There are many interesting questions to ask about cosmopolitan arguments. Is it true that the sphere of moral concern is global? Which sets of actions would realize the outcomes of global justice that cosmopolitans seek? Are those sets of actions feasible, and when we compare them against each other, which is the most feasible? The question I want to focus on in this paper is a question of the latter kind, but I want to take a slightly unique approach to (...) it. I shall ask which of the two dominant arguments for duties to alleviate global poverty, supposing their premises were generally accepted, would be more likely to produce the desired outcome. I take Pogge's argument for obligations grounded in principles of justice, a "contribution" argument, and Campbell's argument for obligations grounded in principles of humanity, an "assistance" argument, to be prototypical. Were people to accept the premises of Campbell's argument, how likely would they be to support governmental reform in policies for international aid, or to make individual contributions to international aid organizations? And I ask the same question, mutatis mutandis, for Pogge's argument. (shrink)
The humanity formulation of Kant's Categorical Imperative demands that we treat humanity as an end in itself. Because this principle resonates with currently influential ideals of human rights and dignity, contemporary readers often find it compelling, even if the rest of Kant's moral philosophy leaves them cold. Moreover, some prominent specialists in Kant's ethics have recently turned to the humanity formulation as the most theoretically central and promising principle of Kant's ethics. Nevertheless, it has received less attention (...) than many other aspects of Kant's ethics. Richard Dean offers the most sustained and systematic examination of the humanity formulation to date. He presents an original analysis of what it means to treat humanity as an end in itself, and examines the implications both for Kant scholarship and for practical guidance on specific moral issues. (shrink)
Fifty years after his death, the thought of the French scientist and Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) continues to inspire new ways of understanding humanity’s future. Trained as a paleontologist and philosopher, Teilhard was an innovative synthesizer of science and religion, developing an idea of evolution as an unfolding of material and mental worlds into an integrated, holistic universe at what he called the Omega Point. His books, such as the bestselling The Phenomenon of Man, have influenced generations (...) of ecologists, environmentalists, planners, and others concerned with the fate of the earth.This book brings together original essays by leading experts who reflect on Teilhard’s legacy for today’s globalized world. They explore such topics as: the idea of God and the person; quantum reality and Teilhard’s vision; spiritual resources for the future; politics and economics; and a charter for co-evolution. (shrink)
Kant emphasizes that moral philosophy must be divided into two parts, a metaphysics of morals, and an empirical application to individuals, which Kant calls 'moral anthropology'. But Kant gives humanity (die Menschheit) a prominent role even in the purely rational part of ethics – for example, one formulation of the categorical imperative is a demand to treat humanity as an end in itself. This paper argues that the only concepts of humanity suited to play such a role (...) are the rational idea of humanity, and the rational ideal derived from this idea, which Kant discusses in Critique of Practical Reason and other texts. (shrink)
Writers like Christine Korsgaard and Allen Wood understand Kant's idea of rational nature as an end in itself as a commitment to a substantive value. This makes it hard for them to explain the supposed equivalence between the universal law and humanity formulations of the categorical imperative, since the former does not appear to assert any substantive value. Nor is it easy for defenders of value-based readings to explain Kant's claim that the law-giving nature of practical reason makes all (...) beings with practical reason regard the idea of a rational nature as an end in itself. This article seeks to replace these value-based readings with a reading of the idea of rational nature as an end that fits better with the overall argument of the Groundwork. (shrink)
Kant offers the following argument for the formula of humanity (FH): Each rational agent necessarily conceives of her own rational nature as an end in itself and does so on the same grounds as every other rational agent, so all rational agents must conceive of one another's rational nature as an end in itself. As it stands, the argument appears to be question-begging and fallacious. Drawing on resources from the formula of universal law (FUL) and Kant's claims about the (...) primacy of duties to oneself, I propose a contractualist reconstruction of this puzzling line of reasoning. (shrink)
The result of a lifetime of research and contemplation on global phenomena, this book explores the idea of humanity in the modern age of globalization. Tracking the idea in the historical, philosophical, legal, and political realms, this is a concise and illuminating look at a concept that has defined the twentieth century.
The former says to choose one’s basic guiding principles (or “maxims”) on the basis of their fitness to serve as universal laws, the latter to always treat the humanity in each person as an end, and never as a means only. Commentators and critics have been puzzled by Kant’s claims that these are two alternative statements of the same basic law, and have raised various objections to Kant’s suggestion that these are the most basic formulas of a fully justified (...) human morality. This dissertation offers new readings of these two formulas, shows how, on these readings, the formulas do indeed turn out being alternative statements of the same basic moral law, and in the process responds to many of the standard objections raised against Kant’s theory. Its first chapter briefly explores the ways in which Kant draws on his philosophical predecessors such as Plato (and especially Plato’s Republic) and Jean-Jacque Rousseau. The second chapter offers a new reading of the relation between the universal law and humanity formulas by relating both of these to a third formula of Kant’s, the “Law of Nature” formula, and also to Kant’s ideas about laws in general and human nature in particular. The third chapter considers and rejects some influential recent attempts to understand Kant’s argument for the humanity formula, and offers an alternative reconstruction instead. Chapter four considers what it is to flourish as a human being in line with Kant’s basic formulas of morality, and argues that the standard readings of the humanity formula cannot properly account for its relation to Kant’s views about the highest human good. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Note on citation style; Abbreviations and works cited by title; Introduction; 1. The question of moral relativism; 2. Happiness and the moral life; 3. History and human destiny; 4. The concept of race; 5. Language and world; 6. The place of reason; 7. Religious diversity; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
The Colombian military and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) have committed systematic attacks against the Colombian people that violate international law. One such heinous incident took place in May 2003 at the Betoyes Guahibo indigenous reserve in Colombia. Unlike other acts of terror, the attack at the Reserve is well documented. Because of this, the attack on the Reserve is an excellent case for International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution. This article exposes acts of cruelty and makes a persuasive (...) moral case for ICC prosecution. The ICC has jurisdiction over the attack on the Betoyes people by the AUC and Colombian military. The article further discusses the potential legal exposure of the Colombian government, individual Colombians and US individuals through its military support and training of the Colombian military. (shrink)
Introduction: The sanctity of life and its discontents -- Our morality : selfish genes and cultural clout -- The Judeo-Christian idea : transcending our selfish genes -- The Judeo-Christian idea against genocide -- The Judeo-Christian idea against slavery -- Falling backwards : the abandonment of the Judeo-Christian idea and the return of genocide and slavery -- The rising : the Judeo-Christian idea in the post-war world -- The myth of biblical immorality -- The myth ofJudeo-Christian atrocities -- The myth of (...) enlightenment perfection -- Conclusion: Hubris and humility. (shrink)
In ‘An Almost Absolute Value in History’ John T. Noonan criticizes several attempts to provide a criterion for when an entity deserves rights. These criteria, he argues are either arbitrary or lead to absurd consequence. Noonan proposes human conception as the criterion of rights, and justifies it by appeal to the sharp shift in probability, at conception, of becoming a being possessed of human reason. Conception, then, is when abortion becomes immoral.The article has an historical and a philosophical goal. The (...) historical goal is to carefully present the probability argument in a charitable manner. The philosophical goal is to offer a unique criticism of Noonan's probability argument against abortion. I argue that, even on a very charitable reading of Noonan's argument for the conception criterion, this criterion is also susceptible to charges of arbitrariness and absurdity. Noonan's claim that probability shifts have anything to do with the moral rights of fetuses cannot be made coherent. I also show that there are problems with Noonan's assumptions about moral rights and the potential to become a being possessed of human reason. (shrink)
This new volume of philosophical papers by Bernard Williams is divided into three sections: the first Action, Freedom, Responsibility, the second Philosophy, Evolution and the Human Sciences; in which appears the essay which gives the collection its title; and the third Ethics, which contains essays closely related to his 1983 book Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. Like the two earlier volumes of Williams's papers published by Cambridge University Press, Problems of the Self and Moral Luck, this volume will be (...) welcomed by all readers with a serious interest in philosophy. It is published alongside a volume of essays on Williams's work, World, Mind, and Ethics: Essays on the Ethical Philosophy of Bernard Williams, edited by J. E. J. Altham and Ross Harrison, which provides a reappraisal of his work by other distinguished thinkers in the field. (shrink)
In this paper I sketch a liberal studies course designed to explore our fundamental problem of thought and life: How can our human world exist and best flourish embedded as it is in the physical universe? The fundamental character of this problem provides one with the opportunity to explore a wide range of issues. What does physics tell us about the universe and ourselves? How do we account for everything physics leaves out? How can living brains be conscious? If everything (...) occurs in accordance with physical law, what becomes of free will? How does Darwin's theory of evolution contribute to the solution to the fundamental problem? What is the history of thought about this problem? What is of most value associated with human life? What kind of civilized world should we seek to help create? Why is the fundamental problem not a part of standard education in schools and universities? What are the most serious global problems confronting humanity? Can humanity learn to make progress towards as good a world as possible? These are some of the questions that can be tackled as an integral part of exploring the fundamental problem. But the course does not merely wander at random from one issue to another. Taking the fundamental problem as central provides the course with a coherent structure. The course would be conducted as a seminar, and it would respond to queries and suggestions from students. (shrink)
Throughout the medieval and modern periods, in various sacred and secular guises, the unification of all forms of knowledge under the rubric of ‘science’ has been taken as the prerogative of humanity as a species. However, as our sense of species privilege has been called increasingly into question, so too has the very salience of ‘humanity’ and ‘science’ as general categories, let alone ones that might bear some essential relationship to each other. After showing how the ascendant Stanford (...) School in the philosophy of science has contributed to this joint demystification of ‘humanity’ and ‘science’, I proceed on a more positive note to a conceptual framework for making sense of science as the art of being human. My understanding of ‘science’ is indebted to the red thread that runs from Christian theology through the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment to the Humboldtian revival of the university as the site for the synthesis of knowledge as the culmination of self-development. Especially salient to this idea is science‘s epistemic capacity to manage modality (i.e. to determine the conditions under which possibilities can be actualised) and its political capacity to organize humanity into projects of universal concern. However, the challenge facing such an ideal in the twentyfirst century is that the predicate ‘human’ may be projected in three quite distinct ways, governed by what I call ‘ecological’, ‘biomedical’ and ‘cybernetic’ interests. Which one of these future humanities would claim today’s humans as proper ancestors and could these futures co-habit the same world thus become two important questions that general philosophy of science will need to address in the coming years. (shrink)
Drawing on Lennart Nordenfelt’s distinction between the four distinct senses of dignity, I elucidate the meaning of dignity in the context of research involving human subjects. I acknowledge that different interpretations of the personal senses of dignity may be acceptable in human subject research, but that inherent dignity (Menschenwürde) is not open to interpretation in the same way. In order to map out the grounds for interpreting dignity, I examine the unique application of the principle of respect for dignity in (...) Canada’s research ethics guidelines. These guidelines are unique because they consider dignity to be a foundational concept and the protection of the dignity of research subjects is regarded as a measure that prevents “the impoverishment of humanity as a whole”. While the conception of humanity invoked here is incomplete, Canada’s research ethics guidelines nevertheless represent a more European approach to biomedical policy. Finally, in order to correct a pervasive blind spot in contemporary policy on research involving human subjects, I sketch a functional model for attributing inherent dignity that avoids the untenable connotations of speciesism. (shrink)
In the United Kingdom, clinical governance has become a master narrative for health care over the last decade. While many see this political imperative as embodying both enlightening and humanistic goals, I argue that it has also become an apparatus for resuscitating a hypermodernist worldview which further conceals the political drivers of health care delivery. While resistance to clinical governance seems futile, insistence on the inclusion of historical analysis in understanding modern health care delivery may be profitable. Drawing from selected (...) dramatic texts by Henrik Ibsen, an historical moment of clinical governance may be analysed showing the complex interplay of the personal, social, empirical and ethical dimensions of health care delivery. (shrink)
Recently, on the History Channel, artificial intelligence (AI) was singled out, with much wringing of hands, as one of the seven possible causes of the end of human life on Earth. I argue that the wringing of hands is quite inappropriate: the best thing that could happen to humans, and the rest of life of on planet Earth, would be for us to develop intelligent machines and then usher in our own extinction.
Emotions have not received sufficient attention in business ethics. This paper identifies the positive role of emotions in human judgment and attitudes. It then argues that emotions as well as feelings on the part of managers and their employees can be positive forces for both business managers and for the organizations they lead. Allowing emotions a stronger role in business affairs could serve in putting a more human face on both managers and their organizations.
Using the accounts of Gewirth and Griffin as examples, the article criticises accounts of human rights as those are understood in human rights practices, which regard them as rights all human beings have in virtue of their humanity. Instead it suggests that (with Rawls) human rights set the limits to the sovereignty of the state, but criticises Rawls conflation of sovereignty with legitimate authority. The resulting conception takes human rights, like other rights, to be contingent on social conditions, and (...) in particular on the nature of the international system. (shrink)
Some people feel distressed reflecting on human extinction. Some people even claim that our efforts and lives would be empty and pointless if humanity becomes extinct, even if this will not occur for millions of years. In this essay, I will attempt to demonstrate that this claim is false. The desire for long-lastingness or quasi-immortality is often unwittingly adopted as a standard for judging whether our efforts are significant. If we accomplish our goals and then later in life conclude (...) that these accomplishments were of no significance, then this is a sign that the desire for long-lastingness has crept into our standards. By recognizing this, and refraining from adopting an unreasonable standard to judge whether our efforts are significant, it will be to our advantage. Then, when we look back on life from an external perspective that encompasses times after humanity has become extinct, we will not conclude that our efforts amounted to nothing. Rather, we will conclude that many people made significant accomplishments that made their lives and the lives of other people better than they would have been if their goals had never been pursued. (shrink)
History and literature provide striking examples of people who are morally admirable, in part, because of their profound faith in people’s decency. But moral philosophers have largely ignored this trait, and I suspect that many philosophers would view such faith with suspicion, dismissing it as a form of naïvete or as some other objectionable form of irrationality. I argue that such suspicion is misplaced, and that having a certain kind of faith in people’s decency, which I call faith in (...) class='Hi'>humanity, is a centrally important moral virtue. In order to make this view intuitively more plausible, I discuss two moral exemplars – one historical and the other literary – whose lives vividly exhibit such faith. Then I provide a rationale for the view that having such faith is morally admirable. Finally, I discuss cases in which someone’s faith in humanity can lead her to make judgments that are, to some degree, epistemically irrational. I argue that the existence of such cases does not pose a serious objection to the view that having faith in humanity is a moral virtue. Rather, it makes salient important limits on the role that epistemic, as opposed to practical, rationality should occupy in our ideals of how to live. (shrink)
Kant's Formula of Humanity famously forbids treating others merely as a means. It is unclear, however, what exactly treating someone merely as a means comes to. This essay argues against an interpretation of this idea advanced by Christine Korsgaard and Onora O'Neill. The essay then develops a new interpretation that suggests an important connection between the Formula of Humanity and Kant's political philosophy: the content of many of our moral duties depends on the results of political philosophy and, (...) indeed, on the results of actual political decision making. (shrink)
This paper defends an egalitarian conception of global justice against two kinds of criticism. Many who defend egalitarian principles of justice do so on the basis that all humans are part of a common 'association' of some kind. In this paper I defend the humanity-centred approach which holds that persons should be included within the scope of distributive justice simply because they are fellow human beings. The paper has four substantive sections - the first addresses Andrea Sangiovanni's reciprocity-based argument (...) for the claim that egalitarian principles apply only within the state. The second responds to Michael Blake's coercion-based argument for the thesis that egalitarian principles apply only within the state. A third section draws attention to a general problem with associational accounts of distributive justice. Finally, I seek to show how a humanity-centred cosmopolitanism can accommodate the insights associated with an associational approach. (shrink)
I argue that contraception is morally wrong but that periodic abstinence (or natural family planning) is not. Further, I argue that altered nuclear transfer—a proposed technique for creating human stem cells without destroying human embryos—is morally wrong for the same reason that contraception is. Contrary to what readers might expect, my argument assumes nothing about the morality of cloning or abortion and requires no premises about God or natural teleology. Instead, I argue that contraception and altered nuclear transfer are morally (...) wrong because they fail to treat humanity as an inviolable end. (shrink)
This book offers an exciting re-interpretation of Auguste Comte, the founder of French sociology. Following the development of his philosophy of positivism, Comte later focused on the importance of the emotions in his philosophy resulting in the creation of a new religious system, the Religion of Humanity. Andrew Wernick provides the first in-depth critique of Comte's concept of religion and its place in his thinking on politics, sociology and philosophy of science. He places Comte's ideas in the context of (...) post-1789 French political and intellectual history, and of modern philosophy, especially postmodernism. Wernick relates Comte to Marx and Nietzsche as seminal figures of modernity and examines key features of modern and postmodern French social theory, tracing the inherent flaws and disintegration of Comte's system. Wernick offers original and fascinating insights in this rich study which will attract a wide audience from sociologists and philosophers to cultural theorists and historians. (shrink)
Contemporary Kant scholarship generally takes Kant’s conception of humanity in his ethical writings to refer to beings with rational capacities. 1 According to this interpretation, when Kant tells us in the Categorical Imperative’s Formula of Humanity [FH] to “act so that you use humanity…always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means,” we are to treat anyone with rational capacities this way. 2 However, Richard Dean has recently revived an alternative interpretation that he (...) traces to H. J. Paton. 3 According to this interpretation, by ‘humanity’ Kant really means the good will, and, furthermore, Dean takes this interpretation to be the more defensible view within Kant’s ethical system. (shrink)