In so-called Christian countries an increasing number of people openly reject Christian morality. It is a commonplace that they do this for values that can be shown to be Christian. How did this state of affairs come about? An examination of the beginning of Christian ethical thought shows that, within great personal variety, certain patterns or concepts remain constant. Righteousness, discipleship, faith and love are traced in this book from the New Testament through to Augustine. There is a necessary tension (...) between high ideals and practical performance, or between perfection and contingency. When this tension is lost, Christian ethics can easily go wrong. The amoral perfectionism of second-century Gnostics is remarkably similar to the mysticism of communal movements; the opposite threat of legalism has always been present in conservative forms of Christianity. Dr Osborn is concerned to explain rather than to defend, to look at the way conclusions are reached, and to show the rich diversity of early Christian thought. Successive chapters deal with the New Testament, Clement of Alexandria, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom and Augustine. (shrink)
Approaching Plato is a comprehensive research guide to all (fifteen) of Plato’s early and middle dialogues. Each of the dialogues is covered with a short outline, a detailed outline (including some Greek text), and an interpretive essay. Also included (among other things) is an essay distinguishing Plato’s idea of eudaimonia from our contemporary notion of happiness and brief descriptions of the dialogues’ main characters.
Do undergraduate students perceive that it is more acceptable to ‹cheat’ using information technology (IT) than it is to cheat without the use of IT? Do business discipline-related majors cheat more than non-business discipline-related majors? Do undergraduate students perceive it to be more acceptable for them personally to cheat than for others to cheat? Questionnaires were administered to undergraduate students at five geographical academic locations in the spring, 2006 and fall 2006 and spring, 2007. A total of 708 usable questionnaires (...) were returned including 532 from students majoring in business-related disciplines and 139 from students majoring in non-business related disciplines (37 were undecided). It appears that in terms of intellectual property violations, undergraduate students in general find cheating using IT more acceptable than cheating without the use of IT. It also appears that undergraduate students perceive that it is relatively more acceptable for them to personally cheat when using IT than for others to cheat when using IT, although this is reversed when IT is not involved. No significant differences on these issues were found between undergraduate students having business discipline-related majors and those having non-business discipline-related majors. (shrink)
In the mid-nineteenth century when Joseph Baron Lister was beginning his surgical career, bold new theories of medicine were being proposed with increasing frequency. Many of these new theories were in conflict as to how the body functioned and how disease and injury should be approached. They all conflicted more, however, with the older theory of vitalism which they were gradually replacing. Lister believed in vitalism and was quite bothered by the new theories, but did not react to them with (...) hostile criticism or bombast. His typical gentlemanly style was to test them quietly against his own understandings and beliefs. This historical essay focuses upon the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs of Joseph Lister as reflected by his background and his most important experiments. It will show that the discovery which transformed surgery did not originate from any “leading edge” medical theory of the era. The antiseptic principle originated from the experimentation of a troubled vitalist in the service of the theory in which he so passionately believed. (shrink)
Bill Poteat was a member of Duke University’s Department of Religion and served a term as Chairman, during which I served with him as Director of Undergraduate Studies. I knew him as a brilliant scholar who devoted his exceptional gifts primarily to his teaching and his students. He was charming, gracious, yet we his Duke professorial colleagues never really knew him. One of our ranks suggested that the idea of Bill as a colleague was an oxymoron. Bill did not attend (...) professional meetings and only rarely had conversation of any sort with colleagues. He lived in Chapel Hill and not Durham. However, he seemed not to be at home in any of his academies - UNC Philosophy Department, Duke Divinity School, or finally the Duke Department of Religion. It was not clear what his commitments were. I knew that he had a Christian heritage and perhaps a Christian “hangover,” and had a Divinity degree from Yale. Nevertheless, his personal faith was not publically expressed. Perhaps it found expression in his zealous efforts to overcome the Cartesianism of the modern mind which he contended was inimical to the Christian understanding of the human person and his/her relationship to God. Yet, he was restless, rarely present to us and perhaps also to himself. (shrink)
This essay serves as both a response and embellishment of Marilyn Frye's now classic essay "Oppression." It is meant to pick up where this essay left off and to make connections between oppression, as Frye defines it, and the privileges that result from institutional structures. This essay tries to clarify one meaning of privilege that is lost in philosophical discussions of injustice. I develop a distinction between unearned privileges and earned advantages. Clarifying the meaning of privilege as unearned structural (...) advantage makes visible the role white privilege plays in maintaining complex systems of domination such as racism, sexism, heterosexism and classism. Using a critical reading of both Frye (1983) and Young's (1990) accounts of oppression as a springboard, I develop a definition of privilege as a particular class of unearned advantages. -/- I distinguish my account of privilege from standard legal and philosophical definitions of privilege. The general distinction I make between privileges and advantages rests on three interrelated claims: (a) that benefits granted by privilege are always unearned and conferred systemically to members of dominant social groups; (b) that privileges granted to members of dominant groups solely on the basis of their membership in these groups is never justifiable; and, (c) that privileges have an unconditional value that can be explained not only in terms of immunities, but also in terms of additional benefits. (shrink)
While taking Charles Chihara's metaphysics course as a graduate student at U.C. Berkeley, I wrote an advice columnist to ask about the puzzle at the center of the course. Marilyn Vos Savant writes a weekly column for Parade Magazine , which is included in the Sunday editions of many newspapers. She claims to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for "highest IQ".
In her paper ‘An Awkward Relationship: the Case of Feminism and Anthropology’, Marilyn Strathern argues that feminist research cannot produce a paradigm shift in social anthropology. I present an argument for thinking that, on the relevant understanding of paradigm shift, it is possible for this to happen. I then object to Strathern’s arguments against the possibility.
This paper contains an overview of the essays contained in the Mind and morals anthology plus a critical discussion of certain themes raised in many of these essays concerning the bearing of recent work in cognitive science on the traditional project of moral theory. Specifically, I argue for the following claims: (1) authors like Virginia Held, who appear to be antagonistic toward the methodological naturalism of Owen Flanagan, Andy Clark, Paul Churchland, and others, are really in fundamental agreement with the (...) naturalists (at least once the naturalist view is suitably clarified); (2) the prototype theory of moral concepts that is inspired by recent work in cognitive science does not necessarily jeopardize the aim of systematization characteristic of traditional moral theory; (3) nor does it threaten certain widely accepted views about moral rationality that is part of traditional moral theorizing. Moreover, I speculate that (4) recent work in cognitive science can be expected to play a corroborative role in the justification of theories in ethics, but we should probably not expect this work to yield new insights and directions in ethics. Finally, (5) Fodor's recent critique of cognitive science makes clear the perils of methodological ethical naturalism. (shrink)