In this essay I elaborate on the theoretical framework – that of Millian liberalism – that Max Charlesworth brought to many public issues, including that of the relation between education and religion. I will then apply this framework to a debate in which I have been recently involved myself: a debate around the provision of religious instruction in public schools. In the first section I expound Charlesworth’s rejection of secularism in education in a liberal pluralist state and his defence of (...) faith-based schooling. In the second section I uncover the religious motivations behind the Victorian government’s 1950 amendments to the apparently secularist Victorian Education Act of 1872. In section three, I explore the notion of secularism more fully and suggest that the struggle between those who espouse religious instruction in state schools and those who oppose it while advocating a more general form of education about religion is a symptom of a deeper tension between liberalism and communitarianism within the culture of modernist, liberal states. (shrink)
This paper reflects on a critique of cosmopolitanism mounted by Tom Campbell, who argues that cosmopolitans place undue stress on the issue of global justice. Campbell argues that aid for the impoverished needy in the third world, for example, should be given on the Principle of Humanity rather than on the Principle of Justice. This line of thought is also pursued by ?Liberal Nationalists? like Yael Tamir and David Miller. Thomas Nagel makes a similar distinction and questions whether the ideal (...) of justice can even be meaningfully applied on a global scale. The paper explores whether the distinction between the Principle of Humanity and the Principle of Justice might be a false dichotomy in that both principles could be involved in humanitarian assistance. It will suggest that both principles might be grounded in an ethics of caring and that the ethics of caring cannot be so sharply distinguished from the discourse of justice and of rights. As a result, the Principle of Humanity and the Principle of Justice cannot be so sharply distinguished either. It is because we care about others as human beings (Principle of Humanity) that we pursue justice for them (Principle of Justice) and the alleviation of their avoidable suffering. (shrink)
This is a review of John Caputo’s recent Routledge book on religion. Caputo’s central idea is captured by the phrase ‘religion without religion’, by which he means a religious stance or attitude that is not circumscribed by allegiance to any specific creed.
This paper explores cosmopolitanism, not as a position within political philosophy or international relations, but as a virtuous stance taken by individuals who see their responsibilities as extending globally. Taking as its cue some recent writing by Kwame Anthony Appiah, it argues for a number of virtues that are inherent in, and required by, such a stance. It is critical of what it sees as a limited scope in Appiah's conception and enriches it with Nigel Dower's concept of 'global citizenship'. (...) It then seeks to overcome a distinction that Appiah draws between a 'thin' moral conception of justice and a 'thick' ethical conception of our obligations to those with whom we have identity-forming relationships. It argues that a richer conception of the virtue of justice, as suggested by Raimond Gaita, can fully articulate the ideals of cosmopolitanism. (shrink)
It is frequently said that pain is incommunicable and even that it destroys language . This paper offers a phenomenological account of pain and then explores and critiques this view. It suggests not only that pain is communicable to an adequate degree for clinical purposes, but also that it is itself a form of communication through which the person in pain appeals to the empathy and ethical goodness of the clinician. To explain this latter idea and its ethical implications, reference (...) is made to the writings of Emmanuel Levinas. (shrink)
Marguerite La Caze has recently published a stimulating analysis of the emotions of envy and resentment in which she argues that to envy others for a benefit they have received or to resent them for such a reason can be ethically acceptable in cases where that benefit has been unjustly obtained (La Caze, 2001). I question this on the ground that the judgement that the benefit has been unjustly obtained plays a more complex role in the structure of envy and (...) resentment than La Caze allows and should alter the nature of the feeling that is evoked. From the perspective of virtue ethics there is nothing creditable about still feeling envy or resentment in such circumstances. (shrink)
Although Aristotle did not mention it, integrity can be understood in an Aristotelian framework. Seeing it in these terms will show that it is an executive virtue which concerns the existential well being of an agent. This analysis is not offered as an exegesis of Aristotle's text, but as an attempt to use an Aristotelian framework to understand a virtue deemed important today. This account will have the benefit of solving some problems relating to motivational internalism and, as such, will (...) contribute to that recent current of thought which has been highlighting the importance of virtue thinking in moral theory. I will distinguish moral judgement from decision and show that moral judgement is dependent upon virtue more strongly than it is upon impartial rationality. I will suggest that integrity is the virtue to which moral judgement gives expression and is the virtue which links judgement to decision so as to overcome akrasia. (shrink)
Taking as its starting point a recent statement of the Goals of Medicine published by the Hastings Centre, this paper argues against the dualistic distinction between pain and suffering. It uses an Aristotelian conception of the person to suggest that malady, pain, and disablement are objective forms of suffering not dependent upon any state of consciousness of the victim. As a result, medicine effectively relieves suffering when it cures malady and relieves pain. There is no medical mission to confront the (...) spiritual condition of the patient. (shrink)