This article briefly discusses the connection between moral philosophy and moral psychology, and then explores three intriguing areas of inquiry that fall within the intersection of the two fields. The areas of inquiry considered focus on (1) debates concerning the nature of moral judgments and moral motivation; (2) debates concerning good and bad character traits and character-based explanations of actions; and (3) debates concerning the role of moral rules in guiding the morally wise agent.
The core argument in favor of the view immorality is a natural defect for human beings, which has been developed by Foot, assumes that if justice and compassion have important functions in human survival and reproduction, then injustice and cruelty are natural defects in human beings. But this ignores possibilities and results that cannot reasonably be ignored. Multiple and mixed naturally sound types can and do occur in nature. Moreover, research in the life sciences suggests that at least some bad (...) human behaviors, traits, or strategies are selected for and continue to have important survival-and-reproduction-related functions in human life. All this fits poorly with the position that immorality is a natural defect for human beings. Emerging as much more plausible is the competing view that, for human beings, natural soundness sometimes supports behaviors, traits, or strategies that conflict with (any ideal that can plausibly be called) moral goodness. (shrink)
Ingredients for success -- What is grit? -- Keep going! -- Setting goals -- Grit on the baseball field -- Finding solutions -- Finding grit in others -- Showing your grit -- Finding a balance -- My report card: grit.
Even Jesus had a favorite -- Saints and favorites -- Fairness, tribes, and nephews -- Classic cases of favoritism -- To thy own tribe be true: biological favoritism -- Moral gravity -- The biochemistry of favoritism -- Humans are wired for favoritism -- A healthy addiction -- Flexible favoritism -- Kin selection -- Rational or emotional motives -- Conflicting brain systems -- Facts and values -- In praise of exceptions -- Building the grid of impartiality -- Going off the grid (...) -- Friendship and favoritism -- Reasonable favoritism -- "But, Dad, that's not fair!" -- The fusion of feelings and ideas -- Sowing the seeds of confusion: sharing -- Sowing the seeds of confusion: open minds -- Envy and fairness -- Excellence, fairness, and favoritism -- The circle of favors: global perspectives -- Chinese favoritism -- Face culture -- Indian favoritism -- Disentangling nepotism and corruption -- Disentangling tribalism and tragedy -- "Your people shall be my people?" -- Minorities, majorities, and favoritism -- Affirmative action and favoritism -- The finite stretch -- Feeling the stones with your feet -- Because you're mine, I walk the line -- The virtues of favoritism -- You can't love humanity. You can only love people -- The future of favoritism -- The archbishop and the chambermaid. (shrink)
Abstract: Against the background of a great deal of structural symmetry between intellectual and moral virtue and vice, it is a surprising fact that what is arguably the central or paradigm moral vice—that is, moral malevolence or malevolence proper—has no obvious or well-known counterpart among the intellectual vices. The notion of "epistemic malevolence" makes no appearance on any standard list of intellectual vices; nor is it central to our ordinary ways of thinking about intellectual vice. In this essay, I argue (...) that there is such a thing as epistemic malevolence and offer an account of its basic character and structure. Doing so requires a good deal of attention to malevolence simpliciter . In the final section of the essay, I offer an explanation of our relative unfamiliarity with this trait. (shrink)
Abstract: I argue in this essay that there is an epistemic analogue of moral self-indulgence. Section 1 analyzes Aristotle's notion of moral temperance, and its corresponding vices of self-indulgence and insensibility. Section 2 uses Aristotle's notion of moral self-indulgence as a model for epistemic self-indulgence. I argue that one is epistemically self-indulgent only if one either : (ESI1) desires, consumes, and enjoys appropriate and inappropriate epistemic objects; or (ESI2) desires, consumes, and enjoys epistemic objects at appropriate and inappropriate times; or (...) (ESI3) desires and enjoys epistemic objects too frequently, or to an inappropriately high degree, or consumes too much of them. We need not look far to locate the epistemically self-indulgent: philosophers, especially skeptics, are likely candidates. (shrink)
Abstract: This introduction to the collection Virtue and Vice, Moral and Epistemic addresses three main questions: (1) What is a virtue theory in ethics or epistemology? (2) What is a virtue? and (3) What is a vice? (1) It suggests that a virtue theory takes the virtues and vices of agents to be more fundamental than evaluations of acts or beliefs, and defines right acts or justified beliefs in terms of the virtues. (2) It argues that there are two important (...) but different concepts of virtue: virtues are qualities that attain good ends, and virtues are qualities that involve good motives. (3) Accordingly, vices are qualities that either fail to attain good ends or involve bad motives. Finally, the introduction summarizes the eleven essays in the collection, which are divided into four sections: the Structure of Virtue Ethics and Virtue Epistemology; Virtue and Context; Virtue and Emotion; and Virtues and Vices. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Notes on Contributors -- Introduction: Virtue and Vice: Heather Battaly -- 1. Virtue Ethics and Virtue Epistemology: Roger Crisp -- 2. Exemplarist Virtue Theory: Linda Zagzebski -- 3. Right Act, Virtuous Motive: Thomas Hurka -- 4. Agency Ascriptions in Ethics and Epistemology: Or, Navigating Intersections, Narrow and Broad: Guy Axtell -- 5. Virtues, Social Roles, and Contextualism: Sarah Wright -- 6. Virtue, Emotion, and Attention: Michael S. Brady -- 7. Feeling Without Thinking: Lessons from the Ancients (...) on Emotion and Virtue-Acquisition: Amy Coplan -- 8. A Challenge to Intellectual Virtue from Moral Virtue: The Case of Universal Love: Christine Swanton -- 9. Open-Mindedness: Wayne Riggs -- 10. Epistemic Malevolence: Jason Baehr -- 11. Epistemic Self-Indulgence: Heather Battaly -- Index. (shrink)
Combining in-depth analysis with strikingly apt examples of the role that courage plays in the life of human beings, this major contribution to moral philosophy argues that courage is necessary to personal achievement as well as to the common good of a civic community. Bauhn insists that courage is necessary for reinforcing people's understanding of themselves as autonomous agents, which is in turn necessary for countering widespread feelings of alienation and depression. He defines courage as the ability to confront fear, (...) but crucially distinguishes a variety of fears that give rise to different types of courage. (shrink)
Introduction: Mercy and sacrifice -- pt. 1. Unclean. Darwin and disgust -- Contamination and contagion -- pt. 2. Purity. Morality and metaphors -- Divinity and dumbfounding -- pt. 3. Hospitality. Love and boundaries -- Monsters and scapegoats -- Contempt and heresy -- Hospitality and embrace -- pt. 4. Mortality. Body and death -- Sex and privy -- Need and incarnation -- Conclusion: Elimination and regulation.
From the New York Times bestselling author Derrick Bell, a profound meditation on achieving success with integrity. As one of the country's most influential law professors, Derrick Bell has spent a lifetime helping students struggling to maintain a sense of integrity in the face of an overwhelming pressure to succeed at any price. Frequently asked how he managed to be so extraordinarily successful while never giving up the fight for justice and equality, Bell decided to spend his seventieth year writing (...) a book of insight and guidance. The result, Ethical Ambition , is a deeply affecting, uplifting, and brilliant series of meditations that not only challenges us to face some of the most difficult questions that life presents, but dares to offer some solutions. Using incidents from his own life, Bell also looks to literature, history, and other contemporary figures who have refused to compromise their beliefs. In chapters that explore passion, faith courage, inspiration, humility, and relationships, Ethical Ambition address the most fundamental issues of life. (shrink)
Some attitudes typically take whole persons as their objects. Shame, contempt, disgust and admiration have this feature, as do many tokens of love and hate. Objectors complain that these ‘globalist attitudes’ can never fit their targets and thus can never be all-things-considered appropriate. Those who dismiss all globalist attitudes in this way are misguided. The fittingness objection depends on an inaccurate view of the person-assessments at the heart of the globalist attitudes. Once we understand the nature of globalist attitudes and (...) we recognize that we may legitimately treat some traits as more important than others in our overall evaluation of persons, we ought to conclude that our globalist attitudes can, in some cases, fit their targets and should not be summarily dismissed as unfitting. Our relationships contour the fittingness-conditions of globalist attitudes. This relational element poses a problem for fitting-attitude theories of value. (shrink)
Abstract: The perceptual model of emotions maintains that emotions involve, or are at least analogous to, perceptions of value. On this account, emotions purport to tell us about the evaluative realm, in much the same way that sensory perceptions inform us about the sensible world. An important development of this position, prominent in recent work by Peter Goldie amongst others, concerns the essential role that virtuous habits of attention play in enabling us to gain perceptual and evaluative knowledge. I think (...) that there are good reasons to be sceptical about this picture of virtue. In this essay I set out these reasons, and explain the consequences this scepticism has for our understanding of the relation between virtue, emotion, and attention. In particular, I argue that our primary capacity for recognizing value is in fact a non-emotional capacity. (shrink)
This is the third selection of major works on the Scottish Enlightenment and includes the same combination of hard-to-find and popular works as in the two previous collections. Contents: An Essay on the Natural Equality of Men  William Lawrence Brown, New introduction by Dr. William Scott 308 pp An Enquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue  Archibald Campbell 586 pp The Philosophical Works  William Dudgeon, New introduction by David Berman 300 pp Institutes of Moral Philosophy For the (...) use of Students in the College of Edinburgh  Adam Ferguson 340 pp A Comparative view of the State and Faculties of Man with those of the Animal World  John Gregory 426 pp An Apology for the Life and Writings of David Hume, Esq  Samuel Jackson A Letter to Adam Smith, On the Life, Death and Philosophy of his friend David Hume Esq  George Horne (Bishop of Norwich) 252 pp. (shrink)
The study of the virtues has largely dropped out of modern philosophy, yet it was the predominant tradition in ethics fom the ancient Greeks until Kant. Traditionally the study of the virtues was also the study of what constituted a successful and happy life. Drawing on such diverse sources as Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Shakespeare, Hume, Jane Austen, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Sartre, Casey here argues that the classical virtues of courage, temperance, practical wisdom, and justice centrally define the good for humans, (...) and that they are insufficiently acknowledged in modern moral philosophy. He suggests that values of success, worldliness, and pride are active parts of our moral thinking, and that the conflict between these and our equally important Christian inheritance leads to tensions and contradictions in our understanding of the moral life. (shrink)
An utterly original exploration of the timeless human virtues and how they apply to the way we live now, from a bold and dynamic French writer. In this graceful, incisive book, writer-philosopher André Comte-Sponville reexamines the classic human virtues to help us under-stand "what we should do, who we should be, and how we should live." In the process, he gives us an entirely new perspective on the value, the relevance, and even the charm of the Western ethical tradition. Drawing (...) on thinkers from Aristotle to Simone Weil, by way of Aquinas, Kant, Rilke, Nietzsche, Spinoza, and Rawls, among others, Comte-Sponville elaborates on the qualities that constitute the essence and excellence of humankind. Starting with politeness -- almost a virtue -- and ing with love -- which transcs all morality -- A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues takes us on a tour of the eighteen essential virtues: fidelity, prudence, temperance, courage, justice, generosity, compassion, mercy, gratitude, humility, simplicity, tolerance, purity, gentleness, good faith, and even, surprisingly, humor.Sophisticated and lucid, full of wit and vivacity, this modestly titled yet immensely important work provides an indispensable guide to finding what is right and good in everyday life. (shrink)
Abstract: By briefly sketching some important ancient accounts of the connections between psychology and moral education, I hope to illuminate the significance of the contemporary debate on the nature of emotion and to reveal its stakes. I begin the essay with a brief discussion of intellectualism in Socrates and the Stoics, and Plato's and Posidonius's respective attacks against it. Next, I examine the two current leading philosophical accounts of emotion: the cognitive theory and the noncognitive theory. I maintain that the (...) noncognitive theory better explains human behavior and experience and has more empirical support than the cognitive theory. In the third section of the essay I argue that recent empirical research on emotional contagion and mirroring processes provides important new evidence for the noncognitive theory. In the final section, I draw some preliminary conclusions about moral education and the acquisition of virtue. (shrink)
Can philosophy enable us to lead better lives through a systematic understanding of our human nature? John Cottingham's thought-provoking study examines three major philosophical approaches to this problem. Starting with the attempts of Classical philosophers to cope with the recalcitrant forces of the passions, he moves on to examine the moral psychology of Descartes, and concludes by analyzing the insights of modern psychoanalytic theory into the human predicament. His study provides a fresh and challenging perspective on moral philosophy and psychology (...) for students and specialists alike. (shrink)
The last few years have seen a remarkable revival of interest in the virtues, which have regained their central role in moral philosophy. This thought-provoking new collection is a much-needed survey of virtue ethics and virtue theory. The specially commissioned articles by an international team of philosophers represent the state of the art in this subject and will set the agenda for future work in the area. The contributors--including Lawrence Blum, John Cottingham, Julia Driver, Rosalind Hursthouse, Terence Irwin, Susan Moller (...) Okin, Onora O'Neill, Michael Slote, Michael Stocker, and David Wiggins--cover practical virtue ethics, ancient views of the virtues, impartiality and partiality, Kant, utilitarianism, human nature, natural and artificial virtues, virtue and the good life, the vices, emotions, politics, feminism, moral education, and community. (shrink)
Reading good books -- After virtue, what? -- All's fair in war and politics -- Captain relative, be gone! -- Dumbing down the kids -- What became of God? -- The philosopher meets John Madden -- What's on TV tonight? -- Flotsam and Jetsam.
The predominant view of moral virtue can be traced back to Aristotle. He believed that moral virtue must involve intellectual excellence. To have moral virtue one must have practical wisdom - the ability to deliberate well and to see what is morally relevant in a given context. Julia Driver challenges this classical theory of virtue, arguing that it fails to take into account virtues which do seem to involve ignorance or epistemic defect. Some 'virtues of ignorance' are counterexamples to accounts (...) of virtue which hold that moral virtue must involve practical wisdom. Modesty, for example, is generally considered to be a virtue even though the modest person may be making an inaccurate assessment of his or her accomplishments. Driver argues that we should abandon the highly intellectualist view of virtue and instead adopt a consequentialist perspective which holds that virtue is simply a character trait which systematically produces good consequences. (shrink)
With “slow living” as the newest incarnation of the simplicity movement, the search for fresh inspiration on ways to live a more authentic life is as pressing as ever. Turning to Eastern traditions, people are discovering the Japanese concept of wabi sabi. The perfect antidote to today’s frenzied, consumer-oriented culture, wabi sabi encourages slowing down, living modestly, and appreciating the natural and imperfect aspect of material culture. While defying definition, wabi sabi is best expressed in brief, evocative bites. In The (...) Little Wabi Sabi Companion, Diane Durston, a noted writer on Japanese art and culture, presents a collection of reflections, along with classic poetry and verse from both Eastern and Western traditions, that capture the wabi sabi moment, and inspire readers to do the same. The subtle beauty of nature, the simplicity of a found object, the impermanence of an autumnal flower arrangement, the solitude of a single fisherman in his boat are all celebrated and reflected upon in this easily browseable book. The text is complemented by photography and calligraphy inspired by the wabi-sabi spirit. This collection of simple, yet profound insights in an irresistable, hold-in-the-hand package offers readers the opportunity for integrating moments of contemplation and meditation into their daily lives, and to discover the essence of wabi sabi. (shrink)