This paper assesses branching spacetime theories in light of metaphysical considerations concerning time. I present the A, B, and C series in terms of the temporal structure they impose on sets of events, and raise problems for two elements of extant branching spacetime theories—McCall’s ‘branch attrition’, and the ‘no backward branching’ feature of Belnap’s ‘branching space-time’—in terms of their respective A- and B-theoretic nature. I argue that McCall’s presentation of branch attrition can only be coherently formulated on a model with (...) at least two temporal dimensions, and that this results in severing the link between branch attrition and the ﬂow of time. I argue that ‘no backward branching’ prohibits Belnap’s theory from capturing the modal content of indeterministic physical theories, and results in it ascribing to the world a time-asymmetric modal structure that lacks physical justiﬁcation. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell famously argued that causation is not part of the fundamental physical description of the world, describing the notion of cause as "a relic of a bygone age." This paper assesses one of Russell’s arguments for this conclusion: the ‘Directionality Argument’, which holds that the time symmetry of fundamental physics is inconsistent with the time asymmetry of causation. We claim that the coherence and success of the Directionality Argument crucially depends on the proper interpretation of the ‘time symmetry’ of (...) fundamental physics as it appears in the argument, and offer two alternative interpretations. We argue that: (1) if ‘time symmetry’ is understood as the time-reversal invariance of physical theories, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument should be rejected; and (2) if ‘time symmetry’ is understood as the temporally bidirectional nomic dependence relations of physical laws, then the crucial premise of the Directionality Argument is far more plausible. We defend the second reading as continuous with Russell’s writings, and consider the consequences of the bidirectionality of nomic dependence relations in physics for the metaphysics of causation. (shrink)
Taking its departure from current debates over social capital, this article presents new textual findings in a backward-revealing conceptual history. In particular, it analyzes the texts and contexts of Lyda J. Hanifan who was rediscovered by Robert Putnam as having (allegedly first) used the term; it offers discoveries of earlier uses of the term and concept-most notably by John Dewey-thereby introducing critical pragmatism as another tradition of social capital; and it recovers features of the critique of political economy in the (...) nineteenth century-from Bellamy to Marshall to Sidgwick to Marx-that assessed "capital from the social point of view," especially cooperative associations. While it ends with Marx's use of "social capital," Dewey is its central figure. The article concludes by returning to the present and offering work, sympathy, civic education, and a critical stance as emergent themes from this conceptual history that might enrich current debates. (shrink)
Over the last 20 years, organizations have attempted numerous innovations to create more openness and to increase ethical practice. However, adult students in business classes report that managers are generally bureaucratically oriented and averse to constructive criticism or principled dissent. When organizations oppose dissent, they suffer the consequences of mistakes that could be prevented and they create an unethical and toxic environment for individual employees. By distinguishing principled dissent from other forms of criticism and opposition, managers and leaders can perceive (...) the dissenter as an important organizational voice and a valued employee. The dissenter, like the whistleblower, is often highly ethically motivated and desires to contribute to the organization’s wellbeing. Recognizing and protecting principled dissent provides the means of transforming organizations. By restoring dignity to the individual, organizations gain more productive and loyal employees, and they create an environment that promotes critical thinking, learning, and a commitment to ethics. (shrink)
In this paper I will examine the ways in which concepts and ideas that are used for emancipatory purposes eventually backfire and are used to perpetuate systems of domination. Part of my argument will be based on Herbert Marcuse’s essay “Repressive Tolerance.” In this essay, Marcuse examines the way in which the concept of tolerance, which has its origin in the struggle for liberation, is used by members of dominant social groups to advocate for tolerance of their oppressive views. Following (...) Marcuse’s lead, I will argue that almost all emancipatory ideas, particularly diversity and color-blindness in this context, can be co-opted by the dominant social group and used to further domination. I will argue that even our best emancipatory concepts are formed within the context of a hegemonic discourse that alters their meaning and use. (shrink)
There is an essential tension in Hume's account of explanation in the moral sciences. He holds the familiar (though problematic) view that explanations of action are causal explanations backed by the laws of human nature. But he also tenders a rational and historical model of explanation which has been neglected in Hume studies. Developed primarily in the Essays and put into practice in the History of England, this model holds that explanations in the moral sciences cite agents? reasons for acting (...) in definite historical situations. Such explanations are context?dependent, social (not psychological) in content, essentially post hoc, and provide insufficient grounds for prediction. The tension between Hume's two models is considerable, not to say inconsistent. We would best understand him as trying to reconcile the two. Each provides different and equally important kinds of intelligibility. Until this is appreciated, the one?sided interpretation of Hume as a psychological reductionist and a covering?law theorist will continue. (shrink)
Liberation philosophy and democratic struggles -- The quest for the revolutionary subject : the early Marcuse -- The retrieval of Eros and the quest for a new sensibility -- Marcuse and the problem of intersubjectivity : beyond drive theory -- One-dimensional society and the demise of dialectical thinking -- Spectres of liberation : beyond one-dimensional man -- Liberal democracy and its limits : the challenge of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation -- Marcuse and discourse ethics -- Liberation and the (...) democratic vision : educating for a new sensibility. (shrink)
Matthew Goldspan was faced with a series of coincidental personnel issues that tested both his fairness and integrity. He had been a branch manager of a financial services operation for three years, where he oversaw thirty five employees. In one instance, a clerical employee protested salary differences she discovered; in another, his affirmative action record, as well as his right to make hiring decisions, was in question; and thirdly, he had to decide how to respond to theft by a temporary (...) employee who happened to be the son of a prized member of his staff. In each case, employees were looking for Matt to demonstrate appropriate leadership and sound judgment. (shrink)
Libertarian Papers is pleased to announce that Matthew McCaffrey has agreed to serve as the journal’s Editor. A PhD candidate at the University of Angers, Mises Institute fellow, and winner of the 2010 Lawrence W. Fertig Prize in Austrian Economics, Matt previously served as the journal’s Managing Editor. He may be reached here. Stephan Kinsella [...].
Libertarian Papers is pleased to announce that Matt McCaffrey, a PhD candidate at the University of Angers, Mises Institute fellow, and winner of the 2010 Lawrence W. Fertig Prize in Austrian Economics, has agreed to serve as the journal’s Assistant Editor.
Gers (Biol Philos, 2011) provides a positive and constructive view of the project to generalise Darwinian principles in Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbjørn Knudsen’s Darwin’s Conjecture. We note considerable overlap with his work and ours, and also with important recent work of Godfrey-Smith ( 2009 ), which Gers cites extensively. But we also note that there are differences in research objectives between Gers and Godfrey-Smith, on the one hand, and ourselves, on the other. Gers and Godfrey-Smith focus on the elucidation of (...) the most general principles possible. Our aim is to derive principles that are sufficiently abstract to span the natural and human social worlds, and then add additional principles to help understand the Darwinian evolution of human society. Furthermore, Gers and Godfrey-Smith critique a replicator concept that is different from ours. Once these points are made apparent, the criticisms are essentially disabled, and we end up in a position with different but complementary and overlapping research projects. (shrink)
In the wake of much previous work on Gilles Deleuze's relations to other thinkers (including Bergson, Spinoza and Leibniz), his relation to Kant is now of great and active interest and a thriving area of research. In the context of the wider debate between 'naturalism' and 'transcendental philosophy', the implicit dispute between Deleuze's 'transcendental empiricism' and Kant's 'transcendental idealism' is of prime philosophical concern. -/- Bringing together the work of international experts from both Deleuze scholarship and Kant scholarship, Thinking Between (...) Deleuze and Kant addresses explicitly the varied and various connections between these two great European philosophers, providing key material for understanding the central philosophical problems in the wider 'naturalism/ transcendental philosophy' debate. The book reflects an area of great current interest in Deleuze Studies and initiates an ongoing interest in Deleuze within Kant scholarship. The contributors are Mick Bowles, Levi R. Bryant, Patricia Farrell, Christian Kerslake, Matt Lee, Michael J. Olson, Henry Somers-Hall and Edward Willatt. (shrink)
Matt Beech traces the ideological roots of the Labour Party from its nineteenth century origins in the Labour Movement, through the twentieth century, until the years under Tony Blair. He claims that New Labour in power evolved as a revisionist social democratic government and traces its search for new political ideas both to the New Right and Old Labour. Using interviews with former Labour politicians, advisers and academics, he presents an original and comprehensive analysis of Labour's political philosophy.
These days almost everyone seems to think it obvious that equality of opportunity is at least part of what constitutes a fair society. At the same time they are so vague about what equality of opportunity actually amounts to that it can begin to look like an empty term, a convenient shorthand for the way jobs (or for that matter university places, or positions of power, or merely places on the local sports team) should be allocated, whatever that happens to (...) be. Matt Cavanagh offers a highly provocative and original new view, suggesting that the way we think about equality and opportunity should be radically changed. (shrink)
In this lively and accessible book, Matt Matravers considers the highly contested role of responsibility in politics, morality, and the law. He asks, what are we doing when we hold people responsible in deciding questions of distributive justice or of punishment? and considers the role of philosophy in answering this very contemporary question.
The first of the new Theory and History series, Matt Perry's punchy andaccessible volume examines Marxism's enormous impact on the way historians approach their subject. Perry offers both a concise introduction to the Marxist view of history and Marxism historical writing, and a guide to its relevance to students' own work.
Eric Rayner, a psychoanalyst in private practice, has written the first clear introduction to Matte-Blanco's key concepts for psychotherapists and psychoanalysts. While Matte-Blanco's theories on the structure of the unconscious and the way in which it operates are generally recognized to be the most original since those of Freud, many people find his use of terminology from mathematics and logic difficult to understand. In this book, Rayner sets out the central ideas and then shows, with examples, how they relate to (...) clinical practice. He also describes how the ideas are related to those of people in other disciplines--mathematics, logic, psychology (specifically Piaget), and anthropology, among others. Drawing on the work of a group of people who have been inspired by Matte-Blanco's thinking to extend their own ideas and test them out in the consulting room, this book reveals the significance of Matte-Blanco's thought for future research. (shrink)
This paper argues that a sweatshop worker's choice to accept the conditions of his or her employment is morally significant, both as an exercise of autonomy and as an expression of preference. This fact establishes a moral claim against interference in the conditions of sweatshop labor by third parties such as governments or consumer boycott groups. It should also lead us to doubt those who call for MNEs to voluntarily improve working conditions, at least when their arguments are based on (...) the claim that workers have a moral right to such improvement. These conclusions are defended against three objections: 1) that sweatshop workers' consent to the conditions of their labor is not fully voluntary, 2) that sweatshops' offer of additional labor options is part of an overall package that actually harms workers, 3) that even if sweatshop labor benefits workers, it is nevertheless wrongfully exploitative. (shrink)
Price gouging occurs when, in the wake of an emergency, sellers of a certain necessary goods sharply raise their prices beyond the level needed to cover increased costs. Most people think that price gouging is immoral, and most states have laws rendering the practice a civil or criminal offense. The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the philosophic issues surrounding price gouging, and to argue that the common moral condemnation of it is largely mistaken. I make this (...) argument in three steps, by rebutting three widely held beliefs about the ethics of price gouging: 1) that laws prohibiting price gouging are morally justified, 2) that price gouging is morally impermissible behavior, even if it ought not be illegal, and 3) that price gouging reflects poorly on the moral character of those who engage in it, even if the act itself is not morally impermissible. (shrink)
This book aims to answer the question of why, and by what right, some people punish others. With a groundbreaking new theory, Matravers argues that the justification of punishment must be embedded in a larger political and moral theory. He also uses the problem of punishment to undermine contemporary accounts of justice.
We review recent developments in ethical pluralism, ethical particularism, Kantian intuitionism, rights theory, and climate change ethics, and show the relevance of these developments in ethical theory to contemporary business ethics. This paper explains why pluralists think that ethical decisions should be guided by multiple standards and why particularists emphasize the crucial role of context in determining sound moral judgments. We explain why Kantian intuitionism emphasizes the discerning power of intuitive reason and seek to integrate that with the comprehensiveness of (...) Kant’s moral framework. And we show how human rights can be grounded in human agency, and explain the connections between human rights and climate change. (shrink)
It is commonly claimed that workers in sweatshops are wrongfully exploited by their employers. The economist's standard response to this claim is to point out that sweatshops provide their workers with tremendous benefits, more than most workers elsewhere in the economy receive and more than most of those who complain about sweatshop exploitation provide. Perhaps, though, the wrongfulness of sweatshop exploitation is to be found not in the discrete interaction between a sweatshop and its employees, but in the unjust political (...) and economic institutions against which that interaction takes place. This paper tries to assess what role, if any, consideration of background injustice should play in the correct understanding of exploitation. Its answer, in brief, is that it should play fairly little. Structural injustice matters, of course, but it does not typically matter for determining whether a sweatshop is acting exploitatively, and it does not typically matter in a way that grounds any kind of special moral responsibility or fault on the part of sweatshops or the Multinational Enterprises with which they contract. (shrink)
The fact that persons are separate in some descriptive sense is relatively uncontroversial. But one of the distinctive ideas of contemporary liberal political philosophy is that the descriptive fact of our separateness is normatively momentous. John Rawls and Robert Nozick both take the separateness of persons to provide a foundation for their rejection of utilitarianism and for their own positive political theories. So why do their respective versions of liberalism look so different? This paper claims that the difference is based (...) in Rawls' and Nozick's differing understandings of the morally significant aspects of personhood, and argues that respect for separateness is a value better suited to defend Nozickian libertarianism than Rawlsian liberalism. (shrink)
The central question animating liberal thought is: How can people live together as free and equal? This question is being reinvigorated by the emergence of what we will call neoclassical liberalism. Neoclassical liberals, such as David Schmidtz, Gerald Gaus, Charles Griswold, Jacob Levy, Matt Zwolinski, Will Wilkinson, and we, the authors, share classical liberalism’s commitment to robust economic liberties and property rights as well as modern or “high” liberalism’s commitment to social justice. On the neoclassical liberal view, part of (...) the justification for a society’s basic structure is that it produces conditions where citizens have substantive liberty, and can thus confront each other as free and equal. The basic structure of society is evaluable on the kinds of outcomes produced for citizens. Neoclassical liberals combine a robust commitment to social justice—a commitment as robust as that of high liberals—with a commitment to more extensive set of basic liberties than that advocated by high liberals. Neoclassical liberalism thus stakes out a claim to be the morally ambitious form of liberalism. (shrink)
This paper develops my position on the ethics of price gouging in response to Jeremy Snyder's article, "What's the Matter with Price Gouging." First, it explains how the "nonworseness claim" supports the moral permissibility of price gouging, even if it does not show that price gougers are morally virtuous agents. Second, it argues that questions about price gouging and distributive justice must be answered in light of the relevant possible institutional alternatives, and that Snyder's proposed alternatives to price gouging fare (...) worse on the dimension of justice than a system in which goods are allocated by a system of market prices. (shrink)
This paper is an encyclopedia entry on the political philosophy of libertarianism, written for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It discusses the major contemporary strands of libertarianism and their historical roots, and presents some of the main criticisms of these strands. Its focus is on libertarianism as a doctrine about distributive justice and political authority, and specifically on the consequentialist and natural rights formulations of these views.
Ordinary morality judges agents blameworthy for negligently produced harms. In this paper I offer two main reasons for thinking that explaining just how negligent agents are responsible for the harms they produce is more problematic than one might think. First, I show that negligent conduct is characterized by the lack of conscious control over the harm, which conflicts with the ordinary view that responsibility for something requires at least some conscious control over it. Second, I argue that negligence is relevantly (...) indistinguishable from inadvertence, which is ordinarily thought to excuse agents from responsibility. I argue that the parallels between negligence and inadvertence suggest that negligent agents are not responsible for the harms they produce, while proposing an alternative model for distinguishing between negligence and inadvertence that does justice to our intuitions. (shrink)
Many people have a strong intuition that there is something morally objectionable about playing violent video games, particularly with increases in the number of people who are playing them and the games' alleged contribution to some highly publicized crimes. In this paper,I use the framework of utilitarian, deontological, and virtue ethical theories to analyze the possibility that there might be some philosophical foundation for these intuitions. I raise the broader question of whether or not participating in authentic simulations of immoral (...) acts in generalis wrong. I argue that neither the utilitarian, nor the Kantian has substantial objections to violent game playing, although they offer some important insights into playing games in general and what it is morally to be a ``good sport.'' The Aristotelian, however, has a plausible and intuitive way to protest participation in authentic simulations of violent acts in terms of character: engaging in simulated immoral actserodes one's character and makes it more difficult for one to live a fulfilled eudaimonic life. (shrink)
Whatever else might be said about the Lockean and Hobbesian states of nature, it is widely believe that they are mutually incompatible. One or the other (or neither) is a correct way of thinking about the state of nature, but not both. This paper argues that this intuitively plausible claim is incorrect - if not as a matter of textual interpretation, then as a matter of analysis of the concepts that we have inherited from those texts. Not only does it (...) make sense to talk about a Hobbesian and Lockean state of nature existing simultaneously, but doing so allows us to draw important and novel insights about important contemporary questions in political philosophy. (shrink)
Our aim in this paper is to raise a question about the relationship between theories of responsibility, on the one hand, and a commitment to conscious attitudes, on the other. Our question has rarely been raised previously. Among those who believe in the reality of human freedom, compatibilists have traditionally devoted their energies to providing an account that can avoid any commitment to the falsity of determinism while successfully accommodating a range of intuitive examples. Libertarians, in contrast, have aimed to (...) show that either physical indeterminacy or a certain kind of agent causation can find a place in the world for what they take to be genuine freedom. Few have considered whether moral responsibility requires a commitment to conscious attitudes.2 Our question derives from a confluence of two sources. First, there is reason to think that conscious attitudes matter to theories of responsibility, either directly, as a result of the latter’s commitments, or indirectly, by virtue of the assumptions that they make about certain intuitive examples. Second, there is accumulating evidence suggesting that there aren’t any conscious mental states possessing the sorts of causal roles required of propositional attitudes. Since theorists of responsibility should in general be concerned to make their views compatible with plausible claims about the natural world, the implications of this data should be carefully considered. Our aim is therefore to motivate and begin exploring answers to the following conditional question: If it should turn out that there are no conscious attitudes, then what would be the implications of this fact (if any) for theories of responsibility? We propose that theorists who aren’t skeptics about moral responsibility should examine their accounts, asking whether their theories (or the examples that motivate them) could survive the discovery that there are no conscious judgments, decisions, or evaluations. Since we take it that moral theorizing in general should operate with the weakest possible empirical assumptions about the natural world, such theorists should consider whether their accounts could be motivated in such a way as to be free of any commitment to the existence of conscious attitudes.. (shrink)
This paper argues that egalitarian theories should be judged by the degree to which they meet four different challenges. Fundamentalist egalitarianism, which contends that certain inequalities are intrinsically bad or unjust regardless of their consequences, fails to meet these challenges. Building on discussions by T.M. Scanlon and David Miller, we argue that egalitarianism is better understood in terms of commitments to six egalitarian objectives. A consequence of our view, in contrast to Martin O'Neill's “non-intrinsic egalitarianism,“ is that egalitarianism is better (...) understood as a family of views than as a single ethical position. (shrink)
This collection brings together essays which reflect on the detailed arguments of "What We Owe to Each Other", and which comment critically both on Scanlon's contractualism and his revised understandings of motivation and morality. The essays illustrate the uses of Scanlon's contractualism by applying it to moral and political problems and in so doing they provide an assessment of the ability of Scanlon's contractualism by applying it to other forms of ethical theory. So, the central questions are: "What is the (...) best interpretation of the theory advanced in "'What We Owe to Each Other?'"; "How does the theory, so interpreted, stand up to criticism?"; and "How does contractualism handle certain difficult problems in politics and ethics?". To answer these questions, the collection includes the work of distinguished political philosophers. The resulting volume will make an important and original contribution to the literature on Scanlon, on contractualism and on contemporary political philosophy. (shrink)
In the contemporary moral responsibility debate, most theorists seem to be giving accounts of responsibility in the ‘desert-entailing sense’. Despite this agreement, little has been said about the notion of desert that is supposedly entailed. In this paper I propose an understanding of desert sufficient to help explain why the blameworthy and praiseworthy deserve blame and praise, respectively. I do so by drawing upon what might seem an unusual resource. I appeal to so-called Fitting-Attitude accounts of value to help inform (...) a conception of desert or merit, one that can be usefully applied to discussions of moral responsibility. I argue that the view, which I call, Desert as Fittingness (DAF), merits additional attention. I do so by making two claims: First, that it does better than extant Fitting Attitude accounts of blameworthiness and praiseworthiness; second, that it has an initial plausibility with respect to informing a general account of desert. While these reasons are insufficient to show the view is true, they do make the case for taking the view seriously. (shrink)
According to Rosalind Hursthouse’s virtue based account of right action, an act is right if it is what a fully virtuous person would do in that situation. Robert Johnson has criticized the account on the grounds that the actions a non-virtuous person should take are often uncharacteristic of the virtuous person, and thus Hursthouse’s account of right action is too narrow. The non-virtuous need to take steps to improve themselves morally, and the fully virtuous person need not take these steps. (...) So Johnson argues that any virtue based account of right action will have to find a way to ground a moral obligation to improve oneself. This paper argues that there is an account of virtue that can offer a partial solution to Johnson’s challenge, an account where virtue is a type of practical skill and in which the virtuous person is seen as having expertise. The paper references the account of skill acquisition developed by Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus. Their research demonstrates that novices in a skill have to employ different strategies to act well than the strategies used by the experts, and so the ‘virtue as skill’ thesis provides support for Johnson’s claim that the actions of the non-virtuous will differ from the virtuous. On the other hand, their research suggests that there is no separating the commitment to improve yourself from the possession of expertise, and so the ‘virtue as skill’ thesis has the resources for grounding the obligation to improve oneself in an account of virtue. (shrink)
I argue against unqualified acceptance of the principle of deductive closure (DC): that, if p follows deductively from premises that are already known, we are in a position to know p. DC, I claim, is a sorites premise; it seems intuitively irresistible, but indiscriminate application of it leads to absurd conclusions. Furthermore, a theory on which the application of DC is restricted explains our practice of deriving new knowledge from old knowledge better than a theory on which our application of (...) DC is unrestricted. This restriction on the application of DC allows contextualists to meet an argument of Hawthorne’s that contextualism must lead either to absurd knowledge attributions or to constant shifting of the standards for knowledge. Even if the standard of knowledge remains constant, the absurd knowledge attribution is the conclusion of a sorites argument and should be rejected. (shrink)
This essay is intended to provide an introductory overview of the philosophical problems involved in understanding the nature and value of liberty, and the range and categories of philosophic solutions that have been offered to those problems. This essay covers the distinction between negative and positive liberty, MacCallum's tripartite analysis of liberty, debates over the subject of liberty and the significance of various constraints on liberty, and the significance of philosophical analyses of liberty for political philosophy. Concludes with a short (...) bibliographical essay with suggestions for further reading. Appropriate for first-year to advanced undergraduates. (shrink)
Antony Duff has argued that an important precondition of criminal liability is that the state has the moral standing to call the offender to account. Conditions of severe social injustice, if allowed or perpetuated by the state, can undermine this standing. Duffs argument appeals to the ordinary idea that a persons own behaviour can sometimes negate his standing to call others to account. It is argued that this is an important issue, but that the analogy with individual standing is problematic. (...) Moreover, Duffs account of standing needs to address two interconnected issues: first, when and in what way the state can lose its standing to call offenders to account, and second, over what range of offences. Key Words: criminal liability Duff punishment social injustice. (shrink)
Price gouging occurs when, in the wake of an emergency, sellers of a certain necessary goods sharply raise their prices beyond the level needed to cover increased costs. Most people think that price gouging is immoral, and most states have laws rendering the practice a civil or criminal offense. But the alleged wrongness of price gouging has been seriously under-theorized. This paper examines the argument that price gouging is morally objectionable and/or the proper subject of legal regulation because of the (...) context of market failure in which it occurs. It argues that even if claims of market failure or true, they do not generate these normative conclusions. (shrink)
Julia Annas is one of the few modern writers on virtue that has attempted to recover the ancient idea that virtues are similar to skills. In doing so, she is arguing for a particular account of virtue, one in which the intellectual structure of virtue is analogous to the intellectual structure of practical skills. The main benefit of this skill model of virtue is that it can ground a plausible account of the moral epistemology of virtue. This benefit, though, is (...) only available to some accounts of virtue. Annas claims that Aristotle rejects this skill model of virtue, and so the model of virtues as a skill that Annas endorses for the modern virtue theory is Socratic.This paper argues that while Aristotle rejects the Socratic model of virtue as a skill, he does not reject the model of virtue as a skill altogether. Annas has mischaracterized Aristotle’s position on the skill model, because she has not recognized that Aristotle endorses a different account of the structure of skill than the one put forth by Socrates. In addition, recent research on expertise provides an account of skills very much at odds with the description of skills offered by Annas, but similar to the account endorsed by Aristotle.Contrary to Annas, not only is the skill model of virtue compatible with a neo-Aristotelian account of virtue, but it also appears that basing a skill model of virtue on a Socratic account of virtue is likely to prove unsuccessful. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Biology covers a broad range of topics in this field. It is not just a textbook focusing on evolutionary theory but encompasses ethics, social science and behaviour too. This essay outlines the scope of the work, discusses some points on methodology in the philosophy of biology, and then moves on to a more detailed analysis of cultural evolution and the applicability of a philosophy of biology toolkit to the social sciences. It is noted that (...) concepts like the species concept may generalise to other domains whilst failing to account for the nature of all species. Finally, the author notes the omission of any discussion of information in biology. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant is one of the most influential philosophers in the history of Western philosophy. His contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics have had a profound impact on almost every philosophical movement that followed him. This portion of the Encyclopedia entry will focus on his metaphysics and epistemology in one of his most important works, The Critique of Pure Reason . (All references will be to the A (1781) and B(1787) edition pages in Werner Pluhar's translation. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996.) (...) A large part of Kant's work addresses the question "What can we know?" The answer, if it can be stated simply, is that our knowledge is constrained to mathematics and the science of the natural, empirical world. It is impossible, Kant argues, to extend knowledge to the supersensible realm of speculative metaphysics. The reason that knowledge has these constraints, Kant argues, is that the mind plays an active role in constituting the features of experience and limiting the mind's access to the empirical realm of space and time. (shrink)
This paper provides a brief overview of the relationship between libertarian political theory and the Universal Basic Income (UBI). It distinguishes between different forms of libertarianism and argues that a one form, classical liberalism, is compatible with and provides some grounds of support for UBI. A classical liberal UBI, however, is likely to be much smaller than the sort of UBI defended by those on the political left. And there are both contingent empirical reasons and principled moral reasons for doubting (...) that the classical liberal case for UBI will be ultimately successful at all. (shrink)
In a recent paper in this journal, Matt King and Peter Carruthers argue that the common assumption that agents are only (or especially) morally responsible for actions caused by attitudes of which they are conscious needs to be rethought. They claim that there is persuasive evidence that we are never conscious of our propositional attitudes; we ought therefore to design our theories of moral responsibility to accommodate this fact. In this reply, I argue that the evidence they adduce need (...) not worry philosophers. There is an ongoing debate over the role that consciousness of our attitudes plays in morally responsible behaviour, but the evidence they produce does not favour either side. Even if we are not conscious of our propositional attitudes as such - even if we lack introspective access to their content - we nevertheless reliably come to know their content. There are systematic differences between those attitudes of whose content we come to be aware and those we do not, and these differences are directly relevant to our moral responsibility. Moreover, coming to be aware of the content of our attitudes has effects on our behaviour, and these effects are directly relevant to our moral responsibility. The causal route whereby we come to be conscious of the content of our attitudes is irrelevant to whether they play the right kinds of roles to distinguish between actions for which we are responsible and actions for which we ought to be excused. (shrink)
Some philosophers of education have recently argued that educators can more or less ignore children's global self-esteem without failing them educationally in any important way. This paper draws on an attachment theoretic account of self-esteem to argue that this view is mistaken. I argue that understanding self-esteem's origins in attachment supports two controversial claims. First, self-esteem is a crucial element of the confidence and motivation children need in order to engage in and achieve educational pursuits, especially in certain domains of (...) instruction such as physical education. Second, self-esteem can be facilitated socially, through an appropriate arrangement of school institutions, thus without hindering the pursuit of other high priority aims such as a challenging academic curriculum. Consequently I maintain that educators who ignore self-esteem overlook something educationally important. (shrink)