The discussion of the Anthropocene makes it clear that contemporary social thought can no longer take nature, or an external ‘environment’, for granted in political discussion. Humanity is remaking its own context very rapidly, not only in the processes of urbanization but also in the larger context of global biophysical transformations that provide various forms of insecurity. Disasters such as the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns and potentially disastrous plans to geoengineer the climate in coming decades highlight that the human environment is (...) being remade in the Anthropocene. Humanity is now a geological actor, not just a biological one, and that insight, captured in the term Anthropocene, changes understandings of both security and environment in social thought, requiring a focus on production of environments rather than their protection. Disasters help clarify this key point and its significance for considering geosocial formations. (shrink)
In his paper, ‘A critique of religious fictionalism’, Benjamin Cordry raises a series of objections to a fictionalist form of religious non-realism that I proposed in my earlier paper, ‘Can an atheist believe in God?’. They fall into two main categories: those alleging that an atheist would be unjustified in adopting fictionalism, and those alleging that fictionalism could not be successfully implemented, or practised communally. I argue that these objections can be met.
In this essay I describe how contractarianism might approach interspecies welfare conflicts. I start by discussing a contractarian account of the moral status of nonhuman animals. I argue that contractors can agree to norms that would acknowledge the “moral standing” of some animals. I then discuss how the norms emerging from contractarian agreement might constrain any comparison of welfare between humans and animals. Contractarian agreement is likely to express some partiality to humans in a way that discounts the welfare of (...) some or all animals. While the norms emerging from the contract might be silent or inconsistent in some tragic or catastrophic cases, in most ordinary conflicts of welfare, contractors will agree to norms that produce some determinate resolution. What the agreement says can evolve depending upon how the contractors or the circumstances change. I close with some remarks on contractarian indeterminacy. (shrink)
Andrew Collier is the boldest defender of objectivity - in science, knowledge, thought, action, politics, morality and religion. In this tribute and acknowledgement of the influence his work has had on a wide readership, his colleagues show that they have been stimulated by his thinking and offer challenging responses. This wide-ranging book covers key areas with which defenders of objectivity often have to engage. Sections are devoted to the following: 'objectivity of value', 'objectivity and everyday knowledge', 'objectivity in political (...) economy', 'objectivity and reflexivity', 'objectivity, postmodernism and feminism', 'objectivity and nature'. The diverse contributions range from social and political thought to philosophy, reflecting the central themes of Collier's work. (shrink)
This important collection of essays by Andrew Feenberg presents his critical theory of technology, an innovative approach to philosophy and sociology of technology based on a synthesis of ideas drawn from STS and Frankfurt School Critical Theory. The volume includes chapters on citizenship, modernity, and Heidegger and Marcuse.
By what steps, historically, did morality emerge? Our remote ancestors evolved into social animals. Sociality requires, among other things, restraints on disruptive sexual, hostile, aggressive, vengeful, and acquisitive behavior. Since we are innately social and not social by convention, we can assume the biological evolution of the emotional equipment – numerous predispositions to want, fear, feel anxious or secure – required for social living, just as we can assume cultural evolution of various means to control antisocial behavior and reinforce the (...) prosocial kind. Small clans consisting, say, of several extended families whose members cooperated in hunting, gathering, defense, and child-rearing could not exist without a combination of innate and social restraints on individual behavior. I shall argue for a naturalistic theory of morality, by which I do not mean the definitional claims G.E. Moore sought to refute, but a broader and more complex theory that maintains that a sufficient understanding of human nature, history, and culture can fully explain morality; that nothing is left hanging. A theory that coherently brings together the needed biological, psychological, and cultural facts I shall call a philosophical anthropology; it is a theory that: 1) takes the good for humans – both an ultimate good and other important goods – to depend on human nature; 2) argues that a rudimentary but improving scientific and philosophical theory of human nature now exists, and thus denies that people are “essenceless”; 3) takes this theory to be evolutionary and historical, making the question “How did morality originate?” pivotal for ethical theory, but leaves open the empirical question of the relative importance of biological and cultural evolution; and 4) takes the origin of the moral ideas to be explainable in terms of human nature and history. (shrink)
Robyn Eckersley's elegant and eloquent argument concerning the limits of "ecological intervention" is constrained by the scope of what is included in her definition of environmental emergency, by what might be in need of protection, and also by what is conventionally understood by notions of intervention related to states and sovereign territory.
The Oxford Monographs On Criminal Law And Justice series aims to cover all aspects of criminal law and procedure including criminal evidence. the scope of the series is wide, encompassing both practical and theoretical works. Series Editor: Professor Andrew Ashworth, Vinerian Professor of English Law, All Souls College, Oxford. This volume is a thematic collection of essays on sentencing theory by leading writers. The essays fall into three groups. Part I considers the underlying justifications for the imposition of punishment (...) by the State, and examines the relationship between victims, offenders and the State. Part II addresses a number of areas of sentencing policy that have given rise to particular difficulty, such as the sentencing of drug offenders, the rationale for discounting sentences for multiple offenders, the existence of special sentencing for young offenders, and cases where the injury done to the victim is of a different magnitude from what might have been expected. Part III raises various questions about the unequal impact on offenders of different sentencing measures, and examines the extent to which sentences should be adjusted to take account of these different impacts and of broader social inequalities. This volume is dedicated to Professor Andrew von Hirsch, whose continuing work on sentencing theory provided the stimulus for the collection. (shrink)
In An Essay upon Civil Government, Andrew Michael Ramsay mounted a sustained attack upon the development throughout English history of popular government. According to Ramsay, popular involvement in sovereignty had led to the decline of society and the revolutions of the seventeenth century. In his own time, Parliament had become a despotic instrument of government, riven with faction and driven by a multiplicity of laws that manifested a widespread corruption in the state. Ramsay's solution to this degeneracy was the (...) extirpation of Parliament, and its substitution with a monarchy moderated by an aristocratic senate. Ramsay's adoption of certain “Country” elements, including a return to the first principles of the constitution, claimed to reflect the principles of contemporary French aristocratic theory which called for the reform of government through the nobility. In his desire to exclude popular government, and reverse the decline of the state, however, Ramsay utilised the theory with which Bossuet had defended Louis XIV's absolute France. Intriguingly, traces of the natural law system which fortified Ramsay's theory can be found in Viscount Bolingbroke's subsequent attack on Walpole's Whig ministry and the corruption of the state. (shrink)
The term stakeholder is a powerful one. This is due, to a significant degree, to its conceptual breadth. The term means differentthings to different people and hence evokes praise or scorn from a wide variety of scholars and practitioners. Such breadth of interpretation, though one of stakeholder theory’s greatest strengths, is also one of its most prominent theoretical liabilities. The goal of the current paper is like that of a controlled burn that clears away some of the underbrush of misinterpretation (...) in the hope of denying easy fuel to the critical conflagration that would raze the theory. We aim to narrow its technical meaning for greater facility of use in management and organizational studies. By elaborating a number of common misinterpretations – critical and friendly - of the theory, we hope to render a stronger and more convincing theory as a starting place for future research. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the stronger of the two views concerning the right and wrong kind of reasons for belief, i.e. the view that the only genuine normative reasons for belief are evidential. The project in this paper is primarily negative, but with an ultimately positive aim. That aim is to leave room for the possibility that there are genuine pragmatic reasons for belief. Work is required to make room for this view, because evidentialism of a strict variety (...) remains the default view in much of the debate concerning normative reasons for belief. Strict versions of evidentialism are inconsistent with the view that there are genuine pragmatic reasons for belief. (shrink)
Virtue theories have become influential in ethics and epistemology. This paper argues for a similar approach to argumentation. Several potential obstacles to virtue theories in general, and to this new application in particular, are considered and rejected. A first attempt is made at a survey of argumentational virtues, and finally it is argued that the dialectical nature of argumentation makes it particularly suited for virtue theoretic analysis.
Modern discussions of natural resources focus on increasing public control over extractive industries proposing measures that range from increasing the public's share of the gain via royalties and taxes to regulating extractive activities to prevent environmental problems to outright expropriation of private investments. This article argues that such efforts are counterproductive because the fundamental economic problem of natural resources is producing the knowledge necessary to locate and extract resource deposits. The public benefit comes from enabling the use of the resources (...) and the increased economic activity their discovery produces rather than from royalties or expropriation. The key question in designing natural resource laws is thus their effects on the incentive to discover and manage resources. Private property rights in natural resources are the best way to provide such incentives. Fortunately, the combination of property rights and tort law principles enables property rights to solve environmental problems related to natural resource extraction as well. (shrink)
The second edition of Andrew Skinner's essays has been updated to take account of his latest thinking on Adam Smith's system of social and moral science and his experience of teaching Smith to a student audience. The material from the first edition has been extensively rewritten in the light of recent scholarship, and four new essays have been included. Each essay can be read as a self-contained unit, supported by a full bibliography and notes; the book as a whole (...) expounds a single coherent argument which demonstrates how Smith's works are inter-related. (shrink)
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"Equality of opportunity for all" is a fine piece of political rhetoric but the ideal that lies behind it is slippery to say the least. This book defends a particular account of the ideal and its place in a more radical version of what it is to level the playing field.
Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue presented a reinterpretation of Aristotelian virtue ethics that is contrasted with the emotivism of modern moral discourse, and provides a moral scheme that can enable a rediscovery and reimagination of a more coherent morality. Since After Virtue’s publication, this scheme has been applied to a variety of activities and occupations, and has been influential in the development of research in accounting ethics. Through a ‘close’ reading of Chaps. 14 and 15 of AV, this paper considers and (...) applies the key concepts of practices, institutions, internal and external goods, the narrative unity of a human life and tradition, and the virtues associated with these concepts. It contributes, firstly, by providing a more accurate and comprehensive application of MacIntyre’s scheme to accounting than that available in the existing literature. Secondly, it identifies areas in which MacIntyre’s scheme supports the existing approach to professional accounting ethics as articulated by the various International Federation of Accountants pronouncements as well as areas in which it provides a critique and challenge to this approach. The application ultimately provides an alternative philosophical perspective through which accounting can be examined and further research into accounting ethics pursued. (shrink)
This paper argues that both a limited doxastic voluntarism and anti-evidentialism are consistent with the views that the aim of belief is truth or knowledge and that this aim plays an important role in norm-setting for beliefs. More cautiously, it argues that limited doxastic voluntarism is (or would be) a useful capacity for agents concerned with truth tracking to possess, and that having it would confer some straightforward benefits of both an epistemic and non-epistemic variety to an agent concerned with (...) truth tracking. (shrink)
This article presents a study of how co-present individuals work out the nature of embodied engagement and disengagement displays by individuals with dementia in a Danish public care facility. Research has found that moderate to severe dementia may result, for example, in a lack of social engagement, apathy and problems in maintaining conversations. Research has, however, also found that co-present individuals indicate their right to unavailability for social interaction. This is accomplished through details of embodied and multimodal conduct such as (...) gaze behavior, which includes practices of glancing and gazing at co-present individuals or practices of gazing into space. These practices may coincide with indications of ‘lack of social engagement’ and ‘apathy’. This study falls within the framework of ethnomethodology and employs multimodal conversation analytic methods to show how co-present individuals monitor residents’ displays of engagement and disengagement, primarily gaze behavior and how they respond to them. The study is based on 20 hours of video-recordings. (shrink)