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  • 1.
    Agnafors, Marcus
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    A Critical Comment on Collste2011In: Public Health Ethics, ISSN 1754-9973, E-ISSN 1754-9981, Vol. 4, no 2, 203-205 p.Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This article claims that the account of specification as a way to solve conflicts between rights, suggested by Göran Collste, is unsatisfactory. It is argued that specification is not a solution on its own, but is better described as a remedy in response to a political failure.

  • 2.
    Agnafors, Marcus
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    A Secular State?2010In: Identity and pluralism : ethnicity, religion and values / [ed] Göran Collste, Linköping: LiU-Tryckk , 2010, 80-102 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Agnafors, Marcus
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Lunds universitet.
    Bör den liberala staten privilegiera religion i samhället?2013In: Tidskrift för politisk filosofi, ISSN 1402-2710, Vol. 17, no 3, 1-21 p.Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Det anses ofta att en liberal stat måste förhålla sig neutral till religiösa element i samhället. Att bryta mot neutralitetskravet och därmed privilegiera religiösa element i samhället är uteslutet, hävdas det, eftersom ett sådant privilegierande skulle innebära att man medvetet gynnar en grupp uppfattningar om det goda livet – vilket skulle vara synnerligen icke-liberalt.

    I den här artikeln ifrågasätts det neutralitetskrav som åläggs den liberala staten. Istället försvaras idén att en liberal stat i vissa fall kan ha en prima facie skyldighet att privilegiera vissa religiösa element i samhället. I artikeln presenteras tre villkor som måste vara uppfyllda för att ett avsteg från neutralitetskravet ska vara rättfärdigat.

    Efter en kortare diskussion om den relevanta empiriska forskningen konkluderas att en liberal stat i vissa fall är berättigad att privilegiera religiösa element i samhället utan att därmed kompromissa med sin liberala status.

  • 4.
    Agnafors, Marcus
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Introduktion2013In: Varför inte Socialism? och Om den egalitära rättvisans valuta / [ed] G. A. Cohen, Daidalos, 2013Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 5.
    Agnafors, Marcus
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Michael Sandel: What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets2014In: Tidskrift för politisk filosofi, ISSN 1402-2710, Vol. 18, no 1, 37-44 p.Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 6.
    Agnafors, Marcus
    Lund University, Sweden.
    Quality of Government and the Treatment of Immigrants2013In: Ecumenical Review Sibiu / Revista Ecumenica Sibiu, ISSN 2065-5940, Vol. 5, no 1, 25-41 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Normative questions concerning the treatment of immigrants can be approached from various perspectives: consequentialistic, deontological, fairness-based, rectificatory, or similar. In this paper, the implications of the idea of quality of government for the treatment of immigrants are examined. It is argued that an acceptable definition of quality of governance includes a principle of beneficence, which prescribes a beneficial treatment of immigrants whenever laws and policies allow. The principle, which is not novel in itself, is presented in a more specified form and is provided with a philosophical justification.

  • 7.
    Agnafors, Marcus
    Lund University, Sweden.
    Quality of Government: Toward a More Complex Definition2013In: American Political Science Review, ISSN 0003-0554, E-ISSN 1537-5943, Vol. 107, no 3, 433-445 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Concepts such as “quality of government” and “good governance” refer to a desired character of the exercise of public authority. Recently the interest in good governance, the quality of government, and similar concepts has increased considerably. However, despite this increasing interest and use, an adequate definition of the concept of quality of government has proved difficult to find. This article criticizes recent attempts at such a definition and proposes an alternative, more complex definition that includes moral content and also encompasses a plurality of values and virtues at its core. An acceptable definition of the quality of governance must be consistent with the demands of a public ethos, the virtues of good decision making and reason giving, the rule of law, efficiency, stability, and a principle of beneficence. The article describes these components in detail and the relations among them.

  • 8.
    Agnafors, Marcus
    Lund University, Sweden.
    Reassessing Walzer’s social criticism2012In: Philosophy & Social Criticism, ISSN 0191-4537, E-ISSN 1461-734X, Vol. 38, no 9, 917-937 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It is often argued that Michael Walzer's theory of social criticism, which underpins his theory of justice, is not much of a theory at all, but rather an impressionistic collection of historical anecdotes. Contrary to this perception, I argue that Walzer's method can be accurately described as a version of John Rawls' well-known method of wide reflective equilibrium. Through a systematic comparison it can be shown that the two methods are strikingly similar. This implies that, far from the critics' claim, Walzer's method can be described as a philosophically sophisticated method. This also adds credibility to Walzer's views on politics and justice.

  • 9.
    Agnafors, Marcus
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    The Ethics of Free Soloing2010In: Climbing: because it's there / [ed] Stephen E. Schmid, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, 158-168 p.Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 10.
    Agnafors, Marcus
    Lund University, Sweden .
    When Do We Share Moral Norms?2012In: Journal of Value Inquiry, ISSN 0022-5363, E-ISSN 1573-0492, Vol. 46, no 3, 303-315 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 11.
    Agulanna, Christopher
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
    Informed Consent in Sub-Saharan African Communal Culture: The2008Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 20 points / 30 hpStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Some scholars argue that the principle of voluntary informed consent is rooted in the Western ethos of liberal individualism; that it would be difficult to implement this requirement in societies where the norms of decision-making emphasize collective rather than individual decision-making (for example, Sub-Saharan Africa); that it would amount to “cultural imperialism” to seek to implement the principle of voluntary informed consent in non-Western societies. This thesis rejects this skepticism about the possibility of implementing the informed consent requirement in non-Western environments and argues that applying the principle of voluntary informed consent in human subjects’ research in Sub-Saharan African communal culture could serve as an effective measure to protect vulnerable subjects from possible abuses or exploitations. The thesis proposes the “multi-step” approach to informed consent as the best approach to the implementation of the principle in the African communal setting. The thesis argues that the importance of the “multi-step” approach lies in the fact that it is one that is sensitive to local culture and customs. On the question of whether the principle of voluntary informed consent should be made compulsory in research, the thesis answers that we have no choice in the matter.

  • 12.
    Ahamadu, Ibrahim
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
    Intellectual Property Rights: A Barricade to Technological Development. An Ethical Analysis on the Less Developed Countries2003Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Debate over Intellectual Property Rights ‘IPRs’ particularly patent and copyrights is mainly on forward-looking industries in computer software. As part of a trade deal reached in 1994, the member nations of the World Trade Organisation must adhere to a global agreement known as TRIPS, for the Trade- Related Aspect of Intellectual Property Rights.

    This study is to analyse the ethical conception of Intellectual Property Rights and in particular its implications on the developing countries in relation to TRIPS. The approach will be to analyse a broad philosophical theories of property to see if there is any justification for a software program to be treated as private property and also argue base on John Rawls two principles of justice in relation to TRIPS Agreement. Some reflections will be put on the use of open-source software by less developing countries.

    From the study it was asserted that, strong IPRs protection would hinder technological transfer and indigenous learning activities in the early stage of industrialisation when learning takes place through reverse engineering. And policy makers should consider differentiation in terms of the level of economic and industrial development, if protection and enforcement of IPRs is intended to enhance technological development.

  • 13.
    Ahlin, Jesper
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    What is Wrong Between Us?: On the problem of circularity in Scanlon's contractualism2013Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    In this essay, the Scanlonian contractualist formula will be understood as follows: Within the domain of morality of what we owe to each other, an action is morally wrong if it follows principles that similarly motivated people can reasonably reject. Consequently, the concept of ‘reasonable rejection’ is the operative element in moral valuation, thus begging the question of what it is for a rejection to be reasonable. The problem of circularity in Scanlon’s contractualism builds upon a reading according to which Scanlon’s explanation of what it is to be ‘reasonably rejected’ seems to be understood as ‘when the action is morally wrong’. If this is the case, then Scanlon’s contractualism refers to its own thesis when performing moral valuations: that is wrong which can be reasonably rejected, and for an action to be reasonably rejected it must be morally wrong. The problem of circularity apparently renders Scanlon’s contractualism ‘empty’ as it cannot explain what it is for an action to be morally wrong without referring to its own thesis.

    In this essay I will try to clarify the difference between welfarist and structural charges of circularity. I will argue that the structural charges of circularity are due to a fallacious constructivist reading of What We Owe to Each Other. As I understand Scanlon, the constructivist reading places Scanlon’s theory too close to the contractualist tradition. I will also argue that critics holding Scanlon’s contractualism to be circular have failed to note that his theory only claims to cover a narrow domain of morality. Where critics hold Scanlon’s contractualism to refer to its own thesis when performing moral valuations I will argue that the theory refers to moral domains outside that of what we owe to each other. Hopefully my discussion on constructivism and circularity will shed some light on the simple brilliance and practical applicability of Scanlon’s contractualism.

    I will give a brief overview of What We Owe to Each Other before I present the critique put forth by Onora O’Neill, Mark Timmons and Joseph Raz. Then I will show how Scanlon treats the problem of circularity in his book, and how his defense targets substantial and not structural charges of circularity. I will then show that the structural critique is fallacious by analyzing the domain of morality that Scanlon’s contractualism targets. Finally I will try to apply Scanlon’s formula on personal relationships and on environmental issues. As of this point I will refer to Scanlon’s thesis as ‘contractualism’ while other theories following the contractualist tradition will be referred to as ‘contractarian’.

  • 14.
    Almén, Edgar
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Religion and Culture. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Furenhed, Ragnar
    Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Health and Society. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Hartman, Sven G.
    Lärarhögskolan, Stockholm.
    Skogar, Björn
    Lärarutbildningen, Karlstad och Södertörn.
    Livstolkning och värdegrund: Att undervisa om religion, livsfrågor och etik2000Book (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Skolans värdegrund har på senare år lyfts fram i många olika sammanhang. Uppgiften att undervisa om religion, etik, och livsfrågor har också debatterats. Detta undervisningsområde hör till skolans svåraste uppgifter - men kanske också till de viktigaste. Denna antologi ger ett bidrag till utvecklingen av ett professionellt lärarkunnande i frågor som gäller skolans värdegrund och undervisning på livsåskådningsområdet.

    Författarna ger utifrån sina respektive kompetensområden en belysning av några av ämnesområdets centrala aspekter.

    De texter som ingår har skrivits särskilt för lärarutbildningen men kan också användas i andra sammanhang. Avsikten har varit att via texterna föra de studerande i kontakt med såväl aktuell forskning som professionell lärarkunskap av annat slag.

  • 15.
    Aman, Robert
    Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences.
    The Double Bind of Interculturality and the Implications for Education2015In: Journal of Intercultural Studies, ISSN 0725-6868, E-ISSN 1469-9540, Vol. 36, no 2, 149-165 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores the ways in which boundaries of estrangement are produced in the academic literature assigned for courses on interculturality. As the existence of interculturality is dependent on the ascription of content to culture – since the notion, by definition, always involves more than one singular culture – this essay seeks to provide an answer to the question of what this literature, implicitly or otherwise, defines in terms of sameness vis-à-vis otherness, and thereby to chart the conditions for becoming intercultural. This question is especially important because the self in interculturality has to be, in principle, generalizable: it should signify a position available for occupation by anybody with proper training in this approach. Starting from the assumption that different experiences, languages and identities, already intersect and are indeed already intercultural before being subjected to study under the auspices of ‘interculturality’ as an educational topic, the essay goes on to problematize the way in which interculturality tends to construe sameness and difference along national lines and does little to cater for multiple, as opposed to national, or other unified, identities.

  • 16.
    Amanze, Stanley Otitoaja
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
    Technologised Parenthood: An Ethical Implacation of Human Reproductive Cloning2005Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Science and technology has been the bedrock of human growth and dynamism. Man has over the years distinguished his existence from all other beings by his ability to champion and fashion his existence. Among his tools is biotechnology which actually attenuates the fears of aging and death.

    Human reproductive cloning stands out as one of the means through which biotechnology plans to achieve this perfect existence for man. Technological advancements in the field of biotechnology are now in the threshold of human procreation.

    Human reproductive cloning is seen as an assisted method of reproduction which creates a newborn that is genetically identical to another human being.Human reproductive cloning as a technology and as a means of reproduction is not without its pros and cons. In as much as the technology promises to mention but a few, hope for the infertile couples and single parents, as well as the hope of reproduction without passing on hereditary diseases; it at the same time beeps some flashes of worry. Hence, the inherent threat to the notion of parenthood which does not smack of compromise, coupled with other ethical implications are reasons one may proffer not to have this technology.

    Technologised parenthood stands out as an implication of human reproductive cloning and as such it considers issues in human sexuality i.e. the place of human sexuality in reproduction and then the nature of the family which is the playground of human existence. This thesis focuses on this implication of human reproductive cloning while making a critical exposition of the concept of human reproductive cloning.

  • 17.
    Amundin, Mats
    et al.
    Kolmården Wildlife Park.
    Hållsten, Henrik
    Filosofiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet.
    Eklund, Robert
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Language and Culture. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Karlgren, Jussi
    Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan.
    Molinder, Lars
    Carnegie Investment Bank, Swedden.
    A proposal to use distributional models to analyse dolphin vocalisation2017In: Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Vocal Interactivity in-and-between Humans, Animals and Robots, VIHAR 2017 / [ed] Angela Dassow, Ricard Marxer & Roger K. Moore, 2017, 31-32 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper gives a brief introduction to the starting points of an experimental project to study dolphin communicative behaviour using distributional semantics, with methods implemented for the large scale study of human language.

  • 18.
    Andersson, Anna-Karin
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
    Title Legitimacy of power: an argument about the justification of redistributions and restrictions of liberty of action within a state2002Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis aims at answering the following questions:1) How can the existence of a state be justified?2) To what extent does the state have the right to restrict individual´s liberty of action?3) To what extent does the state have the right to restrict or redistribute any kind of "goods", and if so, which restrictions should be allowed on which"goods"?4) Can a moral theory be "goal-directed", and are there moral reasons that it should be "goaldirected"?

    In order to answer these questions, I will analyze Robert Nozick´s and Michael Walzer´s answers to these questions, as presented in Anarchy, State and Utopia (1974) and Spheres of Justice (1983). My answers, which are founded on an argument for the necessity of freedom of choice and ambition-sensitivity in theories of justice, are results of a compromise between the ideas in these theories, but also partially on criticism of both theories.

  • 19.
    Aniago, Wilfred Onyekachi
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
    International Debt Cancellation and the Question of Global Justice: A Case Study of Nigeria.2006Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 20 points / 30 hpStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    There is so much hunger in the developing poor countries of the world that the extent of inequality calls for a re-examination of global resources distribution especially as it concerns global debt crisis. The debts and their servicing obligation worsen the condition of the poor. Their cancellation could grant some respite to these global poor. This is why the call for a total and unconditional cancellation of Third World debt becomes a moral imperative. This needs to be given a normative approach especially as most of the debts were said to have arisen from morally questionable contracts. The demand for their cancellation is therefore a demand for global justice viewed from the stand point of rectification and distribution.

  • 20.
    Animasaun, Emmanuel Dare
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
    Professional Medical Ethicist: A Weed or Desired Member in Medical Ethics Debates?2006Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 10 points / 15 hpStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    We now live in an era of experts on virtually everything, among which we have professional medical ethicists, who gained prominence in the late 60s due to dramatic advances in medical technology. Before then, medical ethics issues were not thought as separable from the warp and woof of the everyday life. Medical technology’s advancement cascades legions of moral problems in medicine and biomedical research. Series of innovative interventions in medicine raise throngs of ethical questions. In most cases that have to do with issues of life and death, there are perceived moral conflicts. Due to this swath of problematic issues that need solutions, some apologists favour medical ethics experts as fit for the job, while critics argue that no one has the knowledge or skill for dealing with moral quandaries because objective truth is not feasible in ethics and moral judgment is relative to cultures, beliefs and values. The necessity for medical ethicists to take active role in Medical Ethics Debates, either in Committees at the institutional level, or at any other decision-making mechanisms is justified in this thesis. In addition to this, the thesis also justifies medical ethicists’ role as expert consultants to clinicians and individuals alike This justification is based on complex moral problems accentuated by medical technology, which are far from being easily solved through mere appeal to individual reason, but rather by involving medical ethicists based on their specialized knowledge and high level understanding of research and practice. Although critics question the authority with which experts speak on these issues, nevertheless, the thesis unravels the roles, functions, significance and components of expert’s expertise that separate him/her from the crowd. Arguments are critically analysed and medical ethicists’ limits and professional flaws are addressed, with a view to establishing a virile foundation for the profession of medical ethics.

  • 21.
    Aronsson, Jan
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication.
    Det estetiska problemet: Relationen mellan det estetiska och etiska i Kierkegaards filosofi2007Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This paper is about Soren Aabye Kierkegaards (1813-1855) philosophy regarding the relation between the aesthetic and the ethic stage. The result of the essay is a modification of the aesthetic problem. The suggestion is to convert part of Kierkegaard’s metaphysical claims into an epistemic approach. An epistemic approach means to hold a position of well grounded stipulative beliefs. The argument for this suggestion is that it’s not possible to decide the truth in Kierkegaard’s metaphysical claims and therefore is it more fruitful to take an epistemic position. This paper claims that for the aesthetic person an argumentation on an epistemic level should be enough to choose the ethic way of life.

  • 22.
    Arvidsson, HG.
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
    How to Enhance the Usefulness of Public Debates as a Support for Political Decision-Making2004Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 20 points / 30 hpStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    The objective for this study is to examine whether it is possible to use the method of reflective equilibrium in order to enhance the usefulness of public debates as a support for political decision-making. Since public debates from political quarters are seen as an important tool for policy-making, the need for a rational assessment of the views put forward in such debates are important. And since reflective equilibrium aims for coherence between judgments on different levels – intuitions, principles and theories, which all are put forward in public debates – the point of departure for this theses is that this method could be useful for the matter of bringing some kind of structure to public debates.

    The analysis in this study shows that there actually are similarities between the method of reflective equilibrium and the course of public debates, since they both are characterized by the fact that viewpoints are mutually scrutinized in the light of one another. Further, it is argued that a more systematic applying of the method of reflective equilibrium would further the justification force of the outcome of public debates, since the method stresses the need of rationality and the importance of taking all relevant opinions into consideration. Therefore, the conclusion is that applying reflective equilibrium to public debates could make the political decision-making more democratic.

  • 23.
    Beckman, Emma
    Linköping University, Department of Religion and Culture.
    Augustinus predestinationslära och människans fria vilja2006Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This paper is mainly a discussion of Augustine’s combination of the idea that human beings have a free will with his doctrine of predestination. According to the definitions of “determinism” and “free will” suggested in this paper, the actuality of predestination excludes the possibility of human free will. Since Augustine takes starting-point in his belief in God and his assumptions about the attributes of God and human beings, such a conclusion is impossible for him. The actuality of both predestination and human free will is an important feature of his view of the relationship between human beings and God. This paper investigates how Augustine’s line of argument in De Libero Arbitrio (On Free Choice of the Will) manages to hold against a modern criticism. The primary aim is to show why Augustine’s assumption that human beings have free will is inconsistent with his assumption that God has predestined all events of the world.

  • 24.
    Beckman, Emma
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication.
    Richard Swinburne's Inductive Argument for the Existence of God – A Critical Analysis2008Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This essay discusses and criticizes Richard Swinburne's inductive argument for the existence of God. In his The Existence of God, Swinburne aims at showing that the existence of God is more probable than not. This is an argument taking into consideration the premises of all traditional arguments for the existence of God. Swinburne uses the phenomena and events that constitute the premises of these arguments as evidence in an attempt to show that his hypothesis is more probably true than nor. Swinburne pursues this task by way of applying Bayes' theorem. The aim of this essay is normative - to judge the strength of Swinburne's argument for the existence of God. My primary objections towards Swinburne is that he professes a subjective concept of probability, that he relies too heavily on simplicity as a virtue of plausible and probable hypotheses and that his concept of God involves an incoherent picture of God's nature. I question not only the actual success of Swinburne's project but what his argument, if it had been successful, would have been able to establish.

  • 25.
    Beckman, Emma
    Linköping University, Department of Religion and Culture.
    Superveniens och dess plats inom anomal monism: En analys av debatten mellan Donald Davidson och Jaegwon Kim2006Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 points / 15 hpStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This paper analyses the debate between Donald Davidson and Jaegwon Kim concerning Davidsons idea of the supervenience of the mental upon the physical. This thought is part of Davidson's general theory of the relation between mind and body; anomalous monism. The author asks wherther Kim is right that mental supervenience is insufficient to gurantee the mental causal power. The paper analyses the standpoints of both philosophers, especially regarding their definitions of "supervenience" and argues that Kim, to some extent, can be said to have misunderstood Davidson's notion of supervenience. Kim has offered definitons of "weak" and "strong" supervenience and interpreted Davidsons supervenience as being of the kind last mentioned. The author takes a standpoint opposite of Kim's and argues that Davidson's notion of supervenience is better understood as weak supervenience, but at the same time notes that it is by no means obvious that Davidsons supervenience can be said to belong to either of these categories since these refer to "possible worlds", which Davidson refuses to accept.

  • 26.
    Behrensen, Maren
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Kaliarnta, Sofia
    Delft University of Technology, Netherlands.
    Sick and Tired: Depression in the Margins of Academic Philosophy2017In: Topoi (Dordrecht), ISSN 0167-7411, E-ISSN 1572-8749, Vol. 36, no 2, 355-364 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper is a reflection on Peter Railtons keynote speech at the Central APA in February 2015, especially on his disclosure of his struggle with clinical depression. Without attempting to deny the significance of Prof. Railtons outing, we want to draw attention here to something that did not prominently figure in his speech: structural features of the philosophical profession that make people sick. In particular, we focus on the "ideology of smartness" in philosophy and how it creates a pathological double-bind for those that come into the discipline from the margins, or find themselves in its margins.

  • 27.
    Bernabe, Rosemarie
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
    An Investigation on the Aristotelian Foundations of Martha Nussbaum's Capabilities Approach and the Disability Issue Utilizing Nussbaum's Earlier Works on Aristotle2006Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 10 points / 15 hpStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    This is an investigatory work on the Aristotelian foundations of Martha Nussbaum's capabilities approach and the disability issue. After an initial exposition of the capabilities approach and the application of the approach on the disability issue, the author makes a survey of the previous works of Nussbaum on Aristotle. That survey of the works of Nussbaum on Aristotle was utilized to evaluate the Aristotelian foundations of the capabilities approach (which Nussbaum claims is an Aristotelian approach). The conclusion was that Aristotle, as developed by Nussbaum, does not provide a sufficient foundation for the approach nor for the issue on disability.

  • 28.
    Berzell, Martin
    Linköping University, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Health and Society. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
    Electronic Healthcare Ontologies: Philosophy, the real world and IT structures2010Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The thesis investigates how the notion of ‘ontology’ has been used in the field of medical informatics and knowledge representation. Partly to investigate what an ‘ontology’ can be said to represent and what requirements we can have on a good ‘ontology’. The author studies the already existing medical terminologies and ‘ontologies’ to elucidate what theories they are based on. The terminological theories of Eugen Wüster and his legacy in medical informatics are studied. It is noted that terminological theories handling linguistic entities are not suited for describing and representing medical theories, since these are assumed to refer to the real world, which consists of more than linguistics entities.

    In order to find a metaphysical theory in accordance with the world view that medical theories describe, the author turn to the critical realism of Karl Popper, Roy Bhaskar and Ilkka Niiniluoto. These theories, taken together with the metaphysical theories regarding universals of David M Armstrong and Ingvar Johansson, are used as a basis to find out what an ‘ontology’ can be said to represent, and what criteria and requirements we can have on a good ‘ontology’. Among the requirements presented in the thesis are stability, interoperability and the requirement that a good ‘ontology’ must be in accordance with our best available theories.

    Finally, it is discussed how these requirements and criteria can come into conflict with one another, and how one should reason when handling these trade-offs. The author emphasises the importance of including the medical expertise in the process of creating ‘ontologies’, in order to produce as useful and relevant ‘ontologies’ as possible.

  • 29.
    Bjellerup, Jon
    Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Carl Malmsten - furniture studies.
    Är du på riktigt?: en teoretisk och praktisk studie av autenticitet, äkthet och möbler2017Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10,5 credits / 16 HE creditsStudent thesis
  • 30.
    Björck, Jenny
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics.
    Do we have a moral duty to offer severely ill asylum-seeking children residence permits?2006Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 20 points / 30 hpStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    Do we have a moral duty to offer severely ill asylum- seeking children permanent residence permits?

    This thesis analyses our moral duty to offer 410 severely ill asylum-seeking children permanent residence permits. During 2004 an emotionally charged debate started in Sweden. The debate concerned the deportation of 410 severely ill asylum- seeking children and their families. For this and other reasons Sweden was criticized by the United Nations commission along with human rights organizations for being too restrictive in its migration and asylum politics. My thesis outlines the migration and asylum debate and the refugee situation in the world at present together with facts about how the asylum procedure takes place in Sweden. Further I draw upon medical research connected to the asylum procedure along with how the Swedish Government and Save the Children respond to the migration and asylum debate.

    I also explore which rights, in terms of legal implications and ethical principles, these children have. Additional I outline theories in political philosophy from the utilitarian and communitarian tradition. The two philosophers I refer to are Michael Walzer and Peter Singer to apply their views to my primary question. Finally, I reach a critical analysis where I summarize and discuss my research. In the end I offer my final reflections in order to further debate on migration and asylum issues.

  • 31.
    Björklund, Fredrik
    et al.
    Lunds universitet, Lund Sweden.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Göteborgs universitet, Göteborg, Sweden.
    Eriksson, John
    Göteborgs universitet, Göteborg, Sweden.
    Francén Olinder, Ragnar
    Stockholms universitet, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Strandberg, Caj
    Göteborgs universitet, Göteborg, Sweden.
    Recent Work on Motivational Internalism2012In: Analysis, ISSN 0003-2638, E-ISSN 1467-8284, Vol. 72, no 1, 124-137 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed)
  • 32.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    Advertisement of An Empirical Theory of Judgments of Moral Responsibilit2010Other (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Presentation of an empirical model of judgments of moral responsibility, based on work by Gunnar Björnsson, Karl Persson and Erik Johansson.

  • 33.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Collective explanations, individual responsibility2009In: Book of abstracts, International Conference on Moral Responsibility: Neuroscience, Organization & Engineering, Book of Abstracts / [ed] Nicole A Vincent, Neelke Doorn & Jessica Nihlén Fahlquist, Delft, Netherlands: 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology, Delft University of Technology , 2009, 35-36 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Two philosophical discussions of moral responsibility run parallel. One is tightly connected to the debate about free will and its relation to determinism and indeterminism. Philosophical accounts of moral responsibility belonging to this discussion typically focus on individual agential responsibility, characterizing what must be true about individuals in order for them to be responsible for their actions. The other discussion is connected to normative ethics, and the question of when the normative status of an action is affected by the occurrence of some good or bad event. Accounts belonging to this discussion sometimes address questions of whether individuals can be responsible for outcomes of actions by collectives to which they belong or identify with, or for joint effects of a great number of similar actions. A branch of the normative debate about responsibility also concerns the responsibility of collective agents such as corporations and nations. The two discussions rarely meet, and for seemingly good reason, as they appear to be concerned with very different aspects of responsibility; one is concerned with the causes of actions and the conditions under which we decide to act, the other with the relation between actions and consequences of action. In this paper, however, I argue that the Explanation Account, a promising account of individual agential responsibility, extends naturally to both individual and collective outcome-responsibility, and suggests intuitively plausible answers to questions about the responsibility of collectives and their members. The crucial aspect of the Explanation Account is that for an agent to be responsible for an event is for some relevant aspect of the agent’s motivation or lack thereof to be part of a significant explanation of that event. In the paper, I discuss how this extends to cases where events are explained by the fact that, say, the US rejects an international treaty, or that affluent people keep flying more than necessary. Unlike many other accounts of responsibility in virtue of participation in collective action, this account does not presuppose that collectives are agents, or even that they are social or cultural units. What matters is whether the actions of these individuals are instances of a set of actions that explains the outcomes for which they are thereby responsible. References: * Björnsson, Gunnar and Persson, Karl “Judgments of Moral Responsibility: A Unified Account”, Society for Philosophy and Psychology, 35th Annual Meeting 2009, available at http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00004633/ * Björnsson, Gunnar and Persson, Karl “The Explanatory Component of Moral Responsibility”, forthcoming in Noûs

  • 34.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    Collective explanations, joint responsibility2010Other (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Two philosophical discussions of moral responsibility run parallel. One is tightly connected to the debate about free will and its relation to determinism and indeterminism. Philosophical accounts of moral responsibility belonging to this discussion typically focus on individual agential responsibility, characterizing what must be true about individuals in order for them to be responsible for their actions. The other discussion is connected to normative ethics, and the question of when the normative status of an action is affected by the occurrence of some good or bad event. Accounts belonging to this discussion sometimes address questions of whether individuals can be responsible for outcomes of actions by collectives to which they belong or identify with, or for joint effects of a great number of similar actions. A branch of the normative debate about responsibility also concerns the responsibility of collective agents such as corporations and nations. The two discussions rarely meet, and for seemingly good reason, as they appear to be concerned with very different aspects of responsibility; one is concerned with the causes of actions and the conditions under which we decide to act, the other with the relation between actions and consequences of action. In this paper, however, I argue that the Explanation Account, a promising account of individual agential responsibility, extends naturally to both individual and collective outcome-responsibility, and suggests intuitively plausible answers to questions about the responsibility of collectives and their members. The crucial aspect of the Explanation Account is that for an agent to be responsible for an event is for some relevant aspect of the agent’s motivation or lack thereof to be part of a significant explanation of that event. In the paper, I discuss how this extends to cases where events are explained by the fact that, say, the US rejects an international treaty, or that affluent people keep flying more than necessary. Unlike many other accounts of responsibility in virtue of participation in collective action, this account does not presuppose that collectives are agents, or even that they are social or cultural units. What matters is whether the actions of these individuals are instances of a set of actions that explains the outcomes for which they are thereby responsible. References: * Björnsson, Gunnar and Persson, Karl “Judgments of Moral Responsibility: A Unified Account”, Society for Philosophy and Psychology, 35th Annual Meeting 2009, available at http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00004633/ * Björnsson, Gunnar and Persson, Karl “The Explanatory Component of Moral Responsibility”, forthcoming in Noûs

  • 35.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    Collective explanations, joint responsibility2010Other (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Two philosophical discussions of moral responsibility run parallel. One is tightly connected to the debate about free will and its relation to determinism and indeterminism. Philosophical accounts of moral responsibility belonging to this discussion typically focus on individual agential responsibility, characterizing what must be true about individuals in order for them to be responsible for their actions. The other discussion is connected to normative ethics, and the question of when the normative status of an action is affected by the occurrence of some good or bad event. Accounts belonging to this discussion sometimes address questions of whether individuals can be responsible for outcomes of actions by collectives to which they belong or identify with, or for joint effects of a great number of similar actions. A branch of the normative debate about responsibility also concerns the responsibility of collective agents such as corporations and nations. The two discussions rarely meet, and for seemingly good reason, as they appear to be concerned with very different aspects of responsibility; one is concerned with the causes of actions and the conditions under which we decide to act, the other with the relation between actions and consequences of action. In this paper, however, I argue that the Explanation Account, a promising account of individual agential responsibility, extends naturally to both individual and collective outcome-responsibility, and suggests intuitively plausible answers to questions about the responsibility of collectives and their members. The crucial aspect of the Explanation Account is that for an agent to be responsible for an event is for some relevant aspect of the agent’s motivation or lack thereof to be part of a significant explanation of that event. In the paper, I discuss how this extends to cases where events are explained by the fact that, say, the US rejects an international treaty, or that affluent people keep flying more than necessary. Unlike many other accounts of responsibility in virtue of participation in collective action, this account does not presuppose that collectives are agents, or even that they are social or cultural units. What matters is whether the actions of these individuals are instances of a set of actions that explains the outcomes for which they are thereby responsible. References: * Björnsson, Gunnar and Persson, Karl “Judgments of Moral Responsibility: A Unified Account”, Society for Philosophy and Psychology, 35th Annual Meeting 2009, available at http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00004633/ * Björnsson, Gunnar and Persson, Karl “The Explanatory Component of Moral Responsibility”, forthcoming in Noûs

  • 36.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    Contextualism and relativism about 'ought'2010Other (Other academic)
  • 37.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Contextualism, assessment-relativity and content-insensitivity2009Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Recently, a number of authors have argued that contextualist analyses of for example epistemic modals and matters of taste are inadequate and need to be recast in terms of assessment-relative truth or assessment-relative contents. The viability of such relativist proposals have been much discussed recently, but what has not been noted is that a minor adjustment of a standard non-relativist background assumption yields the same predictions of linguistic intuitions and behaviour as does the intrusive revisions called for by relativism. The evidence adduced to support assessment-relative accounts consists mostly in cases where the following seems to be true: EVIDENCE: The correctness of an utterance (or belief) is appropriately assessed without sensitivity to the truth-conditions assigned to that utterance by contextualist accounts. Such cases might seem to suggest that the content of the utterance, or the proposition it expresses, has assessment-relative truth-conditions, or that the utterance has its contents relative to contexts of assessment. From the non-relativist perspective, however, such cases can simply be understood as cases of appropriate content-insensitive assessments; the assessor is simply assessing a content other than (but related to) that expressed by the original speaker or accepted as true by the original believer. Instead of relativizing contents or truth-conditions to contexts of assessment, this perspective gives a contextualist account of the content of acts of assessment, where the content of utterances like "no", "yes" or of the form "[what he said/that] is [true/right/wrong]" depend on their context in ways corresponding exactly to the assessor-relativity proposed by critics of contextualist analyses. In my talk, which is based on joint work with Alexander Almér, I compare this contextualist interpretation with relativist alternatives and argue that it provides a theoretically preferable accommodation of various examples of EVIDENCE.

  • 38.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    Contextualism for Conditionals2010Other (Other academic)
  • 39.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    Contextualism for Indicative Conditionals2009Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper argues that the conventional contribution of the If P, Q form to communicated contents is radically dependent on pragmatic factors that vary with context of utterance and contents of if-clause and main clause. That pragmatics play a considerable role in the understanding of conditionals is familiar, and although some accounts of conditionals exclude non-conditional conditionals, such as (1) There are biscuits on the table if you want some. and conditional bets or requests, others want to include those (Stephen Barker 1995, DeRose and Grandy 1999, David Barnett 2006, Smith and Smith 1988, Noh 1996), and all standard accounts are meant to cover all paradigmatic “conditional” conditionals, such as (2) If Sarah has the measles, she will be having a fever. (3) If you are really hungry, Bill still won’t share his food. Standard accounts can be represented by materialism, expressivism and credalism. According to materialism, indicative conditionals express material implications: asserting a conditional like (2) “if Sarah has the measles, she will be having a fever” is asserting that it isn’t both the case that Sarah has the measles and that she doesn’t have a fever. According to expressivism, conditionals lack truth-conditions, but asserting (2) is expressing a high subjective probability for Sarah’s having a fever conditional on her having the measles. (Adams 1975; Bennett 2003; Edgington 1995) And according credalism, asserting (2) is asserting that Sarah has a fever in all relevant possible worlds in which she has the measles and which matches the present world with respect to what we believe or know. (Nolan 2003; Stalnaker 1981; Weatherson 2001) Two things are notable about these accounts: (A) They all take the conventional contribution of conditionals to determine a truth- or assertability condition in a context according to some conventional rule. (Although assumptions about the relation between the semantics of conditionals and the process of interpretation are seldom detailed, I will assume that these theories take normal utterance interpretation to proceed by taking this content as input, to be modified by pragmatic processes.) (B) They take this content to be mute on whether the consequent would follow from or holds independently of the antecedent. When we sense that (2), unlike (3), communicates that the consequent would follow from the antecedent, we have added to the literal content of the conditional. If the argument of this paper is correct, neither (A) nor (B) is sustainable. What the arguments suggest, instead, is that the conventional contribution of the If P, Q form is restricted to the following: Non-assertoric Introduction: If-clauses introduce a proposition without presenting it as true it so that the main clause can be understood in relation to it. According to this hypothesis – relational contextualism – the content of conditionals could be represented as follows at the most abstract level: (4) If P, Q / Q if P =df R(P, Q) R would be supplied by context, and could take such values as (a) THE POSSIBILITY … MAKES THE ASSERTION OF … RELEVANT (b) UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES LIKE THE PRESENT, THE POSSIBILITY … HAS … AS A CONSEQUENCE where (a) would provide the relevant relation for normal interpretations of (1) and (b) the relation for (2), to provide two examples. (Notice that only parts of the content would be understood as asserted content: it is not asserted that the antecedent represents a possibility rather than the truth, and utterances of conditionals of form (a) typically assert their consequents.) In the paper, I pose three kinds of problem for standard accounts, and offer relational contextualism as the solution to these problems. The first problem is that neither of these accounts make good sense of how we learn to use sentences of the If P, Q form. A child who is learning to use and interpret conditionals will have to grasp non-assertoric introduction before understanding that conditionals convey the relation of material implication or any other relation postulated as the literal content by standard theories of conditionals. Furthermore, there are reasons to think that the relations that standard accounts take to provide the literal meaning of conditionals are too abstract to be grasped to be associated with the conditional form. Grasping these contents could only be the result of fairly sophisticated abstraction. For learners who have not reached that level of sophistication, interpretation would have to proceed along the very lines suggested by relational contextualism. The second problem is that even if such abstraction could take place, a child who has grasped non-assertoric introduction has nothing to gain but something to loose in interpretive effectiveness by assuming that the conditional form itself conveys any of these other relations. The third problem for standard accounts is that they fail to provide adequate explanations of why some conditionals that would be literally true or acceptable are normally perceived to be false or meaningless. For example, in the case of both of the following conditionals, I am right now fairly confident that the consequent is true, independently of the antecedent: (5) If I go to the movies tonight, it will rain tomorrow. (6) If Berne is the capital of Switzerland, John Lennon was killed in 1980. Their literal contents are obviously acceptable on both materialism, expressivism and credalism. Nevertheless, (5) seems false to me – tomorrow’s weather is independent of my cinematic activities – and (6) seems nonsensical. Studies of students of different backgrounds at different universities show that such verdicts are very common (even among people with some familiarity with logic). Proponents of standard accounts hope to explain such reactions with reference to conversational pragmatics, but it is unclear what principles would support these explanations. As I make clear, standard explanations in terms of Gricean maxims or relevance theoretic constraints seem to yield the wrong results. By contrast, relational contextualism can explain typical reaction to both (5) and (6) and standard epistemic constraints on indicative conditionals.

  • 40.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    Contextualism, Relativism And The Pragmatics Of Insensitive Assessments2010Other (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Argues that the phenomenon highlighted by defenders of so-called Asessor Relativism is but one example of a wider sort of phenomena and is best accounted for by a pragmatic account of semantic assessments.

  • 41.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Illusions of Undermined Responsibility2011In: Morality and the Cognitive Sciences, Book of abstracts, Riga, Latvia: Center for the Cognitive Sciences and Semantics, University of Latvia , 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Many of us find attributions of moral responsibility undermined when we reflect on skeptical philosophical arguments. Defenders of moral responsibility try to explain away such reactions and undermine premises of these arguments, but the worries seem uncomfortably independent of any one particular argument or dubious premise. By contrast, skeptics seem to have a straightforward explanation of why people seem responsible though in fact they are not: we have paid insufficient attention to features highlighted by the skeptical arguments.

    In this paper, I argue that the shoe is on the other foot. Judging by recent work on the psychology of responsibility judgments, skeptical intuitions are best seen as side-effects of cognitive systems designed to (i) track explanatory relations between aspects of agents’ motivation and the objects of responsibility and (ii) guide practices of holding agents responsible for those events. I begin by reviewing the relevant psychological model of responsibility judgments and its support and indicating how it explains the appeal of various skeptical arguments. I then argue that if these explanations are correct, intuitions of undermined responsibility triggered by such arguments are akin to visual illusions, preventing us from seeing a relation that is really there.

     

  • 42.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    In Defence of Contextual Theories of Indicative Conditionals2010Other (Other academic)
  • 43.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    Manipulation arguments and the explanatory nature of moral responsibility2010In: Moral Responsibility: Analytic Approaches, Substantive Accounts and Case Studies, 18-19 October, Ghent, Belgium, Program/Book of abstracts, 2010Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Manipulation arguments and the explanatory nature of moral responsibility Manipulation arguments against moral responsibility (or against compatibilism about moral responsibility) rely on the following assumption: (M) Manipulation reduces responsibility because of features shared with causation (or with deterministic causation). Consequently, they would be undermined if the reduction were due specifically to the agent’s being manipulated—intentionally caused to act in ways not relying on the agent’s rational cooperation. To strengthen (M), Pereboom has argued that responsibility is equally reduced by versions of his manipulation cases where analogous natural events are substituted for manipulators. Significantly, however, these versions seem less intuitively compelling, suggesting that (M) is mistaken. In this talk, I suggest that manipulation arguments seem uniquely compelling because manipulation provides particularly straightforward cases of actions caused by conditions outside the agent’s control. Moreover, equally straightforward non-manipulative cases are possible: manipulation arguments are merely a species of arguments from straightforward causation by external factors. Such arguments rely on the following assumption: (S) Straightforward causation by external factors reduces responsibility because of features shared with causation (or with deterministic causation). (S) might seem more plausible than (M): although the intentional and social nature of manipulation might be especially responsibility undermining, whether causation is straightforward in the relevant sense depends on explanatory interests and perspectives, and it might seem that moral responsibility must rest on a more secure basis than that. Before closing, however, I provide evidence that our everyday notion of moral responsibility is essentially guided by certain explanatory interests, suggesting a way for defenders of moral responsibility to reject (S).

  • 44.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    Metaethical Contextualism Defended2010Other (Other academic)
  • 45.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    Neurophysiology and the Illusion of Undermined Responsibility2011In: Ethical and moral aspects of naturalising the mind, Siena, Italy, June 2011: Abstracts, http://www.unisi.it/eventi/naturalisation_mind/abstracts.pdf, 2011Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Many of us find attributions of moral responsibility undermined when we reflect on skeptical philosophical arguments. Defenders of moral responsibility try to explain away such reactions and undermine premises of these arguments, but the worries seem uncomfortably independent of any one particular argument or dubious premise. By contrast, skeptics seem to have a straightforward explanation of why people seem responsible though in fact they are not: we have paid insufficient attention to features highlighted by the skeptical arguments.

    In this paper, I argue that the shoe is on the other foot. Judging by recent work on the psychology of responsibility judgments, skeptical intuitions are best seen as side-effects of cognitive systems designed to (i) track explanatory relations between aspects of agents’ motivation and the objects of responsibility and (ii) guide practices of holding agents responsible for those events. I begin by reviewing the relevant psychological model of responsibility judgments and its support and indicating how it explains the appeal of various skeptical arguments. I then argue that if these explanations are correct, intuitions of undermined responsibility triggered by such arguments are akin to visual illusions, preventing us from seeing a relation that is really there.

  • 46.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    ’Objectivist’ traits of moral phenomenology and moral discourse don’t support moral objectivism2008Other (Other academic)
  • 47.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
    The Explanation Explanation of the Side-Effect Effect2011In: Pacific APA San Diego April 2011, Experimental Philosophy Society Group Session, 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Beginning with Knobe (2003), numerous studies have revealed asymmetries in folk judgments about a variety of relations between agents and side-effects of their actions to which the agents are indifferent. When the CEO of a company cares solely about profit and knowingly decides to implement a project that will harm the environment, subjects tend to say that he harmed the environment intentionally, that he is blameworthy for doing so, that he was for harming the environment, that he decided to harm the environment, and that he achieved profit by harming the environment. When the same CEO instead knowingly implements a profitable project that will help the environment, subjects are unwilling to say that he helped the environment intentionally, that he is praiseworthy for doing so, that he was for helping the environment, decided to do so, or achieved profit by helping the environment (see e.g. Pettit & Knobe 2009).

    Given that the CEO was equally indifferent to and aware of the environmental effects in both cases, the asymmetry might seem puzzling. A number of accounts have been proposed, and there is reasonable agreement that the asymmetries depend on norms, or on evaluations of the different effects (see e.g. Nichols & Ulatowski 2007; Knobe 2007; Knobe & Mendlow 2004; Knobe forthcoming; Cole Wright & Bengson 2009). What is not clear, however, is what the nature of this dependence is.

    In this talk, I outline some problems with prior explanations and provide an account that handles all the relevant cases. The basic explanans is that in the harm condition, there is a straightforward and intuitively striking explanation of the effect in terms of the agent’s motivational states: the environment was harmed because the CEO didn’t care enough about the environment. Nothing similar is available in the help condition. This difference in intuitive explanatory judgments between the harm and help conditions is in turn explained by the fact that differences in normative expectations make certain factors seem explanatorily more significant than others (cf. Hitchcock & Knobe 2009). To various degrees, these differences affect judgments of intentionality and related folk-psychological judgments (concerning what was decided, what an agent was for, what was done by doing what, etc), when such judgments are seen as playing an explanatory role: for this purpose the action in question needs to be understood in terms that connect to motivational states that explain the agent’s actions. Given an assumption defended elsewhere (Björnsson & Persson forthcoming) and supported by new empirical evidence, the same is true about judgments of blame- and praiseworthiness: they depend on attributions of responsibility for the outcome, and judgments of responsibility are themselves a species of explanatory judgments.

    If this ‘explanation explanation’ is correct, we can expect similar asymmetries in the case of intended effects of actions performed under microscopic chances of success, and we can expect side-effect asymmetries triggered by non-normative considerations that affect the explanatory relevance of agents’ motivational structures. And this is indeed what we see (Nadelhoffer 2004).

    Björnsson, G.; Persson, K. Forthcoming: ‘The Explanatory Component of Moral Responsibility’. Noûs

    Cole Wright, J; Bengson, J. 2009: ‘Asymmetries in Judgments of Responsibility and Intentional Action’. Mind & Language, 24, pp. 24–50.

    Knobe, J.; Hitchcock, C. 2009: ‘Cause and Norm’. Journal of Philosophy, 106, pp. 587-612.

    Knobe, J. 2003: ‘Intentional Action and Side Effects in Ordinary Language.’ Analysis 63, pp. 190–93.

    Knobe, J. Forthcoming: ‘Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist.’ Behavioral and Brain Sciences

    Knobe, Joshua 2007: ‘Reason Explanation in Folk Psychology’. Midwest Studies In Philosophy 31, pp. 90–106.

    Knobe, J.; Mendlow, G. 2004: ‘The Good, the Bad and the Blameworthy: Understanding the Role of Evaluative Reasoning in Folk Psychology.’ Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 24, pp. 252–25

    Nadelhoffer, T. 2004: ‘On Praise, Side Effects, and Folk Ascriptions of Intentionality’. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 24, pp. 196–213.

    Nichols, Shaun; Ulatowski, Joseph 2007: ‘Intuitions and Individual Differences: The Knobe Effect Revisited’. Mind & Language, 22, pp. 346-65.

    Pettit, D.; Knobe, J. 2009: ‘The Pervasive Impact of Moral Judgment.’ Mind & Language 24:5, pp. 586-604.

  • 48.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    The Explanatory Component of Moral Responsibility2010Other (Other academic)
  • 49.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    The Explanatory Component of Moral Responsibility2010Other (Other academic)
  • 50.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities.
    The Illusion of Undermined Responsibility2010Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Scepticism and consequentialist about moral responsibilityTwo features about our everyday practice of holding people responsible seem to tug in opposite directions. The first feature is that our attributions of moral responsibility for decisions, actions and outcomes as well as our practice of holding agents responsible are notoriously sensitive to sceptical arguments. Ordinarily, people take agents to be morally responsible for their actions and take them to deserve blame or sanctions for bad actions or praise and rewards for good deeds, without prior reflection on possible metaphysical prerequisites for moral responsibility. But they often come to see metaphysical considerations as highly relevant and find their confidence in moral responsibility shaken when introduced to regress arguments such as Galen Strawson’s “basic argument” or Peter van Inwagen’s “direct argument”, arguments from manipulation such as Derk Pereboom’s “four case argument”, or arguments from luck, such as Al Mele’s contrastive argument.

    The second feature is that our practice of holding people responsible is largely driven by concerns about how motivational structures are affected by our holding or not holding people responsible for decisions and their outcomes. The most obvious sign of this concern is that people often motivate practices of holding people responsible with reference to what would happen in their absence: people would care less about values beyond their immediate interests, go lazy, engage in free-riding. Somewhat more subtly, it is clear that our reactive attitudes, expressed in our ways of holding agents responsible, are sensitive to the qualities of will of those agents. If we learn that an action was not the result of ill will, our tendency to hold the agent responsible for a bad outcome tends to be diminished, just as one would expect if the concern were to modify faulty motivational structures. Expressions of regret and guilt and thus willingness to change motivational and behavioural patterns tend to placate indignation or resentment. From an etiological perspective, it seems plausible that our species have reactive attitudes and engage in practices of holding each other responsible exactly because such reactions modify motivational structures and behaviours in ways that protect and promote values that we care about.

    To the extent that our holding people responsible is motivated by the effects of holding people responsible, it is puzzling why it should be subject the sceptical concerns: neither of the sceptical arguments mentioned above seem to undermine the usefulness of holding people responsible. This is how the two features seem to tug in opposite directions.

    In his influential paper “Freedom and Resentment”, Peter Strawson argued that we should let our practice of holding people responsible be deeply affected by neither of these concerns. Unlike “pessimists”, we should not be moved by sceptical, incompatibilist, concerns because they involved judging the practice from a metaphysical perspective foreign to the participatory stance to which our practices of holding people responsible belongs. Unlike “optimists”, we should not justify our practice with reference to its effects, because, again, such concerns are external to the practice itself, or at least leaves out concerns that are internal to the practice, concerns that are focused on how the action came but have no truck with consequences of holding the agent responsible—perhaps the agent is dead. In my paper, I argue that Strawson and some of his followers misrepresent the relation between sceptical arguments and our practice of holding responsible. As many of his critics have pointed out, the appeal of such arguments is very natural and almost unavoidable given the shape of the concept of moral responsibility that governs this practice. Unlike many of his critics, however, I will argue that our impression that the considerations invoked in such arguments diminish responsibility is nevertheless an illusion, comparable to other cognitive and perceptual illusions. Similarly, I will argue that Strawson misrepresents the role of “external” consequentialist concerns. It is correct that our attributions of moral responsibility are backward-looking, relying on information on how a decision, action or outcomes came about rather than on potential effects of holding the agent responsible for it. But it is also true that our judgments focus on backward-looking concerns because our practices of holding responsible is largely driven by forward-looking—consequentialist—concerns. The argument proceeds in three steps. The first is to make plausible an empirical theory about the concept of moral responsibility operative in our practices of holding people responsible and attributing desert. The second step is to explain why sceptical arguments have intuitive force given this structure. The third step is to present a plausible account of why a concept satisfying this empirical description is governing our judgments of moral responsibility as well as our practices of holding people responsible. The fourth step, finally, is to argue that intuitions resulting from sceptical arguments are best understood as illusory because they are insensitive to what our concept of moral responsibility has been designed to track.

    *Björnsson, Gunnar and Persson, Karl, forthcoming: “The Explanatory Component of Moral Responsibility”, forthcoming in Noûs

    *Björnsson, Gunnar and Persson, Karl, 2009: “Judgments of Moral Responsibility: A Unified Account”, Society for Philosophy and Psychology, 35th Annual Meeting 2009, available at http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/archive/00004633/

    *Björnsson, Gunnar and Persson, Karl, ms: “Explaining Judgments of Moral Responsibility”, manuscript

    *Björnsson, Gunnar, forthcoming: “Joint responsibility without individual control—the Explanation Hypothesis”, forthcoming in Compatibilist Responsibility: beyond free will and determinism, eds. Jeroen van den Hoven , Ibo van de Poel and Nicole Vincent

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