Philosophers have said surprisingly little about academic freedom, considering how central it is to liberal societies. This article takes a holistic approach to the topic by developing a framework for philosophical analyses of academic freedom. It treats the definition, extent, and justification of academic freedom, arguing in favor of an individualist account thereof. The complete theory is constructed using the same methods and moral arguments as in analyses of other liberal freedoms, such as freedom of speech and association, which means (...) that the account is fully integrable in all liberal societies. (shrink)
The criticism of neoliberalism is omnipresent. The term is seemingly self-explanatory, but its original use in public has been forgotten. Its form originated in the international movement of ordoliberalism in the 1930s, which used neoliberalism to describe its distinction from laissez-faire capitalism. This conceptual confusion has created considerable consequential problems that overlay today’s debate on the future of the market economy. The fact that the neoliberalism of the ordoliberals is today equated by its critics with the capitalism of the libertarians (...) raises questions. Since the economic dogma of Milton Friedman, who was the inspiration for the so-called Chicago Boys in Chile, whose economic policy was first captured by today’s negatively connoted term neoliberalism, this approach needs to be looked at more closely. Should the ideas of the Chicago school of thought substantially distinguish themselves from the other currents of economic liberalism, a solution to the confusion of terms could be possible, giving a new twist to the debate on the market economy. Such a clarifiation would be of fundamental importance for the ethical question of the social orientation of the economic order, since ordoliberalism was in turn the godfather of the social market economy. Furthermore, this would have consequences for applied political ethics in the context of political theories of justice, whose theoretical constructs reflect the existing economic order as a fact of experience. (shrink)
The paper identifies a view of work that has become prominent in recent years: The view in question is that work is “split” into two main forms: “manual” and “intellectual.” These two forms of work are seen socially as being completely opposed to one another and stereotypes abound on both sides about the people who do them. The paper calls this view “The Manichean View of Work” after the Ancient Persian religion. It is argued that this view is based on (...) an erroneous philosophical position of dualism, a split between mind and body, that derives from the Greeks and was formalised by such thinkers as Ibn Sina and Rene Descartes, which has filtered down into all of Western society. A new, more inclusive definition of work is offered, along with criticisms of the “Manichean View.” Lastly, as a counter to the Western view, an argument based on Zen Buddhist philosophy, which views manual work positively, is given before some practical ways by which the split can be healed as a conclusion. (shrink)
The Living Wage Movement (LWM) should be evaluated on whether it enables more people, or people willing to work, to lead a decent life. But, first, to the extent that it succeeds in getting some workers up to that threshold it is likely to make it harder for other workers to do the same. Second, to the extent that it succeeds in getting some workers up to that threshold it is likely to make it harder for non-workers to do the (...) same. The LWM is likely afflicted with these problems to a greater extent than is the Minimum Wage Movement. (shrink)
Suppose we morally ought to maximize social welfare. Suppose profit maximization is a means to maximize social welfare. Does this imply that we morally ought to maximize profits? Many proponents of the view that we have a moral obligation to maximize profits (tacitly) assume the validity of this argument. In this paper, we critically assess this assumption. We show that the validity of this argument is far from trivial and requires a careful argumentative defence.
As self-conscious curators and critics of moral history, the early Confucians are relevant to the contemporary debate over the fate of memorials dedicated to morally flawed individuals. They provide us with a pragmatic justification that is distinct from those utilized in the current debate, and in many respects superior to the alternatives. In addition to supplying this curative philosophic resource, the early Confucian practices of ancestral memorialization suggest preventative measures we might adopt to minimize the chances of establishing divisive and (...) oppressive memorials in the future. (shrink)
Among the most common suggestions one hears about how to improve pedagogy is for teachers to recast the information they are teaching into a narrative story form. In this paper, I argue that student understanding likely is improved by putting information into this form (even if student knowledge is not). Still, there are some disadvantages of the story form. This paper discusses how to maximize these advantages while minimizing the disadvantages of the story form.
Iain Thomson proposes that Heidegger’s notion of “being as such” should be regarded as the core concept of ecophenomenology. Here, we attempt to tease out further nuances of this concept by juxtaposing Thomas Sheehan’s interpretation of “being as such” with that of Ian Thomson. We demonstrate that Sheehan’s reading of “being as such” as the intrinsic-hidden-clearing aligns with Thomson’s interpretation, and further adds a nuanced hermeneutic-phenomenological understanding of the concept in Heidegger scholarship. We suggest that this reconciliation—which portrays that “being (...) as such” qua ex-sistence qua the intrinsic-hidden-clearing denotes the same transcendental realm—is imperative to guide ecophenomenology to proceed further towards attaining its core philosophy of “back to the thing itself.” This reconciliation helps us go beyond safeguarding a particular thing or an ecosystem. Alternatively, it emphasizes the manner in which a respectful awareness of the “being as such” can build empathy toward the excess that a thing always possesses in our relation to it. This could give rise to an ethic of relationship. (shrink)
Just war theory has traditionally accepted revolutionary overthrow of an undemocratic government as a just cause but not foreign intervention for the same purpose. For many contemporary cosmopolitan theorists this asymmetry involves an indefensible inconsistency. For example, Ned Dobos argues that it is only a potential foreign intervener’s duty to its own citizens and soldiers, not any additional duty of non-intervention, that places additional restrictions upon the use of force across borders. I defend insurrection/intervention asymmetry, arguing that due to several (...) intersecting practical difficulties, intervention has a higher threshold of just cause. I argue that intervention’s high costs and low likelihood of success, intervener’s limited ability to evaluate the validity of democratic intervention, and the effects of intervention on the international system, lead to a stronger presumption against intervention than revolution. In particular, democratization is a just cause for revolution but not humanitarian intervention. (shrink)
The Golden Rule (“what you want done [or not done] to yourself, do [or don’t do] to others”) is the most widely accepted summary statement of human morality, and even today it continues to have philosophical supporters. This article argues that the Golden Rule suffers from four faults, the first two related to the ethics of justice and the second two related to the ethics of benevolence. One, it fails to explain how to deal with non-reciprocation. Two, it fails to (...) make clear that my obligations are obligations regardless of how I would wish to be treated by others. Three, it lacks any special value in explaining the right occasions for benevolence. And, four, it has no power to motivate benevolence. (shrink)
Massive consumption of fossil energy since the Industrial Revolution has contributed to carbon dioxide emissions and accumulation. That, in turn, has led to global climate change, which is mainly characterized by warming. The necessity of immediate climate action can be justified from both moral and self-interest perspectives. Achieving the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change goal of getting the world to net-zero carbon by 2050 depends on undermining the libertarian and self-interested arguments that opponents have against trying to reach (...) this goal. First, from an ethical perspective, these opponents wrongly set the free market against the welfare state and individual property rights against the redistribution of social wealth, ignoring the possibility that their own ideal of liberty might require a welfare system. Second, it is also possible to show that morality and self-interest go together here, requiring us to reduce carbon use right now. (shrink)
I defend a modified rights-based unjust threat account for morally justified killing in self-defense. Rights-based moral justifications for killing in self-defense presume that human beings have a right to defend themselves from unjust threats. An unjust threat account of self-defense says that this right is derived from an agent’s moral obligation to not pose a deadly threat to the defender. The failure to keep this moral obligation creates the moral asymmetry necessary to justify a defender killing the unjust threat in (...) self-defense. I argue that the other rights-based approaches explored here are unfair to the defender because they require her to prove moral fault in the threat. But then I suggest that the unjust threat account should be modified so that where the threat is non-culpable or only partially culpable, the defender should seek to share the cost and risk with the threat in order for both parties to survive. (shrink)
Proportionality matters. Intuitively, proportionality sets the ceiling on the amount of defensive violence that is permissible. A plausible view is that what justifies proportionality also justifies other defensive-violence requirements—for example, discrimination and necessity—and shows why other purported requirements are mistaken—for example, imminence. I argue that if defensive-violence proportionality is a part of moral reality, then there is a systematic justification of it. If there is a systematic justification of proportionality, then there is an adequate equation for it. There is no (...) adequate equation for proportionality. Hence, proportionality is not part of moral reality. As a result, non-consequentialism does not justify defensive violence. The last part of this paper briefly applies these findings to vaccine mandates. (shrink)
Even a dog can tell if he was tripped over or kicked. Would entrepreneurs know? To slow down the progress of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, many states have taken restrictive measures, including the closing of private businesses. Are entrepreneurs therefore entitled to compensation? The answer is not obvious. In this paper, I suggest a solution which follows from a si mple test inspired by the famous trolley dilemma, asking whether the state used entrepreneurs as instruments (means) to slow down the pandemic. (...) I argue that entrepreneurs were not “used” that way, which is why they possess no moral claim to compensation for the harm caused by the closure. However, I do argue for at least a moral claim of theirs to satisfaction. For the possible disruption of their relationship with other citizens, rather than for the monetary damage they were forced to bear. (shrink)
The ethics of cultivated meat is an emerging field of applied ethics. As the world’s population increases, stakeholders, scholars, and producers have begun to devise new strategies to meet growing food needs and to prevent food production from having a deleterious environmental impact. In this paper, I will focus on the main moral arguments against the production and consumption of cultivated meat. I will then frame some arguments to show that none of the objections to the production and consumption of (...) cultivated meat is convincing.In the concluding remarks, I will suggest that cultivated meat should be considered as one strategy in a wide array of options to embrace a new food model. Deciding not to invest on this technology prevents us from benefiting from a useful means that could improve our living conditions. (shrink)
Biocentrism environmental ethicists and animal rights defenders have been articulating ethical principles to extend moral standing to nonhuman beings. The natural propensities of living beings to pain and pleasure, being a subject of life, and having specific good and interest (as proposed by Singer, Regan, Tayler, and Goodpaster, respectively), have been taken as a reason to determine the moral status of the beings in question. This article makes the case that none of them can offer all-inclusive ideal for biocentrism to (...) embrace all life forms as moral patients since they are either exclusive, hierarchical, or imprecise. To this end, I argue that it is possible to drive a unifying ideal from Schopenhauer’s metaphysics: the will to live. The will to live is a quality that all living beings share, regardless of their abilities and propensities. Both conscious and unconscious beings, sentient and non-sentient creatures, lower animals and plants are the embodiments or physical forms of the ultimate reality that is the will to live. Thus, biocentrism becomes more valid and effective in environmental preservation by incorporating the will to live into its ethical principle. (shrink)
Although separated by almost a decade, there are two relatively recent United States Supreme Court cases involving the first Amendment religion clauses and educational funding. Both cases involved public monies diverted for sectarian educational purposes. One case brought by a plaintiff challenging the diversion; the other by a plaintiff challenging the cession of the diversion. The comparison, contrast and evaluation of the two cases is the intended goal of this essay and is predicated upon the fact that while both cases (...) essentially yield the same result, neither employs the same justifying foundational argument employed by the other. Finally, understanding these two cases may serve as a predicate to a third educational case now before the United States Supreme Court during the 2021 term. (shrink)
Misinformation, disinformation, or fake news pose a new societal challenge. Through Kantian philosophy, we postulate this as an ethical challenge, one driven by social forces that shape social media’s use towards unethical knowledge production. However, automated or intelligent technologies can also be a solution in acting as a polygraph on social media platforms. We propose such technology could be ethical-by-design if we bring moral philosophy into a software architecture. Kant’s philosophical formalism is well-aligned with computing logic, especially blockchain applications. However, (...) we must also remain highly vigilant to the conceptual complexities, the existing critiques on Kantian ethics and deontology, and the general approach of imbuing moral thinking into a machine-especially if based on only one, rather hard-lined philosophy. While the principled nature of Kant’s propositions make for a suitable architecture, it poses in itself critical ethical concerns and considerations. (shrink)
As an account of food, associationism has shortcomings as an explanation of taste and eating. It maintains that only ideas are associated or related to one another and not perceptions. Perceptions, according to this theory, are independent of one another. Food presents a challenge for associationism because food has a cognitive dimension, i.e., judgments are made about its ingredients, presentation, order or sequence of tasting, and so on. Consequently, the scientific field of dynamics offers a viable alternative explanation with its (...) focus on change or reactions which take place in baking and cooking. An understanding of food chemistry leads to a greater appreciation of what one tastes and eats. This approach and emphasis on food chemistry was first appreciated by Brillat-Savarin in his La Physiologie du Gout (1825), and contemporary reflections are made on his treatise. (shrink)
The paper presents a method for interpreting religious texts for use in psychotherapy. In particular, the paper takes the example of the pivotal character Arjuna in Bhagavad-Gita as having low frustration tolerance and uses the collective philosophy of the Bhagavad-Gita and Bhagavata-Purana through six steps of Logic-Based Therapy to overcome it. Although the paper uses Hindu religious texts, the treatment of these texts will speak to anyone interested in the possibility of integrating religious texts into psychotherapy.