Grau and Pury (Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 5, 155–168, 2014) reported that people’s views about love are related to their views about reference. This surprising effect was however not replicated in Cova et al.’s (in press) replication study. In this article, we show that the replication failure is probably due to the replication’s low power and that a metaanalytic reanalysis of the result in Cova et al. suggests that the effect reported in Grau and Pury is real. (...) We then report a large, highly powered replication that successfully replicates Grau and Pury 2014. This successful replication is a case study in the challenges involved in replicating scientific work, and our article contributes to the discussion of these challenges. (shrink)
The Matrix trilogy is unique among recent popular films in that it is constructed around important philosophical questions--classic questions which have fascinated philosophers and other thinkers for thousands of years. Editor Christopher Grau here presents a collection of new, intriguing essays about some of the powerful and ancient questions broached by The Matrix and its sequels, written by some of the most prominent and reputable philosophers working today. They provide intelligent, accessible, and thought-provoking examinations of the philosophical issues that (...) support the films. Philosophers Explore The Matrix includes an introduction that surveys the use of philosophical ideas in the film. Topics that the contributors tackle include: how a collaborative dream could differ from hallucination, the difference between the Matrix and the "real" world; why living in the Matrix would be considered "bad"; the similarities between the Matrix and Plato's Cave; the moral status of artificially created beings, whether one can behave immorally in illusory circumstances, and the true nature of free will and responsibility. This volume also includes an appendix of classic philosophical writing on these issues by Plato, Berkeley, Descartes, Putnam, and Nozick. Philosophers Explore The Matrix will fascinate any fan of the films who wants to delve deeper into their themes, as well as any student of philosophy who desires an accessible entry into this challenging and profoundly vital world of ideas. (shrink)
Alain Grau | : Au légiste qui l’interroge sur ce qu’il faut faire, Jésus répond : « Comment lis-tu? » À nous qui lisons, la question n’est pas sans poser le problème de savoir quel corps nous formons par cette lecture. La « personnalité corporative » pourrait constituer une réponse, pourvu toutefois qu’elle soit dépouillée de tous ses attributs classiques : psychologique, religieux, ou encore littéraire. Sans contenu objectif, elle n’en est pas moins opératoire. Mais en figure seulement, qui (...) attend d’être comblée par la chair pour devenir vraie. La Chair de Jésus, et la nôtre. L’avenir de cette vieille notion ne serait-il pas la grâce divine? | : To the expert in the law who asks Him what to do, Jesus replies: “How do you read?” For us who do read, the question is not without posing the problem of knowing what body we form by this reading. The “corporate personality” could provide an answer, but on the condition that it be stripped of all its classical attributes : psychological, religious, or literary. Even deprived of any objective content, it is none the less operational. Yet only figuratively, waiting to be fulfilled by the flesh to become true. The Flesh of Jesus, and ours. Might not the future of that old notion be divine grace? (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Love offers a wide array of original essays on the nature and value of love. The editors, Christopher Grau and Aaron Smuts, have assembled an esteemed group of thinkers, including both established scholars and younger voices. The volume contains three dozen essays addressing both issues about love as well as key philosophers who have contributed to the philosophy of love, such as Plato, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, and Murdoch. The topics range from central issues (...) about the nature and variety of love, the possibility of its rational justification, and whether it is an emotion, to the significance of love for law, economics, morality, and free will. The volume also contains an introduction to the subject as well as essays on love’s relation to jealousy, polyamory, religion, knowledge, gender, and several other topics. This wide-ranging handbook will be a key resource for specialists working on the philosophy of love, and a helpful guide for those looking to learn more about the area. (shrink)
In his essay “The Human Prejudice” Bernard Williams presented a sophisticated defense of the moral relevance of the concept “human being”. Here I offer both an analysis of his essay and a defense of his conclusions against criticisms made by Julian Savulescu and Peter Singer. After a discussion of the structure of Williams’s argument, I focus on several complaints from Savulescu: that Williams underestimates the similarities between speciesism and racism or sexism, that Williams relies on a disputable internalism about reasons (...) to make his case, that Williams ignores the arbitrariness of species membership, and (a complaint also made by Singer) that Williams attacks a straw man in considering only negative utilitarianism when criticizing the idea of an Impartial Observer. I defend Williams against these charges and end with a brief discussion of how his alien invasion example illustrates the fundamentally different philosophical sensibility of Bernard Williams in comparison to critics like Savulescu and Singer. (shrink)
In this essay I argue that the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind eloquently and powerfully suggests a controversial philosophical position: that the harm caused by voluntary memory removal cannot be entirely understood in terms of harms that are consciously experienced. I explore this possibility through a discussion of the film that includes consideration of Nagel and Nozick on unexperienced harms, Kant on duties to oneself, and Murdoch on the requirements of morality.
This paper offers several criticisms of the account of rightholding laid out in S. Matthew Liao’s recent paper “The Basis of Human Moral Status.” I argue that Liao’s account both does too much and too little: it grants rightholder status to those who may not deserve it, and it does not provide grounds for offering such status to those who arguably do deserve it. Given these troubling aspects of his approach, I encourage Liao to abandon his “physical basis of moral (...) agency” account of moral status and instead adopt a position closer to a traditional “speciesist” view. (shrink)
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs are increasingly popular corporate marketing strategies. This paper argues that CSR programs can fall along a continuum between two endpoints: Institutionalized programs and Promotional programs. This classification is based on an exploratory study examining the variance of four responses from the consumer stakeholder group toward these two categories of CSR. Institutionalized CSR programs are argued to be most effective at increasing customer loyalty, enhancing attitude toward the company, and decreasing consumer skepticism. Promotional CSR programs are (...) argued to be more effective at generating purchase intent. Ethical and managerial implications of these preliminary findings are discussed. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that a proper understanding of the historicity of love requires an appreciation of the irreplaceability of the beloved. I do this through a consideration of ideas that were first put forward by Robert Kraut in “Love De Re” (1986). I also evaluate Amelie Rorty's criticisms of Kraut's thesis in “The Historicity of Psychological Attitudes: Love is Not Love Which Alters Not When It Alteration Finds” (1986). I argue that Rorty fundamentally misunderstands Kraut's Kripkean analogy, and (...) I go on to criticize her claim that concern over the proper object of love should be best understood as a concern over constancy. This leads me to an elaboration of the distinct senses in which love can be seen as historical. I end with a further defense of the irreplaceability of the beloved and a discussion of the relevance of recent debates over the importance of personal identity for an adequate account of the historical dimension of love. (shrink)
American History X (hereafter AHX) has been accused by numerous critics of a morally dangerous cinematic seduction: using stylish cinematography, editing, and sound, the film manipulates the viewer through glamorizing an immoral and hate-filled neo-nazi protagonist. In addition, there’s the disturbing fact that the film seems to accomplish this manipulation through methods commonly grouped under the category of “fascist aesthetics.” More specifically, AHX promotes its neo-nazi hero through the use of several filmic techniques made famous by Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. (...) Now most critics admit that, in the end, the film claims to denounce racism and attempts to show us the conversion of the protagonist to the path of righteousness, but they complain that nonetheless the film (perhaps unintentionally) ends up implicitly promoting the immoral worldview it rather superficially professes to reject in its final act. This charge of hypocrisy is connected to another worry: the moral conversion in the film is said to fall flat because the intellectual resources on display to support the character’s racism are not counterbalanced by equally explicit (but superior) arguments for the anti-racist position ultimately embraced by the character. In other words, just as the devil is said to get all the good lines in Milton’s Paradise Lost, in AHX the racists get all the arguments. This has been taken to be a morally problematic flaw of the film. Critics lament that Derek’s conversion seems to result not from relevant logical inferences and valid rational argumentation but from overly simplistic and arguably egoistic insights (e.g., “has anything you've done made your life better?”) combined, perhaps, with a hackneyed cliché (in prison, one of his best friends is a black person!) In this paper I’ll attempt to rebut these charges and defend the film as a powerful, and powerfully moral, work of art. I’ll be suggesting that the seductive techniques employed allow for many viewers a degree of sympathy towards the protagonist that is crucial, both for making that character’s more horrific actions especially unsettling, and also for making his eventual conversion plausible and ultimately compelling. I’ll also argue that the manner in which his conversion is presented is in fact subtler than many critics have allowed: Derek’s transformation is not artificial or implausible but is depicted as resulting from a cumulative series of emotionally powerful life events and personal engagements. It is certainly true that it is not represented in the way some would seemingly have preferred, i.e. as straightforwardly resulting from a process of gradual intellectual improvement in Derek’s reasoning on questions of race and politics. However, I’ll argue that the decidedly emotional basis of his moral evolution is both refreshingly realistic and no hindrance to accepting his conversion as rational. Finally, properly understanding the legitimacy of the emotional foundations of much moral thought will also allow us to appreciate the ways in which our initial worries about this film’s (not insignificant) ability to persuade viewers through the engagement of emotions need not, in itself, be seen as a barrier to endorsing the film as a morally praiseworthy work. (shrink)
Jeff McMahan has long shown himself to be a vigorous and incisive critic of speciesism, and in his essay “Our Fellow Creatures” he has been particularly critical of speciesist arguments that draw inspiration from Wittgenstein. In this essay I consider his arguments against speciesism generally and the species-norm account of deprivation in particular. I argue that McMahan's ethical framework is more nuanced and more open to the incorporation of speciesist intuitions regarding deprivation than he himself suggests. Specifically, I argue that, (...) given his willingness to include a comparative dimension in his “Intrinsic Potential Account” he ought to recognize species as a legitimate comparison class. I also argue that a sensible speciesism can be pluralist and flexible enough to accommodate many of McMahan's arguments in defense of “moral individualist” intuitions. In this way, I hope to make the case for at least a partial reconciliation between McMahan and the “Wittgensteinian speciesists”, e.g. Cora Diamond, Stephen Mulhall, and Raimond Gaita. (shrink)
Utilizing the film I, Robot as a springboard, I here consider the feasibility of robot utilitarians, the moral responsibilities that come with the creation of ethical robots, and the possibility of distinct ethics for robot-robot interaction as opposed to robot-human interaction. (This is a revised and expanded version of an essay that originally appeared in IEEE: Intelligent Systems.).
This essay begins with a consideration of one way in which animals and persons may be valued as “irreplaceable.” Drawing on both Plato and Pascal, I consider reasons for skepticism regarding the legitimacy of this sort of attachment. While I do not offer a complete defense against such skepticism, I do show that worries here may be overblown due to the conflation of distinct metaphysical and normative concerns. I then go on to clarify what sort of value is at issue (...) in cases of irreplaceable attachment. I characterize “unique value” as the kind of value attributed to a thing when we take that thing to be (theoretically, not just practically) irreplaceable. I then consider the relationship between this sort of value and intrinsic value. After considering the positions of Gowans, Moore, Korsgaard, Frankfurt, and others, I conclude that unique value is best understood not as a variety of intrinsic value but rather as one kind of final value that is grounded in the extrinsic properties of the object. (shrink)
The sci-fi premise of the 2002 film Solaris allows director Steven Soderbergh to tell a compelling and distinctly philosophical love story. The “visitors” that appear to the characters in the film present us with a vivid thought experiment, and the film naturally prods us to dwell on the following possibility: If confronted with a duplicate (or near duplicate) of someone you love, what would your response be? What should your response be? The tension raised by such a far-fetched situation reflects (...) a tension that exists in real life: that between an attraction to qualities possessed by a person and attraction to the person in a manner that transcends such an attachment to qualities. In short, this cinematic thought-experiment challenges us to reflect on what we really attach to when we fall in love: is it the person, or is it merely the cluster of characteristics the person manifests? Which sort of attachment is appropriate? Which is philosophical defensible? The protagonist Chris Kelvin’s ambivalence at encountering this bizarre possibility is gripping because it tracks our own ambivalence about such matters. Frankly most of us don’t know just how we would react to such a situation. The thought that accepting and embracing such a “visitor” involves a violation to the original person is natural and pervasive, especially if the acceptance comes with a failure to acknowledge the distinction between the original person and the “visitor”. At the same time, a deep attraction to such a person would surely also be entirely natural and perhaps even inescapable. We, like Kelvin, are torn in different directions by this (thankfully) far-fetched possibility. One philosopher who affirms that accepting a duplicate as though it were the original is the rational thing to do is Derek Parfit. His argument for “the unimportance of identity” is both powerful and radical, and though I’ll be critical of his approach, in the final section of the paper I suggest that it does offer up the resources for an intriguing interpretation of the end of this complex and ambiguous film. (shrink)
A unique and interdisciplinary collection in which scholars from Philosophy join those from Film Studies, English, and Comparative Literature to explore the nature and limits of love through in-depth reflection on particular works of literature and film.
Robert Kraut has proposed an analogy between valuing a loved one as irreplaceable and the sort of “rigid” attachment that (according to Saul Kripke’s account) occurs with the reference of proper names. We wanted to see if individuals with Kripkean intuitions were indeed more likely to value loved ones (and other persons and things) as irreplaceable. In this empirical study, 162 participants completed an online questionnaire asking them to consider how appropriate it would be to feel the same way about (...) a perfect replica of a loved one, as well as other questions about replaceability. Participants who previously had endorsed Kripkean reference (n = 96) rated loved ones as less replaceable on two different measures than participants who had previously endorsed Descriptivist reference (n = 66, t(160)> 2.27, p <.02, eta2> .03). Additional results suggest that this difference extends to other targets as well and is at least partially dependent on sentimental attachment. (shrink)
Business students from the three NAFTA countries were shown a possible Sexual Harassment scenario from Arthur Andersen’s Business Ethics Program. They were asked to respond to a pre-questionnaire concerning the three characters’ behaviors and possible actions and a post-questionnaire after writing a report from the points of view of the three characters in the scenario. The students were asked to consider whether the characters should report the possible harasser to their supervisor, and thus engage in whistle-blowing behavior, as well as (...) directly confront the harasser. Hypotheses are formulated for the three NAFTA countries based on Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. There were significant differences, but in some cases not in the direction expected. Gender differences are also explored, but there were few significant differences. (shrink)
This paper describes and discusses overlapping interests and concerns of art and bioethics and suggests that bioethics would benefit from opening to contributions from the arts. There is a description of recent events in bioethics that have included art, and trends in art that relate to bioethics. The paper outlines art exhibits and performances within two major international bioethics congress programs alongside a discussion of the work of leading hybrid and bio artists who experiment with material (including their own bodies) (...) at the ambiguous intersections between art, bio art and bioethics. Their work seeks to engage audiences in challenging ethical precepts and assumptions about life and existence. We consider the response of art and social theorists and compare these with the responses of bioethicists to comparable cases in bioethics. We note divergent views within the arts and within bioethics in relation to some pivotal questions including questions about what limits, if any, can apply in particular cases and on what basis. This approach allows for a transfer of information and perspectives, challenges assumptions in both art and bioethics and opens up a space for future exchange and dialogue along the shifting borders between these genres. (shrink)
This study offers a comprehensive summary and critical discussion of Alice Crary’s Beyond Moral Judgment. While generally sympathetic to her goal of defending the sort of expansive vision of the moral previously championed by Cora Diamond and Iris Murdoch, concerns are raised regarding the potential for her account to provide a satisfactory treatment of both “wide” objectivity and moral disagreement. Drawing on the work of Jonathan Lear and Jonathan Dancy, I suggest possible routes by which her position could be expanded (...) and possibly strengthened. (shrink)
Next SectionMedical ethics and law education in the UK is undergoing continuous transformation. In parallel, human rights teaching with respect to health is expanding as a distinct field. Yet a resistance to the inclusion of human rights in the medical ethics and law curriculum persists. In response to Stirrat and colleagues, this article seeks to highlight the mutual benefit that could be derived from an integration of human rights into the already established medical ethics and law teaching in medical schools. (...) It proposes that incorporating human rights into the curriculum would add value to traditional medical ethics and law teaching and provide a promising opportunity to enhance the interest from the student body. (shrink)
The Anékdota or Secret History of Procopius of Caesarea tends to raise perplexity among scholars for different reasons, particularly the fact that a courtier wrote this work as well as the Buildings, a clear praise of Justinian through his constructions and foundations, and the Wars, in the most canonical historiographical tradition. It is apparent that the Secret History, as it is usually acknowledged, is related to the tradition of the invective and the pamphlet, even to the earlier classic iambography, but (...) we should try to answer the question with the same analytical tools that have been applied in recent years to the study of ancient biography, whence the author takes inspiration, especially for the portrait of empress Theodora. Here we have identified, alongside the ancient biographical patterns of the classical tradition, new ones, mostly inversions of contemporary hagiographical narratives. (shrink)
Zusammenfassung Die vorliegende qualitative Fallanalyse befasst sich mit dem Einstieg junger Menschen in die Szene der sogenannten Ultras und dessen Bedingungsfaktoren. Dazu wurden zwei problemzentrierte Interviews mit einer weiblichen Anwärterin und einem männlichen Anwärter auf eine Mitgliedschaft in einer Ultra-Gruppe geführt. Es wird den Fragen nachgegangen, wie die AspirantInnen den Einstieg bewältigen und welche Bedeutung der Kategorie des Geschlechts zukommt. Dabei werden die je subjektiven Erwartungen, Prozesse, Bedeutungsgehalte und Konflikte analysiert. Es zeigt sich, dass trotz einiger Parallelen die Einstiegsprozesse sehr (...) unterschiedlich verlaufen. Dabei kommt insbesondere den Kategorien des Geschlechts, des Beziehungsstandes sowie des Alters zentrale Bedeutung zu. Der Beitrag erweitert damit die Forschung über Fußballfangruppen um den wichtigen Prozess des Szenezugangs. (shrink)