Journal of Controversial Ideas

(ISSN: 2694-5991) Open Access Journal
Rss Feed:
image missing

Table of Contents

Controversial Ideas, Volume 4, Issue 1 (April 2024)
select all articles
Export citation of selected articles as:
1 Department of Philosophy, Fenton Hall State University of New York at Fredonia, Fredonia, New York 14063, USA;
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Controversial Ideas 2024, 4(1), 1; doi: 10.35995/jci04010001
Received: 9 May 2023 / Revised: 4 Apr 2024 / Accepted: 21 Jan 2024 / Published: 29 Apr 2024
In this article, I argue that medical school admissions should be limited to statistically relevant factors. I argue for it based on two other conclusions: a medical school should maximize quality-adjusted medical services per graduate within the overall optimum spending limit and if this is correct, then a medical school should, other things being equal, select medical students who are better than their competitors. I then explore the implications of this argument for whether a medical school admissions system should be holistic and whether it should consider demographic factors. I also consider and respond to a series of objections to the argument. Full article
1 Pepperdine University;
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
* Corresponding author:
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Controversial Ideas 2024, 4(1), 2; doi: 10.35995/jci04010002
Received: 28 Sep 2023 / Revised: 30 Mar 2024 / Accepted: 9 Apr 2024 / Published: 29 Apr 2024
‘Gender identity’ was clearly defined sixty years ago, but the dominant conceptions of gender identity today are deeply obscure. Florence Ashley’s 2023 theory of gender identity is one of the latest attempts at demystification. Although Ashley’s paper is not fully coherent, a coherent theory of gender identity can be extracted from it. That theory, we argue, is clearly false. It is psychologically very implausible, and does not support ‘first-person authority over gender’, as Ashley claims. We also discuss other errors and confusions in Ashley’s paper. Full article
Controversial Ideas 2024, 4(1), 3; doi: 10.35995/jci04010003
Received: 18 Oct 2022 / Revised: 5 Apr 2024 / Accepted: 5 Apr 2024 / Published: 29 Apr 2024
Australia has not been immune from patterns of recruitment, attacks and foreign fighters harbouring the ideology of Islamist-jihadism. This paper draws on sociological data from a nationwide survey of 1034 Muslim Australians to analyse the way in which pathways to knowledge exist for Muslim Australians in relation to interpretations of Islam and, importantly, the adoption of an Islamist or Militant interpretation. Islamist and Militant typologies will be examined to see if their sources of Islamic influence were different or the same in their belief formation compared with more moderate typologies. This paper will also examine those participants who indicated that the Quran should be read literally and analyse the overall religiosity of the various typologies, with the aim to get a sense of the connection between (moral/ethical) belief formation and daily ritual of Islamists and Militants. This paper finds that Muslim Australians categorised as Political Islamist and Militant are more likely to have been influenced by mainstream areas of Islamic knowledge and discourse, such as the Quran, hadith, ulema, and the mosque, whilst also interpreting the Quran literally and praying daily. These findings suggest a challenging path forward for counterterrorism and countering violent extremism policies and programs in Australia. Full article
1 University of Montana Missoula, Montana, USA;
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Controversial Ideas 2024, 4(1), 4; doi: 10.35995/jci04010004
Received: 31 May 2023 / Revised: 3 Apr 2024 / Accepted: 21 Jan 2024 / Published: 29 Apr 2024
Given the fallibility of human perception, it ought to be uncontroversial that reality is not necessarily as we perceive it. However, the medical literature waives this elementary principle in one instance – that of discrimination perceived by minority patients. Judging the perception of discrimination in such cases as equal to discrimination per se, the literature maintains that black patients in particular accurately discern the same insidious bias in medicine that permeates a society that no longer tolerates overt racism. In reality, however, the supposed signals of implicit bias in the clinical encounter are too ambiguous, too uninterpretable, and too conflicting to be discerned with any certainty by anyone. What is clear is that if the perception of bias can lead patients to forgo treatment, so can the misperception of bias. Literature that assumes that medicine is polluted with concealed bias validates misperceptions, foments mistrust, and sends the incautious message that black patients can expect poor treatment. Full article
1 University of York, York, UK
* Corresponding author:
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Controversial Ideas 2024, 4(1), 5; doi: 10.35995/jci04010005
Received: 11 Aug 2023 / Revised: 19 Apr 2024 / Accepted: 30 Mar 2024 / Published: 29 Apr 2024
What should we think about starting good lives? On one view starting such lives is required. On another this is forbidden. There’s a third view, occupying a middle position. And according to what Jeff McMahan calls the Asymmetry, starting such lives is permitted but not required. Most of us will incline to this third view, finding the first to be somewhat, the second highly controversial. But I argue that this middle position is untenable, and, further, that the first position is weaker, the second stronger than it initially appears. This isn’t, however, to support David Benatar’s well-known Anti-Natalist stance. I explain how our versions of this view differ, and show how mine is the one to favour. Of critical importance throughout is an appeal to personhood. Full article
1 Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG, UK;
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Controversial Ideas 2024, 4(1), 6; doi: 10.35995/jci04010006
Received: 19 Apr 2024 / Revised: 23 Apr 2024 / Accepted: 20 Apr 2024 / Published: 29 Apr 2024
In his article “Anti-Natalism and the Asymmetry” in this issue, Christopher Belshaw defends the common-sense view that, while there is a reason not to cause individuals to exist whose lives would not be worth living, there is no reason to cause individuals to exist just because their lives would be worth living. But the reasons why these claims are true, he argues, also imply that it is wrong to cause individuals to exist even if their lives would be worth living. I argue that the moral asymmetry between intrinsic goods and intrinsic evils that is the basis of his view is too strong, and that a more defensible view includes a recognition that there is a moral reason to cause well-off individuals to exist, though it is less strong than the reason not to cause an equivalently badly-off individual to exist, and that this weaker asymmetry supports the view that procreation is generally permissible. Full article
1 University of York
* Corresponding author:
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Controversial Ideas 2024, 4(1), 7; doi: 10.35995/jci04010007
Received: 24 Apr 2024 / Revised: 25 Apr 2024 / Accepted: 25 Apr 2024 / Published: 29 Apr 2024
In ‘Anti-Natalism and the Asymmetry’ I argue that the claim, starting good lives is permitted but not required, ultimately proves untenable. The inevitable bad parts of a life give reasons against starting, but the good parts give no reasons for. So don’t start, and if started, end. Jeff McMahan thinks this good/bad asymmetry is way too radical, and finds much to fault with my argument. Unsurprisingly I agree with some but not all of what he has to say. We agree, for example, that the concerns of persons to live on generally far outstrip those of babies and animals. We disagree about there being always some reason to start good lives. Full article