It has been argued that people in areas with high pathogen loads will be more likely to avoid outsiders, to be biased in favor of in-groups, and to hold collectivist and conformist values. Cross-national studies have supported these predictions. In this paper we provide new pathogen codes for the 186 cultures of the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample and use them, together with existing pathogen and ethnographic data, to try to replicate these cross-national findings. In support of the theory, we found that (...) cultures in high pathogen areas were more likely to socialize children toward collectivist values (obedience rather than self-reliance). There was some evidence that pathogens were associated with reduced adult dispersal. However, we found no evidence of an association between pathogens and our measures of group bias (in-group loyalty and xenophobia) or intergroup contact. (shrink)
The arts can aid the exploration of individual and collective illness narratives, with empowering effects on both patients and caregivers. The artist, partly acting as conduit, can translate and re-present illness experiences into artwork. But how are these translated experiences received by the viewer—and specifically, how does an audience respond to an art installation themed around paediatric heart transplantation and congenital heart disease? The installation, created by British artist Sofie Layton and titled Making the Invisible Visible, was presented at an (...) arts-and-health event. The piece comprised three-dimensional printed medical models of hearts with different congenital defects displayed under bell jars on a stainless steel table reminiscent of the surgical theatre, surrounded by hospital screens. The installation included a soundscape, where the voice of a mother recounting the journey of her son going through heart transplantation was interwoven with the voice of the artist reading medical terminology. A two-part survey was administered to capture viewers’ expectations and their response to the piece. Participants expected to acquire new knowledge around heart disease, get a glimpse of patients’ experiences and be surprised by the work, while after viewing the piece they mostly felt empathy, surprise, emotion and, for some, a degree of anxiety. Viewers found the installation more effective in communicating the experience of heart transplantation than in depicting the complexity of cardiovascular anatomy. Finally, analysis of open-ended feedback highlighted the intimacy of the installation and the privilege viewers felt in sharing a story, particularly in relation to the soundscape, where the connection to the narrative in the piece was reportedly strengthened by the use of sound. In conclusion, an immersive installation including accurate medical details and real stories narrated by patients can lead to an empathic response and an appreciation of the value of illness narratives. (shrink)
I distinguish two ways of explaining our capacity for ‘transparent’ knowledge of our own present beliefs, perceptions, and intentions: an inferential and a reflective approach. Alex Byrne (2011) has defended an inferential approach, but I argue that this approach faces a basic difficulty, and that a reflective approach avoids the difficulty. I conclude with a brief sketch and defence of a reflective approach to our transparent self-knowledge, and I show how this approach is connected with the thesis that we must (...) distinguish between a kind of self-knowledge that is of oneself as agent and another kind that is of oneself as patient. (shrink)
Matthew Arnold was born at Laleham-on-Thames on 24 December 1822 as the eldest son of Dr Thomas Arnold and his wife Mary. He was educated at Winchester College, his father's old school; Rugby, where his father was headmaster; and Oxford. In 1851 he was appointed Inspector of Schools, pursuing this taxing career to support his wife and family until his retirement in 1886. He published his first volume of verse, The Strayed Reveller, and other Poems, in 1849 followed by (...) Empedocles on Etna, and other Poems and five further collections which appeared, with a diminishing number of new poems in each, between 1853 and 1867, after which his creative gift appeared to dwindle still further and he published little poetry. His career as a writer of prose began to take over after his election to the Professorship of Poetry at Oxford in 1857. Stimulated by preparing his lectures, many of the earliest published in 1865 as Essays in Criticism, he turned increasingly to the vigorous and widely ranging polemical commentaries on culture, religion, and society which were to make him known at home and abroad as the foremost critic of his day. He died suddenly of heart failure on 15 April 1888 while awaiting at Liverpool the arrival of his married daughter from America. (shrink)
A selection from Arnold's writing on education, other than Culture and Anarchy. All the pieces stem from his work as Inspector of Schools: they illustrate his concern both with the principles that must be established as a basis for the education of an industrial democracy and his practical concern with the day-to-day running of schools. 'Democracy' was first published as the introduction to The Popular Education of France. It faces the fundamental political problems and outlines the general objectives of a (...) state educational system. 'A French Eton' was the result of the same examination of French education to see what the British could learn from it; here he considers private education for the middle-classes. 'The twice-revised code' criticises the national Revised Code of 1862: a system founded on gross utilitarianism. Extracts from Arnold's reports as an inspector show the man of principle at work in particular circumstances and relating what he sees to what he would wish to see. The speech on his retirement comments on his lifetime of active involvement in education. (shrink)
It is argued that instrumentalizing the value of art does an injustice to artistic appreciation and provides a hostage to fortune. Whilst aestheticism offers an intellectual bulwark against such an approach, it focuses on what is distinctive of art at the expense of broader artistic values. It is argued that artistic appreciation and creativity involve not just skills but excellences of character. The nature of particular artistic or appreciative virtues and vices are briefly explored, such as snobbery, aestheticism and creativity, (...) in order to motivate a virtue theoretic approach. Artistic virtues are intrinsically valuable excellences of character that enable us to create or appreciate all sorts of things from everyday recipes to the finest achievements of humankind. Such an approach offers a new way to resist the age old temptation to instrumentalize the values of art. (shrink)
At the end of Matters of Exchange, Harold Cook's major revisionist account of the early modern scientific revolution, he locates the political and economic writings of Bernard Mandeville within the practices and values of contemporaneous Dutch observational medicine. Like Mandeville, Cook describes the potency of early modern capitalism and its attendant value system in generating industry and knowledge; like Mandeville, Cook finds coercive systems of moral regulation to be mistaken in their estimation of human capacities; and like Mandeville, Cook does (...) not shy away from the violence that often made the worldwide commerce in matters of fact possible. “Every Part was full of Vice,” famously rhymed Mandeville, “Yet the whole Mass a Paradise.” The practices and values of science, this book suggests, stemmed from the vices of the merchant and the consumer, not the sprezzatura of the baroque courtier, the asceticism of the Christian gentleman, the speculation of the university philosopher, or the dour appraisal of the theologian. Interest, not claims to disinterest, made modern science and its attendant values possible. Scrupulous attention to goods from around the world and right at home created the conditions for natural knowledge. (shrink)
Recently Robert Forman has attempted to muster support for the largely abandoned position that mystical experiences cross-culturally include an unmediated, non-relative core. To reopen the debate he has solicited essays from likeminded scholars for his book, The Problem of Pure Consciousness. Predictably the focus of the volume rests on the refutation of the position most notably expounded by Steven Katz in his influential article of 1978, ‘Language, Epistemology and Mysticism’.
In recent years, many non-consequentialists such as Frances Kamm and Thomas Scanlon have been puzzling over what has come to be known as the Number Problem, which is how to show that the greater number in a rescue situation should be saved without aggregating the claims of the many, a typical kind of consequentialist move that seems to violate the separateness of persons. In this article, I argue that these non-consequentialists may be making the task more difficult than necessary, because (...) allowing aggregation does not prevent one from being a non-consequentialist. I shall explain how a non-consequentialist can still respect the separateness of persons while allowing for aggregation. (shrink)
Once we accept anyone's postulates he becomes our professor and our god: for his foundations he will grab territory so ample and so easy that, if he so wishes, he will drag us up to the clouds. Montaigne During the last fifteen years, the community of philosophers interested in religion has evinced a waxing concern with the justificatory value of religious experiences for theism. Two parallel but largely discrete debates have appeared in the literature.
Matthew Soteriou provides an original philosophical account of sensory and cognitive aspects of consciousness. He explores distinctions of temporal character in our mental lives--especially in relation to the exercise of agency--and illuminates the more general issue of the place and role of mental action in the metaphysics of mind.
From Plato through Aquinas to Kant and beyond beauty has traditionally been considered the paradigmatic aesthetic quality. Thus, quite naturally following Socrates' strategy in The Meno, we are tempted to generalize from our analysis of the nature and value of beauty, a particular aesthetic value, to an account of aesthetic value generally. When we look at that which is beautiful, the object gives rise to a certain kind of pleasure within us. Thus aesthetic value is characterized in terms of that (...) which affords us pleasure. Of course, the relation cannot be merely instrumental. Many activities may lead to consequent pleasures that we would not consider to be aesthetic in any way. For example, playing tennis, going swimming or finishing a book. (shrink)
This book addresses a range of relevant theoretical issues, including the possibility of an interpersonally comparable measure of well-being, or “utility” metric; the moral value of equality, and how that bears on the form of the social welfare function; social choice under uncertainty; and the possibility of integrating considerations of individual choice and responsibility into the social-welfare-function framework. This book also deals with issues of implementation, and explores how survey data and other sources of evidence might be used to calibrate (...) both a utility metric and a social welfare function, and whether distributive goals are ever best pursued through regulation rather than the tax system. In working through this range of theoretical and practical issues, the book draws from a wide variety of literatures, including philosophical scholarship on equality, responsibility, the nature of well-being, and personal identity over time; the social choice literature within economics; applied economic literatures concerning the measurement of inequality and poverty; legal and policy-analysis scholarship on cost-benefit analysis, environmental justice, and the choice between regulation and taxation; and the burgeoning field of “happiness studies”. (shrink)
Experiences of Depression is a philosophical exploration of what it is like to be depressed. In this important new book, Matthew Ratcliffe develops a detailed account of depression experiences by drawing on work in phenomenology, philosophy of mind and psychology, and several other disciplines.
John N. Williams (1994) and Matthew Weiner (2005) invoke predictions in order to undermine the normative relevance of knowledge for assertions; in particular, Weiner argues, predictions are important counterexamples to the Knowledge Account of Assertion (KAA). I argue here that they are not true counterexamples at all, a point that can be agreed upon even by those who reject KAA.
Philosophers have long been interested in a series of interrelated questions about natural kinds. What are they? What role do they play in science and metaphysics? How do they contribute to our epistemic projects? What categories count as natural kinds? And so on. Owing, perhaps, to different starting points and emphases, we now have at hand a variety of conceptions of natural kinds—some apparently better suited than others to accommodate a particular sort of inquiry. Even if coherent, this situation isn’t (...) ideal. My goal in this article is to begin to articulate a more general account of ‘natural kind phenomena’. While I do not claim that this account should satisfy everyone—it is built around a certain conception of the epistemic role of kinds and has an obvious pragmatic flavour—I believe that it has the resources to go further than extant alternatives, in particular the homeostatic property cluster view of kinds. (shrink)
The word 'ought' is one of the core normative terms, but it is also a modal word. In this book Matthew Chrisman develops a careful account of the semantics of 'ought' as a modal operator, and uses this to motivate a novel inferentialist account of why ought-sentences have the meaning that they have. This is a metanormative account that agrees with traditional descriptivist theories in metaethics that specifying the truth-conditions of normative sentences is a central part of the explanation (...) of their meaning. But Chrisman argues that this leaves important metasemantic questions about what it is in virtue of which ought-sentences have the meanings that they have unanswered. His appeal to inferentialism aims to provide a viable anti-descriptivist but also anti-expressivist answer to these questions. (shrink)
Mesoscale modeling is often considered merely as a practical strategy used when information on lower-scale details is lacking, or when there is a need to make models cognitively or computationally tractable. Without dismissing the importance of practical constraints for modeling choices, we argue that mesoscale models should not just be considered as abbreviations or placeholders for more “complete” models. Because many systems exhibit different behaviors at various spatial and temporal scales, bottom-up approaches are almost always doomed to fail. Mesoscale models (...) capture aspects of multi-scale systems that cannot be parameterized by simple averaging of lower-scale details. To understand the behavior of multi-scale systems, it is essential to identify mesoscale parameters that “code for” lower-scale details in a way that relate phenomena intermediate between microscopic and macroscopic features. We illustrate this point using examples of modeling of multi-scale systems in materials science and biology, where identification of material parameters such as stiffness or strain is a central step. The examples illustrate important aspects of a so-called “middle-out” modeling strategy. Rather than attempting to model the system bottom-up, one starts at intermediate scales where systems exhibit behaviors distinct from those at the atomic and continuum scales. One then seeks to upscale and downscale to gain a more complete understanding of the multi-scale system. The cases highlight how parameterization of lower-scale details not only enables tractable modeling but is also central to understanding functional and organizational features of multi-scale systems. (shrink)
Why do we spend so much of our time passing on amusing anecdotes, making wisecracks,watching The Simpsons? In Inside Jokes, Matthew Hurley, DanielDennett, and Reginald Adams offer an evolutionary and cognitive perspective.
It is through touch that we are able to interact directly with the world; it is our primary conduit of both pleasure and pain. Touch may be our most immediate and powerful sense—“the first sense" because of the central role it plays in experience. In this book, Matthew Fulkerson proposes that human touch, despite its functional diversity, is a single, unified sensory modality. Fulkerson offers a philosophical account of touch, reflecting the interests, methods, and approach that define contemporary philosophy; (...) but his argument is informed throughout by the insights and constraints of empirical work on touch. Human touch is a multidimensional object of investigation, Fulkerson writes, best served by using a variety of methods and approaches. -/- To defend his view of the unity of touch, Fulkerson describes and argues for a novel, unifying role for exploratory action in touch. He goes on to fill in the details of this unified, exploratory form of perception, offering philosophical accounts of tool use and distal touch, the representational structure of tangible properties, the spatial content of touch, and the role of pleasure in tactual experience. -/- Fulkerson’s argument for the unique role played by exploratory action departs notably from traditional vision-centric philosophical approaches to perception, challenging the received view that action plays the same role in all sensory modalities. The robust philosophical account of touch he offers in The First Sense has significant implications for our general understanding of perception and perceptual experience. (shrink)
Prioritarianism is an ethical theory that gives extra weight to the well-being of the worse off. In contrast, dominant policy-evaluation methodologies, such as benefit-cost analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, and utilitarianism, ignore or downplay issues of fair distribution. Based on a research group founded by the editors, this important book is the first to show how prioritarianism can be used to assess governmental policies and evaluate societal conditions. This book uses prioritarianism as a methodology to evaluate governmental policy across a variety of (...) policy domains: taxation, health policy, risk regulation, education, climate policy, and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also the first to demonstrate how prioritarianism improves on GDP as an indicator of a society's progress over time. Edited by two senior figures in the field with contributions from some of the world's leading economists, this volume bridges the gap from the theory of prioritarianism to its practical application. (shrink)