In The Agrarian Vision , Thompson argues that a better appreciation of agrarian ideals could lead to a more virtuous, more sustainable way of life. While I agree with Thompson in many respects, there are some aspects of the book that I question and others that I would like to hear Thompson explicate in greater detail. In this paper, I question Thompson’s claim that agrarian farmers and farming communities serve as ideal models of virtuous habits and good character. I challenge (...) Thompson’s use of virtue theory, particularly the notion that farming virtues can be acquired without participating in farming practices. In the end, I make the point that Thompson seems to vacillate between being realistic and being idealistic, which may seriously complicate our notions of responsibility and obligation in practice. (shrink)
McBride, Glen I was brought up a good Anglican boy by two non-religious parents. My mother was probably an incipient feminist. I knew my father better but never heard him discuss anything religious. At 19, I arrived in England, a bookworm in the RAAF and discovered George Bernard Shaw in perhaps the most exciting mind-opening time of my life. He introduced me to the word 'agnostic' and made it clear that no one had anything worth saying for or against (...) god and its existence. He convinced me - as I'm sure he had many others. I immediately pronounced myself agnostic and in the almost seventy years since, have never found a reason to change that decision. (shrink)
A serious retardant to development of a specifically public relations (PR) ethical philosophy is the tendency to retain a commitment uniquely journalistic? objectivity. Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays offered two ethical options or imperatives, based on objectivity or on advocacy. Public relations must accept a commitment to the ethics of persuasion in order to reduce a crippling inferiority complex and advance understanding of the profession by its practitioners as well as the public.
Memory researchers have discussed the relationship between consciousness and memory frequently in the last few decades. Beginning with research by Warrington and Weiskrantz (1968; 1970), memory has been shown to influence task performance even without awareness of retrieval. Data from amnesic patients show that a study episode influences task performance despite their lack of conscious memory for the study session. More recently, issues of intentionality, awareness, and the relationship between conscious and unconscious forms of memory have come to the forefront. (...) Conscious memory has sometimes been defined by intention to retrieve and sometimes by awareness of retrieval. This distinction has been debated as measurement methodologies have developed. In addition, the functional relationship between conscious and automatic forms of memory has implications for measurement of memory processes and the development of models of memory task performance. Several measurement techniques for conscious and automatic memory are reviewed. The current state of these issues is also discussed. (shrink)
McBride offers a succinct summary of Gould’s book and ponders what the significance of theoretical discussions of the nature of human rights and degrees of democracy might be for our time when the U.S. government has descended into “barbarism” and made a sham out of anything resembling democracy. He concludes that Gould’s book is “first rate” as “a learned exercise in dreaming,” granting against his own deep pessimism that one can never know for sure that “dreams” may not turn (...) out to have some practical relevance. [Abstract prepared by the Editors.]. (shrink)
The intent of this article is to outline, integrate, and interpret relevant scientific, economic, and social issues of rbST technology that have contributed to the acceptance dilemma for this product. The public is divided into social groups, each with its own set of criteria on which they base rbSTs acceptability. Criteria for the scientific community may best be described as physiological. However, for consumers, criteria may be more practical, or procedural, including human health, animal welfare, environmental concerns, and overproduction. Because (...) the business of dairy production depends on demand from the consuming public, the criteria for acceptance of rbST by producers largely reflects those of the consumers. Of necessity, producers are also critical of rbST from a business and animal improvement standpoint. Although this article demonstrates that rbST has met most physiological criteria for acceptance, the consuming public has treated the acceptance issue with forceful skepticism. The question this article addresses is, why? The authors comment that with rbST and other biotechnologies applied to agricultural animal production, it will be the responsibility of government health agencies, scientists, and manufacturers of the products to provide early, adequate, and honest public education. Attention to the concerns of the public may be the only means to prevent hysteria over this and future agricultural products of biotechnology and will, therefore, allow the public to form logical and thoughtful criteria assessments with respect to acceptance or rejection of each product. (shrink)
Health behaviors such as tobacco use contribute significantly to poor health. It is widely recognized that efforts to prevent poor health outcomes should begin in early childhood. Biomedical enhancements, such as a nicotine vaccine, are now emerging and have potential to be used for primary prevention of common diseases. In anticipation of such enhancements, it is important that we begin to consider the ethical and policy appropriateness of their use with children. The main ethical concerns raised by enhancing children relate (...) to their impact on children’s well-being and autonomy. These concerns are significant, however they do not appear to apply in the case of the nicotine vaccine; indeed the vaccine could even further these goals for children. Nevertheless, concerns about broadly applying this enhancement may be more challenging. The vaccine may be less cost-effective than alternative public efforts to prevent tobacco use, utilizing it could distract from addressing the foundational causes of smoking and it might not be publically acceptable. Empirical research about these concerns is needed to ascertain their likelihood and impact as well as how they could be minimized. This research could help determine whether behavior-related enhancements hold promise for improving children’s health. (shrink)
The issue that I wish to address is, why protest and criticize the increasing hegemony of what has been called the “culture of consumerism”? This “why not?” objection encompasses three distinct sets of questions. First, is not resistance to it akin to playing the role of King Canute by the sea? Second, is not acceptance of it dictated by the current liberal philosophical consensus that acknowledges and endorses an inevitable diversity in different individuals’ conceptions of what is good, and must (...) not this consensus itself be taken as a given by all who are opposed to political and religious totalitarianisms? Third, does not cosmopolitanism, regarded as a value-orientation favorable to the dissolution or at least minimization of national boundaries and the practices of exclusivity associated therewith, make common cause in the present historical conjuncture with this same trend? I will argue for a “No” answer to all of these questions. (shrink)
The distinction between egoistic and altruistic motivation is firmly embedded in contemporary moral discourse, but harks back too to early modern attempts to found morality on an egoistic basis. Rejecting that latter premise means accepting that others’ interests have intrinsic value, but it remains far from clear what altruism demands of us and what its relationship is with the rest of morality. While informing our duties, altruism seems also to urge us to transcend them and embrace the other-regarding values and (...) virtues constitutive of a good life. This rather wide conception of morality may strike us today as too demanding. At the same time, however, currently popular impartialist accounts of morality can disrupt much everyday altruism in their insistence that each person’s interests are weighed precisely equally. Having sketched this problematic of altruism, the second half of this Introduction outlines the arguments of the four papers and review essay in this collection, each of which, in a different way, negotiates the difficult relationships between egoism, altruism, morality and impartiality. (shrink)
This essay examines the grammatical structure underlying the use of the word "conscious". Despite the existence of this grammatical structure, I reject the assumption that actual consciousness has a similar structure. Specifically, I reject the claim that consciousness consists of three subtypes: state consciousness, transitive consciousness, and creature consciousness. I offer an inductive argument and a deductive argument that no such psychological entities exist. The inductive argument: given the lack of evidence or arguments for the entities and given that a (...) tripartite consciousness structure evolved from a tripartite grammatical habit, it would be far too coincidental if the grammatical distinction mirrored a psychological distinction. The deductive argument (a reductio ad absurdum) shows that absurd conclusions follow from assuming the existence of three distinct psychological entities. Furthermore, the verbal habits that motivate the distinction are rendered more intelligible under a "Unitary Thesis", the idea that verbal distinctions involving use of the word "conscious" are unified in their reliance on a single ontological unit, that of conscious experience. (shrink)
Existentialist Ontology and Human Consciousness The majority of the distinguished scholarly articles in this volume focus on Sartre's early philosophical work, which dealt first with imagination and the emotions, then with the critique of Husserl's notion of a transcendental ego, and finally with systematic ontology presented in his best-known book, Being and Nothingness. In addition, since his preoccupation with ontological questions and especially with the meanings of ego, self, and consciousness endured throughout his career, other essays discuss these themes in (...) light of later developments both in Sartre's own thought and in the phenomenological, hermeneutic, and analytic traditions. (shrink)
"The conception of 'lived experience' marks my change since L'Etre et le Néant ... L'Etre et le Néant is a monument of rationality. But in the end it becomes an irrationalism, because it cannot account rationally for those processes which are 'below' consciousness and which are also rational, but lived as irrational. Today, the notion of 'lived experience' represents an effort to preserve that presence to itself which seems to me indispensable for the existence of any psychic fact, while at (...) the same time this presence is so opaque and blind before itself that it is also an absence from itself."1. (shrink)
This contribution raises two questions about Talisse’s strategy of grounding democratic norms in a perfectionist account of epistemic agency: first, whether a perfectionist account of epistemic agency is plausible in itself, and second, whether Talisse is right to posit such a close relationship between communities of inquiry and democratic community? Epistemic perfectionism is rejected in favour of a more pluralist view of epistemic agency which starts from an account of the agent’s particular responsibilities. Next it is argued that communities of (...) inquiry are neither democratic, nor is democratic government a condition of their flourishing. Against the grounding strategy, it is argued that those epistemic responsibilities pertinent to the practice of democratic politics can only be determined once we are in possession of a prior account of our civic responsibilities. (shrink)
Existentialist Politics and Political Theory The publication of the Critique of Dialectical Reason in 1960 marked the culmination of Sartre's efforts, begun in his more occasional political writings in what became essentially his journal, Les Temps Modernes, and developed more systematically in his important essay, Search for a Method, to forge links between existentialism and a non-orthodox version of Marxism with a view to developing a new philosophy of politics, society, and history and a new approach to the philosophy of (...) the social sciences. The articles provide a wide-ranging, insightful exploration of Sartre's successes and failures in this domain. (shrink)
Stewart Cohen (2002; 2005) considers a case where his son wants a red table for his room. Cohen and his son go to the furniture store. Cohen’s son is concerned that the table his father is considering purchasing, which appears red, may in fact be white with red lights shining on it. Cohen responds with the following reasoning:(WARRANT FOR 1) The table looks red.(EK) (1) The table is red.(2) If the table is red, then it is not white with red (...) lights shining on it.(3) The table is not white with red lights shining on it.If one reasons thus, say one’s engaged in EK-reasoning. Cohen finds such a response unsatisfactory. It is not a way of coming to know (3)—it is too easy. And structurally similar reasoning delivers (knowledge of) the falsity of sceptical hypotheses concerning the external world, testimony, other minds etc. So the unsatisfactoriness threatens to generalise. I sketch (one strand of) José Zalabardo’s (2005) original and heterodox attempt to diagnose this unsatisfactoriness, and explore its upshots. (shrink)
This paper argues that the contrast between direct and representative democracy is less important than that between simple majoritarianism and deliberative i.e., public reason centred, democracy, as only the latter is sufficiently sensitive to the problem of domination. Having explored a range of arguments in favour of direct democracy it is argued that moves in this direction are only warranted when the practice of public reasoning will be enhanced. Both symbolic representation and delegate democracy are rejected in favour of substantive (...) measures to formalise communication between voters and representatives and permit the formal contestation of political decision on the ground that these will provide stronger defences against domination within the political system. (shrink)
From the very beginning of his explicitly political thinking until the end of his life, Jean-Paul Sartre was always cognizant of the fact that the typical electoral system, whether dominated by two or by several "parties," that is to be found in Western countries and that is vaunted as the pinnacle of real democracy amounted to a profound mystification. That is why, at the time of the centenary of his birth, he is owed a renewed respect for his ideas in (...) this area. I do not intend to examine here the evolution of Sartre?s political thought, or even his views with respect to the Eastern European countries, the "socialism" of which, as he eventually discovered, was scarcely more real than their "democracy." Rather, I shall confine myself to recalling certain elements, especially certain iconoclastic elements, of that thought. I shall do so with a view to taking a clear-headed look at a possible future in which those icons will have disappeared. (shrink)
This symposium examines insurrectionist ethics, the brainchild of Leonard Harris. The position does not stem from one key source; it was born out of Harris’s philosophical interaction with various philosophers over an extended period, including thinkers as diverse as David Walker, Karl Marx, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Alain Locke, and Angela Davis. The driving questions are: What counts as justified protest? Do slaves have a moral duty to insurrect? What character traits and modes to resistance are most conducive to liberation and (...) the amelioration of oppressive material conditions? Insurrectionist ethics is meant to address such questions. This symposium attempts to locate insurrectionist ethics in the work .. (shrink)
It is quite easy to get the impression that the classical American philosophical tradition is a tradition of genteel, loosely pragmatic scholars committed to democracy and liberalism by peaceful, democratic means.1 An intellectual coming-of-age story is often told, highlighting the philosophical insights of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles S. Peirce, William James, Josiah Royce, and John Dewey. When time and space permits, some discussion of Jane Addams, W.E.B. Du Bois, or Alain Locke is added.2 What develops is a story of thoughtful, (...) well-intentioned philosophers who engage in cooperative inquiry, dialogic discourse, and moral suasion to augment the agent’s capacity to adapt and adapt to her environment in an .. (shrink)
Marking a major new reassessment of Camus' writing, this book investigates the nature and philosophical origins of Camus' thinking on "authenticity" and "the absurd" as these motions are expressed in "The Myth of Sisyphus" and "The Outsider", showing these books to be the product not only of a literary figure, but of a genuine philosopher as well. Moreover, the author provides a complete English-language translation of Camus' "Metaphysique Chretienne et Neoplatonisme" and underlines the importance of this study for the understanding (...) of the early Camus. The book also contains analyses of the influence of St Augustine and Nietzsche on Camus. (shrink)
This essay considers the reception of Albert Memmi's Decolonization and the Decolonized . Memmi himself observed that it is much harder to be a writer about postcolonialism than colonialism. Why would this be true? What can we learn about the difficutlies of postcolonial philosophizing and the politics of decolonization through this publication of Memmi's?
It is popularly believed that if A owes B a duty of care in negligence, A will not actually have a legal duty to be careful: A will merely be required to pay damages to B if she suffers loss as a result of A's being careless. We can call this the cynical view of duties of care and those who adopt it, cynics. However, it is possible to take a different view of duties of care in negligence, according to (...) which if A owes B a duty of care of some description, A will actually have a legal duty to be careful. We can call this the idealistic view of duties of care in negligence and those who adopt it, idealists. This article explains the importance of the debate between idealists and cynics over the nature of duties of care in negligence and goes on to argue that the cynical view of duties of care in negligence is, in fact, wrong and that the idealistic view of such duties should be preferred. (shrink)
This article argues that we must distinguish between two distinct currents in the politics of recognition, one centred on demands for equal respect which is consistent with liberal egalitarianism, and one which centres on demands for esteem made on behalf of particular groups which is at odds with egalitarian aims. A variety of claims associated with the politics of recognition are assessed and it is argued that these are readily accommodated within contemporary liberal egalitarian theory. It is argued that, pace (...) Taylor, much of what passes for `identity' or recognition politics is driven by demands for equal respect, not by demands for esteem/affirmation. Given the inherently hierarchical nature of esteem recognition, no liberal state can consistently grant such recognition. Furthermore, these demands pose the risk of intensifying intergroup competition and chauvinism. Esteem recognition is valuable for individuals, but plays a problematic role for egalitarian politics. (shrink)
Deuteronomic theologians were confident that they could identify and reject the idolatrous “other gods” of their day because they knew and served the LORD alone, the only true “Living God” who had initiated a covenant with them at Horeb. Can we appreciate their theological criteria without condoning the violent measures they proposed for the defense of orthodox Yahwism?
The paper begins by raising some doubts concerning the appropriateness of the phrase, ”after Marxism,” despite current sociological realities which point to its accuracy. It then discusses a certain “pathology” that may be intrinsic to the combined theory and practice of political philosophy; some examples are offered. Next, it is suggested that the discourse of contemporary European political philosophy suffers from the absence of certain Marxian notions, especially that of ideology. Some current trends---postmodernism, nationalism, critical theory, and religious thought---are then (...) briefly explored . It is contended that none of them by itself is adequate for developing the kind of global worldview which, malgré tout, seems needed to counteract the increasing hegemony of the “Coca-Cola cuIture” of the present day. The paper concludes by raising questions about the possible role, at best an awkward one, of American philosophers in this enterprise. (shrink)
The verses have constituted a living document upon which our various forebears, seeking to discover and revitalize for themselves identities in the world, have left behind a succession of exegetical imprints.
This essay focuses on the danger of complicity. American philosophers, given their country’s hegemonic position, exert global influence; what form should it take? Comparison is made with the situation of France when it still controlled Algeria. French philosophers, until near the time of Algerian independence, generally accepted and sometimes profited from this extremely unjust situation. An important exception was Sartre, particularly in his Preface to Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth. It is argued that elements of complicity with American global (...) dominance, some of the more unjust aspects of which are listed, are to be found in such widely read philosophers as Rawls and Rorty. It is suggested that a rethinking of the problem of evil, in its political and not just its religious aspects, is in order. Finally, a broader view of what ‘American philosophy’ means, including, for instance, the voices of African American and Native American philosophers, is urged. (shrink)
The “Phoenix Case” brought into public scrutiny a contemporary debate in Catholic moral theology over competing views on the relation of the object of the act to the physical structure of acts that arise from moral choices. A procedure that was described by hospital officials and their parent company as an indirect abortion was judged by the local ordinary, Bishop Thomas Olmsted, as a direct abortion. A debate ensued between Bishop Olmsted and Catholic Health Care West and their advisors. Eventually, (...) Bishop Olmsted excommunicated Sister Margaret Mary McBride for her role on the ethics committee approving the procedure and publicly announced his refusal to recognize the hospital as authentically Catholic. This author addresses the theological position of the hospital and addresses implications for other professionals in Catholic health care facing similar dilemmas. (shrink)