the surprising implication that, within the boundaries of each human being, there is not just one mind, but many: anywhere from two (the person and their brain, or the person and their body) to trillions (each of the nearly-entirely-overlapping precise entities generated by the Problem of the Many). This is often treated as absurd, a problem of ‘Too Many Minds’, which we must find ways to avoid. It is often thought specifically absurd to allow such a (...) multiplication of conscious subjects, even if we could accept it for physical objects. I consider metaphysical, phenomenological, and moral arguments for this asymmetry, and show that they all fail: many overlapping conscious minds is no more problematic than many overlapping physical objects. Theories that imply such a multiplicity may or may not be true, but they cannot be rejected simply for implying it. (shrink)
Philosophers, writers, and artists throughout history have come to the conclusion that life and its pursuits are meaningless. In many ways, they are correct. Yet when life is considered in the light of the gospel message, you will find true and deep meaning."--Back cover.
Some philosophical theories of consciousness imply consciousness in things we would never intuitively think are conscious—most notably, panpsychism implies that consciousness is pervasive, even outside complex brains. Is this a reductio ab absurdum for such theories, or does it show that we should reject our original intuitions? To understand the stakes of this question as clearly as possible, we analyse the structured pattern of intuitions that panpsychism conflicts with. We consider a variety of ways that the tension between this intuition (...) and panpsychism could be resolved, ranging from complete rejection of the theory to complete dismissal of the intuition, but argue in favour of more nuanced approaches which try to reconcile the two. (shrink)
Bullying is a serious problem in today’s workplace, in that, a large percentage of employees have either been bullied or knows someone who has. There are a variety of ethical concerns dealing with bullying—that is, courses of action to manage the bullying contain serious ethical/legal concerns. The inadequacies of legal protections for bullying in the U.S. workplace also compound the approaches available to deal ethically with bullying. While Schumann (2001, Human Resource Management Review 11, 93–111) does not explicitly examine bullying, (...) the five moral principles that he advocates can be applied to judge the ethics of bullying in the workplace. A possible limitation of this model is that, it is designed to be normative (judgmental), and while it does take into consideration the relationships among the victim, the perpetrator, the groups in the organization, and the organization itself in judging the ethics of bullying, it does not explicitly consider the process by which bullying might develop and persist. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics of this process, Nijhof and Rietdijk (1999, Journal of Business Ethics 20(1), 39–50)) suggest applying an A–B–C (antecedents, behaviors, and consequences) model to help understand the dynamics of bullying in the workplace. Formal propositions are offered to guide both academics and practitioners to an enriched understanding of the ethics of workplace bullying. (shrink)
The evil-god challenge holds that theism is highly symmetrical to the evil-god hypothesis and thus it is not more reasonable to accept one rather than the other. But, since it is not reasonable to accept the evil-god hypothesis, it is not reasonable to accept theism. This article will primarily focus on defending the challenge from two recent objections which hold that it follows from the nature of moral motivation that theism is intrinsically much more likely to be true than the (...) evil-god hypothesis. However, I will also argue that there is a different intrinsic asymmetry between the hypotheses which favours theism. (shrink)
This thesis explores the possibility of composite consciousness: phenomenally conscious states belonging to a composite being in virtue of the consciousness of, and relations among, its parts. We have no trouble accepting that a composite being has physical properties entirely in virtue of the physical properties of, and relations among, its parts. But a longstanding intuition holds that consciousness is different: my consciousness cannot be understood as a complex of interacting component consciousnesses belonging to parts of me. I ask why: (...) what is it about consciousness that makes us think it so different from matter? And should we accept this apparent difference? (shrink)
An increasingly common objection to kidney sales holds that the introduction of monetary incentives may undermine potential donors’ altruism, discourage donation, and possibly result in a net reduction in the supply of kidneys. To explain why incentives might be counterproductive in this way market opponents marshal evidence from behavioral economics. In particular, they claim that the context of kidney sales is ripe for motivational crowding. This reasoning, if sound, would have a profound influence on the debate over kidney sales. What’s (...) perhaps the principal reason to favor a market – the increase in supply it would bring – would be called into doubt. However, on inspection it becomes apparent that the evidence touted by market opponents not only lends no credence to their claims, but also provides some positive reason to doubt them. The near-ubiquitous references to motivational crowding in the literature on kidney sales are fundamentally misplaced. (shrink)
With the media bringing us constant tales of terrorism and violence, questions regarding the nature of evil are highly topical. Luke Russell explores the philosophical thinking and psychological evidence behind evil, alongside portrayals of fictional villains, considering why people are evil, and how it goes beyond the normal realms of what is bad.
Philosophical exploration of individualism and externalism in the cognitive sciences most recently has been focused on general evaluations of these two views (Adams & Aizawa 2008, Rupert 2008, Wilson 2004, Clark 2008). Here we return to broaden an earlier phase of the debate between individualists and externalists about cognition, one that considered in detail particular theories, such as those in developmental psychology (Patterson 1991) and the computational theory of vision (Burge 1986, Segal 1989). Music cognition is an area in the (...) cognitive sciences that has received little attention from philosophers, though it has relatively recently been thrown into the externalist spotlight (Cochrane 2008, Kruger 2014, Kersten forthcoming). Given that individualism can be thought of as a kind of paradigm for research on cognition, we provide a brief overview of the field of music cognition and individualistic tendencies within the field (sections 2 and 3) before turning to consider externalist alternatives to individualistic paradigms (section 4-5) and then arguing for a qualified form of externalism about music cognition (section 6). (shrink)
A new formulation of the Fine-Tuning Argument (FTA) for the existence of God is offered, which avoids a number of commonly raised objections. I argue that we can and should focus on the fundamental constants and initial conditions of the universe, and show how physics itself provides the probabilities that are needed by the argument. I explain how this formulation avoids a number of common objections, specifically the possibility of deeper physical laws, the multiverse, normalisability, whether God would fine-tune at (...) all, whether the universe is too fine-tuned, and whether the likelihood of God creating a life-permitting universe is inscrutable. (shrink)
I shall argue, first, that potential kidney donors may be subject to harmful pressure to donate. This pressure may take almost any form; people have diverse interests, and anything that could set them back may qualify as pressure. Given features of the context—the high stakes, the involvement of family, and the social meaning of donation—such pressure may be especially harmful. This problem is less tractable than the more familiar worry that pressure may compromise consent. Screening may ensure donors validly consent, (...) but it provides no protection against harmful pressure. I shall argue, second, that the use of such pressure is the predictable consequence of the prohibition on kidney sales. Potential donors have something—a transplantable kidney—that is both valuable and scarce. Many of them, informed about donation, decide against it. Those in need of a transplant may seek to persuade the unwilling. Given the prohibition, the donation cannot be made more attractive in absolute terms by, say, the addition of money. However, it can be made more attractive in relative terms. If declining the option is made worse, then, by comparison, accepting it is made better. The application of harmful pressure has the desired effect. With so much at stake, and no good alternatives, its use is predictable. I conclude that potential donors' interests should figure more prominently in the discussion of transplant policy. Those who defend the prohibition have made virtually no attempt to account for its impact on that group. (shrink)
lecture 1. The world of the Greco-Roman moralists -- lecture 2. How empire changed philosophy -- lecture 3. The great schools and their battles -- lecture 4. Dominant themes and metaphors -- lecture 5. The ideal philosopher, a composite portrait -- lecture 6. The charlatan, philosophy betrayed -- lecture 7. Philosophy satirized, the comic Lucian -- lecture 8. Cicero, the philosopher as politician -- lecture 9. Seneca, philosopher as court advisor -- lecture 10. Good Roman advice, Cicero and Seneca -- (...) lecture 11. Musonius Rufus, the Roman Socrates -- lecture 12. Dio Chrysostom, the wandering rhetorician -- lecture 13. Dio Chrysostom, preaching peace and piety -- lecture 14. Epictetus, philosopher as school teacher -- lecture 15. Epictetus, the stoic path to virtue -- lecture 16. Epictetus, the messenger of Zeus -- lecture 17. Marcus Aurelius, meditations of the king -- lecture 18. Jews thinking like Greeks -- lecture 19. Philo, Judaism as Greek philosophy -- lecture 20. Plutarch, biography as moral instruction -- lecture 21. Plutarch and philosophical religion -- lecture 22. Plutarch on virtue and educating children -- lecture 23. Plutarch, envy, anger, and talking too much -- lecture 24. The missing page in philosophy's story. (shrink)
Curriculum-focused films suitable for all exam boards with board-specific worksheets for Edexcel, AQA, OCR, and WJEC. Short film clips talk students through key ideas, using student-friendly language and visual signposting to break down difficult concepts. This DVD covers three ethical theories; Utilitarianism; Kantian Ethics; Virtue Ethics and features interviews with contemporary philosophers to bring debates vividly to life.
Paul Draper has recently developed an account of intrinsic probability according to which a theory's intrinsic probability is determined by its modesty and coherence. He employs this account in an argument that Source Physicalism (SP) and Source Idealism (SI) are equally intrinsically probable. Since SP and SI are not exhaustive, and Theism is one very specific version of SI, it follows that the intrinsic probability of Theism is very low. I argue here that considerations of fundamentality show that more work (...) needs to be done to defend the claim that P(SP) = P(SI). (shrink)
Extended cognition holds that cognitive processes sometimes leak into the world (Dawson, 2013). A recent trend among proponents of extended cognition has been to put pressure on phenomena thought to be safe havens for internalists (Sneddon, 2011; Wilson, 2010; Wilson & Lenart, 2014). This paper attempts to continue this trend by arguing that music perception is an extended phenomenon. It is claimed that because music perception involves the detection of musical invariants within an “acoustic array”, the interaction between the auditory (...) system and the musical invariants can be characterized as an extended computational cognitive system. In articulating this view, the work of J. J. Gibson (1966, 1986) and Robert Wilson (1994, 1995, 2004) is drawn on. The view is defended from several objections and its implications outlined. The paper concludes with a comparison to Krueger’s (2014) view of the “musically extended emotional mind”. (shrink)
In his book The Myth of Evil, Phillip Cole argues that we ought to abandon the concept of evil. Cole claims that the concept of evil forms part of a dualistic worldview that divides normal people from inhuman, demonic, and monstrous wrongdoers. Such monsters are found in fiction, Cole suggests, but not in reality, so evil is of no explanatory use. Yet even if there were actual evil persons, Cole maintains, evil would be a redundant, pseudo-explanatory concept, a psychological black (...) hole that is of no use in our explanations of why people do wrong. Contrary to Cole's claims, evil does have the requisite form to function as an explanation, and thus, if there are any actual evil actions or persons, evil will be explanatorily useful. Cole is right to suggest that evil cannot provide a complete explanation for any actions, but none of our virtue or vice concepts can do so, and they are none the worse for that. Cole is also right to suggest that the concept of evil is often used to play certain narrative roles, but he fails to see that evil can play those roles only if it has an explanatorily useful form. While it is true that evil could be paraphrased out of explanations of actions without any loss of information, that does not show that the concept is explanatorily redundant. In fact, Cole's preferred alternative explanations of extreme wrongdoing that eschew appeals to evil are themselves inadequate because they fail to account for the directed and intentional nature of some extremely wrong actions. (shrink)
I analyse the meaning of a popular idiom among consciousness researchers, in which an individual's consciousness is described as a 'field'. I consider some of the contexts where this idea appears, in particular discussions of attention and the unity of consciousness. In neither case, I argue, do authors provide the resources to cash out all the implications of field-talk: in particular, they do not give sense to the idea of conscious elements being arrayed along multiple dimensions. I suggest ways to (...) extend and generalize the attentional construal of 'field-talk' to provide a genuine multiplicity of dimensions, through the notions of attentional proximity and causal proximity: the degree to which two experiential elements are disposed to bring one another into attention when attended, or to interact in other distinctively mental ways. I conclude that if consciousness is a field, it is one organized by attentional and/or causal proximity. (shrink)
Developing and applying a framework for understanding the complexities of economic and legal considerations in two recent Supreme Court rulings was the focus of this research. Of especial concern was the protection of intellectual property in the pharmaceutical industry. Two cases from 2013 were selected: FTC v. Activis and Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.. Part of the rationale for the selection was the importance of the Supreme Court rulings and the importance of the pharmaceutical sector. A qualitative (...) content analysis of the Court’s reported decision in each case was analyzed. Since ethical considerations may or may not be consistent with efficiency considerations of plaintiffs, defendants, or the courts, both efficiency and ethical arguments were included. Equally important to the understanding of the economic and ethical issues in the two above- mentioned cases was the development of a rationale for including and excluding a variety of ethical theories, ultimately influenced by Markkula Center For Applied Ethics Of Santa Clara University and Schumann :93–111, 2001). The refinement and use of a levels analysis approach portrays societal, organizational, and individual impacts, and allows for deeper understanding of litigated cases, irrespective of the country in which the litigation takes place :385–393, 2004; Foss et al., J Manag Stud 47:455–482, 2010). A rationale for this framework is the societal and organizational impacts on the myriad of stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector. We suggest that this framework can be applied to other industries and other complex conflicts among stakeholders as well. (shrink)
Asexuality is overlooked in the philosophical literature and in wider society. Such neglect produces incomplete or inaccurate accounts of romantic life and harms asexual people. We develop an account of asexuality to redress this neglect and enrich discussion of romantic life. Asexual experiences are diverse. Some asexual people have sex; some have romantic relationships in the absence of sex. We accept the common definition of asexuality as the absence of sexual attraction and explain how sexual attraction and sexual desire differ (...) by giving an affordance‐like account of sexual attraction. Armed with that distinction, we show that asexuality is clearly different from celibacy or disorders of desire and that some existing philosophical theories of sexual desire struggle to accommodate asexual sexuality. We then build on asexual testimony about the diversity of non‐sexual attractions to answer two common objections levelled at asexual romance: that romantic relationships require sexual attraction or that sex in the absence of sexual attraction is insufficiently focused on someone as an individual. Finally, we describe some of the ways asexuality has been erased or denigrated in society, and the specific injustices and harms that result. (shrink)
Thorp, Luke If one were to undertake an enquiry as to what constituted early Christian eucharistic spirituality in the church, both East and West, in the first seven centuries, an immediate problem would be encountered-in fact, several problems. The first would be that for the Christians of the first seven centuries, spirituality and theology were synonymous. One did not exist without the other; they were part of a seamless garment. The second issue would be that the term 'eucharistic spirituality' (...) is a relatively modern one and difficult to retroactively apply to a previous age. The third issue that one would encounter would be the fact that any spirituality or theology is never formed in a vacuum: time, place, people and experience all play a role in developing unique spiritual expressions. The legacy that Ignatius of Antioch leaves us in relation to the Eucharist differs markedly from that of either Maximus the Confessor or John Chrysostom. While it might seem trite to suggest this, it is important for a twenty-first century mindset to be reminded of it in order to better appreciate and enter more fully into a eucharistic spirituality. (shrink)
As AI technologies are rolled out into healthcare, academia, human resources, law, and a multitude of other domains, they become de-facto arbiters of truth. But truth is highly contested, with many different definitions and approaches. This article discusses the struggle for truth in AI systems and the general responses to date. It then investigates the production of truth in InstructGPT, a large language model, highlighting how data harvesting, model architectures, and social feedback mechanisms weave together disparate understandings of veracity. It (...) conceptualizes this performance as an operationalization of truth, where distinct, often-conflicting claims are smoothly synthesized and confidently presented into truth-statements. We argue that these same logics and inconsistencies play out in Instruct’s successor, ChatGPT, reiterating truth as a non-trivial problem. We suggest that enriching sociality and thickening “reality” are two promising vectors for enhancing the truth-evaluating capacities of future language models. We conclude, however, by stepping back to consider AI truth-telling as a social practice: what kind of “truth” do we as listeners desire? (shrink)