We will consider alternative ways that Kant’s philosophical views on ethics generally and on punishment more particularly could be brought into harmony with the present near consensus of opposition to the death penalty. We will make use of the notion of the contemporary consensus about certain issues, particularly equality of the sexes and the death penalty, found in widespread agreement, though not unanimity. Of course, it is always possible that some consensuses are wrong, or misguided, or mistaken. We should not (...) put too much philosophical weight on the notion of a consensus here. If there is a consensus for the equality of women as citizens, and against the death penalty, this will simply suggest to us that we will want to reconsider Kant’s views on such topics. In both instances mentioned, his views lie outside the current consensus. We will consider how to revise Kant’s views to bring them into accord with these current consensuses, within a theory that is still, in as significant a sense as possible, Kantian. Since the use of the idea of a consensus is a sort of short-cut, there will not be much direct discussion of arguments for or against the equality of women as citizens, or for or against the advisability of using the death penalty. Yet the discussions of these issues will illuminate certain facts about the structure of Kant’s moral and political theories, and about how the basic principles within those theories relate to particular moral applications or topics. If we can still end up with a thoroughly Kantian view on the death penalty, that also will tell us something about the relation of Kantian ethical and legal principles to the death penalty as that issue is discussed today. Opposition to the death penalty in present day circumstances is not at variance with the basic principles of Kantian ethical, political, and legal theory, including his retributivism in the justification of punishment. Indeed, there is a way of revising Kant’s views to bring them into harmony with abolition. (shrink)
Feminist perspectives have been increasingly influential on philosophy of science. Feminism and Philosophy of Science is designed to introduce the newcomer to the central themes, issues and arguments of this burgeoning area of study. Elizabeth Potter engages in a rigorous and well-organized study that takes in the views of key feminist theorists - Nelson, Wylie, Anderson, Longino and Harding - whose arguments exemplify contemporary feminist philosophy of science. The book is divided into six chapters looking at important themes: (...) naturalized feminist empiricism feminist value theory feminist conceptual empiricism standpoint epistemologies of science value-free science Arranged thematically, F eminism and Philosophy of Science looks at the spectrum of views that have arisen in the debate, and unpicks the arguments on key topics such as value-free science, values, objectivity, point of view and relativism. It assumes no previous knowledge of the subject, and is written in an accessible, student-friendly style. It will be an important read for students of philosophy, philosophy of science, gender studies and feminist studies. (shrink)
Kant gives four examples to illustrate the application of the categoricaI imperative immediately after in troducing its “universal Iaw” formulation in Chapter Two his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. These examples have been much discussed to gain an understanding of how the categorical imperative applies to derive specific duties. It is argued that the discussions found in these examples do not accord well with Kant’s fuller account of that application in his Iater work The Metaphysics of Morals. That [Iater] (...) work has quite different, sometimes better, arguments for the same moral conclusions, and never mentions the argument against making a lying promise (the second example). Giving exclusive or excessive altention to these four examples has distorted our understanding of Kant’s moral philosophy. (shrink)
The authors report and comment on student reactions to a clinical example of moral choice in the microallocation of scarce resources. Four patients require dialysis simultaneously, but only one kidney machine is available. What moral, as opposed to clinical, criteria are available to determine who should have priority?
Many feminist epistemologists have been inclined to embrace socialized epistemology. There are, however, many different theses that go by that name. Sandra Harding, Lynn Hankinson Nelson, and Elizabeth Potter hold various of these theses, but their reasons for holding those theses, while they do support less ambitious theses, do not support the theses they are offered to support.