Many religions offer hope for a life that transcends death and believers find great comfort in this. Non-believers typically do not have such hopes. In the face of death, they may find consolation in feeling contented with the life they have lived. But do they have hopes? I will identify a range of distinctly secular hopes at the end of life. Nothing stops religious people from sharing these secular hopes, in addition to their hope for eternal life. I will distinguish between (a) hopes about one’s life, (b) hopes about one’s death, (c) hopes about attitudes of others, and (d) hopes about the future. But before turning to these hopes, I will reflect on the following question: What is it that would keep a person from hoping for eternal life?
We hear the term bandied about all the time. A man cheats on his wife. We are told that this is simply part of his 'nature’ - that men have evolved to be philanderers. Two young men fight on the streets, taunting and goading each other on. …
Received: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published online: 3 August 2017 # The Author(s) 2017. This article is an open access publication Abstract This paper develops a fourth model of public engagement with science, grounded in the principle of nurturing scientific agency through participatory bioethics. It argues that social media is an effective device through which to enable such engagement, as it has the capacity to empower users and transforms audiences into co-producers of knowledge, rather than consumers of content. Social media also fosters greater engagement with the political and legal implications of science, thus promoting the value of scientific citizenship. This argument is explored by considering the case of nanoscience and nanotechnology, as an exemplar for how emerging technologies may be handled by the scientific community and science policymakers.
In an exchange with Axel Honneth and in other writings in the late 1990s, Nancy Fraser argued against privileging recognition in social and political philosophy without a concomitant consideration of the requirement for redistribution. Thus she argued for coupling the recognition of identities—racial, gender, cultural, etc.—with attention to the need for economic redistribution. In reply, Axel Honneth suggested instead that recognition itself is at the root of the theory of justice. However divergent their approaches, both theorists discussed this issue in the context of a nation-state or political society, leaving open the question of the applicability of these notions in a more global perspective. And although Fraser has recently turned to consider norms for this transnational domain, the question remains not only how to conceive the general interrelation of these two concepts of recognition and redistribution but also more specifically which sorts of differences should be recognized as playing a significant role within redistributive principles themselves or in their practical application. This problem becomes acute in the context of global justice and transnational recognition, where a multitude of differences comes into play— not only between the global south and north, but also in terms of culture, nationality, and gender, among others.
A new “voucher” program aims to shrink the US waiting list for kidney transplants (Veale, 2016). The waiting list is long, hovering in 2017 at around 95,000 (United Network for Organ Sharing, 2017). During 2016, approximately 19,000 kidney transplants took place, meeting only approximately one fifth of the demand. For patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD), transplantation has greater health benefits than dialysis, both in terms of length and quality of life (Tonelli et al, 2011). Transplantation from living donors is optimal: it tops both dialysis and transplantation from deceased donors in terms of health outcomes and cost-effectiveness (LaPointe Rudow et al, 2015, 914). The new voucher program involves live donation.
Carl Tollef Solberg and Espen Gamlund have recently suggested that in allocating scarce, life-saving resources we ought to consider how bad death would be for those who would die if left untreated (Solberg and Gamlund 2016, 8). We have moral reason, they intimate, to prioritize persons for whom death would be very bad over persons for whom it would be less bad (or not bad at all). In particular, we should in our allocation decisions consider how bad death would be for persons according to the “Time-Relative Interest Account,” developed by Jeff McMahan (Solberg and Gamlund 2016, 2).
Computer simulation of an epistemic landscape model, modified to include explicit representation of a centralised funding body, show the method of funding allocation has significant effects on communal trade-off between exploration and exploitation, with consequences for the community’s ability to generate significant truths. The results show this effect is contextual, and depends on the size of the landscape being explored, with funding that includes explicit random allocation performing significantly better than peer-review on large landscapes. The paper proposes a way of incorporating external institutional factors in formal social epistemology, and offers a way of bringing such investigations to bear on current research policy questions.
The author of this book is a professor of philosophy and of the classics; the book is a classicist literary history of sorts. Its novelty is in its author’s invitation to readers to argue with him on the Internet through an e-link that he provides. The book’s other novelty is its choice to view Plato more as a writer than as a philosopher—with a philosophical purpose in mind, of course. Until recently, discussions of the greatness of Plato as a philosopher eclipsed discussions of his artistic greatness as a writer. Thus, though his Symposium is a major literary masterpiece of almost unequalled loveliness, commentators on it discuss its aesthetics, tending to ignore it as art. The book at hand discusses some works of Plato as literary masterpieces while discussing a famous historical problem, namely, the Socratic problem: what part of Plato’s output expresses the opinions of his teacher Socrates? Unfortunately, the book is apologetic, and so its value is more that of a pioneering work than of a serious contribution. Its apologetic aspect shows when it skirts the unpleasant fact that whereas Socrates was a staunch defender of democracy, Plato was an elitist who preferred meritocracy.
I once gave an argument against euthanasia where the controversial center of the argument could be summarized as follows:
Euthanasia would at most be permissible in cases of valid consent and great suffering. …
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'Dial 888,' Rick said as the set warmed. 'The desire to watch TV, no matter what's on it. 'I don't feel like dialling anything at all now,' Iran said. 'Then dial 3,' he said. …
This article argues that Thomas Pogge’s important theory of global justice does not adequately appreciate the relation between interactional and institutional accounts of human rights, along with the important normative role of care and solidarity in the context of globalization. It also suggests that more attention needs to be given critically to the actions of global corporations and positively to introducing democratic accountability into the institutions of global governance. The article goes on to present an alternative approach to global justice based on a more robust conception of human rights grounded in a conception of equal positive freedom, in which these rights are seen to apply beyond the coercive political institutions to which Pogge primarily confines them (e.g. to prohibiting domestic violence), and in which they can guide the development of economic, social and political forms to enable their fulfillment.
The practical context for the theoretical reflections in this article is set by two apparently conflicting tendencies: On one side, we have the progression of global economic, technological, and, to a degree, legal and political integration, where this entails a certain diminution of sovereignty. Sovereign nation-states of the so-called Westphalian paradigm, possessing ultimate authority within a territory, are increasingly overwhelmed by the cross-border interconnections or networks that escape their purview; or they are legitimately constrained by new human rights regimes across borders. On the other side, especially in view of the hegemonic activities of the United States, but also in the European Union, new calls for the reestablishment of the sovereignty of nation-states can be heard. This may take the form of a reassertion of a right of states against military interference and a retreat from ideas of humanitarian intervention; or again, it may take the form of an assertion of the priority of nation-states from the standpoint of the administration of welfare or that of the distinctiveness of particular cultures that they sometimes embody. Indeed, a third tendency can also be discerned in present practice: In the face of economic globalization of the first sort, diagnosed as U.S.- led and one-sidedly serving the interests of large industrial societies, but also with an understandable fear of the power of coercive and sometimes violent sovereign nation-states, some actors in the global justice movement seek what they call autonomy, as a self-organization of societies or communities in a diversity of more local forms.
In the comments on the previous post I was alerted, by Matthias Michel, to a couple of papers that I had not yet read. The first was a paper in Neuroscience Research which came out in 2016:
Using category theory to assess the relationship between consciousness and integrated information theory by Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Shigeru Taguchi, and Hayato Saigo
And the second was a paper in Philosophy Compass that came out in March 2017:
“What is it like to be a bat?”—a pathway to the answer from the integrated information theory by Naotsugu Tsuchiya
After reading these I realized that I had heard an early version of this stuff when I was part of a plenary session with Tsuchiya in Tucson back in April of 2016. …
Persistence judgments are ordinary judgments about whether an object survives a change, or perishes. For instance, if a house fire only superficially damages the kitchen, people judge that the house survived. But if the fire burnt the house to the ground instead, people judge that the house did not survive but was instead destroyed. We are interested in what drives these judgments, in part because objects are so central to our conception of the world, and our persistence judgments get to the very heart of the folk notion of an object.
This essay focuses on personal love, or the love of particular persons
as such. Part of the philosophical task in understanding personal love
is to distinguish the various kinds of personal love. For example, the
way in which I love my wife is seemingly very different from the way I
love my mother, my child, and my friend. This task has typically
proceeded hand-in-hand with philosophical analyses of these kinds of
personal love, analyses that in part respond to various puzzles about
love. Can love be justified? If so, how? What is the value of personal
love? What impact does love have on the autonomy of both the lover and
Why are cognitive disability and moral status thought to be
sufficiently connected to warrant a separate entry? The reason is that
individuals with cognitive disabilities have served as test cases in
debates about the moral relevance of possessing such intellectual
attributes as self-consciousness and practical rationality. If a
significant portion of human beings lacks self-consciousness and
practical rationality, then those attributes cannot by themselves
distinguish the way we treat cognitively developed human beings from
the way we treat non-human animals and human fetuses. If we cannot
experiment on or kill human beings who lack those attributes, then the
lack of those attributes alone cannot be what justifies animal
experimentation or abortion.
A core question of contemporary social morality concerns how we ought to handle racial categorization. By this we mean, for instance, classifying or thinking of a person as Black, Korean, Latino, White, etc.² While it is widely FN:2 agreed that racial categorization played a crucial role in past racial oppression, there remains disagreement among philosophers and social theorists about the ideal role for racial categorization in future endeavors. At one extreme of this disagreement are short-term eliminativists who want to do away with racial categorization relatively quickly (e.g. Appiah, 1995; D’Souza, 1996; Muir, 1993; Wasserstrom, 2001/1980; Webster, 1992; Zack, 1993, 2002), typically because they view it as mistaken and oppressive. At the opposite end of the spectrum, long-term conservationists hold that racial identities and communities are beneficial, and that racial categorization —suitably reformed —is essential to fostering them (e.g. Outlaw, 1990, 1995, 1996). While extreme forms of conservationism have fewer proponents in academia than the most radical eliminativist positions, many theorists advocate more moderate positions. In between the two poles, there are many who believe that racial categorization is valuable (and perhaps necessary) given the continued existence of racial inequality and the lingering effects of past racism (e.g. Haslanger, 2000; Mills, 1998; Root, 2000; Shelby, 2002, 2005; Sundstrom, 2002; Taylor, 2004; Young, 1989). Such authors agree on the short-term need for racial categorization in at least some domains, but they often differ with regard to its long-term value.
Scientists have developed a new technology, CRISPR-Cas9, for editing genes in day old human embryos. The technology (explained here with terrific graphics) was used to edit out a gene that leads to a severe heart detect, though the embryos were then discarded. …
The essay begins with a taxonomy of the major contexts in which the
notion of ‘style’ in mathematics has been appealed to
since the early twentieth century. These include the use of the notion
of style in comparative cultural histories of mathematics, in
characterizing national styles, and in describing mathematical
practice. These developments are then related to the more familiar
treatment of style in history and philosophy of the natural sciences
where one distinguishes ‘local’ and
‘methodological’ styles. It is argued that the natural
locus of ‘style’ in mathematics falls between the
‘local’ and the ‘methodological’ styles
described by historians and philosophers of science.
Nelson Goodman has certainly been one of the most influential figures
in contemporary aesthetics and analytic philosophy in general (in
addition to aesthetics, his contributions cover the areas of applied
logic, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science). His
Languages of Art (first published in 1968 [Goodman 1976]),
together with Ernst Gombrich’s Art and Illusion (1960)
and Richard Wollheim’s Art and Its Objects (1968),
represents a fundamental turning point in the analytic approach to
artistic issues in Anglo-American philosophy. His often unorthodox
take on art is part of a general approach to knowledge and reality,
and is always pervasively informed by his cognitivism, nominalism,
relativism, and constructivism.
Much emotional charge is involved with everything related to intellectual rubbish, and thus also to the intellectual standards which it falls short of. It is one thing to refuse to share my neighbor’s tastes, and a hard enough and alienating enough matter at that. It is much worse to declare intellectual rubbish what they highly approve of, what they devote much time and concern for, perhaps even what they are engaged in the production of. To say that what they are concerned with is intellectual rubbish is plainly to punch them in the nose. Admittedly, I may try to escape trouble: I may try to find out what are the tastes of my associates, and avoid talking about intellectual rubbish except in the company of those whose tastes are sufficiently close to mine. This will not do. First, word goes round, and one may hear from other associates or from friends' friends what others think about one's preferences and life work. Second, if two people agree about one thing and then their conversation shifts to talk about another, they may then find unexpected strong discrepancies. Most people I have met find in our cultural milieu more rubbish than things of value: they consider rubbish so much art, science, or whatever else cultural. This fact makes it hardly possible for anyone to express freely opinions about tastes without the fear of offending many people.
Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768–1834) perhaps
cannot be ranked as one of the very greatest German philosophers of the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (like Kant, Herder, Hegel, Marx, or
Nietzsche). But he is certainly one of the best second-tier
philosophers of the period (a period in which the second-tier was still
extremely good). He was not only a philosopher, but also an eminent
classical scholar and theologian. Much of his philosophical work was in
the philosophy of religion, but from a modern philosophical point of
view it is his hermeneutics (i.e., theory of interpretation) and his
theory of translation that deserve the most attention.
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As any parent can readily testify, little kids get upset. A lot. Sometimes it’s for broadly comprehensible stuff - because they have to go to bed or to daycare, for example. …
Transhumanism is a movement aimed at enhancing and lengthening our lives by means of futuristic technology. The name derives from the ultimate goal of freeing us from the limitations imposed by our humanity. Human beings are subject to many ills: disability, exhaustion, hunger, injury, disease, ageing, and death, among others. They set a limit to the length and quality of our lives. There’s only so much you can do to make a human being better off, simply because of what it is to be human. But if we could cease to be human in the biological sense–better yet, if we could cease to be biological at all–these limitations could be overcome. An inorganic person would not be subject to exhaustion, disease, ageing, or death. The length and quality of her life could be extended more or less indefinitely. So it would be a great benefit, transhumanists say, if we could make ourselves inorganic.
Friendship, as understood here, is a distinctively personal
relationship that is grounded in a concern on the part of each friend
for the welfare of the other, for the other’s sake, and that
involves some degree of intimacy. As such, friendship is undoubtedly
central to our lives, in part because the special concern we have for
our friends must have a place within a broader set of concerns,
including moral concerns, and in part because our friends can help
shape who we are as persons. Given this centrality, important
questions arise concerning the justification of friendship and, in
this context, whether it is permissible to “trade up” when
someone new comes along, as well as concerning the possibility of
reconciling the demands of friendship with the demands of morality in
cases in which the two seem to conflict.
Re-posting after a technical glitch this morning (eds.) 1. Current events are reminding us that patriotism, at least of the sort that gets publicly acknowledged, is a confusing virtue. I don’t mean that the patriot might get drawn into doing bad things on behalf of his country. …
Ontology is the philosophical discipline which aims to understand how things in the world are divided into categories and how these categories are related together. This is exactly what information scientists aim for in creating structured, automated representations, called 'ontologies,' for managing information in fields such as science, government, industry, and healthcare. Currently, these systems are designed in a variety of different ways, so they cannot share data with one another. They are often idiosyncratically structured, accessible only to those who created them, and unable to serve as inputs for automated reasoning. This volume shows, in a nontechnical way and using examples from medicine and biology, how the rigorous application of theories and insights from philosophical ontology can improve the ontologies upon which information management depends.
As with so many issues in gay and lesbian philosophy, Claudia Card may have said it best. Sexuality, she tells us, shows that “a more generous vocabulary is needed than is provided by the dichotomy of ‘freely chosen’ on the one hand and ‘fated’ or ‘determined’ on the other.” In this paper I will not claim that theorizing about sexual identity solves the philosophical dilemma of free will and determinism. I will argue, however, that gay and lesbian experience may show us a way to reject a rigid division between traits and aspects of the self (like sexuality) that seem determined and aspects of the self that seem freely chosen. To do this, however, it will be necessary to show that our enduring sexual desire, what we ordinarily think of as sexual orientation, is partly constituted by choice. Showing that our orientation originates partly in our own choices will of course change dramatically our understanding of sexual desire and sexual identity, as well as present a more ambiguous picture of the relationship between aspects of the self that appear determined and those that appear chosen.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to central locations. These have shown themselves in the long course of European history. In times of peace, there are important economic and cultural advantages (to illustrate: the present area of the Czech Republic was the richest country in Europe between the two World Wars). There are cross-currents of trade and culture in central Europe of great advantage. For, cultural cross-currents represent a potential benefit in comprehension and cultural growth. But under threat of large-scale conflict, these locations have proved extremely dangerous.
1. Current events are reminding us that patriotism, at least of the sort that gets publicly acknowledged, is a confusing virtue. I don’t mean that the patriot might get drawn into doing bad things on behalf of his country. …