Charting the origins of the modern ecology movement over more than two thousand years, this volume gives a voice to those hidden from history, revealing "green" themes within artistic and scientific thought. This title available in eBook format. Click here for more information . Visit our eBookstore at: www.ebookstore.tandf.co.uk.
Are liberalism and perfectionism compatible? In this study Steven Wall presents and defends a perfectionist account of political morality that takes issue with many currently fashionable liberal ideas but retains the strong liberal commitment to the ideal of personal autonomy. He begins by critically discussing the most influential version of anti-perfectionist liberalism, examining the main arguments that have been offered in its defense. He then clarifies the ideal of personal autonomy, presents an account of its value and shows that (...) a strong commitment to personal autonomy is fully compatible with an endorsement of perfectionist political action designed to promote valuable pursuits and discourage base ones. His study is a timely and original contribution to one of the most important contemporary debates in political philosophy. (shrink)
In Moral Creativity, John Wall argues that moral life and thought are inherently and radically creative. Human beings are called by their own primordially created depths to exceed historical evil and tragedy through the ongoing creative transformation of their world. This thesis challenges ancient Greek and biblical separations of ethics and poetic image-making, as well as contemporary conceptions of moral life as grounded in abstract principles or preconstituted traditions. Taking as his point of departure the poetics of the will (...) of Paul Ricoeur, and ranging widely into critical conversations with Continental, narrative, feminist, and liberationist ethics, Wall uncovers the profound senses in which moral practice and thought involve tension, catharsis, excess, and renewal. In the process, he draws new connections between sin and tragedy, practice and poetics, and morality and myth. Rather than proposing a complete ethics, Moral Creativity is a meta-ethical work investigating the creative capability as part of what it means, morally, to be human. This capability is explored around four dimensions of ontology, teleology, deontology, and social practice. In each case, Wall examines a traditional perspective on the relation of ethics to poetics, critiques it using resources from contemporary phenomenology, and develops a conception of a more original poetics of moral life. In the end, moral creativity is a human capability for inhabiting tensions among others and in social systems and, in the image of a Creator, creating together an ever more radically inclusive moral world. (shrink)
In a number of publications, Gerald Gaus has presented an ambitious account of political morality that gives the ideal of public justification pride of place. This article critically discusses Gaus’s characterization and defense of the ideal of public justification in politics. It also presents an account and an argument in support of first-person political justification.
In his paper, How to Derive ‘Ought’ From ‘Is,’ John R. Searle made a valiant attempt to derive an ought-statement from purely descriptive statements. In a recent issue of Philosophia, Scott Hill has offered criticisms of that proposed derivation. I argue that Hill has not established any errors in Searle's proposed derivation.
According to Gary Watson (1977), if we choose not to implement a judgment about what it is best to do then we must have changed that judgment. On those grounds he rejects an otherwise plausible account of akrasia, or weakness of will, that explains it in terms of the relative strengths of the agent's desires to act against and in accordance with their evaluative judgment. However, Watson seems to assume what I call a 'principle of closure of evaluation', a principle (...) that I argue can fail. The possibility of such failure of closure of evaluation means that Watson's argument can be resisted, allowing us to maintain this plausible account of akrasia. (shrink)
Jonathan Dancy, who defends a version of moral particularism, is committed to the view that any feature or reason for action might, in logical terms, have a positive moral valence in one context, a negative moral valence in a different context, and no moral valence at all in yet another context. In my paper, I attempt to demonstrate that, despite the denial by Dancy that proposed grounding properties with invariant moral valences may play a foundational role in morality, his own (...) approach toward moral reasoning unknowingly assumes such foundational grounding properties. I argue that Dancy's moral particularism is unknowingly directed toward moral absolutism, and, in making that argument, uncover reasons, admittedly inconclusive, to favor an absolutist ethic. (shrink)
Many writers claim that democratic government rests on a principled commitment to the ideal of political equality. The ideal of political equality holds that political institutions ought to be arranged so that they distribute political standing equally to all citizens. I reject this common view. I argue that the ideal of political equality, under its most plausible characterizations, lacks independent justificatory force. By casting doubt on the ideal of political equality, I provide indirect support for the claim that democratic government (...) is only instrumentally justified. (shrink)
What is the relation between desire and action? According to a traditional, widespread and influential view I call 'The Motivational Necessity of Desire' (MN), having a desire that p entails being disposed to act in ways that you believe will bring about p . But what about desires like a desire that the committee chooses you without your needing to do anything, or a desire that your child passes her exams on her own? Such 'self-passive' desires are often given as (...) a counter-example to MN. If MN is true then self-passive desires seem absurd: if someone has a self-passive desire she will be disposed to act, thereby preventing her from getting what she desires. But it seems that we can reasonably, and often do, have such desires. However, I argue that self-passive desires are not, in fact, counter-examples to MN: close consideration of the content of these desires, the contexts in which we ascribe them, and what is claimed by MN show that they are not a problem for that view. I also argue that strengthened versions of the examples are unsuccessful, and I offer a diagnosis of why these kinds of case are commonly thought to raise a challenge to MN. (shrink)
In this paper, we defend the ethics of clinical research against the charge of paternalism. We do so not by denying that the ethics of clinical research is paternalistic, but rather by defending the legitimacy of paternalism in this context. Our aim is not to defend any particular set of paternalistic restrictions, but rather to make a general case for the permissibility of paternalistic restrictions in this context. Specifically, we argue that there is no basic liberty-right to participate in clinical (...) research and that considerations of distributive fairness justify some paternalistic protections of research subjects. (shrink)
The issue of just savings between generations presents an important,and for the most part unappreciated, problem for Rawls's theory ofdistributive justice. This paper argues that the just savingsprinciple, as Rawls formulates it in his recent work, standsin tension with the difference principle. When thought through,the just savings principle – and more precisely the foundationon which it rests – give us reason to reject the differenceprinciple in favor of a less egalitarian principle ofdistributive justice.
In the wake of G. A. Cohen's masterful critique of Rawls's work, this paper discusses Rawlsian justice in general and the difference principle in particular. It argues that Rawlsian arguments for the difference principle present a puzzle and that to respond adequately to the puzzle we must engage in rational reconstruction. After explaining the puzzle and considering and rejecting a number of responses to it, the paper begins its reconstructive project. It presents the case for viewing the difference principle as (...) a maximizing prioritarian principle of justice, one that that contains no trace of commitment to equality as a distributive norm. The paper concludes by bringing out some of the implications of viewing Rawlsian justice in this light. (shrink)
In his late work, Rawls makes strong claims about the status of political liberty. These claims, if accepted, would have significant implications for the content of "justice as fairness." I discuss the nature of these claims, clarifying Rawls's fair value guarantee of the political liberties and critically discussing the arguments that he and others have given for assigning special importance to the political liberties. I conclude that justice as fairness, properly understood, is not a deeply democratic conception of justice.
Some philosophers have maintained that even if John R. Searle’s attempted derivation of an evaluative proposition from purely descriptive premises is successful, moral ought would not have been derived. Searle agrees. I will argue that if Searle has successfully derived “ought,” then, based on various approaches taken towards the content of “morality,” this is moral ought. I will also trace out some of the benefits of a successful derivation of moral ought in relation to natural law ethics. I sketch a (...) possible derivation of moral obligations based on one of the basic goods in natural law ethics (i.e., friendship) that resembles Searle’s attempted derivation of an individual’s obligation to keep her promise to someone else. I also sketch a possible derivation of moral obligations based on another of the basic goods in natural law ethics – knowledge. This derivation may not parallel Searle’s attempted derivation as closely as the derivations based on friendship, but it seems to at least involve the derivation of moral obligations from all non-moral premises. (shrink)
At least since Aristotle, phronesis (practical wisdom) and poetics (making or creating) have been understood as essentially different activities, one moral the other (in itself) non-moral. Today, if anything, this distinction is sharpened by a Romantic association of poetics with inner subjective expression. Recent revivals of Aristotelian ethics sometimes allow for poetic dimensions of ethics, but these are still separated from practical wisdom per se. Through a fresh reading of phronesis in the French hermeneutical phenomenologist Paul Ricoeur, I argue that (...) phronesis should be viewed as at least in part poetic at its very core. That is, phronesis deals with the fundamentally tragic human situation of moral incommensurability, and it responds to this by making or creating new moral meaning. Such a poetics of practical wisdom helps phronesis stand up to significant and important critiques made of it by a range of modernists and post-modernists, pointing a way forward for some important contemporary moral debates. (shrink)
Here, some of the most influential thinkers in theological and philosophical ethics develop new directions for research in contemporary moral thought. Taking as their starting point Ricoeur's recent work on moral anthropology, the contributors set a vital agenda for future conversations about ethics and just community.
Abstract In his early work in political philosophy, Amartya Sen advanced an interesting and provocative thesis ? the egalitarian thesis. This is the claim that every conception of social justice that has received support in recent times is egalitarian. This paper argues that Sen's account of capabilities and his more recent critique of transcendental justice have implications for the truth of the egalitarian thesis. It also discusses how the rejection of the egalitarian thesis bears on the larger, and more general, (...) issue of the overall plausibility of egalitarian conceptions of social justice. (shrink)
I argue that the moral right to privacy is the moral right to consent to access by others to one’s personal information. Although this thesis is relatively simple and already implicit in considerations about privacy, it has, nevertheless, been overlooked by philosophers. In the paper, I present and defend my account of the moral right to privacy, respond to possible objections to it, and attempt to show its advantages over two recent accounts: one by Steve Matthews and the other by (...) Adam Moore. I also offer reasons to think that my account can be assimilated into a broad range of fundamental ethical approaches (i.e., a variety of consequentialist,deontological, and natural law approaches). Given the number and variety of such approaches, however, I can only attempt to make a prima facie case for the adaptability of the proposed account. (shrink)
In 1866, the young John Venn published The Logic of Chance, motivated largely by the desire to correct what he saw as deep fallacies in the reasoning of historical determinists such as Henry Buckle and in the optimistic heralding of a true social science by Adolphe Quetelet. Venn accepted the inevitable determinism implied by the physical sciences, but denied that the stable social statistics cited by Buckle and Quetelet implied a similar determinism in human actions. Venn maintained that probability statements (...) were intelligible solely as projections of the ultimate frequency of an outcome in an unlimited series of trials and therefore led to no inferences about free will. An issue here was Venn's claim that although the aggregate probability may be stable, the individual events were completely irregular and, in fact, displayed randomness. Venn's concept of randomness was really apparent, or pseudo-, randomness, which could be totally determined. Ironically, Venn's frequentist position was very useful to the growing field of statistics, which could develop correlations and predictive models empirically without having to address implications for personal freedom or fatalism. (shrink)
Paul Ricoeur's understanding of the relations of faith, love, and hope suggests a unique approach to theological ethics, one that holds fresh promise for bringing together considerations of the good (teleology) and the right (deontology) around the notion of an "economy of the gift." The economy of the gift articulates Ricoeur's distinctively dialectical understanding of the relation of the human and the divine, and the resulting dialectical moral relation of the self and the other. Despite our fallen condition, Ricoeur suggests, (...) we are called by the divine to embrace the radical possibility of the reconciliation of human goods under the requirement of accountability to human diversity and otherness. (shrink)
Moore's paradox is a paradox in which certain kinds of belief or assertion, such as a belief that ?it is raining and I do not believe that it is raining?, are irrational despite involving no obvious contradiction in what is believed. But is there a parallel paradox involving other kinds of attitude, in particular desire? I argue that certain kinds of desire would be irrational to have for similar, distinctive reasons that having Moorean beliefs would be irrational to have. Hence, (...) I argue that such desires, a desire that ?one have a particular desire that was frustrated? or a desire that ?some state of affairs obtain about which one was indifferent?, are a parallel Moorean paradox of desire. I further argue that this analogous paradox has implications for practical reasoning, in particular by presenting a problem for instrumentalism about the objects of desire. (shrink)
There has recently been a reappraisal of value in UK construction and calls from a wide range of influential individuals, professional institutions and government bodies for the industry to exceed stakeholders’ expectations and develop integrated teams that can deliver world class products and services. As such value is certainly topical, but the importance of values as a separate but related concept is less well understood. Most construction firms have well-defined and well-articulated values, expressed in annual reports and on websites; however, (...) the lack of rigorous and structured approaches published within construction management research and the practical, unsupported advice on construction institution websites may indicate a shortfall in the approaches used. This article reviews and compares the content and␣structure of some of the most widely used values approaches, and discusses their application within the construction sector. One of the most advanced and empirically tested theories of human values is appraised, and subsequently adopted as a suitable approach to eliciting and defining shared organisational values. Three studies within six construction organisations demonstrate the potential application of this individually grounded approach to reveal and align the relative values priorities of individuals and organisations to understand the strength of their similarity and difference. The results of these case studies show that this new universal values structure can be used along with more qualitative elicitation techniques to understand organisational cultures. (shrink)
Although they might not express themselves in quite this way, non-philosophers tend to think that mereological composition is a vague matter : sometimes it occurs, sometimes it does not, and sometimes it sort of occurs. For example, when I am building a boat, at ﬁrst the timbers that I have acquired for the job do not jointly compose an entity; in the end they do—they compose the boat that I have built; and in between they sort of or more or (...) less or to some extent compose an entity, which in turn sort of or more or less or to some extent exists—this entity being the boat I am building. This idea seems innocuous enough. However, the orthodox view amongst philosophers is that composition can never be a vague matter, because vague composition entails vague existence (the common-sense view agrees with this step), and vague existence is impossible if not nonsensical. Let us call the following the ‘orthodox argument’. (shrink)
Contemporary discourses surrounding adoption have a normative tone and are critical of the ways in which international adoption is power based and exploitative. These discourses have a significant influence on adoptive parents, structuring their actions and opening the door for scrutiny of individual adopters' motives and ethics. As an internationally adoptive parent, I reflect, in this article, on my experience and use it as a vantage point from which to consider alternative perspectives on the ethical debates in the extant adoption (...) literature. The insights gained from my experience can inform adoption practices and the development of more nuanced, less polarized perspectives on the ethics of international adoption and inspire new avenues of research that explore the ways in which adoptive parents navigate their socio-political contexts in ways that are ethically sensitive and workable for them. (shrink)
I locate possible fertile common ground among the “new natural law theory” of Finnis, Grisez, and Boyle, the “traditional” Thomism of McInerny, and natural law derivationism. I respond to Murphy’s contention that the “inclinationism” of Finnis cannot be successfully asserted along with what Murphy takes to be a basic requirement of natural law ethics, namely that basic practical principles are to be “strongly grounded” in human nature. I argue that the tension between the inclinationism of Finnis and Murphy’s basic requirement (...) is not irresolvable. In response to objections by Murphy to natural law derivationism, I argue, basedin part on Searle’s attempt to derive an “ought” from an “is,” that the new natural law theorists and McInerny can and should investigate natural law derivationismfor possible adoption. (shrink)
Three enduring models -- What constitutes human being? -- What is the ethical aim? -- What is owed each other? -- Human rights in light of childhood -- The generative family -- The art of ethical thinking.
Ethical problems are common in clinical medicine, so medical volunteers who practice clinical medicine in developing countries should expect to encounter them just as they would in their practice in the developed world. However, as this article argues, medical volunteers in developing countries should not expect to encounter the same ethical problems as those that dominate Western biomedicine or to address ethical problems in the same way as they do in their practice in developed countries. For example, poor health and (...) advanced disease increase the risks and decrease the potential benefits of some interventions. Consequently, when medical volunteers intervene too readily, without considering the nutritional and general health status of patients, the results can be devastating. Medical volunteers cannot assume that the outcomes of interventions in developing countries will be comparable to the outcomes of the same interventions in developed countries. Rather, they must realistically consider the complex medical conditions of patients when determining whether or not to intervene. Similarly, medical volunteers may face the question of whether to provide a pharmaceutical or perform an intervention that is below the acceptable standard of care versus the alternative of doing nothing. This article critically explores the contextual features of medical volunteer work in developing countries that differentiate it from medical practice in developed countries, arguing that this context contributes to the creation of unique ethical problems and affects the way in which these problems should be analyzed and resolved. (shrink)
Professor NoamChomsky is a fierce critic of US wars and foreign policy, and a brilliant analyst of the propaganda and psychological mechanisms through which the liberal-bureaucratic establishment achieves public consent and endorsement of the aggressive actions of the state. For this he is intensely admired in some quarters, and detested and reviled in others. Between the extremes of the uncritical campus adulation and the vicious ad hominem abuse to which he is sometimes subjected, there are genuine critiques (...) to be made and refreshing doses of the unvarnished truth to be found in his voluminous output over the years. (shrink)
Challenging a long-standing assumption of the separation of ethical from poetic activity, this essay develops the basis for a theory of moral life as inherently and radically creative. A range of contemporary post-Kantian ethicists--including Ricoeur, Nussbaum, Kearney, and Gutiérrez--are employed to make the argument that moral practice requires a fundamental capability for creative transformation, imagination, and social renewal. In addition, this poetic moral capability can finally be understood only from the primordial religious point of view of the mystery of Creation (...) as such. Humanity as an image of its Creator is called to the endless impossible possibility of the re-creation of its own complex, plural, and fallen social world. Such a perspective is opposed to views of moral life as the application of law-like principles or the recovery of past moral histories. Without a better understanding of moral life's radically creative imperative, we miss a vital element of social relations' distinctive humanity. (shrink)
By their very nature, overseas medical missions (and even domestic medical charities such as free clinics ) are designed to serve vulnerable populations. If these groups were capable of protecting their own interests, they would not need the help of medical volunteers: their medical needs would be met through existing government health programs or by utilizing their own resources. Medical volunteerism thus seems like an unfettered good: a charitable activity provided by well-meaning doctors and nurses who want to give of (...) their time, skills, and resources to help those who would not otherwise be able to take care of their medical needs. In this article, I argue that if medical volunteerism is to be good, however, it must always meet certain basic ethical requirements. These requirements may be (and perhaps often are) overlooked in the rush to organize and carry out short-term medical missions. I illustrate my point with special reference to short-term medical missions designed to provide surgical repair of obstetric vesico-vaginal fistula, a condition in which the tissues that normally separate the bladder from the vagina are destroyed by obstetric trauma, leading to continuous and unremitting incontinence in the affected woman. (shrink)
Professor Noam Chomsky is a fierce critic of US wars and foreign policy, and a brilliant analyst of the propaganda and psychological mechanisms through which the liberal-bureaucratic establishment achieves public consent and endorsement of the aggressive actions of the state. For this he is intensely admired in some quarters, and detested and reviled in others. Between the extremes of the uncritical campus adulation and the vicious ad hominem abuse to which he is sometimes subjected, there are genuine critiques to be (...) made and refreshing doses of the unvarnished truth to be found in his voluminous output over the years. (shrink)
Abstract: Elsewhere, the author has argued that the liberal theory of moral education is both morally dangerous and philosophically mistaken. The moral educator cannot be morally neutral, but must be morally committed, even if he is to attempt to teach children how to think for themselves about moral questions, or develop their autonomy, rather than indoctrinate them. This position implies that the moral educator must be a moral authority. The author defends this claim against subjectivists who deny the existence of (...) moral authority by arguing that the possibility of moral judgment creates the possibility of moral authority. (shrink)
This paper proposes a new definition of vocation that honors the concept’s ancient roots, is consistent with how the term is used in modern contexts, and also expands the concept for greater versatility. We discuss the centrality of service in the concept of vocation locating it as part of the bridge between a student’s core values and their embodiment in community life. The commitment to one’s profession begins before independent status as a practitioner of that profession. It begins in training (...) during which service-learning is a laudable and increasingly popular way to connect to the charitable aspects of professionalism. We further discuss how the concept of vocation is especially appropriate in the context of citizenship. Citizenship is a way of belonging to a community. It is a relationship that requires giving and taking. Service-learning is an ideal way to practice good citizenship on a local scale, and prepare future professionals for understanding their communities and commitments morebroadly. We discuss how these concepts are being emphasized in the medical informatics master’s degree program at Saint Louis University through the incorporation of a service-learning module. We describe the module, discussing how it can be applied to curricula at other institutions and modified for inclusion in other types of courses. (shrink)
As a result of recent legislative developments and greater ease of accessibility, the Human Resources Manager (HRM) faces the challenge of not only maintaining records but also that of protecting employees from misuse of personal information contained in their individual personnel files. The widespread use of computers for maintaining employee records has resulted in new ethical dimensions and/or challenges for the HRM. Serious questions regarding accessibility to and dissemination of such personal information now confront the HRM. Unless policies are developed (...) by organizations for dealing with such questions, eventually government will mandate such policies in order to protect employee rights. (shrink)
There would appear to be enormous philosophical differences between some influential exponents in contemporary natural law ethics. It would appear that there are deep and irresolvable philosophical differences between Ralph McInerny, on the one side, and Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle, and John Finnis, on the other, with regard to both the contents of the basic goods of natural law, and as to whether there is an objective hierarchy among the basic goods themselves. The second of these apparently unbridgeable philosophical differences (...) seems to account for the apparent differences between them on the starting point of morality. All of these putative philosophical differences seem to depend on what appear to be very different approaches by the two camps toward ultimate ends in ethics. I argue that the philosophical differences between the two camps on these fundamental matters are not considerable, and that whatever philosophical differences do exist lack philosophical support from either of the two sides. (shrink)
Ex parte communications can become an administrative quagmire for anyone trying to deal with tribunals that regulate business matters. These communications involve contact between a decision maker and one party outside the presence of another, interested party. At a time when codes of ethics are enacted to make corporate financial officers and boards of directors more accountable to their stockholders, and thus, to restore the confidence of the investing public, it appears most important that administrative judges and hearing officers adhere (...) strictly to their own Codes of Conduct. This article defines and explains ex parte contacts and consequent problems that might arise during administrative appeals. It is not the author’s intent to present the law of any specific jurisdiction, but to present a general overview of typical state law in the United States, a market of interest to many entrepreneurs and exporters worldwide. (shrink)