Human beings have the unique ability to consciously reflect on the nature of the self. But reflection has its costs. We can ask what the self is, but as David Hume pointed out, the self, once reflected upon, may be nowhere to be found. The favored view is that we are material beings living in the material world. But if so, a host of destabilizing questions surface. If persons are just a sophisticated sort of animal, then what sense is there (...) to the idea that we are free agents who control our own destinies? What makes the life of any animal, even one as sophisticated as Homo sapiens, worth anything? What place is there in a material world for God? And if there is no place for a God, then what hold can morality possibly have on us--why isn't everything allowed? Flanagan's collection of essays takes on these questions and more. He continues the old philosophical project of reconciling a scientific view of ourselves with a view of ourselves as agents of free will and meaning-makers. But to this project he brings the latest insights of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychiatry, exploring topics such as whether the conscious mind can be explained scientifically, whether dreams are self-expressive or just noise, the moral socialization of children, and the nature of psychological phenomena such as multiple personality disorder and false memory syndrome. What emerges from these explorations is a liberating vision which can make sense of the self, agency, character transformation, and the value and worth of human life. Flanagan concludes that nothing about a scientific view of persons must lead to nihilism. (shrink)
Have evolution, science and the trappings of the modern world killed off God irrevocably? And what do we lose if we choose not to believe in him? From Newton and Descartes to Darwin and the discovery of the genome, religion has been pushed back further and further while science has gained ground. But what fills the void that religion leaves behind? This book is an attempt to look at these questions and to suggest a third way between the easy consolations (...) of religion and the persuasive force of science that the everyday modern reader can engage with. (shrink)
In this volume a diverse group of economists, philosophers, political scientists, and psychologists address the problems, principles, and practices involved in comparing the well-being of different individuals. A series of questions lie at the heart of this investigation: What is the relevant concept of well-being for the purposes of comparison? How could the comparisons be carried out for policy purposes? How are such comparisons made now? How do the difficulties involved in these comparisons affect the status of utilitarian theories? This (...) collection constitutes the most advanced and comprehensive treatment of one of the cardinal issues in social theory. (shrink)
Formal representations of values and norms are employed in several academic disciplines and specialties, such as economics, jurisprudence, decision theory, and social choice theory. Sven Ove Hansson closely examines such foundational issues as the values of wholes and the values of their parts, the connections between values and norms, how values can be decision-guiding and the structure of normative codes with formal precision. Models of change in both preferences and norms are offered, as well as a new method to base (...) the logic of norms on that of preferences. Hansson has developed a unified formal representation of values and norms that reflects both their static and their dynamic properties. This formalized treatment, carried out in terms of both informal value theory and precise logical detail, will contribute to the clarification of certain issues in the basic philosophical theory of values and norms. (shrink)
This book presents classical philosophical sources on value as well as readings that show how this concept shapes central issues and domains of economics, culture and knowledge, thus shedding a light on a key concept of the globalized work.
This book addresses some basic questions about intrinsic value: What is it? What has it? What justifies our beliefs about it? In the first six chapters the author defends the existence of a plurality of intrinsic goods, the thesis of organic unities, the view that some goods are 'higher' than others, and the view that intrinsic value can be explicated in terms of 'fitting' emotional attitudes. The final three chapters explore the justification of our beliefs about intrinsic value, including coherence (...) theories and the idea that some value beliefs are warranted on the basis of emotional experience. Professor Lemos defends the view that some value beliefs enjoy 'modest' a priori justification. The book is intended primarily for professional philosophers and their graduate students working in ethics, value theory, and epistemology. (shrink)
Introduction -- Part I: The meaning of life -- Richard Taylor, The meaning of life -- Thomas Nagel, The absurd -- Richard Hare, Nothing matters -- W.D. Joske, Philosophy and the meaning of life -- Robert Nozick, Philosophy and the meaning of life -- David Schmidtz, The meanings of life -- Part II: Creating people -- Derek Parfit, Whether causing someone to exist can benefit this person -- John Leslie, Why not let life ecome extinct? -- James Lenman, On becoming (...) extinct -- David Benatar, Why it is better never to come into existence -- Part III: Death -- Stephen E. Rosenbaum, How to be dead and not care : a defense of epicurus -- GeorgePpitcher, The misfortunes of the dead -- Steven Luper, Annihilation -- Fred Fldman, Some puzzles about the evil of death -- Frederick Kaufman, Pre-vital and post-mortem non-existence -- David B. Suits, Why death is not bad for the one who died -- Part IV: Suicide -- David Hume, Of suicide -- Immanuel Kant, Suicide and duty -- David Benatar, Suicide : a qualified defence -- Part V: Immortality -- James Lenman, Immortality : a letter -- Bernard Williams, The Makropulos case : reflections on the tedium of immortality -- John Martin Fischer, Why immortality is not so bad -- Christine Overall, from here to eternity : is it good to live forever? -- Part VI: Optimism and pessimism -- Margaret A. Boden, Optimism -- Michaelis Michael and Peter Caldwell, The consolations of optimism -- Bruce N. Waller, The sad truth : optimism, pessimism, and pragmatism -- Arthur Schopenhauer, On the suffering of the world. (shrink)
David Lyons is one of the preeminent philosophers of law active in the United States. This volume comprises essays written over a period of twenty years in which Professor Lyons outlines his fundamental views about the nature of law and its relation to morality and justice. The underlying theme of the book is that a system of law has only a tenuous connection with morality and justice. Contrary to those legal theorists who maintain that no matter how bad the law (...) of a community might be, strict conformity to existing law automatically dispenses "formal" justice, Professor Lyons contends that the law must earn the respect that it demands. Moreover, we cannot, as some would suggest, interpret law in a value-neutral manner. Rather courts should interpret statutes, judicial precedents, and constitutional provisions in terms of values that would justify those laws. In this way officials can promote the justifiability of what they do to people in the name of law, and can help the law live up to its moral pretensions. (shrink)
Drawing on ideas presented in the Bible, Jewish teachings, and his experience as a psychotherapist, Lerner examines the roots of the vague discontent felt by so many Americans about our political system and explains how values can be put back into these broken politics.
The last few years have seen a remarkable revival of interest in the virtues, which have regained their central role in moral philosophy. This thought-provoking new collection is a much-needed survey of virtue ethics and virtue theory. The specially commissioned articles by an international team of philosophers represent the state of the art in this subject and will set the agenda for future work in the area. The contributors--including Lawrence Blum, John Cottingham, Julia Driver, Rosalind Hursthouse, Terence Irwin, Susan Moller (...) Okin, Onora O'Neill, Michael Slote, Michael Stocker, and David Wiggins--cover practical virtue ethics, ancient views of the virtues, impartiality and partiality, Kant, utilitarianism, human nature, natural and artificial virtues, virtue and the good life, the vices, emotions, politics, feminism, moral education, and community. (shrink)
An introduction to the philosophy of law, which offers a modern and critical appraisal of all the main issues and problems. This has become a very active area in the last ten years, and one on which philosophers, legal practitioners and theorists and social scientists have tended to converge. The more abstract questions about the nature of law and its relationship to social norms and moral standards are now seen to be directly relevant to more practical and indeed pressing questions (...) about the justification of punishment, civil disobedience, the enforcement of morality, and problems about justice, rights, welfare, and freedom. David Lyons is a shrewd, clear and systematic guide through this tangled area. The book presupposes no formal training in law or philosophy and is intended to serve as a textbook in a range of introductory courses. (shrink)
David Brink presents a study of T. H. Green's Prolegomena to Ethics (1883), a classic of British idealism. Green develops a perfectionist ethical theory that brings together the best elements in the ancient and modern traditions and that provides the moral foundations for Green's own influential brand of liberalism. Brink's book situates the Prolegomena in its intellectual context, examines its main themes, and explains Green's enduring significance for the history of ethics and contemporary ethical theory.
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)
This fresh and engaging work by noted philosopher Joel Kupperman centers on "value"--in the sense of what is worth having or worthy being in life. Kupperman looks first at how judgments of values manifest themselves, whether there can be evidence for them, and whether a realistic account is appropriate. Kupperman then goes on to examine the relations between judgments of value and those of what it is best to do, and whether value has any proper role in social policy. Kupperman (...) rejects the notion that there is any one primary value, and argues instead for a pluralistic understanding of value. He contends that value must be viewed as strongly contextual; the value of a particular set of experiences in one's life can depend heavily on how they fit in or provide contrast with other elements. (shrink)
Where can I find answers? -- Is life sacred? -- Is it bad to die? -- Which deaths are worse? -- Might I live on? -- Should I take the elixir of life? -- Who's who? -- Is it all meaningless? -- Should there be more, and better, people? -- Does reality matter?
In our lives, we aim to achieve welfare for ourselves, that is, to live good lives. But we also have another, more impartial perspective, where we aim to balance our concern for our own welfare against a concern for the welfare of others. This is a perspective of justice. Nils Holtug examines these two perspectives and the relations between them. -/- The first part of the book is concerned with prudence; more precisely, with what the necessary and sufficient conditions are (...) for having a self-interest in a particular benefit. It includes discussions of the extent to which self-interest depends on preferences, personal identity, and what matters in survival. It also considers the issue of whether it can benefit (or harm) a person to come into existence and what the implications are for our theory of self-interest. A 'prudential view' is defended, according to which a person has a present self-interest in a future benefit if and only if she stands in a relation of continuous physical realization of (appropriate) psychology to the beneficiary, where the strength of the self-interest depends both on the size of the benefit and on the strength of this relation. -/- The second part of the book concerns distributive justice and so how to distribute welfare or self-interest fulfilment over individuals. It includes discussions of welfarism, egalitarianism and prioritarianism, population ethics, the importance of personal identity and what matters for distributive justice, and the importance of all these issues for various topics in applied ethics, including the badness of death. Here, a version of prioritarianism is defended, according to which, roughly, the moral value of a benefit to an individual at a time depends on both the size of the benefit and on the individual's self-interest, at that time, in the other benefits that accrue to her at this and other times. (shrink)
Introduction -- Waking up -- Getting ready -- Travelling to work -- Being at work -- Going to the doctor -- Having lunch with your parents -- Bunking off -- Shopping -- Booking a holiday -- Going to the gym -- Taking a bath -- Reading a book -- Watching TV -- Cooking and eating dinner -- Going to a party -- Arguing with your partner -- Having sex -- Falling asleep and dreaming.
First published in 1900, Bushido is the work of a Japanese scholar and educator--and a Quaker--writing in English for a Western audience to explain the virtues most admired by the Japanese: rectitude, courage, benevolence, politeness, sincerity, honor, loyalty, and self-control. The author's approach is twofold. First, he delves into Japan's ancient traditions of Buddhism, Shintoism, and Confucianism, and the moral guidelines handed down over hundreds of years by Japan's samurai and sages. Then, he compares and contrasts Japanese tradition with Western (...) thought and civilization going back to the Romans, the Greeks, and Biblical times. (shrink)
Only a broad concern for functioning and capability can do justice to the complex interrelationships between human striving and its material and social context. IV. CENTRAL HUMAN CAPABILITIES The most interesting worries about ...
Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. (...) Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. (shrink)
Table of Contents: Politics, morality, and pluralism -- Liberal morality and political legitimacy -- Political legitimacy and social justice -- Williams's concept of the political -- Legitimacy, stability, and morality -- The politics of morality -- A moral point of view -- Manners and morality -- Morality and conflict -- Moral conflict and political theory -- The morality of politics -- Feminism and multiculturalism -- A defense of culture -- Politics and normative conflict -- The political as moral viewpoint -- (...) Morality and politics: a review -- Political unity and pluralism -- The liberal archipelago -- Loose linkage and political legitimacy -- Political unity and the body politic -- Social justice and political unity -- The bonds of civility -- Nationhood and the liberal polity -- The nature of nationhood -- Pluralism and nationalism -- Nationalism and social justice -- Deliberative democracy and the liberal polity -- Liberalism and democracy -- Democracy and deliberative discourse -- The terms of deliberative discourse -- Normative discourse and political legitimacy -- Deliberative democracy and intragroup politics -- Group autonomy and intergroup discourse -- Politics, history, and reason -- Principle and justice in the liberal polity -- Liberal institutions and liberal ideals -- Stopping history -- Rationalism and politics. (shrink)
In these three Tanner lectures, distinguished ethical theorist Allan Gibbard explores the nature of normative thought and the bases of ethics. In the first lecture he explores the role of intuitions in moral thinking and offers a way of thinking about the intuitive method of moral inquiry that both places this activity within the natural world and makes sense of it as an indispensable part of our lives as planners. In the second and third lectures he takes up the kind (...) of substantive ethical inquiry he has described in the first lecture, asking how we might live together on terms that none of us could reasonably reject. Since working at cross purposes loses fruits that might stem from cooperation, he argues, any consistent ethos that meets this test would be, in a crucial way, utilitarian. It would reconcile our individual aims to establish, in Kant's phrase, a "kingdom of ends." The volume also contains an introduction by Barry Stroud, the volume editor, critiques by Michael Bratman (Stanford University), John Broome (Oxford University), and F. M. Kamm (Harvard University), and Gibbard's responses. (shrink)
Fifteen years ago, Robert Fulghum published a simple credo–a credo that became the phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten . Now, seven million copies later, Fulghum returns to the book that was embraced around the world. He has written a new preface and twenty-five essays, which add even more potency to a common, though no less relevant, piece of wisdom: that the most basic aspects of life bear its most important (...) opportunities. Here Fulghum engages us with musings on life, death, love, pain, joy, sorrow, and the best chicken-fried steak in the continental U.S.A. The little seed in the Styrofoam cup offers a reminder about our own mortality and the delicate nature of life . . . a spider who catches (and loses) a full-grown woman in its web one fine morning teaches us about surviving catastrophe . . . the love story of Jean-Francois Pilatre and his hot air balloon reminds us to be brave and unafraid to “fly” . . . life lessons hidden in the laundry pile . . . magical qualities found in a box of crayons . . . hide-and-seek vs. sardines–and how these games relate to the nature of God. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is brimming with the very stuff of life and the significance found in the smallest details. In the years that have passed since the first publication of this book that touched so many with its simple, profound wisdom, Robert Fulghum has had some time to ponder, to reevaluate, and to reconsider. And here are those fresh thoughts on classic topics, right alongside the wonderful new essays. Perhaps in today’s chaotic, more challenging world, these essays on life will resonate even deeper–as readers discover how universal insights can be found in ordinary events. (shrink)
"Healing the past helps restructure the present, which then becomes the hope for the future." As we approach a new millennium, many of us are fearing for the future while hungering for a vision of our place in a sacred whole. The immense changes of the last hundred years have severed our sense of connection to a spiritual lineage that gave past generations the strength to meet life's challenges and bequeath wisdom to their descendants. In this inspirational yet down-to-earth book, (...) renowned healer and lecturer Denise Linn draws on her own story, as well as her Native American heritage and other ancient cultures, to guide you through acts of personal power that can reopen the wellspring of ancestral wisdom within you. By finding your roots and honoring your forebears--biological or adoptive, ethnic, cultural, mythological, and spiritual--you take your place as both a descendant and an ancestor. Defining who your ancestors are is a journey of self-discovery. Discovering who you are helps you break free from negative family patterns, embrace the positive, and create your own unique traditions. By fashioning a spiritual legacy through loving acts, you create energy to empower your future descendants. This fascinating guide teaches you to - Get in touch with the strength and spirit of your ancestors - Explore your personal myth - Restructure your past - Heal the family tree - Speak to your descendants through the art of giving - Revive rituals and create traditions for the twenty-first century With real-life stories and practical, easy-to-use exercises and meditations, Sacred Legacies shows how the choices we make in our own lives--however small--can forge a link with the future and help create a powerful new reality for all humanity and the planet. (shrink)
This engaging, interactive and pedagogical introduction to ethics combines the best features of a textbook and an anthology. The Moral Domain: Guided Readings in Philosophical and Literary Texts contains numerous readings from key philosophical writings in ethics along with captivating literary selections that bring the ethical issues to life. Offering extensive excerpts from major figures in the history of Western ethics--Aquinas, Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Mill and Plato--the book also integrates work from non-Western perspectives, including selections from the Bhagavad Gita, (...) Confucian views and Hsun-Tzu. It also represents women's voices with readings by Julia Annas, Sarah Broadie, Carol Gilligan, Martha Nussbaum and others. Literary selections--including work from the Bible, Camus, Dostoevsky, Golding, Sophocles, Tolstoy, Twain and Wharton--enable students to grasp deep ethical concepts at an intuitive level. The Moral Domain features a unique built-in study guide that helps students to better comprehend and interact with the material. It introduces each selection with orienting questions and then intersperses explanations, commentary and study questions (designed to test comprehension and provoke reflection) throughout the readings. Each chapter includes a "Further Discussion and Applications" section that demonstrates how ethical theory affects such contemporary moral debates and problems as abortion, euthanasia, feminism, hunger, warfare and more. An exemplary text for introduction to ethics and moral philosophy courses, The Moral Domain provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to all facets of ethics; its foundations, history, debates and current real-life controversies. (shrink)
Introduction: "meaning in life and death : our stories" -- John Martin Fischer and Anthony B rueckner, "Why is death bad?", Philosophical studies, vol. 50, no. 2 (September 1986) -- "Death, badness, and the impossibility of experience," Journal of ethics -- John Martin Fischer and Daniel Speak, "Death and the psychological conception of personal identity," Midwest studies in philosophy, vol. 24 -- "Earlier birth and later death : symmetry through thick and thin," Richard Feldman, Kris McDaniel, Jason R. Raibley, eds., (...) The good, the right, life and death (Aldershot : Ashgate Publishing, 2006) -- "Why immortality is not so bad," International journal of philosophical studies, vol. 2, no. 2 (September 1994) -- John Martin Fischer and Ruth Curl, "Philosophical models of immortality in science fiction," in George Slusser et. al., eds., Immortal engines : life extension and immortality in science fiction and fantasy (Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Press, 1996) -- "Epicureanism about death and immortality," Journal of ethics, vol. 10, no. 4 -- "Stories," Midwest studies in philosophy, vol. 20 -- "Free will, death, and immortality : the role of narrative," Philosophical papers (Special issue : meaning in life) volume 34, number 3, November 2005 -- "Stories and the meaning of life," revised and expanded version of "A reply to Pereboom, Zimmerman, and Smith," part of a book symposium on John Martin Fischer, my way : essays on moral responsibility, philosophical books, vol. 47, no. 3. (shrink)
Drug laws -- Justifications of punishment -- Civil disobedience : is there a duty to obey the law? -- Global poverty -- Liberty -- Liberty-limiting principles -- Rights -- Equality and social justice -- Moral relativism -- Utilitarianism -- Kantian moral philosophy -- John Rawls's theory of justice.
What is death? Do people survive death? What do we mean when we say that someone is "dying"? Presenting a clear and engaging discussion of the classic philosophical questions surrounding death, this book studies the great metaphysical and moral problems of death. In the first part, Feldman shows that a definition of life is necessary before death can be defined. After exploring several of the most plausible accounts of the nature of life and demonstrating their failure, he goes on to (...) propose his own conceptual scheme for death and related concepts. In the second part, Feldman turns to ethical and value-theoretical questions about death. Addressing the ancient Epicurean ethical problem about the evil of death, he argues that death can be a great evil for those who die, even if they do not exist after death, because it may deprive them of the goods they would have enjoyed if they had continued to live. Confrontations with the Reaper concludes with a novel consequentialist theory about the morality of killing, applying it to such thorny practical issues as abortion, suicide, and euthanasia. (shrink)
In this challenging new book John Holloway explores one of the most significant aspects of contemporary culture, arguing that over the last hundred years or so there has been a radical change in the very nature of individual consciousness. He traces a crucial shift from an 'Apollonian' ideal of human involvement in the widest range of experience (implying a sense of the individual consciousness as spacious, orderly, and comprehensive) to a narrower and less integrated engagement with the world (and a (...) more reductive conception of consciousness as random and fragmented). He plots this shift through a number a quite different fields: there are chapters on the visual arts, on colloquial language and slang, on cartoons, on political rhetoric, and on 'personality' studies by psychologists. He goes on to examine the work of certain literary figures (notably Hardy, Edwin Muir, Wyndham Lewis, Patrick White, John Cowper Powys, and Gary Snyder) who seem to have recognized, and registered in imaginative terms, the pervasive but generally unrecorded changes in consciousness for which the book is arguing. (shrink)