A philosophical assessment of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, exposing some errors of reasoning that undermine part of the foundation of his atheism. Distinctions between theism, atheism and agnosticism are also provided and explored for their significance to Dawkins' argument.
This paper explicates and challenges John Rawl's argument concerning a rule-utilitarian theory of punishment. In so doing, it argues in favour of a retributivist theory of punishment, one that seeks to justify, not only particular forms of punishment, but the institution of punishment itself. Some crucial objections to retributivism are then considered: one regarding the adverse effects of punishment on the innocent, another concerning proportional punishment, a third pertaining to vengeance and retribution, a Marxian concern with retributive punishment, and a (...) concern with the concept of desert. Each objection is deflected in order to ward-off what seem to be the most serious criticisms of a retributivist view of punishment and to clarify the depth of the retributivist position. (shrink)
Given the hundreds of articles and books that have been written in epistemology over the span of just the past few decades, relatively little has been written specifically on epistemic responsibility. What has been written rarely considers the nature of epistemic responsibility and its possible role in epistemic justification or knowledge. Instead, such work concerns philosophical analyses and arguments about related concepts such as epistemic virtues or duties, rather than epistemic praiseworthiness and blameworthiness.2 It is epistemic responsibility in the blameworthiness (...) and praiseworthiness senses that is the primary concern of this paper, though the duty sense of epistemic responsibility is explored in terms of its pertinence to epistemic virtue. What is epistemic responsibility? And what, if anything, is its relationship to justification and knowledge? (shrink)
This paper is an elaboration of my previous paper published in Philosophy, ‘Making Sense of retributivism,’ which was a criticism of John Rawls' attempt in ‘Two Concepts of Rules’ to develop a rule utilitarian theory of punishment wherein utilitarianism is best construed as a justificatory basis for the institution of punishment and retributivism is best construed as serving as a justificatory basis for particular forms of punishment. I challenge this claim, arguing that retributivism must and can provide a justification both (...) for the institution of punishment and for particular forms of punishment. In the end, I develop an analysis of the nature of desert as responsibility and proportionality. This notion of desert makes the best sense of retributivism. (shrink)
This paper contains a philosophical explication of some of the essentials of a Marxist approach to business ethics. A Marxist approach is construed as a moral critique of capitalism. This paper hopes to lay the groundwork for a more detailed analysis of Karl Marx's critique of capitalist economies.
This paper is offered as a tribute to Joel Feinberg. The first section of the paper applies Feinberg’s analysis of freedom of expression to a contemporary case of academic freedom. The second section engages Feinberg’s work on rights and punishment. The paper ends with numerous quotations from Feinberg’s vast array of writings, words that express his ideas on a number of important problems that occupied his mind throughout his fruitful and influential career.
This paper seeks to provide a philosophical analysis of the features of an excellent professor, but a well-balanced one, professionally speaking. What makes for excellence in research, teaching and service is explored in some detail, with attention paid to the contexts of four-year colleges and comprehensive universities in the united states.
In a recent paper in this journal Charles B. Saunders et al. argue that corporations have no social responsibility regarding alienation in the workplace in that there is no significant degree of alienation in the workplace, at least in white collar and management level positions in corporate America.Contrary to Saunders et al., this paper defines the concept of alienation. Having done that, it proceeds to show that the argument Saunders et al. make flounders on logical grounds. I conclude that Saunders (...) et al. provide no evidence for the claim that alienation is lacking (in any degree) in corporate America. (shrink)
Herbert Fingarette  argues that alcoholism is not a disease and that the alleged alcoholic under certain circumstances has the power to control his or her drinking disorders. I shall analyze Fingarette's argument and show that his position rests on some logical and conceptual confusions.In analyzing Fingarette's argument for the self-control theory of drinking disorders I conclude that it is problematic for the following reasons: (1) his argument assumes that the identification of a single cause of alcoholism is a necessary (...) condition of its being a disease; (2) unless it is already assumed (a priori) that persons with drinking disorders possess freedom and self-control to the extent that Fingarette assumes they do, then such persons are likely to suffer from apathy or defeatism regarding their condition; (3) even if Fingarette is correct in his criticism of certain health care programs for those with drinking disorders, it does not follow from this that certain theories about the possible causes of such disorders are false; (4) Fingarette's claim that those with drinking disorders are morally responsible for their actions that result from their disorders is problematic, that is, unless it can be shown that such persons act freely; and (5) Fingarette attempts to support the self-control theory of alcoholism by refuting a straw man conception of the disease model of alcoholism. (shrink)
In this paper I shall discuss various philosophical theories of collective punishment: marxian annihilism, metaphysical collectivism and methodological individualism. After refuting metaphysical collectivism and its modified version, I defend a modification of methodological individualism.
In recent years, there has been a great deal of philosophical discussion about the alleged moral right to die. If there is such a moral right, then it would seem to imply a moral duty on others to not interfere with the exercise of the right. And this might have important implications for public policy insofar as public policy ought to track what is morally right.
This paper examines some of the essential features of Samuel Scheffler's hybrid theory of ethics. Scheffler posits and defends a moral theory which is intended to be neither act-consequentialist nor fully agent-centered. Instead, it provides an agent-centered analysis of moral thinking: one that, unlike consequentialist theories, respects the personal integrity of the moral agent. In this paper I shall do the following: (1) Sketch some of the general points of Scheffler's proposal; (2) Apply Scheffler's ethical theory to the matter of (...) corporate social responsibility; and (3) Raise some objections to this Schefflerian corporate social responsibility theory, along with some modifications of this hybrid theory of corporate social responsibility which are intended to evade such criticisms.The significance of this paper is that it shows that Scheffler's quite innovative ethical theory is problematic as a foundation for a theory of corporate social responsibility. (shrink)
In some recent articles, Dr. Leigh Turner [Doffing the Mask: Why Manuscript Reviewers Ought to Be Identifiable,” Journal of Academic Ethics, 1 (2003), pp. 41–48; “Promoting F.A.I.T.H. in Peer Review: Five Core Attributes in Effective Peer Review,” Journal of Academic Ethics, 1 (2003), pp. 181–188.] makes some rather critical observations regarding the processes of peer-review in academic journals. I shall note them in turn, note wherein I concur and wherein I disagree, and discuss some of Turner's suggestions to resolve such (...) difficulties. It is hoped that my comments on Turner's much-appreciated points will engage readers of this august and well-edited journal to take more seriously Turner's arguments for the sake of the betterment of academic research. (shrink)
In his famous essay, "A Puzzle About Belief," Saul Kripke poses a puzzle regarding belief. In this paper I shall first describe Kripke's puzzle. Second, I shall introduce and examine five positions one might take in attempting to solve Kripke's Puzzle. In so doing, I shall show why each of these attempts fails to solve Kripke's Puzzle. The significance of this analysis is that if Kripke's Puzzle remains unresolved, then (as Kripke himself claims) the normal apparatus for belief ascription needs (...) rethinking. (shrink)
Introduction : approaching Plato's dialogues -- The mouthpiece interpretation -- The anti-mouthpiece interpretation -- A Socratic interpretation of the concept of art as mimesis -- Conclusion : appreciating Plato's dialogues.
It has recently been argued that there is probably no theory of punishment to be found in Immanuel Kant’s writings, but that “if one selects carefully among the many remarks and insights that Kant has left us about crime and punishment, one might even be able to build such an edifice from the bricks provided.” In this paper, I seek to provide part of a foundation of a Kantian theory of punishment, one which is consistent with many, if not all, (...) of Kant’s own insights on justice. Finally, I assess the plausibility of Kant’s view. (shrink)
Mouthpiece interpreters of Plato such as Richard Kraut and Julia Annas believe that Plato had philosophical beliefs, doctrines, and theories that he intended to convey in his dialogues. We argue that some of their primary arguments for this approach to Plato are problematic and that there is a more promising approach to Plato’s dialogues than the mouthpiece interpretation, all things considered.
Shannon Shipp argues for the Modified Vendetta Sanction as a method of corporate-collective punishment. He claims that this sanction evades the difficulties of Peter French's Hester Prynne Sanction. In this paper I argue that, though the Modified Vendetta Sanction evades the problems that Shipp poses for it, it fails to evade some of the difficulties that I pose for French's method. Moreover, there are some difficulties that plague the Modified Vendetta Sanction which do not count against the Hester Prynne Sanction. (...) Therefore, if my analysis holds, then Shipp's method neither improves significantly on the Hester Prynne Sanction nor is unproblematic in its own right. The significance of this paper is that it foils yet another attempt by some corporate punishment theorists to establish the plausibility of a method of corporate-collective punishment. (shrink)
Neither anti-illegal drug proponents nor their detractors have wholly plausible arguments for their positions, because neither takes responsibility for drug use sufficiently seriously. Instead, only a policy that places users’ responsibility at the forefront of the problem is acceptable, one that is sufficiently respectful of actual or potential nonusers’ rights not to be wrongfully harmed, directly or indirectly, by drug use, or coerced to support it in any way.
I set forth and defend an analysis of corporate moral responsibility (retrospective moral liability), which, I argue, ought to serve as the foundation for corporate legal responsibility, punishment, and compensation for environmental damage caused by corporations.
This paper challenges Professor Myles Brand’s position on the role and value of intercollegiate athletics in U.S. colleges and universities on the ground that it fails to account for considerations of deep fiscal responsibility. It presents both a philosophical and ethical criticism of his position that broadens the discussion beyond athletics to include a particular kind of higher educational institution more generally.