Penn Journal of Philosophy: Volume 7, Issue 1

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Date Published
Journal Volume

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    Institutional Trust: The Case Study of Mexican State Institutions
    (2017-11-14) Lagos, Lorenzo Felipe
    The determinants of change in trust have long been a matter of debate in the social capital literature. An area of particular interest for political scientists has been trust in state institutions because of the possible consequences it could have on democratic life. In an attempt to generalize results, most studies have focused on large cross-sectional samples. However, these studies overlook the context in which citizens and state institutions find themselves. The case study of Mexico presented in this paper attempts to contribute to the literature by emphasizing context over generalizability. The case of Mexican state institutions supports the hypothesis that events that taint an institution for not performing according to its prescribed function lead to sharp declines in trust. Consequently, structural reforms that ensure that institutions recur to their constitutive norm may help increase trust in state institutions. In addition, there is strong evidence indicating that GDP growth causes an increase in trust in state institutions. Therefore, democracies in developing countries may benefit when their economies are performing well.
  • Publication
    Letter from the Editor
    (2017-11-14) Vázquez, Antonio Luis
  • Publication
    Veering Off the Abolitionist Path in America: The Influence of the Ambiguously Written Constitution
    (2017-11-14) Samarth, Avinash
    In the 21st century, capital punishment in the United States stands as a peculiar institution. Despite widespread international movements for its abolition, and widespread expert agreement on its ills, the death penalty still persists in the United States. America remains the only country in the Western world to retain the death penalty today. We use it frequently, executing approximately 52 people per year, a rate comparable to both Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The question of why the United States still retains the death penalty has been the subject of debate for decades. Countless historical explanations have been posited, ranging from the religious to the political, from the racial, to the legal. The historical analysis of modern social institutions is important -- they help us understand why and how such institutions came to be normatively accepted and persistent in the world today. In this paper I will set out to examine why the United States retained the death penalty despite its initial suspension in 1972 by the Supreme Court under Furman v. Georgia. In doing so I will relate the narratives of two countries, the United States and the United Kingdom, and their experience with abolition in the post-World War II era.
  • Publication
    Deliberative Citizenship: The Deliberate Democrats’ Response to the Hegemony of Classical Liberalism
    (2017-11-14) Kanter, David
    Classical liberalism’s hegemony in the public discourse seems to be based on the fact that it demands and expects so little. Its guiding assumption tell us that people are the same, always and everywhere, and we can get the best by assuming the worst. Let’s just assume humans are simple automatons, it seems to say, and then we can arrive at elegant and simple conclusions about how society works and, more importantly, should work. Humans, then, are rationally self-interested and to get the best outcomes we should let these simple automatons interact in the market. The central point that comes from the deliberative democrats—and that they might do better to elaborate more explicitly—is that to assume simple rational self-interest and thus the impossibility of genuine democratic decision-making is really to miss the point. If we take a more realistic and complex view of human motivation, the deliberative democrats tell us, we recognize that individuals act in all sorts of different ways and are capable of developing and refining new and complex motivations. If the deliberative democrats are willing to acknowledge this important space for conflict and disagreement, what they have recovered from Tocqueville and Mill is an alternative program to Smith’s classical liberalism. What that program needs now are public champions willing and able to present this alternative way of thinking about the social world to members of society. What is needed is a revolution in ideas.
  • Publication
    A Study on Sustainable Behavior Inducement: The Role of Information and Feedback
    (2017-11-14) Miller, Douglas J
    This study develops a further understanding of the role of information availability – in either detailed or color cue feedback form – in inducing sustainable behavior. The hypothesis was that the Color Cue Feedback Group would be more likely to make sustainable decisions on the whole since color cues should invoke System I cognitive processes. A survey-based experiment including 364 participants was conducted at the University of Oxford. First, it was found that information availability in general appears to increase sustainable decision-making, and the hypothesis that color cue feedback (moral suasion) is the most effective for invoking sustainable choices was generally, though not conclusively, confirmed. Second, color cues (moral suasion) may be preferable for quick decisions and detailed information (information provision) may be preferable for decisions that take more time to develop. Third, the presence of undesirable social norms regarding sustainable behavior could mean that the desirable (sustainable) behavior is most often not adopted. Fourth, individuals may aspire to and find value in sustainable practices, but are less likely to actually engage in this behavior when the opportunity to do so arises. Lastly, the data suggest that while information availability will affect decision-making, for the greatest impact it must also be accompanied by supportive policies or campaigns that simultaneously reduce barriers for sustainable behavior and increase the barriers for unsustainable behavior.