The problem of aestheticprinciples and that of the nature of aesthetic reasons get confronted. If aesthetic reasons play an important role in our aesthetic evaluations and judgments, then both some general aestheticprinciples and rules could support them (aesthetic generalism) or again their nature may be particularistic (aesthetic particularism). A recent argument in support of aesthetic generalism as proposed by Oliver Conolly and Bashshar Haydar is presented and criticized for (...) its misapprehension of particularism. Their position of irreversible aesthetic generalism is questioned. Aesthetic particularism is restated by the help of proposals by Jonathan Dancy’s version of moral particularism. (shrink)
We give reasons for our judgements of works of art. (2) Reasons are inherently general, and hence dependent on principles. (3) There are no principles of aesthetic evaluation. Each of these three propositions seems plausible, yet one of them must be false. Illusionism denies (1). Particularism denies (2). Generalism denies (3). We argue that illusionism depends on an unacceptable account of the use of critical language. Particularism cannot account for the connection between reasons and verdicts in criticism. (...) Generalism comes in two forms: reversible generalism is the thesis that there are meaningful generalizations in criticism that admit of exceptions; irreversible generalism is the thesis that such generalizations cannot admit of exceptions. It is argued that Frank Sibley's defence of reversible generalism cannot provide a criterion for distinguishing valenced from non-valenced properties, and thus fails. Irreversible generalism is correct: it is logically cogent and fits our critical practices. (shrink)
In his influential paper, ‘General Criteria and Reasons in Aesthetics’, Frank Sibley outlines what is taken to be a generalist view (shared with Beardsley) such that there are general reasons for aesthetic judgement, and his account of the behaviour of such reasons, which differs from Beardsley's. In this paper my aim is to illuminate Sibley's position by employing a distinction that has arisen in meta-ethics in response to recent work by Jonathan Dancy in particular. Contemporary research involves two related (...) yet distinct debates: (i) that between the particularist and the generalist on the status of moral principles; and (ii) that between holists and atomists on the nature of reasons. This division of labour has no correlate within the aesthetic particularism–generalism debate, and I will show how the ideas developed in relation to meta-ethics illuminate a difficulty with Sibley's view. I argue that we should understand Sibley as subscribing to both particularism and a version of holism about aesthetic reasons. (shrink)
The acquaintance principle (AP) and the view it expresses have recently been tied to a debate surrounding the possibility of aesthetic testimony, which, plainly put, deals with the question whether aesthetic knowledge can be acquired through testimony—typically aesthetic and non-aesthetic descriptions communicated from person to person. In this context a number of suggestions have been put forward opting for a restricted acceptance of AP. This paper is an attempt to restrict AP even more.
Prominent positions in the contemporary theoretical field of the humanities tend to conceptualize late modern communities in general as aesthetic communities of taste. In regard to political communities, this means reducing the political to an implication of the aesthetic discourse. This article argues for addressing the aesthetic and the political as distinct discourses that are, on the other hand, always engaged with each other in a conflictual interplay. Both discourses draw on and appeal to the ability of (...) judgement, but according to their own distinct principles, and depending on their respective weight in the conflictual interplay, this entails quite different perspectives with regards to political practice and community formation. (shrink)
Mou Zongsan incorrectly uses Kant’s practical reason to interpret Confucianism. The saying that “what is it that we have in common in our minds? It is the li 理 (principles) and the yi 义 (righteousness)” reveals how Mencius explains the origin of li and yi through a theory of common sense. In “the li and the yi please our minds, just as the flesh of beef and mutton and pork please our mouths,” “please” is used twice, proving aesthetic (...) judgment is necessary to understanding Mencius. An analysis of Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming’s ideas will show that Confucianism should be interpreted by appealing to aesthetic judgment, and a discussion of Kant’s theory of judgment and Gadamer’s critique of Kant’s theory will support the same point. The conclusion is that Chinese moral philosophy should be interpreted through aesthetic judgment. (shrink)
: In higher education creative writing's focus on producing the well-formed piece rather than the writing's historical and social context puts its pedagogy at odds with the majority of literary studies disciplines. Although problematic for the curriculum, there are good reasons—stemming from the anti-instrumentalism of Kant's notion of aesthetic freedom—why integrating creative writing is difficult. Examining two recent attempts to cross this creative-critical divide by making creative writing part of cultural studies, the article argues that the authors' sociological suspicion (...) of the "aesthetic" leads to a misplaced criticism of the New Critics and T. S. Eliot as the originators of an apolitical, asocial aesthetic formalism perpetuated by creative writing. Instead, their aestheticprinciples are shown to derive from Emerson and Schiller's Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man, where formal principles of creativity are part of a political program for a united and freely democratic society. Schiller's problems with establishing his aesthetic state, however, are shown to suggest how creative freedom may always necessarily involve recognition of a work's social and historical position, and the article concludes with a series of practical suggestions for seminars that would relate students' experience of creative writing to the social contexts of literary criticism. (shrink)
Mou Zongsan incorrectly uses Kant's practical reason to interpret Confucianism. The saying that "what is it that we have in common in our minds? It is the il 理 (principles) and the yi 义 (righteousness)" reveals how Mencius explains the origin of il and yi through a theory of common sense. In "the li and the yi please our minds, just as the flesh of beef and mutton and pork please our mouths," "please" is used twice, proving aesthetic (...) judgment is necessary to understanding Mencius. An analysis of Zhu Xi and Wang Yangming's ideas will show that Confucianism should be interpreted by appealing to aesthetic judgment, and a discussion of Kant's theory of judgment and Gadamer's critique of Kant's theory will support the same point. The conclusion is that Chinese moral philosophy should be interpreted through aesthetic judgment. /// 牟宗三以康德实践理性解说儒学是一错误思路。"心之所同然者何也?谓理 也，义也", 表明孟子以共通感论述理义来源, "理义之悦我心，犹当拳之悦我口" 两用 "悦" 字，证明应当以直感判断力解说孟子。分析朱子、阳明的一些言论证 明以直感判断力解说儒学则若合符节; 并引述康德关于判断力的相关学说、伽达 默尔对康德的批评支持上述论点; 从而主张，中国道德哲学宜以直感判断力来解 释。. (shrink)
Introduction -- Aesthetic judgements, aestheticprinciples, and aesthetic properties -- Aesthetic essence -- The acquaintance principle -- The intersubjective validity of aesthetic judgements -- The pure judgement of taste as an aesthetic reflective judgement -- Understanding music -- The characterization of aesthetic qualities by essential metaphors and quasi-metaphors -- Musical movement and aesthetic metaphors -- Aesthetic realism and emotional qualities of music -- On looking at a picture -- The look (...) of a picture -- Wollheim on correspondence, projective properties, and expressive perception -- Wittgenstein on aesthetics. (shrink)
Wenqi 文氣 (literary pneuma) is a foundational idea in Chinese aesthetics. It has remained elusive since its initial formulation, however. This is so largely because previous scholars did not examine its ontological and epistemological conditions in analytic terms, still less explore its implications in a conceptual framework of artistic creation. Here, it is proposed to explore its general as well as specific implications against the larger background of Chinese intellectual thought and in relation to contemporary theories of literature and aesthetics. (...) Through a philosophical inquiry, wenqi is here reconceived as an integration of the primal energy of the universe, the creative energy of human beings, and the totalizing force that animates an artistic work. Wenqi is viewed not as a substance or a product but as a creative and shaping force that flows from the writer into his writing, gives it a distinct shape, and makes it different from any other writing. The theory of wenqi is a system of aestheticprinciples that govern the creative and shaping force operating in the space of three intertwined entities: the macrocosm of the universe including human society, the microcosm of the writer, and the microcosm of his writing. (shrink)
Schopenhauer regards the ability to experience purely disinterested perception as the mark of aesthetic genius. Experience of the world as representation without interference of the individual will leads genius through imagination to grasp the Platonic Ideas underlying appearance, and then in a willful act of communication to depict the ideal in art. Schopenhauer's thesis that aesthetic genius is incompatible with the charming in still- life paintings of foods and historical paintings of nudes is criticized as inadequately supported by (...) and arguably inconsistent with his aestheticprinciples. Nevertheless, Schopenhauer's views about the distractions of appetite and desire for aesthetic experience have a deeper significance in the philosophy of art. (shrink)
We have found a new computer solution to the aesthetic field equations. This solution describes a two-particle system with more structure than previously found. The contour lines show an arm structure. We have observed four arms around the maximum center. The location of the maximum (minimum) center is not along a straight line as a function of time. This is the first time that such an effect has been observed for any kind of nonlinear partial differential equation, so far (...) as we know. A further discussion of the aestheticprinciples leading to the field equations is given. (shrink)
We have studied aesthetic field theory in the case where all invariants constructed from Γ jk i and involving g ij are zero. We studied such a “null” theory in 1972, but the cases we cited were plagued with singularities. By introducing complex fields the situation with respect to singularities improved. Complex fields are consistent with the basic “aestheticprinciples” we outlined earlier. Within our null theory we see in two-dimensional spacetime a scattering of particles that was (...) more involved than what we had seen before (regardless of dimensions). We see creation and annihilation of particles out of the vacuum. We also see a three-particle system within a small region of spacetime. In three spacetime dimensions we see a bound two-particle system. Another solution suggests a bound three-particle system. As well as we can tell the particles stay together (confinement) and do not give problems with attenuation. We observe in three dimensions one of the bound systems moving along a definite path in time. The four-dimensional spacetime results are not clear at this point. Whether “topological” bound systems of three particles exist has yet to be determined. A map in the four-dimensional case indicates a planar three maxminima confluence and the suggestion of a second such confluence. (shrink)
By transcendental aesthetic, Kant means “the science of all principles of a priori sensibility” (A 21/B 35). 1 These, he argues, are the laws that properly direct our judgments of taste (B 35 – 36 fn.), i.e. our aesthetic judgments as we ordinarily understand that notion in the context of contemporary art. Thus the first part of the Critique of Pure Reason, entitled the Transcendental Aesthetic, enumerates the necessary presuppositions of, among other things, our ability to (...) make empirical judgments about particular works of art. These presuppositions are sensible rather than intellectual because on Kant’s view, all intellection that considers objects of any kind, whether abstract or concrete, must at base connect to actual, material objects with which we come into direct contact; and this we can do only through sensibility (A 19/B 33). Thus the following discussion explores what Kant claims must be true of us in order to make the sorts of aesthetic judgments we make, rather than any particular class or quality of aesthetic judgments itself. On Kant’s view, what must be true of us in order to make aesthetic judgments is not different from what must be true of us in order to make any other kind of judgment about empirical objects. (shrink)
George Dickie argues that Hume's principles of taste have value-laden properties as their subjects, including those properties we now refer to as ‘aesthetic’. I counter that Hume's principles have value-neutral properties as their subjects, and so exclude those properties we now refer to as ‘aesthetic’. Dickie also argues that Hume's essay on taste provides ‘the conceptual means for recognizing the problem of the interaction of aesthetic properties with other properties of artworks’. I counter that the (...) very passages Dickie takes to provide these conceptual means in fact suggest that Hume recognizes no such problem. (shrink)
James Shelley claims that Hume's principles of taste have value-neutral subjects rather than value-laden ones that, for example, refer to aesthetic properties. I try to rebut his claim. I argue that Hume's essay on taste contains the conceptual means for recognizing the problem of the interaction of aesthetic properties with other properties in artworks, even if he does not explicitly make this point. I also deny Shelley's contention that I claim that principles are used as part (...) of a temporal process to infer evaluational conclusions. Against Shelly's attack, I defend my use of the isolation clause in formulating evaluational principles. Finally, I show a way to formulate evaluational principles without the isolation clause by substituting an interaction clause. (shrink)
Ruben Berrios Queen’s University Belfast Anti-realism and Aesthetic Cognition Abstract At the core of the debate between scientific realism and anti-realism is the question of the relation between scientific theory and the world. The realist possesses a mimetic conception of the relation between theory and reality. For the realist, scientific theories represent reality. The anti-realist, in contrast, seeks to understand the relations between theory and world in non-mimetic terms. We will examine Cartwright’s simulacrum account of explanation in order to (...) illuminate the anti-realist position. Science consists of phenomenological and theoretical laws. The former are concerned with appearances, or those phenomena that can be directly observed; the latter involve the unobservable reality that is alleged to underlie appearances, and are capable only of indirect confirmation. Phenomenological laws are said to be descriptive, whilst theoretical laws are understood as explanatory. Cartwright is concerned with the theoretical. She claims that the standard realist account of the explanatory efficacy of theoretical laws is faulty. The explanatory power of theoretical laws consists in their ability to provide an explanation of physical phenomena. According to Cartwright, the realist claims that laws explain phenomena by providing an abstract description of them, in terms of their micro-structural features, that is alleged to be true. On this view, explanatory power is entirely dependent on descriptive adequacy. As phenomenological laws describe appearances, so theoretical laws describe the fundamental reality that governs appearances. Cartwright rejects the preceding view and in its place proposes a simulacrum account of explanation. According to Cartwright, the explanatory power of theoretical laws is related not to descriptive adequacy, but rather to the construction of adequate models. To explain a phenomenon is to construct a model which best or most adequately accommodates the phenomenon to a theory. The model will consist of various posited objects that serve to explain the phenomena in terms that are consistent with a set of theoretical laws. Cartwright claims that theoretical laws are true of, or describe, the objects of the model. The objects of the model, however, are not descriptive of reality. They are simulacra. They have, that is, the form or appearance of things, without possessing their substance or proper qualities. In light of the foregoing account we can summarise the distinction between scientific realism and anti-realism as follows. The realist claims that theoretical laws literally represent real objects. The anti-realist claims that laws represent objects of a model that are simulacra of reality. Anti-realism has an aesthetic dimension. The movement from realism to anti-realism is also the movement from the mimetic conception of the scientist as holding a mirror to nature to the constructionist view of the scientist as engaging with nature through invention. There is a lot of the artist in the anti-realist’s view of the scientist. This is true for Cartwright as well as, for example, Van Fraassen in his doctrine of constructive empiricism. It would appear, then, that the philosophy of science has absorbed some concepts that are ordinarily housed in aesthetics. And it has done so profitably. The aim of this paper is to reverse the direction of disciplinary influence. Can art, in relation to its status as a cognitive enterprise, be illuminated by scientific anti-realism? I will argue that it can. In an unexpected reference to the Nicomachean Ethics, Cartwright draws a suggestive parallel between theoretical laws and general moral principles, on the one hand, and physical phenomena and everyday moral conduct, on the other hand. If we add to this the claim that a central component of art’s value is cognitive, then we have the basic materials with which to flesh out a broadly anti-realist view of art. In the production of art, artists can construct models that mediate between everyday ethical phenomena and general ethical tendencies. These models reveal the ways in which there are implicit consistencies or inconsistencies, conflicts or congruences and so forth, between the phenomena and the tendencies. On this basis art can contribute to the reflective understanding of ethical life. This constitutes to a large degree art’s status as a cognitive enterprise. To apprehend art cognitively as artist or critic is to engage in aesthetic cognition. (shrink)
My goal in this article is to provide support for the claim that moral flaws can be detrimental to an artwork's aesthetic value. I argue that moral flaws can become aesthetic flaws when they defeat the operation of good-making aesthetic properties. I do not defend a new theory of aesthetic properties or aesthetic value; instead, I attempt to show that on both the response-dependence and the supervenience account of aesthetic properties, moral flaws with an (...) artwork are relevant to what aesthetic properties obtain. I provide a description of the main features of both theories of aesthetic properties, and then explain how moral flaws can become aesthetic flaws on either account. I address several objections to moralism about art including the "moralistic fallacy.". (shrink)
It is rather intriguing that we will often try to persuade people of what we find beautiful, even though we do not believe that they may subsequently base their judgement of taste on our testimony. Typically, we think that the experience of beauty is such that we cannot leave it to others to be had. Moreover, we are often aware of the contingency of our own judgements’ foundation in our own experience. Nevertheless, we do think that certain aesthetic, evaluative (...) conceptions do relate to specific experiences in a non-trivial way, especially that of aesthetic excellence. Now certain analytical aestheticians ascribe truth values to aesthetic judgements of various kinds. Such ascription would evidently have a bearing on the problem of aesthetic experience’s relevance for evaluation, as we may in the end be better off neglecting the experiential altogether in virtue of treating aesthetic values in objectivist ways, as natural properties, or as reducible to such properties, descriptions of which will then indeed be true or false.1 However, I think that it is too early yet to bury subjectivism. So let us instead defend it and try to get a better grasp on its suppositions. In this we may profit from ideas advanced by David Wiggins, who neither denies the role played by objective properties, nor neglects the subjective import. According to him, aesthetic values are somehow kinds of relations, which are established by an elaborate process of criticism and refinement of perceptions of, and feelings toward specific natural properties.2 The argument in this paper suggests that the analysis of a paradigmatic pair regarding ‘aesthetic excellence’ provides us with inter-. (shrink)
We discuss the structure of a particle system obtained in “aesthetic” field theory and study the evolution of this system in time. We find the particle system to have more structure than particles found by other authors investigating particlelike behavior in nonlinear field theories. Our particle system has a maximum center in proximity to a minimum center. Thus, we can interpret our system as being constructed of two bodies. We find that the maximum center and the minimum center move (...) in straight lines, to computer accuracy. Thus, we have not found any nontrivial force laws. This suggests that the situation with respect to basic principles be kept fluid. So far as we know, we are the first investigators to study the trajectories of a two-body system which arises as a consequence of nonlinear field equations. (shrink)
In "the principles of psychology" james both claimed to be putting psychology on a firm foundation as a natural science in the positivist sense and argued that the positivist program was untenable. this inconsistency is partially the result of the transitional character of the "principles" but, more fundamentally, a reflection of the traditional division between science as objective knowledge of an independent reality and the subjective moral realm of human agency. this paper explains why james was as yet (...) unable to integrate scientific and moral-aesthetic views and in so doing indicates the fundamental shift involved in his developing philosophical pragmatism. (shrink)
At present the theory of Russian Formalism becomes actual once again owing to the rapid development of cognitive science. Aesthetic theories recently put forward within the framework of cognitive science turned out to be consonant with the Formalist’s views on the general principles of artistic activity. In my paper I argue that (1) the theory of Russian Formalism contains a number of methodological assumptions that are close to a cognitive approach; (2) some of the main principles of (...) the Formalist theory (e.g., “elimination of automatism of perception” or “the dominant”) permit the reformulation into cognitive terms; (3) such reformulation is not only possible, but useful because it makes the theory more powerful for explanation of the artistic phenomena. The findings from the new field of cognitive science not only prove some Formalist theses, but deepen and specify them as well. (shrink)
Kant's account of aesthetic value is easily ignored or subordinated by the recent stress on the primacy of the practical in his system. For Kant, vindicating reason not only requires a methodological distinction between principles of thought and knowledge on the one side, and of action and morality on the other, but the introduction of a third "faculty," feeling, along with its own principle of judgment. Christine Korsgaard has interpreted Kant's overall account of rationality in terms of a (...) kind of rationalist constructivism, the spirit of which she traces to his humanism. She argues that, for Kant, the source of all value is ultimately humanity itself, or, to be more precise, humanity insofar as it is capable of full rational autonomy. Kant's own statement of the primacy of practical reason turns out to be far from clear. (shrink)
We continue the program of looking for increased complexity within aesthetic field theory. We study a solution with five planar maxima and minima. Another solution in which we counted 19 planar maxima and minima is also studied. This latter solution was obtained by modifying our previous principles by allowing for an arbitrariness associated with the integration path in conjunction with the equation Γ jk:1 i =0.
It is sometimes held that “the aesthetic” and “the cognitive” are separate categories. Enterprises concerning the former and ones concerning the latter have different aims and values. They require distinct modes of attention and reward divergent kinds of appreciation. Thus, we must avoid running together aesthetic and cognitive matters. In this paper, I challenge the independence of these categories, but in unorthodox fashion. Most attempts proceed by arguing that cognitive values can bear upon aesthetic ones. I approach (...) from the opposite direction. I show that a work’s aesthetic merits can affect its cognitive ones and, more provocatively, its philosophical ones. (shrink)
It is often suggested that aesthetic and ethical value judgements are similar in such a way that they should be analysed in analogous manners. In this paper, I argue that the two types of judgements share four important features concerning disagreement, motivation, categoricity, and argumentation. This, I maintain, helps to explain why many philosophers have thought that aesthetic and ethical value judgements can be analysed in accordance with the same dispositional scheme which corresponds to the analogy between secondary (...) qualities and values. However, I argue that aesthetic and ethical value judgements differ as regards their fundamental structures. This scheme is mistaken as regards ethical value judgements, but it is able to account for aesthetic value judgements. This implies that aesthetic value judgements are autonomous in relation to ethical value judements and that aestheticians, not moral philosophers, are the true heirs of this renowned analogy. (shrink)
For the most part, the Aesthetic Theory of Art—any theory of art claiming that the aesthetic is a descriptively necessary feature of art—has been repudiated, especially in light of what are now considered traditional counterexamples. We argue that the Aesthetic Theory of Art can instead be far more plausibly recast by abandoning aesthetic-feature possession by the artwork for a claim about aesthetic-concept possession by the artist. This move productively re-frames and re-energizes the debate surrounding the (...) relationship between art and the aesthetic. That is, we claim Aesthetic Theory so re-framed suggests that the aesthetic might have a central and substantial explanatory role to play within both traditional philosophical enquiries as well as recent and more empirical enquiries into the psychological and cognitive aspects of art and its practice. Finally, we discuss the directions this new work might take—by tying art theory to investigations of the distinctive sensorimotor capacities of expert artists, their specialized aesthetic conceptual schemata, and the ways these distinctive capacities and schemata contribute to the production of artworks. (shrink)
The paper argues that an important class of aesthetic terms cannot be used as metaphors because it is impossible to commit a category mistake with them. It then uses this fact to provide a general definition of 'aesthetic property'.
Perhaps we should entertain the idea that aesthetic properties are no less (but no more) objective than properties like weight or shape. Indeed, the weight and shape of something are themselves aesthetic properties of that thing. And we might speculate or (what the heck) assert that aesthetic properties are no more (but no less) socially constructed than size or material composition, for example. Indeed the size and material composition of something are aesthetic properties of it. We (...) might, that is, live in an aesthetic universe, live embedded in an aesthetic reality. Then, for example, to give a full description of any thing or phenomenon, we would have to resort to aesthetic categories: perhaps there is no natural science, for example, without aesthetics, and vice versa. On a good day, the universe might really, actually, truly be beautiful. (shrink)
The concept of functional beauty is analysed in terms of the role played by beliefs, in particular expectations, in our perceptions. After finding various theories of functional beauty unsatisfying, I introduce a novel approach which explains how aesthetic judgements on a variety of different kinds of functional objects (chairs, buildings, cars, etc.) can be grounded in perceptions influenced by beliefs.
In the Critique of the Power of Judgment, Kant diagnoses an antinomy of taste: either determinate concepts exhaust judgments of taste or they do not. That is to say, judgments of taste are either objective and public or subjective and private. On the objectivity thesis, aesthetic value is predicable of objects. But determining the concepts that would make a judgment of taste objective is a vexing matter. Who can say which concepts these would be? To what authority does one (...) appeal? On the subjectivity thesis, aesthetic value is not predicable of objects. But this threatens judgments of taste with a sort of relativism. Can we not firmly assert the aesthetic value of any object? Have we no authority to make criticisms of taste? Following John McDowell’s “Aesthetic Value, Objectivity and the Fabric of the World”, I will hold that aesthetic value is neither objective nor subjective, but rather intersubjective. But, contra McDowell, I will argue that the validity that intersubjective aesthetic value bestows on judgments of taste must assume an indeterminate absolute conception of reality, of the world as it is in itself. Only such a conceptual resource can in turn make intelligible the notion of a shared or common sense according to which a judgment of taste can be universally valid, that is, valid for all subjects. Finally, I will consider an objection to common sense in matters of taste. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that one has yet to acknowledge the extent to which the notion of the aesthetic and its content is institutionally negotiated. A central question that we ought to bear in mind is: does the organization of “aesthetic knowledge” that the traditional disciplines facilitate promote or prevent insight into meta-aesthetic and transaesthetic concerns?
I take up Kant's remarks about a "transcendental deduction" of the "concepts of space and time" (A87/B119-120). I argue for the need to make a clearer assessment of the philosophical resources of the Aesthetic in order to account for this transcendental deduction. Special attention needs to be given to the fact that the central task of the Aesthetic is simply the "exposition" of these concepts. The Metaphysical Exposition reflects upon facts about our usage to reveal our commitment to (...) the idea that these concepts refer to pure intuitions. But the legitimacy of these concepts still hangs in the balance: these concepts may turn out to refer to nothing real at all. The subsequent Transcendental Exposition addresses this issue. The objective validity of the concepts of space and time, and hence their transcendental deduction, hinges on careful treatment of this last point. (shrink)
This paper explores the question of whether the United Nations should engage in preventive military actions. Correlatively, it asks whether UN preventive military actions could satisfy just war principles. Rather than from the standpoint of the individual nation state, the ethics of preventive war is discussed from the standpoint of the UN. For the sake of brevity, only the legitimate authority, just cause, last resort, and proportionality principles are considered. Since there has been disagreement about the specific content (...) of these principles, a third question also is explored: How should they be formulated? Moreover, these questions are addressed in the context of a particular issue: the goals of the non-proliferation and the abolition of weapons of mass destruction. (shrink)
It is sometimes asked whether virtue ethics can be assimilated by Kantianism or utilitarianism, or if it is a distinct position. A look atAristotle’s ethics shows that it certanly can be distinct. In particular, Aristotle presents us with an ethics of aesthetics in contrast to themore standard ethics of cognition: A virtuous agent identifies the right actions by their aesthetic qualities. Moreover, the agent’s concernwith her own aesthetic character gives us a key to the important role the emotions (...) play for Aristotle, which further distinguishes him from the other two theories we have mentioned. (shrink)
I will say something on two or three related but distinct topics. First, something on the grounding of normative beliefs, a topic – as I see it – in moral epistemology, and then after a brief remark on explanation, something against a certain understanding of basic principles. My observations were prompted by reflection on Jerry’s desire to rescue justice from the facts.
What are moral principles? In particular, what are moral principles of the sort that (if they exist) ground moral obligations or—at the very least—particular moral truths? I argue that we can fruitfully conceive of such principles as real, irreducibly dispositional properties of individual persons (agents and patients) that are responsible for and thereby explain the moral properties of (e.g.) agents and actions. Such moral dispositions (or moral powers) are apt to be the metaphysical grounds of moral obligations (...) and of particular truths about what is morally permissible, impermissible, etc. Moreover, they can do other things that moral principles are supposed to do: explain the phenomena “falling within their scope,” support counterfactuals, and ground moral necessities, “necessary connections” between obligating reasons and obligations. And they are apt to be the truthmakers for moral laws, or “lawlike” moral generalizations. (shrink)
Dissanayake argues that art behaviors – which she characterizes first as patterns or syndromes of creation and response and later as rhythms and modes of mutuality – are universal, innate, old, and a source of intrinsic pleasure, these being hallmarks of biological adaptation. Art behaviors proved to enhance survival by reinforcing cooperation, interdependence, and community, and, hence, became selected for at the genetic level. Indeed, she claims that art is essential to the fullest realization of our human nature. I make (...) three criticisms: Dissanayake’s theory cannot account adequately for differences in the aesthetic value of artworks; the connections drawn between art and reproductive success are too stretched to account for art's production, nature, and reception; indeed, art enters the picture only because it is so thinly characterized that it remains in doubt that her topic is art as we understand it. (shrink)
One prominent strand in contemporary moral particularism concerns the claim of "principle abstinence" that we ought not to rely on moral principles in moral judgment because they fail to provide adequate moral guidance. I argue that moral generalists can vindicate this traditional and important action-guiding role for moral principles. My strategy is to argue, first, that, for any conscientious and morally committed agent, the agent's acceptance of (true) moral principles shapes their responsiveness to (right) moral reasons and, (...) second, that if so, then those principles can contribute non-trivially to some reliable strategy for acting well that is available for use in the agent's practical thinking. My defense of these two claims appeals to an account of moral principles as a kind of hedged principles which I defend elsewhere, but my general line of argument should be acceptable to many other forms of generalism as well. I defend the epistemic significance of hedged principles in moral deliberation, and argue that the need for sensitivity to particulars in moral judgment doesn't supplant principles in moral guidance. I finish by arguing that the generalist model of moral guidance developed here isn't undermined by evidence from cognitive science about how we make moral judgments in actual practice, and that it compares favorably to particularism with respect to its capacity to offer adequate moral guidance. (shrink)
abstract This article briefly examines Onora O'Neill's account of the relation between normative principles and practical ethical problems with an eye to suggesting that philosophers of practical ethics have reason to adopt fairly high moral ambitions to be edifying and instructive both as educators and as advisors on public policy debates.
According to radical moral particularists such as Jonathan Dancy, there are no substantive moral principles. And yet, few particularists wish to deny that something very like moral principles do indeed play a significant role in our everyday moral practice. Loathe at dismissing this as mere error on the part of everyday moral agents, particularists have proposed a number of alternative accounts of the practice. The aim of all of these accounts is to make sense of our appeal to (...) general moral truths in both reaching and justifying our particular moral judgments without thereby violating the particularists' stricture against substantive moral principles. In this paper, I argue that the most prominent non-substantive accounts of moral generalities appealed to by radical particularists – the heuristic account and default reasons accounts – fail in this aim. (shrink)
How do business leaders make ethical decisions? Given the significant and wide-spread impact of business people’s decisions on multiple constituents (e.g., customers, employees, shareholders, competitors, and suppliers), how they make decisions matters. Unethical decisions harm the decision makers themselves as well as others, whereas ethical decisions have the opposite effect. Based on data from a study on strategic decision making by 16 effective chief executive officers (and three not-so-effective ones as contrast), I propose a model for ethical decision making in (...) business in which reasoning (conscious processing) and intuition (subconscious processing) interact through forming, recalling, and applying moral principles necessary for long-term success in business. Following the CEOs in the study, I employ a relatively new theory, rational egoism, as the substantive content of the model and argue it to be consistent with the requirements of long-term business success. Besides explaining the processes of forming and applying principles (integration by essentials and spiraling), I briefly describe rational egoism and illustrate the model with a contemporary moral dilemma of downsizing. I conclude with implications for further research and ethical decision making in business. (shrink)
This paper argues that intellectual property rights are incompatible with Rawls’s principles of justice. This conclusion is based upon an analysis of the social stratification that emerges as a result of the patent mechanism which defines a marginalized group and ensure that its members remain alienated from the rights, benefits, and freedoms afforded by the patent product. This stratification is further complicated, so I argue, by the copyright mechanism that restricts and redistributes those rights already distributed by means of (...) the patent mechanism. I argue that the positions of privilege established through both the patent and the copyright mechanisms are positions that do not “allow the most extensive liberty compatible with a like liberty for all.” They do not “benefit the least advantaged.” Nor are they “open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity.” In making this argument I critically assess the utilitarian defense of intellectual property rights and find it insufficient to respond to the injustices manifest in our current arrangement for the protection of intellectual property rights. (shrink)
This paper addresses the subject of textual creativity by drawing on work done in classical literary theory and criticism, specifically new criticism, structuralism and early poststructuralism. The question of how readers and writers engage creatively with the text is closely related to educational concerns, though they are often thought of as separate disciplines. Modern literary theory in many ways collapses this distinction in its concern for how literariness is achieved and, specifically, how ‘literary quality’ is accomplished in the textual and (...) the social dimension. Taking literary and aesthetic creativity as a point of departure in the reading of five central authors in classical literary criticism, the paper identifies the processes of narrative imagination and emotional identification as central to the role that the textual dimension plays in the creative process of the author/reader—particularly in the way it provides a space for experimentation and self-reflexion through ‘storying’. (shrink)