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Profile: Jonathan Webber (Cardiff University)
  1. Jonathan Webber, Sartre Studies International Vol. 8, No. 1 (2002).
    Sartre's concept of ‘non-thetic awareness’ must be understood as equivalent to the concept of ‘nonconceptual content’ currently discussed in anglophone epistemology and philosophy of mind, since it could not otherwise play the role in the structure of ‘bad faith’, or self-deception, that Sartre ascribes to it. This understanding of the term makes sense of some otherwise puzzling features of Sartre's early philosophy, and has implications for understanding certain areas of his thought.
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  2. Alberto Masala & Jonathan Webber (eds.) (forthcoming). From Personality to Virtue.
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  3. Jonathan Webber (forthcoming). Instilling Virtue. In Alberto Masala & Jonathan Webber (eds.), From Personality to Virtue.
    Two debates in contemporary philosophical moral psychology have so far been conducted almost entirely in isolation from one another despite their structural similarity. One is the debate over the importance for virtue ethics of the results of situational manipulation experiments in social psychology. The other is the debate over the ethical implications of experiments that reveal gender and race biases in social cognition. In both cases, the ethical problem posed cannot be identified without first clarifying the cognitive structures underlying the (...)
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  4. Jonathan Webber (forthcoming). Sartre's Critique of Husserl. In Sofia Miguens Travis, Clara Morando & Gerhard Preyer (eds.), Prereflective Consciousness: Early Sartre in the Context of Contemporary Philosophy of Mind.
    Sartre provides no detailed definitive statement of his critical appropriation of Husserl’s method of phenomenology, making it unclear whether his scattered comments on Husserl and on phenomenology as a philosophical method amount to a coherent position. Having employed the phenomenological reduction in early works, for example, he argues in Being and Nothingness that it leads Husserl astray, yet continues to hold positions derived from its employment in those earlier works. His argument against Husserl’s theory of the transcendental ego seems to (...)
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  5. Clea F. Rees & Jonathan Webber (2014). Automaticity in Virtuous Action. In Nancy E. Snow & Franco V. Trivigno (eds.), The Philosophy and Psychology of Character and Happiness. Routledge. 75-90.
    Automaticity is rapid and effortless cognition that operates without conscious awareness or deliberative control. An action is virtuous to the degree that it meets the requirements of the ethical virtues in the circumstances. What contribution does automaticity make to the ethical virtue of an action? How far is the automaticity discussed by virtue ethicists consonant with, or even supported by, the findings of empirical psychology? We argue that the automaticity of virtuous action is automaticity not of skill, but of motivation. (...)
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  6. Clea F. Rees & Jonathan Webber (2014). Constancy, Fidelity, and Integrity. In Stan van Hooft (ed.), The Handbook of Virtue Ethics. Acumen. 399-408.
    Integrity consists in constancy of commitment, fidelity to commitments, fidelity to getting it right, and concern with the balance of these attitudes.
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  7. Jonathan Webber (2013). Authenticity. In Steven Churchill & Jack Reynolds (eds.), Jean-Paul Sartre: Key Concepts. Acumen.
    I argue that Sartre's account of the nature and value of authenticity survives Larmore's recent criticism and is preferable to Larmore's alternative account.
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  8. Jonathan Webber (2013). Bad Faith and the Unconscious. In Hugh LaFolette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley.
    Freud's account of repression retains vestiges of the Cartesian model of the mind. Sartre's argument against Freud is essentially an objection to this Cartesian aspect, which Sartre's own theory of bad faith dispenses with.
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  9. Jonathan Webber (2013). Character, Attitude and Disposition. European Journal of Philosophy 21 (1):n/a-n/a.
    Recent debate over the empirical psychological presuppositions of virtue ethics has focused on reactive behavioural dispositions. But there are many character traits that cannot be understood properly in this way. Such traits are well described by attitude psychology. Moreover, the findings of attitude psychology support virtue ethics in three ways. First, they confirm the role of habituation in the development of character. Further, they show virtue ethics to be compatible with the situation manipulation experiments at the heart of the recent (...)
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  10. Jonathan Webber (2013). Cultivating Virtue. In Havi Carel & Darian Meacham (eds.), Phenomenology and Naturalism. Cambridge University Press. 239-259.
    Ought you to cultivate your own virtue? Various philosophers have argued that there is something suspect about directing one’s ethical attention towards oneself in this way. These arguments can be divided between those that deem aiming at virtue for its own sake to be narcissistic and those that consider aiming at virtue for the sake of good behaviour to involve a kind of doublethink. Underlying them all is the assumption that epistemic access to one’s own character requires an external point (...)
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  11. Jonathan Webber (2013). Liar! Analysis 73 (4):651-659.
    We have good reason to condemn lying more strongly than misleading and to condemn bullshit assertion less harshly than lying but more harshly than misleading. We each have good reason to mislead rather than make bullshit assertions, but to make bullshit assertions rather than lie. This is because these forms of deception damage credibility in different ways. We can trust the misleader to assert only what they believe to be true. We can trust the bullshitter not to assert what they (...)
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  12. Jonathan Webber & Robin Scaife (2013). Intentional Side-Effects of Action. Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (2):179-203.
    Recent empirical research into the folk classification of the outcomes of actions as intentional is usually taken to show that such classification has an irreducibly normative dimension. Various interpretations of the experimental data have in common the claim that whether the side-effect of an action counts as intentional depends on some normative valence of that side-effect.1 This is the way that Joshua Knobe, for example, whose experimental research started this debate, understands the data. Some critics of this view claim the (...)
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  13. Jonathan Webber (2012). A Law Unto Oneself. Philosophical Quarterly 62 (246):170-189.
    We should understand the concept of self-legislation that is central to Kant's moral philosophy not in terms of the enactment of statute, but in terms of the way in which judges make law, by setting down and refining precedent through particular judgements. This paper presents a descriptive model of agency based on self-legislation so understood, and argues that we can read Kant's normative ethics as based on this view of agency. It is intended to contribute to contemporary debates in moral (...)
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  14. Jonathan Webber (2011). Climate Change and Public Moral Reasoning. In Thom Brooks (ed.), New Waves in Ethics. Palgrave.
  15. Jonathan Webber, Catalano, Joseph S.
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  16. Jonathan Webber (2011). Freedom. In Sebastian Luft & Søren Overgaard (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Phenomenology. Routledge.
    Human freedom was Jean-Paul Sartre’s central philosophical preoccupation throughout his career. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the cornerstone of his moral and political thought, Being and Nothingness, contains an extensive and subtle account of the metaphysical freedom that he considered fundamental to the kind of existence that humans have. Although rooted in phenomenology, Sartre’s account of freedom draws very little on analysis of the experience of freedom itself. It is rather based on a general phenomenological account of perceptual experience (...)
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  17. Jonathan Webber (2011). Review of Joseph S. Catalano, Reading Sartre. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2011 (2).
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  18. Jonathan Webber (2011). There Is Something About Inez. Think (27):45-56.
    Hell is other people. This miserable-sounding soundbite, the moment of revelation in Jean- Paul Sartre’s shortest play, must be the most quoted line of twentieth-century philosophy. Not even Jacques Derrida’s claim that ‘there is nothing beyond the text’, fondly cherished in some regions of academia, has anything like the cultural reach of what is often taken to be the quintessential Sartrean slogan. And the analytic tradition hardly abounds in snappy lines: meaning just ain’t in the head, to be is to (...)
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  19. Jonathan Webber (2011). Virtue and Vice in the Hurt Locker. Dialogue (37).
    Much of the critical praise for the film concerns the first of these aims. Bigelow’s use of at least four film crews for every scene affords the sense of being present in the situation, continuously shifting perspective, alert to possible danger. The relative anonymity of the scenery, clearly somewhere in the Middle East but not clearly anywhere in particular, fosters this uneasy sense of immersion in an unfamiliar scenario where the sources of danger are unpredictable. Protracted periods of silence, punctuated (...)
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  20. Jonathan Webber (2010). Bad Faith and the Other. In , Reading Sartre: On Phenomenology and Existentialism. Routledge.
    Nothingness , is his use of extended narrative vignettes that immediately resound with the reader’s own experience yet are intended to illustrate, perhaps also to support, complex and controversial theoretical claims about the structures of conscious experience and the shape of the human condition. Among the best known of these are his description of Parisian café waiters, who somehow contrive to caricature themselves, and his analysis of feeling shame upon being caught spying through a keyhole. There is some disagreement among (...)
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  21. Jonathan Webber (2010). Existentialism. In John Skorupski (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Ethics. Routledge.
    Since it gained currency at the end of the second world war, the term “existentialism” has mostly been associated with a cultural movement that grew out of the wartime intellectual atmosphere of the Left Bank in Paris and spread through fiction and art as much as philosophy. The theoretical and other writings of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, and Frantz Fanon in the 1940s and 1950s are usually taken as central to this movement, as are the sculptures of (...)
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  22. Jonathan Webber (ed.) (2010). Reading Sartre: On Phenomenology and Existentialism. Routledge.
    The fourteen original essays in this volume focus on the phenomenological and existentialist writings of the first major phase of his published career, arguing ...
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  23. Jonathan Webber (2010). Character. The Philosophers' Magazine (50):112-113.
    ‘Of all the difficulties which impede the progress of thought and the formation of well- grounded opinions on life and social arrangements’, wrote John Stuart Mill around 150 years ago, ‘the greatest is now the unspeakable ignorance and inattention of mankind in respect of the influences which form character’. Aristotle is never far in the background of Mill’s moral and political philosophy, a presence weightier than Jeremy Bentham’s in the foreground. That this is often overlooked is not only because thinkers (...)
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  24. Jonathan Webber (2009). Reconstructing Alfie. The Philosophers' Magazine (47):61-66.
    Good stories tend to get told and retold, over and over again, mutating in the process. They adapt to different times and places, taking on and sloughing off embellishments as they are handed on. They persist through a kind of evolution. This is how it has always been and how it must be. Tales cannot survive otherwise. But this does not mean that all mutations are equally acceptable. For critical discussion is part of the environment in which stories survive. So (...)
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  25. Jonathan Webber (2009). Sex. Philosophy 84 (2):233-250.
    The sexual domain is unified only by the phenomenal quality of the occurrence of the desires, activities, and pleasures classed as sexual. There is no conceptual restriction on the range of intentional objects those desires, activities, and pleasures can take. Neither is there good conceptual reason to privilege some sexual desires, activities, or pleasures as paradigmatic. Since the phenomenal quality unifying the sexual domain is not itself morally significant, the morality of sexuality is no different from morality in general. The (...)
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  26. Jonathan Webber (2009). The Existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre. Routledge.
    Understanding ourselves -- The reality of character -- Situations -- Freely chosen projects -- Radical freedom -- Anguish, bad faith, and sincerity -- The project of bad faith -- God and the useless passion -- One another -- The virtue of authenticity -- Being one self.
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  27. Jonathan Webber (2008). Green-Blooded Passion. The Philosophers' Magazine 43:113-114.
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  28. Jonathan Webber (2007). Character, Common-Sense, and Expertise. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (1):89 - 104.
    Gilbert Harman has argued that the common-sense characterological psychology employed in virtue ethics is rooted not in unbiased observation of close acquaintances, but rather in the ‘fundamental attribution error’. If this is right, then philosophers cannot rely on their intuitions for insight into characterological psychology, and it might even be that there is no such thing as character. This supports the idea, urged by John Doris and Stephen Stich, that we should rely exclusively on experimental psychology for our explanations of (...)
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  29. Jonathan Webber (2007). Character, Global and Local. Utilitas 19 (4):430-434.
    Philosophers have recently argued that we should revise our understanding of character. An individual’s behaviour is governed not by a set of ‘global’ traits, each elicited by a certain kind of situational feature, but by a much larger array of ‘local’ traits, each elicited by a certain combination of situational features. The data cited by these philosophers supports their theory only if we conceive of traits purely in terms of stimulus and response, rather than in the more traditional terms of (...)
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  30. Jonathan Webber (2006). Character, Consistency, and Classification. Mind 115 (459):651-658.
    John Doris has recently argued that since we do not possess character traits as traditionally conceived, virtue ethics is rooted in a false empirical presupposition. Gopal Sreenivasan has claimed, in a paper in Mind, that Doris has not provided suitable evidence for his empirical claim. But the experiment Sreenivasan focuses on is not one that Doris employs, and neither is it relevantly similar in structure. The confusion arises because both authors use the phrase ‘cross-situational consistency’ to describe the aspect of (...)
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  31. Jonathan Webber (2006). Sartre's Theory of Character. European Journal of Philosophy 14 (1):94–116.
    Various ethical theories recommend developing a morally sound character, and therefore require an understanding of the nature and development of traits. Philosophers usually accept the Aristotelian view that traits are a combination of habit and insight. Sartre’s early work offers an alternative: traits consist in projects. One aim of this paper is to show that this is indeed Sartre’s view, by explaining the errors that have lead philosophers to ignore his theory of character or deny that he has one. The (...)
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  32. Jonathan Webber (2006). Virtue, Character and Situation. Journal of Moral Philosophy 3 (2):193-213.
    Philosophers have recently argued that traditional discussions of virtue and character presuppose an account of behaviour that experimental psychology has shown to be false. Behaviour does not issue from global traits such as prudence, temperance, courage or fairness, they claim, but from local traits such as sailing-in-rough-weather-with-friends-courage and office-party-temperance. The data employed provides evidence for this view only if we understand it in the light of a behaviourist construal of traits in terms of stimulus and response, rather than in the (...)
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  33. Jonathan Webber (2002). Doing Without Representation: Coping with Dreyfus. Philosophical Explorations 5 (1):82-88.
    Hubert Dreyfus argues that the traditional and currently dominant conception of an action, as an event initiated or governed by a mental representation of a possible state of affairs that the agent is trying to realise, is inadequate. If Dreyfus is right, then we need a new conception of action. I argue, however, that the considerations that Dreyfus adduces show only that an action need not be initiated or governed by a conceptual representation, but since a representation need not be (...)
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  34. Jonathan Webber (2002). Motivated Aversion: Non-Thetic Awareness in Bad Faith. Sartre Studies International 8 (1):45-57.
    Sartre's concept of ‘non-thetic awareness’ must be understood as equivalent to the concept of ‘nonconceptual content’ currently discussed in anglophone epistemology and philosophy of mind, since it could not otherwise play the role in the structure of ‘bad faith’, or self-deception, that Sartre ascribes to it. This understanding of the term makes sense of some otherwise puzzling features of Sartre's early philosophy, and has implications for understanding certain areas of his thought.
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  35. Jonathan Webber (2002). Whatever Next? The Philosophers' Magazine 20:37-38.
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  36. Jonathan Webber (2001). Too Serious Sartre? The Philosophers' Magazine 16:46-47.
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  37. Jonathan Webber (2000). Seeing-in-the-World. Philosophical Writings 14:3-14.
     
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  38. Jonathan Webber (1992). The Future of Auschwitz: Some Personal Reflections. Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies.
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