Different types of Religious Experience: One experiences a nonreligious object as a religious one, e.g. a dove as an angel, one experiences an object that is a "public object” (one there for everyone to experience/observe), an experience of a supernatural entity that others cannot experience/observe, experiences that resist being captured by words, an awareness of an entity, though there is no sensation.
What is happiness? How is it related to morality and virtue? Does living with illusion promote or diminish happiness? Is it better to pursue happiness with a partner than alone? Philosopher Mike W. Martin addresses these and other questions as he connects the meaning of happiness with the philosophical notion of "the good life." Defining happiness as loving one's life and valuing it in ways manifested by ample enjoyment and a deep sense of meaning, Martin explores the ways in which (...) happiness interacts with all other dimensions of good lives--in particular with moral decency and goodness, authenticity, mental health, self-fulfillment, and meaningfulness. He interweaves a variety of examples from memoirs, novels, and films along the way, connecting his discussion of the philosophical issues to related topics that interest all of us: virtue, love, philanthropy, suffering, simplicity, balancing work and leisure, and much more. Drawing on wide-ranging and robust evidence, Martin also makes the case that we need a "politics of happiness" whereby government would apply the results of recent "happiness studies" in psychology to public policy. (shrink)
At their best, mottos help us cope by crystallizing attitudes, eliciting resolve, and guiding conduct. Mottos have moral significance when they allude to the virtues and reflect the character of individuals and groups. As such, they function in the moral space between abstract ethical theory and contextual moral judgment. I discuss personal mottos such as those of Isak Dinesen (“I will answer”) and group mottos such as found in social movements (“Think globally, act locally”), professions (“Above all, do no harm”), (...) philosophy (“The personal is political”), and therapeutic groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (“One day at a time”). (shrink)
This paper is a critical review of Mitchell Green’s Self-Expression . The principal focus is on Green’s contention that all expression is at route, a form of signalling by an agent or by some mechanism of the organism which has been evolutionary selected for signalling. Starting from the idea that in some but not all expression an agent seeks to express his or her self, I question the centrality of communication to the idea of expression.
Seventeenth century philosophers were pre-occupied with the justification for the use of coercion; the nature and scope of the citizen's duty to obey the law was a central concern. The typical philosophical accounts which attempt to articulate the conditions under which a citizen has an obligation to obey the law tend to fall into two camps: those that ground the obligation to obey the law in consent, and those that ground it in benefits received, or possibly a combination of both. (...) More recently, however, some have argued that questions about the obligation to obey the law have been eclipsed by questions about distributive justice. Many leading figures in modern analytic jurisprudence remain concerned with the nature of political obligation. Joseph Raz is a current-day theorist who has recognized the importance of this issue and the need for an answer that is not over-simplistic. Recently Raz has re-examined his account in ?The Problem of Authority: Revisiting the Service Conception, - making an exploration of his theory particularly timely. Raz argues that all governments claim morally legitimate authority, but not all of them actually possess it. His theory seeks to give us the tools by which to distinguish the legitimate claims from imposters. The complexity and flexibility of Raz's understanding of the nature and scope of the individual's obligation to obey the law accounts for its appeal. Upon closer inspection, however, difficulties emerge. I argue that Raz's theory is plagued by a deep-seated tension between his two central theses: the pre-emption thesis and the normal justification thesis. While I explore both theses in further depth, the gist of the pre-emption thesis is that it requires a pre-commitment to authority in order for the law?s mediating role to be performed. Conversely, the normal justification thesis invites a case by case assessment of the bindingness of norms. I argue that instead of offering us a unified conception of authority, Raz vacillates unstably between two models - a consent-based model and a benefits received model. I demonstrate that this tension is ineradicable because the theses are connected to divergent models of law and incompatible methodologies. (shrink)
In “Personality Disorders: Moral or Medical Kinds—or Both?” Peter Zachar and Nancy Nyquist Potter (2010) reject any general dichotomy between morality and mental health, and specifically between character vices and personality disorders. In doing so, they provide a nuanced and illuminating discussion that connects Aristotelian virtue ethics to a multidimensional understanding of personality disorders. I share their conviction that dissolving morality–health dichotomies is the starting point for any plausible understanding of human beings (Martin 2006), but I register some qualms about (...) their discussion of responsibility. Zachar and Potter target the morality-health dichotomy as it appears in Louis C. .. (shrink)
This text begins by considering the phrase ‘digital haptology’ as suggested by the closing pages of Derrida's Le Toucher. It suggests that this moment in telecommunications presents a model of ‘tele-haptology’. The text goes on to consider Jean-Luc Nancy's ‘Noli me tangere’ as a response to Le Toucher. In particular it is concerned with Nancy's hypothesis on Modern literature and art as having an essential link to the gospel parables. Through a reading of Nancy's text and the gospels, this hypothesis (...) is placed in doubt. Notably, the argument is made that once again Nancy's discourse on touching leads him to make a too hasty fore-closure of otherness within his intended deconstruction of reading and his account of Mary Magdalene. In response to Nancy's formulation of literature as parable, an alternative consideration of literature as tele-haptology is proposed. (shrink)
A long-standing theme in discussion of perception and thought has been that our primary cognitive contact with individual objects and events in the world derives from our perceptual contact with them.1 When I look at a duck in front of me, I am not merely presented with the fact that there is at least one duck in the area, rather I seem to be presented with this thing (as one might put it from my perspective) in front of me, which (...) looks to me to be a duck. Furthermore, such a perception would seem to put me in a position not merely to make the existential judgement that there is some duck or other present, but rather to make a singular, demonstrative judgement, that that is an duck. My grounds for an existential judgement in this case derives from my apprehension of the demonstrative thought and not vice versa. The cognitive role of experience is also mirrored in its phenomenology: that I am presented with a particular rubber duck, or a particular event of, say, the duck coming oﬀ the production line, is reﬂected in how things now visually appear to me. It looks to me as if there is a particular object before me, or that some given unrepeatable event is occurring. Hence we should expect a theory of sensory experience which aims to give an adequate account of phenomenology to accommodate and explain how such experience can indeed be particular in character. An Intentional Theory of Perception (as I shall use this phrase) seeks to explain aspects of the phenomenal character of our perceptual experience in terms of the experience’s possession of representational properties or, in other words, through its possession of an intentional content. On such a view, an experience’s having the phenomenal properties it does (at least, with respect to those aspects of it directed at the external world) is not constitutively dependent on any object, event, or property-instance which the experience presents to the subject. One’s experience would be just the way it is, presenting to one just the kind of state of aﬀairs it does, whether or.... (shrink)
Disjunctivism about perceptual appearances, as I conceive of it, is a theory which seeks to preserve a naïve realist conception of veridical perception in the light of the challenge from the argument from hallucination. The naïve realist claims that some sensory experiences are relations to mind-independent objects. That is to say, taking experiences to be episodes or events, the naïve realist supposes that some such episodes have as constituents mind-independent objects. In turn, the disjunctivist claims that in a case of (...) veridical perception like this very kind of experience that you now have, the experiential episode you enjoy is of a kind which could not be occurring were you having an hallucination. The common strategy of arguments from hallucination set out to show that certain things are true of hallucinations, and hence must be true of perceptions. For example, it is argued that hallucinations must have non-physical objects of awareness, or that such states are not relations to anything at all, but are at best seeming relations to objects. In insisting that veridical perceptual experience is of a distinct kind from hallucination, the disjunctivist denies that any of these conceptions of hallucination challenges our conception of veridical perceptions as relations to mind-independent objects. More specifically, I assume that the disjunctivist advocates naïve realism because they think that this position best articulates how sensory experience seems to us to be just through reflection. If the disjunctivist is correct in this contention, then anyone who accepts the conclusion of the argument from hallucination must also accept that the nature of sensory experience is other than it seems to us to be. In turn, one may complain that any such error theory is liable to lead to sceptical consequences. A Humean scepticism about the senses launches a challenge about our knowledge of the world through questioning the conception we have of what sense experience is, and how it can provide knowledge of the world.. (shrink)
Morality and mental health are now inseparably linked in our view of character. Alcoholics are sick, yet they are punished for drunk driving. Drug addicts are criminals, but their punishment can be court ordered therapy. The line between character flaws and personality disorders has become fuzzy, with even the seven deadly sins seen as mental disorders. In addition to pathologizing wrong-doing, we also psychologize virtue; self-respect becomes self-esteem, integrity becomes psychological integration, and responsibility becomes maturity. Moral advice is now sought (...) primarily from psychologists and therapists rather than philosophers or theologians. In this wide-ranging, accessible book, Mike W. Martin asks: are we replacing morality with therapy, in potentially confused and dangerous ways, or are we creatively integrating morality and mental health? According to him, it's a little bit of both. He surveys the ways in which morality and mental health are related, touching on practical concerns like love and work, self-respect and self-fulfillment, guilt and depression, crime and violence, and addictions. Terming this integrative development "the therapeutic trend in ethics," Martin uses examples from popular culture, various moral controversies, and draws on a line of thought that includes Plato, the Stoics, Freud, Nietzsche, and contemporary psychotherapeutic theories. Martin develops some interesting conclusions, among them that sound morality is indeed healthy, and that moral values are inevitably embedded in our conceptions of mental health. In the end, he shows how both morality and mental health are inextricably intertwined in our pursuit of a meaningful life. This book will be of interest to philosophers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and sociologists, as well as the general reader. (shrink)
Creativity in science and engineering has moral significance and deserves attention within professional ethics, in at least three areas. First, much scientific and technological creativity constitutes moral creativity because it generates moral benefits, is motivated by moral concern, and manifests virtues such as beneficence, courage, and perseverance. Second, creativity contributes to the meaning that scientists and engineers derive from their work, thereby connecting with virtues such as authenticity and also faults arising from Faustian trade-offs. Third, morally creative leadership is important (...) at all levels of science and engineering. (shrink)
Moral creativity consists in identifying, interpreting, and implementing moral values in ways that bring about new and morally valuable results, often in response to an unprecedented situation. It does not mean inventing values subjectively, as Sartre and Nietzsche suggested. Moral creativity plays a significant role in meeting role responsibilities, exercising leadership, developing social policies, and living authentically in light of moral ideals. Kenneth R. Feinberg’s service in compensating the victims of 9/11 provides a paradigm instance.
Can we understand brain lateralization in humans by analysis in terms of an evolutionarily stable strategy? The attempt to demonstrate a link between lateralization in humans and that in, for example, fish appears to hinge critically on whether the isomorphism is viewed as a matter of homology or homoplasy. Consideration of human handedness presents a number of challenges to the proposed framework.
Sociologists tend to eschew biological explanations of human social behavior. Accordingly, when evolutionary biologists began to apply neo-Darwinian theory to the study of human social behavior, the reactions of sociologists typically ranged from indifference to overt hostility. Since the mid-1960s, however, neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory has stimulated a "second Darwinian revolution" in traditional social scientific conceptions of human nature and social behavior, even while most sociologists remain largely uninformed about neo-Darwinian theory and research. This article traces sociology's long-standing isolation from the (...) life sciences, especially evolutionary biology, to divergence in the metatheoretical assumptions that typify conventional sociological thought versus contemporary evolutionary biology. We conclude with a discussion of the recent emergence of a nascent "evolutionary sociology" that integrates sociobiological reasoning with contemporary sociological thought. (shrink)
The disjunctive theory of perception claims that we should understand statements about how things appear to a perceiver to be equivalent to statements of a disjunction that either one is perceiving such and such or one is suffering an illusion (or hallucination); and that such statements are not to be viewed as introducing a report of a distinctive mental event or state common to these various disjoint situations. When Michael Hinton ﬁrst introduced the idea, he suggested that the burden of (...) proof or disproof lay with his opponent, that what was needed was to show that our talk of how things look or appear to one.. (shrink)
The possibility that two forms of asymmetry underlie handedness is considered. Corballis has proposed that right-handedness developed when gesture encountered lateralized vocalization but may have been superimposed on a preexisting two-thirds dominance. Evidence is reviewed here which suggests that the baseline asymmetry is even more substantial than this, with possible implications for brain anatomy and genetic theories of handedness.
I argue that Gale’s brilliant critique of theistic arguments is a major contribution to the philosophy of religion that can instruct atheologians and theologians for decades to come. However, his unargued appeal to faith, his reliance on the vague properties of being eminently worthy of worship and being supremely great, his failure to come to grips with the atheological implications of maintaining that God cannot know what He will decide, and the incompleteness of his critique of atheological arguments seriously weaken (...) his tacit case against rational atheism and his acceptance of fideism. I see his use of informal polls regarding modal intuitionsas a first important step to a more rigorous approach. (shrink)
The problems of perception feature centrally in work within what we now think of as different traditions of philosophy in the early part of the twentieth century, most notably in the sense-datum theories of early analytic philosophy together with the vigorous responses to them over the next forty years, but equally in the discussions of pre-reﬂective consciousness of the world characteristic of German and French phenomenologists. In the English-speaking world one might mark the beginning of the period with Russell’s The (...) Problems of Philosophy (Russell 1912) and its nemesis in Austin’s Sense and Sensibilia (Austin 1962 – published posthumously, but given originally as lectures at the end of our period in 1947). On the continent, a corresponding route takes us from Husserl’s Logical Investigations (Husserl 1900/1) to Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception.. (shrink)
We know from Li's theorem (1993) that the stability set of order d may be empty for some preference profiles. However, one may wonder whether such situations are just rare oddities or not. In this paper, we partially answer this question by considering the restrictive case where the number of alternatives is the smallest compatible with an empty stability set. More precisely, we provide an upper bound on the probability for having an empty stability set of order d for the (...) majority game under the Impartial Weak Ordering Culture assumption. This upper bound is already extremely low for small population and tends to zero as the number of individuals goes to infinity. (shrink)
Divided into four parts, this treatise begins with well-known criticisms of nonreligious ethics and then develops an atheistic metaethics. In Part 2, Martin criticizes the Christian foundation of ethics, specifically the ’divine command theory’ and the idea of imitating the life of Jesus as the basis of Christian morality. Part 3 demonstrates that life can be meaningful in the absence of religious belief. Part 4 criticizes the theistic point of view in general terms as well as the specific Christian doctrines (...) of the atonement, salvation, and the resurrection. (publisher, edited). (shrink)
Book description: Much contemporary philosophical debate centres on the topics of logic, thought and language, and on the connections between these topics. This collection of articles is based on the Royal Institute of Philosophy’s annual lecture series for 2000–2001. Its contributors include a number of those working at the forefront of the field, and in their papers they reflect their own current pre-occupations. As such, the volume will be of interest to all philosophers, whether their own work is within the (...) areas of language and thought or not. (shrink)
A common objection to sense-datum theories of perception is that they cannot give an adequate account of the fact that introspection indicates that our sensory experiences are directed on, or are about, the mind-independent entities in the world around us, that our sense experience is transparent to the world. In this paper I point out that the main force of this claim is to point out an explanatory challenge to sense-datum theories.
The study of engineering ethics tends to emphasize professional codes of ethics and, to lesser degrees, business ethics and technology studies. These are all important vantage points, but they neglect personal moral commitments, as well as personal aesthetic, religious, and other values that are not mandatory for all members of engineering. This paper illustrates how personal moral commitments motivate, guide, and give meaning to the work of engineers, contributing to both self-fulfillment and public goods. It also explores some general frameworks (...) for thinking about these commitments and calls for further exploration of them. (shrink)
In this book, Michael Davis, one of the most insightful writers on professional ethics, substantially revises and integrates fifteen of his previously published articles, making them available to a wider audience. Several professions are emphasized: law, engineering, and police work (including international law enforcement). Yet the topics discussed have relevance to all areas of professional ethics: defining professions, the moral authority of professional codes, intelligently interpreting codes, professional autonomy and discretion, dirty hands, and goals in teaching professional ethics.