John Hawthorne’s marvelous book contains a wealth of arguments and insights based on an impressive knowledge and understanding of contemporary discussion. We can address only a small aspect of the topic. In particular, we will offer our own answers to two questions about knowledge that he discusses.
Jonathan Lear in "Radical Hope" tackles the idea of cultural devastation, in the specific case of the Crow Indians. What do we mean by "annihilation" of a culture? The moral point of view that he imagines as he reconstructs the eve and aftermath of this annihilation is not second personal, of obligation, but first personal, in the collective and singular, as told by the Crows, with Lear as "analyst." "Radical Hope" is a study of representative character of a people—of virtue, (...) courage, resilience, and hope in the face of cultural collapse. The leading questions are shaped by ancient Greek ethics, but with a twist: On the brink of cultural death, what counts for us as good living and what is the nature of the virtues or excellences that constitute it? How might a leader, a phronimos, exemplify it? This puts it too narrowly. The questions, also, are Wittgensteinian: How does a nation go on, when the concepts and way of life it has lived by for centuries are no more? What does it mean to go on? What does it mean to stop when the marks of going on are no longer? (shrink)
This book is the first to offer a detailed analysis of Aristotelian and Kantian ethics together, in a way that remains faithful to the texts and responsive to debates in contemporary ethics. Recent moral philosophy has seen a revival of interest in the concept of virtue, and with it a reassessment of the role of virtue in the work of Aristotle and Kant. This book brings that re-assessment to a new level of sophistication. Nancy Sherman argues that Kant preserves (...) a notion of virtue in his moral theory that bears recognisable traces of the Aristotelian and Stoic traditions, and that his complex anthropology of morals brings him into surprising alliance with Aristotle. She develops her argument through close readings of major texts by both Aristotle and Kant, illustrating points of congruence and contrast. (shrink)
Most traditional accounts of Aristotle's theory of ethical education neglect its cognitive aspects. This book asserts that, in Aristotle's view, excellence of character comprises both the sentiments and practical reason. Sherman focuses particularly on four aspects of practical reason as they relate to character: moral perception, choicemaking, collaboration, and the development of those capacities in moral education. Throughout the book, she is sensitive to contemporary moral debates, and indicates the extent to which Aristotle's account of practical reason provides an (...) alternative to theories of impartial reason. (shrink)
Keller & Miller (K&M) assert that mental disorders could not have evolved as adaptations, but they fail to make their case against the theory of the evolutionary origin of bipolar disorder that I have proposed (Sherman 2001). Such an idea may be unorthodox, but it has considerable explanatory power and heuristic value. (Published Online November 9 2006).
While few soldiers may have read the works of Epictetus or Marcus Aurelius, it is undoubtedly true that the ancient philosophy known as Stoicism guides the actions of many in the military. Soldiers and seamen learn early in their training "to suck it up," to endure, to put aside their feelings and to get on with the mission. Stoic Warriors is the first book to delve deeply into the ancient legacy of this relationship, exploring what the Stoic philosophy actually is, (...) the role it plays in the character of the military (both ancient and modern), and its powerful value as a philosophy of life. Marshalling anecdotes from military history--ranging from ancient Greek wars to World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq--Nancy Sherman illuminates the military mind and uses it as a window on the virtues of the Stoic philosophy, which are far richer and more interesting than our popularized notions. Sherman--a respected philosopher who taught at the US Naval Academy--explores the deep, lasting value that Stoicism can yield, in issues of military leadership and character; in the Stoic conception of anger and its control (does a warrior need anger to go to battle?); and in Stoic thinking about fear and resilience, grief and mourning, and the value of camaraderie and brotherhood. Sherman concludes by recommending a moderate Stoicism, where the task for the individual, both civilian and military, youth and adult, is to temper control with forgiveness, and warrior drive and achievement with humility and humor. Here then is a perceptive investigation of what makes Stoicism so compelling not only as a guiding principle for the military, but as a philosophy for anyone facing the hardships of life. (shrink)
'the whole work is remarkably fresh, vivid and attractively written psychologists will be grateful that a work of this kind has been done ... by one who has the scholarship, science, and philosophical training that are requisite for the task' - Mind This renowned three-volume collection records chronologically the steps by which psychology developed from the time of the early Greek thinkers and the first writings on the nature of the mind, through to the 1920s and such modern preoccupations as (...) criminal and animal psychology. It is only in relatively recent times that psychology has been considered an empirical science independent of philosophy. Brett's account is thus concerned with the broadest definition of psychology, taking in such philosophical aspects as the relation of mind and body, thought processes, etc. For each period he gives an account of the state of the sciences which influenced psychology, the state of psychology itself, the influence psychology had on other areas, and the applications of psychological theories. Examining a huge range of figures, he describes their attitudes on fundamental questions and their contribution to the progress of the subject, as well as the history of the different methods of inquiry. The thinkers he discusses range from Aristotle, Democritus, Socrates, Plato, and Xenocrates to Proclus, the Arabian teachers, Magnus, Duns Scotus, and Ockham from Galileo, Descartes, Gassendi, and Cudworth to Locke, Berkeley, Condillac, and Kant from Reid, Stewart, Herbart, and Schopenhauer to Bain, Spencer, Mill and Darwin. Surprisingly clear and easy to read, Brett's account succeeds in illuminating the nature of psychology as well as its history. It remains a classic overview of the subject from its broad roots in philosophy through to the independent empirical science of the modern era. --a scarce work, rarely found as a complete set --a classic work - all historians of psychology and philosophy should have A History of Psychology. (shrink)
When people disagree about what is moral, we face an epistemological challenge—when the answer to a moral question is not obvious, how do we determine who is right? What if, under the circumstances, we do not have the means to show one party or the other is right? In recent years, a number of epistemologists have turned their attention to the general epistemic problem of how to respond reasonably to disagreement, and we can look to their work for guidance. While (...) there remains significant disagreement about how to respond to disagreement, I will focus on what I take to be the best position in the debate, known as the “Conciliatory” position (or “Conciliation” for short), which holds that parties to a disagreement should become less confident of their initial opinions to some degree, according to the credibility of the parties involved. Conciliation, if interpreted straightforwardly, has some counter-intuitive implications for unpopular opinions, including unpopular moral judgments. If a moral non-conformist becomes somewhat less confident of her view in response to each disagreement with a presumed epistemic peer, she will eventually have such a low degree of confidence in her initial view that she will effectively have switched positions. This result is troubling because almost everyone accepts moral views that were non-conforming views at some point in time, and these views probably would not have become widespread if non-conformists had changed their positions. I propose a modified version of Conciliation which would enable moral non-conformists to engage in cautious “experiments in living.” This modified view, I argue, is reasonable for those who are concerned, not only with correcting their own mistaken moral views, but with promoting moral progress in general. (shrink)
My goal in this paper is to advance a long-standing debate about the nature of moral rights. The debate focuses on the questions: In virtue of what do persons possess moral rights? What could explain the fact that they possess moral rights? The predominant sides in this debate are the status theory and the instrumental theory. I aim to develop and defend a new instrumental theory. I take as my point of departure the influential view of Joseph Raz, which (...) for all its virtues is unable to meet the challenge to the instrumentalist that I will address: the problem of justifying the enforcement of rights. I then offer a new instrumental theory in which duties are grounded on individuals’ interests, and individuals rights exist in virtue of the duties owed to them. I argue that my theory enables the instrumentalist to give the right sort of justification for enforcing rights. (shrink)
Hobbes's relation to the later Aristotelian tradition, in both its scholastic and its humanists variants, has been increasingly explored by scholars. However, on two fundamental points (the naturalness of the city and the use of the matter/form distinction in the political works), there is more to be said in this connection. A close examination of a range of late Renaissance commentaries on Aristotle's Politics shows that they elucidate a picture of pre-civic human nature that had (contrary to Hobbes's implication) much (...) in common with that of Hobbes. Moreover, they deployed the matter-form distinction in their analysis of the city or civitas in ways that are in important respects similar to Hobbes's procedure in De cive and Leviathan . The paper concludes that Hobbes drew on this tradition in multiple ways while at the same time undermining some of its principal conclusions; Hobbes was in no sense an 'Aristotelian' even if his philosophy has substantial debts to Aristotelianism. (shrink)
Jonathan Lear in Radical Hope tackles the idea of cultural devastation, in the specific case of the Crow Indians. What do we mean by “annihilation” of a culture? The moral point of view that he imagines as he reconstructs the eve and aftermath of this annihilation is not second personal, of obligation, but first personal, in the collective and singular, as told by the Crows, with Lear as “analyst.” Radical Hope is a study of representative character of a people—of virtue, (...) courage, resilience, and hope in the face of cultural collapse. The leading questions are shaped by ancient Greek ethics, but with a twist: On the brink of cultural death , what counts for us as good living and what is the nature of the virtues or excellences that constitute it? How might a leader, a phronimos , exemplify it? This puts it too narrowly. The questions, also, are Wittgensteinian: How does a nation go on, when the concepts and way of life it has lived by for centuries are no more? What does it mean to go on? What does it mean to stop when the marks of going on are no longer? (shrink)
IN THIS PAPER I CONSIDER THE VALUE OF FRIENDSHIP FROM AN ARISTOTELIAN POINT OF VIEW. THE ISSUE IS OF CURRENT INTEREST GIVEN RECENT CHALLENGES TO IMPARTIALIST ETHICS TO TAKE MORE SERIOUSLY THE COMMITMENTS AND ATTACHMENTS OF A PERSON. HOWEVER, I ENTER THAT DEBATE IN ONLY A RESTRICTED WAY BY STRENGTHENING THE CHALLENGE ARTICULATED IN ARISTOTLE'S SYSTEMATIC DEFENSE OF FRIENDSHIP AND THE SHARED LIFE. AFTER SOME INTRODUCTORY REMARKS, I BEGIN BY CONSIDERING ARISTOTLE'S NOTION THAT GOOD LIVING OR HAPPINESS ("EUDAIMONIA") FOR AN (...) INDIVIDUAL NECESSARILY INCLUDES THE HAPPINESS OF OTHERS. SHARED HAPPINESS ENTAILS THE RATIONAL CAPACITY FOR JOINTLY PROMOTING COMMON ENDS AS WELL AS THE CAPACITY TO IDENTIFY WITH AND COORDINATE SEPARATE ENDS. THIS EXTENDED NOTION OF HAPPINESS PRESUPPOSES THE EXTENSION OF SELF THROUGH ATTACHMENTS, AND I NEXT CONSIDER CERTAIN MINIMAL CONDITIONS NECESSARY FOR ATTACHMENT. FINALLY, I DISCUSS HOW ARISTOTLE'S NOTION OF A FRIEND AS "ANOTHER SELF" IS COMPATIBLE BOTH WITH A CONCEPTION OF THE SEPARATENESS OF THE INDIVIDUALS AND OF THE DISTINCTIVE WAYS IN WHICH EACH INDIVIDUAL REALIZES VIRTUE WITHIN A SHARED LIFE. (shrink)
Although Adorno criticizes the existential tradition, it is frequently argued that he and Heidegger share a number of theoretical interests. Adorno does come into direct contact with existential thought at certain points, but it is Kierkegaard, not Heidegger, who more closely approaches his concerns. I begin by reviewing Adorno's Kierkegaard: Construction of the Aesthetic. I then argue that, unlike Hegel, who is also criticized by Adorno on various grounds, Kierkegaard has had an influence on Adorno that has been underappreciated. While (...) Adorno criticizes Kierkegaard for breaking off the subject-object dialectic, they converge in their attacks on identity-thinking, the retention of a negative utopian standpoint of critique, and a deliberately provocative style of writing, all of which are marshaled in defense of the individual, who is besieged by modern society. Unlike Kierkegaard, however, and despite the generally accepted view, I conclude by arguing that because Adorno does not break off the subject-object dialectic, he has the necessary theoretical resources to deal with the theory-practice problem. Key Words: Adorno communication dialectic individual Kierkegaard subject-object subjectivity theory-practice. (shrink)
Authenticity and diversity have both become catch words in contemporary North Atlantic societies. What has not, however, been widely explored is the interrelation ofthese two ideas. To this end, the present article takes up the sometime convergent, sometime divergent writings of Charles Taylor and Martin Heidegger, drawing out their thoughts on authenticity and showing how they can serve as a ground for a new form of cultural diversity. For both, authentic being-in-the-world affords us access to our own deep reservoir of (...) cultural material that is the necessary resource for fruitful engagement with other cultures.L’authenticité et la diversité font aujourd’hui figure de slogans dans les sociétés contemporaines de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique nord. En revanche, on a peu exploré les liens entre ces deux idées. À cette fin, cet article aborde les écrits tantôt convergents, tantôt divergents de Charles Taylor et Martin Heidegger pour prolonger leurs réflexions respectives sur l’authenticité et montrer en quoi elles peuventservir de fondement à une nouvelle forme de diversité culturelle. Pour tous deux, l’etre-au-monde authentique nous permet d’accéder au tréfonds du matériel culturel dont nous devons disposer pour que se nouent des rapports fructueux avec les autres cultures. (shrink)
Aristotle describes human happiness as a life of virtuous activity in Book One of the Nicomachean Ethics but as a life of contemplative activity and a life of ethically virtuous activity in Book Ten. In which kind of life does Aristotle ultimately believe that happiness consists? The answer lies in the role of philosophical wisdom within ethically virtuous activity. I argue that philosophical wisdom has a dual role: its exercise is the end of ethically virtuous activity and the virtue by (...) which that end is rationally apprehended. Just as ethically virtuous activity depends on the exercise of philosophical wisdom in this dual way, so human happiness can be understood as a single life of virtuous activity whose end is the exercise of philosophical wisdom in contemplative activity. The exercise of philosophical wisdom will include ethically virtuous activity as an end that includes what is desired for its sake. (shrink)
In three studies, factors influencing the incidence of fraudulent financial reporting were assessed. We examined (1) the effects of personal values and (2) codes of corporate conduct, on whether managers misrepresented financial reports. In these studies, executives and controllers were asked to respond to hypothetical situations involving fraudulent financial reporting procedures. The occurrence of fraudulent reporting was found to be high; however, neither personal values, codes of conduct, nor the interaction of the two factors played a significant role in fraudulent (...) financial reporting. (shrink)