The three major classical accounts of the morality of abortion are all subject to at least one major problem. Can we do better? This article aims to discuss three accounts that purport to be superior to the classical accounts. First, it discusses the future of value argument for the immorality of abortion. It defends the claim that the future of value argument is superior to all three of the classical accounts. It then goes on to discuss Warren's attempt to fix up her personhood account and David Boonin's attempt to fix up Tooley's desire account. Warren claims that her updated version of a personhood account is superior to any potentiality account, such as the future of value account. The article evaluates her claim. Boonin argues that his improved desire view both deals adequately with the apparent counterexamples to Tooley's original account and also is superior to the future of value account. The article evaluates his views as well.
Advancing Evolutionary Explanations in Economics: The Limited Usefulness of Tinbergen's Four‐Question Classification
In this article, it is argued that Niko Tinbergen's (1963) four-question classification might be an even better antidote than Mayr's distinction against misunderstandings that hamper making headway with evolutionary theorizing in economics. Tinbergen's four-question classification, it is argued, can be seen as a further refinement of Mayr's distinction. Tinbergen's classification is used here as a sorting device. It is used not only to dispel misunderstandings of evolutionary theorizing, but also to warn against sketching all too simple evolutionary scenarios in evolutionary explanations. Tinbergen's classification might also help in understanding what evolutionary explanations can and cannot explain. It might be instrumental in sorting out different sorts of questions that might legitimately be asked about behavior and that might call for different answers.
This chapter deals with those fields that study computing systems. Among these computational sciences are computer science, computational cognitive science, computational neuroscience, and artificial intelligence. In the first part of the chapter, it is shown that there are varieties of computation, such as human computation, algorithmic machine computation, and physical computation. There are even varieties of versions of the Church-Turing thesis. The conclusion is that different computational sciences are often about different kinds of computation. The second part of the chapter discusses three specific philosophical issues. One is whether computers are natural kinds. Another issue is the nature of computational theories and explanations. The last section of the chapter relates remarkable results in computational complexity theory to problems of verification and confirmation.
This article reviews the impact of Thomas Kuhn’s monograph The Structure of Scientific Revolutions on subsequent work in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science. It identifies the early philosophical reaction to Kuhn’s alleged “relativism” as based on a misinterpretation of his views about incommensurability and argues that the answers to relativistic challenges are already latent in Structure itself. Kuhn’s enduring influence consists in the impetus he gave to studies of the role of values within the sciences, in the recognition of the complexities of episodes of scientific change, in his proposals for understanding how scientific revolutions may change the world in which scientists work (this latter theme was at the center of his thought in the decades after Structure), and, most obviously, in his introduction of the term ‘paradigm’. In articulating that theme, Kuhn can be seen as returning to central ideas in classical pragmatism.
James F. Woodward
Agency and interventionist theories of causation take as their point of departure a common-sense idea about the connection between causation and manipulation: causal relationships are relationships that are potentially exploitable for purposes of manipulation and control. Very roughly, if C causes E then if C were to be manipulated in the right way, there would be an associated change in E. Conversely, if there would be a change in E, were the right sort of manipulation of C to occur, then C causes E. Accounts of causation in this vein have been defended by Collingwood, Gasking, and others. Similar ideas are defended by many social scientists and by some statisticians and theorists of experimental design.
Stephen G. Post
Of the many topics worthy of discussion regarding older adults and bioethics, two seem to provide an especially pointed opportunity for reflection on our aging society. First, is aging itself something that biomedical researchers should focus on as a deficit to be overcome through eventual anti-aging treatments? While aging may not fall neatly into the disease category, it is clearly the primary susceptibility factor for the innumerable diseases of older adults, and therefore its potential deceleration consistent with the compression of morbidity might constitute a salutary biomedical goal. The aging society is no panacea to those who suffer from a host of chronic illnesses and feel overwhelmed by the burden of years. Second, we must concentrate on the most challenging problematic of our current aging society, assuming that anti-aging technologies will only become available in future decades. One immense problem is the harsh reality of irreversible progressive dementia, which will serve here as an example of the rise of chronic illness, for which age itself is the primary risk factor.
This article explores a number of issues in agriculture and agricultural biotechnology putting a special emphasis within the philosophy of biology which is a fruitful area of study. The ecological impact of agriculture and the potential for humans to make novel contributions to genetic diversity raises questions about biodiversity. Thousands of years of selective breeding and food production using microorganisms in wine, bread, and cheese qualify as agricultural biotechnology. There are various disputes regarding genetically modified food, between products of agricultural biotechnology, and their conventional counterparts. The agricultural revolution also raises many ethical issues including concerns about corporate control, intellectual property rights, and use of traditional biological knowledge. We are on the threshold of the life sciences revolution. Unrevealing these mysteries of science will increase our knowledge and provide understanding of the world around us. Thus, it should lead to a better quality of life.
This chapter focuses on Leibniz’s philosophical reflections on alchemy and chemistry, beginning with his views on chemistry and natural philosophy, then considering his understanding of chemical practices as a way to discover the intelligibility of nature. The traditional hypothesis of an alchemical influence behind Leibniz’s development of the monad concept is also discussed. Finally, the chapter looks at Leibniz’s views on the epistemic status of chemical principles. On the one hand, alchemical experiments are perfectly connected to Leibniz’s metaphysics; on the other hand, the alleged alchemical proximities of this metaphysics give way to a general science in which chemical experimentation has a well-identified function.
S. Marc Cohen
Aristotle's Physics is a study of nature (phusis) and of natural objects (ta phusei). According to him, these objects—either all of them or at least some of them—are in motion. That is, they are kinoumena, things that are subject to change. The first book of the Physics is largely devoted to this task. The account of substantial change in the Physics is devoid of any commitment to prime matter. Aristotle also takes up the topics of alteration and coming-to-be in De Generatione et Corruptione. He adopts a kind of conservation principle: “the corruption of one thing is the generation of another, and vice versa.” In addition, Aristotle points out that all changes involve both a subject (hupokeimenon) and an attribute (pathos) of a sort which can be predicated of the subject, and says that either one of these is capable of “change” (metabolê).
Stephen J. Crowley and Colin Allen
This article focuses on comparative psychology, ethology, and cognitive ethology which explain animal behaviour. The same old questions raised by ancient Greek are discussed by scientists today. Morgan's pioneer work show that a quantitative approach to the physical features of animals and their behavioral products was not beyond imagination. He believed that a scientific understanding of the mental states of animals depends on a “double inductive” process, combining inductive inferences based on observation of animal behavior with knowledge of our own minds. The ethological work concentrated on non-mammalian species. Later “cognitive ethology” was used to describe the research program which combines both cognitive science and classical ethology. The fact that emotion plays a more significant role in animal behaviour was inferred. There have been various attempts to develop a fully integrative approach to animal behavior, but the study of behavior moves in different directions.
This article takes the central issue concerning the ethics of animal experimentation to be the moral status of animals. Since most animal experimentation involves treating experimental subjects in ways that would clearly not be morally acceptable if the subjects were human, and since no animal experimentation involves the informed consent of the experimental subject(s), any attempt to justify such experimentation must include a defense of the claim that the moral status of animals differs significantly from that of humans. The influence of animal welfare advocates, in particular Peter Singer, Tom Regan, and their followers, but certainly dating back to Bentham and Mill, seems to have resulted in at least the grudging acceptance by the research community that animals have some moral status. That is, that the interests of animals should be taken into account when designing and justifying experiments involving them.
This article discusses the conditions under which it is permissible and advisable to use animals in biomedical experimentation. The “Common View” is that there are moral limits on what we can do to nonhuman animals, but humans can use them when doing so advances significant human interests. This view entails that animals have some moral status, but not a demandingly high status. The idea also states that most people believe that medical experiments using animals do wind up benefiting humans. The “Lenient View” holds that even if animals have moral worth, their worth is so slight that humans can use them virtually any way we wish. The “Demanding View” holds that the moral worth of animals is so high that it bars virtually all uses of animals in biomedical research.
This article continues the discussion of whether animals possess moral standing, which it considers to be the question of whether they are deserving of our sympathy and concern and whether they possess moral rights. It notes that the question of moral rights should receive a negative answer, even though it believes firmly in the evolutionary and cognitive continuities between humans and other animals. The first half of this article argues that pain and suffering of a great many animals do appropriately make them objects of sympathy, and it shows that they have minds with structures often similar to those of humans. However, the final half of this article turns to a defense of a contractualist perspective, which is that all humans, and probably no other animals, possess moral standing. From this contractualist perspective, morality is the outcome of an idealized contract among agents who can then constrain and guide their relations with others.
This article probes the widely held view in philosophy and the biological sciences that the amount and ways in which a nonhuman animal can experience pain, by comparison to the human animal, is limited to the feeling of physical pain. The justification for this view is often said to be that animals are less cognitively sophisticated than humans because they lack awareness of self and a sense of the past and the future. This view suggests that pain for animals is not as bad as pain is for us. The discussion presents a notably different approach to the understanding of animal pain. It uses welfare analysis and decision-making frameworks to argue that pain may be worse for animals than the comparable amount of pain is for humans.
This article examines the history of early modern philosophy, principally in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It explains why early modern philosophers and jurists seldom reflected deeply about animal life and why the arrival of a decent theory of animal rights in early modern philosophy was a remarkable development. It begins with the general background of rights theory as it was developing in political philosophy. It uses as an instructive example eighteenth-century experimentalist Robert Boyle and his thesis that there is a duty to experiment on animals. It describes the steady movement toward both a rejection of Boyle's view and toward the view that we have moral duties to animals. It argues that this historical trend led to the “invention” of animal rights at the hands of Scottish moral philosopher Francis Hutcheson.
Stephen R. L. Clark
This article explores a large array of conceptions and theories in the ancient world, with an emphasis on what the ancients thought of both themselves and the other “animals.” The scope is immense in terms of leading schools of philosophy: the Pre-Socratics, the Golden Age of Athens, the Hellenistic period, and the Late Antique period. One generalization that does seem to hold is that non-human animals were commonly viewed as foils—beastly in habits and without minds of moral significance. The discussion assesses the ancient, classical, Greek, and Mediterranean attitudes as complicated and often contradictory. In general, animals were seen as entirely unlike us, but humans also were seen as capable of a descent into beastly behavior—to the point that humans were in effect seen as no more than animals.
This article argues that some animals are moral subjects in the sense that they can be, and sometimes are, motivated by moral considerations. It argues that there are no empirical or conceptual obstacles to regarding some animals as motivated by moral concerns. To suppose otherwise, the discussion notes, is to fall victim to certain views that invest quasi-magical properties in “meta-cognition”—properties that afford humans a status of a sort possessed by no other beings. It argues that the sentiments of animals can be genuinely moral ones and that there are no compelling reasons to suppose that these animals are not moral subjects that can be morally evaluated—even if they cannot be moral agents.
This article considers whether we have moral duties that are owed directly to animals, or whether all duties regarding animals are derivative from duties we have to human beings. It maintains that we have moral duties directly toward nonhuman animals, not merely duties regarding them, and that this claim can be adequately grounded in the thesis of the fundamental standing of animals. Nonetheless, it finds that the thesis of the fundamental standing of animals is in tension with a very different and intuitively plausible thesis called the thesis of the fundamental concern of morality: morality is fundamentally concerned with advancing human welfare by enabling human beings to live together successfully in societies. This article argues that the two theses can be shown to be compatible; even the apparent “speciesism” of the second thesis is compatible with recognizing the fundamental standing of animals.
John W. Carroll
Anti-reductionism is the view that causation cannot be analysed non-nomically and, further, that causation still resists analysis even when the non-causal, nomic concepts are made available. In other words, the anti-reductionist maintains that there can be no non-causal analysis of causation. Indeed, some anti-reductionists hold that causation does not supervene on the non-causal facts. This article is an overview and defence of anti-reductionism. It locates anti-reductionism relative to some possible companion doctrines and recounts the development of anti-reductionism.
This article considers the defensibility of “species egalitarianism”—the position that all living things have equal moral standing and therefore all species command our respect. It challenges the view that there are good reasons to believe that all living things have moral standing in even a minimal sense. It explains why members of other species understandably and justifiably command our respect, but also why they cannot command equal respect. It also argues that there is reason to doubt that species egalitarianism is compatible with true respect for nature. The theory improperly suggests that the moral standing of dolphins is no higher than that of tuna, and that the standing of chimpanzees is no higher than that of mice. Such a view does not give dolphins and chimpanzees the respect they deserve.