IN the recently published Life by I.eslie Stephen of his brother, Fitz-James, there is an account of a school to which the latter went when he was a boy. The teacher, a certain Mr. Guest, used to converse with his pupils in this wise: "Gurney, what is the difference between justification and sanctification?- Stephen, prove the omnipotence of God " etc. In the midst of our Harvard freethinking and indifference we are prone to imagine that here at your good (...) old orthodox College conversation continues to be somewhat upon this order; and to show you that we at Harvard have not lost all interest in these vital subjects, I have brought with me tonight something like a sermon on justification by faith to read to you, --I mean an essay in justification of faith, a defence of our right to adopt a believing attitude in religious matters, in spite of the fact that our merely logical intellect may not have been coerced. 'The Will to Believe,' accordingly, is the title of my paper. (shrink)
A theory of fairness in international trade should answer at least three questions. What, at the basic level, are we to assess as fair or unfair in the trade context? What sort of fairness issue does this basic subject of assessment raise? And, What moral principles must be fulfilled if trade is to be fair in the relevant sense? In this paper, I offer answers to these questions which derive from a broadly Rawlsian “constructivist” methodology. My proposals are as follows. (...) The Subject of Fairness: The basic subject of fairness in trade is an international social practice of market reliance, a practice whereby countries mutually rely on common markets (in goods, services, or capital) for the sake of the “gains of trade.” This basic practice is to be distinguished from particular market transactions, transactional flows across borders, as well as particular trade or trade-related policies (tariffs, quotas, safeguards, subsidies, etc.) that influence transactional flows. A chief function of the practice is to regulate such trade and trade-related policies according to international rules, including formal trade law (e.g. World Trade Organization (WTO) rules) and informal understandings of how the balance between market and state is to be struck (e.g. the post-war “embedded liberalism” compromise). Such rules or understandings represent substantial market reliance expectations, the terms of participation in the larger market reliance practice. The practice itself, and the basic subject of fairness, is the underlying social fact that countries do comply, more or less, with some such system of market reliance expectations, for the sake of larger, mutually shared ends. The Fairness Issue: Any such market reliance practice can be organized in various different ways, with varying consequences for different countries and their respective classes. The collective choice of organization, through negotiated agreements or trend-setting unilateral action, is therefore subject to basic moral constraints.. (shrink)
This paper seeks to deflate G. A. Cohen’s recent meta-ethical argument that fundamental principles must be “fact-insensitive.” That argument does not advance Cohen’s dispute with Rawls and other social contract theorists. There is attenuated sense of “factinsensitivity” which they can happily grant, which Cohen never rules out on specifically metaethical grounds. While his barrage of substantive (non-meta-ethical) arguments may retain independent force, the argument from fact-insensitivity is largely (though not entirely) inconsequential.
Now more than ever it is clear that the global economy needs to be assessed and governed from a moral point of view. Such moral assessment can, however, come in at least two quite different forms. Political philosophers have tended to focus on a range of issues (e.g. poverty, human rights, or general distributive justice) whose basic moral importance is “external” to and wholly independent of how the global economy is socially organized. The result has been relative neglect of a (...) quite different class of “internal” moral issues, which do in various ways depend on the complex legal and social relations that now organize the global economic scene. These include a dizzying array of politically important but poorly understood fairness concerns—concerns such as “non-discrimination,” “special and differential treatment,” “fair trade,” “fair play,” “fair competition,” “level playing fields,” “equitable growth,” “fair wages,” and “exploitation.” My aim in this discussion is to suggest a framework for understanding how several such fairness notions might be systematically connected and have an internal rather than external character. Specifically, I suggest that the content and internal nature of several such fairness notions can be explicated in terms of a more fundamental idea of “structural equity.” From the point of view of political philosophy, the issue turns on the sorts of principles that might ground moral assessment of the global economy. External principles are justified and apply quite independently of what the global economy and its social organization happens to be like. Humanitarian principles are a natural example: in asking whether or not the current global economy is set up so as to bring as many people as possible out of poverty, the assumed goal of poverty reduction can be seen as important and morally necessary quite independently of how the global economy is institutionally organized, and indeed independently of its very existence. Internal principles, by contrast, are not justified, and do not apply, independently of the global economy and its organizing institutions.. (shrink)
There is much in Thomas Hobbes’s political theory that contemporary political philosophy cannot readily accept—including Hobbes’s egoism, his unconditional right of self-defense, and his insistence that peace is only possible under absolute sovereign rule. Nevertheless, we can and should embrace one of Hobbes’s central insights: that problems of assurance are of fundamental importance for questions of social justice, even, or especially, justice questions of global scale. In general, agents face normatively significant problems of assurance because they have imperfect knowledge about (...) the conduct of others and must therefore weigh consequent risks of action. Practically speaking, the basic human device for their resolution is for agents to form “agreements”—promises, conventions, social practices, or institutions—that reduce uncertainty and thus “assure” the parties involved. None of this necessarily bears on basic principles of morality or justice, at least not without further argument. Hobbes’s dramatic assurance problem—the state of nature—makes this further step. It shows vividly how agreement-making may be not simply a useful device but a condition for the applicability of basic principles. In the absence of an agreed upon common power to assure compliance, Hobbes explains, basic principles of conduct—including considerations of justice and injustice—are simply out of place. The resulting uncertainty about what others will do in the name of self-preservation gives us sweeping liberty to defend ourselves. Contemporary political philosophy is concerned with substantive political morality and “ideal theory,” so it may seem that Hobbes’s problem of assurance—a matter of amoral selfpreservation—can simply be set aside. This is to underestimate the depth of Hobbes’s insight. As I will explain, assurance problems can take specifically moral forms, arising even among morally motivated agents, in a way which bears on the very applicability of fundamental moral principles. In central cases of normative political philosophy, justification of basic principles, even in “ideal theory,” must be tailored to the circumstances that give rise to assurance problems and the available human means for their resolution.. (shrink)
What is “political constructivism”? And to what extent is it of general use to political philosophy? My aim is to suggest that we can extract answers to these questions from John Rawls’s most clearly constructivist work, “Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory.” In particular, we can formulate political constructivism as a general approach to political philosophy which is free from at least two limitations that Rawls himself might otherwise seem to place on its potential scope. The first is the special “political” (...) constraints of the later Rawls’s political liberalism. Although “Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory” foreshadows Rawls’s later political turn, it presents a distinct “pre-political” constructivist approach which was at best implicit in the earlier A Theory of Justice. My question is what this distinct approach is. The second limitation, which appears across Rawls’s corpus, is that Rawls never clearly formulates his constructivism independently of the specific social contexts that interest him, the major institutions of modern constitutional democracies and modern international law and practice.[i] And it is not otherwise obvious how his specific accounts should generalize into to other areas of social life. What their general, underlying rationales might be and how if at all they apply is at best highly controversial.[ii] Indeed, according to one plausible view, sometimes suggested by Rawls himself, political constructivism assumes certain “basic” structures, and so applies nowhere else. Unless it could be argued that the remaining areas of social life never raise relevant concerns of social justice—a difficult sort of argument to make—political constructivism becomes of at best of limited (albeit still significant) use to political philosophy.[iii] My more general characterization of political constructivism will allow it to have broader application. As I will explain, the approach has fruitful application in at least two important areas of world politics: the institutions that organize the global economy (especially the system of trade), and international human rights-motivated interventions other than the use of outright coercion and force (e.g.. (shrink)
Financial crises are now commonplace in the global economy. It was not always so. For over two decades after World War II, under the Bretton Woods system of capital controls, financial crises were relatively rare. Since the early 1970’s the number and frequency of financial crises (currency crises, banking crises, sovereign debt crises, or combinations thereof) increased dramatically, culminating in the enormously destructive global crisis of 2008-2009. (By one count, there were at least 124 banking crises between 1970 and 2008. (...) During the postwar decades before 1970 the number is: two.) What explains the post-1970 rise? The date suggests a natural explanation: capital liberalization. With the early 1970’s breakdown of Bretton Woods, governments increasingly removed controls on private capital movements across their borders. As capital flows dramatically increased, economically integrated countries became markedly more susceptible to financial crises as compared to the postwar years of careful controls. While each crisis has its own varying local causes, and leaves plenty of blame to go around, the general tendency for crises to become more numerous and more frequent is substantially (even if not wholly) explained by a major trend in government policy: the choice of governments to remove capital controls has created a global economic environment in which financial crises readily break out. It is difficult to overstate the profoundly consequential nature of this choice. More than most any adverse economic event—and import surge, downturn in the business cycle, a commodity price spike—financial crises cause severe and potentially irreparable harm on a large and even global scale. Developing countries from Argentina to Mexico to Japan to Malaysia have become familiar with crisis-induced ravages of high unemployment, reduced tax revenue, exploding public debt, and cuts in social services. The losses often fall to very poor people, though they would be significant for most anyone.. (shrink)
In matters of distributive justice, we assume that it is important how benefits and burdens are distributed among different people. But what, precisely, is important about this? In particular, what, from the point of view of justice, is ultimately at stake in what distributions come about? T. M. Scanlon has been coy about what his contractualist moral theory might imply for justice.[ii] Yet his conception of morality bears directly on this question of stakes. The significance of distribution then depends (...) on independently valuable relations of recognition. Distribution has no fundamental importance per se. This in turn has significant implications for how philosophical reasoning about justice in distribution must proceed. In recent years, many egalitarians (e.g. many luck egalitarians) have proceeded as though a distribution (of goods, resources, opportunities, capabilities, or welfare) can be just (or fair) by its very nature, in and of itself. The basic aim of the theory of distributive justice is to say what this intrinsically just distribution is (equality? priority for the worse off? everyone having enough? something else?).[iii] What is ultimately at stake in matters of distributive justice, it is suggested, is whether or not a certain intrinsically valuable distributional pattern comes about. Scanlon’s theory implies that this cannot be right: a distribution, taken as such, cannot be owed, and so cannot be justice. Or at least this follows given the platitude about justice, due to Aristotle, that justice is, by nature, giving each his or her due.[iv] The platitude tells us that to distribute justly is simply to give to each individual what he or she is due or owed, as determined by an independent conception of what this is. According to Scanlon’s independent conception of “what we owe to each other,” no individual can be owed a distribution across persons, as such. We are at most each owed our respective shares—only what we can reasonably ask for on our own behalf.. (shrink)
One of the more troubling developments in recent human history is the emergence of a single, nearly global system of intellectual property (IP). As I will explain, the usual moral arguments for IP—arguments from social utility, piracy, and natural or human rights—are clearly inadequate as justifications for the emerging global IP system. Indeed, the arguments are so weak that it is natural to conclude that the system should simply be abolished. I sympathize with this conclusion, but here defend a somewhat (...) more modest policy prescription. If the system is not abolished, it should at least be eviscerated: developing countries should be exempted from international IP rules, by an unlimited grace period. (shrink)
I have been encouraged by John Range, as part of the preparation for my talk in Paris on May 20 to some French philosophers, to look into Kant's position. This look has been a very brief one, considering the enormous amount written on the subject, so maybe I can get some useful corrections from this group..
The aim of the study was to determine the acceptance and perception of Nigerian patients to medical photography. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed among Nigerian patients attending oral and maxillofacial surgery and plastic surgery clinics of 3 tertiary health institutions. Information requested included patients' opinion about consent process, capturing equipment, distribution and accessibility of medical photographs. The use of non-identifiable medical photographs was more acceptable than identifiable to respondents for all purposes (P = 0.003). Most respondents were favourably disposed to (...) photographs being taken for inclusion in the case note, but opposed to identifiable photographs being used for other purposes most especially in medical websites and medical journals. Female respondents preferred non-identifiable medical photographs to identifiable ones (P = 0.001). Most respondents (78%) indicated that their consent be sought for each of the outline needs for medical photography. Half of the respondents indicated that identifiable photographs may have a negative effect on their persons; and the most commonly mentioned effects were social stigmatization, bad publicity and emotional/psychological effects. Most of the respondents preferred the use of hospital-owned camera to personal camera/personal camera-phone for their medical photographs. Most respondents (67.8%) indicated that they would like to be informed about the use of their photographs on every occasion, and 74% indicated that they would like to be informed of the specific journal in which their medical photographs are to be published. In conclusion, non-identifiable rather than identifiable medical photography is acceptable to most patients in the studied Nigerian environment. The use of personal camera/personal camera-phone should be discouraged as its acceptance by respondents is very low. Judicious use of medical photography is therefore advocated to avoid breach of principle of privacy and confidentiality in medical practice. (shrink)
: I explore Rousseau's account of the problem of dependence by means of an analysis of the distinction he makes between dependence on things and dependence on men. With reference to his Second Discourse, I argue that dependence on things alone exists only in the case of primitive man in the earliest stages of the state of nature, while dependence on men is more properly to be understood as dependence on other human beings as mediated by dependence on things. I (...) go on to argue that in the light of Rousseau's account of dependence and his description in the Second Discourse of a spontaneous dependence and inequality generating process, there is a significant problem with his solution to the problem of dependence on other human beings proposed in the Social Contract. This problem can be understood in terms of the relation of the idea of will to that of necessity, and I suggest that Rousseau was himself aware of it. (shrink)
In this paper we consider the question of whether middle-scale farmers, which we define as producers generating between $100,000 and $250,000 in sales annually, are better agricultural stewards than small and large-scale producers. Our study is motivated by the argument of some commentators that farmers of this class ought to be protected in part because of the unique attitudes and values they possess regarding what constitutes a “good farmer.” We present results of a survey of Missouri farmers designed to assess (...) farmer attitudes and values regarding a variety of indicators of farmer stewardship, such as the most important issues in agriculture, environment, and treatment of farm animals, perspectives on the past and future of agriculture, and ethical behavior. We find little evidence that farmers-of-the-middle are particularly noteworthy in these regards. We do find evidence, however, that middle-scale farmers are more pessimistic and anxious about their role in the future of agriculture. (shrink)
This study examined whether undergraduate students’ perceptions regarding the acceptability of cheating were influenced by the amount of ethics instruction the students had received and/or by their personality. The results, from a sample of 230 upper-level undergraduate students, indicated that simply taking a business ethics course did not have a significant influence on students’ views regarding cheating. On the other hand, Machiavellianism was positively related to perceiving that two forms of cheating were acceptable. Moreover, in testing for moderating relationships, the (...) results indicated that the extent to which taking a business ethics course influenced attitudes varied substantially across individuals. Specifically, taking a course in business ethics did result in students who scored lower on Machiavellianism holding even more negative views regarding certain forms of cheating. In addition, individuals with higher grade point averages (GPAs) who had taken a course in business ethics were also less accepting of certain forms of cheating than individuals with similar GPAs who had not taken the business ethics course. The implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
Consequentialists insist there is no rational basis for distinguishing between determinate (or identifiable) victims and indeterminate (or statistical) victims. Whether it's a child drowning at our feet or needy communities abroad, our reason to help is the same. Experimental data indicate, however, that we regularly make such distinctions. In this article, I show that there are indeed persuasive normative grounds for preserving this distinction. When potential beneficiaries are determinate, they have a special claim on us grounded in fairness. I present (...) several cases that demonstrate that treating determinate beneficiaries the same as indeterminate beneficiaries is unjust. I conclude with an analysis of the relevant social psychology data. (shrink)
There are a number of agricultural farming practices that are controversial. These may include using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, and planting genetically modified crops, as well as the decision to dehorn cattle rather than raise polled cattle breeds. We use data from a survey of Missouri crop and livestock producers to determine whether a farmer’s ethical framework affects his or her decision to engage in these practices. We find that a plurality of farmers prefer an agricultural policy that reflects (...) principles based on rights rather than principles of utilitarianism or justice. Furthermore, after controlling for personal and farm characteristics, we find a positive correlation between farmers preferring a rights-based policy and a farmer’s use of chemical farm inputs and polled rather than horned cattle. We also find that a combination of ethical framework and farm and farmer characteristics correlate with decisions to use farm chemicals, while only farm and farmer characteristics affect the decision to plant GM crops and only a farmer’s ethical framework affects the decision to use polled cattle. (shrink)
At least since the late Early Modern period, the Holy Grail of ethics, for many philosophers, has been to say how ethical values could have a kind of protagorean objectivity: values are to be both fully objective as values and yet depend on us by their very nature. More than any other contemporary foundational approach it is “constructivist” theories, such as those due to Rawls, Scanlon, and Korsgaard, which have consciously sought to explain how protagorean objectivity is a real possibility. (...) Yet there remains considerable uncertainty about what the various versions of constructivism have in common, what, if anything, “constructivism” as a general approach is supposed to accomplish, and whether, if it is a general approach, it amounts to a distinctive foundational view. (shrink)
Fichte's definitions of property appear to diverge from modern common linguistic usage, especially his identification of leisure as the object of an absolute right of property, and they may even appear arbitrary. I argue that these definitions are not in fact arbitrary. Rather, any divergence from common linguistic usage can be explained in terms of a conceptual innovation which consists in expanding or modifying a concept by thinking it through, thereby generating new content. In the case of Fichte's theory of (...) property, this content turns out to be leisure as the primary object of a theory of distributive justice. The conceptual innovation found in Fichte's theory of property invites a reconceptualization of the relation between work and freedom. (shrink)
Abstract Carl Schmitt distinguishes between political theories in terms of whether they rest on the anthropological assumption that man is evil by nature or on the anthropological assumption that man is good by nature, and he claims that liberal political theory is based on the latter assumption. Contrary to this claim, I show how Kant's liberalism is shaped by his theory of the radical evil in human nature, and that his liberalism corresponds to the characterization of liberalism that Schmitt himself (...) offers. My discussion of this issue will be shown to have certain implications with respect to the view that for Kant evil is the product of society. I show that this view is mistaken insofar as it fails to recognize that Kant's political philosophy implies that human beings require the type of society that best suits their radically evil natures, namely, a commercial one in which the ?vices of culture? largely have free play, while the state's role is limited to that of preventing the antagonisms found in society leading to the mutual destruction of its members. (shrink)
This book gives a critical assessment of key developments in contemporary French philosophy, highlighting the diverse ways in which recent French thought has moved beyond the philosophical positions and arguments which have been widely ...
Because music communicates extra-propositionally, philosophers often use musical concepts and metaphors to discuss implicit and/or affective knowledges. Music is a productive means to philosophically analyze affect, but only when these analyses are grounded in rigorous studies of actual musical works and practices. When we don’t ground our study of music in musical practices, works, and theories, “music” just becomes a mirror of whatever assumptions and biases we already have. I show how the overly-abstract treatment of music and sound in Jean-Luc (...) Nancy’s Listening leads to significant philosophical and political problems. By following his musical metaphors all the way through, I show how his theory of listening naturalizes maleness/masculinity, and, like liberal multiculturalism, values “difference” only as a way to re-center whiteness and patriarchy. As an alternative, I use R&B/electropop singer Kelis’s 2010 single “Acapella” (sic) to develop an alternative account of music, affect, and the politics of difference. (shrink)
I distinguish between the nineteenth- to twentieth-century (modernist) tendency to rehabilitate (white) femininity from the abject popular, and the twentieth- to twenty-first-century (postmodernist) tendency to rehabilitate the popular from abject white femininity. Careful attention to the role of nineteenth-century racial politics in Nietzsche's Gay Science shows that his work uses racial nonwhiteness to counter the supposedly deleterious effects of (white) femininity (passivity, conformity, and so on). This move—using racial nonwhiteness to rescue pop culture from white femininity—is a common twentieth- and (...) twenty-first-century practice. I use Nietzsche to track shifts from classical to neo-liberal methods of appropriating “difference.” Hipness is one form of this neoliberal approach to difference, and it is exemplified by the approach to race, gender, and pop culture in Vincente Minnelli's film The Band Wagon. I expand upon Robert Gooding-Williams's reading of this film, and argue that mid-century white hipness dissociates the popular from femininity and whiteness, and values the popular when performed by white men “acting black.” Hipness instrumentalizes femininity and racial nonwhiteness so that any benefits that might come from them accrue only to white men, and not to the female and male artists of color whose works are appropriated. (shrink)
Spinoza's Theologico-Political Treatise is simultaneously a work of philosophy and a piece of practical politics. It defends religious pluralism, a republican form of political organisation, and the freedom to philosophise, with a determination that is extremely rare in seventeenth-century thought. But it is also a fierce and polemical intervention in a series of Dutch disputes over issues about which Spinoza and his opponents cared very deeply. Susan James makes the arguments of the Treatise accessible, and their motivations plain, by setting (...) them in their historical and philosophical context. She identifies the interlocking theological, hermeneutic, historical, philosophical, and political positions to which Spinoza was responding, shows who he aimed to discredit, and reveals what he intended to achieve. The immediate goal of the Treatise is, she establishes, a local one. Spinoza is trying to persuade his fellow citizens that it is vital to uphold and foster conditions in which they can cultivate their capacity to live rationally, free from the political manifestations and corrosive psychological effects of superstitious fear. At the same time, however, his radical argument is designed for a broader audience. Appealing to the universal philosophical principles that he develops in greater detail in his Ethics, and drawing on the resources of imagination to make them forceful and compelling, Spinoza speaks to the inhabitants of all societies, including our own. Only in certain political circumstances is it possible to philosophise, and learn to live wisely and well. (shrink)
One of the aims of Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus is to vindicate the view that philosophy and theology are separate forms of enquiry, neither of which has any authority over the other. However, many commentators have objected that this aspect of his project fails. Despite his protestations to the contrary, Spinoza implicitly gives epistemological precedence to philosophy. I argue that this objection misunderstands the nature of Spinoza's position and wrongly charges him with inconsistency. To show how he can coherently allow both (...) that theology and philosophy employ independent epistemological standards, and that philosophy is epistemologically superior to theology, we need to step back from the immediate disputes to which the Tractatus is a response and examine a Ciceronian distinction on which Spinoza indirectly draws. As well as enabling us to vindicate Spinoza's position, it places his alleged naturalism in a new light and portrays philosophizing as a form of piety. (shrink)
In a classic article, philosopher William P. Alston argues that nonrealism, “though rampant nowadays even among Christian theologians,” is “subversive” of theistic faith.1 Among contemporaries guilty of succumbing to this philosophical bogey, Gordon Kaufman is singled out as an especially illuminating example. Alston notes that in the essays that make up God the Problem, Kaufman makes use of a distinction between the “available referent” of theistic language and its “real referent,” the former indicating the actual object of religious experience and (...) responses, and the latter appearing only as the “I-know-not-what” that ultimately grounds them. By the time Kaufman writes In Face of Mystery, Alston suggests, the .. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Fichte's theory of property; 2. Applying the concept of right: Fichte and Babeuf; 3. Fichte's reappraisal of Kant's theory of cosmopolitan right; 4. The relation of right to morality in Fichte's Jena theory of the state and society; 5. The role of virtue in the Addresses to the German Nation.
In response to the claim that Kierkegaard's highly compressed definition of the self, given near the beginning of The Sickness unto Death, should be understood in Hegelian terms, I show that it can be better understood in terms of an earlier development in the history of German idealism, namely, Fichte's theory of self-consciousness. The notion that the self ?posits? itself found in this theory will be used to explain Kierkegaard's definition of the self, including his rejection of the idea that (...) the self posits itself absolutely. I go on to show how this conception of the self relates to certain features of the concept of despair described in The Sickness unto Death. This in turn allows me to indicate some implications of this conception of the self in relation to Kierkegaard's attitude towards the social and political forces shaping the modern world. (shrink)
Feminist, critical race, and postcolonial theories have established that social identities such as race and gender are mutually constitutive—i.e., that they “intersect.” I argue that “cultural appropriation” is never merely the appropriation of culture, but also of gender, sexuality, class, etc. For example, “white hipness” is the appropriation of stereotypical black masculinity by white males. Looking at recent videos from black male hip-hop artists, I develop an account of “postmillennial black hipness.” The inverse of white hipness, this practice involves the (...) appropriation, by black men, of stereotypical white gay masculinity and/or non-American, non-white femininity. I also argue that Shephard Fairey’s recent images of (mainly militant) non-Western women of color can be read as a new form of white hipness that revises the traditional logic in two ways: (1) by appropriating non-white femininity rather than masculinity, and (2) by adopting the practice of postmillennial black hipness itself. (shrink)
While feminist aestheticians have long interrogated gendered, raced, and classed hierarchies in the arts, feminist philosophers still don’t talk much about popular music. Even though Angela Davis and bell hooks have seriously engaged popular music, they are often situated on the margins of philosophy. It is my contention that feminist aesthetics has a lot to offer to the study of popular music, and the case of popular music points feminist aesthetics to some of its own limitations and unasked questions. This (...) essay addresses the paucity of work in feminist philosophy and popular music by (1) applying insights from other areas of feminist aesthetics (the role of gender in the art/craft distinction, concepts of genius and creativity, notions of active spectatorship, etc.) to questions of popular music, and (2) thereby using feminist aesthetics – specifically, Julia Kristea’s notion of female genius and the genius spectator – to critique itself. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that it is productive to read Rancière’s theory of political practice – what he calls “disagreement” – with and against Kodwo Eshun’s theorization of hip hop. Thinking disagreement through hip hop helps flesh out how, exactly, disagreement works, particularly at the level of individual embodiment and consciousness. While Rancière himself gives us many examples of interruptions to the political body (the demos speaking, Jean Derion asserting the non-universality of “universal” man, etc.), I am interested in (...) examining how these interruptions work in, on, and through individual bodies. How is it that we become aware of the ways that distributions of sensibility – particularly hegemonic ones, which are most likely to be normalized and imperceptible by virtue of their ubiquity – structure our corporeal schemas? How does one’s corporeal schema reinforce or interrupt dominant distributions of sensibility? Can we stage an interruption of our own corporeal schemas, and if so, how? (shrink)
Natural selection and human nature -- The (earliest) roots of right -- The caveman's conscience -- Just deserts -- The science of virtue and vice -- Social harmony, the good, the bad, and the biologically ugly -- Hume's law -- Moore's naturalistic fallacy -- Rethinking Moore and Hume -- Evolutionary anti-realism : early efforts -- Contemporary evolutionary anti-realism -- Options for the evolutionary realist.
Abstract Everyday inanimate things such as stones, teapots and bicycles are not objects to which moral agents could have direct duties; they do not have moral status. It is usually assumed that there is therefore no reason to think that a morally good person would, on account of her goodness, be disposed to treat them well for their own sakes. I challenge this assumption. I begin by showing that to act for the sake of an entity need not be to (...) suppose that it has moral status, but simply to regard it as an end in itself. Having done this, I argue that it is not, as is conventionally assumed, implausible to suppose that to be morally good is to be disposed to treat at least some inanimate things gently, and to do so, moreover, for the sake of those things, rather than for some other reason. (shrink)
Does Spinoza present philosophy as the preserve of an elite, while condemning the uneducated to a false though palliative form of ‘true religion’? Some commentators have thought so, but this contribution aims to show that they are mistaken. The form of religious life that Spinoza recommends creates the political and epistemological conditions for a gradual transition to philosophical understanding, so that true religion and philosophy are in practice inseparable.
The Essential William James covers the primary topics for which James is still closely studied: the nature of experience, the functions of the mind, the criteria for knowledge, the definition of “truth,” the ethical life, and the religious life. His notable terms, still resonating in their respective fields, are all covered here, from “stream of consciousness” and “pure experience” to the “will to believe,” the “cash-value of truth,” and the distinction between the religiously “healthy soul” and the “sick soul.” This (...) volume’s eighteen selections receive the bulk of the attention and citation from scholars, provide excellent coverage of core topics, and have a broad appeal across many academic disciplines. (shrink)
Reconciliation and the Technics of Healing Content Type Journal Article Pages 235-237 DOI 10.1007/s11673-011-9318-y Authors Paul A. Komesaroff, Monash Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society, Monash University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia Elizabeth Kath, Global Cities Institute, RMIT University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia Paul James, Global Cities Institute, RMIT University, Melbourne, Vic., Australia Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 3.
In his early Some Lectures concerning the Scholar’s Vocation, J. G. Fichte developed an account of the social role of the scholar. This role concerns the task of furthering human culture and progress, which Fichte considers to be a moral duty for the scholar. In these lectures, Fichte also outlined the capabilities and knowledge that the scholar needs in order to be able to fulfill the task in question, including the possession of historical knowledge. The article argues that the later (...) Addresses to the German Nation represent an attempt on Fichte’s part to realize his earlier conception of the scholar’s vocation, because these addresses aim to help usher in a new, superior epoch in human history. Particular attention is paid to the use that Fichte makes of history in them. In effect, he instrumentalizes history, and justifies his doing this in terms of a higher purpose and the ‘merely’ empirical status of historical fact and evidence. This use of history is compared to some things that Nietzsche has to say about history in his essay On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life; and it invites questions concerning the possible dangers of such a use of history and its compatibility with Fichte’s idea that the vocation of the scholar is a moral one. (shrink)
In recent years a growing trend has emerged which has argued for a greater priority to be placed upon patient autonomy within the doctor-patient relationship. The patient self determination movement, which first began to emerge in the 1960s, helps to mark the start of this ground swell of patient power sentiment. In keeping with this idea, the recent book by Robert M. Veatch, Patient heal thyself: How the new medicine puts the patient in charge addresses this very idea, arguing for (...) and promoting a new paradigm for medicine which places the patient firmly at the centre of all decision making in terms of medical treatment and care. Veatch is one of the leading bioethicists in the USA, having previously held the position of Senior Associate at the Hastings Center before moving to the Kennedy Institute of Ethics where he has served as director and Professor of Medical Ethics. (shrink)
What is an emotion? -- The dilemma of determinism -- The perception of reality -- The hidden self -- Habit -- The will -- The gospel of relaxation -- On a certain blindness in human beings -- What makes a life significant -- Philosophical conceptions and practical results -- The Philippine tangle -- The sick soul -- The Ph. D. octopus -- Does "consciousness" exist? -- The energies of men -- Concerning Fechner -- The moral equivalent of war.
We show how an epistemology informed by cognitive science promises to shed light on an ancient problem in the philosophy of mathematics: the problem of exactness. The problem of exactness arises because geometrical knowledge is thought to concern perfect geometrical forms, whereas the embodiment of such forms in the natural world may be imperfect. There thus arises an apparent mismatch between mathematical concepts and physical reality. We propose that the problem can be solved by emphasizing the ways in which the (...) brain can transform and organize its perceptual intake. It is not necessary for a geometrical form to be perfectly instantiated in order for perception of such a form to be the basis of a geometrical concept. (shrink)
Introduction -- The symbolic form of art -- Kant's theory of the mathematical sublime and the boundlessness of the symbolic form of art -- The classical sublimity of Judaism -- The classical form of art -- The original epic -- The ideal -- The transition to the revealed religion and the romantic form of art -- The revealed religion -- Representational thought and the romantic form of art -- Traces of left-hegelianism in Hegel's lectures on aesthetics -- The end of (...) mythology -- The significance of Kierkegaard's interpretation of Don Giovanni in relation to Hegel's theory of the end of art -- The end of art -- The opera as a modern art form -- Hegel and Lukács's on the possibility of a modern epic -- The problem of a modern epic -- The modern epic and history -- Civil society as the background to the modern epic -- Myth and society : a common theme in the thought of Hegel and Sorel -- Sorel's myth of the general strike -- Myth and modern ethical life. (shrink)
The status of the body figures paradoxically in the interrelated discourses of whiteness, aesthetic taste, and hipness. While Richard Dyer’s analysis of whiteness argues that white identity is “in but not of the body,” Carolyn Korsmeyer’s and Julia Kristeva’s feminist analyses of aesthetic “taste” demonstrate that this faculty is traditionally conceived as something “of” but not “in” the body. While taste directly distances whiteness from embodiment, hipness negatively affirms this same distance: the hipster proves his elite status within white culture (...) by positioning himself as, in the words of James Chance’s song title, “Almost Black.” The notion of hip contributes to my analysis of taste by focusing on both the gender politics of white embodiment, and how, by taking the social body as object of the prepositions “in” and “of,” these discourses of taste and hipness produce individual bodies as white, and maintain Whiteness as a socio-political norm. (shrink)
Some feminists have argued that the “master's tools” cannot be utilized for feminist projects. When read through the lens of non-ideal theory, Judith Butler's reevaluation of “autonomy” and “universality” and Peaches's engagement with guitar rock are instances in which implements of patriarchy are productively repurposed for feminist ends. These examples evince two criteria whereby one can judge the success of such an attempt: first, accessibility and efficacy; second, that the use is deconstructive of its own conditions.
An increasingly popular moral argument has it that the story of human evolution shows that we can explain the human disposition to make moral judgments without relying on a realm of moral facts. Such facts can thus be dispensed with. But this argument is a threat to moral realism only if there is no realist position that can explain, in the context of human evolution, the relationship between our particular moral sense and a realm of moral facts. I sketch a (...) plausible evolutionary story that illuminates this relationship. First, the sorts of adaptive pressures facing early humans would have produced more than just potent prosocial emotions, as evolutionary antirealists like to claim; it would have produced judgments?often situated within emotions?to the effect that others could reasonably disapprove of some bit of conduct, for an early human who cared deeply about how others might respond to her action enjoyed the benefits of more cooperative exchanges than those early humans who did not. Second, according to objectivist versions of moral constructivism, moral facts just are facts about how others, ideally situated, would respond to one's conduct. Thus if any objectivist moral constructivism story is true, then we can intelligibly assert that a) our capacity for moral judgment is the product of adaptive pressures acting on early humans and b) some moral judgments are objectively true. (shrink)
Just health: meeting health needs fairly is an ambitious book, in which Norman Daniels attempts to bring together in a single framework all his work on health and justice from the past 25 years. One major aim is to reconcile his earlier work on the special moral importance of healthcare with his later work on the social determinants of health. In his earlier work, Daniels argued that healthcare is of special moral importance because it protects opportunity. In this later work, (...) Daniels argues that the social determinants of health (which in fact tend to have a larger effect on health outcomes than healthcare does) should also be considered special. This paper argues that it is a mistake to base a theory of justice for health on the claim that health (or the social determinants of health) are "special", for three reasons. First, once we realise that health is to a large part socially determined by features such as distribution of income, which are also of independent importance for justice, we cannot talk about a theory of justice for health in isolation from an overall theory of justice. Second, when we are trying to work out the place of health in a general theory of justice, being told that health (or the social determinants of health) is special is unhelpful. The relevant starting point should rather be whether health matters in a fundamental way for justice, or whether it matters merely for the effects it has on those goods which are of fundamental importance for justice. Third, treating the social determinants of health as special would in fact be counterproductive in terms of the broad approach to justice Daniels favours. (shrink)
We consider the implications of trends in the number of U.S. farmers and food imports on the question of what role U.S. farmers have in an increasingly global agrifood system. Our discussion stems from the argument some scholars have made that American consumers can import their food more cheaply from other countries than it can produce it. We consider the distinction between U.S. farmers and agriculture and the effect of the U.S. food footprint on developing nations to argue there might (...) be an important role for U.S. farmers, even if it appears Americans don’t need them. For instance, we may need to protect U.S. farmland and, by implication, U.S. farmers, for future food security needs both domestic and international. We also explore the role of U.S. farmers by considering the question of whether food is a privilege or a right. Although Americans seem to accept that food is a privilege, many scholars and commentators argue that, at least on a global scale, food is a right, particularly for the world’s poor and hungry. If this is the case, then U.S. farmers might have a role in meeting the associated obligation to ensure that the poor of the world have enough food to eat. We look at the consequences of determining that food is a right versus a privilege and the implications of that decision for agricultural subsidies as well as U.S. agriculture and nutrition policies. (shrink)
This study examines the influence of ethics instruction, religiosity, and intelligence on cheating behavior. A sample of 230 upper level, undergraduate business students had the opportunity to increase their chances of winning money in an experimental situation by falsely reporting their task performance. In general, the results indicate that students who attended worship services more frequently were less likely to cheat than those who attended worship services less frequently, but that students who had taken a course in business ethics were (...) no less likely to cheat than students who had not taken such a course. However, the results do indicate that the extent to which taking a business ethics course influenced cheating behavior was moderated by the religiosity and intelligence of the individual student. In particular, while students who were highly religious were unlikely to cheat whether or not they had taken a business ethics course, students who were not highly religious demonstrated less cheating if they had taken a business ethics course. In addition, the extent of cheating among highly intelligent students was significantly reduced if such students had taken a course in business ethics. Likewise, individuals who were highly intelligent displayed significantly less cheating if they were also highly religious. The implications of these findings are discussed. (shrink)
Using survey methodology we examined the relationships between commitment to moral self-improvement (CMSI), religiosity, ethical problem recognition, and behavioral intentions in a sample of 242 business students. Results of the study suggest that CMSI predicts ethical problem recognition and behavioral intentions. Our findings also suggest that CMSI is positively related to religiosity. The study provides some evidence of CMSI being a mediator in the influence of religiosity on ethical problem recognition and behavioral intentions. Compared to religiosity, CMSI turned out to (...) be a better predictor of perceived importance of ethics, ethical problem recognition, and ethical behavioral intentions. The results of the study have implications for increasing understanding of ethical decision-making, future studies of business ethics, and business ethics education. (shrink)