A lot is at stake in character judgment. How we treat others is influenced by what kinds of persons we take them to be. Our rational plans of life depend upon our insights into our own character and the character of those close to us. Given the importance of the way we judge character, the virtues and vices of character judgment deserve much closer attention than they have received in the philosophical literature. Some philosophers have discussed duties of friendship and (...) how they impact upon the beliefs and judgments of friends. However, virtue theorists have had little to say about the specific virtues and vices of character judgment. This is odd because habits of character judgment are themselves very important aspects of character. We may develop good habits of judgment or bad. We may judge character with diligence and respect for evidence or with thoughtless haste. We may judge others fairly or in selfserving ways, with good motives or bad. The neglect of the virtues and vices of character judgment is especially odd because there is a philosophically troubling tension between apparently virtuous ways in which we may judge character. Should we judge others with clear-eyed impartiality, or is there a role for kindness and sympathy in the judgment of others? Both ways seem to constitute the exercise of a virtue, but on occasions, they pull in opposite directions. (shrink)
Philosophy and film. Why film and philosophy? -- Philosophy and film spectatorship -- Epistemology and metaphysics. Knowing what's what in Total recall -- Ontology and The matrix -- It's all in the mind: AI artificial intelligence and robot love -- La jetee and the promise of time travel -- The human condition. Fate and choice: the philosophy of Minority report -- Personal identity: the case of Memento -- The spectacle of horror: Funny games -- Looking for meaning in all the (...) wrong places (Ikiru, "to live") -- Ethics and values. Crimes and misdemeanors and the fragility of moral motivation -- Lives of others: moral luck and regret -- The dark knight: Batman on deontology and consequentialism -- Dangerous childhood: La promesse and the possibility of virtue. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop an objection to agent-based accounts of right action. Agent-based accounts of right action attempt to derive moral judgment of actions from judgment of the inner quality of virtuous agents and virtuous agency. A moral theory ought to be something that moral agents can permissibly use in moral deliberation. I argue for a principle that captures this intuition and show that, for a broad range of other-directed virtues and motives, agent-based accounts of right action fail to (...) satisfy this principle. (shrink)
This paper explores the grounds upon which moral judgment of a person's beliefs is properly made. The beliefs in question are non-moral beliefs and the objects of moral judgment are individual instances of believing. We argue that instances of believing may be morally wrong on any of three distinct grounds: (i) by constituting a moral hazard, (ii) by being the result of immoral inquiry, or (iii) by arising from vicious inner processes of belief formation. On this way of articulating the (...) basis of moral judgment of belief it becomes clear that rational and epistemic norms do not exhaust the kinds of normative judgment properly made of a person's state of believing. We argue that there are instances of believing that are both rational and true and yet morally wrong. (shrink)
Hilary Putnam and Nelson Goodman are two of the twentieth century's most persuasive critics of metaphysical realism, however they disagree about the consequences of rejecting metaphysical realism. Goodman defended a view he called irrealism in which minds literally make worlds, and Putnam has sought to find a middle path between metaphysical realism and irrealism. I argue that Putnam's middle path turns out to be very elusive and defend a dichotomy between metaphysical realism and irrealism.
This paper explores the relation between epistemic conceptions of truth and different kinds of commitment to realism and antirealism. It argues that all epistemic conceptions of truth are versions of antirealism. Although epistemic conceptions of truth can make various concessions to realist intuition, these remain concessions only. One cannot concede all claims to antirealism and remain within the orbit of a genuinely epistemic conception of truth.
Abstract This paper defends an argument from interpretation against the possibility of massive error. The argument shares many important features with Donald Davidson's famous argument, but also key differences. I defend the argument against claims that it begs the question against scepticism and that it leaves the sceptic with an obvious means of escape.
Hilary Putnam's famous model-theoretic arguments have the virtue of presenting metaphysical realists with a clear challenge. On pain of embracing either an implausible antifallibilism or the radical indeterminacy of reference, metaphysical realists must appeal to metalinguistic levels of interpretation richer than our own in order to fix meaning. And sense must be made of this appeal. In this paper I begin the task of developing a version of metaphysical realism that takes up this challenge.
In “A Refutation of Environmental Ethics” Janna Thompson argues that by assigning intrinsic value to nonhuman elements of nature either our evaluations become (1) arbitrary, and therefore unjustified, or (2) impractical, or (3) justified and practical, but only by reflecting human interest, thus failing to be truly intrinsic to nonhuman nature. There are a number of possible responses to her argument, some of which have been made explicitly in reply to Thompson and others which are implicit in the literature. In (...) this discussion I describe still another response, one which takes Thompson’s concerns about value seriously, but does not assign nature intrinsic or nonanthropocentric value. I suggest a relational environmental ethic as the basis for a genuinely ethical stance toward nature in which our relations to nature are a principal object of ethical concern. (shrink)