One important but infrequently discussed difficulty with expressivism is the attitude type individuation problem.1 Expressivist theories purport to provide a unified account of normative states. Judgments of moral goodness, beauty, humor, prudence, and the like, are all explicated in the same way: as expressions of attitudes, what Allan Gibbard calls “states of norm-acceptance”. However, expressivism also needs to explain the difference between these different sorts of attitude. It is possible to judge that a thing is both aesthetically good and morally (...) bad. While the realist can explain the difference by suggesting that each judgment makes reference to a different property (or set of properties), the expressivist cannot. She must show that what is expressed by the speaker is different in each case. This has proven to be difficult to do. (shrink)
In recent years it has become more and more difficult to distinguish between metaethical cognitivism and non-cognitivism. For example, proponents of the minimalist theory of truth hold that moral claims need not express beliefs in order to be (minimally) truth-apt, and yet some of these proponents still reject the traditional cognitivist analysis of moral language and thought. Thus, the dispute in metaethics between cognitivists and non-cognitivists has come to be seen as a dispute over the correct way to characterize our (...) psychology: are moral judgments beliefs, or a kind of pro-attitude? In this paper, I argue that this distinction, too, is difficult to maintain in the light of a reasonable skepticism about folk psychology. I conclude by suggesting some new possibilities for the analysis of moral language that look beyond this distinction. I begin by briefly reviewing some contemporary positions in metaethics on cognitivism and non-cognitivism, that are intended to emphasize the supposed psychological differences between the two views. I show that the appearance of a clear difference between these views depends on one's having a very strong commitment to the context-independence and completeness of certain concepts of folk psychology. I then argue for a moderate skepticism about folk psychology. I conclude that folk concepts like ?belief? are not sufficiently well-defined to settle this metaethical dispute. (shrink)
Some works of fiction are widely held by critics to have little value, yet these works are not only popular but also widely admired in ways that are not always appreciated. In this paper I make use of Kendall Walton’s account of fictional worlds to argue that fictional worlds can and often do have value, including aesthetic value, that is independent of the works that create them. In the process, I critique Walton’s notion of fictional worlds and offer a defense (...) of the study and appreciation of fictional worlds, as distinguished from the works of fiction with which they are associated. (shrink)
Psychopaths are the bugbears of moral philosophy. They are often used as examples of perfectly rational people who are nonetheless willing to do great moral wrong without regret; hence the disorder has received the epithet “moral insanity” (Pritchard 1835). But whereas philosophers have had a great deal to say about psychopaths’ glaring and often horrifying lack of moral conscience, their aesthetic capacities have received hardly any attention, and are generally assumed to be intact or even enhanced. Popular culture often portrays (...) psychopaths in ways that suggest a great gap between their amorality and their aesthetic sensitivity. In The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991), Hannibal Lecter appreciates fine art, fashion, and wine, while he eats his way through his enemies. His real-life counterparts, however, do not demonstrate the same sensitivities. There is no evidence that psychopaths are capable of real aesthetic appreciation, and some evidence that they are not. In this paper, we set out the limited evidence for the psychopath’s deficient aesthetic sensitivity. The best explanations of what the psychopath lacks turn out to implicate abilities that are also thought to be central to moral thought and action: an impaired capacity for empathizing with others and deficient ability to take a disinterested attitude towards things (socalled distance). We endorse the latter explanation. Thinking about what underlies the psychopath’s deficient aesthetic understanding turns out to throw light on a difficult problem: the connection between ethics and aesthetics. (shrink)
Some films scare us; some make us cry; some thrill us. Some of the most interesting films, however, leave us suspended between feelings – both joyous and sad, or angry and serene. This paper attempts to explain how this can happen and why it is important. I look closely at one film that creates and exploits these conflicted responses. I argue that cases of conflict in film illuminate a pair of vexing questions about emotion in film: (1) To what extent (...) are emotional responses rational, or in need of rationalization?; and (2) What relationship is there between emotional response and value (moral, filmic, or otherwise)? Conflict, I argue, can be revealing, and can help us better understand emotional responses to narrative film1 in general. The paper is divided into four sections. First, I sketch a theory of emotional engagement that makes sense of the notion of a “conflicted emotional response” to a film. Second, I turn to a particular case of a film that produces this sort of conflict, Fritz Lang’s M (1931), and show that the conflict engendered by that film is both more significant and less unusual than it may appear. In the final two sections, I argue that there is no need to rationalize or make consistent such mixed emotional responses, and that there is real moral, aesthetic, and cognitive value to be had from such conflict. (shrink)
Moral philosophers who differ from one another on a wide range of questions tend to agree on at least one general point. Most believe that things are worth valuing either because of their relationship to something else worth valuing, or because they are simply (in themselves) worth valuing. I value my car, because I value getting to work; I value getting to work, because I value making money and spending time productively; and I value those things because I value leading (...) a fulﬁlling life—and that valuing needs no justiﬁcation. The values that need to be justiﬁed by other values are extrinsic; those that do not are intrinsic. Most traditional philosophical approaches to value justiﬁcation are foundational in this sense: intrinsic values provide a foundation upon which other values can be justiﬁed. (shrink)
The topic of this essay is how non-realistic novels challenge our philosophical understanding of the moral significance of literature. I consider just one case: Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. I argue that standard philosophical views, based as they are on realistic models of literature, fail to capture the moral significance of this work. I show that Catch-22 succeeds morally because of the ways it resists using standard realistic techniques, and suggest that philosophical discussion of ethics and literature must be pluralistic if it (...) is to include all morally salient literature, and not just novels in the “Great Tradition” and their ilk. (shrink)
In this essay I argue that if Kantian and consequentialist ethical theories are vulnerable to the so-called “problem of alienation,” a virtue ethics based on Xunzi’s ethical writings will also be vulnerable to this problem. I outline the problem of alienation, and then show that the role of ritual ( li ) in Xunzi’s theory renders his view susceptible to the problem as it has been traditionally understood. I consider some replies on Xunzi’s behalf, and also discuss whether the problem (...) affects other Confucian and eudaimonian approaches to virtue ethics. I close by considering some solutions to the problem and the affect that this result has on the argumentative dialectic between the three major ethical traditions. (shrink)
Immoralists hold that in at least some cases, moral ﬂ aws in artworks can increase their aesthetic value. They deny what I call the valence constraint: the view that any effect that an artwork’s moral value has on its aesthetic merit must have the same valence. The immoralist offers three arguments against the valence constraint. In this paper I argue that these arguments fail, and that this failure reveals something deep and interesting about the relationship between cognitive and moral value. (...) In the ﬁ nal section I offer a positive argument for the valence constraint. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that there is good reason to believe that we can be influenced by fictions in ways that matter morally, and some of the time we will be unaware that we have been so influenced. These arguments fall short of proving a clear causal link between fictions and specific changes in the audience, but they do reveal rather interesting and complex features of the moral psychology of fiction. In particular, they reveal that some Platonic worries about (...) the dangers of art cannot be dismissed lightly. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that in at least some interesting cases, the moral value of a narrative work depends on the aesthetic properties of that artwork. It does not follow that a work that is aesthetically bad will be morally bad (or that it will be morally good). The argument comprises four stages. First I describe several different features of imaginative engagement with narrative artworks. Then I show that these features depend on some of the aesthetic properties of those (...) works. Third, I argue that these same features of imaginative engagement are morally salient, by virtue of inviting more or less sophisticated and reflective moral responses. Finally, I show that the overall moral value of an artwork depends in part on whether or not the prescribed response is simple or complex, passive or reflective. (shrink)
IT IS DIFFICULT for me to read Pride and Prejudice without empathizing either with Elizabeth Bennet, or sometimes with her father, Mr Bennet. Not only do my own responses to and opinions of the events and characters of the book at times resemble theirs, but even when they do not, I find myself seeing the event from Elizabeth’s or Mr Bennet’s point of view. For example, at the close of the book, Elizabeth’s former dislike of Mr Darcy has completely vanished, (...) in part because of learning of a number of good deeds that Mr Darcy has done very quietly for their family. When Mr Darcy proposes to Elizabeth (for the second time) she is delighted to accept him. However, everyone else in Elizabeth’s family despises Mr Darcy, and they also believe that Elizabeth still hates him. So it is easy to understand Mr Bennet’s surprise and distaste when Mr Darcy asks Mr Bennet for Elizabeth’s hand; after all, Mr Bennet still believes Mr Darcy to be prideful and haughty. While I am not myself surprised to hear Elizabeth’s response—the reader learns much more of Mr Darcy’s character than Mr Bennet does—I do have the experience of imagining being surprised. I am also capable of empathizing with Elizabeth, who is excited, flustered, and a bit ashamed at having so misjudged Mr Darcy early on, and I can imagine having these feelings for people I have misjudged. I can (to some degree) understand why she finds explaining all this to Mr Bennet so difficult. I go back and forth, as I read, between the perspectives of Mr Bennet and Elizabeth. These experiences of mine are experiences of the sort that I call ‘empathizing with fictions’, although we sometimes might describe such experiences by saying that we ‘identified’ with a particular character or characters in a story. (shrink)
Since Phillipa Foot’s paper ‘Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives’ was published some twenty-ﬁve years ago, questions about categorical imperatives and the alleged rationality of acting morally have been of central concern to ethicists. For critics and friends of Kantian ethical theories, these questions have special importance. One of the distinctive features of Kantian ethical theories is that they claim that there are categorical imperatives: imperatives which dictate which actions one should follow insofar as one is rational.This way of (...) parsing morally right action as a kind of rational action seems to side-step at least some of the anti-realist objections that other kinds of moral theories must face.1 Instead, the Kantian must defend the claim that failure to act morally is a failure of rationality. Rationality as a normative concept is sometimes thought to be more clear and perhaps more objective than other basic normative concepts. (shrink)
The essays collected by Karen Tracy, James P. McDaniel, and Bruce E. Gronbeck in The Prettier Doll: Rhetoric, Discourse, and Ordinary Democracy explore the rhetorical details and patterns of grassroots democracy as they emerged in one particular controversy in a Boulder, Colorado, school district in 2001. Attending to the specificities of the case is crucial to the editors' larger mission: to offer a radically localized alternative to the field's penchant for "grand theory," which, they suggest, too often neglects or ignores (...) "the tenacious intrusions of the nonsovereign subject speaking to neighbors and the institutions of the village, town, and city" (37).The essays all explore what, for a while, became known in .. (shrink)
Harold Jeffreys' ideas on the interpretation of probability and epistemology are reviewed. It is argued that with regard to the interpretation of probability, Jeffreys embraces a version of logicism that shares some features of the subjectivism of Ramsey and de Finetti. Jeffreys also developed a probabilistic epistemology, characterized by a pragmatical and constructivist attitude towards notions such as ‘objectivity’, ‘reality’ and ‘causality’. 1 Introductory remarks 2 The interpretation of probability 3 Jeffreys' probabilistic epistemology.
Harold Garfinkel: Memorial Remarks, Recollections and Reflections Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s10746-012-9216-2 Authors Stacy Lee Burns, Loyola Marymount University, University Hall, One LMU Drive, Suite 4341, Los Angeles, CA 90045-2659, USA Journal Human Studies Online ISSN 1572-851X Print ISSN 0163-8548.
This article discusses some empirical materials from a collaborative study of "lecturing's work" which the author conducted with Harold Garfinkel. The paper shows Garfinkel at work by presenting a history of the collaboration and discussing what we found. The article also considers some larger implications of our research for understanding how ethnomethodological studies can recover and discover the material regularities of everyday life as they are practiced in distinct settings. The paper reports on a program of ethnomethodological inquiry for (...) discovering in situ what the produced orderliness of any setting's endogenous tasks, competent courses of action and organizational objects could possibly be. The promise is that just what is identifying of social order, action and meaning is to be found massively, as the routine grounds of everyday activities, and in every case, as something worldly and embodied. (shrink)
Sir Harold Nicolson (1886-1968) is well known as a diarist, man of letters, diplomatic historian, gardener, and broadcaster. Nicolson's bestselling diaries and letters, his many biographies, including the highly acclaimed official life of King George V, and his numerous essays and broadcasts have made him, in the words of his friend and fellow MP Robert Bernays, an international figure of the 'second degree'. -/- Yet there was more to this urbane man than his finely observed diary, stylish writing, and (...) Sissinghurst Castle Garden in Kent, the joint creation of Nicolson and his wife, the writer V. Sackville-West. He also produced a rich and ambitious corpus of writing on the theory and practice of international relations. Nicolson's aristocratic background and upbringing in a diplomatic household, followed by an Oxford classical education and twenty years in diplomacy, combined to forge his distinctive philosophy of international affairs. As a young attaché in Constantinople before the Great War, and in Whitehall during the conflict, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, and en poste in Persia and Germany throughout the 1920s, Nicolson was ideally placed to observe the maelstrom of international politics. As an anti-appeasement and wartime MP (1935-1945), he became a highly regarded authority on international relations. During and after World War II, he turned his mind to the issues of European integration, world government, and the ultimate possibility of global peace. Nicolson has been the subject of two fine biographies. -/- This is the first study of his contribution to international thought. He emerges from it as an important international thinker, alongside theorists as diverse as E. H. Carr and Leonard Woolf. Nicolson's international thought contains elements of realism and idealism, while retaining a distinctive character and a breadth and consistency that render it unique. (shrink)
Edward Harold Fulcher Swain (1883?1970) developed a unique idea about the importance of forests, advocating the creation of a new society based upon forests, and he pursued policies to implement his unique vision of forestry when he served as the Director of Queensland's Forestry Board from 1918 to 1924 and the Forestry Commissioner for New South Wales from 1935 to 1948. Swain's beliefs developed out of a combination of his Australian experiences and connections with foresters in the British Empire (...) and America. When he could not convince Australian elites about the need to create a forest-based society, he asked foresters at the 1947 Empire Forestry Conference in London to assert the primacy of forestry in land management in the British Empire. Many foresters positively received parts of Swain's argument, but his ideas could never be fully implemented in the British Empire because of the dominance of agrarian doctrines of development in post-Second World War colonial planning and the rapid process of decolonization. Swain's life sheds light onto current debates among historians about the origin and legacy of forestry in Australia and the British Empire. His ideas, many that parallel the basic tenets of modern environmentalism, require historians to rethink the relationship between Empire forestry and environmentalism. (shrink)
This book examines the political and international thought of Harold Laski (1893-1950). The early chapters discuss his socialist critique of politics within states, paying close attention to the turbulent environment of the early to mid-twentieth century. His ideas on democracy, rights, freedom and sovereignty are closely analyzed and clarified. The book goes on to discuss the way in which he applied many of his political ideas to the analysis of international politics. The final chapter investigates the contemporary significance of (...) his work. Laski will be of interest to scholars today who explore the overlapping themes of political and international thought. (shrink)
The danger of being a gentleman: reflections on the ruling class in England (1932).-On the study of politics (1926).-Law and justice in soviet Russia (1935).-The judicial function (1936).-The English constitution and French public opinion,1789-1794 (19389.-The committee system in Engish local government (1935).-Nationalism and the future of civilization (1932).-Mr. Justice Holmes: for his eighty-ninth birthday (1930).
Merleau-Ponty finds a philosophical interest in the psychoanalytical clinic, especially in the the clinic of children and hallucinating people, which can support the concepts of flesh and Ineinander. But in the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty there is also a clinical interest, residing in the link he establishes between the flesh, conceived as the origin of existence, and the pathologies that Freud described as “narcissistic” and nowadays called “psychotic” or “borderline” states. To support this hypothesis, we will link Merleau-Ponty’s own “clinic of (...) the origins” and Harold Searles’ theory of narcissistic pathologies based on his clinical experience with schizophrenics. This confrontation will reveal how a philosophy of flesh provides us not only with theoretical points of reference relevant to the clinic of schizophrenia, but also fruitful technical indications regarding the direction towards a cure of such a pathology, indications that join those provided by Searles. (shrink)
This paper takes the passing of Peter McHugh as an occasion to examine the intellectual development of his work. The paper is mainly focused on the product of his collaboration with his colleague and friend, Alan Blum. As such, it addresses the tradition of social inquiry, Analysis, which they cofounded. It traces the influence of Harold Garfinkel’s Ethnomethodology on McHugh and on the beginning of Analysis. The collaboration with Blum is examined through a variety of coauthored works but most (...) especially in the two books On the Beginning of Social Inquiry (1974) and Self Reflection in the Arts and Sciences (1984). It also examines the relation of his independent writing before 1974, and since 1984 to the expression of the tradition of inquiry as exemplified in those two texts. The paper builds on some interview material with Peter McHugh and reflects on the influence of Peter the teacher as well as the theorist McHugh. Most especially, through its engagement with this material, it seeks to exemplify the dialectic and living nature of the program called Analysis. (shrink)