This commentary on Bernard Gert’s Hobbes: Prince of Peace offers criticism of Gert’s assumption that the conceptual basis of the moral and political theory that Hobbes expounds in De Cive is the same as the conceptual basis of his moral and political theory in Leviathan.
This paper uses a study of the opinions in a case recently decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., to explain the role of empathy in legal interpretation. I argue for two theses: (1) that empathy is essential to an interpretation of law if that interpretation is to serve the interests of justice and (2) that no interpretation of a law is sound if it ignores whether so interpreting the law serves the interests of (...) justice. (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive handbook in the philosophy of criminal law. It contains seventeen original essays by leading thinkers in the field and covers the field's major topics including limits to criminalization, obscenity and hate speech, blackmail, the law of rape, attempts, accomplice liability, causation, responsibility, justification and excuse, duress, provocation and self-defense, insanity, punishment, the death penalty, mercy, and preventive detention and other alternatives to punishment. It will be an invaluable resource for scholars and students whose research and (...) studies concern philosophical issues in criminal law and criminal law theory. (shrink)
This article is a reply to Anthony Skelton's . Professor Skelton, in his article, makes several objections to the account of Sidgwick's epistemology I presented in my earlier article . I answer these objections by further explaining my account.
Emotions, Values, and the Law brings together ten of John Deigh's essays written over the past fifteen years. In the first five essays, Deigh ask questions about the nature of emotions and the relation of evaluative judgment to the intentionality of emotions, and critically examines the cognitivist theories of emotion that have dominated philosophy and psychology over the past thirty years. A central criticism of these theories is that they do not satisfactorily account for the emotions of babies or animals (...) other than human beings. Drawing on this criticism, Deigh develops an alternative theory of the intentionality of emotions on which the education of emotions explains how human emotions, which innately contain no evaluative thought, come to have evaluative judgments as their principal cognitive component. The second group of five essays challenge the idea of the voluntary as essential to understanding moral responsibility, moral commitment, political obligation, and other moral and political phenomena that have traditionally been thought to depend on people's will. Each of these studies focuses on a different aspect of our common moral and political life and shows, contrary to conventional opinion, that it does not depend on voluntary action or the exercise of a will constituted solely by rational thought. Together, the essays in this collection represent an effort to shift our understanding of the phenomena traditionally studied in moral and political philosophy from that of their being products of reason and will, operating independently of feeling and sentiment to that of their being manifestations of the work of emotion. (shrink)
This article concerns two themes in Bart Schultz's recent biography of Henry Sidgwick, Henry Sidgwick: Eye of the Universe. The first is the importance of Sidgwick's conflict over his religious beliefs to the development of his thinking in The Methods of Ethics. I suggest that, in addition to the characteristics of Methods that Schulz highlights, the work's epistemology, specifically, Sidgwick's program of presenting ethics as an axiomatic system on the traditional understanding of such systems, is due to the conflict. The (...) second is the relative neglect into which Methods fell in the first part of the twentieth century, neglect Schultz attributes to changes in philosophical fashions and to the undue influence of the Bloomsbury literati on British intellectual culture. I suggest that there is a deeper explanation, which lies in Sidgwick's program of presenting ethics as an axiomatic system on the traditional understanding of such systems. Such programs, I argue, became obsolete in analytic philosophy owing to changes in how axiomatization in mathematics was understood that resulted initially from the rise of non-Euclidean geometries and ultimately from the collapse of Frege's and Russell's logicism. (shrink)
This is a critical study of Martha Nussbaum’s Hiding from Humanity. Central to Nussbaum’s book are arguments against society’s or the state’s using disgust and shame to forward the aims of the criminal law. Patrick Devlin’s appeal to the common man’s disgust to determine what acts of customary morality should be made criminal is an example of how society might use disgust to forward the aims of the criminal law. The use of so-called shaming penalties as alternative sanctions to imprisonment (...) is an example of how society might use shame for this purpose. I argue that despite Nussbaum’s own view to the contrary, her arguments against such uses of disgust and shame are best understood as criticisms of programs of conservative political philosophy like Devlin’s and not of the emotions themselves. (shrink)
J. B. Schneewind's Sidgwick's Ethics and Victorian Moral Philosophy surpassed all previous treatments of Sidgwick's The Methods of Ethics by showing how Sidgwick's work follows a coherent plan of argument for a conception of ethics as grounded in practical reason. Schneewind offered his interpretation as the product of a historical rather than a critical study. This article undertakes a critical study of Sidgwick's work based on Schneewind's interpretation. Its thesis is that the conception of ethics for which Sidgwick argued is (...) incoherent. As a result, it is argued, the coherent plan of argument in the Methods that Schneewind disclosed masks a deep incoherence in the argument itself. Correspondence:c1 email@example.com. (shrink)
The essays in this collection are concerned with the psychology of moral agency. They focus on moral feelings and moral motivation, and seek to understand the operations and origins of these phenomena as rooted in the natural desires and emotions of human beings. An important feature of the essays, and one that distinguishes the book from most philosophical work in moral psychology, is the attention to the writings of Freud. Many of the essays draw on Freud's ideas about conscience and (...) morality, while several explore the depths and limits of Freud's theories. An underlying theme of the volume is a critique of influential rationalist accounts of moral agency. John Deigh shows that one can subject the principles of morality to rational inquiry without thereby holding that reason alone can originate action. (shrink)
The paper examines the question of whether a person could know the difference between right and wrong and have the capacity to control his or her conduct yet not be moved by his or her knowledge of right or wrong. It proceeds by considering psychopathy and inquiring into the nature of the psychopath's cognitive deficits, if any. One possibility is that psychopaths are inconsistent in the sense of Kant's test of universalizability. This possibility is rejected after considerable argument. A second (...) possibility is that psychopaths are incapable of empathy. Consideration of recent work in developmental psychology leads to the conclusion that this possibility remains open. (shrink)
This anthology focuses on emotions and motives that relate to our status as moral agents, our capacity for moral judgement, and the practices that help to define our social lives. Attachment, trust, respect, conscience, guilt, revenge, depravity, and forgiveness are among the topics discussed. Collectively, the thirteen essays in this collection represent a time-honored tradition in ethics: the effort to throw light on fundamental questions concerning the complexities of the human soul.
Rights are commonly linked to responsibilities. One commonly hears remarks about the rights and responsibilities of teachers, parents, students, etc. This linking together of the two is the topic of this paper. The paper is divided into four sections. In the first section I distinguish three accounts of the relation between rights and esponsibilities any of which we could have in mind when linking the two together, and I single out the third account for further study. Unlike the other two, (...) it seems to offer fresh material for the theory of rights. In the second section I develop this material. I explicate the general relation between rights and responsibilities as this third account represents it, and I specify the grounds for attributing such a relation to them. My aim here is to elucidate a conception of rights that certain legal and political rights can be taken to exemplify and that has been ignored or obscured in recent work in the theory of rights. In the last two sections I turn my attention to human rights. I argue in Section III that Locke's theory of natural rights can be interpreted as upholding the conception of rights elucidated in the preceding section, and I consider and criticize in Section IV an account of the relation between certain human rights and responsibilities that comes from Joel Feinberg's distinction between mandatory and discretionary rights. The arguments of these two sections are meant to strengthen the case for making room in the theory of rights for the conception elucidated in Section II. (shrink)
Theories about man's moral sensibilities, particularly his sense of justice, tend to reflect either optimism or pessimism about human nature. Among modern theorists Hobbes, Hume, and Freud are perhaps the most outstanding representatives of pessimism. Recently, optimistic theories, which view the sense of justice as linked essentially to the sentiments of love and friendship, have found favor with philosophers. Of these theories John Rawls's is the most notable. Section I considers the conceptual scheme optimists advance to establish this view of (...) the sense of justice and argues that it has serious problems. Section II examines Rawls's account of moral development, which is an especially well worked out account on the optimistic side, and argues that, because it relies on the conceptual scheme discussed in Section I, it too is seriously problematic. Finally, Section III suggests that behind these problems lie reasons favoring a pessimistic view like Hume's or Freud's. (shrink)