Making room for character -- Pluralism and the community of moral judgment -- A cosmopolitan kingdom of ends --Responsibility and moral competence --Can virtue be taught?: the problem of new moral facts -- Training to autonomy: Kant and the question of moral education -- Bootstrapping -- Rethinking Kant's hedonism -- The scope of moral requirement -- The will and its objects -- Obligatory ends -- Moral improvisation -- Contingency in obligation.
Richard Henson attempts to take the sting out of this view of Kant on moral worth by arguing (i) that attending to the phenomenon of the overdetermination of actions leads one to see that Kant might have had two distinct views of moral worth, only one of which requires the absence of cooperating inclinations, and (ii) that when Kant insists that there is moral worth only when an action is done from the motive of duty alone, he need not also (...) hold that such a state of affairs is morally better, all things considered, than one where supporting inclination is present. Henson's proposals seem to me both serious and plausible. I do not think that either of his models, in the end, can take on the role Kant assigns to moral worth in the argument of the Groundwork. But seeing the ways Henson's account diverges from Kant's makes clearer what Kant intended in his discussion of those actions he credits with moral worth. [...] An action has moral worth if it is required by duty and has as its primary motive the motive of duty. The motive of duty need not reflect the only interest the agent has in the action (or its effect); it must, however, be the interest that determines the agent's acting as he did. (shrink)
Most of us have been brought up on the idea that moral theories divide as they are, at the root, either deontological or consequentialist. A new point of division has been emerging that places deontological and consequentialist theories together against theories of virtue, or a conception of morality constrained at the outset by the requirements of the “personal.” In a series of important essays Bernard Williams has offered striking arguments for the significance of the personal in moral thought based on (...) the role of integrity in human activity and character. His criticisms of both Kantian and utilitarian theories for their deep-seated tendencies to undermine the integrity of persons brings to a new level of seriousness and subtlety long-standing complaints against these theories—the invasive do-gooding of utilitarianism, the coldness and severity toward normal human concerns of Kantian theory. Although Williams is inclined to find the sources of the attack on integrity in these different features of the two traditional theories, in the end his complaint against both of them turns on their demand that the moral agent submit himself to the authority of impartial value. (shrink)
The essays in this volume offer an approach to the history of moral and political philosophy that takes its inspiration from John Rawls. All the contributors are philosophers who have studied with Rawls and they offer this collection in his honour. The distinctive feature of this approach is to address substantive normative questions in moral and political philosophy through an analysis of the texts and theories of major figures in the history of the subject: Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Rousseau, Kant and (...) Marx. By reconstructing the core of these theories in a way that is informed by contemporary theoretical concerns, the contributors show how the history of the subject is a resource for understanding present and perennial problems in moral and political philosophy. This outstanding collection will be of particular interest to historians of moral and political philosophy, historians of ideas, and political scientists. (shrink)
If, as Kant says, "the will is practical reason", we should think of willing as a mode of reasoning, and its activity represented in movement from evaluative premises to intention by way of a validity-securing principle of inference. Such a view of willing takes motive and rational choice out of empirical psychology, thereby eliminating grounds for many familiar objections to Kant's account of morally good action. The categorical imperative provides the fundamental principle of valid practical inference; however, for good willing, (...) we also require correct premises. These come from specifications of the two obligatory ends - our own perfection and the happiness of others. Interpreting good willing as good reasoning not only fits well with Kant's metaphysics of free action, it also offers a sound method for reasoning to and about individual as well as role-dependent moral obligations. (shrink)
This paper began in the startled realization that little if anything is said in Kant’s ethics about the more violent forms of immoral action. There are discussions of lying, deception, self-neglect, nonbeneficence—but apart from suicide, a great silence about the darker actions. At the least, this should be an occasion for curiosity. Although the degree of concern with acts of violence in contemporary ethics may be in its own way curious, it does not seem unreasonable to expect a moral theory (...) to provide an account of what is wrong with acts of violence. (shrink)
This review confirms Herman’s work as a praiseworthy contribution to East-West and comparative philosophical literature. Due credit is given to Herman for providing English readers with access to Buber’s commentary on, a personal translation of, the Chuang-Tzu; Herman’s insight into the later influence of I and Thou on Buber’s understanding of Chuang-Tzu and Taoism is also appropriately commended. In latter half of this review, constructive criticisms of Herman’s work are put forward, such as formatting inconsistencies, a tendency toward verbosity and (...) jargon, and a neglect of seemingly important hermeneutical issues. Such issues, seemingly substantive but neglected by Herman, are the influence of Buber’s prior familiarity with Hasidic teachings on his encounter with Chuang-Tzu, as well as the prevalence of Hasidic and Taoist thought in Buber’s conception of good and evil. (shrink)
The present paper studies the general implications of theprinciple of compositionality for the organization of grammar.It will be argued that Janssen''s (1986) requirement that syntax andsemantics be similar algebras is too strong, and that the moreliberal requirement that syntax be interpretable into semanticsleads to a formalization that can be motivated and applied more easily,while it avoids the complications that encumber Janssen''s formalization.Moreover, it will be shown that this alternative formalization evenallows one to further complete the formal theory of compositionality, inthat (...) it is capable of clarifying the role played by translation,model-theoretic interpretation and meaning postulates,of which the latter two aspects received little or no attention inMontague (1970) and Janssen (1986). (shrink)
This paper explores conservative Christian demands that religious-based objections to providing services to lesbians and gay men should be accommodated by employers and public bodies. Focusing on a series of court judgments, alongside commentators’ critical accounts, the paper explores the dominant interpretation of the conflict as one involving two groups with deeply held, competing interests, and suggests this interpretation can be understood through a social property framework. The paper explores how religious beliefs and sexual orientation are attachments whose power has (...) been unsettled by equality law. But entangled with this property is another—that held in workers’ labour and public bodies’ resources. Arguing against the drive to balance competing interests, the paper uses social property to illuminate the agonistic character of the stakes. At the same time, it questions property as a normative framework for sexual orientation and religious beliefs. (shrink)
Clinical experience suggests that adult survivors of childhood trauma arrive at their memories in a number of ways, with varying degrees of associated distress and uncertainty and, in some cases, after memory lapses of varying duration and extent. Among those patients who enter psychotherapy as a result of early abuse, three general patterns of traumatic recall are identified: relatively continuous and complete recall of childhood abuse experiences coupled with changing interpretations of these experiences, partial amnesia for abuse events, accompanied by (...) a mixture of delayed recall and delayed understanding, and delayed recall following a period of profound and pervasive amnesia. These patterns are represented by three composite clinical vignettes. Variations among them suggest that the phenomena underlying traumatic recall are continuous not dichotomous. Future research into the nature of traumatic memory should be informed by clinical observation. (shrink)
Julia Kristeva refracts the impulse to hate through psychoanalysis and text, exploring worlds, women, religion, portraits, and the act of writing. Her inquiry spans themes, topics, and figures central to her writing, and her paths of discovery advance the theoretical innovations that are so characteristic of her thought. Kristeva rearticulates and extends her analysis of language, abjection, idealization, female sexuality, love, and forgiveness. She examines the "maladies of the soul," utilizing examples from her practice and the ailments of her patients, (...) such as fatigue, irritability, and general malaise. She sources the Bible and texts by Marguerite Duras, St. Teresa of Avila, Roland Barthes, Simone de Beauvoir, and Georgia O'Keefe. Balancing political calamity and individual pathology, she addresses internal and external catastrophes and global and personal injuries, confronting the nature of depression, obliviousness, fear, and the agony of being and nothingness. Throughout Kristeva develops the notion that psychoanalysis is the key to serenity, with its processes of turning back, looking back, investigating the self, and refashioning psychical damage into something useful and beautiful. Constant questioning, Kristeva contends, is essential to achieving the coming to terms we all seek at the core of forgiveness. (shrink)
We dispute Penn et al.'s claim of the sharp functional discontinuity between humans and nonhumans with evidence in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) of higher-order generalizations: spontaneous integration of previously learned rules and concepts in response to novel stimuli. We propose that species-general explanations that are in approach are more plausible than Penn et al.'s innatist approach of a genetically prespecified supermodule.
Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 has been implicated in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis. Here, we demonstrate that overexpression of p25, an activator of cdk5, led to increased levels of BACE1 mRNA and protein in vitro and in vivo. A p25/cdk5 responsive region containing multiple sites for signal transducer and activator of transcription was identified in the BACE1 promoter. STAT3 interacts with the BACE1 promoter, and p25-overexpressing mice had elevated levels of pSTAT3 and BACE1, whereas cdk5-deficient mice had reduced levels. Furthermore, mice with a (...) targeted mutation in the STAT3 cdk5 responsive site had lower levels of BACE1. Increased BACE levels in p25 overexpressing mice correlated with enhanced amyloidogenic processing that could be reversed by a cdk5 inhibitor. These data demonstrate a pathway by which p25/cdk5 increases the amyloidogenic processing of APP through STAT3-mediated transcriptional control of BACE1 that could have implications for AD pathogenesis. (shrink)