Virtue argumentation theory provides the best framework for accommodating the notion of an argument that is “fully satisfying” in a robust and integrated sense. The process of explicating the notion of fully satisfying arguments requires expanding the concept of arguers to include all of an argument’s participants, including judges, juries, and interested spectators. And that, in turn, requires expanding the concept of an argument itself to include its entire context.
In this paper we present an account of practical rationality and weakness of will in terms of rational capacities. We show how our account rectifies various shortcomings in Michael Smith's related theory. In particular, our account is capable of accommodating cases of weak-willed behaviour that are not `akratic', or otherwise contrary to the agent's better judgement. Our account differs from Smith's primarily by incorporating resolve: a third rational capacity for resolute maintenance of one's intentions. We discuss further two ways to (...) explain the importance of resolve to practical rationality: one based on Richard Holton's recent work, and an alternative, non-consequentialist account. (shrink)
It is sometimes argued that if God were to exist, then the actual world would be the best possible world. However, given that the actual world is clearly not the best possible world, then God doesn’t exist. In response, some have argued that the world could always be improved with the creation of new people and that there is thus no best possible world. I argue that this reasoning gives rise to an instance of Parfit’s mere addition paradox and should (...) thus be rejected. Others (Robert Adams, in particular) have argued that the actual world may, in fact, be the best possible world, at least for all actual people. I argue that this reasoning gives rise to Parfit’s non-identity problem and should thus be rejected. (shrink)
abstract Intuitively, all killings are equally wrong, no matter how old one's victim. In this paper we defend this claim — The Equal Wrongness of Killings Thesis — against a challenge presented by Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen. Lippert-Rasmussen shows The Equal Wrongness of Killings Thesis to be incompatible with two further theses: The Unequal Wrongness of Renderings Unconscious Thesis and The Equivalence Thesis. Lippert-Rasmussen argues that, of the three, The Equal Wrongness of Killings Thesis is the least defensible. He suggests that the (...) most convincing considerations apparently in favour of the Equal Wrongness thesis may be satisfied just as well if we adopt an alternative principle, a 'Prioritarian View' about the wrongness of killing. We argue that The Prioritarian View does not resolve the trilemma: it too is inconsistent with the other two theses. Instead, we argue, the most plausible resolution of the trilemma involves a rejection, rather, of The Unequal Wrongness of Renderings Unconscious Thesis. In its place, we offer an attractive principle that is compatible with both The Equal Wrongness of Killings Thesis as well as The Equivalence Thesis. (shrink)
Michael Smith has resisted Harry Frankfurt's claim that moral responsibility does not require the ability to have done otherwise. He does this by claiming that, in Frankfurt cases, the ability to do otherwise is indeed present, but is a disposition that has been `finked' or masked by other factors. We suggest that, while Smith's account appears to work for some classic Frankfurt cases, it does not work for all. In particular, Smith cannot explain cases, such as the Willing Addict, where (...) the Frankfurt devise - e.g. the addiction - is intrinsic to the agent. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a novel argument for scepticism about moral responsibility. Unlike traditional arguments, this argument doesn’t depend on contingent empirical claims about the truth or falsity of causal determinism. Rather, it is argued that the conceptual conditions of responsibility are jointly incompatible. In short, when an agent is responsible for an action, it must be true both that the action was non-accidental, and that it was open to the agent not to perform that action. However, as I (...) argue, an action is only non-accidental in those cases where it isn’t open to the agent not to perform it. (shrink)
Review: Agency and Responsibility: A Common-Sense Moral Psychology. Agency and Responsibility: A Common-Sense Moral Psychology Jeanette Kennett New York Oxford University Press 2001 viii + 229 Hardback US$45 By Jeanette Kennett. Oxford University Press. New York. Pp. viii + 229. Hardback:US$45.
This paper explores the outlines of a framework for evaluating arguments. Among the factors to take into account are the strength of the arguers' inferences, the level of their engagement with objections raised by other interlocutors, and their effectiveness in rationally persuading their target audiences. Some connections among these can be understood only in the context of meta-argumentation and meta-rationality. The Principle of Meta-Rationality (PMR)--that reasoning rationally includes reasoning about rationality-is used to explain why it can be rational to resist (...) dialectically satisfying arguments or accept logically flawed ones. (shrink)
The claim that argumentation has no proper role in either philosophy or education, and especially not in philosophical education, flies in the face of both conventional wisdom and traditional pedagogy. There is, however, something to be said for it because it is really only provocative against a certain philosophical backdrop. Our understanding of the concept "argument" is both reflected by and molded by the specific metaphor that argument-is-war, something with winners and losers, offensive and defensive moments, and an essentially adversarial (...) structure. Such arguments may be suitable for teaching a philosophy, but not for teaching philosophy. Surely, education and philosophy do not need to be conceived as having an adversarial essence-if indeed they are thought to have any essence at all. Accordingly, philosophy and education need more pragmatic goals than even Pierce's idealized notion of truth as the end of inquiry, e.g., the simple furtherance of inquiry. For this, new metaphors for framing and understanding the concept of argumentation are needed, and some suggestions in that direction will be considered. (shrink)
In this essay we shall examine the contemporary jurisprudential thinking and legal precedents surrounding the issue of the sanctionability of pornography. We shall catalogue them by their logical presumptions, such as whether they view pornography as speech or act, whether they view pornography as obscenity, political hate-speech or anomalous other, whether they would scrutinize legislation governing pornography by a balancing of the harm of repression against the harm of permission, and who exactly they view as the victims.We shall take a (...) special interest in the most recent, but unsuccessful, attempt by a subgroup of feminists to proscribe pornography by treating it as neither political speech nor sexual speech but speech which causes harm which is both political and sexual. They would like it to be considered as a special kind of odious propaganda undeserving of protection because it promulgates a mental state conducive to criminal activity, and hence is criminal in and of itself. However, the repression of propaganda, even odious propaganda, is not so easily accomplished in this country. (shrink)
Steven m cahn, In the june 1987 issue of "analysis", Asks how a principled divesture of stocks is possible. Selling stock requires a buyer, So no net reduction of objectionable economic behavior results. Is divestiture merely self-Righteous cleansing of one's own hands? not necessarily. It is argued that divesture as a means to influence corporate behavior, And not just as a means to a clean portfolio, Can be justified.
Are Keynesian policies doomed? The experience of both Chirac and Mauroy might make one think so. Yet too severe a judgment would overlook an important counter-example: the actual economic recovery in the United States. As happened under the Kennedy-Johnson administration 20 years ago, the United States is experiencing a recovery that follows the textbook precepts of Keynesianism: an increase in military spending and a decrease in taxes, all of which is accompanied by (as predicted by the theory) an increase in (...) the interest rate and the deficit. Yet, the 20-year gap that separates these two prime examples of American Keynesianism reveals an essential difference. At the beginning of the 1960s, Keynesianism was the dominant theory to which the Democratic administration referred. Now, in the mid-1980s, Keynesian theory is hidden. (shrink)