How do we determine whether an action is right or wrong? Until recently, philosophers assumed that this question could be answered by means of a theory of morality, which set forth clearly established rules for moral behaviour. More recently, however, a number of philosophers have challenged a theory of morality in this sense. Porter is sympathetic to their criticisms but questions whether they go far enough in offering a positive alternative to a modern view of the moral act. She (...) argues that the work of Aquinas offers an alternative account of moral rationality, in terms of which moral reasoning is understood as dialectical rather than deductive, and questions are resolved in a wider context of ethical thought. Aquinas's account of the moral virtues and prudence is seen to offer unexpected insights into the relationship between moral rules and the practice of the virtues, thus contributing to our own moral reflection. (shrink)
Rather than representing a break with his earlier philosophical undertakings, The Birth of Tragedy can be seen as continuous with them and Nietzsche's later works. James Porter argues that Nietzsche's argumentative and writerly strategies resemble his earlier writings on philology in his 'staging' of meaning rather than in his advocacy of various positions. The derivation of the Dionysian from the Apollinian, and the interest in the atomistic challenges to Platonism, are anticipated in earlier works. Also the theory of the (...) all-too-human subject is a thread that runs throughout Nietzsche's oeuvre, critically undoing what his philosophy appears to erect, confirming that Nietzsche is a most unreliable witness to his own meaning. As well as studying the relation of The Birth of Tragedy to later writings, the author examines it on its own terms as a self-standing and complete piece of imagining, with close regard to the self-presentation of the work itself. (shrink)
I discuss Ingmar Persson’s recent argument that the Levelling Down Objection could be worse for prioritarians than for egalitarians. Persson’s argument depends upon the claim that indifference to changes in the average prioritarian value of benefits implies indifference to changes in the overall prioritarian value of a state of affairs. As I show, however, sensible conceptions of prioritarianism have no such implication. Therefore prioritarians have nothing to fear from the Levelling Down Objection.
Justice makes demands upon us. But these demands, important though they may be, are not the only moral demands that we face. Our lives ought to be responsive to other values too. However, some philosophers have identified an apparent tension between those values and norms, such as justice, that seem to transcend the arena of small-scale interpersonal relations and those that are most at home in precisely that arena. How, then, are we to engage with all of the values and (...) norms that we take to apply to us? In this article, I discuss one way that we might hope to resolve the tension and its relation to John Rawls's `basic structure restriction'. The prospect of resolution is offered by the idea of a `division of moral labour', according to which the pursuit of certain values is assigned to institutions and not to individuals. According to Rawls's basic structure restriction, principles of justice are applicable only to the institutions of the basic structure of society. The possibility of a connection between the division of moral labour and the basic structure restriction readily suggests itself. Taking G.A. Cohen's well-known `incentives' critique of the basic structure restriction as a starting point, I consider five ways in which that restriction might be defended by appeal to the division of moral labour. I conclude that none of these defences succeeds, for none convinces that the conditions in which it makes sense to apply the division of moral labour idea obtain for Rawls's conception of distributive justice. Although the division of moral labour is an attractive proposal, it can do no work in a Rawlsian context. Key Words: Cohen • distributive justice • egalitarian ethos • equality • Rawls. (shrink)
The Modern System of the Arts: A Study in the History of Aesthetics is a classic statement of the view, now widely adopted but rarely examined, that aesthetics became possible only in the eighteenth-century with the emergence of the fine arts. I wish to contest this view, for three reasons. Firstly, Kristeller's historical account can be questioned; alternative and equally plausible accounts are available. Secondly, the modern system of the arts appears to have been neither a system nor an agreed (...) upon entity, but only a historical construct of Kristeller's own making that matches up with no known historical reality. Thirdly, while the concept of the fine arts existed in the eighteenth century, the assumption that it had an impact on the rise of aesthetic theory remains unproven and unnecessary. A more satisfactory account of aesthetic thought in antiquity can be given, once the fine-arts objection has been cleared away. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This thesis argues for an unorthodox interpretation of John Rawls's egalitarianism as a hybrid of ‘actual contractualism’ and ‘modal contractualism’. It also offers a defence of the theory so understood. According to actual contractualism, a system of political institutions and norms is just only if each person over whom it claims authority actually accepts it in some sense. Actual contractualists stand in contrast with modal contractualists, who take justice to require that no one could reasonably reject the institutions and norms (...) in question. Rawls is standardly read as a modal contractualist, but I argue that his view includes an significant element of actual contractualism. The thesis is divided into three parts. The first part describes actual contractualism and contrasts it with modal contractualism. It goes on to consider the possibility of a hybrid theory, which appeals to modal contractualist reasons to justify an actual contractualist test for justice. I suggest that this is an attractive view. In the second part I go on to argue that a careful understanding of Rawls’s theory view reveals it to be hybrid contractualist. I elaborate Rawls’s strategy of ‘political constructivism’ in the light of this interpretation, and attempt to show that it is very much in the Lockean actual contractualist tradition. The final part of the thesis concerns the justification of specifically Rawls’s egalitarianism. I contend that Rawls’s argument for justice as fairness can be seen as a detailed effort to explain why his egalitarianism is, in the relevant sense, actually accepted by each person, and I argue that as such it succeeds. I then contrast the Rawlsian view with left-libertarianism, another attempt to marry actual contractualism and egalitarianism. I argue that Rawls’s is the more thoroughgoing, unified view, and should be preferred on that basis. (shrink)
: On realist terms, politics is about power, security, and order, and the question of whether politics can practice compassion is irrelevant. The author argues that a politics of compassion is possible and necessary in order to address human security needs. She extend debates on care ethics to develop a politics of compassion, using the example of asylum seekers to demonstrate that politics can practice compassion with (1) attentiveness to the needs of vulnerable people who are suffering, (2) an active (...) listening to the voices of the vulnerable, and (3) open, compassionate, and appropriate responses to particular needs. (shrink)
Economic progress in the United States has been attributed to the successful combination of two social structures — capitalism as an economic system and democracy as a political system. At the heart of this interaction is a particular work ethic in which hard work is considered the path to both immediate and future rewards. This article examines the evolution of work ethic in the United States, as well as the returns experienced through various adaptations in the country's history. From this (...) grounding, the information is structured into a proposal that key messages contained in the current, accepted work ethic are subject to distortions that may contribute to unethical decision making. These distortions result from two potentials: (1) efforts to reconcile the work ethic with contradictory messages and (2) exaggerations of the work ethic that become dysfunctional. The intent is to provide a framework that may explain to organizational leaders how people with the same basic work ethic can behave differently in terms of ethical work. Along with this understanding comes the potential to offset possible distortions and to encourage more ethical behavior. (shrink)
Rewriting the Self is an exploration of ideas of the self in the western cultural tradition from the Renaissance to the present. The contributors analyze different religious, philosophical, psychological, political, psychoanalytical and literary models of personal identity from a number of viewpoints, including the history of ideas, contemporary gender politics, and post-modernist literary theory. Challenging the received version of the "ascent of western man," they assess the discursive construction of the self in the light of political, technological and social changes. (...) Contributors include: Peter Burke, Roger Cardinal, Stephen Connor, Jonathan Dollimore, Terry Eagleton, Kate Flint, E.J. Hundert, John Mullan, Linda Nead, Daniel Pick, Nikolas Rose, Jonathan Sawday, Jane Shaw, Roger Smith, Sylvana Tomaselli and Carolyn D. Williams. (shrink)
This article reassesses Peter Abelard's account of moral intention, or, better, consent, in light of recent work on his own thought and on the twelfth-century background of that thought. The author argues (1) that Abelard's focus on consent as the determining factor for morality does not rule out, but, on the contrary, presupposes objective criteria for moral judgment and (2) that Abelard's real innovation does not lie in his doctrine of consent as the sole source of merit or guilt, but, (...) rather, in his exploration of the ways in which this doctrine affects our understanding of the objective criteria for moral judgment. In particular, Abelard is led by his doctrine of consent to a thoroughgoing reassessment of the moral significance of the passions, which, in turn, leads him to reject the view that actions should be evaluated in terms of the praiseworthy or vicious character of the passions they express. (shrink)
Larry Shiner has risen to an impassioned defence against my criticisms of an iconic figure, claiming that I have ‘misrepresent[ed] Kristeller's central aim’ and therefore missed ‘the real shortcomings of Kristeller's essay’ and ‘obscure[d] substantive issues behind simplistic dichotomies’. These, and a series of disagreements over countless small details, take up the first part of his reply. He then proceeds to summarize his own book's achievements in correcting Kristeller's shortcomings. Shiner acknowledges difficulties in Kristeller's formulations, but accepts their purport and (...) actually expands the reach of Kristeller's thesis. Whatever else one might wish to say about these charges (which are quite impressive as a list but each disputable taken in turn), Shiner remains an unrepentant exponent of Kristeller's views. I realize that dogmas die hard, and it is only to be expected that if one challenges the central tenets of a legacy one will meet with entrenched reactions. Given the word-limit I have been allotted for my counter-reply, I will confine myself to the more substantive issues as these concern Kristeller's arguments, reserving for a possible future occasion any difficulties I may have with Shiner's own theses. My response will take the form of a series of questions followed by my own proposed answers. (shrink)
Continuous recordings of brain electrical activity were obtained from a group of 176 patients throughout surgical procedures using general anesthesia. Artifact-free data from the 19 electrodes of the International 10/20 System were subjected to quantitative analysis of the electroencephalogram (QEEG). Induction was variously accomplished with etomidate, propofol or thiopental. Anesthesia was maintained throughout the procedures by isoflurane, desflurane or sevoflurane (N = 68), total intravenous anesthesia using propofol (N = 49), or nitrous oxide plus narcotics (N = 59). A set (...) of QEEG measures were found which reversibly displayed high heterogeneity of variance between four states as follows: (1) during induction; (2) just after loss of consciousness (LOC); (3) just before return of consciousness (ROC); (4) just after ROC. Homogeneity of variance across all agents within states was found. Topographic statistical probability images were compared between states. At LOC, power increased in all frequency bands in the power spectrum with the exception of a decrease in gamma activity, and there was a marked anteriorization of power. Additionally, a significant change occurred in hemispheric relationships, with prefrontal and frontal regions of each hemisphere becoming more closely coupled, and anterior and posterior regions on each hemisphere, as well as homologous regions between the two hemispheres, uncoupling. All of these changes reversed upon ROC. Variable resolution electromagnetic tomography (VARETA) was performed to localize salient features of power anteriorization in three dimensions. A common set of neuroanatomical regions appeared to be the locus of the most probable generators of the observed EEG changes. (shrink)
In this response, I address Professor Rhonheimer’s charge that I deny the rational character of the natural law in my recent book. On the contrary, my theory of natural law is developed through an extended analysis of the ways in which reason draws on and informs the intelligibilities inherent in nature, understood in diverse ways. In this response, I focus on two issues to which Professor Rhonheimer gives extended attention, the first interpretative, the second constructive—namely, first, Aquinas’s conception of reason, (...) its scope and limits, and secondly, the prospects for moral universalism. (shrink)
This paper is a philosophical defense of the doctrine of penal substitution. I begin with a delineation of Richard Swinburne’s satisfaction-type theory of the atonement, exposing a weakness of it which motivates a renewed look at the theory of penal substitution. In explicating a theory of penal substitution, I contend that: (i) the execution of retributive punishment is morally justified in certain cases of deliberate wrongdoing; (ii) deliberate human sin against God constitutes such a case; and (iii) the transfer of (...) the retributive punishment due sinners to Christ is morally coherent. Whatever else might be said for and against such a conception of the doctrine of the atonement, the plausibility of the theory presented here should give us pause in the often hasty rejection of the doctrine of penal substitution. (shrink)
The view that one’s moral status is dependent on the stance of the will alone is an attractive view, deeply entrenched in Christian ethics. Yet it cannot account for pervasive intuitions about some kinds of moral mistakes, in particular those which arise at the point of choice. An agent’s moral beliefs are connected to his or her moral personality in a way that beliefs about matters of fact are not. This does not mean that a moral mistake never excuses the (...) agent from subjective guilt, but it does mean that we cannot assume that this is always the case. This paper attempts to develop these suggestions through reflection on Othello, whose eponymous hero acts out of a combination of factual and moral errors which are intertwined with his character in revealing ways. (shrink)
This article investigates the influence of innovation on the relationship between corporate strategy and social issues. Specifically, we employ firm-level data for a large sample of U.K. companies drawn from a diverse range of industrial sectors to investigate, given innovation, the determinants of both the probability that the innovation brings reduced environmental impacts and/or improved health and safety, and the strength of this effect. In this connection, we find evidence of a dichotomy between product and process innovations, and roles for (...) firm size, industrial sector, a foreign market presence, access to various information sources (e.g. universities and government research organisations) and the extent to which activities are constrained by regulation. Furthermore, we find a tendency for the influences of many of these factors to vary between older and newer firms. (shrink)
This critique of nine service learning projects within schools of business is designed to encourage other educational institutions to add service learning requirements into business ethics and leadership courses. It champions the role of the faculty member teaching these courses while at the same time offering constructive analysis on pedagogy, a review of curriculum issues, identification of barriers to service learning, and guidelines for teaching service learning ventures. Challenges to all faculty involved in business ethics courses are made to better (...) manage their courses and careers from a broader context outside of university settings. (shrink)
Aggleton & Brown have built a convincing case that hippocampus-related circuits may be involved in thalamic amnesia. It remains to be established, however, that their model represents a distinct neurological system, that the distinction between recall and familiarity captures the roles of these pathways in episodic memory, or that there are no other systems that contribute to the signs of amnesia associated with thalamic disease.
This study compares employee attitudes to their reports of whether they consider their socio-economic status to be higher, the same, or lower than that of their parents. The premise of the research was based on the apparent deterioration of the expectation that each generation will live in greater economic comfort than their parents, referred to as a vital component of the American dream. Where this pattern of socio-economic progress has been interrupted, it may relate to certain attitudes. These attitudes, in (...) turn, are likely to influence behavior. Here the focus is on whether employees' survey responses indicate they are honest, trustworthy, and tolerant. Differences in these characteristics that relate to self-reported socio- economic progress, may serve to explain the occurrence of certain behaviors among people who otherwise seem highly ethical. This information may also help create organizational awareness of the potential for unethical behavior, when employees have been blocked from their own expectations for betterment. (shrink)
ChapterI THE NATURALISTIC FALLACY AZ THE NATURE OF THE FALLACY The criticism which has since been labelled the naturalistic fallacy was first described by the eighteenth-century empircist David Hume, in a small but celebrated ...