Gender differences in aggression are highly variable; there is significant evidence that this variability is as much a function of social and cultural conditions as evolutionary processes. While some of these conditions may reflect resource scarcities as Campbell proposes, others are inconsistent with her perspective or are explained equally well by other perspectives.
Is unethical conduct necessarily irrational? Answering this question requires giving an account of practical reason, of practical good, and of the source or point of wrongdoing. By the time most contemporary philosophers have done the first two, they have lost sight of the third, chalking up bad action to rashness, weakness of will, or ignorance. In this book, Candace Vogler does all three, taking as her guides scholars who contemplated why some people perform evil deeds. In doing so, she (...) sets out to at once engage and redirect contemporary debates about ethics, practical reason, and normativity. -/- Staged as a limited defense of a standard view of practical reason (an ancestor of contemporary instrumentalist views), Vogler's essay develops Aquinas's remark about three ways an action might be desirable into an exhaustive system for categorizing reasons for acting. Drawing on Elizabeth Anscombe's pioneering work on intention, Vogler argues that one sort (means/end or calculative reasons for acting) sets the terms for all sound work on practical rationality. -/- She takes up Aquinas's work on evil throughout, arguing that he provides us with a systematic theory of immorality that takes seriously the goods at issue in wrongdoing and the reasons for unethical conduct. Vogler argues that, shorn of its theological context, this theory leaves us with no systematic, uncontroversial way of arguing that wrongdoing is necessarily contrary to reason. (shrink)
One prevailing objection to consequentialism holds that the consequentialist cannot promote both agent-neutral value and her own personal friendships: the consequentialist cannot be a genuine friend. Several versions of this objection have been advanced, but an even more sophisticated version of the charge is available. However, even this more sophisticated version fails, as it assumes a traditional, context-insensitive, account of character traits. In this article, I develop and defend a novel account of character traits that is context-sensitive and also supports (...) a novel account of what friendship consists in. Application of the more plausible, contextual, account of character traits resolves the debate in favor of the friendly consequentialist. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to advance a new understanding of gender as a routine accomplishment embedded in everyday interaction. To do so entails a critical assessment of existing perspectives on sex and gender and the introduction of important distinctions among sex, sex category, and gender. We argue that recognition of the analytical independence of these concepts is essential for understanding the interactional work involved in being a gendered person in society. The thrust of our remarks is toward theoretical (...) reconceptualization, but we consider fruitful directions for empirical research that are indicated by our formulation. (shrink)
In this essay, we provide an overview of how production systems can be re-engineered to improve the welfare of the animals involved. At least three potential options exist: engineering their environments to better fit the animals, engineering the animals themselves to better fit their environments, and eliminating the animals from the system by growing meat in vitro rather than on farms. The morality of consuming animal products and the conditions under which agricultural animals are maintained remain highly contentious, and when (...) concerns about animal welfare are coupled with concerns about sustainability and global food security, the problem of welfare in animal agriculture constitutes “a wicked problem,” because it is unlikely that any proposed solution will simultaneously address all the issues of concern. In the final section of this essay, we offer some observations on how debate over reforms in animal agriculture could proceed going forward. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend a local account of character traits that posits traits like close-friend-honesty and good-mood-compassion. John Doris also defends local character traits, but his local character traits are indistinguishable from mere behavioral dispositions, they are not necessary for the purpose which allegedly justifies them, and their justification is only contingent, depending upon the prevailing empirical situation. The account of local traits I defend posits local traits that are traits of character rather than behavioral dispositions, local traits that (...) are necessary to satisfy one of their central purposes, and local traits whose justification is dependent upon theoretical rather than empirical considerations. (shrink)
The virtues are under fire. Several decades’ worth of social psychological findings establish a correlation between human behavior and the situation moral agents inhabit, from which a cadre of moral philosophers concludes that most moral agents lack the virtues. Mark Alfano and Christian Miller introduce novel versions of this argument, but they are subject to a fatal dilemma. Alfano and Miller wrongly assume that their requirements for virtue apply universally to moral agents, who vary radically in their psychological, physiological, and (...) personal situations; I call this the ‘content problem.’ More troubling, however, the content problem leads to what I call the ‘structural problem:’ Alfano and Miller each structure their argument against the virtues as a modus tollens argument and, owing to the breadth of the content problem, each must constrain their argument with a ceteris paribus clause. But the ceteris paribus clause precludes each argument’s validity. More important, however, the resulting conception of virtue implicitly endorsed by Alfano and Miller holds that virtues are idealized models; but since idealized models do not even purport accurately to describe the world, neither novel version of EAV gains any empirical traction against the virtues. The upshot is an old story whose moral has yet, within the empirical study of the virtues, adequately to be internalized: it is imperative that the empirical observation of character traits proceed via longitudinal studies. (shrink)
Introduction -- Global traits of character -- Traits as dispositions -- Situational traits of character -- Situational traits and social psychology -- Situational traits and the friendly consequentialist.
In recent decades, social psychology has produced an expansive array of studies wherein introducing a seemingly morally innocuous feature into the situation a subject inhabits often yields morally questionable, dubious, or even appalling behavior. Several fascinating lines of philosophical enquiry issue from this research, but the most pragmatically salient question concerns how we ought most effectively to develop and maintain the virtues so that such putatively morally problematic behavior is less likely to occur. In this paper, I examine four empirically (...) embedded accounts of virtue cultivation: Hagop Sarkissian’s social signaling, Mark Alfano’s virtue labeling, Nancy Snow’s self-punishment, and Peter Railton’s implementation intentions. But none of these accounts of virtue cultivation provides adequate resources for regulating our affective states, whose attention-constricting and behavior-priming functional roles are likely at the root of much of our less than virtuous behavior. Instead, I defend an account of virtue cultivation that proceeds via meditation, which can help us to identify and regulate our emotions and moods. Further, meditation enables us to develop the attentional focus, emotional intelligence, and sense of social connection that ground the virtues and, thus, our virtuous behavior. (shrink)
Character traits have several vital functions. They should enable us to assess others morally, inform us of others’ behavioral tendencies, and accurately explain and predict others’ behavior. But traits of character, as they have traditionally been understood, cannot adequately serve these purposes. For character traits are traditionally thought to be context-insensitive. The Contextual Account of Character Traits, which I here develop and defend, posits traits that are context-sensitive. Context-sensitive character traits are more receptive to the complexity of human psychology and (...) behavior and, hence, they not only adequately, but excellently, satisfy their theoretic and pragmatic functions. (shrink)
There are different ways of understanding the place of virtue in ethics. I will be interested in certain of the most ambitious, those neo-Aristotelian views that take it that right action is action from and for the sake of virtue, that right practical reasoning is virtuous practical reasoning, that the virtues are corrective,[i] and that, as Philippa Foot put it, "not every man who has a virtue has something that is a virtue in him."[ii] Virtues regulate individual action and response (...) (tending to produce right choice, right action, appropriate emotions or passions, and tending to be constituted in part by developed sensitivities to ethical salience).[iii] These excellences benefit their bearers (in some sense) and benefit others (in several senses). And virtue makes the human adult good qua human being. (shrink)
The American Medical Association has provided a list of patient responsibilities, said to be derived from patient autonomy, without providing any justification for this derivation. In this article, the virtue of moral responsibility is proposed as a way to justify these kinds of limits on respect for individual autonomy. The need for such limits is explained by examining the traditional principles of health care ethics. What is missing in health care decision making, and can be provided by the virtue of (...) moral responsibility, is a careful consideration of the impact of individual decisions on particular others and the community, as a whole. The concept of moral responsibility as a virtue is then developed and examples of its application to health care decision making are provided. Finally, the roles of both physicians and health care ethicists in promoting the morally responsible exercise of individual autonomy are explored. (shrink)
In this article, we advance a new understanding of “difference” as an ongoing interactional accomplishment. Calling on the authors' earlier reconceptualization of gender, they develop the further implications of this perspective for the relationships among gender, race, and class. The authors argue that, despite significant differences in their characteristics and outcomes, gender, race, and class are comparable as mechanisms for producing social inequality.
Although most work in contemporary Anglophone philosophical action theory understands Elizabeth Anscombe’s monograph on Intention as the work that inaugurates the field, action theory often operates by setting out to understand intentional action by investigating the psychological antecedents of intention action. Now, Anscombe has no quarrel with moral psychology. Intention is a work of moral psychology, but it is a kind of moral psychology in which we attend to the act of deliberately making something the case in order to understand (...) having a mind to make something the case. The more usual approach takes things the other way around. Anscombe attempted to ward off such approaches in Intention. If the arguments of §19 are any good, for example, they ought to tell against the mind-first approach in contemporary Anglophone ethics and action theory. If the arguments of §20 work, then they ought to dispel any sense that Anscombe is prone to behaviorism. Together, the arguments in §§19 and 20 are meant to clear the ground necessary for work on practical knowledge. In this essay, I give a reading of these difficult, crucial sections of Anscombe’s monograph in order to explore her arguments. (shrink)
Different opinions are expressed in the literature regarding when children and adolescents can start to make decisions to participate in research and give informed consent. Nurses are frequently involved in research, either as investigators or caregivers, and must therefore have a thorough understanding of consent and related issues. In this article the issues are explored from a Canadian perspective. The argument is put forward that adolescents may be capable of a greater involvement in the research consent process than is the (...) norm. Increasing adolescents’ involvement in research has the potential to enhance their growing autonomy and capabilities. Adolescents appreciate being treated with respect and dignity by adults. This can be achieved in an environment in which protection from harm does not also mean prevention from decision making. The use of empowering processes by nurses to enhance adolescent involvement will provide benefit to adolescents in their transition to adult levels of responsibility. (shrink)
The principle of respect for autonomy is increasingly under siege as a valuable component of healthcare ethics. Its critics charge that it has been elevated to a position out of proportion to its contribution, so that the individual's wishes and rights have come to dominate healthcare decisionmaking, while obligations and responsibilities are ignored or devalued. If we are to salvage respect for autonomy we must find a way to reconnect the individual and the community, rights and responsibilities, in the way (...) we think about, discuss, and make healthcare decisions. (shrink)
: The principle of respect for autonomy has come under increasing attack both within health care ethics, specifically, and as part of the more general communitarian challenge to predominantly liberal values. This paper will demonstrate the importance of respect for autonomy for the social practice of assigning moral responsibility and for the development of moral responsibility as a virtue. Guided by this virtue, the responsible exercise of autonomy may provide a much-needed connection between the individual and the community.
This article investigates the contradictions between public health protocols and infection containment efforts concerning Zika virus and reproductive rights. In El Salvador, for example, women are being advised to avoid pregnancy until 2018, at which time local authorities hope that the virus will be under control. This is not so easy, however, as there is limited access to contraception, abortion is illegal in all instances, and women tend to have little household authority. In this article, I examine the policy, legal, (...) and political contradictions related to the global proliferation of Zika virus in the context of ongoing debates about stratified reproduction. This term conceptualizes the phenomenon that accords different values to reproductive tasks undertaken by women in different socioeconomic, cultural, and national contexts. Whereas reproduction and reproductive autonomy tend to be highly respected and protected for relatively privileged women in the Global North, they tend to be much less so for women of the Global South. Furthermore, the adherence to public and private divisions in both national and transnational contexts segregates reproductive rights from the mainstream of political negotiation and public health intervention, and in doing so frustrates progress toward the realization of global reproductive rights. (shrink)
In this article I provide an overview of philosophical conceptions of privacy and suggest 3 models to assist with the ethical analysis of privacy invasion by the news media. The models are framed by respect for persons, the comparison of harms and benefits, and the transfer of power. After describing the models, I demonstrate how they can be applied to news reporting that invades the privacy of public figures.
The current interest in and discussion of virtue ethics suggests that this approach to moral decisionmaking has several distinct advantages as applied to ethical issues in healthcare delivery. For the most part, calls to incorporate the virtues of the healthcare provider in discussions of these issues have sought to supplement rather than totally replace traditional ethical theories, such as the utilitarian focus on maximizing the best overall consequences and the Kantian concern to act on the duty of respect for persons. (...) Including virtue-based ethics in such discussions allows for a more eclectic view of what should be considered in resolving difficult moral problems. As many critics of the purely principle-based approach have noted, real moral dilemmas are usually quite messy and are not easily susceptible to satisfactory resolution solely on the basis of abstract moral theories or principles. (shrink)
First published in 2001, this book sets out to shed light on traditional controversies in Mill scholarship, underscore the significance of the contribution Mill made to associationist psychology, argue he is not entirely successful in explaining why art matters, and that this failure is linked to a deep tension in his mature work — rooted in his unwillingness to shake off the moral psychology he was raised on. The book examines various episodes and tensions in Mill’s life and work and (...) how they relate to and informed his philosophy — while also giving a critical account of it. This book will be of interest to students of philosophy. (shrink)
We argue that ritual is not a by-product as Boyer & Lienard (B&L) claim, but rather an evolved adaptation for social communication that facilitates non-agonistic social interactions among non-kin. We review the neurophysiological effects of ritual and propose neural structures and networks beyond the cortical-striato-pallidal-thalamic circuit (CSPT) likely to be implicated in ritual. The adaptationist approach to ritual offers a more parsimonious model for understanding these effects as well as the findings B&L present. (Published Online February 8 2007).
This paper examines the ethical implications of the Clean Development Mechanism, the United Nation’s climate change initiative that provides incentives to countries and firms in developed countries to motivate investments in greenhouse gas reduction projects in developing countries. Using the tenets of agency theory, we present a solid waste management project in El Salvador as an illustrative example of how the CDM can produce a disproportionately high social cost for the most marginalized populations in the developing world. We suggest that (...) the UN needs to reformulate the CDM so that it more effectively aligns the divergent goals of multiple actors and upholds the UN’s principles for sustainable development, including ethical firm-level behavior. By providing incentives for environmental, economic, and social value creation, the CDM would not only promote ethical norms for profit-seeking firms that participate in the program but also reinforce the UN’s twin pro-poor and environmental objectives. (shrink)
This article contributes to the development of a professional responsibility theory of public relations ethics. Toward that end, we examine the roles of a public relations practitioner as a professional, an institutional advocate, and the public conscience of institutions served. In the article, we review previously suggested theories of public relations ethics and propose a new theory based on the public relations professional's dual obligations to serve client organizations and the public interest.
Juslin & Vll (J&V) advance our understanding of the proximate mechanisms underlying emotional responses to music, but fail to integrate their findings into a comprehensive evolutionary model that addresses the adaptive functions of these responses. Here we offer such a model by examining the ontogenetic relationship between music, ritual, and symbolic abstraction and their role in facilitating social coordination and cooperation.
Classically-conceived accounts of character posit traits that are both dynamic and global. Dynamic traits produce behavior, and global traits produce behavior across the full range of situation kinds relevant to a particular trait. If you are classically just, for example, you would behave justly across the full range of situation kinds relevant to justice. But classical traits are too crude to fulfill trait attributions' intrinsically normative purpose, which is to reflect the moral merit agents deserve. I defend an extra-classical account (...) of character traits that endorses flexible traits that might issue in behavior across any narrow or broad range of situation kinds, and static traits that might issue in no behavior at all. Extra-classical traits are more subtle and sensitive, and so are normatively receptive to the credit that psychologically-complicated agents merit. Further, extra-classical traits can fulfill all the unproblematic roles of classical traits. Extra-classicism is, hence, a significant and substantial improvement upon classically conceived character traits and traditional virtue ethics. (shrink)
Our study highlights specific ways in which race and gender create inequality in the workplace. Using in-depth interviews with 67 biology PhD students, we show how engagement with research and service varies by both gender and race. By considering the intersection between gender and race, we find not only that women biology graduate students do more service than men, but also that racial and ethnic minority men do more service than white men. White men benefit from a combination of racial (...) and gender privilege, which places them in the most advantaged position with respect to protected research time and opportunities to build collaborations and networks beyond their labs. Racial/ethnic minority women emerge as uniquely disadvantaged in terms of their experiences relative to other groups. These findings illuminate how gendered organizations are also racialized, producing distinct experiences for women and men from different racial groups, and thus contribute to theorizing the intersectional nature of inequality in the workplace. (shrink)
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