It is often claimed that John Finnis's natural law theory is detachable from the ultimate theistic explanation that he offers in the final chapter of Natural Law and Natural Rights. My aim in this paper is to think through the question of the detachability of Finnis's theistic explanation of the natural law from the remainder of his natural law view, both in Natural Law and Natural Rights and beyond. I argue that Finnis's theistic explanation of the natural law as actually (...) presented can be, without too much strain, treated as largely detachable in the way that his readers have by and large supposed it to be; indeed, Finnis's account as actually presented really amounts to no explanation of the natural law at all, theistic or otherwise, and that fact accounts in part for the ease with which Finnis's natural law view can be detached from theism of that final chapter. Nevertheless, the considerations raised in that chapter militate in favor of a much more thoroughgoing, largely nondetachable theistic account. And it is just such an account that we find Finnis affirming in the development of his views after Natural Law and Natural Rights. (shrink)
Lindquist et al. assess the neural evidence for locationist versus psychological construction accounts of human emotion. A wealth of experimental and clinical investigations show that individual differences in emotion and personality influence emotion processing. These factors may also influence the brain's response to emotional stimuli. A synthesis of the relevant neuroimaging data must therefore take these factors into consideration.
Does God's existence make a difference to how we explain morality? Mark C. Murphy critiques the two dominant theistic accounts of morality--natural law theory and divine command theory--and presents a novel third view. He argues that we can value natural facts about humans and their good, while keeping God at the centre of our moral explanations.
Mark C. Murphy addresses the question of how God's ethics differs from human ethics. Murphy suggests that God is not subject to the moral norms to which we humans are subject. This has immediate implications for the argument from evil: we cannot assume that an absolutely perfect being is in any way bound to prevent the evils of this world.
Natural law is a perennial though poorly represented and understood issue in political philosophy and the philosophy of law. In this 2006 book, Mark C. Murphy argues that the central thesis of natural law jurisprudence - that law is backed by decisive reasons for compliance - sets the agenda for natural law political philosophy, demonstrating how law gains its binding force by way of the common good of the political community. Murphy's work ranges over the central questions of (...) natural law jurisprudence and political philosophy, including the formulation and defense of the natural law jurisprudential thesis, the nature of the common good, the connection between the promotion of the common good and requirement of obedience to law, and the justification of punishment. (shrink)
Readers are invited to contact Greg S. Loeben in writing at Midwestern University, Glendale Campus, Bioethics Program, 19555 N. 59th Ave., Glendale, AZ 85308 regarding books they would like to see reviewed or books they are interested in reviewing.
The term postmodern is generally used to refer to current work in philosophy, literary criticism, and feminist thought inspired by Continental thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche and Jacques Derrida. In this book, Nancey Murphy appropriates the term to describe emerging patterns in Anglo-American thought and to indicate their radical break from the thought patterns of Enlightened modernity.The book examines the shift from modern to postmodern in three areas: epistemology, philosophy of language, and metaphysics. Murphy contends that whole clusters (...) of terms in each of these disciplines have taken on new uses in the past fifty years and that these changes have radical consequences for all areas of academia, especially in philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, and ethics. (shrink)
Michael J. Almeida offers two criticisms of the argument of my ‘A trilemma for divine command theory’. The first criticism is that I mistakenly assume the validity of the following inference pattern: property A is identical to property B; property B supervenes on property C; therefore, property A supervenes on property C. The second criticism is that I have misinterpreted the moral-supervenience thesis upon which I rely in making this argument. The first of Almeida's criticisms is completely untenable. The second (...) of his criticisms casts doubt on my argument, a doubt that I can mitigate but not entirely dispel. (Published Online August 11 2004). (shrink)
The Neuroethics Affinity Group of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities met for the third time in October 2007 to review progress in the field of neuroethics and consider high-impact priorities for the future. Closely aligned with ASBH's own goals of recruiting junior scholars to bioethics and mentoring them to successful careers, the Neuroethics Affinity Group placed a call for new ideas to be presented at the Group meeting, specifically by junior attendees. One group responded with the idea to (...) probe a new direction for neuroethics focused on the neuroscience of gender differences. In the spirit of full disclosure, two of the authors are a student and fellow of the program I formerly directed at Stanford University. The third is junior faculty there. The intellectual ownership of the ideas in the report below, however, are entirely theirs. Like lit torches in a juggling act, there are many directions this project can go. The report is a snapshot of these authors' first iteration of the concept of women's neuroethics. Many thanks are extended to participants of the ASBH Neuroethics Affinity Group meeting whose enthusiasm and feedback was immensely helpful in shaping the concept and moving it ahead. - Judy Illes, Editor AJOB-Neuroscience. (shrink)
What is Justice? Classic and Contemporary Readings, 2/e, brings together many of the most prominent and influential writings on the topic of justice, providing an exceptionally comprehensive introduction to the subject. It places special emphasis on "social contract" theories of justice, both ancient and modern, culminating in the monumental work of John Rawls and various responses to his work. It also deals with questions of retributive justice and punishment, topics that are often excluded from other volumes on justice. This new (...) edition features expanded and updated readings on justice and punishment and includes more recent responses to John Rawls's work. Part One of the book features selections from classical sources including Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Mencius, as well as excerpts from the Bible and the Koran. Part Two provides readings on the state of nature and the social contract, from Hobbes and Locke to Rawls, Nozick, Gauthier, and Baier. Part Three includes the Declaration of Independence and Amendments to the U.S. Constitution in addition to selections on property and social justice by Locke, Hume, Adam Smith, Engels, Marx, Mill, and several contemporary authors. Part Four offers a wide variety of readings on punishment, several of which address the death penalty. Part Five begins with selections from Rawls's work and includes responses from Dworkin, Nagel, Nozick, MacIntyre, Sandel, Walzer, Okin, and Rawls himself. Each selection is preceded by a brief introduction and each of the five parts opens with an introduction. The volume is further enhanced by a general introduction and an updated and extensive bibliography. Ideal for a wide variety of courses including social and political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of law, and contemporary moral problems, What Is Justice?, 2/e, does not assume any philosophical or specialized background. It is also engaging reading for anyone interested in justice. (shrink)
It seems to be a widely shared view that any defensible desire-fulfillment theory of welfare must be framed not in terms of what an agent, in fact, desires but rather in terms of what an agent would desire under hypothetical conditions that include improved information. Unfortunately, though, such accounts are subject to serious criticisms. In this paper I show that in the face of these criticisms the best response is to jettison any appeal to idealized information conditions: the considerations put (...) forward in support of the appeal to what would be desired in hypothetical circumstances of improved information do not, in fact, give adequate reason to make that appeal. (shrink)
In this article I consider the respective merits of three interpretations of divine command theory. On DCT1, S’s being morally obligated to φ depends on God’s command that S φ; on DCT2, that moral obligation depends on God’s willing that S be morally obligated to φ; on DCT3, that moral obligation depends on God’s willing that S φ. I argue that the positive reasons that have been brought forward in favor of DCT1 have implications theists would find disturbing and that (...) the positive reasons brought forward in favor of DCT2 support only a weak formulation of DCT2 that is indistinguishable from other theistic moral theories. DCT3 is, however, a distinctive theory that theists have strong reasons to affirm. (shrink)
The penal substitution account of the Atonement fails for conceptual reasons: punishment is expressive action, condemning the party punished, and so is not transferable from a guilty to an innocent party. But there is a relative to the penal substitution view, the vicarious punishment account, that is neither conceptually nor morally objectionable. On this view, the guilty person’s punishment consists in the suffering of an innocent to whom he or she bears a special relationship. Sinful humanity is punished through the (...) inglorious death of Jesus Christ; ill-desert is thus requited, and an obstacle to unity with God is overcome. (shrink)
The contribution to contemporary philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre is enormous. His writings on ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, philosophy of the social sciences and the history of philosophy have established him as one of the philosophical giants of the last fifty years. His best-known book, After Virtue, spurred the profound revival of virtue ethics. Moreover, MacIntyre, unlike so many of his contemporaries, has exerted a deep influence beyond the bourns of academic philosophy. This volume focuses on the major themes (...) of MacIntyre's work with critical expositions of MacIntyre's views on the history of philosophy, the role of tradition in philosophical inquiry, the philosophy of the social sciences, moral philosophy, political theory, and his critique of the assumptions and institutions of modernity. Written by a distinguished team of philosophers, this volume will have a wide appeal outside philosophy to students in the social sciences, law, theology, and political theory. (shrink)
Is Goodness Without God Good Enough contains a lively debate between William Lane Craig and Paul Kurtz on the relationship between God and ethics, followed by seven new essays that both comment on the debate and advance the broader discussion of this important issue. Written in an accessible style by eminent scholars, this book will appeal to students and academics alike.
In addressing objections to the theological voluntarist program, the consensus response by defenders of theological voluntarism has been to affirm a restricted theological voluntarism on which some, but not all, important normative statuses are to be explained by immediate appeal to the divine will. The aim of this article is to assess the merits and demerits of this restricted view. While affirming the restricted view does free theological voluntarism from certain objections, it comes at the cost of committing the theological (...) voluntarist to the view that no theses about the divine nature itself could alone be sufficient to motivate a theological voluntarist thesis about any normative status. And when we examine the case for a theological voluntarist account of any particular normative status – say, rightness, or obligatoriness – there are severe difficulties with that case as it stands. It is thus unclear whether the theological voluntarist program of providing good reasons to affirm a voluntarist explanation of non‐trivially‐theistic normative statuses has borne fruit. (shrink)
This chapter is concerned with an analysis of the etymology of the English term “will,” which is used to emphasize some possible sedimented assumptions with its meaning in English-speaking European and North American academic communities. It takes a look at two general philosophical approaches to the will and examines the will in early modern social theory. From here the chapter turns to anthropology to study two of the most generative approaches to willing in modern culture theory: practice theoretical and psychocultural (...) variants of anthropology. Finally, the chapter discusses the preceding chapters in terms of the four different themes that recur throughout the book. (shrink)