Abstract It would be puzzling if the morally best agents were not so good after all. Yet one prominent account of the morally best agents ascribes to them the exact motivational defect that has famously been called a “fetish.” The supposed defect is a desire to do the right thing, where this is read de dicto . If the morally best agents really are driven by this de dicto desire, and if this de dicto desire is really a fetish, then (...) the morally best agents are moral fetishists. This is puzzling. I resolve the puzzle by showing that on a proper understanding of the interaction between de dicto and de re moral motivation, it is not only not fetishistic, but quite possibly desirable, to be motivated by a de dicto desire to do the right thing. My argument relies partly on an appeal to a non-buck-passing account of moral rightness, according to which rightness is itself an additional reason-giving property over and above the right-making properties of an action. If this account of moral rightness is correct, then we would expect the morally best agents to exhibit de dicto moral motivation. However, since their de dicto desire acts in concert with de re desires, there is no reason to consider it a fetish. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9825-z Authors Vanessa Carbonell, Philosophy Department, University of Cincinnati, P.O. Box 210374, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0374, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116. (shrink)
The Enlightenment saw a critical engagement with the ancient idea that music carries certain powers - it heals and pacifies, civilizes and educates. Yet this interest in musical utility seems to conflict with larger notions of aesthetic autonomy that emerged at the same time. In Enlightenment Orpheus, Vanessa Agnew examines this apparent conflict, and provocatively questions the notion of an aesthetic-philosophical break between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Agnew persuasively connects the English traveler and music scholar Charles Burney with (...) the ancient myth of Orpheus. She uses Burney as a guide through wide-ranging discussions of eighteenth-century musical travel, views on music's curative powers, interest in non-European music, and concerns about cultural identity. Arguing that what people said about music was central to some of the great Enlightenment debates surrounding such issues as human agency, cultural difference, and national identity, Agnew adds a new dimension to postcolonial studies, which has typically emphasized the literary and visual at the expense of the aural. She also demonstrates that these discussions must be viewed in context at the era's broad and well-entrenched transnational network, and emphasizes the importance of travel literature in generating knowledge at the time. A new and radically interdisciplinary approach to the question of the power of music - its aesthetic and historical interpretations and political uses - Enlightenment Orpheus will appeal to students and scholars in historical musicology, ethnomusicology, German studies, eighteenth-century history, and comparative studies. (shrink)
Susan Wolf famously claimed that the life of the moral saint is unattractive from the “point of view of individual perfection.” I argue, however, that the unattractive moral saints in Wolf’s account are self-defeating on two levels, are motivated in the wrong way, and are called into question by real-life counter-examples. By appealing to a real-life case study, I argue that the best life from the moral point of view is not necessarily unattractive from the individual point of view.
Two environmental accidents in the mining industry provide the context for this study of the Mitchell, Agle, and Wood (1997, The Academy of Management Review 22, 853–886) analysis of stakeholder salience. I examine the reactions of two stakeholder groups: shareholder response is examined in terms of changing share returns and risk; management response through change in disclosure. I find the two decision-makers reacted at different times. Management responded to the first accident, though not the second. Shareholders responded to the second (...) accident alone. My findings support the Mitchell, Agle, and Wood (MAW) assertion that stakeholder status is impermanent, and determined through the eyes of the decision-maker. (shrink)
Management practitioners and scholars have worked diligently to identify methods for ethical decision making in international contexts. Theoretical frameworks such as Integrative Social Contracts Theory (Donaldson and Dunfee, 1994, Academy of Management Review 19, 252–284) and more recently the Global Business Citizenship Approach [Wood et al., 2006, Global Business Citizenship: A Transformative Framework for Ethics and Sustainable Capitalism. (M. E. Sharpe, Armonk, NY)] have produced innovations in practice. Despite these advances, many managers have difficulty implementing these theoretical concepts in daily (...) practice. Using the example of recent decisions by internet service providers Google, Yahoo, and MSN regarding censorship requirements in China, we offer six heuristic questions to help managers to resolve cross-cultural ethical conflicts in which the firm’s way of doing business differs from the practice in the host country. Recognizing that companies can take different approaches to law and ethics (Paine, 1994, Harvard Business Review 72(2), 107–117), our aim is to provide a management decision process to deal with demands or opportunities for engaging in questionable business practices in a host country. (shrink)
This article asks how ideas about nature in the 18th and 19th century Romantic movement have traveled in and been translated by the various religious groups that constitute contemporary Paganism. Drawing on the work of poets, philosophers, historians, social scientists, and contemporary Pagans themselves, the article argues that contemporary Paganism borrows freely from Romantic notions of inspiration and imagination to craft a vision of nature, that, for them, responds to the emotional and political needs of their own time and place. (...) At the center of this vision is what I describe as the Romantic hero, a figure in search of a more authentic existence in a broadly conceived "natural world.". (shrink)
Note: I asked undergraduate students, graduate students as well as assistant professors about how they would explain philosophical expertise. So don’t be surprised to find also statements of undergraduate students about philosophical expertise on this website. An analysis of the anonymous answers given on my website revealed that undergraduate students mentioned other abilities when it comes to philosophical expertise than assistent professors. Quite a few assistant professors agreed to answer some more detailed questions. They are, however, still working on (...) that. I will add their answers to this website as soon as I receive it. (shrink)
The animal in Nietzsche's philosophy -- Culture and civilization -- Politics and promise -- Culture and economy -- Giving and forgiving -- Animality, creativity, and historicity -- Animality, language, and truth -- Biopolitics and the question of animal life.
I argue for the existence of a ‘ratcheting-up effect’: the behavior of moral saints serves to increase the level of moral obligation the rest of us face. What we are morally obligated to do is constrained by what it would be reasonable for us to believe we are morally obligated to do. Moral saints provide us with a special kind of evidence that bears on what we can reasonably believe about our obligations. They do this by modeling the level of (...) sacrifice a person can realistically bear. Exposure to moral saints thus ‘ratchets-up’ our obligations by combating a type of ignorance that would otherwise defeat those obligations. (shrink)
The feminist movement remains fundamentally divided over the issue of surrogacy. Within the confines of this article it is argued that the inadequacy of positions on both sides of the debate rests upon their common tendency to deal with the ethical consequences of surrogacy for isolated agents, without sufficient concern for the broader social implications for all pregnant women in society. In order to clarify the issues involved, feminist theorists must consider the implications of surrogacy in a broader social spectrum. (...) Such an analysis will illustrate that the two-person dichotomous model of the maternal-foetal relationship proposed by the surrogacy arrangement has hugely prejudicial effects on the treatment received by non-contract mothers when they interact with agents of certain social institutions whose prior contact with surrogate mothers has made them more susceptible to conceiving the maternal-foetal relationship as fundamentally disconnected. In a climate of increased medical surveillance and intervention in the non-clinical context of pregnancy, the dangers of adopting this dichotomous model are palpable. Given the oppressive physical and psychological effect that this would have upon the liberty of the majority of pregnant women in society, this article argues that the feminist movement must abandon any promotion of the abstracted model of the mother-foetus relationship that is implicit in its arguments in favour of surrogacy. (shrink)
This paper proposes an ethical reflection on personalized medicine and more precisely on the diagnostic technology underlying it, including nanochips. Our approach is inspired by a combination of two philosophical frames of reference: first, John Dewey’s distinction between intuitive valuation and reflexive evaluation, second, John Rawls’ reflective equilibrium. We aim at what we call a ‘reflexive equilibrium’, a mutual adjustment between on the one hand, the intuitive beliefs scientists have about the ethics of the technologies they work on (‘valuations’ in (...) Dewey’s vocabulary) and, on the other hand, the reflexive ethical assessment of these technologies (‘evaluations’). Our goal, in this paper, is to provide the first step of this process through a philosophical analysis of some valuations on individualized medicine. In order to apprehend the ethical values shaping the development of biochips, we present and analyze qualitative interviews with scientists involved in the conception and the development of biochips involving nanotechnologies. We then propose a critical assessment of the role of ethics in these scientific practices. Last, we suggest two distinct and complementary ways to solve some of the issues brought to light by the interviews, without aiming at any dogmatic or “ready-made” answer. The first of these perspectives gives a central role to the capability individuals could achieve through personalized medicine; the second approach analyses the ethical disruptions entailed by personalized medicine with a special focus on care. (shrink)
Abstract Kierkegaard and his pseudonym, Johannes Climacus, advance a ?theory? of indirect communication which designates it as the appropriate vehicle for ethico?religious discourse. This paper examines the justification for this claim, as it is elaborated in the Postscript, and traces the similarity between Climacus? account of indirect communication and his broader existential ethics. Both accounts locate the identity of the subject in the repeated renunciation of finitude. Just as the autonomy of the Kantian subject demands indifference to phenomenal incentives, so (...) too the ?infinite possibility? of the Climacean subject is assured only through its repeated renunciation of finite determinants. The paper argues that this project of self?determination underlies both the theory of indirect communication and the Postscript's existential ethics, and both are critiqued by Kierkegaard under the rubric of ?Religiousness A?. The theory of indirect communication and the existential ethics of which it is a part demand that the individual's freedom be literally ?thought at every moment? ? a requirement which is as divorced from the circumstances of actual existence as Hegel's much maligned ?System?. The paper closes by considering the significance of Climacus? ?Absolute Paradox? for the subject's predicament and for Kierkegaard's authorship: does the notion of the Absolute Paradox represent an alternative to the subject's self?assertion, or is it merely its pre?eminent expression? (shrink)
At this point in time, it is hard to say which consequences for the concept of mental illness result from modern genetics. Current research projects are trying to find significant statistical correlations between the diagnosis of a disease and a gene locus or an endophenotype. Up until now, there has not been any identification of alleles or mutations causing mental illness. In the meantime, the relations between the genetic basis and the disease are given the term genetic vulnerability as a (...) placeholder; this concept simplifies the complex relations between the DNA and even the simplest cell functions observed in modern genetics. According to complex gene models like the systemic theory of DNA, it will not be possible to identify the genetic factors without a precise knowledge of the factors which modulate the gene expression. The significance of genetics as part of the concept of mental illness will not be able to be defined without further progress in developmental biology and psychology. Currently, psychological theory fails to acknowledge the complexity of the relationship between the DNA and the environment. Some starting points from which to develop such an understanding can be received from developmental studies and studies of the psychophylogenesis . An interdisciplinary concept of the biological basis of the psyche is needed. (shrink)
In a context in which there is manifest multiplicity in women’s daily lives, feminists have struggled to identify what it uniquely means to be a woman, without falling prey to charges of essentialism. Conscious, however, of the role which collective gender identity plays in providing coherence and motivation to feminist activity, a number of theorists have sought to find a way to retain group cohesion in the face of internal diversity. In this article, the merits and demerits of pre-existing attempts (...) in this regard will be discussed. Having done so, an alternative approach, which builds on Wittgenstein’s concept of ‘family resemblances’, will be put forward and defended. (shrink)