Recent theories of scalar implicature, such as that proposed by Gennaro Chierchia, have sought to bring them within the domain of compositional semantic theory. These approaches contrast with standard pragmatic explanations of the phenomena in that implicatures are calculated by default and are computed locally. One motivation for Chierchia's approach, the purported connection between the computation of scalar implicatures and 'any'-licensing polarity items, is shown to be weak. Difficulties are then presented for his approach which are not shared by the (...) pragmatic theory. (shrink)
Robert Owen was one of the most extraordinary Englishmen who ever lived and a great man. In a way his history is the history of the establishment of modern industrial Britain, reflected in the mind and activities of a very intelligent, capable and responsible industrialist, alive to the best social thought of his time. The organisation of industrial labour, factory legislation, education, trade unionism, co-operation, rationalism: he was passionately and ably engaged in all of them. His community at New (...) Lanark was the nearest thing to an industrial heaven in the Britain of dark satanic mills; he tried to found a rational co-operative community in the USA. In everything he contemplated, he saw education as a key. This selection of his writings on education illustrates his rationalist concept of the formation of character and its implications for education and society; also his growing utopian concern with social reorganisation; and third, his impact on social movements. Silver's introduction shows Owen's relationship to particular educational traditions and activities and his long-term influence on attitudes to education. (shrink)
This collection offers cutting-edge chapters on themes related to the philosophical work of Owen Flanagan. Flanagan is an influential philosopher in the late 20th and early 21st Century, whose wide-ranging work spans philosophy of mind (especially consciousness, identity, and the self), ethics and moral psychology, comparative philosophy, and philosophical study of psychopathology (especially disorders of self, dreams, and addiction). Flanagan is the author of numerous scholarly and popular articles, and of 10 books. The chapters present proposals for productive interdisciplinary (...) research exploring the mind, ethics, personhood, consciousness, religious cognition, mental disorders, addiction, the narrative self, virtue, the social sciences, forgiveness, or comparative philosophy. (shrink)
The obligations we owe to those with whom we share a valuable relationship cannot be reduced to the obligations we owe to others simply as fellow persons. Wallace suggests that this is because such valuable relationships are loving relationships. I instead propose that it is because, unlike general moral obligations, such valuable relationships serve our normative interests. Part of what makes friendship good for us is that it involves bonds of loyalty. Our lives go better if we are bound to (...) others in this way. (shrink)
Written in a clear and engaging style, this text demonstrates Nietzsche's significance as a philosopher and as a political theorist by highlighting his critique of liberalism (in both its philosophical and political forms) and by elaborating the form of ethical and political understanding which his philosophy discloses. In describing Nietzsche's diagnosis of the modern condition, this book explains the central aspects of his thought including the will to power, the Overman and amor fati. David Owen traces the relevance of (...) Nietzsche's philosophy to current debates in political theory and engages with key figures such as MacIntyre, Taylor, Rorty and Rawls. Owen argues that the liberalism of the latter two can be seen a. (shrink)
Providing a theory of moral practice for a contemporary sociological audience, Owen Abbott shows that morality is a relational practice achieved by people in their everyday lives. He moves beyond old dualisms—society versus the individual, social structure versus agency, body versus mind—to offer a sociologically rigorous and coherent theory of the relational constitution of the self and moral practice, which is both shared and yet enacted from an individualized perspective. In so doing, The Self, Relational Sociology, and Morality in (...) Practice not only offers an urgently needed account of moral practice and its integral role in the emergence of the self, but also examines morality itself within and through social relations and practices. Abbott’s conclusions will be of interest to social scientists and philosophers of morality, those working with pragmatic and interactionist approaches, and those involved with relational sociology and social theory. (shrink)
Richard Owen has been condemned by Darwinians as an anti-evolutionist and an essentialist. In recent years he has been the object of a revisionist analysis intended to uncover evolutionary elements in his scientific enterprise. In this paper I will examine Owen's evolutionary hypothesis and its connections with von Baer's idea of divergent development. To give appropriate importance to Owen's evolutionism is the first condition to develop an up-to-date understanding of his scientific enterprise, that is to disentagle (...) class='Hi'>Owen's contribution to the modernization of typology and morphology. I will argue that Owen's Platonic essentialism is rhetorical and incongruous. On the contrary, an interpretation of the archetype based on Aristotle's biological works makes possible a new conception of type, based on a homeostatic mechanism of stability. The renewal of morphology hinges on homological correspondences and a homeostatic process is also the origin of serial and special homology. I will argue that special homology shows an evolutionary orientation insofar as it is a typically inter-specific character while serial homology is determined through an elementary usage of the categories of developmental morphology. (shrink)
The relation between morality and religion has often been discussed. However, it is not always recognized that the relation varies greatly according to the variety of religions. I shall here be concerned solely with Christian theism in its traditional form. I take the latter to signify, essentially, belief in a morally perfect Creator who exists in the threefold form of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and who, in the person of the Son, became man in Christ for our salvation. I (...) thus exclude from consideration all non-theistic accounts of God or the Absolute. Also I shall consider, not simply bare theism of the kind that Christians share with Jews and Muslims, but also the distinctively Christian form of theism that is generated by distinctively Christian revelation. Many otherwise sound descriptions of the relation between morality and theism are defective because they fail to consider the distinctively Christian contribution to the theistic concept of God and of his relation to the world. (shrink)
Many writers often generalise about mysticism without a sufficiently close analysis of texts. Consequently the generalisations are often invalid. My present aim is to analyse one text and, in the light of this analysis, to offer some observations concerning mysticism in general and Christian mysticism in particular.
For over thirty years C. A. Campbell has made major contributions to both ethics and metaphysics. Since these do not correspond to the prevailing fashions in philosophy and theology they are in danger of being under-estimated, if not ignored. I hope to summarise and comment on them as impartially as possible. Inevitably I must be selective. In writing for this journal I have, naturally, chosen to stress those elements in Campbell's thought which are directly or indirectly relevant to religion. Even (...) so, there are many points which I have no space to develop. I shall be content if I say enough to indicate the importance of Campbell's writings for the study of the philosophically crucial topics to which they are devoted. (shrink)
Christianity affirms, with Judaism and Islam, that God is the omnipotent Creator of all things. But it diverges from them in also affirming that the Creator assumed a human nature in one figure of history, Jesus of Nazareth. Christ thus differs from other men in kind, not merely in degree; he is absolutely, not just relatively, unique. Admittedly many Christian theologians have held that the difference between Christ and other men is only one of degree. Yet the Church's traditional claim, (...) as expressed in the Chalcedonian Definition, is that Jesus was both creature and Creator, both fully man and fully God. (shrink)
Owen Flanagan argues in this book for a more psychologically realistic ethical reflection and spells out the ways in which psychology can enrich moral philosophy. Beginning with a discussion of such "moral saints" as Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Oskar Shindler, Flanagan charts a middle course between an ethics that is too realistic and socially parochial and one that is too idealistic, giving no weight to our natures.
This is an examination of the effect that postmodernism has had upon sociological thought. Individual chapters address the topics of class, gender, race, criminology, deviance, law, culture, sexuality, emotion, medicine, science, and technology.
Seven COVID-19 vaccines are now being distributed and administered around the world (figure correct at the time of submission), with more on the horizon. It is widely accepted that healthcare workers should have high priority. However, questions have been raised about what we ought to do if members of priority groups refuse vaccination. Using the case of influenza vaccination as a comparison, we know that coercive approaches to vaccination uptake effectively increase vaccination rates among healthcare workers and reduce patient morbidity (...) if properly implemented. Using the principle of least restrictive alternative, we have developed an intervention ladder for COVID-19 vaccination policies among healthcare workers. We argue that healthcare workers refusing vaccination without a medical reason should be temporarily redeployed and, if their refusal persists after the redeployment period, eventually suspended, in order to reduce the risk to their colleagues and patients. This ‘conditional’ policy is a compromise between entirely voluntary or entirely mandatory policies for healthcare workers, and is consistent with healthcare workers’ established professional, legal and ethical obligations to their patients and to society at large. (shrink)
David Owens objected to the truth-aim account of belief on the grounds that the putative aim of belief does not meet a necessary condition on aims, namely, that aims can be weighed against other aims. If the putative aim of belief cannot be weighed, then belief does not have an aim after all. Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen responded to this objection by appeal to other deliberative contexts in which the aim could be weighed, and we argued that this response to Owens failed (...) for two reasons. Steglich-Petersen has since responded to our defence of Owens’s objection. Here we reply to Steglich-Petersen and conclude, once again, that Owens’s challenge to the truth-aim approach remains to be answered. (shrink)
Imagine you are casually browsing an online bookstore, looking for an interesting novel. Suppose the store predicts you will want to buy a particular novel: the one most chosen by people of your same age, gender, location, and occupational status. The store recommends the book, it appeals to you, and so you choose it. Central to this scenario is an automated prediction of what you desire. This article raises moral concerns about such predictions. More generally, this article examines the ethics (...) of artificial social cognition—the ethical dimensions of attribution of mental states to humans by artificial systems. The focus is presumptuous aim attributions, which are defined here as aim attributions based crucially on the premise that the person in question will have aims like superficially similar people. Several everyday examples demonstrate that this sort of presumptuousness is already a familiar moral concern. The scope of this moral concern is extended by new technologies. In particular, recommender systems based on collaborative filtering are now commonly used to automatically recommend products and information to humans. Examination of these systems demonstrates that they naturally attribute aims presumptuously. This article presents two reservations about the widespread adoption of such systems. First, the severity of our antecedent moral concern about presumptuousness increases when aim attribution processes are automated and accelerated. Second, a foreseeable consequence of reliance on these systems is an unwarranted inducement of interpersonal conformity. (shrink)
Owen Flanagan argues in this book for a more psychologically realistic ethical reflection and spells out the ways in which psychology can enrich moral philosophy. Beginning with a discussion of such "moral saints" as Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Oskar Schindler, Flanagan charts a middle course between an ethics that is too realistic and socially parochial and one that is too idealistic, giving no weight to our natures.
ABSTRACT This article examines how Robert Owen’s ideas, and the example of his New Lanark Mill, were understood and received in Spain in the nineteenth century. It follows recent historiographic trends in the history of early Spanish socialism to show that although Owen’s ideas could not have a decisive impact in a largely agricultural economy and society, his ideas did draw more significant attention that has been thought. The article examines how Owen’s ideas, like those of Fourier (...) and Saint-Simon, were transmitted in Spain through different channels, in particular in education through the work of Pablo Montesino, and in the 1850s and 60s how they proved important to the creation of workers’ co-operatives in Valencia and Madrid. The article also explores how Owen’s ideas were important to the influential Spanish author Ramón de Sagra, and shows that the epistolary relationship between the two suggests that de Sagra might have been a more important voice for Owen’s ideas in Spain than has been appreciated. (shrink)
If consciousness is "the hard problem" in mind science -- explaining how the amazing private world of consciousness emerges from neuronal activity -- then "the really hard problem," writes Owen Flanagan in this provocative book, is explaining how meaning is possible in the material world. How can we make sense of the magic and mystery of life naturalistically, without an appeal to the supernatural? How do we say truthful and enchanting things about being human if we accept the fact (...) that we are finite material beings living in a material world, or, in Flanagan's description, short-lived pieces of organized cells and tissue? Flanagan's answer is both naturalistic and enchanting. We all wish to live in a meaningful way, to live a life that really matters, to flourish, to achieve _eudaimonia_ -- to be a "happy spirit." Flanagan calls his "empirical-normative" inquiry into the nature, causes, and conditions of human flourishing _eudaimonics_. _Eudaimonics_, systematic philosophical investigation that is continuous with science, is the naturalist's response to those who say that science has robbed the world of the meaning that fantastical, wishful stories once provided. Flanagan draws on philosophy, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and psychology, as well as on transformative mindfulness and self-cultivation practices that come from such nontheistic spiritual traditions as Buddhism, Confucianism, Aristotelianism, and Stoicism, in his quest. He gathers from these disciplines knowledge that will help us understand the nature, causes, and constituents of well-being and advance human flourishing. _Eudaimonics_ can help us find out how to make a difference, how to contribute to the accumulation of good effects -- how to live a meaningful life. (shrink)
This article argues that a person’s well-being at a time and the goodness of her life are two distinct values. It is commonly accepted as platitudinous that well-being is what makes a life good for the person who lives it. Even philosophers who distinguish between well-being at a time and the goodness of a life still typically assume that increasing a person’s well-being at some particular moment, all else equal, necessarily improves her life on the whole. I develop a precise (...) statement of this standard assumption, and then show that it is subject to counterexamples. The possibility of such counterexamples depends only on premises similar to those sometimes invoked to argue that a person’s well-being over a long period is not simply the aggregate well-being of the shorter periods that compose the long period. The refutation of the standard assumption linking well-being and life-goodness entails that these are distinct and sometimes divergent values. As an alternative to the standard assumption, it is proposed that well-being is best understood as an ingredient in a good life. (shrink)
A self-fulfilling prophecy is, roughly, a prediction that brings about its own truth. Although true predictions are hard to fault, self-fulfilling prophecies are often regarded with suspicion. In this article, we vindicate this suspicion by explaining what self-fulfilling prophecies are and what is problematic about them, paying special attention to how their problems are exacerbated through automated prediction. Our descriptive account of self-fulfilling prophecies articulates the four elements that define them. Based on this account, we begin our critique by showing (...) that typical self-fulfilling prophecies arise due to mistakes about the relationship between a prediction and its object. Such mistakes—along with other mistakes in predicting or in the larger practical endeavor—are easily overlooked when the predictions turn out true. Thus we note that self-fulfilling prophecies prompt no error signals; truth shrouds their mistakes from humans and machines alike. Consequently, self-fulfilling prophecies create several obstacles to accountability for the outcomes they produce. We conclude our critique by showing how failures of accountability, and the associated failures to make corrections, explain the connection between self-fulfilling prophecies and feedback loops. By analyzing the complex relationships between accuracy and other evaluatively significant features of predictions, this article sheds light both on the special case of self-fulfilling prophecies and on the ethics of prediction more generally. (shrink)
This article addresses three questions about well-being. First, is well-being future-sensitive? I.e., can present well-being depend on future events? Second, is well-being recursively dependent? I.e., can present well-being depend on itself? Third, can present and future well-being be interdependent? The third question combines the first two, in the sense that a yes to it is equivalent to yeses to both the first and second. To do justice to the diverse ways we contemplate well-being, I consider our thought and discourse about (...) well-being in three domains: everyday conversation, social science, and philosophy. This article’s main conclusion is that we must answer the third question with no. Present and future well-being cannot be interdependent. The reason, in short, is that a theory of well-being that countenances both future-sensitivity and recursive dependence would have us understand a person’s well-being at a time as so intricately tied to her well-being at other times that it would not make sense to consider her well-being an aspect of her state at particular times. It follows that we must reject either future-sensitivity or recursive dependence. I ultimately suggest, especially in light of arguments based on assumptions of empirical research on well-being, that the balance of reasons favors rejecting future-sensitivity. (shrink)
If we are material beings living in a material world -- and all the scientific evidence suggests that we are -- then we must find existential meaning, if there is such a thing, in this physical world. We must cast our lot with the natural rather than the supernatural. Many Westerners with spiritual inclinations are attracted to Buddhism -- almost as a kind of moral-mental hygiene. But, as Owen Flanagan points out in The Bodhisattva's Brain, Buddhism is hardly naturalistic. (...) In _The Bodhisattva's Brain_, Flanagan argues that it is possible to discover in Buddhism a rich, empirically responsible philosophy that could point us to one path of human flourishing. Some claim that neuroscience is in the process of validating Buddhism empirically, but Flanagan's naturalized Buddhism does not reduce itself to a brain scan showing happiness patterns. "Buddhism naturalized," as Flanagan constructs it, offers instead a fully naturalistic and comprehensive philosophy, compatible with the rest of knowledge -- a way of conceiving of the human predicament, of thinking about meaning for finite material beings living in a material world. (shrink)
Just as humans can draw conclusions responsibly or irresponsibly, so too can computers. Machine learning systems that have been trained on data sets that include irresponsible judgments are likely to yield irresponsible predictions as outputs. In this paper I focus on a particular kind of inference a computer system might make: identification of the intentions with which a person acted on the basis of photographic evidence. Such inferences are liable to be morally objectionable, because of a way in which they (...) are presumptuous. After elaborating this moral concern, I explore the possibility that carefully procuring the training data for image recognition systems could ensure that the systems avoid the problem. The lesson of this paper extends beyond just the particular case of image recognition systems and the challenge of responsibly identifying a person’s intentions. Reflection on this particular case demonstrates the importance (as well as the difficulty) of evaluating machine learning systems and their training data from the standpoint of moral considerations that are not encompassed by ordinary assessments of predictive accuracy. (shrink)
Leibniz's principle of sufficient reason is the claim that everything has a sufficient reason. But is Leibniz committed to the necessity or to the contingency of his great principle? I argue that Leibniz is committed to its contingency, given that he allows for the absolute possibility of entities that he claims violate the PSR. These are all cases of qualitatively indiscernible entities, such as indiscernible atoms, vacua, and bodies. However, Leibniz's commitment to the contingency of the PSR seems to stand (...) in tension with his inference of the PSR from his theory of truth. I argue that this apparent tension can be resolved satisfactorily. When it comes to his modal views on the PSR, Leibniz's position is entirely consistent. (shrink)
Rapid growth in structural and functional brain research has led to increasing ethical discussion of what to do about incidental findings within the brains of healthy neuroimaging research participants that have potential health importance, but which are beyond the original aims of the study. This dilemma has been widely debated with respect to general neuroimaging research but has attracted little attention in the context of neuromarketing studies. In this paper, I argue that neuromarketing researchers owe participants the same ethical obligations (...) as other neuroimaging researchers. The financial resources available to neuromarketing firms and the social value of neuromarketing studies should command greater attention to the elucidation and management of incidental findings. However, this needs to be balanced against finite resources available within most public health systems. (shrink)
In The life of Richard Owen by his grandson there is an inference to the effect that Owen had objected to his name being used to authorize various statements that Whewell was drafting in opposition to the Vestiges. The inference is drawn from letters that Whewell wrote to Owen on 13 and 15 February 1845. Corroboration of this would corne from a letter of Owen to Whewell, dated 14 February 1845, if extant. Among the Whewell papers (...) at Trinity College, Cambridge, there are several letters from Owen to Whewell, none of which bears that date. There is one, however, dated 14 February 1844 which, on doser inspection, turns out to be the missing link in their correspondance. The evidence for the misdating is not merely that the letter falls naturally into a later sequence. The conclusion is inescapable because Owen refers to an ‘opinion which I have always entertained, and still do strongly, on the subject of a refutation of “Vestiges”’. Since the first edition of Chambers's book did not appear until October 1844, the letter must belong to the following year. My object in this paper is to examine the implications of this letter for a reconstruction of Owen's attitude to that book which Adam Sedgwick could so detest for, among many things, its ‘gross views of physiology’. (shrink)