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This volume collects four published articles by the late Tamara Horowitz and two unpublished papers on decision theory: "Making Rational Decisions When Preferences Cycle" and the monograph-length "The Backtracking Fallacy."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)
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)
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)
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)
We all know what a voluntary action is - we all think we know when an action is voluntary, and when it is not. Yet, performing and action and defining it are different matters. What counts as an action? When does it begin? Does the conscious desire to perform an action always precede the act? If not, is it really a voluntary action? This is a debate that crosses the boundaries of Philosophy, Neuroscience, Psychology, and Social Science. This book brings (...) together some to the leading thinkers from these disciplines to consider this deep and often puzzling topic. The result is a fascinating and stimulating debate that will challenge our fundamental assumptions about our sense of free-will. (shrink)
Taking the problem of weakness of will as her starting point, Jeanette Kennett builds an admirably comprehensive and integrated account of moral agency which gives a central place to the capacity for self-control. Her account of the exercise and limits of self-control vindicates the common-sense distinction between weakness of will and compulsion and so underwrites our ordinary allocations of moral responsibility.
Why should states matter and how do relations between fellow-citizens affect what is owed to distant strangers? How, if at all, can demanding egalitarian principles inform political action in the real world? This book proposes a novel solution through the concept of avant-garde political agency. Ypi grounds egalitarian principles on claims arising from conflicts over the distribution of global positional goods, and illustrates the role of avant-garde agents in shaping these conflicts and promoting democratic political transformations in response to them. (...) Against statists, she defends the global scope of equality, and derives remedial cosmopolitan principles from global responsibilities to relieve absolute deprivation. Against cosmopolitans, she shows that associative political relations play an essential role and that blanket condemnation of the state is unnecessary and ill-directed. Advocating an approach to global justice whereby domestic avant-garde agents intervene politically so as to constrain and motivate fellow-citizens to support cosmopolitan transformations, this book offers a fresh and nuanced example of political theory in an activist mode. Setting the contemporary debate on global justice in the context of recent methodological disputes on the relationship between ideal and nonideal theorizing, Ypi's dialectical account illustrates how principles and agency can genuinely interact. (shrink)
One of the most profound insights of the dynamic systems perspective is that new structures resulting from the developmental process do not need to be planned in advance, nor is it necessary to have these structures represented in genetic or neurological templates prior to their emergence. Rather, new structures can emerge as components of the individual and the environment self-organize; that is, as they mutually constrain each other's actions, new patterns and structures may arise. This theoretical possibility brings into developmental (...) theory the important concept of indeterminism--the possibility that developmental outcomes may not be predictable in any simple linear causal way from their antecedents. This is the first book to take a critical and serious look at the role of indeterminism in psychological and behavioral development. * What is the source of this indeterminism? * What is its role in developmental change? * Is it merely the result of incomplete observational data or error in measurement? It reviews the concepts of indeterminism and determinism in their historical, philosophical, and theoretical perspectives--particularly in relation to dynamic systems thinking--and applies these general ideas to systems of nonverbal communication. Stressing the indeterminacy inherent to symbols and meaning making in social systems, several chapters address the issue of indeterminism from metaphorical, modeling, and narrative perspectives. Others discuss those indeterministic processes within the individual related to emotional, social, and cognitive development. (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)
Beloved author of, among many other books, the bestsellers How to Argue and Win Every Time and The Making of a Country Lawyer , Gerry Spence distills a lifetime of wisdom and observation about how we live, and how we ought to live in Seven Simple Steps to Personal Freedom . Here, in seven chapters, he delivers messages that inspire us first to recognize our servitude-to money, possessions, corporations, the status quo, and our own fears-and then shows us how to (...) begin the self-defining process toward liberation. Seven Simple Steps to Personal Freedom is a powerfully affirming, large-hearted, and life-changing book that asks us all to take the greatest risk for the greatest reward-our own freedom. (shrink)
The literature on theoretical reason has been dominated by epistemological concerns, treatments of practical reason by ethical concerns. This book overcomes the limitations of dealing with each separately. It sets out a comprehensive theory of rationality applicable to both practical and theoretical reason. In both domains, Audi explains how experience grounds rationality, delineates the structure of central elements, and attacks the egocentric conception of rationality. He establishes the rationality of altruism and thereby supports major moral principles. The concluding part describes (...) the pluralism and relativity his conception of rationality accommodates and, taking the unified account of theoretical and practical rationality in that light, constructs a theory of global rationality--the overall rationality of persons. Rich in narrative examples, intriguing analogies, and intuitively appealing arguments, this beautifully crafted book will spur advances in ethics and epistemology as well in philosophy of mind and action and the theory of rationality itself. (shrink)
Although much human action serves as proof that irrational behavior is remarkably common, certain forms of irrationality--most notably, incontinent action and self-deception--pose such difficult theoretical problems that philosophers have rejected them as logically or psychologically impossible. Here, Mele shows that, and how, incontinent action and self-deception are indeed possible. Drawing upon recent experimental work in the psychology of action and inference, he advances naturalized explanations of akratic action and self-deception while resolving the paradoxes around which the philosophical literature revolves. In (...) addition, he defends an account of self-control, argues that "strict" akratic action is an insurmountable obstacle for traditional belief-desire models of action-explanation, and explains how a considerably modified model accommodates action of this sort. (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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
In these essays, Hugh J. McCann develops a unified perspective on human action. Written over a period of twenty-five years, the essays provide a comprehensive survey of the major topics in contemporary action theory. In four sections, the book addresses the ontology of action; the foundations of action; intention, will, and freedom; and practical rationality. McCann works out a compromise between competing perspectives on the individuation of action; explores the foundations of action and defends a volitional theory; argues for a (...) libertarian view of both the formation and the execution of intention; and considers the question of consistency in rational intentions, as well as the relationship between practical and theoretical reasoning. -/- Among the original features of McCann's work are his defense of both fine- and coarse-grained actions and his arguments for a noncausal theory of the relation between intention and action. He also suggests that intentions need not be consistent, either with each other or with beliefs about success. And he contends that intention formation is an intrinsically ratiocinative procedure, distinct from reasoning about what action would be best. (shrink)
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.
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)
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)
This is a collection of Paul Hoffman's wide-ranging essays on Descartes composed over the past twenty-five years. The essays in Part I include his celebrated "The Unity of Descartes' Man," in which he argues that Descartes accepts the Aristotelian view that soul and body are related as form to matter and that the human being is a substance; a series of subsequent essays elaborating on this interpretation and defending it against objections; and an essay on Descartes' theory of distinction. In (...) the essays in Part II he argues that Descartes retains the Aristotelian theory of causation according to which an agent's action is the same as the passion it brings about, and explains the significance of this doctrine for understanding Descartes' dualism and physics. In the essays in Part III he argues that Descartes accepts the Aristotelian theory of cognition according to which perception is possible because things that exist in the world are also capable of a different way of existing in the soul, and he shows how this theory figures in Descartes' account of misrepresentation and in the controversy over whether Descartes is a direct realist or a representationalist. The essays in Part IV examine Descartes' theory of the passions of the soul: their definition; their effect on our happiness, virtue, and freedom; and methods of controlling them. (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)
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)
Economist and evolutionary game theorist Daniel Friedman demonstrates that our moral codes and our market systems-while often in conflict-are really devices evolved to achieve similar ends, and that society functions best when morals and markets are in balance with each other.
In this book, Tim O'Keefe reconstructs the theory of freedom of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-271/0 BCE). Epicurus' theory has attracted much interest, but our attempts to understand it have been hampered by reading it anachronistically as the discovery of the modern problem of free will and determinism. O'Keefe argues that the sort of freedom which Epicurus wanted to preserve is significantly different from the 'free will' which philosophers debate today, and that in its emphasis on rational action it (...) has much closer affinities with Aristotle's thought than with current preoccupations. His original and provocative book will be of interest to a wide range of readers in Hellenistic philosophy. (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)
Beneath metaphysical problems there often lies a conflict between what we want to be true and what we believe to be true. Nathan provides a general account of the resolution of this conflict as a philosophical objective, showing that there are ways of thinking it through systematically with a view to resolving or alleviating it. The author also studies in detail a set of interrelated conflicts about the freedom and the reality of the will. He shows how difficult it is (...) to find a freedom either of decision or of action which is both an object of reflective desire and an object of rational belief. He also examines conflicts about volition as such, contending that the veridicality of volitional experience is no less easy to doubt than the veridicality of our experience of colors. In this context, arguments emerge for a voluntarist theory of the self. Nathan's important book will be essential reading for all philosophers interested in free will, volition, the self, and the methodology of metaphysics. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive, systematic theory of moral responsibility. The authors explore the conditions under which individuals are morally responsible for actions, omissions, consequences, and emotions. The leading idea in the book is that moral responsibility is based on 'guidance control'. This control has two components: the mechanism that issues in the relevant behavior must be the agent's own mechanism, and it must be appropriately responsive to reasons. The book develops an account of both components. The authors go on (...) to offer a sustained defense of the thesis that moral responsibility is compatible with causal determinism. (shrink)