If libertarianism is true, then there is a sense in which agents have it within their power to bring it about that some world is actual. Against recent arguments for the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom, I offer an account of power over the past which takes this implication of libertarianism into consideration. I argue that the resulting account is available to Ockhamists and that it is immune to recent criticisms of the notion of counterfactual power over the (...) past. But I contend that it is not an option for Molinists and that this fact leaves that position vulnerable to incompatibilist arguments. (shrink)
Some critics question new natural law theorists’ conception of the common good of the political community, namely, their interpretation of St. Thomas Aquinas and the conclusion that the political common good is primarily instrumental rather than intrinsic and transcendent. Contrary to these objections, the common good of the political community is primarily instrumental. It aims chiefly at securing the conditions for human flourishing. Its unique ability to use the law to bring about justice and peace and promote virtue in individuals (...) may make the common good of the political community critically important. Nevertheless, it is still not an intrinsic aspect of human flourishing. Unlike the family or a religious group, membership in a political community is not an end in itself. (shrink)
This paper presents five studies on the development and validation of a scale of intellectual humility. This scale captures cognitive, affective, behavioral, and motivational components of the construct that have been identified by various philosophers in their conceptual analyses of intellectual humility. We find that intellectual humility has four core dimensions: Open-mindedness (versus Arrogance), Intellectual Modesty (versus Vanity), Corrigibility (versus Fragility), and Engagement (versus Boredom). These dimensions display adequate self-informant agreement, and adequate convergent, divergent, and discriminant validity. In particular, Open-mindedness (...) adds predictive power beyond the Big Six for an objective behavioral measure of intellectual humility, and Intellectual Modesty is uniquely related to Narcissism. We find that a similar factor structure emerges in Germanophone participants, giving initial evidence for the model’s cross-cultural generalizability. (shrink)
The traditional doctrine of human dignity has fallen on hard times. It is said that that doctrine is “speciesist to the core” and “the moral effluvium of a discredited metaphysics.” Those of us who would defend the view that humans enjoy greater moral standing than nonhuman living things must answer the question, “What’s so special about humans?” In this paper, I argue that moral agency is a great-making property that confers special worth on its bearer.
The scientific, ethical, and policy issues raised by research involving the engraftment of human neural stem cells into the brains of nonhuman primates are explored by an interdisciplinary working group in this Policy Forum. The authors consider the possibility that this research might alter the cognitive capacities of recipient great apes and monkeys, with potential significance for their moral status.
The use of robots in therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder raises issues concerning the ethical and social acceptability of this technology and, more generally, about human–robot interaction. However, usually philosophical papers on the ethics of human–robot-interaction do not take into account stakeholders’ views; yet it is important to involve stakeholders in order to render the research responsive to concerns within the autism and autism therapy community. To support responsible research and innovation in this field, this paper identifies a (...) range of ethical, social and therapeutic concerns, and presents and discusses the results of an exploratory survey that investigated these issues and explored stakeholders’ expectations about this kind of therapy. We conclude that although in general stakeholders approve of using robots in therapy for children with ASD, it is wise to avoid replacing therapists by robots and to develop and use robots that have what we call supervised autonomy. This is likely to create more trust among stakeholders and improve the quality of the therapy. Moreover, our research suggests that issues concerning the appearance of the robot need to be adequately dealt with by the researchers and therapists. For instance, our survey suggests that zoomorphic robots may be less problematic than robots that look too much like humans. (shrink)
Debates over health care have focused for so long on economics that the proper goals for medicine seem to be taken for granted; yet problems in health care stem as much from a lack of agreement about the goals and priorities of medicine as from the way systems function. This book asks basic questions about the purposes and ends of medicine and shows that the answers have practical implications for future health care delivery, medical research, and the education of medical (...) students. The Hastings Center coordinated teams of physicians, nurses, public health experts, philosophers, theologians, politicians, health care administrators, social workers, and lawyers in fourteen countries to explore these issues. In this volume, they articulate four basic goals of medicine — prevention of disease, relief of suffering, care of the ill, and avoidance of premature death — and examine them in light of the cultural, political, and economic pressures under which medicine functions. In reporting these findings, the contributors touch on a wide range of diverse issues such as genetic technology, Chinese medicine, care of the elderly, and prevention and public health. The Goals of Medicine clearly demonstrates the importance of clarifying the purposes of medicine before attempting to change the economic and organizational systems. It warns that without such examination, any reform efforts may be fruitless. (shrink)
In _The Priority of Prudence_, DanielMark Nelson proposes a reappropriation of a moral perspective that focuses on the cardinal virtues of courage, temperance, justice, and prudence. The study aims to recover and rehabilitate the virtue of prudence as a way of resuming a moral conversation that has been stalemated for too long. Nelson's main source for reviving the virtue of prudence is St. Thomas Aquinas's account of the cardinal virtues in the _Summa Theologica_. A primary problem with (...) using Aquinas as a source for reviving an ethics of virtue centered on prudence is that he is commonly perceived as the most prominent figure in the conflicting natural-law tradition. According to Nelson's reinterpretation, however, Aquinas teaches that moral understanding depends first and foremost on prudence working in accord with other cardinal virtues and that natural law functions to explain moral reasoning rather than to guide it. This study serves to advance the debate about the contemporary relevance of an ethics of virtue by way of its significantly more detailed explication of prudence. Nelson makes important connections between influential reinterpretations of the ethical theory of Aquinas that have been published during the last thirty years and widespread interest in an ethics of virtue that has been expressed by Alasdair Maclntyre, Stanley Hauerwas, William Sullivan, Robert Bellah, and others. _The Priority of Prudence _represents a significant contribution to the scholarly literature both in the study of Aquinas and in the debate on the ethics of virtue. (shrink)
We argue that generic generalizations about racial groups are pernicious in what they communicate (both to members of that racial group and to members of other racial groups), and may be central to the construction of social categories like racial groups. We then consider how we should change and challenge uses of generic generalizations about racial groups.
Many forms of Buddhism, divergent in philosophy and style, emerged as Buddhism filtered out of India into other parts of Asia. Nonetheless, all of them embodied an ethical core that is remarkably consistent. Articulated by the historical Buddha in his first sermon, this moral core is founded on the concept of karma--that intentions and actions have future consequences for an individual--and is summarized as Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood, three of the elements of the Eightfold Path. Although they (...) were later elaborated and interpreted in a multitude of ways, none of these core principles were ever abandoned. The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics provides a comprehensive overview of the field of Buddhist ethics in the twenty-first century. The Handbook discusses the foundations of Buddhist ethics focusing on karma and the precepts looking at abstinence from harming others, stealing, and intoxication. It considers ethics in the different Buddhist traditions and the similarities they share, and compares Buddhist ethics to Western ethics and the psychology of moral judgments. The volume also investigates Buddhism and society analysing economics, environmental ethics, and Just War ethics. The final section focuses on contemporary issues surrounding Buddhist ethics, including gender, sexuality, animal rights, and euthanasia. This groundbreaking collection offers an indispensable reference work for students and scholars of Buddhist ethics and comparative moral philosophy. (shrink)
Daniel Haybron’s recent book, The Pursuit of Unhappiness, includes a defense of a normative notion of well-being. Haybron’s main contribution is to argue that a central component of well-being is the fulfillment of one’s “emotional nature,” that is, fulfillment as a unique individual who is such as to find happiness in some things rather than others. We argue that the contrast he draws between his view and “Aristotelian” views of well-being is problematic in two ways. First, Haybron says that (...) unlike the self-fulfillment theory, Aristotelian theories of well-being are “perfectionist” theories; we argue that Haybron’s concerns about “perfectionism” should be distinguished from Aristotelian eudaimonist theory. Second, Haybron’s self-fulfillment theory makes an individual’s well-being wholly dependent on that individual’s make-up, and we argue that that is a bad fit with our considered convictions about well-being. (shrink)
The National Center for Biomedical Ontology is a consortium that comprises leading informaticians, biologists, clinicians, and ontologists, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap, to develop innovative technology and methods that allow scientists to record, manage, and disseminate biomedical information and knowledge in machine-processable form. The goals of the Center are (1) to help unify the divergent and isolated efforts in ontology development by promoting high quality open-source, standards-based tools to create, manage, and use ontologies, (2) to create (...) new software tools so that scientists can use ontologies to annotate and analyze biomedical data, (3) to provide a national resource for the ongoing evaluation, integration, and evolution of biomedical ontologies and associated tools and theories in the context of driving biomedical projects (DBPs), and (4) to disseminate the tools and resources of the Center and to identify, evaluate, and communicate best practices of ontology development to the biomedical community. Through the research activities within the Center, collaborations with the DBPs, and interactions with the biomedical community, our goal is to help scientists to work more effectively in the e-science paradigm, enhancing experiment design, experiment execution, data analysis, information synthesis, hypothesis generation and testing, and understand human disease. (shrink)
By using social media, corporations can communicate about their corporate social responsibility to the public without having to pass through the gatekeeping function of the news media. However, to what extent can corporations influence the public’s evaluation of their CSR activities with social media activities and if the legacy news media still act as the primary agenda setters when it comes to corporate reputation have not yet been thoroughly analyzed in a digitized media environment. This study addressed this research gap (...) by looking at the effect of CSR communication through Facebook and news media coverage of CSR on corporate reputation in Switzerland. The results of this longitudinal study show that the salience and tone of news media coverage of CSR were positively related to corporate reputation, even though the news media coverage about CSR was predominantly negative. Thus, reputation was still strengthened even in the face of negative publicity. No effect of CSR communication through Facebook on corporate reputation was found. The results suggest that legacy news media still were influential in determining how the public evaluates corporations in the digital age. (shrink)
The strategy of this paper is twofold: First, we carry out a systematic investigation of the question of what specific kind of meaning quotation marks contribute to the overall meaning of an utterance. We consider the following kinds of meaning: literal meaning (§ 2.1), conventional implicature (§ 2.2), presupposition (§ 2.3), and conversational implicature (§ 2.4). We present arguments in favor of a pragmatic analysis of quotation marks, claiming that the notion of conversational implicature seems to be the most promising (...) alternative: All general features of this kind of meaning are met by quotational constructions. Nonetheless, an approach based on conversational implicatures faces some problems when taking direct and pure quotations into account, namely effects on truth-conditions and, allegedly, on grammaticality. Thus, our second aim is to propose acceptable solutions to these criticisms in § 3. Finally, in § 4, we consider how a radical pragmatic account of quotation could be integrated into a Neo-Gricean architecture of the semantics/pragmatics-interface. (shrink)
Most existing theories of quotation are restricted, sometimes implicitly, to certain aspects of quotation mark usage. In this paper, we have the somewhat ambitious aim of outlining an all-encompassing theory of quotation in (written) natural language. We first provide a naïve but neutral definition of quotation – quotation is everything between a pair of quotation marks – followed by a brief typology. Then, we develop an account of quotation which relies mainly on pragmatic mechanisms in order to explain what (...) role quotation marks play in achieving communicative ends of writers. Quotation marks, we argue, are best understood as minimal pragmatic markers that block the stereotypical interpretation of the expression they enclose. They thereby indicate that some alternative interpretation ought to be inferred. We then address some worries about our view in order to clarify the aim and scope of our proposal as well as some deep-rooted philosophical preconceptions about quotation. Finally, we present the results of a small corpus study which we consider a confirmation of the predictions our account makes. (shrink)