Carpendale & Lewis (C&L) provide a convincing argument for how children construct social understanding through social interaction. Certainly mothers are important in family interaction; however, sibling interaction may also be key in the process of developing social understanding. In particular, the highly affective and reciprocal dynamics of the sibling relationship in both positive and conflictual interaction may be critical.
“What are you prepared to do to win?” This is a question that any serious competitor will at one time or another have to consider. The answer that one is inclined to make, I shall argue, is revealing of the deeper character of the individual participant in sport as both physical competitor and moral person. To that end, I examine one of the classic responses to the question, gamesmanship, which can be characterised as an attempt to win one game by (...) playing another. I contend that gamesmanship is a deliberate strategy of competition that has certain paradoxical outcomes; while it may produce an enhanced competitive environment that calls forth superior performances from participants, its more aggravated manifestations are in the long term athletically self-destructive for those who rely on them as a competitive device, and argue the presence of more profound underlying moral failings as well. (shrink)
Talents that selectively facilitate the acquisition of high levels of skill are said to be present in some children but not others. The evidence for this includes biological correlates of specific abilities, certain rare abilities in autistic savants, and the seemingly spontaneous emergence of exceptional abilities in young children, but there is also contrary evidence indicating an absence of early precursors of high skill levels. An analysis of positive and negative evidence and arguments suggests that differences in early experiences, preferences, (...) opportunities, habits, training, and practice are the real determinants of excellence. Key Words: exceptional ability; expertise; gift; innate capacity; music; potential; prodigy; specific ability; talent. (shrink)
This Response addresses eight issues raised in the commentaries: (1) the question of how innate talents should be defined; (2) relationships between the talent account and broader views concerning genetic variability; (3) the quality of the empirical evidence for and against the talent account; (4) the possible involvement of innate influences on specific abilities; (5) the possibility of talent-like phenomena in autistic savants; (6) alternative explanations of exceptional expertise at skills; (7) practical and educational implications of the talent account and (...) alternative positions. Finally, (8), we conclude by discussing the impact of the commentaries on our own views. (shrink)
Abstract. In this essay, I compare the atheism of Friedrich Nietzsche with that of Richard Dawkins. My purpose is to describe certain differences in their respective atheisms with the intent of showing that Nietzsche's atheism contains a richer and fuller affirmation of human life. In Dawkins’s presentation of the value of life without God, there is a naïve optimism that purports that human beings, educated in science and purged of religion, will find lives of easy peace and comfortable wonder. Part (...) of my argument is that this optimism regarding the power of objective science is subject to Nietzsche's criticism of Socrates and what he calls the “theoretical man.” As such, it fails in terms of providing a true affirmation of life in the godless world. (shrink)
I argue that understanding the self in terms of narrative construction does not preclude the possibility of error concerning one’s own self. Identity is a projection of first and second-order desires and a product of choice in relation to desire. Self-deceit appears in this connection as a response to an identity that one has constructed through choice and/or desire but not acknowledged in one’s self-account, reflecting a conflict between desires or a motivated failure to account. This analysis is applied primarily (...) to acknowledgement of one’s sexual identity. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Kevin Krein argues that the notion of self-competition is misplaced in adventure sports and of only limited application altogether, for two main reasons: (i) the need for a consistent and repeatable measure of performance; and (ii) the requirement of multiple competitors. Moreover, where an individual is engaged in a sport in which the primary feature with which they are engaged is a natural one, Krein argues that the more accurate description of their activity is not 'competition', (...) but an attempt at harmonious interaction. I raise a number of problems against both criteria and argue that traditional and adventure sports do both involve self-competition on at least two levels: bettering one's previous performance and resisting the desire to quit. I argue that self-reflexive competition is not so much with one's self (which is philosophically absurd), but within one's self, between conflicting motivations and desires. I explore what is involved in self-reflexive competition, particularly at a phenomenological, self-constituting level, and raise the question of whether it is appropriate for activity in wilder natural environments. (shrink)
Previous discussions on the value of sport in remote locations have concentrated on 1) environmental and process concerns, with the rejection of competition and goal-directed or use oriented activity, or 2) the value of risk and dangerous sport for self-affirmation. It is argued that the value of risk in remote sport is in self-knowledge rather than self-affirmation and that risk in remote sport, while enhancing certain kinds of experience, is not necessary. The value of remote sport is in offering the (...) opportunity for experience that enhances the participants’ knowledge both of self and of the environment with which they interact. (shrink)
The paper argues that authentic human selfhood requires the adequate integration of bodily awareness into the self-conception of self, and that a highly significant contributor to this process is athletic activity (sports). The role of athletics in self-integration is examined from phenomenological and moral-political standpoints, and it is argued that, although athletic activity's inherent goal of realizing ontological unity through embodied intentionality is ideally suited to this task, the organization of sport too frequently thwarts this purpose, either through exclusion of (...) potential athletes or exploitation of committed participants. (shrink)
According to Arne Naess, his environmental philosophy is influenced by the philosophy of language called empirical semantics, which he first developed in the 1930s as a participant in the seminars of the Vienna Circle. While no one denies his claim, most of his commentators defend views about his environmental philosophy that contradict the tenets of his semantics. In particular, they argue that he holds that deep ecology’s supporters share a world view, and that the movement’s platform articulates shared principles. Naess, (...) however, rejects this conception of deep ecology, and, moreover, he is compelled to do so because of his long-standing views on semantics. Naess’s semantics thus poses a particularly difficult problem for the first group of theorists who endorsed Naess. (shrink)
This paper argues against the conception of sport as theatre. Theatre and sport share the characteristic that play is set in a conventionally-defined hypothetical reality, but they differ fundamentally in the relative importance of audience and the narrative point of view. Both present potential for participants for development of selfhood through play and its personal possibilities. But sport is not essentially tied to audience as is theatre. Moreover, conceptualising sport as a form of theatre valorises the spectator’s narrative as normative (...) for sport experience over that of the participant athlete or player, eliding player experience. Imposition of external narratives over experience risks fossilising interpretation and inhibits the beneficial effects of play for self-realisation, especially as a form of self-examination and creation through internal self-narrative. (shrink)
In this paper, we present and defend the theoretical framework of an empirical model to describe people’s fundamental moral attitudes (FMAs) to animals, the stratification of FMAs in society and the role of FMAs in judgment on the culling of healthy animals in an animal disease epidemic. We used philosophical animal ethics theories to understand the moral basis of FMA convictions. Moreover, these theories provide us with a moral language for communication between animal ethics, FMAs, and public debates. We defend (...) that FMA is a two-layered concept. The first layer consists of deeply felt convictions about animals. The second layer consists of convictions derived from the first layer to serve as arguments in a debate on animal issues. In a debate, the latter convictions are variable, depending on the animal issue in a specific context, time, and place. This variability facilitates finding common ground in an animal issue between actors with opposing convictions. (shrink)
Kierkegaard shows two contrary attitudes to woman and the feminine: misogyny and celebration. The Kierkegaardian structure of selfhood, because combined with a hierarchical assumption about the relative value of certain human characteristics, and their identification as male or female, argues that woman is a lesser self. Consequently, the claim that the Kierkegaardian ideal of selfhood is androgynist is rejected, though it is the latter assumptions alone that force this conclusion.
I respond to a hypothetical critique of sport, drawing on primarily post-modernist sources, that would view the high performance athlete in particular as a product of the application of technical disciplines of power and that opposes sport and play as fundamentally antithetical. Through extensive discussion of possible definitions of play, and of performance, I argue that although much of the critique is valid it confuses a method of sport for the whole of it. Play is indeed a noncompellable spontaneity, but (...) one that involves the improvisational transformation of the technical skills of a sport within the context of a dynamic situation. Technique is a condition of heightened play; it does not produce it. This also means that the best play is not undisciplined. Play and sport can exist apart, but both are better combined. (shrink)
This paper considers the importance of play as a conventional space for hypothetical self-expression and self-trial, its importance for determination of identity, and for development of self-possibilities. Expanding such possibilities in play enables challenging of socially entrenched assumptions concerning possible and appropriate identities. Discussion is extended to the contexts of gender performance (drag) and sport-play. It is argued that play proceeds on the basis of a fundamental pretence of reality that must be taken seriously by its participants; this discussion includes (...) considerations of serious and ironical play, “playing-at”, and travesty. (shrink)
This study examines the relationship between the ethical behavior and customer orientation of insurance sales agents engaged in the selling of complex services, e.g. health, life, auto, and property insurance. The effect of ethical and customer-oriented behavior, measured by the SOCO scale (Saxe and Weitz, 1982), on the annual premiums generated by the agents is also investigated. Customeroriented sales agents are found to engage in less unethical behavior than their sales-oriented counterparts. Further, sales-oriented agents are found to perceive greater levels (...) of unethical behavior among their significant others. Alarmingly, higher levels of sales premiums are found among those agents who engage in unethical behavior. (shrink)
In this paper, we analyze some of the ethical dimensions of going private transactions (GPTs), wherein publicly traded firms are taken private. Financial theory suggests that efficiencies may be realized in these transactions such that outside shareholders are made better off. Empirical evidence supports this theory. We therefore argue that GPTs are not inherently exploitive or unethical. The issues of the fiduciary duty of corporate managers to shareholders and their obligations to non-shareholders are also explored.
We report an empirical assessment of suggestions that education in the appreciation of rights may be an effective agent of moral education. A children's rights curriculum was developed that was incorporated into the existing health and social studies curricula in Grade 8 classes (age 13-15) at five different schools over a 6-month period. The curriculum was designed to teach adolescents about their rights and responsibilities under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in an egalitarian and student-centred (...) manner. Assessment of the impact of the rights curriculum showed that, when compared with their peers who did not receive the rights curriculum, the adolescents who did indicated higher levels of self-esteem, perceived peer and teacher support and increased rights-respecting attitudes. (shrink)
Excellence in sport performance is normally taken to be a matter of superior performance of physical movements or quantitative outcomes of movements. This paper considers whether a wider conception can be afforded by certain kinds of nature based sport. The interplay between technical skill and aesthetic experience in nature based sports is explored, and the extent to which it contributes to a distinction between different sport-based approaches to natural environments. The potential for aesthetic appreciation of environmental engagement is found to (...) be strongly dependent on whether or not environmental engagement is exploited for the end of producing a quantifiable result or enhancing technical skill. It is also argued that an existential rather than spectatorial attitude to aesthetic experience is offered by specifically nature oriented sport. Aesthetic experience achieved in this way is therefore neither passive nor detached, but extends Berleant's concept of participatory environmental aesthetics and underpins both an alternate (wide) conception of excellence in sport activity and a richer experience of aesthetic engagement than more objectivised standpoints. (shrink)
Abstract Terminology within the biological sciences gets its import not just from semantic meaning, but also from the way it functions within the rhetorics of the various disciplinary practices. The ?sociobiology? of human behavior inherits three distinct rhetorics from the genetic disciplines. Sociobiologists use population genetic, biometrical genetic, and molecular genetic rhetorics, without acknowledging the conceptual and experimental constraints that are assumed by geneticists. The eclectic blending of these three rhetorics obscures important differences of context and meaning. Sociobiologists use foundational (...) terms in genetics, such as ?gene?, ?fitness?, ?evolution?, ?heritability?, ?trait? and ?polygenic inheritance?, in starkly different ways from geneticists, while basing their analysis of human behavior on the implied authority of genetics. As a free?floating ?gene talk? moves across different disciplinary contexts, and before different audiences, it takes the form of an over?simplified and misleading arch?determinism. The result is widespread application of vague, incomplete, and distorted biological theory. If most sociobiologists, do not deliberately promote biological determinism, still less a political agenda, there is ample evidence that they misconstrue the implications of the genetic language that they borrow. (shrink)
With The Republic of Grace: Augustinian Thoughts for Dark Times, Charles Mathewes has given us a timely book that, I imagine, will be so for many times to come. His purpose throughout is to "offer a primer in the Augustinian-Christian vernacular, a language of religious, moral, and political deliberation" (2). This language and way of understanding reality, Mathewes argues, can provide us with ways of thinking about our own lives in the world as political and social creatures. The "dark times" (...) to which he refers in the subtitle have to do with life after 9/11 as citizens in a country that dominates as an economic and military powerhouse and greatly under the influence of what he calls "millennial capitalism" .. (shrink)
Abstract Whether, and how, children in the public schools ought to be educated about AIDS has generated considerable controversy. In a misleading way, however, the controversy has focused largely on sex education, to the exclusion of more general and fundamental questions about how moral?political education should be formulated and conducted in a democratic society. This paper seeks to identify these more fundamental issues, and to show how, in an important sense, the educational problems raised by the appearance of AIDS are (...) not new. (shrink)
Sport acts as a vehicle for the social realization of certain traditional normative frameworks of gender construction and interpretation. Women participating in traditionally male defined sports challenge those frameworks and open the possibility of a redefinition of women’s gender identity, while also raising practical questions concerning women’s control over the means and direction of that redefinition. This paper traces, in both general and personal terms, several of the issues faced by women in “male” sports, especially hockey. These include the problems (...) of being seen within the sport, of learning gender proscribed traits, the impact of the differential validational import of athletic participation for men and women (which generates issues concerning cross- and intra-gender hostility, heterosexism and homophobia), and the importance of both self- and mutual respect for female athletic success. (shrink)
IN THE CHRISTIAN TRADITION, IT IS GENERALLY AGREED THAT THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY REPRESENTS CHRISTIANITY’S MOST CAREFULLY ARTICULATED CONCEPTUALIZATION OF DIVINE BEING. AS PAUL TILLICH HAS POINTED OUT, TRINITARIAN "THINKING" IS PRESENT IN MANY RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS, BUT THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A "DOCTRINE" OF THE TRINITY TO BE FOUND EXCEPT IN CHRISTIANITY. THIS ESSAY ATTEMPTS TO SHOW THAT, PRECISELY AS DOCTRINE, TRINITARIANISM REPRESENTS A UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION TO HUMANKIND’S REFLECTION ABOUT TRANSCENDENT REALITY.
Ambiguity in the athlete’s perception and description of pain that opens the door to a series of reinterpretations of athletic experience and events that argue the development of an increasingly inauthentic relation to self and others on the part of those who consume performance as third parties (spectators) and ultimately those who produce it first hand (athletes). The insertion of the spectator into the sport situation as a consumer of the athlete’s activity and the preference given to spectator interpretation shift (...) control of meaning away from the athlete and encourage a demand for athlete suffering in aid of the spectator’s own need for meaning. Through discussions of the function of narrative in sport spectacle, the witnessing role of spectators, and the phenomenon of vicarious substitution, I discuss the representation of the athlete as a character ideal and moral exemplar. At a more developed level of external interpretation, the athlete (or team) becomes the champion of the spectator, the role model or focal point of civic pride whose victory asserts the ascendence of my team and town over yours; and finally, the athlete or team is the intentional object of fan identification: my team is me. I conclude that the existential commitment of the spectator as devoted fan is an inauthentic one. (shrink)
This is my review of D.W. Howe's 2007 book, What Hath God Wrought, Transformation of America 1815-1848. The book is a volume in the new Oxford History of the U.S.(O.U.P. 2007)--exploring the transformation of the early American republic through the period of domination of the Jacksonian Democrats. This is also the period of the New England Renaissance and the early work of R.W. Emerson. Howe devotes a good deal of attention to Emerson and his influence and thereby provides (...) needed historical context for the understanding of American thought. (shrink)
: Julia Ward (1819-1910) and Ednah Dow Littlehale (1824-1904), lifelong friends, wrote and lectured on many of the same issues, traveled across the country to lend support to causes, and taught together at the Concord School of Philosophy. Despite their close association and mutual efforts on similar issues, I argue that their philosophical principles were essentially different, in particular their approaches to an understanding of God, society, the sexes, art, and science.