The basic relationship between people should be care, and the caring life is the highest which humans can live. Unfortunately, care that is not thoughtful slides into illegitimate intrusion on autonomy. Autonomy is a basic good, and we should not abridge it without good reason. On the other hand, it is not the only good. We must sometimes intervene in the lives of others to protect them from grave harms or provide them with important benefits. The reflective person, therefore, needs (...) guidelines for caring. Some contemporary moralists condemn paternalism categorically. This work examines weaknesses in their arguments and proposes new guidelines for paternalism, which it calls "parentalism" to avoid the patriarchal connotations of the old term. Its antiparentalism is more moderate than standard antipaternalism based on an exaggerated respect for autonomy. The work explores implications for both the personal sphere of interactions between individuals, such as friends and family members, and the public sphere of institutions, legislation, and the professional practices. (shrink)
In The Bodies of Women , Rosalyn Diprose argues that traditional approaches to ethics both perpetuate and remain blind to the mechanisms of the subordination of women. She shows that injustice against women begins in the ways that social discourses and practices place women's embodied existence as improper and secondary to men. She intervenes into debates about sexual difference, ethics, philosophies of the body and theories of self in order to develop a new ethics which places sexual difference at the (...) very center of meaning. Diprose analyzes attempts in both feminist and non-feminist ethics to recognize the role of sexual difference. She critiques biomedical discourses whose descriptions mask a constitution and regulation of "the body." Drawing on insights from continental philosophy and feminist theory, The Bodies of Women includes critical readings of Hegel, Nietzsche, Merleau-Ponty, Derrida and Foucault as well as productive engagementwith contemporary feminist scholars such as Irigaray, Cornell and Young. What emerges is a unique approach to the ethics of sexual difference which both locates and subverts mechanisms of sexual discrimination. (shrink)
Objects of Hope brings ranging scholarship and refreshing candor to bear on the knotty issue of what can and cannot be achieved in the course of psychoanalytic therapy. It will be valued not only as an exemplary exercise in comparative psychoanaly.
In this controversial new book O'Hear takes a stand against the fashion for explaining human behavior in terms of evolution. He contends that while the theory of evolution is successful in explaining the development of the natural world in general, it is of limited value when applied to the human world. Because of our reflectiveness and our rationality we take on goals and ideals which cannot be justified in terms of survival-promotion or reproductive advantage. O'Hear examines the nature of human (...) self-consciousness, and argues that evolutionary theory cannot give a satisfactory account of such distinctive facets of human life as the quest for knowledge, moral sense, and the appreciation of beauty; in these we transcend our biological origins. It is our rationality that allows each of us to go beyond not only our biological but also our cultural inheritance: as the author says in the Preface, "we are prisoners neither of our genes nor of the ideas we encounter as we each make our personal and individual way through life.". (shrink)
How Do I Save My Honor? is a powerful exploration of individual moral responsibility in a time of war. When individuals conclude that their leaders have violated fundamental ethical principles, what are they to do? Through the compelling personal stories of those in the U.S. and British government and military who struggled with these thorny issues during the war in Iraq, William F. Felice analyzes the degrees of moral responsibility that public officials, soldiers, and private citizens bear for the actions (...) of their governments. Examining the struggles of these contemporary men and women, as well as of historical figures facing similar dilemmas, the author weighs the profound difficulties of overcoming the intense pressures of misguided loyalty, patriotism, and groupthink that predominate during war. (shrink)
The mystery of Aquinas's virtue ethics -- The gifts as second-personal dispositions -- Virtues and the second-person perspective -- The fruition of the virtues and gifts -- Conclusions and implications.
Philosopher, theologian, educational theorist, feminist and political pamphleteer, Mary Astell was an important figure in the history of ideas of the early modern period. Among the first systematic critics of John Locke's entire corpus, she is best known for the famous question which prefaces her Reflections on Marriage: 'If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?' She is claimed by modern Republican theorists and feminists alike but, as a Royalist High Church Tory, the (...) peculiar constellation of her views sits uneasily with modern commentators. Patricia Springborg's study addresses these apparent paradoxes, recovering the historical and philosophical contexts to her thought. She shows that Astell was not alone in her views; rather, she was part of a cohort of early modern women philosophers who were important for the reception of Descartes and who grappled with the existential problems of a new age. (shrink)
The case for dialogue -- Increasing moral capital through moral imagination -- The art of ethical dialogue -- Intelligent spirituality in business -- Spirituality in (and out) of the classroom -- Listening to the anxious atheists -- Beyond the flat world metaphor -- Dialogue as a restraint on wealth -- The limits of dialogue.
Contemporary philosophers have grown increasingly skeptical toward both morality and moral theory. Some argue that moral theory is a radically misguided enterprise that does not illuminate moral practice, while others simply deny the value of morality in human life. In this important new book, Louden responds to the arguments of both "anti-morality" and "anti-theory" skeptics. In Part One, he develops and defends an alternative conception of morality, which, he argues, captures more of the central features of both Aristotelian and Kantian (...) ethics than do other contemporary models, and enables the central importance of morality to be convincingly reaffirmed. In Louden's model, morality is primarily a matter of what one does to oneself, rather than what one does or does not do to others. This model eliminates the gulf that many anti-morality critics say exists between morality's demands and the personal point of view. Louden further argues that morality's primary focus should be on agents and their lives, rather than on right actions, and that it is always better to be morally better--i.e. it is impossible to be "too moral." Part Two presents Louden's alternative conception of moral theory. Here again he draws on the work of Aristotle and Kant, showing that their moral theories have far more in common than is usually thought, and that those features that they share can be the basis for a viable moral theory that is immune to the standard anti-theory objections. Louden reaffirms the necessity and importance of moral theory in human life, and shows that moral theories fulfill a variety of genuine and indispensable human needs. (shrink)
Frames of Deceit is a philosophical investigation of the nature of trust in public and private life. It examines how trust originates, how it is challenged, and how it is recovered when moral and political imperfections collide. In politics, rulers may be called upon to act badly for the sake of a political good, and in private life intimate attachments are formed in which the costs of betrayal are high. This book asks how trust is tested by human goods, moral (...) character, and power relations. It explores whether an individual's experience of betrayal differs totally from that of a community when it loses and then seeks to recover a vital public trust. Although this is a work of political philosophy it is distinctive in examining three literary texts--Sophocles' Philoctetes, Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, and Zola's The;rèse Raquin--in order to deepen our understanding of the place of trust in morality and politics. (shrink)
Justice and Christian Ethics is a study in the meaning and foundations of justice in modern society. Written from a theological perspective, its focus is upon the interaction of religion and law in their common pursuit of justice. Consideration is given, first, to the historical roots of justice in the classical tradition of virtue (Aristotle and Aquinas) and in the biblical ideas of covenant and the righteousness of God. Subsequent chapters trace the relationships between justice, law, and virtue in Puritanism, (...) in Locke, and in the founding documents of the American Republic in the late eighteenth century. In his concluding section, the author develops a covenantal interpretation of justice which includes both law and virtue, both human rights and the common good. Special attention is given to the pluralistic character of modern political societies; to criteria of distributive justice; and to religious resources for the renewal and transformation of justice. (shrink)
Changing the Wor(l)d draws on feminist publishing, postmodern theory and feminist autobiography to powerfully critique both liberal feminism and scholarship on the women's movement, arguing that both ignore feminism's unique contributions to social analysis and politics. These contributions recognize the power of discourse, the diversity of women's experiences, and the importance of changing the world through changing consciousness. Young critiques social movement theory and five key studies of the women's movement, arguing that gender oppression can be understood only in relation (...) to race, sexuality, class and ethnicity; and that feminist activism has always gone beyond the realm of public policy to emphasize improving women's circumstances through transforming discourse and consciousness. Young examines feminist discursive politics, critiques social science methodology, and proposes an alternative approach to understanding the women's movement. This approach explores feminist publishing and feminist autobiographical writing as examples of discursive activism with broadly subversive potential. (shrink)
This stimulating collection of essays in ethics eschews the simple exposition and refinement of abstract theories. Rather, the author focuses on everyday moral issues, often neglected by philosophers, and explores the deeper theoretical questions which they raise. Such issues are: Is it wrong to tell a lie to protect someone from a painful truth? Should one commit a lesser evil to prevent another from doing something worse? Can one be both autonomous and compassionate? Other topics discussed are servility, weakness of (...) will, suicide, obligations to oneself, snobbery, and environmental concerns. A feature of the collection is the contrast of Kantian and utilitarian answers to these problems. The essays are crisply and lucidly written and will appeal to both teachers and students of philosophy. (shrink)
Contractarianism in some form has been at the center of recent debates in moral and political philosophy. Jean Hampton was one of the most gifted philosophers involved in these debates and provided both important criticisms of prominent contractarian theories plus powerful defenses and applications of the core ideas of contractarianism. In these essays, she brought her distinctive approach, animated by concern for the intrinsic worth of persons, to bear on topics such as guilt, punishment, self-respect, family relations, and the maintenance (...) and justification of the state. Edited by Daniel Farnham, this collection is an essential contribution to understanding the problems and prospectus of contractarianism in moral, legal and political philosophy. (shrink)
Fred Feldman is an important philosopher, who has made a substantial contribution to utilitarian moral philosophy. This collection of ten previously published essays plus a new introductory essay reveal the striking originality and unity of his views. Feldman's version of utilitarianism differs from traditional forms in that it evaluates behaviour by appeal to the values of accessible worlds. These worlds are in turn evaluated in terms of the amounts of pleasure they contain, but the conception of pleasure involved is a (...) novel one and the formulation of hedonism improved. In Feldman's view pleasure is not a feeling but a propositional attitude. He also deals with problems of justice that affect standard forms of utilitarianism. The collection is ideally suited for courses on contemporary utilitarian theory. (shrink)
Spanning nearly two decades, from 1980 to 1996, this Reader investigates the debates which have best characterized feminist theory. Including such articles as Pornography and Fantasy, The Body and Cinema, Nature as Female, and A Manifesto for Cyborgs, the extracts examine thoughts on sexualtiy as a domain of exploration, the visual representation of women, what being a feminist means, and why feminists are increasingly involved in political struggles to negotiate the context and meaning of technological development. With writings by bell (...) hooks, Alice Jardine, and Andrea Dworkin, this mulit-cultural Reader reflects the dynamic nature of feminist debates and the genuine diversity within current feminist theory. Capturing the sense of the rapid movement within feminist theory and criticism, Feminisms is ideal for anyone interested in feminism and the history behind it. (shrink)
In this uplifting book, David Halpin suggests ways of putting the hope back into education, exploring the value of and need for utopian thinking in discussions of the purpose of education and school policy.
Over the past decade much significant new work has appeared in the field of Jewish ethics. While much of this work has been devoted to issues in applied ethics, a number of important essays have explored central themes within the tradition and clarified the theoretical foundations of Jewish ethics. This important text grew out of the need for a single work which accurately and conveniently reflects these developments within the field. The first text of its kind in almost two decades, (...) Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality presents wide-ranging and carefully organized recent essays on Jewish ethical theory and practice. Serving as an introduction to Jewish ethics, it acquaints the student with the distinctive methodological issues involved and offers a sampling of Jewish positions on contemporary moral problems. The book features work from both traditionalist and liberal contributors, making this the only volume which encompasses the full range of contemporary Jewish ethical perspectives. Writers such as Harold Schulweis, Judith Plaskow, David Novak, David Hartman, and Blu Greenberg discuss law and ethics, natural law, humility, justice, sex and the family, euthanasia, and other vital issues relating to modern Judaism. Many of the readings appear here for the first time, making this important text the most timely sourcebook in its field. Uniquely qualified to reflect the high level and depth of contemporary work in this area of study, Contemporary Jewish Ethics and Morality is an essential contribution to any course dealing with Jewish ethics. (shrink)
This book brings recent developments in Anglo-American philosophy into engagement with dominant currents in contemporary European social theory in order to articulate a pragmatic account of moral criticism. Presented in a lively and accessible style that avoids technical jargon, Morality and Social Criticism argues that the objectivity of moral discourse can be preserved without recourse to the overweening philosophical ambitions of the Enlightenment.
Drawing on the disciplines of Islamic and Christian Ethics, International Affairs, Environmental Science, History and Anthropology, Sustainable Diplomacy: Ecology, Religion and Ethics in Muslim-Christian Relations is a highly constructive work. Set in the context of modern Moroccan-Spanish relations, this text is a direct critique of realism as it is practiced in modern diplomacy. Proposing a new eco-centric approach to relations between nation-states and bioregions, Wellman presents the case for Ecological Realism, an undergirding philosophy for conducting a diplomacy that values the (...) role of popular religions, ecological histories, and the consumption and waste patterns of national populations. Sustainable Diplomacy is thus a means of building relations not only between elites but also between people on the ground, as they together face the real possibility of global ecological destruction. (shrink)
This is a book about moral reasoning: how we actually reason and how we ought to reason. It defends a form of "rule" utilitarianism whereby we must sometimes judge and act in moral questions in accordance with generally accepted rules, so long as the existence of those rules is justified by the good they bring about. The author opposes the currently more fashionable view that it is always right for the individual to do that which produces the most good. Among (...) the salient topics covered are: an account of the utilitarian function in society of generally accepted moral rules; a discussion of how we interpret existing moral rules and create new ones; and a defense of "rule" utilitarianism against the charge that it either commits one to irrational rule worship, or collapses into a form of "act" utilitarianism. (shrink)
Conventional wisdom and commonsense morality tend to take the integrity of persons for granted. But for people in systematically unjust societies, self-respect and human dignity may prove to be impossible dreams.Susan Babbitt explores the implications of this insight, arguing that in the face of systemic injustice, individual and social rationality may require the transformation rather than the realization of deep-seated aims, interests, and values. In particular, under such conditions, she argues, the cultivation and ongoing exercise of moral imagination is necessary (...) to discover and defend a more humane social vision. Impossible Dreams is one of those rare books that fruitfully combines discourses that were previously largely separate: feminist and antiracist political theory, analytic ethics and philosophy of mind, and a wide range of non-philosophical literature on the lives of oppressed peoples around the world. It is both an object lesson in reaching across academic barriers and a demonstration of how the best of feminist philosophy can be in conversation with the best of “mainstream” philosophy—as well as affect the lives of real people. (shrink)
This is a bold and controversial feminist, philosophical critique of postmodernism. While providing a brief and accessible introduction to postmodernist feminist thought, Enlightened Women is also a unique defence of realism and enlightenment philosophy. The first half of the book covers an analysis of some of the most influential postmodernist theorists, such as Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler. In the second half Alison Assiter advocates a return to modernism in feminism. She argues, against the current orthodoxy, that there can be (...) a distinction between "sex" and "gender". For students trying to pick their way through the maze of literature in the area of postmodernist feminism, Enlightened Women is a concise guide to contemporary thought - as well as a radical contribution to the debate. (shrink)
Irigaray offers the clearest available introduction to her own work. Focusing on power, women, gender and patriarchal mythologies, she lays out what for her has become the central problem for women in the modern world.
We often speak of a person's character--good or bad, strong or weak--and think of it as a guide to how that person will behave in a given situation. Oddly, however, philosophers writing about ethics have had virtually nothing to say about the role of character in ethical behavior. What is character? How does it relate to having a self, or to the process of moral decision? Are we responsible for our characters? Character answers these questions, and goes on to examine (...) the place of character in ethical philosophy. Both the Kantian and utilitarian traditions, Kupperman argues, have largely ignored the ways in which decisions are integrated over time, and instead provide a "snapshot" model of moral decision. Kupperman demonstrates the deficiencies of a number of classic and contemporary ethical theories that do not take account of the idea of character, and offers his own character-based theory. Along the way he touches on such subjects as personal identity, the importance of happiness, moral education, and the definition of a valuable life. (shrink)
This interdisciplinary study of commitment draws on the disciplines of theology, philosophy, and psychology to demonstrate the importance of trust in midlife adulthood. It gives particular attention to the place of trust in resolving tensions surrounding commitments. Taking a relational perspective, this text addresses the various aspects of commitment as they affect the self, the community, and God. Several midlife people serve as test cases to illustrate the crucial role of trust for those who are called to reassess interpersonal commitments (...) at midlife. Contents: An Ethics of Trust; Marcel on Philosophy of Trust; Theology of Trust; Psychology of Trust; and An Ethics of Trust; Trust and Commitment in Adulthood. (shrink)
What is happiness? How is it related to morality and virtue? Does living with illusion promote or diminish happiness? Is it better to pursue happiness with a partner than alone? Philosopher Mike W. Martin addresses these and other questions as he connects the meaning of happiness with the philosophical notion of "the good life." Defining happiness as loving one's life and valuing it in ways manifested by ample enjoyment and a deep sense of meaning, Martin explores the ways in which (...) happiness interacts with all other dimensions of good lives--in particular with moral decency and goodness, authenticity, mental health, self-fulfillment, and meaningfulness. He interweaves a variety of examples from memoirs, novels, and films along the way, connecting his discussion of the philosophical issues to related topics that interest all of us: virtue, love, philanthropy, suffering, simplicity, balancing work and leisure, and much more. Drawing on wide-ranging and robust evidence, Martin also makes the case that we need a "politics of happiness" whereby government would apply the results of recent "happiness studies" in psychology to public policy. (shrink)