ABSTRACTWhat follows is an interview with William Damon and Anne Colby, pioneers in the fields of moral psychology and education. Throughout their careers, they have studied, moral identity, moral ideals, positive youth development, purpose, good work, vocation, character development in higher education, and professional responsibility. In their words, they are interested in the ‘best of humankind’—not only the competencies, but also the character necessary for living a good life—not only for the sake of the individual, but also for society. (...) They have received numerous academic and civic awards and honors. Their publications include Some Do Care, Greater Expectations, Educating Citizens, The Path to Purpose, and most recently, The Power of Ideals—in addition to editing, for example, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development and The Handbook of Child Psychology. As a married couple, their vocational journeys have mostly been separate, but have always complemented each other and sometimes converged. This interview asks about reflections on their careers, their own sense of purpose, their greatest contributions, current needs in our field, and advice to emerging scholars. (shrink)
Originally published in 1985, this distinguished and constructive critique of modern culture introduced into our language a brand-new term, ‘PN’, standing for ‘psychic nutrition’, which at the time promised to become a household expression. Drawing on his first-hand knowledge of oriental civilizations; on discoveries of Jung, especially his concept of psychic energy; on the ideas of the cultural anthropologists; and not least on the New Science implicit in microphysics and microbiology, E.W.F. Tomlin, whose philosophical books have been translated into (...) several languages, shows how the human psyche requires its own kind of nourishment just as urgently as the body needs food. In the industrial societies of the West, this need has often been ignored. Reformers, in their earnest though sometimes inept endeavours to create a better world, have too often exposed us to the dangers of psychic starvation and the noxious effects of what may be called ‘neg-PN’. Here lie the roots of violence and the lack of direction so conspicuously afflicting modern man and woman. Examples of PN, positive and negative, are given, lending the book an immediacy and practical character often lacking in studies of this kind. In the new scientific approach here adopted, the divisions between matter and life, and life and mind, are discarded, and the old conflict between science and religion shown to belong to an out-of-date world view. The result is a radical reappraisal of the nature and function of religion and art, the two great psychic forces in history. Indeed, the present crisis is shown to originate in the psychic sphere rather than in the political and economic order. Deeply felt and elegantly written, yet not lacking in wit and humour, the book ends with some concrete ideas on how a more balanced culture may be achieved. (shrink)
In this essay, we explore an issue of moral uncertainty: what we are permitted to do when we are unsure about which moral principles are correct. We develop a novel approach to this issue that incorporates important insights from previous work on moral uncertainty, while avoiding some of the difficulties that beset existing alternative approaches. Our approach is based on evaluating and choosing between option sets rather than particular conduct options. We show how our approach is particularly well-suited to address (...) this issue of moral uncertainty with respect to agents that have credence in moral theories that are not fully consequentialist. (shrink)
In this paper we introduce the nascent literature on Moral Uncertainty Theory and explore its application to the criminal law. Moral Uncertainty Theory seeks to address the question of what we ought to do when we are uncertain about what to do because we are torn between rival moral theories. For instance, we may have some credence in one theory that tells us to do A but also in another that tells us to do B. We examine how we might (...) decide whether or not to criminalize some conduct when we are unsure as to whether or not the conduct is morally permitted, and whether or not it is permissible to criminalize the conduct. We also look at how we might make sentencing decisions under moral uncertainty. We argue that Moral Uncertainty Theory can be an illuminating way to address these questions, but find that doing so is a lot more complicated than applying Moral Uncertainty Theory to individual conduct. (shrink)
The Power of Ideals examines the lives and work of six 20th century moral leaders who pursued moral causes ranging from world peace to social justice and human rights, and uses these six cases to show how people can make choices guided by their moral ideals rather than by base emotion or social pressures.
Is childhood valuable? And is childhood as, less, or more, valuable than adulthood? In this article I first delineate several different questions that we might be asking when we think about the ‘value of childhood’, and I explore some difficulties of doing so. I then focus on the question of whether childhood is good for the person who experiences it. I argue for two key claims. First, if childhood wellbeing is measured by the same standards as adulthood, then children are (...) worse off than adults. Second, if childhood and adulthood wellbeing are measured by different standards, then we cannot compare them, and children are neither better off nor worse off than adults. This has some counter-intuitive implications, such as that we do not harm persons by depriving them of a childhood, nor by keeping them as children for elongated periods. (shrink)
The family of theories dubbed ‘luck egalitarianism’ represent an attempt to infuse egalitarian thinking with a concern for personal responsibility, arguing that inequalities are just when they result from, or the extent to which they result from, choice, but are unjust when they result from, or the extent to which they result from, luck. In this essay I argue that luck egalitarians should sometimes seek to limit inequalities, even when they have a fully choice-based pedigree (i.e., result only from the (...) choices of agents). I grant that the broad approach is correct but argue that the temporal standpoint from which we judge whether the person can be held responsible, or the extent to which they can be held responsible, should be radically altered. Instead of asking, as Standard (or Static) Luck Egalitarianism seems to, whether or not, or to what extent, a person was responsible for the choice at the time of choosing, and asking the question of responsibility only once, we should ask whether, or to what extent, they are responsible for the choice at the point at which we are seeking to discover whether, or to what extent, the inequality is just, and so the question of responsibility is not settled but constantly under review. Such an approach will differ from Standard Luck Egalitarianism only if responsibility for a choice is not set in stone—if responsibility can weaken then we should not see the boundary between luck and responsibility within a particular action as static. Drawing on Derek Parfit’s illuminating discussions of personal identity, and contemporary literature on moral responsibility, I suggest there are good reasons to think that responsibility can weaken—that we are not necessarily fully responsible for a choice for ever, even if we were fully responsible at the time of choosing. I call the variant of luck egalitarianism that recognises this shift in temporal standpoint and that responsibility can weaken Dynamic Luck Egalitarianism (DLE). In conclusion I offer a preliminary discussion of what kind of policies DLE would support. (shrink)
Perhaps the best-known theory of fairness is John Broome’s: that fairness is the proportional satisfaction of claims. In this article, I question whether claims are the appropriate focus for a theory of fairness, at least as Broome understands them in his current theory. If fairness is the proportionate satisfaction of claims, I argue, then the following would be true: fairness could not help determine the correct distribution of claims; fairness could not be used to evaluate the distribution of claims; fairness (...) could not guide us in distributing claims (or unowed goods); we could not have a claim to be treated fairly; and we would not be wronged when treated unfairly. These entailments mean that it is questionable that fairness is concerned with claims in the way Broome suggests. At the very least, the relationship between fairness and claims appears to be more complex than the picture painted by Broome. (shrink)
Retributivism is often explicitly or implicitly assumed to be compatible with the harm principle, since the harm principle (in some guises) concerns the content of the criminal law, while retributivism concerns the punishment of those that break the law. In this essay I show that retributivism should not be endorsed alongside any version of the harm principle. In fact, retributivists should reject all attempts to see the criminal law only through (other) person-affecting concepts or “grievance” morality, since they should endorse (...) the criminalization of conduct that is either purely self-harming or good for somebody and bad for nobody (i.e., Pareto improvements). (shrink)
Rawls’s difference principle and the position dubbed ‘luck egalitarianism’ are often viewed as competing theories of distributive justice. However, recent work has emphasised that Rawlsians and luck egalitarians are working with different understandings of the concept of justice, and thus not only propose different theories, but different theories of different things. Once they are no longer seen in direct competition, there are some questions to be asked about whether these two theories can be consistently endorsed alongside one another. In this (...) essay, I (begin to) investigate whether Rawls’s theory (or elements of it) and (some form of) luck egalitarianism can be consistently endorsed. -/- I begin by outlining the main aspects of Rawls’s theory and luck egalitarianism, showing them to be different kinds of theory and therefore not in direct competition. I then propose an understanding of how these ideas came to be seen to be in direct competition. Finally, I outline five different ways in which one might consistently be (some kind of) a luck egalitarian and (some kind of) a Rawlsian, and try to say something about what is to be said for and against each of these ways of combining the theories. (shrink)
The individualist nature of much contemporary just war theory means that we often discuss cases with single attackers. But even if war is best understood in this individualist way, in war combatants often have to make decisions about how to distribute harms among a plurality of aggressors: they must decide whom and how many to harm, and how much to harm them. In this paper, I look at simultaneous multiple aggressor cases in which more than one distribution of harm among (...) aggressors is available. I show how such cases pose deep questions concerning the nature, role, and scope of the necessity principle, and its relationship to both liability and narrow proportionality. I argue that a hitherto unrecognised measure – ‘narrow proportionality shortfall’ – and its distribution is relevant in choosing how to distribute harms across aggressors. I then extend this analysis to show how this may help us with a puzzle concerning sequential attacks. (shrink)
Children are expensive to raise. Ensuring that they are raised in such a way that they are able to lead a minimally decent life costs time and money, and lots of both. Who is responsible for bearing the costs of the things that children are undoubtedly owed? This is a question that has received comparatively little scrutiny from political philosophers,despite children being such a drain on public and private finances alike. To the extent that there is a debate, two main (...) views can be identified. The Parents Pay view says that parents, responsible for the existence of the costs, must foot the bill. The Society Pays view says that a next generation is a benefit to all, and so to allow parents to foot the bill alone is the worst kind of free-riding. In this article, I introduce a third potentially liable party currently missing from the debate: children themselves. On my backward-looking view, we are entitled to ask people to contribute to the raising of children on the basis that they have benefited from being raised themselves. (shrink)
In his book Democratic Authority, David Estlund puts forward a case for democracy, which he labels epistemic proceduralism, that relies on democracy's ability to produce good – that is, substantively just – results. Alongside this case for democracy Estlund attacks what he labels ‘utopophobia’, an aversion to idealistic political theory. In this article I make two points. The first is a general point about what the correct level of ‘idealisation’ is in political theory. Various debates are emerging on this question (...) and, to the extent that they are focused on ‘political theory’ as a whole, I argue, they are flawed. This is because there are different kinds of political concept, and they require different kinds of ideal. My second point is about democracy in particular. If we understand democracy as Estlund does, then we should see it as a problem-solving concept – the problem being that we need coercive institutions and rules, but we do not know what justice requires. As democracy is a response to a problem, we should not allow our theories of it, even at the ideal level, to be too idealised – they must be embedded in the nature of the problem they are to solve, and the beings that have it. (shrink)
Philosophers writing about proportionality in self-defense and war will often assume that defensive agents have full knowledge about the threat that they face and the defensive options available to them. But no actual defensive agents possess this kind of knowledge. How, then, should we make proportionality decisions under uncertainty? The natural answer is that we should move from comparing the harm we will do with the good we will achieve to comparing expected harm with expected good. I argue that this (...) simple calculation is flawed, and I begin to develop a more sophisticated account of “subjective proportionality.”. (shrink)
A common anti-egalitarian argument is that equality is motivated by envy, or the desire to placate envy. In order to avoid this charge, John Rawls explicitly banishes envy from his original position. This article argues that this is an inconsistent and untenable position for Rawls, as he treats envy as if it were a fact of human psychology and believes that principles of justice should be based on such facts. Therefore envy should be known about in the original position. The (...) consequences for Rawlsian theory—both substantive and methodological—are discussed. (shrink)
The subject matter of this essay is a certain understanding of the value of equality which I will call ‘relational egalitarianism’ – a view which locates the value of equality not in distributions but in social and political relationships. This is a suitable topic for a contribution to a volume based on themes from the work of G.A. Cohen for two, somewhat contradictory, reasons.
Abstract Studies of adolescent conduct have found that both exemplary and antisocial behaviour can be predicted by the manner in which adolescents integrate moral concerns into their theories and descriptions of self. These findings have led many developmentalists to conclude that moral identity??in contrast to moral judgement or reflection alone??plays a powerful role in mediating social conduct. Moreover, developmental theory and research have shown that identity formation during adolescence is a process of forging a coherent and systematic sense of self. (...) Despite these well?founded conclusions, many moral education programmes fail to engage a young person's sense of self, focus exclusively on judgement and reflection and make little or no attempt to establish coherence with other formative influences in a young person's life. The authors propose a new method, called ?the youth charter?, for promoting adolescent self?identification with a coherent set of moral standards. (shrink)
Abstract This paper argues that most school?based moral education programmes are limited by their exclusive focus on moral reflection and their neglect of moral habit, effect and commitment. In order to have a far?reaching impact on young people's moral conduct, schools must join with other institutions, including families, churches, youth programmes and other community organisations to provide a clear and coherent set of expectations for young people. The goals of this co?operation across institutions should be to promote the development of (...) responsible moral habits, mature moral reflection, a sense of self with moral concerns at the core and an integration of habit and reflection, morality and the self. (shrink)
Perhaps most important, they clarify the necessity of authority in any moral education endeavor - and show how it is actually a powerful force for both personal freedom and character building."--BOOK JACKET.
Are preventive justice measures justified? Do they needlessly blur the boundaries between criminal and civil law, signalling a change in the architecture of security? The contributors in this volume re-assess the foundations for the range of coercive measures that states now take in the name of prevention and public protection.
R.A. Duff’s The Realm of the Criminal Law advances the literature on criminalization by providing the most thorough exploration and defence yet provided of the intuitively attractive idea that criminalization is properly limited to public wrongs only. I outline here six concerns I have with the view, as presented in this book, and suggest where the account needs further elaboration, defence, or rethinking.
In this volume, a team of internationally respected contributors theorize the concept of aesthetic experience and its value. Exposing and expanding our restricted cultural and intellectual presuppositions of what constitutes aesthetic experience, the book aims to re-explore and affirm the place of aesthetic experience--in its evaluative, phenomenological and transformational sense--not only in relation to art and artists but to our inner and spiritual lives.
Business ethics educators strive to produce graduates who not only grasp the principles of ethical decision-making, but who can apply that business ethics education when faced with real-world challenges. However, this has proven especially difficult, as good intentions do not always translate into ethical awareness and action. Complementing a behavioral ethics approach with insights from social psychology, we developed an interventional class module with both online and in-class elements aimed at increasing students’ awareness of their own susceptibility to unconscious biases (...) and, consequently, unethical behaviors. We deployed this intervention within a problem-based learning course, in which students completed real-world projects for actual business clients. Our results suggest that although students appeared universally aware of the importance of ethical issues in business and generally espoused intentions to act ethically, those who received the intervention were significantly more likely to recognize their own susceptibility to perpetuating unethical business behavior and to identify ethical issues specific to their real-world projects. These results have important implications for behavioral ethics pedagogy and provide a de-biasing interventional approach for bridging classroom knowledge with real-world skills. (shrink)
At criminal trial, we demand that those accused of criminal wrongdoing be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. What are the moral and/or political grounds of this demand? One popular and natural answer to this question focuses on the moral badness or wrongness of convicting and punishing innocent persons, which I call the direct moral grounding. In this essay, I suggest that this direct moral grounding, if accepted, may well have important ramifications for other areas of the (...) criminal justice process, and in particular those parts in which we (through our legislatures and judges) decide how much punishment to distribute to guilty persons. If, as the direct moral grounding suggests, we should prefer under-punishment to over-punishment under conditions of uncertainty, due to the moral seriousness of errors which inappropriately punish persons, then we should also prefer erring on the side of under-punishment when considering how much to punish those who may justly be punished. Some objections to this line of thinking are considered. (shrink)
Retributivists believe that punishment can be deserved, and that deserved punishment is intrinsically good or important. They also believe that certain crimes deserve certain quantities of punishment. On the plausible assumption that the overall amount of any given punishment is a function of its severity and duration, we might think that retributivists would be indifferent as to whether a punishment were long and light or short and sharp, provided the offender gets the overall amount of punishment he deserves. In this (...) paper I argue against this, showing that retributivists should actually prefer shorter and more severe punishments to longer, gentler options. I show this by focusing on, and developing a series of interpretations of, the retributivist claim that not punishing the guilty is bad, focusing on the relationship between that badness and time. I then show that each interpretation leads to a preference for shorter over longer punishment. (shrink)
Constrained instrumentalist theories of punishment – those that seek to justify punishment by its good effects, but limit its scope – are an attractive alternative to pure retributivism or utilitarianism. One way in which we may be able to limit the scope of instrumental punishment is by justifying punishment through the concept of duty. This strategy is most clearly pursued in Victor Tadros’ influential ‘Duty View’ of punishment. In this paper, I show that the Duty View as it stands cannot (...) find any moral distinction between the permissible punishment of the guilty and the permissible punishment of the innocent in extreme circumstances, therefore undermining one the key pillars of its intuitive appeal. I canvass several ways to respond to this problem, arguing that a rights forfeiture theory which employs the distinction between rights forfeiture and rights infringement is the best solution. (shrink)