College cheating represents a major ethical problem facing students and educators, especially in colleges of business. The current study surveys 666 business students in three universities to examine potential determinants of cheating perceptions. Anti-intellectualism refers to a student's negative view of the value and importance of intellectual pursuits and critical thinking. Academic selfefficacy refers to a student's belief in one's ability to accomplish an academic task. As hypothesized, students high in anti-intellectualism attitudes and those with low academic self-efficacy were least (...) likely to perceive college cheating as unethical. Considering that college cheating has been found as a predictor of workplace cheating, the results urge business instructors to reduce anti-intellectualism among students and to encourage them to put forth their best efforts. The results also serve employers by focusing attention on these two psychological variables during the hiring and promotion processes. (shrink)
College cheating represents a major ethical problem facing students and educators, especially in colleges of business. The current study surveys 666 business students in three universities to examine potential determinants of cheating perceptions. Anti-intellectualism refers to a student’s negative view of the value and importance of intellectual pursuits and critical thinking. Academic self-efficacy refers to a student’s belief in one’s ability to accomplish an academic task. As hypothesized, students high in anti-intellectualism attitudes and those with low academic self-efficacy were least (...) likely to perceive college cheating as unethical. Considering that college cheating has been found as a predictor of workplace cheating, the results urge business instructors to reduce anti-intellectualism among students and to encourage them to put forth their best efforts. The results also serve employers by focusing attention on these two psychological variables during the hiring and promotion processes. (shrink)
Teachers can expect that autonomy support positively influences students’ affective-emotional perception in physical education, when considering assumptions of the Self-Determination theory. Highly autonomy-supportive PE teaching comprises students’ free choices regarding organizational, procedural, and cognitive aspects of a PE lesson, whereas low autonomy support addresses these aspects only partly and controlling teaching refers to students as recipients of the teacher’s decisions. This quasi-experiment investigates effects to determine the effects of high autonomy-supportive, low autonomy-supportive and controlling PE class teaching styles on affective (...) valence and enjoyment. As such, we compare the effects of these teaching styles on beneficial psychological outcomes in students. In a sample of German students perceived autonomy support, affective valence, and enjoyment were assessed via self-report questionnaires before and after a 20-min PE class intervention focusing on high or low autonomy-supportive, or controlling teaching. Students who participated in PEhigh perceived significantly more positive valence and enjoyment over time compared to students in the PElow and PEcontrol groups. Differences between groups show significant results for valence between PEhigh and PEcontrol, and between PElow and PEcontrol. Thus, PEhigh should be preferred over PElow to intensify these effects. Based on these results, PE teachers can employ a high autonomy-supportive teaching style to improve students’ positive affective-emotional perception and to foster an increase in students’ time engaged in physical activity. (shrink)
We explored the home learning environments of 173 Mexican preschool children in relation to their numeracy performance. Parents indicated the frequency of their formal home numeracy and literacy activities, and their academic expectations for children’s numeracy and literacy performance. Children completed measures of early numeracy skills. Mexican parent–child dyads from families with either high- or low-socioeconomic status participated. Low-SES parents reported higher numeracy expectations than high-SES parents, but similar frequency of home numeracy activities. In contrast, high-SES parents reported higher frequency (...) of literacy activities. Path analyses showed that operational numeracy activities were positively related to children’s numeracy skills in the high- but not in the low-SES group. These findings improve the understanding of the role of the home environment in different contexts and provide some insights into the sources of the variable patterns of relations between home learning activities and children’s numeracy outcomes. They also suggest that SES is a critical factor to consider in research on children’s home numeracy experiences. (shrink)
The Purpose in Life Test is a measure of purpose in life widely used in many cultures and countries; however, cross-cultural assessments are scarce. The present study aimed to evaluate the cross-cultural measurement invariance of the PIL in the general population of seven Latin American countries. A total of 4306 people participated, selected by non-probabilistic convenience sampling, where Uruguay has the highest mean age ; while Ecuador has the lowest mean age. Furthermore, in each country, there is a higher proportion (...) of women than men. Using Multi-Group Confirmatory Factor Analysis, the factorial structure does not show evidence of invariance among the included countries. However, based on the Multi-Group Factor Analysis Alignment, there is evidence that a three-dimensional structure of the PIL is the same in the participating countries. Results based on item response theory indicate that most PIL items can significantly differentiate responses according to the level of life purpose. In addition, people with low life purpose will tend to choose the lower response alternatives on the PIL; while people with higher life purpose will choose higher response alternatives. The findings indicate that the PIL has the potential to increase knowledge about how people conceive and experience their purpose in life in different countries. (shrink)
The mortality and morbidity resulting from noncommunicable diseases including cancer in sub- Saharan Africa are predicted to overtake that of infectious diseases by the year 2030. Esophageal cancer is on the increase in Tanzania. This study estimates risk factors for esophageal cancer, ethical issues and the level of awareness of cancer related services among adults in rural Kilimanjaro. A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted of adults aged 18 years and above in three wards, namely, Kahe, mabogini and Arusha Chini, (...) Moshi Rural District, Kilimanjaro region. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a total of 419 individuals. The mean age was 36.47 =13.49) years. Of those who participated, 211 were male and 60% reported to have completed primary education. A majority of participants were knowledgeable about esophageal cancer risk factors. Overall, 15% and 23% of the participants reported to have been smoking and drinking alcohol, respectively. Male respondents were almost three times more likely to be smokers as compared to female respondents. Moreover, people who were self-employed were about five times more likely to be smokers as compared to those who were unemployed.. Male respondents were almost two times more likely to be drinkers as compared to female respondents. Overall, the level of awareness of cancer related health services was about 70%. The study findings confirm that despite a good level of knowledge about risk factors for esophageal cancer, the practice of exposure to risk factors is alarmingly high. Awareness of where to seek cancer related health services was high with hospitals been mentioned by the majority though there was low understanding on modalities of treatment among adults in Rural Kilimanjaro. Intervention measures should aim at further increasing knowledge of cancer risk factors and reduce the practice of such risks. Ethical matters including truth telling, ageism and autonomy need to be addressed to improve the perception of cancer related health issues and health seeking behaviour. (shrink)
continent. 2.2 (2012): 76–81 Comments on Eugene Thacker’s “Cosmic Pessimism” Nicola Masciandaro Anything you look forward to will destroy you, as it already has. —Vernon Howard In pessimism, the first axiom is a long, low, funereal sigh. The cosmicity of the sigh resides in its profound negative singularity. Moving via endless auto-releasement, it achieves the remote. “ Oltre la spera che piú larga gira / passa ’l sospiro ch’esce del mio core ” [Beyond the sphere that circles widest / penetrates (...) the sigh that issues from my heart]. 1 The axiomatic sigh of the pessimist is in a way the pure word of philosophy, a thought that thinks without you, speaks where you are not. The live pneumatic form of the soul’s eventual exit from the dead body’s mouth, the sigh restores consciousness to the funeral of being, to the passing away that is existence. Pessimism speaks in piercing aphorisms because first it sighs. “Beyond the sphere passeth the arrow of our sigh. Hafiz! Silence.” 2 … pessimism is guilty of that most inexcusable of Occidental crimes—the crime of not pretending it’s for real. To the pessimist, the ‘real’ world—the world on whose behalf we are expected to wake up in the morning—is a ceaseless index of its own unreality. The pessimist’s day is not an illumined space for the advancement of experience and action, but a permanently and inescapably reflective zone, the vast interior of a mirror where each thing is only insofar as it is, at best, a false image of itself. Within this speculative situation, inside the doubleness of the mirror, pessimism splits into two paths, false and true, one that tries to fix pessimism (establish a relation with the mirror) and decides in favor of the apparent real, and another that totally falls for pessimism (enters the mirror) and communes with the greater reality of the unreal. These two paths are distinguished by their relation to pessimism’s guilt vis-à-vis the world’s reality-project. The first form, that which remains pessimism for the world and puts on a smiling face, stays guilty to itself (i.e. unconscious) and thus turns hypocritical, becoming at once the pessimism of the commoner who really just wants things to be better for himself and the pessimism of the elite who wants to critically refashion reality in his own image. The general form of this worldly, hypocritical pessimism is the impulse to ‘make the world a better place’, which is the global mask under which the world is diurnally made worse. The second form, that which follows pessimism away from the world and ceases to put on a smiling face, refuses guiltiness as itself theessential Occidental mode of pretense and turns honest, becoming at once the intelligent pessimism required of all ordinary action and the radical pessimism necessary for self-knowledge: seeing that no one is capable of doing good. The general form of this universal, honest pessimism is the impulse not to worry, to give up and embrace dereliction, which is the only real way the world is actually improved. Where worldly pessimism is the engine productive of interminably warring secular and sacred religions (good-projects), universal pessimism strives hopelessly for the paradise of a supremely instantiated pessimus: things are getting so bad that there is no longer any time for them to get worse; things are so constantly-instantly worst that this is BEST. Cosmic pessimism is the mode of universal pessimism which can yet discourse with the world, which has not chosen silence and can spread the inconceivably BAD NEWS in an orderly form ( kosmos ) that the world can understand (if it wanted to). … the result of a confusion between the world and a statement about the world. That is what the world is (the result of a confusion between the world and a statement about the world). … a generalized misanthropy without the anthropos. Pessimism crystallizes around this futility—it is its amor fati , rendered as musical form. Pessimism’s love of fate is a blind love, a love of the blindness of being human in a cosmos conceived around the human’s eclipse, a heavy levitation in the contradictory space between the inescapability of its having been and the impossibility of its will-be. Pessimism’s song of futility is a sensible way of loving fate, with a minimum of eros, by means of a kind of matrimonial love of the fatal. As music, pessimism stays open to the irreparable and the inexorable without the binding of affirmation, in the apparent absence of the radical, infinitely surplus will that absolute amor fati seems to require. Crying, laughing, sleeping—what other responses are adequate to a life that is so indifferent? “Unless a man aspires to the impossible, the possible that he achieves will scarcely be worth the trouble of his achieving it. We should aspire to the impossible, to absolute and infinite perfection [….] The apocatastasis is more than a mystical dream: it is a norm of action, it is a beacon for high deeds [….] For true charity is a species of invasion [….] It is not charity to rock and lull our fellow men to sleep in the inertia and heaviness of matter, but rather to arouse them to anguish and torment of spirit.” 3 … the impossibility of ever adequately accounting for one’s relationship to thought. “The paroxysm of interior experience leads you to regions where danger is absolute, because life which self-consciously actualizes its roots in experience can only negate itself [….] There are no arguments [….] On the heights of despair, the passion for the absurd is the only thing that can still throw a demonic light on chaos [….] I live because the mountains do not laugh and the worms do not sing .” 4 It took three attempts before she was fully decapitated, all the while she continued, perhaps miraculously, to sing. According to the earliest account of Cecilia’s martyrdom, the beheading turns out worse. After not severing her head in three strokes, “the cruel executioner left her half dead” (seminecem eam cruentus carnifex dereliquit). 5 Cecilia’s effortlessly powerful endurance of the three strokes—a fitting icon for pessimism as an art of dereliction—demonstrates the “passivity and absence of effort [….] in which divine transcendence is dissolved.” 6 There’s a ghost that grows inside of me, damaged in the making, and there’s a hunt sprung from necessity, elliptical and drowned. Where the moving quiet of our insomnia offers up each thought, there’s a luminous field of grey inertia, and obsidian dreams burnt all the way down. Like words from a pre-waking dream. There is no reason to think that they are not. NOTES 1. Dante Alighieri. Vita Nuova . ed. and trans. Dino S. Cervigni and Edward Vasta. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. 1995. 41:10. 2. Hafiz of Shiraz. The Divan . trans. H. Wilberforce Clarke. London: Octagon Press. 1974. 10.9. 3. Miguel de Unamuno. The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations . trans. Anthony Kerrigan. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1972. 305-6. 4. E.M. Cioran. On the Heights of Despair . trans. Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1992. 9-10. 5. Giacomo Laderchi. S. Caeciliae Virg[inis] et Mart[yris] Acta. . . Rome. 1723. 38. 6. Georges Bataille. On Nietzsche . trans. Bruce Boone. London: Continuum. 2004. 135. See Nicola Masciandaro. “ Half Dead: Parsing Cecilia .” A Commentary on Eugene Thacker’s "Cosmic Pessimism" Gary J. Shipley Pessimism is the refusal to seek distraction, the refusal to remodel failure into a platform for further (doomed) possibilities, the refusal of comfort, the acceptance of the sickness of healthy bodies, the cup of life overflowing with cold vomit. If, as Ligotti suggests when discussing Invasion of the Body Snatchers , 1 humans prefer the anxieties of their familiar human lives to the contentment of an alien one, then the pessimist, we could argue, represents some perverted combination of the two, preferring (presuming he has a choice) the defamiliarization of human life to the contentment of its unquestioned mundanity. The quasi-religious state of mind that Wittgenstein would mention on occasion, that of “feeling absolutely safe,” 2 is a state the pessimist could only imagine being approximated by death, or perhaps some annihilative opiate-induced stupor. This Wittgensteinian commingling of certainty and faith looks every bit the futile gesture, a mere rephrasing of collapse or partial collapse. The only certainty open to the pessimist is that of the toxic formula of life itself—a formula known and lacuna-free. Certainty, far from being the gateway to deliverance, becomes the definitive impediment; and the possibility of salvation, as long as it remains, becomes crucially reliant on postulations of ignorance, epistemic gaps, a perennial incompleteness: “the perfect safety of wooed death […] the warm bath of physical dissolution, the universal unknown engulfing the miniscule unknown.” 3 The height of Leibniz’s Panglossian insanity nurtured the idea that our knowing everything—via the universal calculus—could be accurately described a triumph, as opposed to a nightmare in which our every futility is laid bare. Stagnancy and boredom are perhaps two of the greatest ills of Western civilisation, and the most potent pessimism tells you that you’re stuck with both. The most we can hope for, by way of salvation, is to throw open our despair to the unknown. The fact that Schopenhauer’s pessimism stopped short of morality and allowed him to play the flute, as Nietzsche complained, highlights the predicament of a man who despite having adorned nothingness with a smiling face still found himself alive. The demand here is that it be felt: a cross-contamination of intellect and emotion. The safety net of numerous parentheses makes for a failed philosophy, rather than a philosophy of failure. Depressives make bad pessimists, because, unless they choose to die, living will always infect them with necessities of hope, forcing them to find something, anything (all the various “as ifs”) to make existence tolerable. For as Cioran observed, while “[d]epressions pay attention to life, they are the eyes of the devil, poisoned arrows which wound mortally any zest and love of life. Without them we know little, but with them, we cannot live.” 4 And even when cured of our depressions we’ll find ourselves consumed, eaten alive by the hyper-clinical (borderline autistic) mania that replaces them: a predicament captured all too clearly in the microscriptual fictions of Robert Walser, where spectral men and women stifle their depressive madness with protective comas of detail, their failed assimilations buried beneath thick crusts of remote data. Like Beckett’s Malone their stories may have ended, but cruelly their lives have not. Pessimism is an extraneous burden (a purposeless weight) that makes everything else harder to carry, while at the same time scooping it out and making it lighter. If pessimism had a sound it would be the harsh non-noise of tinnitus—the way that every person would hear themselves if they refused their distractions long enough to listen: a lungless scream from the extrasolar nothing of the self. The music of pessimism—if indeed we can imagine such a thing—is the reverberating echo of the world’s last sound, conjectured but never heard, audible only in its being listened for. The one consolation of this hollow paradox of audibility being, that “he will be least afraid of becoming nothing in death who has recognized that he is already nothing now.” 5 The pessimist suffers a derangement of the real, a labyrinthitis at the nucleus of his being: he’s the stumbling ghost relentlessly surprised that others can see him. If Cioran’s refusal is manifested in sleep (when even saying ‘no’ is too much of a commitment), then Pessoa’s resides in the dreams inside that sleep. Pessoa chooses to exploit the fact that he’s being “lived by some murmuring non-entity both shadowy and muddied” 6 by growing more voids to live him. His is a Gnostic breed of sleep, “sleeping as if the universe were a mistake,” 7 a sleep that dreams through Thacker’s cosmic pessimism (“a pessimism of the world-without-us.”, “the unhuman orientation of deep space and deep time” 8 ), through the critical error of there being anything at all when there could be nothing. The metaphysical pessimist is someone who, however well life treats them, still desires to wake from it, as from the poisonous air of a bad dream. Pessimism is a paradox of age, being simultaneously young and old; its youth residing in a refusal to accept the authority of existence (its rich history, its inherent beneficence), a refusal to “get over” the horror of what it sees with its perpetually fresh eyes, and its maturity in the unceremonious disposal of the philosophical playthings (those futile architectures) of adolescence. As Thacker remarks: “Pessimism abjures all pretenses towards system—towards the purity of analysis and the dignity of critique.” 9 A sentiment shared with Pessoa, who duly categorizes those that choose to enact this futile struggle: “The creators of metaphysical systems and of psychological explanations are still in the primary stage of suffering.” 10 If the pessimist has shared a womb with anyone, it’s with the mystic and not the philosopher. As Schopenhauer tells us: “The mystic is opposed to the philosopher by the fact that he begins from within, whereas the philosopher begins from without. […] But nothing of this is communicable except the assertions that we have to accept on his word; consequently he is unable to convince.” 11 The crucial difference between the mystic and the pessimist is not the latter’s impassivity and defeatism, but his unwillingness/inability to contain in any way the spread of his voracious analyticity, his denial of incompleteness, his exhaustive devotion to failure. The truth of our predicament, though heard, is destined to remain unprocessed. Like the revelations of B.S. Johnson’s Haakon (“We rot and there’s nothing that can stop it / Can’t you feel the shaking horror of that?” 12 ) the pessimist’s truths are somehow too obvious to listen to, as if something inside us were saying, “Of course, but haven’t we gotten over that?” Pessimism is simple and ugly, and has no desire to make itself more complex or more attractive. The true moral pessimist knows that the Utilitarian’s accounts will always be in the red. He can see that for all his computational containments, his only honest path is a negative one, and that such a path has but one logical destination: that of wholesale human oblivion. Thacker notes how at the core of pessimism lies the notion of “the worst,” through which death is demoted by the all-pervasive suffering of a life that easily eclipses its threat. And so with doom made preferable to gloom, death begins to glint with promise, “like beauty passing through a nightmare.” 13 But even among pessimists suicide is, for the most part, thought to be an error. Schopenhauer, for instance, regarded suicide a mistake grounded in some fundamentally naïve disappointment or other. Pessoa too thought suicide an onerous escape tactic: “To die is to become completely other. That’s why suicide is a cowardice: it’s to surrender ourselves completely to life.” 14 There is a call here to be accepting of and creative with the puppetry of your being, an insistence that it’s somehow a blunder to attempt to hide in death from the horrors you find inlife. 15 Tied up with this perseverance is the slippery notion of the good death, for maybe, as Blanchot warns, suicide is rarely something we can hope to get right, for the simple reason that “you cannot make of death an object of the will.” 16 “Even in cases where the entire corpus of an author is pessimistic, the project always seems incomplete,” 17 and this is not simply because the project itself belies something yet to be disclosed, but because the project itself is a thing waiting. It waits on a cure it knows will not come, but for which it cannot do anything (as long as it continues to do anything) but wait. NOTES 1. See Thomas Ligotti. The Conspiracy Against the Human Race . New York: Hippocampus Press. 2010. 91. 2. Ludwig Wittgenstein. “A Lecture on Ethics.” Philosophical Review . (74) 1. 1965. 8. 3. Vladimir Nabokov. Pale Fire . New York: Vintage. 1989. 221. 4. E. M. Cioran. The Book of Delusions . trans. Camelia Elias. Hyperion. 5.1. (2010): 75. 5. Arthur Schopenhauer. The World as Will and Representation. vol. 2 . trans. E .F J. Payne. New York: Dover. 1966. 609. 6. Eugene Thacker. “Cosmic Pessimism.” continent. . 2.2 (2012): 67. 7. Fernando Pessoa. The Book of Disquiet . trans. Richard Zenith. London: Penguin. 2002. 35. 8. Eugene Thacker. “Cosmic Pessimism.” continent. . 2.2 (2012): 68. 9. Ibid. 73. 10. Fernando Pessoa. The Book of Disquiet . trans. Richard Zenith. London: Penguin. 2002. 341. 11. Arthur Schopenhauer. The World as Will and Representation. vol. 2 . trans. E .F J. Payne. New York: Dover. 1966. 610-11. 12. B.S Johnson. “You’re Human Like the Rest of Them.” in Jonathan Coe. Like a Fiery Elephant: The Story of B.S. Johnson . London: Picador. 2004. 177. 13. Fernando Pessoa. The Book of Disquiet . trans. Richard Zenith. London: Penguin. 2002. 415. 14. Ibid. 199. 15. “Suicide is, after all, the opposite of the poem.” Anne Sexton. No Evil Star: Selected Essays, Interviews and Prose . ed. Steven Gould Axelrod. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 1985. 92. 16. Maurice Blanchot. The Space of Literature . trans. Ann Smock. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 1989. 105. 17. Eugene Thacker. “Cosmic Pessimism.” continent. . 2.2 (2012): 75. (shrink)
Elias wrote in both English and German, and in all his work runs to 14 books and around 90 other essays, along with poems and numerous interviews. The 18 volumes of the collected works contain many writings not previously published in English, and a small number never published before. All of the texts have thoroughly checked and revised, by editors who have a deep knowledge of Elia's thinking; they have inserted many clarifications, cross-references and explanatory notes.
_The Collected Works of G. Lowes Dickinson_ reissues nine titles from Dickinson's impressive oeuvre. The titles in question cover a range of topics, from Plato and the Greek view of life to civilisation and the causes of war.
Territorial disputes have defined modern politics, but political theorists and philosophers have said little about how to resolve such disputes fairly. Is it even possible to do so? If historical attachments or divine promises are decisive, it may not be. More significant than these largely subjective claims are the ways in which people interact with land over time. Building from this insight, Avery Kolers evaluates existing political theories and develops an attractive alternative. He presents a novel link between political (...) legitimacy and environmental stewardship, and applies these ideas in an extended and balanced discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The result is the first systematic normative theory of territory, and an impressive example of applied philosophy. In addition to political theorists and philosophers, scholars and students of sociology, international relations, and human geography will find this book rewarding, as will anyone with wider interests in territory and justice. (shrink)
Immanuel Kant is strict about the limits of self-knowledge: our inner sense gives us only appearances, never the reality, of ourselves. Kant may seem to begin his inquiries with an uncritical conception of cognitive limits, but in Kant and the Subject of Critique, Avery Goldman argues that, even for Kant, a reflective act must take place before any judgment occurs. Building on Kant’s metaphysics, which uses the soul, the world, and God as regulative principles, Goldman demonstrates how Kant can (...) open doors to reflection, analysis, language, sensibility, and understanding. By establishing a regulative self, Goldman offers a way to bring unity to the subject through Kant’s seemingly circular reasoning, allowing for critique and, ultimately, knowledge. (shrink)
The purpose of this study is to develop a system of corporate ethics based on an understanding and interpretation of the ethical demand of human beings who are in relation with each other according to Emmanuel Levinas' teachings and the responsibility the human being has to and for herself and others whom she encounters based on Paul Ricoeur's teachings on human action, text and hermeneutics. While the philosophies to which we will be referring may not overtly present a normative ethic, (...) we shall convey them in such a way that is reasonably germane to the development of our system of corporate ethics that would, indeed, demonstrate why (and, perhaps, how in some instances) the human being must act in response to the demand of the other whom she encounters. -/- We must not abandon the discussion as it relates to the economy but rather include it in a broader and more comprehensive dialogue about working to promote, support and protect the human dignity of all people using the advancements of technology to improve the human condition. The broader discussion must include but not be limited to developing a working definition of corporate ethics. To engage in discussions about the economy as an indicator for human success, we must speak openly and honestly about all stakeholders that participate and are affected by the economy. Without forsaking other stakeholders, we find the corporation - the entity whose actions have the farthest reaching and, in some cases, longer lasting impact on the human condition - to be an appropriate point of departure for this endeavor. (shrink)
Norbert Elias's The Civilizing Process, which was published in German in 1939 and first translated into English in two volumes in 1978 and 1982, is now widely regarded as one of the great works of twentieth-century sociology. This work attempted to explain how Europeans came to think of themselves as more “civilized” than their forebears and neighboring societies. By analyzing books about manners that had been published between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries, Elias observed changing conceptions of shame (...) and embarrassment with respect to, among other things, bodily propriety and violence. To explain those developments, Elias examined the interplay among the rise of state monopolies of power, increasing levels of economic interconnectedness among people, and pressures to become attuned to others over greater distances that led to advances in identifying with others in the same society irrespective of social origins. Elias's analysis of the civilizing process was not confined, however, to explaining changing social bonds within separate societies. The investigation also focused on the division of Europe into sovereign states that were embroiled in struggles for power and security.This article provides an overview and analysis of Elias's principal claims in the light of growing interest in this seminal work in sociology. The analysis shows how Elias defended higher levels of synthesis in the social sciences to explain relations between “domestic” and “international” developments, and changes in social structure and in the emotional lives of modern people. Elias's investigation, which explained long-term processes of development over several centuries, pointed to the limitations of inquiries that concentrate on short-term intervals. Only by placing short-term trends in long-term perspective could sociologists understand contemporary developments. This article maintains that Elias's analysis of the civilizing process remains an exemplary study of long-term developments in Western societies over the last five centuries. (shrink)
Hume's famous discussion of miracles in the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is curious both on account of the arguments he does deploy and on account of the arguments he does not deploy, but might have been expected to. The first and second parts of this paper will be devoted to examining, respectively, these two objects of curiosity. The second part I regard as the more important, because I shall there try to show that the fact that Hume does not deploy (...) an argument that he might have been expected to deploy in fact reflects a weakness in the view of natural laws that has come to be associated with Hume's name. I shall argue, in fact, that it is a symptom of the defectiveness of the ‘Humean’ view of natural laws that on that view it is only too easy to rule out the possibility of a miracle ever occurring. In the third part of the paper, I shall show how another view of laws can overcome this problem. (shrink)
Understanding Elias -- Origins of Elias's synthesis -- Norbert Elias and Karl Mannheim -- The civilizing process : the structure of a classic -- Involved detachment : knowledge and self-knowledge in Elias -- The symbol theory : secular humanism as a research programme -- Concluding remarks : the fourth blow to man's narcissism.
Accounts of solidarity typically defend it in teleological or loyalty terms, justifying it by invoking its goal of promoting justice or its expression of support for a shared community. Such solidarity seems to be a moral option rather than an obligation. In contrast, A Moral Theory of Solidarity develops a deontological theory grounded in equity. With extended reflection on the Spanish conquest of the Americas and the US Civil Rights movement, Kolers defines solidarity as political action on others' terms. Unlike (...) mere alliances and coalitions, solidarity involves a disposition to defer to others' judgment about the best course of action. Such deference overrides individual conscience. Yet such deference is dangerous; a core challenge is then to determine when deference becomes appropriate.Kolers defends defernce to those who suffer gravest inequity. Such deference constitutes equitable treatment, in three senses: it is Kantian equity, expressing each person's equal status; it is Aristotelian equity, correcting general rules for particular cases; and deference is 'being an equitable person,' sharing others' fate rather than seizing advantages that they are denied. Treating others equitably is a perfect duty; hence solidarity with victims of inequity is a perfect duty. Further, since equity is valuable in itself, irrespective of any other goal it might promote, such solidarity is intrinsically valuable, not merely instrumentally valuable. Solidarity is then not about promoting justice, but about treating people justly. A Moral Theory of Solidarity engages carefully with recent work on equity in the Kantian and Aristotelian traditions, as well as the demandingness of moral duties, collective action, and unjust benefits, and is a major contribution to a field of growing interest. (shrink)
In this paper I make use of Heidegger’s late essay, “Kant’s Thesis About Being,” in order to examine the structure of Kantian critique, the elusive transcendental method. Heidegger investigates the underlying reflective act that restricts “the use of the understanding to experience,” what Kant describes in an Appendix to the “Transcendental Analytic” of the Critique of Pure Reason as “transcendental reflection.” What is clear from Kant’s brief description is that prior to the analysis of the conditions of the possibility of (...) experience, critical inquiry has designated the boundary of possible experience. While neither Kant nor Heidegger explicitly develops the account of the transcendental method that follows from this initial orienting act, doing so will offer a response to the charge, leveled at Kant since thepublication of the first Critique, that he was blind to the metaphysical presuppositions of transcendental idealism. (shrink)
Based on an earlier analysis that tries to show that existence is a real predicate, I now argue that Descartes’s dream and malicious demon arguments are fallacious. An object that stands external to me (i.e., that exists) is the one thing that I cannot produce by my dreams, and, on phenomenological grounds, I am immediately experiencing an existing object right now. Therefore, in accepting that it is a logical possibility that I am dreaming, either I illicitly conflate an existing object (...) and an object of a dream, or Descartes’s claimthat there are never any sure signs by which being awake can be distinguished from being asleep is a presupposed but unfounded premise. Similarly, Descartes’s malicious demon argument must also be rejected. (shrink)
Moses Mendelssohn is often described as the founder of modern Jewish thought and as a leading philosopher of the late Enlightenment. One of Mendelssohn's main concerns was how to conceive of the relationship between Judaism, philosophy, and the civic life of a modern state. Elias Sacks explores Mendelssohn's landmark account of Jewish practice--Judaism's "living script," to use his famous phrase--to present a broader reading of Mendelssohn's writings and extend inquiry into conversations about modernity and religion. By studying Mendelssohn's thought (...) in these dimensions, Sacks suggests that he shows a deep concern with history. Sacks affords a view of a foundational moment in Jewish modernity and forwards new ways of thinking about ritual practice, the development of traditions, and the role of religion in society. (shrink)