Did the world change on September 11, 2001? For those who live outside of New York or Washington, life's familiar pace persists and families and jobs resume their routines. Yet everything seems different because of the dramatic disturbance in our sense of what our world means and how we exist within it. In A Delicate Balance , philosopher Trudy Govier writes that it is because our feelings and attitudes have altered so fundamentally that our world has changed. Govier believes (...) that there are ethical challenges we cannot ignore. From Plato and Aristotle on courage to Kant on revenge, to 20th Century philosopher John Rawls’s views on justice, Govier mines the world of philosophy to reflect on terrorism. Govier argues that moral complexities such as victimhood, evil, power and revenge, if properly understood, can provide a basis for hope– not despair. Govier walks the reader through this shift, challenging us to construct a new sense of the world and our place within it. (shrink)
Self-trust is a necessary condition of personal autonomy and self-respect. Self-trust involves a positive sense of the motivations and competence of the trusted person; a willingness to depend on him or her; and an acceptance of vulnerability. It does not preclude trust in others. A person may be rightly said to have too much self-trust; however core self-trust is essential for functioning as an autonomous human being.
The concept of citizenship is becoming more and more prominent in specific fields, such as psychiatry/mental health, where it is constituted as a solution to the issues of exclusion, discrimination, and poverty often endured by the mentally ill. We argue that such discourse of citizenship represents a break in the history of psychiatry and constitutes a powerful strategy to counter the effects of equally powerful psychiatric labelling. However, we call into question the emancipatory promise of a citizenship agenda. Foucault's concept (...) of governmentality is helpful in understanding the production of the citizen subject, its location within the 'art of government', as well as the ethical and political implications of citizenship in the context of mental health. (shrink)
The following three papers focus on compassion, an issue well worth our consideration in our contemporary age, and most especially during our recent national tragedy. It is hoped that these philosophical discussions of compassion may help us as we, on personal and societal levels, come to grips with immense human suffering. The topic of compassion brings us into an exploration of a cluster of related philosophical issues and is thus a good stepping off point for inquiry. The role of the (...) first paper is that of stage setting, to simply layout an approach to compassion presented by Aristotle and developed by Martha Nussbaum. This approach served as the introductory consideration in a course on compassion, taught by the first two commentators. Initially we wondered if we could sustain discussion on this narrow topic over fourteen weeks, but found the course left students with numerous questions worth their further consideration. So too in these papers, a number of issues will remain untouched, such as the relation of compassion and public policy and specific approaches to the cultivating of compassion, both of which are explored at length by Martha Nussbaum. This first paper frames our discussion, by presenting in outline form key points addressed in Martha Nussbaum’s Aristotelian discussion of the emotion of compassion, and touches upon issues developed in the next two papers. (shrink)
I explore Baier, Held, Okin, Code, Noddings, and Eisler on trust and distrust. This reveals a need for reflection on the analysis, ethics, and dynamics of trust and distrust-especially the distinction between trusting and taking for granted, the feasibility of choosing greater trust, and the possibility of moving from situations of warranted distrust to trust. It is impossible to overcome the need for trust through surveillance, recourse to contracts, or legal institutions.
This paper constructs a theory of Christian forgiveness and argues that contemporary philosophical analyses of forgiveness have failed to capture its essential character. First, I provide a summary of the general view of forgiveness developed by contemporary philosophers (e.g., Jeffrie Murphy, Jean Hampton, Patrick Boleyn-Fitzgerald, Paul Hughes, Margaret Holmgren, Trudy Govier, Joanna North, Robert Roberts, and Charles Griswold). Second, I highlight the central differences between these general contemporary views and a genuine Christian conception of forgiveness. Finally, I argue that (...) two reasons for these irreconcilable differences are the following: first, contemporary philosophical analyses have evered the virtue of forgivingness from central Christian virtues, particularly the moral virtue of temperance and the theological virtue of charity; and second, contemporary philosophical analyses’ paradigmatic case does not (and cannot) take into account the proper tri-personal Christian context (i.e., God, victim, and offender) within which Christian forgiveness must be understood. (shrink)
This article considers the relation between tolerance and hospitality. It situates this discussion in the history of philosophy with reference to a range of thinkers from Homer and Aristotle to Levinas, Derrida, and Walzer. It argues that the virtue of hospitality is important for negotiating the complexities of our contemporary world. Hospitality responds to the challenge of what is most needed for re-conceiving how one might remain committed to the values of one's own community while also remaining open to those (...) who do not share these same commitments. (shrink)
In her recent paper, “Belief, Values and the Will,” Trudy Govier raises several interesting and challenging points. Most interesting is her conclusion that it is at least logically possible for a person to believe something “simply in virtue of having taken that decision,” i.e., by fiat. In otherwords, it is possible to believe something by an act of will.
We explore the relationship between argument and narrative with reference to parables. Parables are typically thought to convey a message. In examining a parable, we can ask what that message is, whether the story told provides reasons for the message, and whether those reasons are good reasons. In exploring these questions, we employ as an inves-tigative technique the strategy of reconstructing parables as argu-ments. We then proceed to con-sider the cogency of those argu-ments. One can offer arguments through narratives and, (...) in particu-lar, through parables, but that do-ing so likely brings more risks than benefits, from an epistemic point of view. (shrink)
This article by Juri Lotman from the third volume of Trudy po znakovym sistemam (Sign Systems Studies) in 1967, deals with the problem of artistic modelling. The general working questions are whether art displays any characteristic traits that are common for all modelling systems and which could be the specific traits that can distinguish art from other modelling systems. Art is seen as a secondary modelling system, more precisely, as a play-type model, which is characterised simultaneously by practical and (...) conventional behaviour and constant awareness of the possibility of alternate meanings to the one that is currently being perceived. At the same time art has play-like elements but is not the same as play, since play is inherently rule-bound, whereas art is a more flexible model thepurpose of which is truth. Art is a special type of modelling system, since it is on one hand suitable for storing very large amount of complex information, but onthe other hand it can increase the stored information and transform the consumer. (shrink)