Due to the significant and often careless human impact on the natural environment, there are serious problems facing the people of today and of future generations. To date, ethical, aesthetic, religious, and economic arguments for the conservation and protection of the natural environment have made relatively little headway. Another approach, one capable of garnering attention and motivating action, would be welcome. There is another approach, one that I will call a rights approach. Speaking generally, this approach is an attempt to (...) address environmental issues via the language and theory of legal and moral rights. Ultimately, it is our duties to our fellow humans that explain why we have duties regarding the natural environment. There are three main contenders among theories that can be called rights approaches to environmental issues. The first identifies the (alleged) human right to a healthful environment as the source of our obligations to conserve and protect nature. The second approach has it that our duties to nature arise from the rights of the constituents of nature themselves, its flora and fauna. The third approach to addressing environmental problems via rights is, I argue, the best path to environmental conservation and protection. This approach—which grounds duties toward nature on the human right to health—has the benefits of being a straightforward, uncontroversial, and simple approach to issues and problems that desperately need to be resolved. (shrink)
Unfortunately, we are heirs to a history which has conditioned us to a remarkable extent. In every time and place, this conditioning has been an obstacle to the progress of women. Women’s dignity has often been unacknowledged and their prerogatives misrepresented; they have often been relegated to the margins of society and even reduced to servitude. This has prevented women from truly being themselves and it has resulted in a spiritual impoverishment of humanity.
_Utilitarianism_ is a classic work of ethical theory, arguably the most persuasive and comprehensible presentation of this widely influential position. While he didn’t invent utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill offered its clearest expression and strongest defense, and he expanded the theory to account for the variety in quality that we find among pleasures and pains. The complete text of the 1871 edition is included, along with selections from Jeremy Bentham’s An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation. Andrew Bailey’s (...) detailed introduction examines the context of Mill’s writing and offers guidelines on how to read the text accurately and critically. The complete text of the 1871 edition of _Utilitarianism_ is presented here, with footnote annotations added to clarify unfamiliar references and terminology for the student reader. A detailed introduction by the editor is divided into brief digestible parts discussing the context of the text and offering guidelines on how to read it accurately and critically. This edition has its origin in the acclaimed _Broadview Anthology of Social and Political Thought_ and adheres to the anthology’s format and high standard of accuracy and accessibility. (shrink)
Recent critics (Andrew Light, Bryan Norton, Anthony Weston, and Bruce Morito, among others) have argued that we should give up talk of intrinsic value in general and that of nature in particular. While earlier theorists might have overestimated the importance of intrinsic value, these recent critics underestimate its importance. Claims about a thing’s intrinsic value are claims about the distinctive way in which we have reason to care about that thing. If we understand intrinsic value in this manner, we (...) can capture the core claims that environmentalists want to make about nature while avoiding the worries raised by contemporary critics. Since the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic value plays a critical role in our understanding of the different ways that we do and should care about things, moral psychology, ethical theory in general, and environmental ethics in particular shouldn’t give up on the concept of intrinsic value. (shrink)
Here's an interesting question: what are we? David Barnett has claimed that reflection on consciousness suggests an answer: we are simple. Barnett argues that the mereological simplicity of conscious beings best explains the Datum: that no pair of persons can itself be conscious. In this paper, I offer two alternative explanations of the Datum. If either is correct, Barnett's argument fails. First, there aren't any such things as pairs of persons. Second, consciousness is maximal; no conscious thing is a proper (...) part of another conscious thing. I conclude by showing how both moves comport with materialist theories of what we are and then apply them to another anti-materialist argument. (shrink)
Define teleology as the view that requirements hold in virtue of facts about value or goodness. Teleological views are quite popular, and in fact some philosophers (e.g. Dreier, Smith) argue that all (plausible) moral theories can be understood teleologically. I argue, however, that certain well-known cases show that the teleologist must at minimum assume that there are certain facts that an agent ought to know, and that this means that requirements can't, in general, hold in virtue of facts about value (...) or goodness. I then show that even if we grant those 'ought's teleology still runs into problems. A positive justification of teleology looks like it will require an argument of this form: O(X); if X, then O(Y); therefore O(Y). But this form of argument isn't in general valid. I conclude by offering two positive suggestions for those attracted to a teleological outlook. (shrink)
For cases in which to remember that p is to have (strict) nonbasic, unmixed memory knowledge that p; in which there is at most one prior time, t, from which one remembers; in which one knew at t that p; and in which there can arise a sensible question whether one remembers that p from t — a person, B, remembers that p from t if and only if: (1) There is a set of grounds a subset of which consists (...) of (i) only those grounds B has at both t and the present for B to be sure that p, and (ii) enough such grounds to make it reasonable at both t and the present for B to be sure that p (I call any such subset a set of “adequate original grounds dating from t”), and (2) there is no time prior to t such that B has a set of adequate original grounds dating from that time. The way in which the crucial terms in this explication are being used is explained. And the explication is defended by showing how it can deal with cases that are counterexamples to explications recently offered by Malcolm and by Munsat. (shrink)
The paper considers T.S. Eliot's 'dissociation of sensibility' thesis, considering its philosophical value and attempting to defend it against published objections. While accepting some of the criticisms, it is argued that Eliot's argument is sound to a significant extent. Eliot's account retains explanatory power with regard to an enduring arts-science divide in schooling and, more broadly, in environmental ethics. In both these areas, educators can, and should, find greater synergies between arts and science, and theoria and praxis, despite continuing pressures (...) on the school curriculum to move in the opposite direction. It is suggested that an acknowledgement of living as semiosis can be helpful in this respect. (shrink)
In his essay On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, of 1834, Heinrich Heine suggested to his French audience that the German propensity for ‘metaphysical abstractions’ had led many people to condemn philosophy for its failure to have a practical effect, Germany having only had its revolution in thought, while France had its in reality. Heine, albeit somewhat ironically, refuses to join those who condemn philosophy: ‘German philosophy is an important matter, which concerns the whole of humanity, and (...) only the last grandchildren will be able to judge whether we should be blamed or praised for working out our philosophy before our revolution.’ He then makes the following prognosis: the German revolution will not be more mild and more gentle because it was preceded by Kantian critique, Fichtean transcendental idealism and even philosophy of nature. Revolutionary forces have developed via these doctrines which are just waiting for the day when they can break out and fill the world with horror and admiration. … Don't smile at my advice, the advice of a dreamer who warns you about Kantians, Fichteans and philosophers of nature. Don't smile at the fantast who expects the same revolution in the realm of appearance as took place in the realm of spirit. … A play will be performed in Germany in comparison with which the French Revolution could appear just as a harmless idyll. (shrink)
Harry Frankfurt has argued that Descartes’s madness doubt in the First Meditation is importantly different from his dreaming doubt. The madness doubt does not provide a reason for doubting the senses since were the meditator to suppose he was mad his ability to successfully complete the philosophical investigation he sets for himself in the first few pages of the Meditations would be undermined. I argue that Frankfurt’s interpretation of Descartes’s madness doubt is mistaken and that it should be understood as (...) playing the same role as his more famous dreaming doubt. I focus my discussion around four questions: (Q1) What does the meditator have in mind when speaking of madness?, (Q2) Why does the meditator so quickly dismiss the madness doubt but take seriously the dreaming doubt?, (Q3) Does the madness doubt have the same scope as the dreaming doubt?, and (Q4) Why does the meditator bring up the madness doubt at all? (shrink)
This article explores how neutralisation can explain people's lack of commitment to buying Fair Trade (FT) products, even when they identify FT as an ethical concern. It examines the theoretical tenets of neutralisation theory and critically assesses its applicability to the purchase of FT products. Exploratory research provides illustrative examples of neutralisation techniques being used in the FT consumer context. A conceptual framework and research propositions delineate the role of neutralisation in explaining the attitude-behaviour discrepancies evident in relation to consumers' (...) FT purchase behaviour, providing direction for further research that will generate new knowledge of consumers' FT purchase behaviour and other aspects of ethical consumer behaviour. (shrink)
Kevin McCain’s Evidentialism and Epistemic Justification is the most thorough defense of evidentialism to date. In this work, McCain proposes insightful new theses to fill in underdeveloped parts of evidentialism. One of these new theses is an explanationist account of evidential fit that appeals to dispositional properties. We argue that this explanationist account faces counterexamples, and that, more generally, explanationists should not understand evidential fit in terms of dispositional properties.
The text on this website is copyright in the same way as any other publication. It is of course legitimate to make small quotations from it. A link to this site should then be put in to acknowledge the origin of quoted text. For any more substantial use of the material on this site you should ask permission from me. You should also ask my permission to use any of the graphic icons or the images which are marked as being (...) my photographs. (shrink)
The environmentalist’s condition can be one of loss, the perception of a depleted and polluted environment as a product of modern consumption. Compounding this grief, some environmental losses loom as unrecognizable or beyond our immediate perception. Capitalism responds to this obscure loss by offering consumption and development, perhaps of a green variety, as a panacea for pain. This paper concerns the capacities of making music, as an activity and process, to help recognize and respond to present environmentally destructive patterns of (...) grief and resource-product consumption. I see this paper as an opportunity to begin a conversation about how ecomusicology might approach discussions of environmental... (shrink)
A quid pro quo is an exchange of value between a citizen or group—often a businessperson or organization—and an official; whatthe citizen or group offers can take either monetary or nonmonetary form and what the official supplies, in return, is some kind of public act. Despite the fact that instances of quid pro quo seem continually to compel public attention, very few rise to the level of bribery; i.e., the level in which they are resolved judicially. In part, quid pro (...) quo eludes judicial forums for factual reasons: It is difficult to prove. And in part, the reasons are normative: The distinction between objectionable quid pro quo and acceptable democratic norms—on which citizens and groups ought to be able to support officials who are in turn responsive to them—is difficult to draw. Hence, a great gray area of quid pro quo finds itself resolved in political forums. In what follows I examine central strands of American public discourse over the factual and normative issues of quid pro quo. My purpose is to articulate those principles which most parsimoniously account for its structure, and to explore what presuppositions various discourse-participants either explicitly or implicitly bring to bear in determining whether a situation constitutes a troubling quid pro quo. (shrink)
A quid pro quo is an exchange of value between a citizen or group—often a businessperson or organization—and an official; whatthe citizen or group offers can take either monetary or nonmonetary form and what the official supplies, in return, is some kind of public act. Despite the fact that instances of quid pro quo seem continually to compel public attention, very few rise to the level of bribery; i.e., the level in which they are resolved judicially. In part, quid pro (...) quo eludes judicial forums for factual reasons: It is difficult to prove. And in part, the reasons are normative: The distinction between objectionable quid pro quo and acceptable democratic norms—on which citizens and groups ought to be able to support officials who are in turn responsive to them—is difficult to draw. Hence, a great gray area of quid pro quo finds itself resolved (or at least debated) in political forums. In what follows I examine central strands of American public discourse over the factual and normative issues of quid pro quo. My purpose is to articulate those principles which most parsimoniously account for its structure, and to explore what presuppositions various discourse-participants either explicitly or implicitly bring to bear in determining whether a situation constitutes a troubling quid pro quo. (shrink)