The editors, working with a team of 325 renowned authorities in the field of ethics, have revised, expanded, and updated this classic encyclopedia. Along with the addition of 150 new entries, all of the original articles have been newly peer-reviewed and revised, bibliographies have been updated throughout, and the overall design of the work has been enhanced for easier access to cross-references and other reference features. New entries include * Aristotelian Ethics * Avicenna * Bad Faith * Beneficence * Categorical (...) and Hypothetical Imperatives * Cheating * Civil Liberty * Conventions * Dirty hands * Evolution * Fiduciary Relationships * Gay ethics * Genetic Engineering * Holocaust * Journalism * Killing/Letting Die * Moral Imagination * Narrative Ethics * Political correctness * Population Ethics * Public and 0rivate Morality * Racism, concepts of * and many more. (shrink)
This book, the third in a series on the life course, has significance in today's world of research, professional practice, and public policy because it symbolizes the gradual reemergence of power in the social sciences. Focusing on "self-directedness and efficacy" over the life course, this text addresses the following issues: * the causes of change * how changes affect the individual, the family system, social groups, and society at large * how various disciplines--anthropology, sociology, psychology, epidemiology--approach this field of study, (...) with consideration given to common themes and differences Finally, an effort is made to develop a multidisciplinary perspective unique to the study of self-directedness and efficacy. (shrink)
This is the most detailed, sophisticated and comprehensive treatment of autonomy currently available. Moreover it argues for a quite different conception of autonomy from that found in the philosophical literature. Professor Berofsky claims that the idea of autonomy originating in the self is a seductive but ultimately illusory one. The only serious way of approaching the subject is to pay due attention to psychology, and to view autonomy as the liberation from the disabling effects of physiological and psychological afflictions. A (...) sustained critique of concepts such as moral autonomy, self-realisation, ideal autonomy, and identification is offered. The author replaces these with an alternative model that reveals how spontaneity, vitality and competence enable human beings to act in the real world. (shrink)
This volume collects four published articles by the late Tamara Horowitz and two unpublished papers on decision theory: "Making Rational Decisions When Preferences Cycle" and the monograph-length "The Backtracking Fallacy." An introduction is provided by editor Joseph Camp. Horowitz preferred to recognize the diversity of rationality, both practical and theoretical rationality. She resisted the temptation to accept simple theories of rationality that are quick to characterize ordinary reasoning as fallacious. This broadly humanist approach to philosophy is exemplified by the articles (...) in this collection. As just one example, in "The Backtracking Fallacy," she argues that there are policies for decision-making a person may adopt if the person prefers to do so, but need not adopt. A person who employs such a policy no longer can regard standard expected utility theory as exceptionless, thereby sacrificing theoretical simplicity. But it is a mistake, Horowitz argues, to preserve theoretical simplicity by falsifying the decision making methods real people really use. (shrink)
This book is about how we make choices. It is a compelling analysis of the nature of free will, drawing together evidence from chemistry, literature, politics, history and beyond. Psychiatrist Chris Nunn elegantly explores the revolutions in medicine, genetics, bioethics and neuroscience spurred by Julien de la Mettrie's 300-year-old tract Man the Machine . Nunn concludes that a mechanistic view of the human brain, though once fruitful, is now moribund. He proposes a powerful alternative: that stories, recorded in our memories (...) throughout life, are the mediators of free choice. Nunn demonstrates how this original approach could reconcile the latest brain-imaging results and our seemingly contradictory intuition about decision making and responsibility. (shrink)
All social theorists and philosophers who seek to explain human action have a 'model of man', a metaphysical view of human nature. Some make man a plastic creature of nature and nurture, some present him as the autonomous creator of his social world, some offer a compromise. Each view needs its own theory of scientific knowledge calling for philosophic appraisal and the compromise sets harder puzzles than either. Passive accounts of man, for example, have a robust notion of causal explanation (...) but cannot either find or dispense with a self to apply them to. Active accounts rightly stress an autonomous self, but lack a proper concept of explanation. Martin Hollis takes these tensions and contrasts from the thought of sociologists, economists, and psychologists. He then develops a model of his own - one which seeks to connect personal and social identity through an ambitious theory of rational action and a priori knowledge, proposing a sense in which men can act freely and still be a subject for scientific explanation. (shrink)
Philosophers typically see the issue of free will and determinism in terms of a debate between two standard positions. Incompatibilism holds that freedom and responsibility require causal and metaphysical independence from the impersonal forces of nature. According to compatibilism, people are free and responsible as long as their actions are governed by their desires. In Freedom Within Reason, Susan Wolf charts a path between these traditional positions: We are not free and responsible, she argues, for actions that are governed by (...) desires that we cannot help having. But the wish to form our own desires from nothing is both futile and arbitrary. Some of the forces beyond our control are friends to freedom rather than enemies of it: they endow us with faculties of reason, perception, and imagination, and provide us with the data by which we come to see and appreciate the world for what it is. The independence we want, Wolf argues, is not independence from the world, but independence from forces that prevent or preclude us from choosing how to live in light of a sufficient appreciation of the world. The freedom we want is a freedom within reason and the world. (shrink)
Social action is central to social thought. This centrality reflects the overwhelming causal significance of action for social life, the centrality of action to any account of social phenomena, and the fact that conventions and normativity are features of human activity. This book provides philosophical analyses of fundamental categories of human social action, including cooperative action, conventional action, social norm governed action, and the actions of the occupants of organizational roles. A distinctive feature of the book is that it applies (...) these theories of social action categories to some important moral issues that arise in social contexts such as the collective responsibility for environmental pollution, humanitarian intervention, and dealing with the rights of minority groups. Avoiding both the excessively atomistic individualism of rational choice theorists and implausible collectivist assumptions, this important book will be widely read by philosophers of the social sciences, political scientists and sociologists. (shrink)
Barry Stroud's work has had a profound impact on a very wide array of philosophical topics, including epistemological skepticism, the nature of logical necessity, the interpretation of Hume, the interpretation of Wittgenstein, the possibility of transcendental arguments, and the metaphysical status of color and value. And yet there has heretofore been no book-length treatment of his work. The current collection aims to redress this gap, with 13 essays on Stroud's work by a diverse group of contributors including some of his (...) most distinguished interlocutors and promising recent students. All but one essay is new to this volume. -/- The essays cover a range of topics, with a particular focus on Stroud's treatments of skepticism and subjectivism. There are also chapters on Stroud's views on meaning and rule-following, on Hume on personal identity, and on the role of desires in the explanation of action. Despite the diversity, the essays are unified by the thematic unity in Stroud's own writings. Stroud approaches every philosophical problem by attempting to get as clear as possible on the nature and source of that problem. He aims to determine what kind of understanding philosophical questions are after, and what the prospects for achieving that understanding might be. This theme--of the nature and possibility of philosophical understanding--is introduced in the opening essay of this volume and recurs in different ways throughout the remaining chapters. -/- In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the philosophy of philosophy. As these essays show, one important source of insight on this subject is the thought of Barry Stroud, for whom pursuit of the philosophy of philosophy has always been indistinguishable from pursuit of philosophy as such. (shrink)
Introduction -- The self-interest based contractarian response to the skeptic -- A feminist ethics response to the skeptic -- Deformed desires -- Self-interest versus morality -- The amoralist -- The motive skeptic -- The interdependency thesis.
From a moral point of view we think of ourselves as capable of responsible actions. From a scientific point of view we think of ourselves as animals whose behavior, however highly evolved, conforms to natural scientific laws. Natural Agency argues that these different perspectives can be reconciled, despite the skepticism of many philosophers who have argued that "free will" is impossible under "scientific determinism." This skepticism is best overcome according to the author, by defending a causal theory of action, that (...) is by establishing that actions are constituted by behavioral events with the appropriate kind of mental causal history. He sets out a rich and subtle argument for such a theory and defends it against its critics. Thus the book demonstrates the importance of philosophical work in action theory for the central metaphysical task of understanding our place in nature. (shrink)
Alan Millar examines our understanding of why people think and act as they do. His key theme is that normative considerations form an indispensable part of the explanatory framework in terms of which we seek to understand each other. Millar defends a conception according to which normativity is linked to reasons. On this basis he examines the structure of certain normative commitments incurred by having propositional attitudes. Controversially, he argues that ascriptions of beliefs and intentions in and of themselves attribute (...) normative commitments and that this has implications for the psychology of believing and intending. Indeed, all propositional attitudes of the sort we ascribe to people have a normative dimension, since possessing the concepts that the attitudes implicate is of its very nature commitment-incurring. The ramifications of these views for our understanding of people is explored. Millar offers illuminating discussions of reasons for belief and reasons for action; the explanation of beliefs and actions in terms of the subject's reasons; the idea that simulation has a key role in understanding people; and the limits of explanation in terms of propositional attitudes. He compares and contrasts the commitments incurred by propositional attitudes with those incurred by participating in practices, arguing that the former should not be assimilated to the latter. Understanding People will be of great interest to most philosophers of mind, as well as to those working on practical and theoretical reasoning. (shrink)
The debate between free will and its opposing doctrine, determinism, is one of the key issues in philosophy. Ilham Dilman brings together all the dimensions of the problem of free will with examples from literature, ethics and psychoanalysis, and draws out valuable insights from both sides of the freedom-determinism divide. The book provides a comprehensive introduction to this highly important question and examines the contributions made by sixteen of the most outstanding thinkers from the time of early Greece to modern (...) times: Homer, Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer, Freud, Sartre, Weil, Wittgenstein, Moore. (shrink)
Why does agency--the capacity to make choices and to act in the world--matter to us? Why is it meaningful that our intentions have effects in the world, that they reflect our sense of identity, that they embody what we value? What kinds of motivations are available for political agency and judgment in an age that lacks the enthusiasm associated with the great emancipatory movements for civil rights and gender equality? What are the conditions for the possibility of being an effective (...) agent when the meaning of democracy has become less transparent? David Kyuman Kim addresses these crucial questions by uncovering the political, moral, philosophical, and religious dimensions of human agency. Kim treats agency as a form of religious experience that reflects implicit and explicit notions of the good. Of particular concern are the moral, political, and religious motivations that underpin an understanding of agency as meaningful action. Through a critical engagement with the work of theorists such as Judith Butler, Charles Taylor, and Stanley Cavell, Kim argues that late modern and postmodern agency is found most effectively at work in what he calls "projects of regenerating agency" or critical and strategic responses to loss. Agency as melancholic freedom begins and endures, Kim maintains, through the moral and psychic losses associated with a broad range of experiences, including the moral identities shaped by secularized modernity and the multifold forms of alienation experienced by those who suffer the indignities of racial, gender, class, and sexuality discrimination and oppression. Kim calls for renewing the sense of urgency in our political and moral engagements by seeing agency as a vocation, where the aspiration for self-transformation and the human need for hope are fundamental concerns. (shrink)
Tackling some central problems in the philosophy of action, Mele constructs an explanatory model for intentional behavior, locating the place and significance of such mental phenomena as beliefs, desires, reason, and intentions in the etiology of intentional action. Part One comprises a comprehensive examination of the standard treatments of the relations between desires, beliefs, and actions. In Part Two, Mele goes on to develop a subtle and well-defended view that the motivational role of intentions is of a different sort from (...) that of beliefs and desires. Mele, also offers a provocative explanation of how we come to have intentions and elaborates on his earlier work concerning akratic failures of will. (shrink)
The cultural imagery of women is deeply ingrained in our consciousness. So deeply, in fact, that feminists see this as a fundamental threat to female autonomy because it enshrines procreative heterosexuality as well as the relations of domination and subordination between men and women. Diana Meyers' book is about this cultural imagery - and how, once it is internalized, it shapes perception, reflection, judgement, and desire. These intergral images have a deep impact not only on the individual psyche, but also (...) on the social, political, and cultural syntax of society as a whole. Meyer's argues for the necessity of crafting a dissident, empowering, and 'emancipatory counter-imagery' for women. Rigorous, well written, and accessible, the reach of Gender in the mirror is arguably catholic, and addresses the interests or readers across an impressive range of intellectual disciplines. (shrink)
Does action always arise out of desire? G. F. Schueler examines this hotly debated topic in philosophy of action and moral philosophy, arguing that once two senses of "desire" are distinguished - roughly, genuine desires and pro attitudes - apparently plausible explanations of action in terms of the agent's desires can be seen to be mistaken. Desire probes a fundamental issue in philosophy of mind, the nature of desires and how, if at all, they motivate and justify our actions. At (...) least since Hume argued that reason "is and of right ought to be the slave of the passions," many philosophers have held that desires play an essential role both in practical reason and in the explanation of intentional action. G. F. Schueler looks at contemporary accounts of both roles in various belief-desire models of reasons and explanation and argues that the usual belief-desire accounts need to be replaced. Schueler contends that the plausibility of the standard belief-desire accounts rests largely on a failure to distinguish "desires proper," like a craving for sushi, from so-called "pro attitudes," which may take the form of beliefs and other cognitive states as well as desires proper. Schueler's "deliberative model" of practical reasoning suggests a different view of the place of desire in practical reason and the explanation of action. He holds that we can arrive at an intention to act by weighing the relevant considerations and that these may not include desires proper at all. (shrink)
This book explores the epistemic or knowledge requirement of moral responsibility. Haji argues that an agent can be blamed (or praised) only if the agent harbors a belief that the action in question is wrong (or right or obligatory). Defending the importance of an "authenticity" condition when evaluating moral responsibility, Haji holds that one cannot be morally responsible for an action unless the action issues from sources (like desires or beliefs) that are truly the agent's own. Engaging crucial arguments in (...) moral theory to elaborate his views on moral responsibility, Haji addresses as well fascinating, underexamined topics such as assigning blame across an intercultural gap and the relevance of unconscious or dream thoughts when evaluating responsibility. (shrink)
Talking about action comes easily to us. We quickly make distinctions between voluntary and non-voluntary actions; we think we can tell what intentions are; we are confident about evaluating reasons offered in rational justification of action. Berent Enc provides a philosopher's sustained examination of these issues: he portrays action as belonging to the causal order of events in nature, a theory from which new and surprising accounts of intention and voluntary action emerge. Philosophers and cognitive scientists alike will find How (...) We Act a provocative and enlightening read. (shrink)
Javier Muguerza’s Ethics and Perplexity makes a highly original contribution to the debate over dialogical reason. The work opens with a letter that establishes a parallel between Ethics and Perplexity and Maimonides’s classic Guide of the Perplexed. It concludes with an interview that repeatedly strikes sparks on Spanish philosophy’s emergence from its “long quarantine,” as Muguerza puts it. These informal pieces—witty, informative, conversational—orbit the nucleus of the work: a formidable critique of dialogical reason. The result is a volume by turns (...) vivid and profound. (shrink)
If there is such a thing as reason, it has to be universal - it must work the same way for everyone. Reason must reflect objective principles whose validity is independent of our point of view. To reason is to think systematically in ways that anyone looking on ought to be able to recognize as correct. But this generality of reason is what relativists and subjectivists deny in ever-increasing numbers. And such subjectivism is not just an inconsequential intellectual flourish or (...) badge of theoretical chic. It is exploited to deflect argument and to belittle the pretensions of the arguments of others. The continuing spread of this relativistic way of thinking threatens to make public discourse increasingly difficult and to exacerbate the deep divisions of our society. -/- In The Last Word, Thomas Nagel, one of the most influential philosophers writing in English, presents a sustained defence of reason against the attacks of subjectivism, delivering systematic rebuttals of relativistic claims with respect to language, logic, science, and ethics. His work sets a new standard in the debate on this crucially important question and should generate intense interest both within and outside the philosophical community. (shrink)
Rationality and Compulsion presents a unique examination of mental illness - derived from philosophical action theory. Delusion is common to many mental disorders, resulting in actions that, though perhaps rational to the individual, might seem entirely inappropriate or harmful to others. So what is it that causes these actions, and why do they continue? The theory expounded in this book shows how the key to this problem might be compulsion. -/- This book presents a new analysis of the notion of (...) compulsion - developed from action theory. The books starts with an introduction to action theory (for the benefit of non-philosophers). It then shows how insights from action theory can help us better understand mental illness, before developing an analysis of compulsion that emphasizes the element of unavoidability. The book argues that what is fundamentally disturbing to the person suffering from delusion is not so much the fact that the disorder tends to lead to irrational actions but rather the fact that he or she is unable to avoid performing these actions. The individual is or feels compelled to act in the way he or she does. The book contains some concrete illustrations of this idea as applied to several psychiatric diagnoses, such as paranoia, phobia, and psychopathy. -/- Rationality and Compulsion is a highly original new work from a leading figure in the philosophy and psychiatry movement. It will advance our understanding of mental illness, and be valuable for psychiatrists, psychologists, as well as philosophers. (shrink)
_Can attitudes like those that have seemed welded to indeterminism and free will_ _actually go with determinism? Is it not a contradiction to suppose so? The little_ _Oxford University Press book_ _How Free Are You?_ _in its first edition, much_ _translated, was a summary of the indigestible or anyway not widely digested_.
The traditional disputants in the free will discussion--the libertarian, soft determinist, and hard determinist--agree that free will is a coherent concept, while disagreeing on how the concept might be satisfied and whether it can, in fact, be satisfied. In this innovative analysis, Richard Double offers a bold new argument, rejecting all of the traditional theories and proposing that the concept of free will cannot be satisfied, no matter what the nature of reality. Arguing that there is unavoidable conflict within our (...) understanding of moral responsibility and free choice, Double seeks to prove that when we ascribe responsibility, blame, or freedom, we merely express attitudes, rather than state anything capable of truth or falsity. Free will, he concludes, is essentially an incoherent notion. (shrink)
How We Act presents a compelling picture of human action as part of the natural causal order. Berent Enç eschews any appeal to special capacities supposedly unique to rational agents, such as agent causation or irreducible acts of volition, and by appealing to analogous positions in epistemology and the theory of perception, shows why it is a mistake to subscribe to such capacities. Although aspects of the causal theory of action have been adopted and defended by many empiricist philosophers, none (...) has given as sustained and as thorough a defence as Enç offers in this book. His defence begins with a foundationalist definition of action that rests on a theory of basic acts, conceived here as derived from empirical studies of animal behaviour. Basic acts are complex units that agents acquire as part of their repertoire of things they can readily do - things with which practical syllogisms end. Having set out the details of his causal theory, Enç proceeds to propose solutions for two remaining problems. The first is a general and a complete solution to the problem of the so-called deviant causal chains. The second is a solution to the problem of "the disappearance of the agent". The causal theory presents the agent as a mere conduit for a causal chain - the agent seems to lose its active role. This problem is addressed by contrasting hard-wired and conditioned behaviour with behaviour that is the result of deliberation, and a purely causal model of deliberative reasoning is provided. How We Act is careful to allay fears that its causal theory threatens our common-sense notion that we act of our own free will, but it remains highly provocative and original. Anyone working on human action, in philosophy and also in cognitive and behavioural psychology, will find much to stimulate them here. (shrink)
Manifest Activity presents and critically examines the model of human power, the will, our capacities for purposeful conduct, and the place of our agency in the natural world of one of the most important and traditionally under-appreciated philosophers of the 18th century: Thomas Reid. For Reid, contrary to the view of many of his predecessors, it is simply manifest that we are active with respect to our behaviours; it is manifest, he thinks, that our actions are not merely remote products (...) of forces that lie outside of our control. Reid holds, instead, that actions are all and only those events that spring from active power and he produces insightful and imaginative arguments for the claim that only a creature with a mind is capable of having active power. He believes that only human beings, and creatures 'above us', are capable of directing events towards ends, of endowing them with purpose or direction, the distinctive feature of action. However, he also holds that all events, and not merely human actions, are products of active power, power possessed either by human beings or by God. This collection of theses leads Reid to the view that human behaviour and the progress of nature are both essentially teleological. Patterns in nature are the products of laws of which God is the author; patterns in human conduct are the products of character and the laws that individuals set for themselves. Manifest Activity examines Reid's arguments for this view and the view's implications for the nature of character, motivation and the special kind of causation involved in the production of human behavior. (shrink)
Building on the work of anthropologists, historians, sociologists, literary critics, and feminist philosophers of science, the essays in Women Out of Place: the Gender of Agency and Race of Nationality investigate the linkages between agency and race for what they reveal about constructions of masculinity and femininity and patterns of domesticity among groups seeking to resist varied forms of political and economic domination through a subnational ideology of racial and cultural redemption. Does agency have a gender? Does nationality have a (...) race? Does the race of nationality predetermine the gender of agency? This volume asks these questions of a variety of nationalist ideologies, some at the same point in history, others as precursors of or predecessors to an initial nationalist formation. Contributors are: Richard G. Fox, Eva Haseby-Darvas, Paulette Pierce, Deborah Rubin, Louisa Schein, Carol A. Smith, Jacqueline True. (shrink)
In the past quarter-century, there has been a resurgence of interest in philosophical questions about free will. After a clear and broad-reaching survey of these recent debates, Robert Kane presents his own controversial view. Arguing persuasively for a traditional incompatibilist or libertarian conception of free will, Kane demonstrates that such a conception can be made intelligible without appeals to obscure or mysterious forms of agency and thus can be reconconciled with a contemporary scientific picture of the world.
What place does motivation have in the lives of intelligent agents? Mele's answer is sensitive to the concerns of philosophers of mind and moral philosophers and informed by empirical work. He offers a distinctive, comprehensive, attractive view of human agency. This book stands boldly at the intersection of philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, and metaphysics.
Within traditional decision theory, common decision principles - e.g. the principle to maximize utility -- generally invoke idealization; they govern ideal agents in ideal circumstances. In Realistic Decision Theory, Paul Weirch adds practicality to decision theory by formulating principles applying to nonideal agents in nonideal circumstances, such as real people coping with complex decisions. Bridging the gap between normative demands and psychological resources, Realistic Decision Theory is essential reading for theorists seeking precise normative decision principles that acknowledge the limits and (...) difficulties of human decision-making. (shrink)
Origin of seekers: from caveman to cage fighters -- Impulsivity's hidden side: the secret of being directionally correct -- Eat or be eaten: what politicians have learned from primates -- Bubblology: the plague of the $76,000 flower -- Common sense of ownership -- Factoring you into your decisions -- Potential seekers: directing your innovative impulses -- Risk managers: conquering the fear of big cats -- Striking a balance.
This book has three goals. The first is to demonstrate that the modern, distinctly Kantian, notion of moral responsibility is incoherent by virtue of the way it fuses free will and blameworthiness. The second is to develop an alternative notion of moral responsibility that separates causal responsibility from blameworthiness and views both as relative to the boundaries of our moral community. The third is to establish a framework for arguing openly about our moral responsibility for particular kinds of harm.