This moral philosophy text with readings embraces Socrates' observation that ethics is "no small matter, but how we ought to live." How ought we to live? This hard question captures the full range of moral inquiry from traditional moral theory to contemporary moral issues, such as abortion, capital punishment, and war. But there is much more to moral philosophy: How should we be as people? When should we forgive? Are we capable of morality? What about non-western ethics? And most distressing (...) of all, why be moral in the first place? These and other challenging questions show the profundity and inescapable importance of moral philosophy for a life worth living. Life's Hardest Questions combines lively and informative introductory discussions with classic and contemporary writings in moral philosophy. (shrink)
A traditional interpretation holds that Kant's political theory simply constitutes an account of the constraints which reason places on the state's authority to regulate external action. Alexander Kaufman argues that this traditional interpretation succeeds neither as a faithful reading of Kant's texts nor as a plausible, philosophically sound reconstruction of a `Kantian' political theory. Rather, he argues that Kant's political theory articulates a positive conception of the state's role.
In this paper we present six criteria for assessing proposed solutions to environmental risk problems. To assess the final criterion-the criterion of ethical responsibility-we suggest another series of criteria. However, before these criteria can be used to address ethical problems, business persons must be wiIling to discuss the problem in ethical terms. Yet many decision makers are unwilling to do so. Drawing on research by James Waters and Frederick Bird, we discuss this “moral muteness”-the inability or unwillingness to use (...) morallanguage to solve moral problems-and suggest some underlying causes of moral muteness. (shrink)
Do people have free will, or this universal belief an illusion? If free will is more than an illusion, what kind of free will do people have? How can free will influence behavior? Can free will be studied, verified, and understood scientifically? How and why might a sense of free will have evolved? These are a few of the questions this book attempts to answer. People generally act as though they believe in their own free will: they don't feel like (...) automatons, and they don't treat one another as they might treat robots. While acknowledging many constraints and influences on behavior, people nonetheless act as if they (and their neighbors) are largely in control of many if not most of the decisions they make. Belief in free will also underpins the sense that people are responsible for their actions. Psychological explanations of behavior rarely mention free will as a factor, however. Can psychological science find room for free will? How do leading psychologists conceptualize free will, and what role do they believe free will plays in shaping behavior? In recent years a number of psychologists have tried to solve one or more of the puzzles surrounding free will. This book looks both at recent experimental and theoretical work directly related to free will and at ways leading psychologists from all branches of psychology deal with the philosophical problems long associated with the question of free will, such as the relationship between determinism and free will and the importance of consciousness in free will. It also includes commentaries by leading philosophers on what psychologists can contribute to long-running philosophical struggles with this most distinctly human belief. These essays should be of interest not only to social scientists, but to intelligent and thoughtful readers everywhere. (shrink)
It is widely-accepted that Descartes is a substance dualist, i.e. that he holds that there are two and only two kinds of finite substance – mind and body. However, several scholars have argued that Descartes is a substance trialist, where the third kind of substance he admits is the substantial union of a mind and a body, the human being. In this paper, I argue against the trialist interpretation of Descartes. First, I show that the strongest evidence for trialism, based (...) on Descartes' discussion of so-called incomplete substances, is highly inconclusive. Second, I show that a kind of unity (‘unity of nature’), which is had by all and only substances, is not had by human beings. The fact that the proper parts of a human being, namely a mind and a body, are of different natures entails that what they compose has at most a ‘unity of composition’. And a thing cannot be a substance in virtue of having a unity of composition. Therefore, Cartesian human beings are not substances. (shrink)
: The doctrine of karma and rebirth is often praised for its ability to offer a successful solution to the Problem of Evil. This essay evaluates such a claim by considering whether the doctrine can function as a systematic theodicy, as an explanation of all human suffering in terms of wrongs done in either this or past lives. This purported answer to the Problem of Evil must face a series of objections, including the problem of anylackofmemoryofpastlives,the lack of proportionality between (...) wrongdoing and the observed suffering in the world, the problem of infinite regress of explanation, and the problem of compatibility of free will with karmic determinism. These objections, either separately or taken together, provide (it is argued) sufficient reason to doubt whether the doctrine of karma and rebirth can in fact provide a satisfactory theodicy. (shrink)
In Political Liberalism, Rawls emphasizes the practical character and aims of his conception of justice. Justice as fairness is to provide the basis of a reasoned, informed and willing political agreement by locating grounds for consensus in the fundamental ideas and values of the political culture. Critics urge, however, that such a politically liberal conception of justice will be designed merely to ensure the stability of political institutions by appealing to the currently-held opinions of actual citizens. In order to evaluate (...) this concern, I suggest, it is necessary to focus on the normative character of Rawls's analysis. Rawls argues that justice as fairness is the conception of justice that citizens of modern democratic cultures should choose in reflective equilibrium, after reflecting fully upon their considered judgments regarding justice. Since judgments in reflective equilibrium are grounded in considered judgment, rather than situated opinions, I argue that the criticism fails. Key Words: justification objectivity political liberalism Rawls reflective equilibrium. (shrink)
Descartes held the doctrine that the eternal truths are freely created by God. He seems to have thought that a proper understanding of God's freedom entails such a doctrine concerning the eternal truths. In this paper, I examine Descartes' account of divine freedom. I argue that Descartes' statements about indifference, namely that indifference is the lowest grade of freedom and that indifference is the essence of God's freedom are not incompatible. I also show how Descartes arrived at his doctrine of (...) the creation of the eternal truths by consideration of the nature of God's freedom. Footnotes1 In this paper, I employ the following abbreviations:AT: Descartes, René Oeuvres de Descartes, C. Adam and P. Tannery (eds) (Paris: J. Vrin, 1996) (cited by volume and page number).CSM: Descartes, René The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, vols 1 and 2, J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, D. Murdoch (transl.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985) (cited by volume and page number).CSMK: Descartes, René The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, vol. 3, J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff, D. Murdoch, A. Kenny (transl.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991) (cited by page number). (shrink)
“The Standard Interpretation” of Descartes on material falsity states that Descartes believed that materially false ideas (MFIs) lack “objective reality” [realitas objectiva]. The argument for the Standard Interpretation depends on a statement from the “Third Meditation” that MFIs are caused by nothing. This statement, in conjunction with a causal principle introduced by Descartes, seems to entail that MFIs lack objective reality. However, the Standard Interpretation is incorrect. First, I argue that, despite initial appearances, the manner in which Descartes understands the (...) proposition that MFIs are caused by nothing does not entail that they lack objective reality. Secondly, I argue that Descartes is committed to the objective reality of MFIs because of his quasi-scholastic explanation of MFIs. (shrink)
For moral realists moral judgments will be a kind of factual judgment that involves the basically reliable apprehension of an objective moral reality. I argue that factual judgments display at least some degree of conceptual sensitivity to error, while moral judgments do not. Therefore moral judgments are not a kind of factual judgment.
Definitions of death are based on subjective standards, priorities, and social conventions rather than on objective facts about the state of human physiology. It is the meaning assigned to the facts that determines whensomeone may be deemed to have died, not the facts themselves. Even though subjective standards for the diagnosis of death show remarkable consistency across communities, they are extrinsic. They are driven, implicitly or explicitly, by ideas about what benefits the community rather than what benefits the indidvidual. The (...) differences that do exist across communities generally reduce to questions about legitimacy and not fact. The questions at the core of the debate about brain death are better framed by asking: Whom ought we deem to be dead? rather than: Who is dead. The rationale for equating brain death with death, therefore, extends well beyond somatic and biological concepts of death. (shrink)
In a well-known paper, Reginald Jackson expresses a sentiment not uncommon among readers of Locke: “Among the merits of Locke’s Essay…not even the friendliest critic would number consistency.”2 This unflattering opinion of Locke is reiterated by Maurice Mandelbaum: “Under no circumstances can [Locke] be counted among the clearest and most consistent of philosophers.”3 The now familiar story is that there are innumerable inconsistencies and internal problems contained in Locke’s Essay. In fact, it is probably safe to say that there is (...) not another canonical, well-respected, and seminal philosopher whose work is so widely thought to be swarming with inconsistencies. I, however, do not think that the common, unflattering view of Locke is accurate as a general view of the Essay. But despite my wishes to the contrary, I do believe that Locke’s chapter ‘Of Identity and Diversity’ (2.27)4 leads to (at least) one intractable problem, a problem that is the subject of this paper. (shrink)
The Anglo-American reception of Adorno has secularized his thought and thus missed its normative basis. In this article, the 'constella-tion', a central feature of Adorno's philosophy, is traced to Hermann Cohen's anti-immanentist notion of 'Korrelation' and to Benjamin's attempt to discover a radically Kantian and adamantly Jewish ontology and concept of the truth. Adorno's works are shown to limn a critical measure for being and for reason, based on a very un-Hegelian refusal of immanence and on a commitment to a (...) regulative, if not constative, principle of redemption. Key Words: Theodor W. Adorno Walter Benjamin Hermann Cohen critical theory neo-Kantianism ontology redemption truth. (shrink)
Ethical guidelines for multinational corporations are included in several international accords adopted during the past four decades. These guidelines attempt to influence the practices of multinational enterprises in such areas as employment relations, consumer protection, environmental pollution, political participation, and basic human rights. Their moral authority rests upon the competing principles of national sovereignty, social equity, market integrity, and human rights. Both deontological principles and experience-based value systems undergird and justify the primacy of human rights as the fundamental moral authority (...) of these transnational and transcultural compacts. Although difficulties and obstacles abound in gaining operational acceptance of such codes of conduct, it is possible to argue that their guidelines betoken the emergence of a transcultural corporate ethic. (shrink)
Peter Kivy has maintained that the Wittgensteinian account of ‘art’ ‘is not a going concern’ and that ‘the traditional task of defining the work of art is back in fashion, with a vengeance’. This is true, in large part, because of the turn towards relational definitions of ‘art’ taken by philosophers in the 1960s; a move that is widely believed to have countered the Wittgensteinian charge that ‘art’ is an open concept and which gave rise to a ‘New Wave’ in (...) aesthetic theorizing. So successful has this New Wave been that today the philosophy of art is awash with relational definitions, which are increasingly characterized by their technical sophistication and logical complexity. The aim of this essay is to oppose this trend; to demonstrate that relationalist definitions cannot avoid the problems which provided the impetus for the Wittgensteinian view and to show that the New Wavers cannot explain why anyone would want the definitions which they are offering, irrespective of their success or failure. I will also explore, in detail, the uses, as well as the limitations, of the Wittgensteinian approach to the concept of art. (shrink)
The overarching thesis of this essay is that despite the etymological relationship between the word ‘philosophy’ and wisdom—the word ‘philosophos’, in Greek, means ‘lover of wisdom’—and irrespective of the longstanding tradition of identifying philosophers with ‘wise men’—mainline philosophy, historically, has had little interest in wisdom and has been preoccupied primarily with knowledge. Philosophy, if we are speaking of the mainline tradition, has had and continues to have more in common with the natural and social sciences than it does with the (...) humanities and liberal arts. In advancing this thesis, I divide the history of philosophy into three competing traditions: the mainline tradition of philosophy and two philosophical ‘countercultures,’ one conservative the other radical. At issue between these rival traditions is precisely the relative significance of knowledge and wisdom and their respective places in inquiry. I also provide an account of the distinction between knowledge and wisdom—which I argue is greater than has perhaps been appreciated—and between the natural and applied sciences, on the one hand, and the humanities and liberal arts on the other. (Published Online February 27 2006). (shrink)
In this paper we consider whether one type of individual investor, which we call at risk investors, should be denied access to securities markets to prevent them from suffering serious financial harm. We consider one kind of paternalistic justification for prohibiting at risk investors from participating in securities markets, and argue that it is not successful. We then argue that restricting access to markets is justified in some circumstances to protect the rights of at risk investors. We conclude with some (...) suggestions about how this might be done. (shrink)
A definition of ?alienation? is proposed which is a rational reconstruction of the term as it is used in primarily moral contexts. Special attention is given to the Marxist tradition. It is argued that the earliest, moral form of Marx's economic determinism can be expressed in terms of the principle of the sufficiency of unalienated labor. In this connection four main kinds of alienation are distinguished. In the final section, it is argued that while ?alienation? has and should have an (...) important theoretical role in the context of moral discourse, social scientists, and in particular sociologists, would be better off if they eliminated ?alienation? from their scientific vocabulary. (shrink)
Picking up where Peggy McKintosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” left off, this essay looks further into the ways that racial privilege manifests itself in the lives of white Americans. It explores some of the reasons that white privilege is hard for whites to see and it explores the question of how white people can act responsibly given the unavoidable realities of racial privilege.
In this article the concept of God as creativity (rather than as the Creator ) is explored. Though creativity is a profound mystery to us humans, it is a plausible concept today because of its interconnectedness with the belief that our cosmos is evolutionary: new orders of reality come into being in the course of time. Three modalities of creativity are explored here: the initial coming into being of the universe (the Big Bang); the creativity manifest in evolutionary processes; the (...) human creation of culture. It is suggested that this creativity itself should be thought of as God: God is creativity. Thus God-talk is given a referent that is specifiable in terms of todayâs understandings of the world and the human. God remains a profound mystery here, but one with a significant place in our modern understanding of the world and human life. (shrink)
The National Institutes of Health and other federal health agencies are considering establishing a national biobank to study the roles of genes and environment in human health. A preliminary public engagement study was conducted to assess public attitudes and concerns about the proposed biobank, including the expectations for return of individual research results. A total of 141 adults of different ages, incomes, genders, ethnicities, and races participated in 16 focus groups in six locations across the country. Focus group participants voiced (...) a strong desire to be able to access individual research results. Recognizing the wide range of possible research results from a large cohort study, they repeatedly and spontaneously suggested that cohort study participants be given ongoing choices as to which results they received. (shrink)
This essay counters the claim, made by Arnold Isenberg, Mary Mothersill, and others, that there can be no straightforward justification of critical evaluations of artworks, because there can be no critical laws. My argument is that if we adopt an Aristotelian view of the value of artworks, the problem of critical laws is reduced to a mere problem of scope and is easily solved. An Aristotelian system of kind classification, which groups artworks according to common formal and narrative purposes, provides (...) the mechanism by which we can limit the scope of critical laws in a non-arbitrary way, one that is in keeping with the actual practices of art historians and critics. (shrink)
Environmental philosophers are often concerned to show that non-sentient things, such as plants or ecosystems, have interests and therefore are appropriate objects of moral concern. They deny that mentality is a necessary condition for having interests. Yet they also deny that they are committed to recognizing interests in things like machines. I argue that either machines have interests (and hence moral standing) too or mentality is a necessary condition for inclusion within the purview of morality. I go on to argue (...) that the aspect of mentality necessary for having interests is more complicated than mere sentience. (shrink)
The target article discusses the classic blind spot, scotomas, subjective contours, and other so-called filling-in phenomena. Its purpose is to evaluate the idea that some theories of filling-in amount to tacit acceptance of Cartesian materialism and a form of psychophysical isomorphism. Pessoa et al. reject what is termed structural isomorphism as well as Cartesian materialism, but claim that neural processes adduced as underlying filling-in may be acceptable without implying isomorphism. The article supports the idea of perceiving as an active constructive (...) process. However, the various subthemes are not clearly related to each other. Topological psychophysical isomorphism is indeed untenable, but the tacit assumption that filling-in enjoys any kind of unique status with respect to illuminating philosophical questions is doubtful. (shrink)
The author's main practical aim is to defend liberal doctrines to which he is committed against certain fashionable criticisms. An elucidation of human needs is offered. The key claim is that human needs entail human rights. It is argued that the account proposed fits Marx's conception of human needs, and that, therefore, Marx was implicitly committed to a theory of human rights. It is then argued that John Stuart Mill was also, though implicitly, committed to a theory of human needs. (...) These conceptual and moral affinities help to explain why, in recent years, the two political traditions of which Marx and Mill were principal architects, have tended to converge in theory and in practice. The main shift in moral viewpoint has, however, been a movement by Marxists toward the sort of liberalism defended by Mill. (shrink)
The mechanisms by which bacteria adapt to changes in their environment involve transcriptional regulation in which a transcriptional regulator responds to signal(s) from the environment and regulates (positively or negatively) the expression of several genes or operons. Some of these regulators exert a positive feedback on their own expression. This is a necessary (although not sufficient) condition for the occurrence of multistationarity. One biological consequence of multistationarity may be epigenetic modifications, a hypothesis unusual to microbiologists, in spite of some well-known (...) epigenetic modifications in bacteria. We propose here that the occurrence of mucoidy in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is currently attributed to mutations only, may also be an epigenetic modification. A theoretical approach using a generalised logical analysis lends credit to this hypothesis and suggests experiments to ascertain it. (shrink)
This paper explores the historical American political values which have shaped modern financial theory and agency theory. Financial agency theory's intellectual roots are shown to be located in the liberal tradition which espouses the instrumental nature of property and property rights. The paper also argues that financial theorists should recognize that, historically, economic efficiency was not a value or end in itself but merely a means by which more fundamental social goals might be achieved.
Abstract: In providing an ethical guide for managers, the Clarkson Principles offer one part of a possible professional code, namely, that managers have a fiduciary duty—a duty of loyalty of the corporation’s stakeholders. However, the Clarkson Principles contain little advise for managers when they act politically to fashion the regulatory framework in which stakeholders negotiate. When managers participate in these arenas, I argue that they ought to assume a second fiduciary duty—a duty of loyalty to fair bargaining. Where the first (...) duty of loyalty pertains to the firm’s “constituents,” the second refers to the firm’s “constitution”—to the rules by which the firm’s stakeholders bargain and to the background conditions that distribute advantages. Together, these two fiduciary duties establish the large good—development as freedom—from which a managerial profession can mature. (shrink)
Blair makes a strong case that fluid cognition and psychometric g are not identical constructs. However, he fails to mention the development of the prefrontal cortex, which likely makes the Gf–g distinction different in children than in adults.1 He also incorrectly states that current IQ tests do not measure Gf; we discuss several recent instruments that measure Gf quite well. (Published Online April 5 2006).
In a developing profession, emphasis is placed on two key ingredients for a successful climb to the executive suite — namely, interpersonal skills and an appropriate personality structure than can cope with forms of stress and uncertainty. The data presented in this study were collected from one of the major accounting firms and offers insights into men and women on the upward climb within the accounting profession. Analysis of this data shows that although appropriate personality characteristics are predicated on a (...) male managerial model, women and men perceive themselves similarly with respect to these characteristics. However, others' perceptions of women, male accountants as well as clients, seemed more skeptical of women's ability to succeed. Furthermore, there are indications that women and men have different job assignments along their career paths. Our data collected in the latter half of the seventies tend to corroborate many of the findings in the first half — in general women are not perceived as ready for the managerial climb. (shrink)
Norman presents intriguing arguments in support of a mapping between ecological and constructivist visual cognition, on the one hand, onto the dorsal ventral dual route processing hypothesis, on the other hand. Unfortunately, his account is incompatible with developmental data on the functional emergence of the dorsal and ventral routes. We argue that it is essential for theories of adult visual cognition to take constraints from development seriously.
The arguments contained in books criticizing American social scientists by C. Wright Mills ( The Sociological Imagination) and Bernard Crick (The Science of American Politics) are discussed, compared and criticized. It is argued that Mills' criteria of evaluation and constructive alternatives to the tendencies he criticizes are immeasurably sounder than those found in Crick's book. An effort to supplement Mills' argument by providing a more explicit statement of its moral underpinnings is made. Finally, it is argued that though both critiques (...) have serious empirical flaws, the authors have undeniably demonstrated that important tendencies for irresponsible thought and action do exist within the American social sciences. (shrink)
Introduction -- The principles of self-defense -- The leading theories of self-defense -- The doctrine of double effect -- Double effect and common sense morality -- Can double effect justify self-defense? -- Conclusion: Justifying self-defense.
Vere Chappell has pointed out that it is not clear whether Locke has a well-developed ontology or even whether he is entitled to have one.2 Nevertheless, it is clear that Locke believes that there are organisms, and it is clear that he thinks that there are substances. But does he believe that organisms are substances? There are certainly parts of the Essay in which Locke seems unequivocally to state that organisms are substances. For instance, in 2.23.3 Locke uses men and (...) horses as examples of substances. In Locke’s most explicit the account of abstraction, given in 3.3.7-9, organism [vivens] is treated as a sub-species of body and body as a sub-species of substance; so, by transitivity, organism is a kind of substance. Finally, in his discussion of essences in 3.6, Locke uses all of the following organisms as examples of substances: horses, mules, men, sheep, goats, plants, drills, changelings, asses, bulls, cats, and rats. This textual evidence would seem to settle the matter about the ontological status of organisms. However, there are other parts of the Essay in which the ontological status of organisms is less clear, to say the least. In fact, there are texts in which Locke seems to state (or at least to be committed to the.. (shrink)
Frederick Douglass, in his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, describes how his sociopolitical identity was scripted by the white other and how his spatiotemporal existence was likewise constrained through constant surveillance and disciplinary dispositifs. Even so, Douglass was able to assert his humanity through creative acts of resistance. In this essay, I highlight the ways in which Douglass refused to accept the other-imposed narrative, demonstrating with his life the truth of his being—a human being (...) unwilling to be classified as thing or property. As I engage selected passages and key events from Douglass's narrative, I likewise explore the ways in which the resistance tactics .. (shrink)
Imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle that works like the board game in the movie “Jumanji”: When you finish, whatever the puzzle portrays becomes real. The children playing “Jumanji” learn to prepare for the reality that emerges from the next throw of the dice. But how would this work for the puzzle of scientific research? How do you prepare for unlocking the secrets of the atom, or assembling from the bottom-up nanotechnologies with unforeseen properties – especially when completion of such (...) puzzles lies decades after the first scattered pieces are tentatively assembled? In the inaugural issue of this journal, Michael Polanyi argued that because the progress of science is unpredictable, society must only move forward with solving the puzzle until the picture completes itself. Decades earlier, Frederick Soddy argued that once the potential for danger reveals itself, one must reorient the whole of one’s work to avoid it. While both scientists stake out extreme positions, Soddy’s approach – together with the action taken by the like-minded Leo Szilard – provides a foundation for the anticipatory governance of emerging technologies. This paper narrates the intertwining stories of Polanyi, Soddy and Szilard, revealing how anticipation influenced governance in the case of atomic weapons and how Polanyi’s claim in “The Republic of Science” of an unpredictable and hence ungovernable science is faulty on multiple levels. (shrink)
Introduction -- Part I: The meaning of life -- Richard Taylor, The meaning of life -- Thomas Nagel, The absurd -- Richard Hare, Nothing matters -- W.D. Joske, Philosophy and the meaning of life -- Robert Nozick, Philosophy and the meaning of life -- David Schmidtz, The meanings of life -- Part II: Creating people -- Derek Parfit, Whether causing someone to exist can benefit this person -- John Leslie, Why not let life ecome extinct? -- James Lenman, On becoming (...) extinct -- David Benatar, Why it is better never to come into existence -- Part III: Death -- Stephen E. Rosenbaum, How to be dead and not care : a defense of epicurus -- GeorgePpitcher, The misfortunes of the dead -- Steven Luper, Annihilation -- Fred Fldman, Some puzzles about the evil of death -- FrederickKaufman, Pre-vital and post-mortem non-existence -- David B. Suits, Why death is not bad for the one who died -- Part IV: Suicide -- David Hume, Of suicide -- Immanuel Kant, Suicide and duty -- David Benatar, Suicide : a qualified defence -- Part V: Immortality -- James Lenman, Immortality : a letter -- Bernard Williams, The Makropulos case : reflections on the tedium of immortality -- John Martin Fischer, Why immortality is not so bad -- Christine Overall, from here to eternity : is it good to live forever? -- Part VI: Optimism and pessimism -- Margaret A. Boden, Optimism -- Michaelis Michael and Peter Caldwell, The consolations of optimism -- Bruce N. Waller, The sad truth : optimism, pessimism, and pragmatism -- Arthur Schopenhauer, On the suffering of the world. (shrink)
This critical editorial introduction summarizes and explicates Frederick Will’s pragmatic realism and his account of the nature, assessment, and revision of cognitive and practical norms in connection with: the development of Will’s pragmatic realism, Hume’s problem of induction, the oscillations between foundationalism and coherentism, the nature of philosophical reflection, Kant’s ‘Refutation of Idealism’, the open texture of empirical concepts, the correspondence conception of truth, Putnam’s ‘internal realism’, the redundancy theory of truth, sociology of knowledge, the governance of practice by (...) norms and the assessment and revision of norms in practice, scientific realism, the alleged independence of reason and tradition, rule-following, legal realism, ethical intuitionism and moral relativism, the regress problem (both in epistemology and in moral theory), the paradox of analysis, and culminating in Will’s account of the philosophical governance of norms. These issues are discussed in close consideration of the views of: William Alston, John Dewey, Descartes, Leibniz, Waismann, Austin, Russell, Schlick, Ayer, Richard Rorty, Michael Williams, Hempel, Carnap, Simon Blackburn, Ramsey, Strawson, Kuhn, Wilfrid Sellars, Wittgenstein, Nozick, Dretske, Quine, Barbara Herman, Hardy Jones, Marcus Singer, and Gerd Buchdahl. (shrink)
In replying to my article ‘An Error about the Doctrine of Double Effect’, Kaufman claims that the permission given by the four-condition Doctrine for certain mixed actions is merely complementary to an absolute prohibition—which he claims is the DDE's primary function. I point out again that in many cases this makes an appeal to the DDE's fourth condition not merely redundant but incoherent. Furthermore, his claim that I am a utilitarian maximizer, frustrated by a doctrine prohibiting intentional harms, however (...) great the net overall benefit, is based on a misrepresentation. I did not object to a candidate for justification under the DDE being rejected before reaching the fourth condition, only to its being accepted. (shrink)
Abstract: The symmetry argument is an objection to the 'deprivation approach'– the account of badness favored by nearly all philosophers who take death to be bad for the one who dies. Frederik Kaufman's recent response to the symmetry argument is a development of Thomas Nagel's suggestion that we could not have come into existence substantially earlier than we in fact did. In this paper, I aim to show that Kaufman's suggestion fails. I also consider several possible modifications of (...) his theory, and argue that they are unsuccessful as well. (shrink)
In several papers, I have argued for a theory of distributive justice and considered its implications. This theory includes a principle of responsibility that was endorsed by others within an account of defensive force (self-defense and defense of others). Whitley Kaufman criticizes this account which he refers to as the "distributive justice theory of self-defense" (DJ theory). In this paper, I respond to this criticism. I argue that Kaufman presents the theory inaccurately, that his standard of evaluation of (...) the theory is inadequate and that his claim that the theory should be rejected is unconvincing. (shrink)
Although Frederick Douglass disclaimed any patriotism or love of the United States in the years when he considered its constitution to be pro-slavery, I argue that he was in fact always a patriot and always a lover of his country. This conclusion leads me to argue further that patriotism is not as expressly political as many philosophers suppose. Patriots love their country despite its politics and often unreasonably, although in loving their country they are concerned with its politics. The (...) greatest among them freely dedicate themselves selflessly to the improvement of their country, partly because they love it, and partly because they are moved to take on great projects. (shrink)
Kaufman describes the current debate on the possibility of a definition of art between the theorists and the anti-theorist Wittgensteinians. The Wittgensteinian reliance on ‘family resemblances’ is a serious objection to theoretical definitions. Wittgenstein, however, is said to be unable to give a proper account of the ‘inner experience’ encountered in art. By way of response, it is urged that attention to Wittgenstein himself will show that there are misunderstandings of the idea of family resemblances and that Wittgenstein's writings (...) provide all we need to understand the depth of ‘inner experience’. (shrink)
Frederick Douglass (1818?1895) was the most significant African?American leader of the nineteenth century. Secretly acquiring literacy as a slave, he grew into a brilliant speaker whose essential genius was to articulate and impeach the ideologies of the day. Douglass was one of the foremost defenders of black emancipation and women?s rights. He developed a dual philosophy of resistance and integration. He taxed blacks with the need for self?reliance; he recalled whites to the justice of racial equality. Freedom would be (...) won by securing to all workers, white or black, the fruit of their labour. Economic progress and enhanced social equality would be achieved by hard work, thrift, education and sobriety. Underlying all his thought and action was an ideology of free labour conjoined with republicanism. He early embraced the ideal of moral suasion. As the prospect of civil war loomed, he accepted the legitimacy of violence ? in self?defence, and to liberate the slaves. (shrink)
Frederick Douglass's socio-political narrative is explored through an existential lens, arguing that Douglass is contesting the proposition that essence precedes existence. Douglass, through his fight with Covey, a white 'slave breaker', and his escape to freedom, affirms his ex-istence (etymologically, 'standing out') as being for it-self (pour-soi) over and against the reduction of his existence to that of being in-itself (an-soi). Drawing from the work of Simone de Beauvoir, who was greatly influenced by the phenomenological and politico-praxic work of (...) Black novelist Richard Wright, it is argued that Douglass disrupts the power/knowledge regime of white American slavery, exercising his existential capacity for transcendence. Examining whiteness as a species of what Beauvoir calls 'the serious man', it is argued that whites within Douglass's text are in a state of flight, performing their whiteness as 'the serious man', that is, where whiteness is accepted as an unconditioned state of being. Douglass's narrative depicts whiteness as a flight from freedom (bad faith); for his very act of protestation against whiteness demonstrates that whiteness is not an objective, hypostatized thing, but a performative choice that sustains white hegemony. Key Words: American slavery Simone de Beauvoir Frederick Douglass existentialism Michel Foucault genealogy Lewis Gordon the 'serious man' value code whiteness womanism Richard Wright. (shrink)
After examining Frederick's charge in his recently published Values, Nature, and Culture in the American Corporation that philosophers and others in the field of business ethics and business and society ignore nature and technology, the paper investigates Frederick's attempt to articulate and defend a New Normative Synthesis (NNS). Since the NNS is the result of a synthesis between Frederick's theory of business values and the body of principles in business ethics, I focus on the nature of each (...) component, the nature of the synthesis, and the nature of the resulting NNS itself. Inquiry reveals serious questions about the explanatory value of the theory of business values as a descriptive theory, as well as serious questions about the defense of the theory as normative theory. The analysis also discloses several possible interpretations of the NNS. (shrink)
Frederick R. Steiner (ed): The Essential Ian McHarg: Writings on Design and Nature, 2006 Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s10806-009-9217-y Authors Ruth Beilin, University of Melbourne Landscape Sociologist, Department of Resource Management and Geography, Melbourne School of Land and Environment Melbourne VIC 3010 Australia Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
Abstract In Simple Rules for a Complex World, I outlined a set of legal rules that facilitate just and efficient social interactions among individuals. Frederick Schauer's critique of my book ignores the specific implications of my system in favor of a general critique of simplicity that overlooks the dangers to liberty when complex rules confer vast discretion on public figures. He also does not refer to the nonlibertarian features of my system that allow for overcoming holdout positions. These ?take (...) and pay? rules explain how a system broadly protective of private property responds to well?known two?person (Able?Infirm) hypothetical of the sort advanced by G. A. Cohen, which are designed to show how claims of self?ownership lend strong support to egalitarian outcomes. (shrink)
This paper examines recent contributions to moral philosophy by Jeffrey Reiman and Gordon Kaufman, which, while differing in that they derive from 'secular' and 'religious' world views, share certain common concerns and a common conviction of the universality of the moral principle of justice, rooted in a Kantian philosophical framework. I argue that these theories of justice provide ground for useful inter-faith and secular/religious dialogue, against the view of MacIntyre, that morality itself is 'tradition specific'.