Normative realists tend to consider evolutionary debunking arguments as posing epistemological challenges to their view. By understanding Sharon Street’s ‘Darwinian dilemma’ argument in this way, they have overlooked and left unanswered her unique scientific challenge to normative realism. This paper counters Street’s scientific challenge and shows that normative realism is compatible with an evolutionary view of human evaluative judgment. After presenting several problems that her adaptive link account of evaluative judgments faces, I outline and defend an evolutionary byproduct perspective on (...) evaluative judgment. I then argue that a consideration of levels of analysis in biological–behavioral explanation suggests that the realist who adopts the byproduct perspective I outline is not at a prima facie disadvantage to the normative anti-realist on grounds of parsimony. This perspective, I suggest, can enable normative realists to answer evolutionary challenges to their view. (shrink)
Evolutionary reliabilism is the view that natural selection likely favoured reliable cognitive faculties in humans. While ER enjoys some plausibility, Stephen Stich and Alvin Plantinga have presented well-known challenges to the view. Their arguments rely on a common premiss; namely, that natural selection is indifferent to truth. This article shows that this premiss is both imprecise and too weak to support their conclusions and, therefore, that their challenges to ER fail.
A recent American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical report states that it is an acceptable option for pediatric care clinicians to dismiss families who refuse vaccines. This is a clear shift in guidance from the AAP, which previously advised clinicians to “endeavor not to discharge” patients solely because of parental vaccine refusal. While this new policy might be interpreted as encouraging or recommending dismissal of vaccine-refusing families, it instead expresses tolerance for diverse professional approaches. This is unlike the earlier guidance, (...) which promoted a unified response to vaccine refusal. In fact, the resolution (which was presented at the AAP’s Annual Leadership Forum) that led to this clinical report also calls on the AAP “to continue to support pediatricians who continue to provide health care to children of parents who refuse to immunize their children.” However, the shift toward embracing dismissal as an acceptable response to vaccine refusal may erode professional solidarity. Pediatricians are clearly divided on this question; most do not dismiss vaccine-refusing families. By declaring that dismissal is an acceptable option, the AAP has sanctioned a practice that may be unfair to the many clinicians who do not dismiss these families. Clinicians who adopt a policy of dismissal toward families who refuse vaccines might impose burdens on colleagues who remain willing to offer care to those families, and their actions might show insufficient commitment to the efforts of their profession to promote health for all children. (shrink)
Guilt poses a unique evolutionary problem. Unlike other dysphoric emotions, it is not immediately clear what its adaptive significance is. One can imagine thriving despite or even because of a lack of guilt. In this article, we review solutions offered by Scott James, Richard Joyce, and Robert Frank and show that although their solutions have merit, none adequately solves the puzzle. We offer an alternative solution, one that emphasizes the role of empathy and posttransgression behavior in the evolution of guilt. (...) Our solution, we contend, offers a better account of why guilt evolved to play its distinctive social role. (shrink)
Some unpleasant emotions, like fear and disgust, appear straightforwardly susceptible to evolutionary explanation on account of the benefits they seem to provide to individuals. But guilt is more puzzling in this respect. Like other unpleasant emotions, guilt is often associated with a host of negative effects on the individual, such as psychological suffering and social withdrawal. Moreover, many guilt-induced behaviors, such as revealing one’s offenses and placing oneself before the mercy of others, could levy a cost to individuals that is (...) not outweighed by guilt’s benefits. Supposing there is an evolutionary story to tell about the origins of guilt, the question is how such negative effects were sufficiently outweighed by the potential fitness payoffs that guilt might have yielded to individuals. In this article, we consider which forms of evolution could have resulted in guilt, and whether current evidence can tell us which form of evolution most likely occurred. (shrink)
Background Since 2015, Michigan has required parents who request nonmedical exemptions (NMEs) from school or daycare immunization mandates to receive education from local public health staff (usually nurses). This is unlike most other US states that have implemented mandatory immunization counseling, which require physicians to document immunization education, or which provide online instruction. -/- Purpose To attend to the activity and dispositions of the public health staff who provide “waiver education”. -/- Method This study reports results of focus group interviews (...) with 39 of Michigan's vaccine waiver educators (37 nurses), conducted during 2016 and 2017, and analyzed in 2018. -/- Findings Four themes emerged from analysis of the transcripts of these interviews: Participants had (1) complex and nuanced observations and evaluations of parents' judgments and feelings about vaccines and vaccine education; (2) sympathetic attitudes about alternative vaccine schedules; (3) critical and supportive evaluations of institutional policies and the background political context of immunization education; and (4) consistent commitments to respect parents, affirm their values, and protect their rights. Discussion These results show that public health nurses are sensitive to the burdens mandatory immunization education places on families, the motivations for parents' requests for nonmedical exemptions, and the values implicated by personal immunization decisions and government immunization policies. In light of the unique training, experiences, and public reputation of nurses, there is good reason for additional investigation into the roles that nurses can play in immunization education and in vaccine mandate policies, more generally. (shrink)
Marshall and O’Leary’s thoughtful response to our article suggests that dismissal policies are ethically justifiable because they might induce parents to immunize their children. This outcome is conceivable, but we have only anecdotes about how often it occurs. Such evidence became the thin reed on which the American Academy of Pediatrics rested its new policy of tolerating the practice of dismissing vaccine-hesitant parents. It seems likely that relatively few parents would agree to vaccinate because they were threatened with dismissal. Other (...) heavy-handed interventions have failed to move most such parents. When Washington state made nonmedical exemptions more difficult to obtain, nearly two-thirds of vaccine refusers were unmoved and their children remained unvaccinated. Even if dismissal threats led some parents to accept vaccines, this alone would not justify a dismissal policy. The benefits would still have to be weighed against the risks of dismissing those families who do not change their minds. (shrink)