Retrospective rule-making has few supporters and many opponents. Defenders of retrospective laws generally do so on the basis that they are a necessary evil in specific or limited circumstances, for example to close tax loopholes, to deal with terrorists or to prosecute fallen tyrants. Yet the reality of retrospective rule making is far more widespread than this, and ranges from ’corrective’ legislation to ’interpretive regulations’ to judicial decision making. The search for a rational justification for retrospective rule-making necessitates a (...) reconsideration of the very nature of the rule of law and the kind of law that can rule, and will provide new insights into the nature of law and the parameters of societal order. This book examines the various ways in which laws may be seen as retrospective and analyses the problems in defining retrospectivity. In his analysis Dr Charles Sampford asserts that the definitive argument against retrospective rule-making is the expectation of individuals that, if their actions today are considered by a future court, the applicable law was discoverable at the time the action was performed. The book goes on to suggest that although the strength of this ’rule of law’ argument should prevail in general, exceptions are sometimes necessary, and that there may even be occasions when analysis of the rule of law may provide the foundation for the application of retrospective laws. (shrink)
Does the real difference between non-consequentialist and consequentialist theories lie in their approach to value? Non-consequentialist theories are thought either to allow a different kind of value (namely, agent-relative value) or to advocate a different response to value ('honouring' rather than 'promoting'). One objection to this idea implies that all normative theories are describable as consequentialist. But then the distinction between honouring and promoting collapses into the distinction between relative and neutral value. A proper description of non-consequentialist theories can only (...) be achieved by including a distinction between temporal relativity and neutrality in addition to the distinction between agent-relativity and agent-neutrality. (shrink)
This paper considers the question of whether predictions of wrongdoing are relevant to our moral obligations. After giving an analysis of ‘won’t’ claims (i.e., claims that an agent won’t Φ), the question is separated into two different issues: firstly, whether predictions of wrongdoing affect our objective moral obligations, and secondly, whether self-prediction of wrongdoing can be legitimately used in moral deliberation. I argue for an affirmative answer to both questions, although there are conditions that must be met for self-prediction to (...) be appropriate in deliberation. The discussion illuminates an interesting and significant tension between agency and prediction. (shrink)
The ‘Wrong Kind of Reason’ problem for buck-passing theories (theories which hold that the normative is explanatorily or conceptually prior to the evaluative) is to explain why the existence of pragmatic or strategic reasons for some response to an object does not suffice to ground evaluative claims about that object. The only workable reply seems to be to deny that there are reasons of the ‘wrong kind’ for responses, and to argue that these are really reasons for wanting, trying, or (...) intending to have that response. In support of this, it is pointed out that awareness of pragmatic or strategic considerations, unlike awareness of reasons of the ‘right kind’, are never sufficient by themselves to produce the responses for which they are reasons. I argue that this phenomenon cannot be used as a criterion for distinguishing reasons-for-a-response from reasons-for-wanting-to-have-a-response. I subsequently investigate the possibility of basing this distinction on a claim that the responses in question (e.g. admiration or desire) are themselves inherently normative; I conclude that this approach is also unsuccessful. Hence, the ‘direct response’ phenomenon cannot be used to rule out the possibility of pragmatic or strategic reasons for responses; and the rejection of such reasons therefore cannot be used to circumvent the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem. (shrink)
In this paper I look at attempts to develop forms of consequentialism which do not have a feature considered problematic in Direct Consequentialist theories (that is, those consequentialist theories that apply the criterion of rightness directly in the evaluation of any set of options). The problematic feature in question (which I refer to as ‘evaluative conflict’) is the possibility that, for example, a right motive might lead an agent to perform a wrong act. Theories aiming to avoid this phenomenon must (...) argue that causal relationship entails motives and acts (for example) having the same moral status. I argue that attempts to ensure such ‘evaluative consistency’ are themselves deeply problematic, and that we must therefore accept evaluative conflict. (shrink)
The problem of extreme demands is one of the most intractable in contemporary moral theory. On the one hand, it seems that a failure to prevent great suffering at little cost to ourselves is morally wrong; given the amount of suffering in the world and the comparatively trivial nature of the requisite sacrifices, this intuition demands that we give up quite a lot. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem to us that we act wrongly in living lives characterised by (...) only moderate sacrifice, in which our time and resources are disproportionately used to benefit ourselves and those close to us. These two intuitions are extremely difficult to reconcile within any moral theory that recognises a duty to promote the general good. In this paper, however, I will suggest one possible way of doing so. My suggestion requires taking a closer look at the way in which the demand to the promote the good is derived: specifically, at the way our option set is characterised and the information that we take into account in weighing these options. I will suggest that there are certain assumptions it is plausible to make regarding the relevance of information about our own and other agents’ actions, and that once these assumptions are made, we can see how permissions may be derived within the framework of good-promotion. (shrink)
Patients with a life-threatening illness can be confronted with various types of loneliness, one of which is existential loneliness (EL). Since the experience of EL is extremely disruptive, the issue of EL is relevant for the practice of end-of-life care. Still, the literature on EL has generated little discussion and empirical substantiation and has never been systematically reviewed. In order to systematically review the literature, we (1) identified the existential loneliness literature; (2) established an organising framework for the review; (3) (...) conducted a conceptual analysis of existential loneliness; and (4) discussed its relevance for end-of-life care. We found that the EL concept is profoundly unclear. Distinguishing between three dimensions of EL—as a condition, as an experience, and as a process of inner growth—leads to some conceptual clarification. Analysis of these dimensions on the basis of their respective key notions—everpresent, feeling, defence; death, awareness, difficult communication; and inner growth, giving meaning, authenticity—further clarifies the concept. Although none of the key notions are unambiguous, they may function as a starting point for the development of care strategies on EL at the end of life. (shrink)
In her discussion of Naomi Scheman's "Individualism and the Objects of Psychology" Louise Antony misses the import of an unpublished paper of Scheman's that she cites. That paper argues against token identity theories on the grounds that only the sort of psycho-physical parallelisms that token identity theorists, such as Davidson and Fodor, reject could license the claim that each mental state or event is some particular physical state or event.
The philosopher of religion and critic of idealism, Ludwig Feuerbach had a far-reaching impact on German radicalism around the time of the Revolution of 1848. This intellectual history explores how Feuerbach’s critique of religion served as a rallying point for radicals, and how they paradoxically sought to create a new, post-religious form of religiosity as part of the revolutionary aim. At issue for the Feuerbachian radicals was the emergence of a humanity emancipated from the constraints of mere institutions, able to (...) express itself freely and harmoniously. Caldwell also touches on Moses Hess, Louise Dittmar, and Richard Wagner in his discussion of the time. This book reconstructs the nature of Feuerbach’s radicalism and shows how it influenced early works of socialism, feminism, and musical modernism. (shrink)
(2007). Youth and Sexualities: Pleasure, Subversion, and Insubordination In and Out of Schools. Edited by Mary Louise Rasmussen, Eric Rofes, and Susan Talburt. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. 250 pp. $75.00 (hardcover), $24.95 (paper) Educational Studies: Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 88-92.