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Profile: Michael Cholbi (California State Polytechnic University, Pomona)
  1. Michael Cholbi (2014). The Implications of Ego Depletion for the Ethics and Politics of Manipulation. In C. Coons M. E. Weber (ed.), Manipulation:Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press 201-220.
    A significant body of research suggests that self-control and willpower are resources that become depleted as they are exercised. Having to exert self-control and willpower draws down the reservoir of these resources and make subsequent such exercises more difficult. This “ego depletion” renders individuals more susceptible to manipulation by exerting non-rational influences on our choice and conduct. In particular, ego depletion results in later choices being less governable by our powers of self-control and willpower than earlier choices. I draw out (...)
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  2.  73
    Michael Cholbi (2016). Grief's Rationality, Backward and Forward. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3).
    Grief is our emotional response to the deaths of intimates, and so like many other emotional conditions, it can be appraised in terms of its rationality. A philosophical account of grief's rationality should satisfy a contingency constraint, wherein grief is neither intrinsically rational nor intrinsically irrational. Here I provide an account of grief and its rationality that satisfies this constraint, while also being faithful to the phenomenology of grief experience. I begin by arguing against the best known account of grief's (...)
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  3.  34
    Michael Cholbi (2013). Suicide. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
    Suicide is a controversial ethical issue in large part because the reasonings of and above appear plausible but support contradictory conclusions. in effect asks: Why should we be granted an exemption to the prohibition on human killing when the person we kill is ourselves? What makes killing oneself so special? on the other hand starts from the intuition that there is something special or distinctive about the moral relationship we stand in to ourselves, a relationship that can at least sometimes (...)
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  4. Michael Cholbi (2014). A Direct Kantian Duty to Animals. Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):338-358.
    Kant's view that we have only indirect duties to animals fails to capture the intuitive notion that wronging animals transgresses duties we owe to those animals. Here I argue that a suitably modified Kantianism can allow for direct duties to animals and, in particular, an imperfect duty to promote animal welfare without unduly compromising its core theoretical commitments, especially its commitments concerning the source and nature of our duties toward rational beings. The basis for such duties is that animal welfare, (...)
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  5. Michael Cholbi (2015). Kant on Euthanasia and the Duty to Die: Clearing the Air. Journal of Medical Ethics 41 (8):607-610.
    Thanks to recent scholarship, Kant is no longer seen as the dogmatic opponent of suicide he appears at first glance. However, some interpreters have recently argued for a Kantian view of the morality of suicide with surprising, even radical, implications. More specifically, they have argued that Kantianism requires that those with dementia or other rationality-eroding conditions end their lives before their condition results in their loss of identity as moral agents, and requires subjecting the fully demented or those confronting future (...)
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  6.  29
    Michael Cholbi (2016). The Denial of Moral Dilemmas as a Regulative Ideal. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):268-289.
    The traditional debate about moral dilemmas concerns whether there are circumstances in which an agent is subject to two obligations that cannot both be fulfilled. Realists maintain there are. Irrealists deny this. Here I defend an alternative, methodologically-oriented position wherein the denial of genuine moral dilemmas functions as a regulative ideal for moral deliberation and practice. That is, moral inquiry and deliberation operate on the implicit assumption that there are no genuine moral dilemmas. This view is superior to both realism (...)
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  7. Michael Cholbi (2011). The Moral Conversion of Rational Egoists. Social Theory and Practice 37 (4):533-556.
    One principal challenge to the rationalist thesis that the demands of morality are requirements of rationality has been that posed by the "rational egoist." In attempting to answer's the egoist's challenge, some rationalists have supposed that an adequate reply must take the form of a deductive argument that "converts" the egoist by showing that her position is contradictory, arbitrary, or violates some precept that defines practical rationality as such. Here I argue (a) that such rationalist replies will fail to persuade (...)
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  8. Michael Cholbi (2011). Depression, Listlessness, and Moral Motivation. Ratio 24 (1):28-45.
    Motivational internalism (MI) holds that, necessarily, if an agent judges that she is morally obligated to ø, then, that agent is, to at least some minimal extent, motivated to ø. Opponents of MI sometimes invoke depression as a counterexample on the grounds that depressed individuals appear to sincerely affirm moral judgments but are ‘listless’ and unmotivated by such judgments. Such listlessness is a credible counterexample to MI, I argue, only if the actual clinical disorder of depression, rather than a merely (...)
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  9. Michael Cholbi (2015). No Last Resort: Pitting the Right to Die Against the Right to Medical Self-Determination. Journal of Ethics 19 (2):143-157.
    Many participants in debates about the morality of assisted dying maintain that individuals may only turn to assisted dying as a ‘last resort’, i.e., that a patient ought to be eligible for assisted dying only after she has exhausted certain treatment or care options. Here I argue that this last resort condition is unjustified, that it is in fact wrong to require patients to exhaust a prescribed slate of treatment or care options before being eligible for assisted dying. The last (...)
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  10.  38
    Michael Cholbi (forthcoming). Paternalism and Our Rational Powers. Mind:fzv205.
    According to rational will views of paternalism, the wrongmaking feature of paternalism is that paternalists disregard or fail to respect the rational will of the paternalized, in effect substituting their own presumably superior judgments about what ends the paternalized ought to pursue or how they ought to pursue them. Here I defend a version of the rational will view appealing to three rational powers that constitute rational agency, which I call recognition, discrimination, and satisfaction. By appealing to these powers, my (...)
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  11.  14
    Michael Cholbi (2015). Immortality and the Exhaustibility of Value. In Immortality and the Philosophy of Death. Rowman and Littlefield 221-236.
    Much of the literature on the desirability of immortality (inspired by B. Williams) has considered whether the goods of mortal life would be exhausted in an immortal life (whether, i.e., immortality would necessarily end in tedium). However, there has been very little discussion of whether the bads of mortal life would also be exhausted in an immortal life, and more generally, how good immortal life would be on balance, particularly in comparison to a mortal life. Here I argue that there (...)
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  12.  43
    Michael Cholbi (2006). Belief Attribution and the Falsification of Motive Internalism. Philosophical Psychology 19 (5):607 – 616.
    The metatethical position known as motive internalism (MI) holds that moral beliefs are necessarily motivating. Adina Roskies (in Philosophical Psychology, 16) has recently argued against MI by citing patients with injuries to the ventromedial (VM) cortex as counterexamples to MI. Roskies claims that not only do these patients not act in accordance with their professed moral beliefs, they exhibit no physiological or affective evidence of being motivated by these beliefs. I argue that Roskies' attempt to falsify MI is unpersuasive because (...)
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  13.  10
    Michael Cholbi (2015). Review, Bradatan, "Dying for Ideas: The Dangerous Lives of the Philosophers". [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2015.
  14.  65
    Michael Cholbi (2012). Suicide. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  15. Michael Cholbi (2000). Kant and the Irrationality of Suicide. History of Philosophy Quarterly 17 (2):159-176.
    Though Kant calls the prohibition against suicide the first duty of human beings to themselves, his arguments for this duty lack his characteristic rigor and systematicity. The lack of a single authoritative Kantian approach to suicide casts doubt on what is generally regarded as an extreme and implausible position, to wit, that not only is suicide wrong in every circumstance, but is among the gravest moral wrongs. Here I try to remedy this lack of systematicity in order to show that (...)
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  16. Michael Cholbi (2006). Race, Capital Punishment, and the Cost of Murder. Philosophical Studies 127 (2):255 - 282.
    Numerous studies indicate that racial minorities are both more likely to be executed for murder and that those who murder them are less likely to be executed than if they murder whites. Death penalty opponents have long attempted to use these studies to argue for a moratorium on capital punishment. Whatever the merits of such arguments, they overlook the fact that such discrimination alters the costs of murder; racial discrimination imposes higher costs on minorities for murdering through tougher sentences, and (...)
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  17.  65
    Michael Cholbi (2002). Suicide Intervention and Non–Ideal Kantian Theory. Journal of Applied Philosophy 19 (3):245–259.
    Philosophical discussions of the morality of suicide have tended to focus on its justifiability from an agent’s point of view rather than on the justifiability of attempts by others to intervene so as to prevent it. This paper addresses questions of suicide intervention within a broadly Kantian perspective. In such a perspective, a chief task is to determine the motives underlying most suicidal behaviour. Kant wrongly characterizes this motive as one of self-love or the pursuit of happiness. Psychiatric and scientific (...)
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  18. Michael Cholbi (2007). Moral Expertise and the Credentials Problem. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (4):323-334.
    Philosophers have harbored doubts about the possibility of moral expertise since Plato. I argue that irrespective of whether moral experts exist, identifying who those experts are is insurmountable because of the credentials problem: Moral experts have no need to seek out others’ moral expertise, but moral non-experts lack sufficient knowledge to determine whether the advice provided by a putative moral expert in response to complex moral situations is correct and hence whether an individual is a bone fide expert. Traditional accounts (...)
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  19. Michael Cholbi (2009). The Murderer at the Door: What Kant Should Have Said. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (1):17-46.
    Embarrassed by the apparent rigorism Kant expresses so bluntly in 'On a Supposed Right to Lie,' numerous contemporary Kantians have attempted to show that Kant's ethics can justify lying in specific circumstances, in particular, when lying to a murderer is necessary in order to prevent her from killing another innocent person. My aim is to improve upon these efforts and show that lying to prevent the death of another innocent person could be required in Kantian terms. I argue (1) that (...)
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  20.  44
    Michael Cholbi (2014). Luck, Blame, and Desert. Philosophical Studies 169 (2):313-332.
    T.M. Scanlon has recently proposed what I term a ‘double attitude’ account of blame, wherein blame is the revision of one’s attitudes in light of another person’s conduct, conduct that we believe reveals that the individual lacks the normative attitudes we judge essential to our relationship with her. Scanlon proposes that this account justifies differences in blame that in turn reflect differences in outcome luck. Here I argue that although the double attitude account can justify blame’s being sensitive to outcome (...)
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  21. Michael Cholbi (2010). A Kantian Defense of Prudential Suicide. Journal of Moral Philosophy 7 (4):489-515.
    Kant's claim that the rational will has absolute value or dignity appears to render any prudential suicide morally impermissible. Although the previous appeals of Kantians (e. g., David Velleman) to the notion that pain or mental anguish can compromise dignity and justify prudential suicide are unsuccessful, these appeals suggest three constraints that an adequate Kantian defense of prudential suicide must meet. Here I off er an account that meets these constraints. Central to this account is the contention that some suicidal (...)
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  22.  28
    Michael Cholbi (2013). The Terminal, the Futile, and the Psychiatrically Disordered. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 36.
    The various jurisdictions worldwide that now legally permit assisted suicide (or voluntary euthanasia) vary concerning the medical conditions needed to be legally eligible for assisted suicide. Some jurisdictions require that an individual be suffering from an unbearable and futile medical condition that cannot be alleviated. Others require that individuals must be suffering from a terminal illness that will result in death within a specified timeframe, such as six months. -/- Popular and academic discourse about assisted suicide paradigmatically focuses on individuals (...)
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  23.  80
    Michael Cholbi (2009). Moore's Paradox and Moral Motivation. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):495-510.
    Assertions of statements such as ‘it’s raining, but I don’t believe it’ are standard examples of what is known as Moore’s paradox. Here I consider moral equivalents of such statements, statements wherein individuals affirm moral judgments while also expressing motivational indifference to those judgments (such as ‘hurting animals for fun is wrong, but I don’t care’). I argue for four main conclusions concerning such statements: 1. Such statements are genuinely paradoxical, even if not contradictory. 2. This paradoxicality can be traced (...)
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  24.  6
    Michael Cholbi (2016). Review of Cassam, "Self-Knowledge for Humans". [REVIEW] Philosophy 91 (3):441-46.
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  25.  77
    Michael Cholbi (2014). A Plethora of Promises — or None at All. American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (3):261-272.
    Utilitarians are supposed to have difficulty accounting for our obligation to keep promises. But utilitarians also face difficulties concerning our obligation to make promises. Consider any situation in which the options available to me are acts A, B, C… n, and A is utility maximizing. Call A+ the course of action consisting of A plus my promising to perform A. Since there appear to be a wide range of instances in which A+ has greater net utility then A, utilitarianism obligates (...)
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  26.  29
    Michael Cholbi (2015). Medically Enabled Suicides. In M. Cholbi J. Varelius (ed.), New Directions in the Ethics of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. Springer 169-184.
    What I call medically enabled suicides have four distinctive features: 1. They are instigated by actions of a suicidal individual, actions she intends to result in a physiological condition that, absent lifesaving medical interventions, would be otherwise fatal to that individual. 2. These suicides are ‘completed’ due to medical personnel acting in accordance with recognized legal or ethical protocols requiring the withholding or withdrawal of care from patients (e.g., following an approved advance directive). 3. The suicidal individual acts purposefully to (...)
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  27.  61
    Michael Cholbi (2011). Suicide: The Philosophical Dimensions. Broadview Press.
    The Philosophical Dimensions Michael Cholbi. impermissible. Many Kantians, however, adopt what we could call a wide interpretation of autonomy. These Kantians remind us that autonomy is a capacity to make and be guided by our rational ...
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  28. Michael Cholbi (2007). Intentional Learning as a Model for Philosophical Pedagogy. Teaching Philosophy 30 (1):35-58.
    The achievement of intentional learning is a powerful paradigm for the objectives and methods of the teaching of philosophy. This paradigm sees the objectives and methods of such teaching as based not simply on the mastery of content, but as rooted in attempts to shape the various affective and cognitive factors that influence students’ learning efforts. The goal of such pedagogy is to foster an intentional learning orientation, one characterized by self-awareness, active monitoring of the learning process, and a desire (...)
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  29. Michael Cholbi (2012). What is Wrong with “What is Wrong with Rational Suicide”. Philosophia 40 (2):285-293.
    In “What is Wrong with Rational Suicide,” Pilpel and Amsel develop a counterexample that allegedly confounds attempts to condition the moral permissibility of suicide on its rationality. In this counterexample, a healthy middle aged woman with significant life accomplishments, but no dependents, disease, or mental disorder opts to end her life painlessly after reading philosophical texts that persuade her that life is meaningless and bereft of intrinsic value. Many people would judge her suicide “a bad mistake” despite its meeting “robust” (...)
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  30.  53
    Michael Cholbi (2010). Compulsory Victim Restitution is Punishment: A Reply to Boonin. Public Reason 2 (1):85-93.
    David Boonin has recently argued that although no existing theory of legal punishment provides adequate moral justification for the practice of punishing criminal wrongdoing, compulsory victim restitution (CVR) is a morally justified response to such wrongdoing. Here I argue that Boonin’s thesis is false because CVR is a form of punishment. I first support this claim with an argument that Boonin’s denial that CVR is a form of punishment requires a groundless distinction between a state’s response to a criminal offense (...)
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  31.  37
    Michael Cholbi (2005). Cruelty, Competency, and Contemporary Abolitionism. In A. Sarat (ed.), Studies in Law, Politics, and Society. 123-140.
    After establishing that the requirement that those criminals who stand for execution be mentally competent can be given a recognizably retributivist rationale, I suggest that not only it is difficult to show that executing the incompetent is more cruel than executing the competent, but that opposing the execution of the incompetent fits ill with the recent abolitionist efforts on procedural concerns. I then propose two avenues by which abolitionists could incorporate such opposition into their efforts.
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  32.  4
    Michael Cholbi (forthcoming). The Compensatory Basis of Procreative Parental Rights. In Michael Cholbi & Jaime Ahlberg (eds.), Procreation, Parenthood, and Educational Rights Ethical and Philosophical Issues. Routledge
    Philosophical defenses of parents’ rights typically appeal to the interests of parents, the interests of children, or some combination of these. Here I propose that at least in the case of biological, non-adoptive parents, these rights have a different normative basis: namely, these rights should be accorded to biological parents because of the compensatory duties such parents owe their children by virtue of having brought them into existence. Inspried by Seana Shiffrin, I argue that procreation inevitably encumbers the wills of (...)
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  33.  53
    Michael Cholbi (2013). Kantian Paternalism and Suicide Intervention. In Christian Coons Michael Weber (ed.), Paternalism: Theory and Practice. Cambridge University Press
    Defends Kantian paternalism: Interference with an individual’s liberty for her own sake is justified absent her actual consent only to the extent that such interference stands a reasonable chance of preventing her from exercising her liberty irrationally in light of the rationally chosen ends that constitute her conception of the good. More specifically, interference with an individual’s liberty is permissible only if, by interfering, we stand a reasonable chance of preventing that agent from performing actions she chose due to distorted (...)
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  34. Michael Cholbi (2010). The Duty to Die and the Burdensomeness of Living. Bioethics 24 (8):412-420.
    This article addresses the question of whether the arguments for a duty to die given by John Hardwig, the most prominent philosophical advocate of such a duty, are sound. Hardwig believes that the duty to die is relatively widespread among those with burdensome illnesses, dependencies, or medical conditions. I argue that although there are rare circumstances in which individuals have a duty to die, the situations Hardwig describes are not among these.After reconstructing Hardwig's argument for such a duty, highlighting his (...)
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  35.  5
    Michael Cholbi (forthcoming). Taking Life: Three Theories on the Ethics of Killing, by Torbjörn Tännsjö. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-1.
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  36.  17
    Michael Cholbi (2015). Time, Value, and Collective Immortality. Journal of Ethics 19 (2):197-211.
    Samuel Scheffler has recently defended what he calls the ‘afterlife conjecture’, the claim that many of our evaluative attitudes and practices rest on the assumption that human beings will continue to exist after we die. Scheffler contends that our endorsement of this claim reveals that our evaluative orientation has four features: non-experientialism, non-consequentialism, ‘conservatism,’ and future orientation. Here I argue that the connection between the afterlife conjecture and these four features is not as tight as Scheffler seems to suppose. In (...)
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  37.  54
    Michael Cholbi (2002). A Felon's Right to Vote. Law and Philosophy 21 (4/5):543-564.
    Legal statutes prohibiting felons from voting result in nearly 4 million Americans, disproportionately African-American and male, being unable to vote. These felony disenfranchisement (FD) statutes have a long history and apparently enjoy broad public support. Here I argue that despite the popularity and extensive history of these laws, denying felons the right to vote is an unjust form of punishment in a democratic state. FD serves none of the recognized purposes of punishment and may even exacerbate crime. My strategy is (...)
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  38.  46
    Michael Cholbi (2013). Editor's Pick. The Philosophers' Magazine 61 (61):107-109.
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  39.  21
    Michael Cholbi (2009). Tonkens on the Irrationality of the Suicidally Mentally Ill. Journal of Applied Philosophy 26 (1):102-106.
    abstract Ryan Tonkens proposes that my Kantian approach to suicide intervention with respect to the mentally ill (2002) wrongly assumes that the suicidally mentally ill are rational and are therefore rational agents to whom Kantian moral constraints ought to apply. Here I indicate how the empirical evidence concerning the suicidally mentally ill does not support Tonkens' criticism that the suicidally mentally ill are irrational. In particular, that evidence does not support the conclusion that such individuals are systemically practically irrational so (...)
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  40.  72
    Michael Cholbi (1999). Egoism and the Publicity of Reason: A Reply to Korsgaard. Social Theory and Practice 25 (3):491-517.
    Christine Korsgaard has argued recently that the thesis that reasons are "essentially public" undermines the distinction between agent-neutral and agent-relative reasons, thus refuting egoism by rejecting its commitment to the universal availability of agent-relative reasons. I conclude that Korsgaard's invocation of the essential publicity of reasons trades on ambiguities concerning the "sharing" of reasons and so does not refute egoism and does not ground moral normativity. Her account of the publicity of reasons shows that solipsism is incoherent, but the egoist (...)
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  41.  47
    Michael Cholbi (2013). The Constitutive Approach to Kantian Rigorism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):439-448.
    Critics often charge that Kantian ethics is implausibly rigoristic: that Kantianism recognizes a set of perfect duties, encapsulated in rules such as ‘don’t lie,’ ‘keep one’s promises,’ etc., and that these rules apply without exception. Though a number of Kantians have plausibly argued that Kantianism can acknowledge exceptions to perfect duties, this acknowledgment alone does not indicate how and when such exceptions ought to be made. This article critiques a recent attempt to motivate how such exceptions are to be made, (...)
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  42.  11
    Michael Cholbi (2015). On Marcus Singer’s “On Duties to Oneself”. Ethics 125 (3):851-853,.
    In “On duties to oneself,” Marcus G. Singer argued that, contrary to long established philosophical tradition, there are no duties to oneself. Singer observes that to have a duty is to be accountable to someone for that duty’s fulfillment, and while she to whom a duty is owed may release the person who has the duty from being bound to fulfill it, the latter cannot release herself from the duty. For releasing oneself from a duty is no different from simply (...)
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  43.  36
    Michael Cholbi (2013). Ethical Issues in Teaching. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
    Learning is any process that, by engaging with a person's rational powers, results in an improvement in that person's knowledge, skills, behaviors, or values. Learning can of course occur unaided. Teaching, however, is the deliberate effort to induce learning in another person. The ethics of teaching, then, addresses the ethical standards, values, or traits that govern deliberate efforts to induce learning in others.
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  44.  22
    Michael Cholbi (2014). Introduction, Philosophy Through Teaching. In E. Esch R. Kraft & K. Hermberg (eds.), Philosophy through Teaching. Philosophy Documentation Center
  45.  17
    Michael Cholbi (2014). Anti-Conservative Bias in Education is Real — but Not Unjust. Social Philosophy and Policy 31 (1):176-203.
    Conservatives commonly claim that systems of formal education are biased against conservative ideology. I argue that this claim is incorrect, but not because there is no bias against conservatives in formal education. A wide swath of psychological evidence linking personality and ideology indicates that conservatives and liberals differ in their learning orientations, that is, in the values, motivations, and beliefs they bring to learning tasks. These differences in operative epistemologies explain many demographic phenomena relating educational achievement and political ideology. Systems (...)
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  46.  51
    Michael Cholbi (2002). A Contractualist Account of Promising. Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (4):475-91.
    T.M. Scanlon (1998) proposes that promise breaking is wrong because it shows manipulative disregard for the expectations for future behavior created by promising. I argue that this account of promissory obligation is mistaken in it own right, as well as being at odds with Scanlon's contractualism. I begin by placing Scanlon's account of promising within a tradition that treats the creation of expectations in promise recipients as central to promissory obligation. However, a counterexample to Scanlon's account, his case of the (...)
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  47.  64
    Michael Cholbi (2004). Review of Richard Joyce, The Myth of Morality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001). [REVIEW] Utilitas 16 (2):227-229.
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  48.  23
    Michael Cholbi (2012). Getting to the Rule of Law. [REVIEW] Law and Politics Book Review 22 (1):266-269.
  49.  23
    Michael Cholbi (2014). Agents, Patients, and Obligatory Self-Benefit. Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (2):159-184.
    Consequentialism is often criticized for rendering morality too pervasive. One somewhat neglected manifestation of this pervasiveness is the obligatory self-benefit objection. According to this objection, act-consequentialism has the counterintuitive result that certain self-benefitting actions turn out, ceteris paribus, to be morally obligatory rather than morally optional. The purposes of this paper are twofold. First, I consider and reject four strategies with which consequentialists might answer the obligatory self-benefit objection. Despite the apparent consequentialist credentials of these answers, none of these strategies (...)
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  50.  34
    Michael J. Cholbi (2003). Contingency and Divine Knowledge in Ockham. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 77 (1):81-91.
    Ockham appeared to maintain that God necessarily knows all true propositions, including future contingent propositions, despite the fact that such propositions have determinate truth values. While some commentators believe that Ockham’s attempt to reconcile divine omniscience with the contingency of true future propositions amounts to little more than a simple-minded assertion of Ockham’s Christian faith, I argue that Ockham’s position is more sophisticated than this and rests on attributing to God a dual knowledge property: God not only knows every true (...)
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