Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Moral Psychology’ Category

Amongst many, though certainly not all, political theorists and economists there is a tendency to believe that in the absence of government, mutually beneficial voluntary economic interactions- and hence property rights- cannot exist, or, if they can, do so only infrequently (see, for instance, Murphy and Nagel (2002); Buchanan (1975); Glaeser et al. (2001); Rand (1967) pp. 329 – 337; Friedman (2002); Epstein (1985) chapter 1; Macpherson (1962)). This view has as its philosophical progenitor Thomas Hobbes, who famously concludes in his masterpiece, Leviathan, that in order to allow for mutually beneficial economic interactions- and thus property rights- a civil authority with the power to create and enforce laws is first necessary. What Hobbes (and by implication most modern political theorists and economists) fails to address adequately is that agents can establish property holdings and facilitate economic transactions in the absence of a government via self-enforcing contracts, particularly given his starting assumptions.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Academic resources for the study of character — made possible through The Character Project at Wake Forest University and funded by a generous grant from The John Templeton Foundation — are available here.

Read Full Post »

Joshua Knobe (Yale) in the New York Times. (HT: X-Phi FB Page)

Read Full Post »

Patricia Churchland discusses eliminative materialism:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzT0jHJdq7Q

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Alright — I’ll admit: the title probably has you wondering what planet I’m actually from, for it appears prima facie absurd to ask such a question in a serious way. Indeed, I even thought that to be the case until a couple weeks ago, when my mother (believe it or not) offered a consideration that changed my mind on the subject. Hopefully you’ll take the chance to read what follows and seriously consider the question, as I have, as it isn’t as absurd — and non-philosophical — as it first appears.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

In “Agent Causation” Timothy O’Connor makes a passing assertion that there are many unresolved questions for materialist agency as he posits it, and that many of these questions are empirical in nature and can only be resolved with “extensive advancements within neurobiological science.” [1] Two particularly salient questions are (1) “Precisely to what extent is an ordinary human’s behavior directly regulated by the agent himself, and to what extent is it controlled by microdeterministic processes?”[2] And (2) whether microdeterministic processes can be predicted or not. While O’Connor may believe that advances in neuroscience will reinforce rather than call into question his theory, this is not the case. Stretching from the 1980s to a recent study in 2008, neuroscience has demonstrated that predictive brain activity can be seen to occur prior to a test subject’s consciousness of making a decision. From Libet to present, these studies provide damaging replies to the questions which O’Connor’s theory leaves unanswered. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Aaron requested a more full-blooded iteration of my stance on morality for consideration and I thought I would oblige, as it is something on which I would certainly like feedback. In what follows I would like to first address why I do not believe human beings are morally responsible for their behavior in the manner commonly thought necessary, and second posit that the moral responsibility of human beings is not necessary for possessing judgements as to what actions are right or wrong.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »