I review Gabriel Richardson Lear's excellent essay on Aristotle’s conception of the human good. She solves some long-standing problems in the interpretation of Aristotle’s ethics by drawing on resources in his natural philosophy and Plato’s conception of love. Her interpretation is a compelling and, to my mind, largely true account of Aristotle’s view. In this review, I summarize the book's main argument and then explain two fundamental points on which I have concerns.
At the very end of the 19th century, Gabriele Tarde wrote that all society was a product of imitation and innovation. This view regarding the development of society has, to a large extent, fallen out of favour, and especially so in those areas where the rational actor model looms large. I argue that this is unfortunate, as models of imitative learning, in some cases, agree better with what people actually do than more sophisticated models of learning. In this paper, I (...) contrast the behaviour of imitative learning with two more sophisticated learning rules (one based on Bayesian updating, the other based on the Nash-Brown-von Neumann dynamics) in the context of social deliberation problems. I show for two social deliberation problems, the Centipede game and a simple Lewis sender-receiver game, that imitative learning provides better agreement with what people actually do, thus partially vindicating Tarde. (shrink)
Much attention in the recent resurgence of interest in virtue ethics has been paid to the virtues. At the same time, however, comparatively little has been written about vices. In Deadly Vices, Gabriele Taylor aims to remedy this by offering a detailed discussion of the vices that are traditionally labeled the seven deadly sins: sloth, envy, avarice, pride, anger, lust, and gluttony. Among her central claims about them is that they are each focused primarily on the self, and that they (...) lead to self-destruction and inhibit our flourishing in ways that we can understand without having to appeal to an objective account of flourishing. Taylor takes her conclusions to “offer at least negative support for some central claims of an Aristotelian-type virtue-theory” (p. 1). (shrink)
The question of personal immortality is a central one for Gabriel Marcel. Early in his life he took part in parapsychological experiments which convincedhim that one could, rarely and with great difficulty, communicate with the dead. In a philosophical vein he argued that each self has an eternal dimension which isof eternal worth. This dimension is particularly manifest in self-sacrifice, where I find it meaningful to give my life for another and when I unconditionally commitment myself in love to another (...) self. Marcel also cites the experience of trust or hope, and the experience that life is not an absurd freak accident of nature destined for eternal extinction but rather possesses absolute meaning and value. Yet, none of the above experiences involves certitude; one remains free to accept or reject them and what they claim to involve. (shrink)
En este artículo sostengo que Gabriel Marcel desarrolla una metafísica de la existencia humana a partir de una fenomenología. Para mostrar esta hipótesis, parto del diagnóstico que hace el autor de la situación del hombre contemporáneo. Marcel afirma que el ser humano ha sido reducido a un mero haz de funciones no dando espacio para el misterio. A partir de ese diagnóstico, desarrollo el concepto de exigencia ontológica el cual nos permite, sostengo, pasar de una fenomenología a una metafísica, desde (...) el momento en que Marcel plantea que la exigencia ontológica no es solo una necesidad subjetiva de sentido, sino el correlato del misterio ontológico en el cual nos encontramos insertos. La filosofía del misterio del Marcel, eje central de su metafísica de la existencia humana, es explicada y explicitada en la segunda parte de este trabajo, a partir del dato de la encarnación y del problema de la participación. In this article, I hold that Gabriel Marcel proposes a kind of metaphysics of human existence that arises from a phenomenology. In order to show this hypothesis, I start from the description that the author does of the situation of contemporary man. Marcel affirms that human being has been reduced to a mere assembly of functions, without leaving any room to mystery. Starting from this account, I develop the concept of ontological need, concept that allows us to go from phenomenology to metaphysis, because the concept of ontological need, according to Marcel, is not only the expression of a subjective need of finding sense, but the expression of the ontological mystery in which we find ourselves. The philosophy of mystery of Marcel, backbone of his metaphysics of the human existence, is explained in the second part of this article, by giving an account of the basic fact of being an incarnated being and by discussing the problem of participation. (shrink)
This paper examines the postmodern question of the otherness of the other from the perspective of Gabriel Marcel’s philosophy. Postmodernity—typified by philosophical movements like deconstruction—has framed the question of otherness in all-or-nothing terms; either the other is absolutely, wholly other or the other is not other at all. On the deconstructive account, the latter position amounts to a kind of “violence” against the other. Marcel’s philosophy offers an alternative to this all-or-nothing model of otherness. His thought can satisfy the fundamental (...) (and legitimate) ethical and philosophical concerns of postmodern thinkers without resorting to the paroxysmal hyperbole that characterizes philosophies of absolute otherness. Moreover, Marcel’s critique of the “spirit of abstraction” offers a unique perspective on what might motivate such paroxysmal hyperbole. (shrink)
In the post-September 11, 2001 world in which we live, French existentialist playwright and philosopher Gabriel Marcel’s works are especially relevant. Hisincreased popularity reflects both student and faculty interest in questions he raises about issues that remain vital concerns in our lives. Plays focusing on questions about life’s meaning, connected with insights from his philosophic essays, illustrate how Marcel engages personal reflection to clarify challenging situations. He uses dramatic imagination to investigate conflicting viewpoints, inviting the viewers to examine their unique (...) experience of the issues portrayed. Thus his individual journey to consciousness welcomes others to develop their own. Today’s classrooms also benefit from a greater availability of Marcel’s translated works in the form of books, scripts, videos, CDs, and Readers’ Theatre performances. (shrink)
Gabriel Marcel is not typically read as a political theorist and social commentator. He never wrote a treatise devoted specifically to a systematic treatmentof politics. His writings, nevertheless, abound in political theorizing and social analysis. This study articulates Marcel’s socio-political thought, explicating itscoherence with his overall concrete philosophy and with his personal engagement in political events of his time. It develops through three themes. The first details Marcel’s particular approach to sociopolitical thought as a “watchman.” The second shows why Marcel (...) offers a “hopeful communitarianism” which overcomes the problems of collectivism and individualism. The third delineates Marcel’s views on the concrete, socio-political, and ethical issues of peace and population control. A brief closing section explains the importance of politics in Marcelian scholarship and the “prophetic” quality of his thought. (shrink)
The following article discusses a certain concrete ethical-historical sensibility that opens, in part, in the work of Hegel and serves as an introduction to two figures of spirit beyond Hegel’s onto-theological thought: namely, Frantz Fanon and Gabriel García Márquez. The discussion seeks to introduce a “thinking sensibility,” i.e., an opening toward the articulate understanding of history in and through its singularities. This figures a space for a way of thinking arising in the concrete unfolding of spirits out of singularities that (...) overwhelm any single or universal call for unity. In terms of history, this concerns not a thinking that gives sense to history through concepts, but a thought that from its specificity and situation unfolds diverse articulations, and hence configurations of the senses of spirit or histories. (shrink)
The idea of ‘hope’ has received significant attention in the political sphere recently. But is hope just wishful thinking, or can it be something more than a political catch-phrase? This book argues that hope can be understood existentially, or on the basis of what it means to be human. Under this conception of hope, given to us by Gabriel Marcel, hope is not optimism, but the creation of ways for us to flourish. War, poverty and an absolute reliance on technology (...) are real-life evils that can suffocate hope. Marcel’s thought provides a way to overcome these negative experiences. An ethics of hope can function as an alternative to isolation, dread, and anguish offered by most existentialists. This book presents Marcel’s existentialism as a convincing, relevant moral theory; founded on the creation of hope, interwoven with the individual’s response to the death of God. Jill Hernandez argues that today’s reader of Marcel can resonate with his belief that the experience of pain can be transcended through a philosophy of hope and an escape from materialism. (shrink)
Gabriel Marcel spent most of his life developing a phenomenology of human intersubjectivity. While doing so he discovered the extent to which an authentic human community depends upon the relationship it has to nonhuman nature. By exploring Marcel’s critique of technology, as well as his religious phenomenology, I show the proximity to which Marcel’s philosophy approaches the currentegalitarian response of the radical ecology movement. Even though the bulk of Marcel’s work is concerned with human intersubjectivity, his writings advocate a transcendence (...) of anthropocentricism to what Marcel calls “cosmocentricism,” an existential attitude toward the world which submits to the sacredness of all beings, as well as to the bioregions within which all earthly creatures share the sacraments of life. (shrink)
Is inheritable genetic modification the new dividing line in gene therapy? The editors of this searching investigation, representing clinical medicine, public health and biomedical ethics, have established a distinguished team of scientists and scholars to address the issues from the perspectives of biological and social science, law and ethics, including an intriguing Foreword from Peter Singer. Their purpose is to consider how society might deal with the ethical concerns raised by inheritable genetic modification, and to re-examine prevailing views about whether (...) these procedures will ever be ethically and socially justifiable. The book also provides background to define the field, and discusses the biological and technological potential for inheritable genetic modification, its limitations, and its connection with gene therapy, cloning, and other reproductive interventions. For scientists, bioethicists, clinicians, counsellors and public commentators, this is an essential contribution to one of the critical debates in current genetics. (shrink)
Despite significant ethical advances in recent years, including professional developments in ethical review and codification, research deception continues to be a pervasive practice and contentious focus of debate in the behavioral sciences. Given the disciplines' generally stated ethical standards regarding the use of deceptive procedures, researchers have little practical guidance as to their ethical acceptability in specific research contexts. We use social contract theory to identify the conditions under which deception may or may not be morally permissible and formulate practical (...) recommendations to guide researchers on the ethical employment of deception in behavioral science research. (shrink)
The Mind-Body problem is the problem of saying how a person’s mental states and events relate to his bodily ones. How does Oscar’s believing that water is cold relate to the states of his body? Is it itself a bodily state, perhaps a state of his brain or nervous system? If not, does it nonetheless depend on such states? Or is his believing that water is cold independent of his bodily states? And, crucially, what are the notions of dependence and (...) independence at issue here? (shrink)
: This paper assesses arguments that paying for housework compromises the moral integrity of either the buyer or seller or both. I find that none provides adequate justification for avoiding paying for housework. Instead, I argue that the vigorous pursuit of justice for women workers will best remedy injustice in service sector occupations, including paid housework.
In this article, I link the empirical hypothesis that neural representations of sensory stimulation near the body involve a unique motor component to the idea that the perceptual field is structured by skillful bodily activity. The neurophenomenological view that emerges is illuminating in its own right, though it may also have practical consequences. I argue that recent experiments attempting to alter the scope of these near space sensorimotor representations are actually equivocal in what they show. I propose resolving this ambiguity (...) by treating these representations as responsive to the development or degeneration of know-how—which can be isolated as an appropriate object for scientific investigation. (shrink)
: Michèle Le Dœuff discusses the revival of feminism in France, including the phenomenon of state-sponsored feminism, such as government support for "parity": equal numbers of women and men in government. Le Dœuff analyzes the strategically patchy application of this revival and remains wary about it. Turning to the work of seventeenth-century philosopher Gabrielle Suchon, Le Dœuff considers her concepts of freedom, servitude, and active citizenship, which may well, she argues, have influenced Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Le Dœuff favorably juxtaposes the (...) active citizenship defended by Suchon with the kind of citizenship implicitly supported by recent French government feminism. (shrink)
Over the past decade, umbilical cord blood (UCB) has routinely been used as a source of haematopoietic stem cells for allogeneic stem cell transplants in the treatment of a range of malignant and non-malignant conditions affecting children and adults. UCB banks are a necessary part of the UCB transplant program, but their establishment has raised a number of important scientific, ethical and political issues. This paper examines the scientific and clinical evidence that has provided the basis for the establishment of (...) UCB banks. We also discuss the major ethical issues that UCB banks raise, including ownership of cord blood, processes for obtaining consent for its collection and storage, and confidentiality. Finally, we review other concerns about commercial non-altruistic banking, including concerns about social justice, equity of access and equity of care. (shrink)
Michèle Le Dœuff discusses the revival of feminism in France, including the phenomenon of state-sponsored feminism, such as government support for "parity": equal numbers of women and men in government. Le Dœuff analyzes the strategically patchy application of this revival and remains wary about it. Turning to the work of seventeenth-century philosopher Gabrielle Suchon, Le Dœuff considers her concepts of freedom, servitude, and active citizenship, which may well, she argues, have influenced Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Le Dœuff favorably juxtaposes the active (...) citizenship defended by Suchon with the kind of citizenship implicitly supported by recent French government feminism. (shrink)
Public policy issues around access to networked information are explored and examined. Long viewed as the quintessential public good, information has evolved into a critically important market commodity in little more than a generation. New technologies and a political climate in which the meaning of universal access to information is no longer commonly understood and in which its importance is no longer taken for granted pose significant challenges for American society. Libraries, as information commons, offer the means of meeting those (...) challenges. Historical, economical, and professional factors that shape the conflict are described and discussed. (shrink)
L’ouvrage de Beate Collet et Emmanuelle Santelli vient combler un manque qui pendant de longues années a freiné l’avancement des connaissances sur les populations françaises d’ascendance étrangère. Mieux encore, il fait le lien avec l’ensemble du corps social, montrant à la fois sur quels points les réalités de ces populations rejoignent celles de la société globale, et dans quels domaines elles se différencient. Cet ouvrage ambitieux nous livre une sociologie de la famille qui s’attaque à ce..