This study examines the use of a modified form of the theory of planned behavior in understanding the decisions of undergraduate students in engineering and humanities to engage in cheating. We surveyed 527 randomly selected students from three academic institutions. Results supported the use of the model in predicting ethical decision-making regarding cheating. In particular, the model demonstrated how certain variables (gender, discipline, high school cheating, education level, international student status, participation in Greek organizations or other clubs) and moral constructs (...) related to intention to cheat, attitudes toward cheating, perceptions of norms with respect to cheating, and ultimately cheating behaviors. Further the relative importance of the theory of planned behavior constructs was consistent regardless of context, whereas the contributions of variables included in the study that were outside the theory varied by context. Of particular note were findings suggesting that the extent of cheating in high school was a strong predictor of cheating in college and that engineering students reported cheating more frequently than students in the humanities, even when controlling for the number of opportunities to do so. (shrink)
The idea that science is or should be value-free, and that values are or should be formed independently of science, has been under fire by philosophers of science for decades. Science and Moral Imagination directly challenges the idea that science and values cannot and should not influence each other. Matthew J. Brown argues that science and values mutually influence and implicate one another, that the influence of values on science is pervasive and must be responsibly managed, and that science (...) can and should have an influence on our values. This interplay, he explains, must be guided by accounts of scientific inquiry and value judgment that are sensitive to the complexities of their interactions. Brown presents scientific inquiry and value judgment as types of problem-solving practices and provides a new framework for thinking about how we might ethically evaluate episodes and decisions in science, while offering guidance for scientific practitioners and institutions about how they can incorporate value judgments into their work. His framework, dubbed "the ideal of moral imagination," emphasizes the role of imagination in value judgment and the positive role that value judgment plays in science. (shrink)
Spinoza was one of the most influential figures of the Enlightenment, but his often obscure metaphysics makes it difficult to understand the ultimate message of his philosophy. Although he regarded freedom as the fundamental goal of his ethics and politics, his theory of freedom has not received sustained, comprehensive treatment. Spinoza holds that we attain freedom by governing ourselves according to practical principles, which express many of our deepest moral commitments. Matthew J. Kisner focuses on this theory and presents (...) an alternative picture of the ethical project driving Spinoza's philosophical system. His study of the neglected practical philosophy provides an accessible and concrete picture of what it means to live as Spinoza's ethics envisioned. (shrink)
Asylum has become a highly charged political issue across developed countries, raising a host of difficult ethical and political questions. What responsibilities do the world's richest countries have to refugees arriving at their borders? Are states justified in implementing measures to prevent the arrival of economic migrants if they also block entry for refugees? Is it legitimate to curtail the rights of asylum seekers to maximize the number of refugees receiving protection overall? This book draws upon political and ethical theory (...) and an examination of the experiences of the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia to consider how to respond to the challenges of asylum. In addition to explaining why asylum has emerged as such a key political issue in recent years, it provides a compelling account of how states could move towards implementing morally defensible responses to refugees. (shrink)
In Calvin's Political Theology and the Public Engagement of the Church, Matthew J. Tuininga explores a little appreciated dimension of John Calvin's political thought, his two kingdoms theology, as a model for constructive Christian participation in liberal society. Widely misunderstood as a proto-political culture warrior, due in part to his often misinterpreted role in controversies over predestination and the heretic Servetus, Calvin articulated a thoughtful approach to public life rooted in his understanding of the gospel and its teaching concerning (...) the kingdom of God. He staked his ministry in Geneva on his commitment to keeping the church distinct from the state, abandoning simplistic approaches that placed one above the other, while rejecting the temptations of sectarianism or separatism. This revealing analysis of Calvin's vision offers timely guidance for Christians seeking a mode of faithful, respectful public engagement in democratic, pluralistic communities today. (shrink)
Whilst Edward Gibbon's Memoirs of My Life comprise a notoriously complex document of autobiographical artifice, there is no reason to question the honesty of its revelation of his attitudes to geography and its relationship to the historian's craft. Writing of his boyhood before going up to Oxford, Gibbon commented that his vague and multifarious reading could not teach me to think, to write, or to act; and the only principle, that darted a ray of light into the indigested chaos, was (...) an early and rational application of the order of time and place. The maps of Cellarius and Wells imprinted in my mind the picture of ancient geography: from Stranchius I imbibed the elements of chronology: the Tables of Helvicus and Anderson, the Annals of Usher [ sic ] and Prideaux, distinguished the connection of events. . . This seems a fairly direct comment on Gibbon's attitude to geography as a historian in that it is confirmed by various of his working documents and commonplace book comments not aimed at posterity and by the practice embodied in his great work that was thus targeted, the Decline and Fall. Taking Gibbon's private documents, the first manuscript we have in his English Essays, for example, is a tabulated chronology from circa 1751 when Gibbon was fourteen years old, which begins with the creation of the world in 6000 BC and runs up to 1590 BC, this being exactly the sort of material which could be commonplaced from the likes of Ussher and Prideaux. Matching this attention to chronology is a concern with geography, and indeed the two are coupled together as in his comment in the Memoirs. Thus in his Index Expurgatoris, Gibbon berates Sallust as “no very correct historian” on the grounds that his chronology is not credible and that “notwithstanding his laboured description of Africa, nothing can be more confused than his Geography without either division of provinces or fixing of towns”. In this regard, Gibbon the author of the Decline and Fall was a “correct” historian, in that he was careful to frame each arena in which historical events were narrated in the light of a prefatory description of the geography of the location under discussion. This is most readily apparent in the second half of the opening chapter of the work, where Gibbon proceeds on what his “Table of Contents” calls a “View of the Provinces of the Roman Empire”, starting in the West with Spain and then proceeding clockwise to reach Africa on the other side of the Pillars of Hercules, a pattern of geographical description directly mirroring ancient practice in Strabo's Geography and Pomponius Mela's De Situ Orbis. But this practice of prefacing a historical account with geographical description repeats itself at various points in the work, as when, approaching the end of his grand narrative, Gibbon reaches the impact of “Mahomet, with sword in one hand and the Koran in the other” on “the causes of the decline and fall of the Eastern empire”. Before discussing the birth of Islam, Gibbon treats his readers to a discussion of the geography of Arabia, beginning with its size and shape before moving on to its soils, climate and physical–geographic subdivisions. (shrink)
Thirteen original essays by leading scholars explore aspects of Spinoza's ethical theory and, in doing so, deepen our understanding of it as the richly rewarding core of his system. They resolve interpretive difficulties, advance longstanding debates, and point the direction for future research.
The Impact of 9-11 on Religion and Philosophy is the sixth volume of the six-volume series The Day that Changed Everything? edited by Matthew J. Morgan. This volume features a foreword by John Esposito and contributors include Jean Bethke Elshtain, Philip Yancey, John Milbank, Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, John Cobb and Martin Cook.
The view that it is better for life to be created free of disability is pervasive in both common sense and philosophy. We cast doubt on this view by focusing on an influential line of thinking that manifests it. That thinking begins with a widely-discussed principle, Procreative Beneficence, and draws conclusions about parental choice and disability. After reconstructing two versions of this argument, we critique the first by exploring the relationship between different understandings of well-being and disability, and the second (...) by more briefly focusing on the idea of a significant reason. By placing these results against the broader historical and ongoing contexts in which the lives of those with disabilities have been deemed of inferior quality, we conclude with a call for greater humility about disability and well-being in thought and practice. (shrink)
Proponents of the value ladenness of science rely primarily on arguments from underdetermination or inductive risk, which share the premise that we should only consider values where the evidence runs out or leaves uncertainty; they adopt a criterion of lexical priority of evidence over values. The motivation behind lexical priority is to avoid reaching conclusions on the basis of wishful thinking rather than good evidence. This is a real concern, however, that giving lexical priority to evidential considerations over values is (...) a mistake and unnecessary for avoiding the wishful thinking. Values have a deeper role to play in science. (shrink)
We uncover a largely unnoticed and unaddressed problem in conservation research: arguments built within studies are sometimes defective in more fundamental and specific ways than appreciated, because they misrelate values and empirical matters. We call this the unraveled rope problem because just as strands of rope must be properly and intricately wound with each other so the rope supports its load, empirical aspects and value aspects of an argument must be related intricately and properly if the argument is to objectively (...) support its conclusion. By characterizing this problem with precision, our study differs from but complements existing studies of value issues in conservation science, in two ways. First, it focuses on key relationships between empirical issues and value issues, relations that have sometimes been obscured by focusing on these issues more independently of each other. Second, it focuses on these relationships within arguments and deploys a method of argument analysis and evaluation honed in other fields but under-utilized in conservation science. By combining our study's novel features, we detail six families of argument defect that exemplify the unraveled rope problem within existing literature. These defects sometimes manifest within basic research stages, rather than just in more applied downstream stages where roles for values are already obvious to many. As scientific reasoning and communication become increasingly important for addressing society's greatest environmental challenges, overcoming the unraveled rope problem will be essential to the success and integrity of conservation research. Therefore, we also outline potential solutions, preventative measures, and useful further work for conservation researchers. (shrink)
This paper is about both an application of virtue ethics, and about virtue ethics itself. A popular application of neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics to environmental issues is called interpersonal extensionism. It argues that we should view the normative range of traditional interpersonal virtues, such as compassion and humility, as extending beyond our interactions with people to also include our interactions with non-human environments. This paper uncovers an unaddressed problem for this view, then proposes a solution by revising how we understand neo-Aristotelian (...) virtue ethics itself. The tenet in question, defended by virtue ethicists such as Hursthouse and Foot, claims that a character trait counts as a virtue only if it is strictly necessary for human flourishing. This tenet threatens interpersonal extensionism because, as I show, the extended or environment-regarding aspects of virtues such as compassion and humility are not strictly speaking necessary for human flourishing: people can in principle flourish without those. But I then argue that diversities across both people and environments give us good, seldom acknowledged, reasons to revise neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics so that it no longer imposes the tenet that led to this problem. Neither a trait nor an aspect of it need be necessary for human flourishing in order to count as a neo-Aristotelian virtue. Indeed, marked variation between people and between environments can be complementary with respect to flourishing. Sometimes, for instance, part of the reason an environment-regarding aspect of compassion is virtuous is because of its distinct role in creating conditions that increase the chance that others will flourish. To show these things, I draw from work in philosophy of science on cluster approaches to categories and constitution, and from experiences working with diverse people in Canada's diverse national and provincial parks. (shrink)
One of the liveliest debates about cognition concerns whether our cognition sometimes extends beyond our brains and bodies. One party says Yes, another No. This paper shows that debate between these parties has been epistemologically confused and requires reorienting. Both parties frequently appeal to empirical considerations and to extra-empirical theoretical virtues to support claims about where cognition is. These things should constrain their claims, but cannot do all the work hoped. This is because of the overlooked fact, uncovered in this (...) paper, that we could never distinguish the rival views empirically or by typical theoretical virtues. I show this by drawing on recent work on testing, predictive accuracy, and theoretical virtues. The recommendation to emerge is that we step back from debate about where cognition is, to the epistemology of what cognition is. (shrink)
In this paper I give a definition of assertion that develops William P. Alston’s account. Alston’s account of assertion combines a responsibility condition R, which captures the appropriate socio-normative status that one undertakes in asserting something, with an explicit presentation condition, such that the speech act in some way presents the content of what is being asserted. I develop Alston’s account of explicit presentation and add a Brandomian responsibility condition. I then argue that this produces an attractive position on the (...) nature of assertion. (shrink)
Analytic metaphysics of gender has taken an ameliorative turn towards ethical and political questions regarding what our concept of gender ought to be, and how gendered society should be structured. Abolitionism about gender, which claims that we ought to mandate gender out of existence, has therefore seen renewed interest. I consider three arguments for abolitionism from radically different perspectives: Haslanger’s simple argument, Escalante’s Gender Nihilism, and Okin’s argument from ideal theory. I argue that none of the above manage to establish (...) the desirability of abolitionism and that we should be wary of the abolitionist position, as it imperils trans lives. (shrink)
This ~4000 word essay introduces topics of essentialism, as they arise in social sciences. It distinguishes empirical (e.g., psychological) from philosophical studies of essentialisms, and both metaphysical and scientific essentialisms within philosophy. Essentialism issues in social science are shown to be more subtle and complex than often presumed.
A Significant percentage of the people outside their country of citizenship or residence who are unable to meet their basic needs on their own, and need international protection, do not fall under the definition set out in the UN Refugee Convention. This has led many - both academic commentators and activists - to call for a new, expanded refugee definition, preferably backed up by a new, binding, international convention. In earlier work I have resisted this call, arguing that there is (...) good reason to pick out a sub-stet of those in need of international aid - a set that largely, if not completely, corresponds to those picked out by the Refugee Convention - for special benefit and protection. However, even if Convention refugees are in some ways special, we are left with the question of what, if anything, is owed to those in need of aid who are not Convention refugees. In this chapter, I set out philosophical foundations for so-called complementary protection, and show how this may and should apply to people in need of international aid who are not Convention refugees. (shrink)
Family ties play a particular and distinctive role in immigration policy. Essentially every country allows ‘family-based immigration’ of some sorts, and family ties may have significant importance in many other areas of immigration policy as well, grounding ‘derivative’ rights to asylum, providing access to citizenship and other benefits at accelerated rates, and serving as a shield from the danger of removal or deportation. Furthermore, status as a child may provide certain benefits to irregular migrants or others without proper immigration standing (...) that is not available to adults. Despite the fact that these benefits are extremely widespread, the justification for them remains less than fully clear, and the extent of the benefits required by considerations of justice (as opposed to expediency or other policy considerations) is debated. While essentially all states recognize at least some of these rights, a significant number of them wish to reduce, rescind, or place significant conditions on them. The role of the family in immigration policy, then, stands in need of further clarification. In this paper I attempt to provide the needed clarification and justification. I discuss first questions about family unification or formation, focusing in particular on how broad a right must be provided by states wishing to have a just immigration policy, and on whether this right violates norms of liberal neutrality. I then discuss the family in relation to refugee and asylum policy, considering both when family ties should be given weight in refugee protection decision and when harm to a family member should, on its own, be able to be grounds for applying for refugee protection. I turn next to the question of when, and to what extent, family ties should be able to serve as a “shield” to removal or deportation, and finish with a discussion of the special rights of and obligations to children in immigration settings. (shrink)
This is a short introduction to a book symposium on Paul Gowder's recent book, _The Rule of Law in thee Real World_ (Cambridge University Press, 2016). The book symposium will appear in the St. Luis University Law Journal, 62 St. Louis U. L.J., -- (2018), with commentaries on Gowder's book by colleen Murphy, Robin West, Chad Flanders, and Matthew Lister, along with replies by Paul Gowder.
In this article, I consider the neglected question of justice between states in the distribution of responsibility for refugees. I argue that a just distribution of refugees across states is an important normative goal and, accordingly, I attempt to rethink the normative foundations of the global refugee regime. I show that because dismantling the restrictive measures currently used by states in the global South to prevent the arrival of refugees will not suffice to ensure a just distribution of refugees between (...) states, a more detailed account of how responsibilities should be shared between states is required. To this end, I make three claims. First, I argue that the definition of ‘refugee’ must be broadened beyond those subjected to persecution to include harms of action or omission by states that seriously jeopardise personal security or subsistence needs. Second, I argue that allocating a fair share of refugees to states should be based on state’s integrative capacities. Finally, I argue that distributive justice between states must be balanced against the legitimate interests of refugees in their destination country and the duty of states to ensure they are settled in places where they are likely to flourish. (shrink)
I want to make plausible the following claim:Analyzing scientific inquiry as a species of socially distributed cognition has a variety of advantages for science studies, among them the prospects of bringing together philosophy and sociology of science. This is not a particularly novel claim, but one that faces major obstacles. I will retrace some of the major steps that have been made in the pursuit of a distributed cognition approach to science studies, paying special attention to the promise that such (...) an approach holds out for bridging the rift between philosophy and the social studies of science. (shrink)
This paper is a response to some recent discussions of many-minds interpretations in the philosophical literature. After an introduction to the many-minds idea, the complexity of quantum states for macroscopic objects is stressed. Then it is proposed that a characterization of the physical structure of observers is a proper goal for physical theory. It is argued that an observer cannot be defined merely by the instantaneous structure of a brain, but that the history of the brain's functioning must also be (...) taken into account. Next the nature of probability in many-minds interpretations is discussed and it is suggested that only discrete probability models are needed. The paper concludes with brief comments on issues of actuality and identity over time. (shrink)
Despite the recent upsurge of interest in comparative political theory, there has been virtually no serious examination of Buddhism by political philosophers in the past five decades. In part, this is because Buddhism is not typically seen as a school of political thought. However, as Matthew Moore argues, Buddhism simultaneously parallels and challenges many core assumptions and arguments in contemporary Western political theory. In brief, Western thinkers not only have a great deal to learn about Buddhism, they have a (...) great deal to learn from it. To both incite and facilitate the process of Western theorists engaging with this neglected tradition, this book provides a detailed, critical reading of the key primary Buddhist texts, from the earliest recorded teachings of the Buddha through the present day. It also discusses the relevant secondary literature on Buddhism and political theory, as well as the literatures on particular issues addressed in the argument. Moore argues that Buddhist political thought rests on three core premises--that there is no self, that politics is of very limited importance in human life, and that normative beliefs and judgments represent practical advice about how to live a certain way, rather than being obligatory commands about how all persons must act. He compares Buddhist political theory to what he sees as Western analogues--Nietzsche's similar but crucially different theory of the self, Western theories of limited citizenship from Epicurus to John Howard Yoder, and to the Western tradition of immanence theories in ethics. This will be the first comprehensive treatment of Buddhism as political theory. (shrink)
_Published by Taylor & Francis Group for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education_ This _Handbook_ addresses the concept and implementation of technological pedagogical content knowledge -- the knowledge and skills that teachers need in order to integrate technology meaningfully into instruction in specific content areas. Recognizing, for example, that effective uses of technology in mathematics are quite different from effective uses of technology in social studies, teachers need specific preparation in using technology in each content area they will (...) be teaching. Offering a series of chapters by scholars in different content areas who apply the technological pedagogical content knowledge framework to their individual content areas, the volume is structured around three themes: What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge? Integrating Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge into Specific Subject Areas Integrating Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge into Teacher Education and Professional Development The _Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Educators_ is simultaneously a mandate and a manifesto on the engagement of technology in classrooms based on consensus standards and rubrics for effectiveness. As the title of the concluding chapter declares, "It’s about time!" The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national, voluntary association of higher education institutions and related organizations. Our mission is to promote the learning of all PK-12 students through high-quality, evidence-based preparation and continuing education for all school personnel. For more information on our publications, visit our website at: www.aacte.org. (shrink)
Spinoza's Ethics is one of the most significant texts of the early modern period, important to history, philosophy, Jewish studies and religious studies. It had a major influence on Enlightenment thinkers and the development of the modern world. In Ethics, Spinoza addresses the most fundamental perennial philosophical questions concerning the nature of God, human beings and a good life. His startling answers synthesize the longstanding traditions of ancient Greek and Jewish philosophy with the developments of the emerging scientific revolution. The (...) resulting philosophical system casts out the willing, personal God of Abrahamic religions and takes up the challenge of reconceiving the natural world and human beings in an entirely secular way. This volume offers a new translation based on a new critical edition, reflecting the state of the art in Spinoza scholarship, and also includes an introduction, chronology and glossary to help make this notoriously difficult text accessible. (shrink)
Spinoza’s ethical claims rest on a basic set of concepts that he regards as kinds of activity: striving, power, virtue, freedom, perfection, among others. Steven Nadler articulates a standard way of thinking about the relationship between these activity concepts: “a number of terms in Spinoza are co-extensive and refer to the same ideal human condition. We can set up the following equation for Spinoza: virtue = knowledge = activity = freedom = power = perfection. Necessarily, the more virtuous a person (...) is, the more knowledge he has, the more free, active and powerful he is, and the more he has achieved of human perfection.” This paper counters that Spinoza’s various notions of activity are not coextensive and do not refer to the same thing. In particular, Spinoza employs two basic notions of activity: striving and being an adequate cause. While these notions of activity are closely connected, they are not coextensive because a thing can strive without being an adequate cause of an effect. I defend that Spinoza’s various other activity concepts—virtue, perfection, reason and so forth—are pegged to one of these two basic notions of activity, so that Spinoza’s activity concepts are bifurcated into two categories, which are not coextensive with one another. Indeed, the members of each category may not be coextensive with one another. -/- Because these basic activity concepts play a fundamental role in Spinoza’s philosophical claims, this thesis has far-reaching implications. Most notably, the standard way of thinking mentioned above indicates that Spinoza’s basic ethical concepts, such as freedom and virtue, are coextensive with being an adequate cause. Since an adequate cause is the sole cause of some effect, this reading implies that freedom and virtue amount to being a sole cause and, thus, to being causally independent and self-sufficient. I argue, in contrast, that human freedom and virtue are coextensive with striving, which does not require causal independence. On this reading, human freedom and virtue can include instances of causal dependence, which implies that Spinoza’s ethics takes a more favorable view of human dependence, passivity and cooperation. (shrink)
While it is often supposed that Spinoza understood a life of virtue as one of pure activity, with as few passions as possible, this paper aims to make explicit how the passions for Spinoza contribute positively to our virtue. This requires, first, explaining how a passion can increase our power, given Spinoza’s view on the passions generally, which, in turn, requires coming to terms with the problem of passive pleasure, that is, the problem of explaining how being passive can cause (...) an increase in our power. In brief, this paper will argue that, for Spinoza, even when we are passive, we are somewhat active or, in Spinoza’s language, “adequate” to varying degrees. The passions represent activity because they exercise our understanding by providing us with intelligence about external bodies and our own bodies, in particular, the degree of our bodies’ perfection. It follows that a passion can be sufficiently adequate to bring about an increase in one’s power; in this sense, they can be virtuous. Moreover, this paper will show that the passions can also be virtuous in a moral sense. The view goes roughly as follows: according to Spinoza, the passions serve as a measure of our perfection. Consequently, they play a necessary role in moral reasoning, by indicating which activities increase or hinder our virtue. On this view, a truly virtuous person would require the passions in order to engage consistently in the sorts of activities which increase her power, in particular, following reason. Since this sort of consistency in behavior is necessary for a virtuous character, the passions can be virtuous in the sense that they are necessary aspects of the sort of character which disposes us to act according to reason. (shrink)
A far-reaching and influential view in evolutionary biology claims that species are cohesive units held together by gene flow. Biologists have recognized empirical problems facing this view; after sharpening the expression of the view, we present novel conceptual problems for it. At the heart of these problems is a distinction between two importantly different concepts of cohesion, what we call integrative and response cohesion. Acknowledging the distinction problematizes both the explanandum of species cohesion and the explanans of gene flow that (...) are central to the view we discuss. We conclude by tracing four broader implications for the study and conceptualization of species. (shrink)
The costs of the COVID-19 pandemic are yet to be calculated, but they include the loss of millions of lives and the destruction of countless livelihoods. What is certain is that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has changed the way we live for the foreseeable future. It has forced many to live in ways they would have previously thought impossible. As well as challenging scientists and medical professionals to address urgent value conflicts in the short term, COVID-19 has raised slower-burning value questions (...) for corporations, public institutions, governments, and policymakers. In simple terms, the pandemic has brought what we care about into sharp relief, both collectively and individually. Whether this revaluation of our values will last beyond the current pandemic is unknown. Once COVID-19 has been tamed, will the desire to return to our previous lives be irresistible? Or will living under pandemic conditions have taught us something that will be incorporated into how we design our future lives and technologies? These are hard questions for the ethics of technology, which this volume aims to explore and address. (shrink)
This paper isolates a hard, long-standing species problem: developing a comprehensive and exacting theory about the constitutive conditions of the species category, one that is accurate for most of the living world, and which vindicates the widespread view that the species category is of more theoretical import than categories such as genus, sub-species, paradivision, and stirp. The paper then uncovers flaws in several views that imply we have either already solved that hard species problem or dissolved it altogether – so-called (...) We Are Done views. In doing so the paper offers new criticisms of the general lineage species concept (GLSC), evolutionary species concept (EvSC), biological species concept (BSC), other similar concepts, Ereshefsky’s eliminative pluralism about the species category, and both Mishler’s pessimism and Wilkins’ phenomenalism about that category. Opposed to We Are Done views, the paper argues for a Revving Up view, on which we are nearly ready to begin the hard species problem in earnest. To help work towards these conclusions, the paper begins with an outline of a new kind of view of species (Barker 2019a), which proposes they are feedback systems of a mathematically specifiable and empirically testable sort. (shrink)
I critically analyze Kevin Elliott’s A Tapestry of Values in order to tease out his views on the nature and status of values or value judgments in the text. I show there is a tension in Elliott’s view that is closely connected to a major lacuna in the philosophical literature on values in science: the need for a better theory of values.
In recent years, pragmatism in general and John Dewey in particular have been of increasing interest to philosophers of science. Dewey's work provides an interesting alternative package of views to those which derive from the logical empiricists and their critics, on problems of both traditional and more recent vintage. Dewey's work ought to be of special interest to recent philosophers of science committed to the program of analyzing ``science in practice.'' The core of Dewey's philosophy of science is his theory (...) of inquiry---what he called ``logic.'' There is a major lacuna in the literature on this point, however: no contemporary philosophers of science have engaged with Dewey's logical theory, and scholars of Dewey's logic have rarely made connections with philosophy of science. This paper aims to fill this gap, to correct some significant errors in the interpretation of key ideas in Dewey's logical theory, and to show how Dewey's logic provides resources for a philosophy of science. (shrink)
We argue for a new conventionalism about many kinds of evolutionary groups, including clades, cohesive units, and populations. This rejects a consensus, which says that given any one of the many legitimate grouping concepts, only objective biological facts determine whether a collection is such a group. Surprisingly, being any one kind of evolutionary group typically depends on which of many incompatible values are taken by suppressed variables. This is a novel pluralism underlying most any one group concept, rather than a (...) familiar pluralism claiming many concepts are legitimate. Consequently, we must help biological facts determine grouphood, even when given a single grouping concept. (shrink)
Philosophy of Science After Feminism is an important contribution to philosophy of science, in that it argues for the central relevance of advances from previous work in feminist philosophy of science and articulates a new vision for philosophy of science going in to the future. Kourany’s vision of philosophy of science’s future as “socially engaged and socially responsible” and addressing questions of the social responsibility of science itself has much to recommend it. I focus the book articulation of an ethical-epistemic (...) ideal for science, the Ideal of Socially Responsible Science, compare it to recent work in the same vein by Heather Douglas, and argue for some advantages of Kourany’s approach. I then ask some critical question about the view, particularly with respect to the source of values that are to be integrated into science and the status of values that are to be so integrated. I argue that Kourany is too sanguine about where the values that inquirers will use come from and that these values seem to be accorded too fixed a status in her account. (shrink)
I discuss two popular but apparently contradictory theses: -/- T1. The democratic control of science – the aims and activities of science should be subject to public scrutiny via democratic processes of representation and participation. T2. The scientific control of policy, i.e. technocracy – political processes should be problem-solving pursuits determined by the methods and results of science and technology. Many arguments can be given for (T1), both epistemic and moral/political; I will focus on an argument based on the role (...) of non-epistemic values in policy-relevant science. I will argue that we must accept (T2) as a result of an appraisal of the nature of contemporary political problems. Technocratic systems, however, are subject to serious moral and political objections; these difficulties are sufficiently mitigated by (T1). I will set out a framework in which (T1) and (T2) can be consistently and compellingly combined. (shrink)
Over the last 2,300 years or so, many philosophers have believed that species are individuated by essences that are at least in part intrinsic. Psychologists tell us most folks also believe this view. But most philosophers of biology have abandoned the view, in light of evolutionary conceptions of species. In defiance, Michael Devitt has attempted in this journal to resurrect a version of the view, which he calls Intrinsic Biological Essentialism. I show that his arguments for the resurrection fail, and (...) I identify challenges that face anyone wishing to defend Intrinsic Biological Essentialism. (shrink)
This short paper, written for a wide audience, introduces "science and values" topics as they have arisen in the context of eugenics. The paper especially focuses on the context of 20th century eugenics in western Canada, where eugenic legislation in two provinces was not repealed until the 1970s and thousands of people were sterilized without their consent. A framework for understanding science-value relationships within this context is discussed, and so too is recent relevant work in philosophy of science.
Pluralisms of various sorts are popular in philosophy of science, including those that imply some scientific concept x should be eliminated from science in favour of a plurality of concepts x1, x2, … xn. This article focuses on influential and representative arguments for such eliminative pluralism about the concept species. The main conclusions are that these arguments fail, that all other extant arguments also fail, and that this reveals a quite general dilemma, one that poses a defeasible presumption against many (...) eliminative pluralisms about various scientific concepts. The article ends by outlining a novel integrative alternative in defence of species. 1) Introduction 2) The species Concept, the Category ‘Species’, and the ‘Species’ Category Problem 3) What Are Eliminative Pluralism about species, and the Arguments for It? 4) Evaluation of Arguments 4.1 Splitting? 4.2 Lumping? 4.3 The eliminative pluralist’s dilemma 5) More General Lessons6Species Cohesion: An Integrative Alternative7Conclusion. (shrink)
Carlo Rovelli's relational interpretation of quantum mechanics holds that a system's states or the values of its physical quantities as normally conceived only exist relative to a cut between a system and an observer or measuring instrument. Furthermore, on Rovelli's account, the appearance of determinate observations from pure quantum superpositions happens only relative to the interaction of the system and observer. Jeffrey Barrett () has pointed out that certain relational interpretations suffer from what we might call the ‘determinacy problem', but (...) Barrett misclassifies Rovelli's interpretation by lumping it in with Mermin's view, as Rovelli's view is quite different and has resources to escape the particular criticisms that Barrett makes of Mermin's view. Rovelli's interpretation still leaves us with a paradox having to do with the determinacy of measurement outcomes, which can be accepted only if we are willing to give up on certain elements of the ‘absolute’ view of the world. (shrink)
Common wisdom includes expressions such as “there is no accounting for taste'’ that express a widely-accepted subjectivism about taste. We commonly say things like “I can’t stand anything with onions in it'’ or “Oh, I’d never eat sushi,'’ and we accept such from our friends and associates. It is the position of this essay that much of this language is actually quite unacceptable. Without appealing to complete objectivism about taste, I will argue that there are good reasons to think that (...) there will be fairly wide agreement between experienced palates on aesthetic preferences, and that this result will not necessarily agree with unexperienced and unreflective opinions on the matter. Subjectivism about aesthetic preference can be taken to justify the practice of picking eating (after all, who is better to say what I’ll enjoy than me?), while the position of this paper is that such picky eating is a moral failing. To be a picky eater is to have a significant lack of openness to new experiences. It involves an irresponsible level of fallibilism with respect to taste. Never venturing into new aesthetic landscapes leads to a sort of repetitiveness, which in turn leads to a life full of blandness and banality. (shrink)
This paper explores the question of whether there can be a right to secede from a liberal state by examining the concept of a liberal state and the different forms of liberalism that may be appealed to in order to justify secession. It argues that where the foundations of the state’s legitimacy are conceived in terms of a non-derivative right to self-determination, then secession from a liberal state may be a justified form of action for different types of groups including (...) ‘illiberal’ ones. If, however, a broader definition of political legitimacy is adopted – one that is predicated upon the liberal notions of individual moral autonomy and equality – then the right to independent statehood will generally not include a right to secede from a state that already upholds these principles. Consequently, liberal theorists of secession are forced to choose between particularizing a right of independent statehood to groups trapped in illiberal states, or acknowledging that the right to secede includes a right to establish an ‘illiberal’ state that bestows upon its citizens unequal rights and entitlements other than a right of exit. (shrink)
In the face of the desperate plight of refugees, virtually all moral and political philosophers, regardless of their general position on immigration controls, argue that states have a duty to grant asylum: people must not be turned back to countries where they would face persecution or severe human rights violations. Yet this consensus obscures a number of thorny ethical issues raised by the plight of the displaced. In this piece, I want to draw from recent writing in political and ethical (...) theory to bring some of these issues into view. I start by considering what a refugee is, before turning to the question how the obligations of political communities to the displaced are grounded. I then move to consider what societies owe to refugees and the question of international justice in the allocation of asylum. I conclude with a discussion of the moral responsibilities of refugees themselves. (shrink)
It has been suggested, on the one hand, that quantum states are just states of knowledge; and, on the other, that quantum theory is merely a theory of correlations. These suggestions are confronted with problems about the nature of psycho-physical parallelism and about how we could define probabilities for our individual future observations given our individual present and previous observations. The complexity of the problems is underlined by arguments that unpredictability in ordinary everyday neural functioning, ultimately stemming from small-scale uncertainties (...) in molecular motions, may overwhelm, by many orders of magnitude, many conventionally recognized sources of observed ``quantum'' uncertainty. Some possible ways of avoiding the problems are considered but found wanting. It is proposed that a complete understanding of the relationship between subjective experience and its physical correlates requires the introduction of mathematical definitions and indeed of new physical laws. (shrink)
The border is an area where the rule of law has often found difficulty taking root, existing as law-free zones characterized by largely unbounded legal and administrative discretion. In his important new book, The Rule of Law in the Real World, Paul Gowder deftly combines historical examples, formal models, legal analysis, and philosophical theory to provide a novel and compelling account of the rule of law. In this paper I consider whether the account Gowder offers can provide the tools needed (...) to bring the border under the rule of law. I argue that on Gowder’s account, there are two ways in which we might try to extend the rule of law to the border.The first is to look at concrete connections that current citizens or members of the political community have with non-citizens. Just as the interests of current citizens give them strong reasons to coordinate to establish the rule of law in their own community, so may the interests of current members in connections with nonmembers give them reason to work to extend the rule of law to the border. These interests can include family ties, other forms of personal relationships, offers of employment, intellectual connections, and others. Some of these connections already serve to give greater legal protections, including protections from arbitrary decision-making, to some non-citizens, and the general trend, I argue, can and should be further strengthened The second method for extending the rule of law to the border involves appealing to certain universal norms so as to build a sense of community that stretches beyond borders. While these norms are not as robust or well established as domestic law, and therefore are unlikely to extend all of the protections of the rule of law to all people at the border, they can, I argues, be a basis for working against the worst arbitrary actions by border officials. I conclude by considering the vexed dispute about providing “amnesty” for unauthorized immigrants in the United States and other countries. I argues that Gowder’s account of the amnesty provided to supporters of the oligarchic coups in ancient Athens provides a model for thinking about when and how amnesties for unauthorized migrants can be done without offending the rule of law, thereby making them more palatable to current citizens. (Please download this paper for free from SSRN on the link provided on this page). (shrink)