We consider embeddings of structures which preserve spectra: if g: M → S with S computable, then M should have the same Turing degree spectrum (as a structure) that g(M) has (as a relation on S). We show that the computable dense linear order L is universal for all countable linear orders under this notion of embedding, and we establish a similar result for the computable random graph G. Such structures are said to be spectrally universal. We use our results (...) to answer a question of Goncharov, and also to characterize the possible spectra of structures as precisely the spectra of unary relations on G. Finally, we consider the extent to which all spectra of unary relations on the structure L may be realized by such embeddings, offering partial results and building the first known example of a structure whose spectrum contains precisely those degrees c with c′ ≥T 0″. (shrink)
We provide a positive solution for Post’s Problem for ordinal register machines, and also prove that these machines and ordinal Turing machines compute precisely the same partial functions on ordinals. To do so, we construct ordinal register machine programs which compute the necessary functions. In addition, we show that any set of ordinals solving Post’s Problem must be unbounded in the writable ordinals.
In ‘The Mind's I is Illiterate’, G. S. Miller discusses several paradoxes and paradoxical sentences which Miller claims are related by a common abuse of language. The Whiteley sentence ‘Lucas cannot consistently believe this sentence’ fails to be meaningful for want of a referent outside of the sentence for the phrase ‘this sentence’; the Liar Paradox when formulated as ‘I am lying’ is similarly disposed of when it is seen that the verb is defective and the sentence fails (...) to refer to anything outside of itself. The same point is made concerning the Russell Paradox of the set of all sets that do not belong to themselves. The moral made is that philosophers are simply to be more careful about the laneuaee that thev are usine and then the paradoxes will go away. (shrink)
Hypocrites are often thought to lack the standing to blame others for faults similar to their own. Although this claim is widely accepted, it is seldom argued for. We offer an argument for the claim that nonhypocrisy is a necessary condition on the standing to blame. We first offer a novel, dispositional account of hypocrisy. Our account captures the commonsense view that hypocrisy involves making an unjustified exception of oneself. This exception-making involves a rejection of the impartiality of morality and (...) thereby a rejection of the equality of persons, which we argue grounds the standing to blame others. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that hypocrisy can undermine one’s moral standing to blame. According to the Nonhypocrisy Condition on standing, R has the standing to blame some other agent S for a violation of some norm N only if R is not hypocritical with respect to blame for violations of N. Yet this condition is seldom argued for. Macalester Bell points out that the fact that hypocrisy is a moral fault does not yet explain why hypocritical blame is standingless blame. (...) She raises a challenge: one must explain what is distinct about hypocritical blame such that the hypocritical blamer lacks the standing to blame, even if the arrogant or petty blamer does not. Of those writing on hypocrisy, only we offer a direct response to Bell’s challenge. Recently, however, our account has come under criticism. We argue here that (1) our account can handle these criticisms and that (2) no other rival account adequately addresses Bell’s challenge of explaining what is uniquely objectionable about hypocritical blame. Because answering Bell’s challenge is a necessary component of any plausible account of the relationship between hypocrisy and standing, our account remains the best on offer. (shrink)
In our 2018 paper, “Hypocrisy and the Standing to Blame,” we offer an argument justifying the Nonhypocrisy Condition on the standing to blame. Benjamin Rossi (2018) has recently offered several criticisms of this view. We defend our account from Rossi’s criticisms and emphasize our account’s unique advantage: explaining why hypocritical blamers lack the standing to blame.
Floridi and Sanders, seminal work, “On the morality of artificial agents” has catalyzed attention around the moral status of computer systems that perform tasks for humans, effectively acting as “artificial agents.” Floridi and Sanders argue that the class of entities considered moral agents can be expanded to include computers if we adopt the appropriate level of abstraction. In this paper we argue that the move to distinguish levels of abstraction is far from decisive on this issue. We also argue that (...) adopting certain levels of abstraction out of context can be dangerous when the level of abstraction obscures the humans who constitute computer systems. We arrive at this critique of Floridi and Sanders by examining the debate over the moral status of computer systems using the notion of interpretive flexibility. We frame the debate as a struggle over the meaning and significance of computer systems that behave independently, and not as a debate about the ‘true’ status of autonomous systems. Our analysis leads to the conclusion that while levels of abstraction are useful for particular purposes, when it comes to agency and responsibility, computer systems should be conceptualized and identified in ways that keep them tethered to the humans who create and deploy them. (shrink)
In this essay, Russell G. Moses argues that Charles S. Peirce’s article “Evolutionary Love” establishes a general normative framework for a logic of evolutionary, progressive imagination that can be used to elucidate an evolutionary continuity between the normative works of Jane Addams, John Dewey, and Alain Locke. This exercise contributes to an understanding of pragmatism as a philosophy that seizes insights from evolution in order to normatively reconstruct dynamic meanings of truth, reality, ethics, politics, and art. In a dynamic model (...) of progressive evolution — one homologous to the Golden Rule of “love your neighbor” — we find a normative cosmology that animates the moral imagination of philosophy toward what Addams called “democracy and social ethics.” Moses concludes that in the Peircean model, together with subsequent developments, we may ultimately apprehend that evolution suggests a general form of development that may be hypothesized as a worthy normative guide for universal progressive education. (shrink)
Sometimes it is not one’s place to blame or forgive. This phenomenon is captured under the philosophical notion of standing. However, there is an asymmetry to be explained here. One can successfully blame, even if one lacks the standing to do so. Yet, one cannot successfully forgive if one lacks the standing to do so. In this article we explain this asymmetry. We argue that a complete explanation depends on not only a difference in the natures of the standing to (...) blame and forgive but also a difference in the natures of blame and forgiveness themselves. (shrink)
ABSTRACTConventional medical ethics and the law draw a bright line distinguishing the permitted practice of withdrawing life‐sustaining treatment from the forbidden practice of active euthanasia by means of a lethal injection. When clinicians justifiably withdraw life‐sustaining treatment, they allow patients to die but do not cause, intend, or have moral responsibility for, the patient's death. In contrast, physicians unjustifiably kill patients whenever they intentionally administer a lethal dose of medication. We argue that the differential moral assessment of these two practices (...) is based on a series of moral fictions – motivated false beliefs that erroneously characterize withdrawing life‐sustaining treatment in order to bring accepted end‐of‐life practices in line with the prevailing moral norm that doctors must never kill patients. When these moral fictions are exposed, it becomes apparent that conventional medical ethics relating to end‐of‐life decisions is radically mistaken. (shrink)
This paper looks at what David Kaplan's work on indexicals can teach us about logic and the philosophy of logic, and also what Kaplan's logic (i.e. the Logic of Demonstratives) can teach us about indexicals. The lessons are i) that logical consequence is not necessary truth-preservation, ii) that that the linguistic doctrine of necessary truth (also called conventionalism about modality) fails, and iii) that there is a kind of barrier to entailment between non-context-sensitive and context-sensitive claims.
Male provisioning ability may have evolved as a “good dad” indicator through sexual selection, whereas male creativity may have evolved partly as a “good genes” indicator. If so, women near peak fertility (midcycle) should prefer creativity over wealth, especially in short-term mating. Forty-one normally cycling women read vignettes describing creative but poor men vs. uncreative but rich men. Women’s estimated fertility predicted their short-term (but not long-term) preference for creativity over wealth, in both their desirability ratings of individual men (r=.40, (...) p<.01) and their forced-choice decisions between men (r=.46, p<.01). These preliminary results are consistent with the view that creativity evolved at least partly as a good genes indicator through mate choice. (shrink)
Traditionally, those writing on blame have been concerned with blaming others, including when one has the standing to blame others. Yet some alleged problems for such accounts of standing arise when we focus on self-blame. First, if hypocrites lack the standing to blame others, it might seem that they also lack the standing to blame themselves. But this would lead to a bootstrapping problem, wherein hypocrites can only regain standing by doing that which they lack the standing to do. Second, (...) in addition to hypocrites, there may be hypercrites, who blame themselves more severely than others. Leading accounts for why hypocrites lack standing to blame others would also seem to imply that hypercrites lack the standing to blame others, but some may find this counterintuitive. We argue that neither of these problems from self-blame poses a unique threat to leading accounts of standing. (shrink)
Ethics is central to science and engineering. Young engineers need to be grounded in how corporate social responsibility principles can be applied to engineering organizations to better serve the broader community. This is crucial in times of climate change and ecological challenges where the vulnerable can be impacted by engineering activities. Taking a global perspective in ethics education will help ensure that scientists and engineers can make a more substantial contribution to development throughout the world. This paper presents the importance (...) of incorporating the global and cross culture components in the ethic education. The authors bring up a question to educators on ethics education in science and engineering in the globalized world, and its importance, necessity, and impendency. The paper presents several methods for discussion that can be used to identify the differences in ethics standards and practices in different countries; enhance the student’s knowledge of ethics in a global arena. (shrink)
The first topic of concern is anonymity, specifically the anonymity that is available in communications on the Internet. An earlier paper argues that anonymity in electronic communication is problematic because: it makes law enforcement difficult ; it frees individuals to behave in socially undesirable and harmful ways ; it diminishes the integrity of information since one can't be sure who information is coming from, whether it has been altered on the way, etc.; and all three of the above contribute to (...) an environment of diminished trust which is not conducive to certain uses of computer communication. Counterbalancing these problems are some important benefits. Anonymity can facilitate some socially desirable and beneficial behavior. For example, it can eliminate the fear of repercussions for behavior in contexts in which repercussions would diminish the availability or reliability of information, e.g., voting, personal relationships between consenting adults, and the like. Furthermore, anonymity can be used constructively to reduce the effect of prejudices on communications. Negative aspects of anonymity all seem to point to a tension between accountability and anonymity. They suggest that accountability and anonymity are not compatible, and they even seem to suggest that since accountability is a good thing, it would be good to eliminate anonymity. In other words, the problems with anonymity suggest that individuals are more likely to behave in socially desirable ways when they are held accountable for their behavior, and they are more likely to engage in socially undesirable behavior when they are not held accountable. I am not going to take issue with the correlation between accountability and anonymity, but rather with the claim that accountability is good. To examine this problem, let's look at a continuum that stretches from total anonymity at one end, and no anonymity at all at the other end. At the opposite extreme of anonymity is a panopticon society. The panopticon is the prison environment described by Foucault in which prison cells are arranged in a large circle with the side facing the inside of the circle open to view. The guard tower is placed in the middle of the circle so that guards can see everything that goes on in every cell. In a recent article on privacy, Jeffrey Reiman, reflecting on the new intelligent highway systems, suggests that we are moving closer and closer to a panopticon society. When we contemplate all the electronic data that is now gathered about each one of us as we move through our everyday lives- intelligent highway systems, consumer transactions, traffic patterns on the internet, medical records, financial records, and so on- we see the trend that Reiman identifies. Electronic behavior is recorded and the information is retained. While actions/transactions in separate domains are not necessarily combined, it seems obvious that the potential exists for combining data into a complete portfolio of an individual's day to day life. So it would seem that as more and more activities and domains are moved into a IT-based medium, the closer we will come to a panopticon society. A panopticon society gives us the ultimate in accountability. Everything an individual does is observable and therefore available to those to whom we are accountable. Of course, in doing this, it puts us, in effect, in prison. The prison parallel is appropriate here because what anonymity allows us is freedom; prison is the ultimate in lack of freedom. In this way the arguments for a free society become arguments for anonymity. Only when individuals are free will they experiment, try new ideas, take risks, and learn by doing so. Only in an environment that tolerates making mistakes will individuals develop the active habits that are so essential for democracy. In a world without information technology, individuals have levels or degrees and various kinds of anonymity and consequently different levels and kinds of freedom. Degrees and kinds of anonymity vary with the domain: small town social life versus urban social life, voting, commercial exchanges, banking, automobile travel, airplane travel, telephone communication, education, and so on. Drawing from our experience before IT-based institutions, we might believe that what we need is varying levels or degrees and kinds of anonymity. This seems a good starting place because it suggests an attempt to re-create the mixture that we have in the physical, non-IT-based world. Nevertheless, there is a danger. If we think in terms of levels and degrees of anonymity, we may not see the forest from the trees. We may not acknowledge that in an electronic medium, levels and kinds of anonymity mean, in an important sense, no anonymity. If there are domains in which we can be anonymous but those domains are part of a global communication infrastructure in which there is no anonymity at the entry point, then it will always be possible to trace someone's identity. We delude ourselves when we think we have anonymity on-line or off-line. Rather, what we have both places is situations in which it is more and less difficult to identify individuals. We have a continuum of situations in which it is easy and difficult to link behavior to other behavior and histories of behaviors. In the physical world, we can go places and do things where others don't know us by name and have no history with us, though they see our bodies, clothes, and behavior. If we do nothing unusual, we may be forgotten. On the other hand, if we do something illegal, authorities may attempt to track us down and figure out who we are. For example, law enforcement officials, collection agencies, those who want to sue us may take an active interest in removing our anonymity, ex post facto. Think of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols-the men who apparently bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City. Much of what they did, they did anonymously, but then law enforcement officials set out to find out who had done various things, e.g., rented a car, bought explosives, etc. The shrouds of anonymity under which McVeigh and Nichols had acted were slowly removed. Is this any different than behavior on the internet? Is there a significant difference in the kind or degree of anonymity we have in the physical world versus what we have in an IT-based world? The character of the trail we leave is different; in the one case, its an electronic trail; while in the other it involves human memories, photographs, and paper and ink. What law enforcement officials had to do to track down McVeigh is quite different from tracking down an electronic law breaker. Also, the cost of electronic information gathering, both in time and money, can be dramatically lower than the cost of talking to people, gathering physical evidence, and the other minutia required by traditional detective work. We should acknowledge that we do not and are never likely to have anonymity on the Internet. We would do better to think of different levels or kinds of identity. There are important moral and social issues arising as a result of these varying degrees and kinds of identity. Perhaps the most important matter is assuring that individuals are informed about the conditions in which they are interacting. Perhaps, even more important is that individuals have a choice about the conditions under which they are communicating. In the rest of this paper we explore a few examples of levels and kinds of identity that are practical on the Internet. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages that we see for these "styles" of identity for individuals, and we examine the costs and benefits of these styles for society as a whole. (shrink)
Electronic communication and commerce facilitate the collection of information about individual use of the Internet. Focusing on the case of Comet Systems Inc. and its data gathering practices, this paper explores the technical details of gathering personal information in databases in general and the special character of the privacy issue raised by 'anonymous' information about individual behavior on the Internet. The case analysis suggests new insights for our understanding of privacy and frames a discussion of policy alternatives with respect to (...) the privacy of Internet communication. (shrink)
Dr Noel Semple, Professor Russell Pearce and Professor Renee Knake combine to compare legal profession regulation in the US with that of the countries closest to it institutionally and culturally: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland. This enables them to develop an illuminating taxonomy of legal professional regulation, and to describe the assumptions and objectives underlying the different approaches to regulation. The US and Canada provide a 'professionalist-independent framework' that centres on 'a unified, hegemonic occupation of lawyer' (...) which promotes self-regulation, and the exclusion of non-lawyers from partnership and investment in law practices. By contrast, in other countries that they examine, 'consumerist-competitive approaches' predominate, opening up the profession to co-regulation with executive government and allowing for different forms of legal occupations and non-lawyer influence and investment in law practices. Of course, as they show, in some countries there are combinations and hybrids of these two approaches. Unlike Rhode, who endorses England and Wales' consumerist-competitive approach to regulation in the Legal Services Act 2007, Semple, Pearce and Knake consciously avoid stating a preference for one approach over the other. (shrink)