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)
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)
This article explores and offers a qualified defence of the claim that the entitlement to forgive a wrongdoer belongs to the victim of the wrong. A summary account of forgiveness is given, followed by arguments in favor of the victim's prerogative to forgive. Primary, or direct victims are then distinguished from secondary and tertiary ones, which point to a plurality of prerogatives to forgive. In cases of conflicts between these prerogatives it is emphasized that special care should be taken to (...) protect the primary victim's entitlement, without giving an absolute and exclusive status to the latter prerogative. Grounds for limiting the primary victim's prerogative regarding forgiveness include (a) cases where harm to secondary and/or tertiary victims are greater than the harm resulting from the original wrong committed against the primary victim, (b) the social dimensions of the elements of forgiveness, and (c) the need for self-forgiveness when a repentant wrongdoer is not forgiven by any of the victims. The practical significance of these arguments are illustrated by considering the criticism that the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission have forgiven perpetrators in ways that inappropriately pre-empted the primary victims' entitlement to forgive. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.21(2) 2002: 97-111. (shrink)
The authors propose a conception of national reconciliation based on the building or rebuilding of trust between parties alienated by conflict. It is by no means obvious what reconciliation between large groups of people amounts to in practice or how it should be understood in theory. Lack of conceptual clarity can be illustrated with particular reference to postapartheid South Africa, where reconciliation between whites and blacks was a major goal of the Mandela government and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The (...) authors argue that a conception of reconciliation in terms of trust offers a promising solution to prominent conceptual confusions surrounding the notion of “national reconciliation” or reconciliation between large groups. By emphasizing the centrality of contextually variable trust in viable relationships, the authors accommodate an emphasis on human relationships and attitudes, as stressed by Desmond Tutu. They argue, however, against any simplistic application of purely individualistic or spiritual concepts to large groups and institutional contexts. (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 contested testimony in the Hill-Thomas ease is an illuminating test case for universalistic theories about the reliability of testimony. There is no reasonable alternative to universalistic standards of epistemic appraisal. And yet the charge by feminists and others that such criteria can be applied selectively and used to discredit and silence people is shown to be accurate. The road to a solution is to offer guidelines for the interpretation and application of these norms.
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.