In the Critique of Judgment, Kantattempts to unravel the problem of Übergang that threatens his CopernicanRevolution. Having opened up a ``chasm'' betweensensible and supersensible, betweenepistemological and ontological, Kant facesboth the specter of empirical chaos in whichthe noumenal refuses to conform to theunderstanding's attempts to legislate over themanifold of intuition, and the problem offinding a place for freedom to have effectswithin the seamless phenomenal realm ofefficient causality. Central to Kant's attemptto overcome these problems is his notion of theheautonomy of reflective judging, (...) in whichjudgment subjectively legislates its ownactivity. The net effect of this strategy isto preserve the integrity of the architectonicby permitting judgment use of ontologicalprinciples in regulating its own activity, butalways placing these ontological principlesunder an epistemological ``as if'' that cannot becarried over into the noumenal realm (e.g.,judgment can subjectively operate under theprinciple that the world appears ``as if'' it haspurpose, but this cannot be thought to apply tothe noumenal). Kant shields his architectonicby allowing it to encounter onlyepistemologically neutered noumena. This paperargues that Hick faces an analogousÜbergang problem, explores his``heautonomous'' attempt to blunt the problem,and concludes that the attempt fails, leavingHick with an unresolved problem of``onto-ethical discontinuity.''. (shrink)
Honoring the divine is central to Maimonides' ethical and religious phenomenology. It connotes the recognition of radical divine incommensurability and points to the hard limits of human ability to know God. Yet it also signals the importance of philosophical speculation within those limits, indicating the intellectual and ethical telos of human life. For Maimonides, to honor or show kavod to God is closely related to the meaning of the divine glory (also known as kavod ) that Moses demands to see (...) in Exodus 33. Moses' demand to see the kavod is usually interpreted as a quest for some visible sign of God's presence or, at least, for a created light whose existence could testify to the authenticity of Moses' prophecy. Maimonides is alone among early interpreters in treating Exodus 33 as a parable of the philosophical quest to apprehend divine uniqueness, which leads first to negative theology and then to imitatio Dei . This article argues that the theme of divine kavod links Maimonides' philosophical, literary, and even medical concerns with his practical religious teaching, and connects the Guide of the Perplexed with his other legal and interpretive works. Maimonides' consistent fascination with Exodus 33 helps to organize his reflections on human perfection, ethics, and the relationship between idolatry and everyday religious language, distinguishing him from dominant trends in both Judaeo-Arabic and later kabbalistic thought. (shrink)
Clinical ethics takes on a special cast in a rehabilitation clinic for psychosis where many patients come from severely disadvantaged backgrounds and many suffer from fluctuating decisional capacity. This paper illustrates several ethical issues—truth telling and partiality, prescribing concealed medication, questionable billing practices, industry collaboration, limits of confidentiality, grounds for abandonment and the primacy of autonomy—in the hope that discussing such matters will lead to a clearer framework for work with this population.
Richard Brandt’s “Second Puzzle” for utilitarianism asks: What is meant to count as benefit or utility? In addressing this puzzle, Brandt dismisses “objective” theories of utility as prejudging substantive moral issues and opts for “subjective” theories of utility based either on desire-satisfaction or happiness, so as to welcome people with a variety of substantive moral commitments into his utilitarian system. However, subjective theories have difficulties finding principled grounds for elevating one desire over another. Brandt attempts to circumvent the difficulties through (...) his “reformed definition” of rationality, a definition that hinges on his notion of cognitive psychotherapy. Cognitive psychotherapy asserts that a desire is rational only once it is vividly exposed to relevant, available information. I argue that Brandt’s notion of cognitive psychotherapy tacitly builds substantive metaphysical and ethical commitments into his reformed definition of rationality, thus rendering his theory of utility an objective theory. Answering Brandt’s “Second Puzzle” forces not only Brandt, but also utilitarians more generally, to take up substantive metaphysical and ethical commitments from the outset, commitments that substantially predetermine the outcomes generated by their utilitarian systems. (shrink)
In On Virtue Ethics I offered a criterion for a character trait's being a virtue according to which a virtuous character trait must conduce to, or at least not be inimical to, four ends, one of which is the continuance of the human species. I argue here that this does not commit me to homosexuality's being a vice, since homosexuality is not a character trait and hence not up for assessment as a virtue or a vice. Vegetarianism is not up (...) for such assessment either, for the same reason, but, as a practice, may well be required by the virtue of compassion, and sacrificing one's life for an animal or alien may be required by courage. The clause about the continuance of the human species in my criterion does not specify a foundational value, because, following McDowell, I reject foundationalism. (shrink)
Fixed-rate versions of rule-consequentialism and rule-utilitarianism evaluate rules in terms of the expected net value of one particular level of social acceptance, but one far enough below 100% social acceptance to make salient the complexities created by partial compliance. Variable-rate versions of rule-consequentialism and rule-utilitarianism instead evaluate rules in terms of their expected net value at all different levels of social acceptance. Brad Hooker has advocated a fixed-rate version. Michael Ridge has argued that the variable-rate version is better. The (...) debate continues here. Of particular interest is the difference between the implications of Hooker's and Ridge's rules about doing good for others. (shrink)
What are the appropriate criteria for assessing a theory of morality? In this enlightening work, Brad Hooker begins by answering this question. He then argues for a rule-consequentialist theory which, in part, asserts that acts should be assessed morally in terms of impartially justified rules. In the end, he considers the implications of rule-consequentialism for several current controversies in practical ethics, making this clearly written, engaging book the best overall statement of this approach to ethics.
Brad Inwood presents a selection of his most influential essays on the philosophy of Seneca, the Roman Stoic thinker, statesman, and tragedian of the first century AD. Including two brand-new pieces, and a helpful introduction to orient the reader, this volume will be an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand Seneca's fertile, wide-ranging thought and its impact on subsequent generations. -/- In each of these essays Seneca is considered as a philosopher, but with as much account as possible (...) taken of his life, his education, his intellectual and literary background, his career, and his self-presentation as an author. Seneca emerges as a discerning and well-read Stoic, with a strong inclination to think for himself in the context of an intellectual climate teeming with influences from other schools. Seneca's intellectual engagement with Platonism, Aristotelianism, and even with Epicureanism involved a wide range of substantial philosophical interests and concerns. His philosophy was indeed shaped by the fact that he was a Roman, but he was a true philosopher shaped by his culture rather than a Roman writer trying his hand at philosophical themes. The highly rhetorical character of his writing must be accounted for when reading his works, and when one does so the underlying philosophical themes stand out more clearly. While it is hard to generalize about an overall intellectual agenda or systematic philosophical method, key themes and strategies are evident. Inwood shows how Seneca's philosophical ingenium worked itself out in a fundamentally particularistic way as he pursued those aspects of Stoicism that engaged him most forcefully over his career. (shrink)
Response Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11673-010-9253-3 Authors Brad Partridge, Program in Professionalism and Bioethics, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street S.W., Rochester, MN 55905, USA Journal Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Online ISSN 1872-4353 Print ISSN 1176-7529.