The Beloved Self is about the holy grail of moral philosophy, an argument against egoism that proves that we all have reasons to be moral. Part One introduces three different versions of egoism. Part Two looks at attempts to prove that egoism is false, and shows that even the more modest arguments that do not try to answer the egoist in her own terms seem to fail. But in part Three, Hills defends morality and develops a new problem for (...) egoism, an epistemological problem. She shows that it is not epistemically rational to believe the most plausible versions of egoism. The first part of the book will be most relevant to those interested in moral theory, as it contains detailed discussions of recent interpretations of virtue ethics and especially of Kant's moral theory. The second and third part of the book turn to epistemology, particularly moral epistemology, and include an account of the relationship between knowledge and action, a new theory of moral understanding, and a discussion of the epistemically rational response to various kinds of disagreement. Hills also defends a new account of virtue and of morally worthy action. (shrink)
In this essay, Rosa Bruno-Jofré and George Hills examine two major Ontario policy documents: 1968's Living and Learning and 1994's For the Love of Learning. The purpose is, first, to gain insight into the uses of the term “excellence” in the context of discourse about educational aims and evaluation, and, second, to explore how these uses may have changed over time. Bruno-Jofré and Hills employ the conceptual framework developed by Madhu Prakash and Leonard Waks to elucidate the varied (...) notions of excellence contained in the two reports. Bruno-Jofré and Hills argue that Living and Learning is an eclectic report that creates continuity by aligning itself with the pedagogically progressive tradition in Ontario; that propounds a holistic conception of excellence centered on the all-around development of the self; and that seeks simultaneously to secure a sense of being Canadian while dealing with rapidly emerging social fragmentation. For the Love of Learning, in contrast, attempts to combine a technical view of excellence in education (stressing various literacies and skills as measurable indicators) with the principles of caring and the goals of social responsibility. Each report can be seen as an attempt to respond to the expectations of a population that had become increasingly diverse in the interval between the two reports. What is cause for concern in terms of policymaking, Bruno-Jofré and Hills conclude, is the turn away from broader, more comprehensive and coherent views of excellence in education toward narrower and more fragmented accounts that are preoccupied with various types of literacy or loosely related vocational and other skills. The effect of this shift is to leave educational policy and practice in the schools essentially rudderless. (shrink)
The difficulty of distinguishing between the intended and the merely foreseen consequences of actions seems to many to be the most serious problem for the doctrine of double effect. It has led some to reject the doctrine altogether, and has left some of its defenders recasting it in entirely different terms. I argue that these responses are unnecessary. Using Bratman’s conception of intention, I distinguish the intended consequences of an action from the merely foreseen in a way that can be (...) used to support the doctrine of double effect. (shrink)
One familiar criticism of utilitarianism is that it is too demanding. It requires us to promote the happiness of others, even at the expense of our own projects, our integrity, or the welfare of our friends and family. Recently Ashford has defended utilitarianism, arguing that it provides compelling reasons for demanding duties to help the needy, and that other moral theories, notably contractualism, are committed to comparably stringent duties. In response, I argue that utilitarianism is even more demanding than is (...) commonly realized: both act- and rule-utilitarianism are committed to extremely stringent duties to wild animals. In this regard, utilitarianism is more demanding (and more counter-intuitive) than contractualism. (shrink)
Why should we be interested in Kant's ethical theory? One reason is that we find his views about our moral responsibilities appealing. Anyone who thinks that we should treat other people with respect, that we should not use them as a mere means in ways to which they could not possibly consent, will be attracted by a Kantian style of ethical theory. But according to recent supporters of Kant, the most distinctive and important feature of his ethical theory is not (...) his claims about the particular ethical duties that we owe to each other, but his views about the nature of value. They argue that Kant has an account of the relationship between practical reason and value, known as "Kantian constructivism" that is far superior to the traditional "value realist" theory, and that it is because of this that we should accept his theory.1 It is now standard for both supporters and critics to claim that Kant's moral theory stands or falls with Kantian constructivism.2 But this is a mistake. In this paper, I sketch a rival Kantian theory of value, which I call Kantian value realism. I argue that there is textual evidence that Kant himself accepted value realism rather than constructivism. Whilst my aim in this paper is to set out the theory clearly rather than to defend it, I will try to show that Kantian value realism is preferable to Kantian constructivism and that it is worthy of further study. (shrink)
According to the doctrine of double effect(DDE), there is a morally significantdifference between harm that is intended andharm that is merely foreseen and not intended.It is not difficult to explain why it is bad tointend harm as an end (you have a ``badattitude'' toward that harm) but it is hard toexplain why it is bad to intend harm as a meansto some good end. If you intend harm as a meansto some good end, you need not have a ``badattitude'' toward (...) it. I distinguish two ways inwhich you can treat something that is yourchosen means to your ends. You can pursue yourends directly, and treat X as a mere means thatyou pursue for the sake of your end. Or you canpursue your ends indirectly, and treat X as a``plan-relative end'' that you pursue for its ownsake. I argue that much of the time we pursueour ends indirectly, and treat our means asplan-relative ends. There are significantanalogies between intending harm as an end, andintending harm as a plan-relative end. So,under certain circumstances, it is morallyworse to intend harm as a means or an end thanto foresee bringing about the same amount of harm. (shrink)
How should we decide which theory of practical reason is correct? One possibility is to link each conception of practical reason with a theory of value, and to assess the first in combination with the second. Recently some philosophers have taken a different approach. They have tried to link theories of practical reason with theories of action instead. I try to show that it can be illuminating to think of practical reason in terms of the success conditions of action, but (...) ultimately this is in addition to, rather than a substitute for, relating practical reason to value as well. I set out three different conceptions of action and corresponding success conditions, and explain how each is linked to a particular conception of practical reason and, in two cases, to a theory of value too. My goal is to describe these different accounts, rather than to defend any in particular, though I will suggest that some are more satisfactory than others. Key Words: action commitment intention practical reason value. (shrink)
The question of domain-specific versus domain-general processing is an ongoing source of inquiry surrounding cognitive control. Using a comparative evolutionary approach, Stout (2010) proposed two components of cognitive control: coordinating hierarchical action plans and social cognition. This article reports additional molecular and experimental evidence supporting a domain-general attentional process coordinating hierarchical action plans, with the earliest such control processing originating in the capacity of dynamic foraging behaviors—predating the vertebrate-invertebrate divergence (c. 700 million years ago). Further discussion addresses evidence required for (...) additional, domain-specific, cognitive control processes, noting that proposed social processes may simply provide emotionally valenced representational information to the above hierarchical process. (shrink)
Sidgwick argued that utilitarianism was not rationally required because it could not be shown that a utilitarian theory of practical reason was better justified than a rival egoist theory of practical reason: there is a 'dualism of practical reason' between utilitarianism and egoism. In this paper, it is demonstrated that the dualism argument also applies to Kant's moral theory, the moral law. A prudential theory that is parallel to the moral law is devised, and it is argued that the moral (...) law is no better justified than this prudential theory. So the moral law is not rationally required. It is suggested that the dualism argument is a completely general argument that ethics cannot be rationally required. (shrink)
The need to maintain the public trust in the integrity of the accounting profession has led to increased interest in research that examines the moral reasoning abilities (MRA) of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). This study examines the MRA of CPAs practicing in small firms or as sole practitioners and the factors that affect MRA throughout their working careers.The results indicate that small-firm accounting practitioners exhibit lower MRA than expected for professionals and that age, gender and socio-political beliefs affect the moral (...) reasoning abilities of small-firm practitioners. We also find that completion of an ethics course in college has a positive impact on MRA. Also, the survey respondents indicate overwhelming support for including ethics courses within the business curriculum. Finally, the fact that those accountants with the lowest MRA are the least supportive of ethical training may indicate the need for mandatory, rather than optional, training in ethics both in university and Continuing Professional Education courses. (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)
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.
Hmm… Hill on the paradox of pain Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-8 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9811-5 Authors Alex Byrne, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT, 32-d808, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
In the current issue of this journal, Scott Hill critiques some of my work on the “is”-“ought” controversy, the Hume-inspired debate over whether an ethical conclusion can be soundly, or even validly, derived from only non-ethical premises. I’ve argued that it can be; Hill is unconvinced. I reply to Hill’s critique, focusing on four key questions to which he and I give different answers.
The degree to which abundances are divided equitably among community species or evenness is a basic property of any biological community. Several evenness indices have been proposed to summarize community structure. However, despite their potential applicability in ecological research, none seems to be generally preferred. In this paper we show that, unlike other evenness indices without any clear information-theoretical meaning, Hill's parametric diversity measure E ,0 has an immediate relation to Rényi's generalized information. Therefore, E ,0 might be adequate for (...) summarizing community structure within the context of a general theoretical framework of diversity analysis based on information theory. (shrink)
This review of Bolton & Hill's (B&H) Mind, Meaning, & Mental Disorder examines their non-reductionist yet realist position on mental content. Their arguments are compared to the writings of Dennett and Millikan, where determining function is central to determining information-processing capabilities. The normative nature of function (malfunction) is considered as is its relation to mental states more broadly. Their Wittgensteinian view of meaning as action is accepted as insightful and useful, though some questions remain about their theory of meaning and (...) its applicability to psychological phenomena. (shrink)
An analysis of Geoffrey Hill's lyric poem about William Blake illuminates the relations between art, prophecy, and imperial politics across more than two centuries. Hill's poem responds to David V. Erdman's argument that Blake was resolutely, if ineffectually and sometimes secretly, opposed to war. It also establishes Hill's own cryptic but definite resistance to contemporary war and warmongers, while it mourns poetry's public powerlessness to halt the violent competition for material resources. Ignored by the majority, poetry fails to bring about (...) the ethical social change that poets often envision. The layering of perspectives (Hill the poet and scholar writing about Erdman the scholar, who is explicating Blake the poet and artist) allows for a multidimensional interpretation of the role of poets and prophetic poetry. Despite their fury at society's deafness and greed, and frustration at their own incapacities, poets—because if they are great poets, they are prophets, too—continue to speak to their audiences about the problems of this world and about the better worlds that can be imagined. Hill's text obliquely teaches how the small success of a great poem can provide a minor note of consolation as it objects to terror and tyranny. (shrink)
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)
Abstract Greg Hill's recent article voices the Keynesian complaint that capitalism produces unemployment because there is no mechanism that coordinates decisions to save with decisions to invest. But resources that are not spent on current consumption are either ?invested? as bank deposits or ?hoarded? as cash. Deposits are lent out by banks to investors, who are informed by interest rates as to the degree of saving for future consumption that is taking place. And wage/price flexibility, as well as increases in (...) the supply of cash, can avoid declines in real income and employment caused by increased cash holdings. (shrink)
Brian Hill argues for a restriction of the Preservation condition that is based on a notion of epistemic, as opposed to logical, consistency. In this reply I consider possible criteria for epistemic consistency and suggest that a natural candidate for one leads to a more severe restriction on the Preservation condition than Hill proposes. I also question whether his proposed restriction is either necessary or sufficient to avoid the impossibility results for the Preservation condition, suggesting that it is the way (...) in which belief expansion is characterized within the AGM framework that is the real source of the problem. Finally, I draw on the notion of belief undermining to support a different resolution of the problem. (shrink)
Abstract Greg Hill continues to miss my distinction between what is true of free?market capitalism and what is true of the interventionist forms of capitalism that characterize Western economies. It is central banking that triggers lower aggregate demand when the public's desire to save grows. If increases in saving occur through the holding of additional private bank liabilities, rather than central?bank created money, banks could adjust their supply of liabilities so as to keep saving and investment equal and avoid reductions (...) in aggregate demand. Hill's alternatives to market?driven financial intermediaries also fail to compare fairly the market and political processes. (shrink)
Defending Poetry studies the tradition of poetic defence, or apologia, as it has been pursued and developed by three of the twentieth century's leading poet-critics: Joseph Brodsky, Seamus Heaney, and Geoffrey Hill. It begins with an extended introduction to philosophical debates over the ethical value of literature from Plato to Levinas and continues by situating these three poets as in one sense historically continuous with the defences of Horace, Sidney, Coleridge, and Shelley, but also as drastically other. This otherness is (...) bounded on one side by the example of T. S. Eliot's career-long contemplation of the ideal of poetic 'integrity', and on the other by a collective recognition of the twentieth century's great horrors, which seem to corrode all associations of art and the good. Through close readings of the poems and prose essays of Brodsky, Heaney, and Hill, Defending Poetry makes a timely intervention in current debates about literature's ethics, arguing that any ethics of literature ought to take into account not only poetry, but also the writings of poets on the value of poetry. (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 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)
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)