Glen Hartz argues, that neuroscience reveals that persons moved or frightened by fictional characters believe that they are real, so such behaviour is not irrational. But these beliefs, if they exist, are not rational and, in any case inconsistent with our conscious rational beliefs that fictional characters are not real. So his argument fails to establish that we are not irrational or incoherent when moved or frightened by such characters. It powerfully reinforces the contrary view.
Although dogs are almost totally incapable of symbolic behaviour, they can hope, for a dog's behaviour can manifest not only a desire for something but varying degrees of expectation that it will get what it desires; but since they are almost totally incapable of symbolic behaviour, nothing they do can indicate that they both desire something and yet are certain that they will not get it. So the suggestion that dogs entertain idle wishes is, apparently, vacuous, i.e. untestable, or nonsensical. (...) Nonetheless, we can imagine situations in which we would be tempted to say of a dog that it had an idle wish, but since idle wishes so often and typically require language, we should be reluctant to impute it. (shrink)
This paper analyzes a conference panel discussion entitled "Identity in Crisis: The Issue of Agency in Social Constructionism and Postmodernism" in order to identify some limits to intellectual discussion. The panel participants made a deliberate attempt to engage in a self-reflexive language game about the language game of intellectual discussion in the conference format. This attempt revealed the highly sedimented nature of discursive practice in the conference setting, at least, and perhaps more generally. This analysis of the extent to which (...) sedimented practices limit the exercise of agency highlights academic practices which typically are hidden or considered too obvious to merit attention. (shrink)
According to Wittgenstein's mature philosophy, no 'language game' or 'form of life' is inherently philosophically problematic. However real, practical moral problems undermine the objectivity of morality, which as moral beings we cannot abandon. This problem is both philosophical and 'real'. Morality therefore undermines the later Wittgenstein's whole account of philosophy, i.e. its nature, how such problems are resolved, and its relation with the rest of our lives. Perhaps that is why he virtually never mentions Ethics in his writings after 1932-3.
Examining the nuances of verbalised agreements reveals that though not always about judgements, even the simplest involves participants in making judgements about why speakers say what they say, what in so saying they are doing, what this implies or leaves open etc. So conversations involve thinking, reasoning, and although the languages in which they are couched are culturally relative, the reasoning, propositions, logic involved are not. This illuminates why philosophers have been preoccupied with propositions and why they have been inclined (...) to think - wrongly - that all we do in using language is to assent to propositions, i. e. make judgements. (shrink)
acknowledgements This is not a memoir, it is a description of the world seen by one pair of eyes. This is not intentionally a science book, although it draws on generations of scientific research. Because it is a book about the nature ...
How should the Bible be used in Christian ethics? Although this question has been addressed many times, little attention has gone to how the Bible actually has functioned in constructing theological ethics. In this book, Siker describes and analyzes the Bible's various uses in the theology and ethics of eight of the twentieth century's most important and influential Christian theologians: Reinhold Niebuhr, H. Richard Niebuhr, Bernhard Haring, Paul Ramsey, Stanley Hauerwas, Gustavo Gutierrez, James Cone, and RosemaryRadford (...) class='Hi'>Ruether. In approaching each author, Siker organizes his study around five related questions. First, which biblical texts does each author in fact use, and, second, in what ways do they use these texts? How does each envision the authority of the Bible? What kind of hermeneutic does the author employ? Finally, what has each author's particular approach to the Bible yielded in terms of Christian Ethics, or, in other words, what are the practical results? Siker ends each chapter with a critical evaluation of the various problems and prospects for the author's use of Scripture, and concludes the study with a comparison and contrast of all the authors' respective appropriations of the Sermon on the Mount. (shrink)
Ethics: Classical Western Texts in Feminist and Multicultural Perspectives offers students a unique introduction to ethics by integrating the historical development of Western moral philosophy with both feminist and multicultural approaches. Engaging and accessible, it provides an introductory sampling of several of the classical works of the Western tradition in ethics and then situates these readings within feminist and multicultural perspectives so that they can be better understood and evaluated in our contemporary environment. While some of the non-Western works parallel (...) the views defended in the Western works (e.g., Confucius's work echoes that of Plato or Aristotle), others question the Western perspectives (e.g., American Indian works provide an interesting challenge to Western moral philosophy). Confucius, Jorge Valadez, Ward Churchill, Moshoeshoe II, and Eagle Man present multicultural perspectives to the works of Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Sartre, Rawls, MacIntyre, Korsgaard, and others. Noted feminists Christine de Pizan, Simone de Beauvoir, Carol Gilligan, Annette Baier, Susan Okin, and Rosemarie RadfordRuether also offer alternative views. Ideal for courses in introduction to ethics, history of ethics, and feminist ethics, Ethics: Classical Western Texts in Feminist and Multicultural Perspectives is also intriguing reading for interested general readers. (shrink)
In this paper, I will argue that Radfords real question is not the conceptual one, as it is usually taken, but the causal one, and show that Waltons account, which treats Radfords puzzle as the conceptual question, is not a satisfactory solution to it. I will also argue that contrary to what Walton claims, the causal question is not only important, but also closely related to the conceptual and normative questions. What matters is not that Walton has not solved Radfords (...) puzzle per se, but that he has not recognized the importance of this puzzle. While doing this, I will suggest a revision to the cognitive theory of emotion. (shrink)
[Final version in Philosophical Papers, 2000] Much has been made over the past few decades of two related problems in aesthetics. First, the "feeling fiction problem," as I will call it, asks: is it rational to be moved by what happens to fictional characters? How can we care about what happens to people who we know are not real?[i] Second, the so-called "paradox of tragedy" is embodied in the question: Why or how is it that we take pleasure in artworks (...) (e.g. tragedies) which are clearly designed to cause in us such feelings as sadness and fear?[ii] Various solutions to these puzzles have been proposed, but my primary aim is neither to offer a novel solution nor to summarize and critique most of the alternatives.[iii] My focus instead will be on the issue of consciousness and, more specifically, to view these problems from the point of the view of the so-called "higher-order thought theory of consciousness" (the HOT theory). Although some work on these puzzles have raised important questions about the nature of consciousness and "aesthetic experience," no attempt has yet been made to examine them in light of a specific theory. (shrink)
Rosemary Hennessy confronts some of the impasses in materialist feminist work on rethinking `woman' as a discursively constructed subject. She argues for a theory of discourse as ideology taking into account the work of Kristeva, Foucault and Laclau.
Various authors, for instance Elizabeth Anderson, Rosemary Tong, Mary Warnock and Margaret Brazier have argued that commercial surrogate motherhood is exploitative and that it should be prohibited. Their arguments are unconvincing. Exploitation is a more complex notion than it is usually presented as being. Unequal bargaining power can be a cause of exploitation but the exercise of unequal bargaining power is not inevitably or inherently exploitative. Exploitation concerns unfair and/or unjust strategies - rather than the exercise of power as (...) such. Commercial surrogate motherhood is not necessarily exploitative. Furthermore, not all transactions which are exploitative should be made illegal. (shrink)
My NCPS 2012 conference paper. The paper is a development of the abstract below. The file you can upload contains my brief "A Fast & Frugal Rebuttal of Epistemic Situationism," while the whole paper develops a fuller reply to the Alfano, and Doris and Olin papers also presented in this session, papers in which these authors extend the "situationist challenge" to virtue ethics, to different varieties of virtue epistemology. Abstract. This paper mounts an empirically-based rebuttal to the radical implications that (...) self-described “epistemic situationists” including Mark Alfano and John Doris would have us draw from mood and conformity studies. The compatibility of virtue epistemologies with dual process theory (Kahneman; Stanovich) in cognitive and social psychology is developed as one main way of defending the empirical adequacy of many or most forms of virtue epistemology. Although philosophical situationists ignore dual process models of human reasoning, I argue that the latter offer ample empirical support for the “psychological realizability” of the intellectual character-traits posited by virtue-focused epistemologies and featured in the credit theory of knowing. Draft by Guy Axtell (Radford University), for NCPS, 2012. All rights reserved. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org; or join us online at JanusBlog: The Virtue Theory Discussion Forum at http://janusblog.squarespace.com. For further development of these issues and arguments, see also my "Thinking Twice about Virtue and Vice (2013, forthcoming) . (shrink)
: This paper engages with theories of the monstrous maternal in feminist philosophy to explore how examples of visual art practice by Susan Hiller, Marc Quinn, Alison Lapper, Tracey Emin, and Cindy Sherman disrupt maternal ideals in visual culture through differently imagined body schema. By examining instances of the pregnant body represented in relation to maternal subjectivity, disability, abortion, and "prosthetic" pregnancy, it asks whether the "monstrous" can offer different kinds of figurations of the maternal that acknowledge the agency and (...) potential power of the pregnant subject. (shrink)
Most moral philosophers agree that if a moral agent is incapable of performing some act ф because of a physical incapacity, then they do not have a reason to ф. Most also claim that if an agent is incapable of ф-ing due to a psychological incapacity, brought about by, for example, an obsession or phobia, then this does not preclude them from having a reason to ф. This is because the ‘ought implies can’ principle is usually interpreted as a claim (...) about physical, rather than psychological, capacities. In this paper I argue for an opposing view: if we don’t have reasons to do things that we are physically incapable of doing, then neither do we have reasons to do things we are psychologically incapable of doing. I also argue that extending the ‘ought implies can’ principle to psychological capacities makes the principle more attractive. (shrink)
Colin Radford must weary of defending his thesis that the emotional reactions we have towards fictional characters, events, and states of affairs are irrational.1 Yet, for all the discussion, the issue has not, to my mind, been properly settled—or at least not settled in the manner I should prefer—and so this paper attempts once more to debunk Radford’s defiance of common sense. For some, the question of whether our emotional responses to fiction are rational does not arise, for (...) they are inclined to doubt that we have them at all.2 Emotions, on this view, are fundamentally linked to belief states, as in the following thesis concerning the emotion of fear: 1) We fear for ourselves only if we believe ourselves to be in danger; we fear for others only if we believe they actually exist and are in danger. When we typically engage with fiction we do not ‘suspend our disbelief’, in the sense of coming to believe that the fiction is non-fiction. No matter how engrossed I become in a Dracula movie, I do not begin to believe that I am seeing actual vampires. 2) When we watch a horror movie, we do not believe ourselves, or anyone actual, to be in danger. And so these theorists, endorsing (1) and (2), are obliged to deny the intuitive (3): 3) We are sometimes frightened when watching a horror movie. These three propositions are a version of what is sometimes called ‘The Paradox of Fiction’. For my money, since the denial of (2) is foolish, and the denial of (3) deeply counterintuitive, it is (1)—being a substantive philosophical thesis—that is most likely the culprit. Radford agrees, yet maintains that there is some intimate connection between belief and emotion. For him, the dependence is not the existential one stated in (1), but a normative one: we do not rationally feel fear unless we believe ourselves (or someone actual) to be in danger.3 This revision of the connection allows the construction of a quite different inconsistent triad: 4) We are not rationally frightened unless we believe someone actual to be in danger.. (shrink)
Cost-benefit analysis is commonly understood to be intimately connected with utilitarianism and incompatible with other moral theories, particularly those that focus on deontological concepts such as rights. We reject this claim and argue that cost-benefit analysis can take moral rights as well as other non-utilitarian moral considerations into account in a systematic manner. We discuss three ways of doing this, and claim that two of them (output filters and input filters) can account for a wide range of rights-based moral theories, (...) including the absolute notions of moral rights proposed by Hayek, Mayo, Nozick, and Shue. We also discuss whether the use of output filters and input filters can be generalized to cover other non-utilitarian theories, such as Kantian duty ethics and virtue ethics. (shrink)
The American Medical Association enacted its Code of Ethics in 1847, the first such national codification. In this volume, a distinguished group of experts from the fields of medicine, bioethics, and history of medicine reflect on the development of medical ethics in the United States, using historical analyses as a springboard for discussions of the problems of the present, including what the editors call "a sense of moral crisis precipitated by the shift from a system of fee-for-service medicine to a (...) system of fee-for-system medicine, better known as 'managed care.'" The authors begin with a look at how the medical profession began to consider ethical issues in the 1800s and subsequent developments in the 1900s. They then address the sociological, historical, ethical, and legal aspects of the practice of medicine. Later chapters discuss current and future challenges to medical ethics and professional values. Appendixes display various versions of the AMA's Code of Ethics as it has evolved over time. Contributors: George J. Annas, J.D., M.P.H., Arthur Isak Applbaum, Ph.D., Robert B. Baker, Ph.D., Chester R. Burns, M.D., Ph.D., Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., Alexander Morgan Capron, J.D., Christine K. Cassel, M.D., Linda L. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., Eliot L. Freidson, Ph.D., Albert R. Jonsen, Ph.D., Stephen R. Latham, J.D., Ph.D., Susan E. Lederer, Ph.D., Florencia Luna, Ph.D., Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D., Charles E. Rosenberg, Ph.D., Mark Siegler, M.D., Rosemary A. Stevens, Ph.D., Robert M. Tenery, Jr., M.D., Robert M. Veatch, Ph.D., John Harley Warner, Ph.D., Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D. (shrink)
This paper is a re-reading of Colin Radford's paper 'The Umpire's Dilemma', published in Analysis in 1985. It argues that Radford's dilemma has been unjustly ignored and has interesting (and problematic) implications for both intuitionism and Ronald Dworkin's constructive interpretationist jurisprudence.