It is a commonplace in both the popular imagination and the philosophical literature that hope has a special kind of motivational force. This commonplace underwrites the conviction that hope alone is capable of bolstering us in despairinducing circumstances, as well as the strategy of appealing to hope in the political realm. In section 1, I argue that, to the contrary, hope’s motivational essence is not special or unique—it is simply that of an endorsed desire. The commonplace is not entirely mistaken, (...) however, because standard ways of expressing hope do have motivational influence that is different in kind from that of desire. In sections 2 through 4, I examine one of these ways of expressing hope, fantasizing, and argue that fantasies can present us with reasons to modify our goals and projects in multiple ways. (shrink)
The significance of private standards and associated local level initiatives in agri-food value chains are increasingly recognised. However whilst issues related to compliance and impact at the smallholder or worker level have frequently been analysed, the governance implications in terms of how private standards affect national level institutions, public, private and non-governmental, have had less attention. This article applies an extended value chain framework for critical analysis of Private Standards Initiatives (PSIs) in agrifood chains, drawing on primary research on PSIs (...) operating in Kenyan horticulture (Horticulture Ethical Business Initiative and KenyaGAP). The paper explores the legislative, executive and judicial aspects of governance in these southern PSIs highlighting how different stakeholders shape debates and act with agency. It is argued that governance is exercised ‘beyond the vertical’ in that one can identify wider horizontal processes of governance, including how the scope of key debates is constructed (especially in legislative governance) but analysis of executive governance emphasises the dominant role of the lead buyers. (shrink)
I argue for adopting a conception of obligation that is broader than the conception commonly adopted by moral philosophers. According to this broader conception, the crucial marks of an obligatory action are, first, that the reasons for the obliged party to perform the action include an exclusionary reason and, second, that the obliged party is the appropriate target of blaming reactive attitudes, if they inexcusably fail to perform the obligatory action. An obligation is directed if the exclusionary reason depends on (...) the relationship between the obliged person and the person to whom they owe the obligatory action, and the latter person is positioned to personally blame the obligated person for inexcusably failing to perform the obligatory action. Some direc- ted obligations are not owed as a matter of right, and the person to whom the obligatory action is owed is the only person positioned to blame nonperformance. Other directed obligations are owed as a matter of right, and people who are not part of the relationship grounding the obligation nevertheless are also positioned to (impersonally) blame non-performance. Only the rights-based form of directed obligation has received signifi- cant attention from moral philosophers, yet the former—which is at the heart of what I call “personal bonds”—is a pervasive and significant theme of our ordinary interpersonal lives. (shrink)
Apologies are strange. They are, in a certain sense, very small. An apology is just a gesture—a set of words, a physical posture, perhaps a gift. But an apology can also be very powerful—this power is implicit in the facts that it can be difficult to offer an apology and that, when we are wronged, we may want an apology very much. More, even we have been severely wronged, we are sometimes willing to forgive or pardon the wrongdoer, if we (...) receive a sincere apology. In this paper, I want to begin to figure out how a mere gesture can be so powerful. The philosophers who discuss apology generally do not go into much detail, and they discuss it almost exclusively in connection with forgiveness. 2 I, too, will discuss apology’s power to provide reason to forgive, but in order to provide the resources to examine another power. Some apologies, I will argue, fail to provide reason to forgive, but nevertheless do provide the recipient a reason to maintain a relationship with the wrongdoer, or to allow the wrongdoer to remain in her community. To be clear: the “powers” I am interested in are reason-giving powers, or powers to make certain beliefs, attitudes, or actions rational. Apologies also, no doubt, have a sort of bare causal power. The sight of a vicious, racist, cruel war criminal on his knees and in tears, sincerely begging forgiveness, may inspire in us pity or even compassion, in spite of what we believe we have reason to feel. “I can’t help but feel sorry for the bastard,” we may say, even while believing that.. (shrink)
How do we encourage patients to be hopeful without exploiting their hope? A medical researcher or a pharmaceutical company can take unfair advantage of someone's hope by much subtler means than simply giving misinformation. Hope shapes deliberation, and therefore can make deliberation better or worse, by the deliberator's own standards of deliberation.
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, March 2006. Significant effort has been devoted to locating a good argument for Kant ’s Formula of Humanity. In this paper, I contrast two arguments, based on Kant ’s text, for the Formula of Humanity. The first, which I call the “Valued Ends” argument, is an influential and appealing argument developed most notably by Christine Korsgaard and Allen Wood. Notwithstanding the appeal and influence of this argument, it ultimately fails on several counts. I therefore present as an (...) alternative the “Autonomy” argument, which is largely inspired by the failings of the Valued Ends argument. (shrink)
In this paper, I outline a Kantian moral psychology and use it to generate an analysis of the emotional attitude, love. At the heart of this moral psychology is a distinction between rational and subrational motives, and the thesis that interpersonal emotional attitudes like love are governed by a norm of respect. I show how an analysis of love that relies on this moral psychology—which I call “the incorporation conception” of love—tightly fits with paradigmatic cases of romantic love, reveals both (...) the continuities and differences between romantic and other forms of love, and also explicates our ambivalence about certain cases. Finally, I argue that this analysis, although it sees love as essentially a bundle of volitions, has the resources to respond to both David Velleman’s and Niko Kolodny’s critiques of volition-based analyses of love. Taken as a whole, the discussion provides an argument for both this analysis of love and the moral psychology it presupposes. (shrink)
Doing Valuable Time is the kind of book—rarer in philosophy, I think, than one might wish—that invites personal reflection. Boredom, contentment, hope, intention, and decisions about how to spend time (or the lack of freedom to make such decisions) are such familiar pieces of our everyday lives that they can glide by almost without notice. Calhoun’s work equips the reader to contemplate these phenomena as significant consequences and constituents of human nature.
The dominant consequentialist, Kantian, and contractualist theories by virtue ethicists such as G.E.M. Anscombe, Alisdair MacIntyre, Martha Nussbaum, and Michael Stocker have been criticized for their neglect of the emotions. There are three reasons why it might be a mistake for moral philosophy to neglect the emotions. Emotions have an important influence on motivation, and proper cultivation of the emotions is helpful, perhaps essential, to our ability to lead ethical lives. It is a plausible thesis that an ethical life involves (...) feeling certain ways in certain circumstances and acting from certain feelings in certain circumstances. Some emotions are forms of ethical perception, judgment, or even knowledge. This chapter examines the Ancient ethical tradition that inspires the virtue ethicists' critique, revealing versions of each of these three theses in one guise or another. It first considers the medieval transformations of the ancient doctrines, and then focuses on the third, more contentious thesis, distinguishing several versions of it in the moral philosophies of the seventeenth and eighteenth century and indicating some contemporary exemplars as well. (shrink)
The extent of the approval with which Western culture views the attitude of hope can scarcely be exaggerated. Hope is seen as that which sustains us through wartime, death camps, slavery, natural disaster, extreme disease and disability—it is a light, a beacon, the last spark that fuels us when all else has failed. Hope is also seen as a moral and spiritual virtue—hoping for moral progress in this world, and salvation in the next, is at the heart of a meaningful (...) human life. A positive view of hope infuses Western theology since Aquinas; utopian political philosophy, positive psychology, the self-help culture, the clinical research community, a wide range of activist groups, and a great deal of political rhetoric all maintain the affirmation of hope. The only qualm commonly expressed about hope is that it is sometimes “false:” that is, based on lies or misconceptions. False hope is bad because, first, it is bad to be deceived and, second, it may suck up resources better spent elsewhere. False hope, though, is not genuine hope, and genuine hope is an essential human good. My book Wanting to Pull Clouds will argue that the popular view of hope is vastly and dangerously oversimplified. Much more insidious than false hope is hope that is “genuine” and not based on lies or misconceptions, but that nevertheless bears important conceptual and empirical connections to passivity, inattention, excuse-making and wishful thinking. To be clear, this is not an anti-hope project. Rather, it examines the mechanisms that make hope desirable and virtuous, when it is these things; it becomes clear in the course of this examination that these very.. (shrink)
There are instances where religious beliefs can negatively impact a patient's decision-making capability. Any belief system that categorically prohibits psychiatric treatment in all cases is dangerous. The situation is illustrated through a case of a patient with schizophrenia who refuses to acknowledge her disease because of her religion.
Refusing to pursue recent and possible future developments in medical research is itself a morally momentous decision—and that inaction has consequences Cohen and other right-wing thinkers refuse to acknowledge. -/- .
We are interestingly ambivalent about romantic love, in a number of cases. Consider a man who abuses his wife, but is also passionate about her and easily distraught at the thought of losing her. There is some sense in which he loves her, but another in which he absolutely does not. Consider, too, a longtime partner who feels she has rather suddenly “fallen out of love” with the person to whom she was once devoted. She continues to feel there is (...) some sense in which she loves this person, but another in which she does not. And again, many people seem to both believe in love at first sight and think that the only true lovers are those whose feelings have withstood the tests of time and difficulty. In this paper, I propose that Kant’s conception of human feeling, desire, and motivation provides an unusually compelling account—both of ambiguous cases of romantic love and of love more generally. This proposal is not as shocking as it would have been 30 years ago, but I suspect it is still surprising to many, whom have been persuaded at most that there is room in Kant’s moral theory for feeling to play a positive supportive role in moral motivation; my proposal here is that Kant’s broader vision of human motivation—moral and nonmoral—tightly fits the phenomenon of love and, perhaps, emotions in general. (shrink)
Ethical or moral assessments are ubiquitous, from the international political arena, where world leaders debate the morality of the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq, to private family interactions, where children accuse their parents of being unfair. In this class, we engage with this essential component of our lives philosophically. Our activity is philosophical in that we seek to understand moral questions before trying to answer them, and our primary aim is always to hone our critical reasoning skills. These skills will serve (...) you well, long after the details of this class have faded from memory. (shrink)
In their classic, Principles of Biomedical Ethics (now in its fifth edition), Beauchamp and Childress, describe a puzzling case: A man who generally exhibits normal behavior patterns is involuntarily committed to a mental institution as the result of bizarre self-destructive behavior (pulling out an eye and cutting off a hand). This behavior results from his unusual religious beliefs. … [H]is peculiar actions follow “reasonably” from his religious beliefs. …While analysis in terms of limited competence might at first appear plausible, such (...) an analysis entails that persons with unorthodox or bizarre religious beliefs are less than competent, even if they reason clearly in light of their beliefs. (shrink)
The standard foil for recent theories of hope is the belief-desire analysis advocated by Hobbes, Day, Downie, and others. According to this analysis, to hope for S is no more and no less than to desire S while believing S is possible but not certain. Opponents of the belief-desire analysis argue that it fails to capture one or another distinctive feature or function of hope: that hope helps one resist the temptation to despair;2 that hope engages the sophisticated capacities of (...) human agency, such as planning;3 or that hope involves the imagination in ways desire need not.4 Here, I focus on the role of imagination in hope, and discuss its implications for hope’s relation to practical commitment or end-setting. (shrink)
Many people believe hope’s most important function is to bolster us in despairinducing circumstances. A related but less dramatic view is that instilling or reinforcing hope for a state of affairs is a good way to get people to act to promote that state of affairs. I propose that we conceive of hope as, most paradigmatically, the expression of desire in imagination. I then trace through the implications of this conception for, first, how hope influences motivation and, second, what forms (...) of hope are rational. (shrink)
"[R]easons for action must have their source in goals, desires, or intentions....[T]he possession of rationality is not sufficient to provide a source for relevant reasons,...certain desires, goals, or intentions are also necessary." ;So says Gilbert Harman. So say many other philosophers, from Aristotle to Hume to Harman and David Gauthier. To these many philosophers, this is a home truth, as obvious as the nose on your face. And yet as many philosophers---from the Stoics to Kant to Nagel and Korsgaard---reject this (...) view, and could not find it more obviously false. Any disagreement of this nature, which forces the disputants to find arguments for claims that seem to them self-evident and undeniable, is likely to generate a long, complicated and nasty war. Fortunately for the world, already subject to more fundamentalist clashes than one cares to count, this particular war stays mostly on paper and inside the walls of the academy, without any literal casualties. ;In this dissertation, I join the ranks of those who oppose Harman and his compatriots. I bring what I believe is a new strategy to the field of engagement. The strategy involves two stages. First, we are to undertake a thorough examination of what our opponents mean when they say that goals, desires, or intentions are the "source" of reasons; no one has ever satisfactorily cashed in this metaphor, and I propose to do so. The second stage follows naturally from the first, for in seeing what our opponents mean, we see a crucial weakness in their position: their troops are mercenary, and can be recruited to our side. The second stage is this recruitment. (shrink)