This thesis examines the relationship between nihilism and postmodernism in relation to the sublime, and is divided into two parts: theory and literature. Beginning with histories of nihilism and the sublime, the Enlightenment is constructed as a conflict between the two. Rather than promote a simple binarism, however, nihilism is constructed as a temporally-displaced form of sublimity that is merely labelled as nihilism because of the dominant ideologies at the time. Postmodernism, as a product of the Enlightenment, is therefore implicitly (...) related to both nihilism and the sublime, despite the fact that it is often characterised as either nihilistic or sublime. Whereas prior forms of nihilism are ‗modernist‘ because they seek to codify reality, postmodernism creates a new formulation of nihilism – ‗postmodern nihilism‘ – that is itself sublime. This is explored in relation to a broad survey of postmodern literature through a series of interconnected themes. These themes – apocalypse, the absurd, absence, and space – arise from the debates presented in the theoretical chapters of this thesis, and demonstrate the ways in which nihilism and the sublime interact within postmodern literature. Because of the theoretical and literary debates presented within it, this thesis concludes that it cannot be a thesis at all. (shrink)
This important new book develops a new concept of autonomy. The notion of autonomy has emerged as central to contemporary moral and political philosophy, particularly in the area of applied ethics. professor Dworkin examines the nature and value of autonomy and uses the concept to analyse various practical moral issues such as proxy consent in the medical context, paternalism, and entrapment by law enforcement officials.
Some of the most difficult and wrenching social and political issues in U.S. society today are about the relationship between strongly held moral values and the laws of the land. There is no consensus about whether the law should deal with morality at all, and if it is to do so, there is no agreement over whose morality is to be reflected in the law.In this compact and carefully edited anthology, Gerald Dworkin presents the readings necessary for an understanding of (...) these issues. The volume contains classical and contemporary philosophical statements as well as a generous sampling of legal cases and opinions, including such topics of current interest as flag-burning, nude dancing, the sale of human organs, and sexual behavior. The volume represents the best in applied legal and moral philosophy. (shrink)
Salvaging the Concept of Nudge 1 makes a number of good points about how the concept of a nudge should be understood, and a number of important distinctions in specifying more precisely the important idea of freedom of choice. As Saghai suggests, this is a first cut, and more work needs to be done in clarifying the issues so as to make the idea of a nudge a useful tool for policy purposes.In this Commentary, I want to explore some of (...) the difficulties that remain in getting a clear understanding of the ideas used to clarify the idea of freedom of choice, in particular, the idea that some influences are easily resistible and some are not. In particular, I am interested in the use of various deceptive modes such as lying, failure to disclose and misleading utterances. I believe that there is an important ambiguity in thinking about these deceptive modes which throws some doubt on the adequacy of the idea of resistibility.The key definitions are the following:Substantial Non-control: A's influence to get B to α is substantially non-controlling when B could easily not α if she did not want to α.Easy resistibility: A's influence is easily resistible if B is able to effortlessly oppose the …. (shrink)
In both theoretical and applied contexts the concept of autonomy has assumed increasing importance in recent normative philosophical discussion. Given various problems to be clarified or resolved the author characterizes the concept by first setting out conditions of adequacy. The author then links the notion of autonomy to the identification and critical reflection of an agent upon his first-order motivations. It is only when a person identifies with the influences that motivate him, assimilates them to himself, that he is autonomous. (...) In addition this process of identification must itself meet certain procedural constraints. (shrink)
The moral issues involved in doctors assisting patients to die with dignity are of absolutely central concern to the medical profession, ethicists, and the public at large. The debate is fuelled by cases that extend far beyond passive euthanasia to the active consideration of killing by physicians. The need for a sophisticated but lucid exposition of the two sides of the argument is now urgent. This book supplies that need. Two prominent philosophers, Gerald Dworkin and R. G. Frey present the (...) case for legalization of physician-assisted suicide. One of the best-known ethicists in the US, Sissela Bok, argues the case against. (shrink)
The chapter discusses the various ways in which ethical theory and moral practice relate to one another. Various proposals are discussed and evaluated, such as that the relation is a deductive one, that the relation is one of norm-specification, or that the theory provides multiple moral principles that must be balanced against one another. The author makes some suggestions on how the relation between theory and practice should be understood.
This is an essay on the limits of the Criminal Law. In particular, it is about what principles, if any, determine whether it is legitimate for the state to criminalize certain conduct. Joel Feinberg in his great work on the moral limits of the criminal law argues that we need only two principles. One is a principle regulating harm to other people and the other is an offense principle regulating certain kinds of offensive conduct. I explore various aspects of his (...) argument. In particular I concentrate on his use of the Volenti Principle: He who consents cannot be wrongfully harmed by conduct to which he has fully consented. Feinberg uses the principle to argue that certain kinds of consensual conduct cannot be forbidden unless we adopt some kind of legal moralism, i.e., conduct can be forbidden on the grounds that it is immoral even though the conduct harms no other person. I explore the possibility of avoiding legal moralism by limiting the use of the Volenti Principle. (shrink)
John Stuart Mill's On Liberty continues to shape modern Western conceptions of individual freedom. In this volume, eight leading Mill scholars comment on this landmark work. Their essays, selected for their importance and accessibility, serve as an excellent introduction to this foundational text.
This is a study of the question of whether moral principles, as justified by a contractualist scheme, such as Scanlon's, are binding on persons, i.e., give them reasons to act in accordance with such principles. I argue that for those agents who meet the motivational conditions that Scanlon lays down, i.e., those who seek to reach agreement with others on principles that are not rejectable, such principles are binding. But on those who do not meet the motivational condition the principles (...) are not binding. (shrink)
The essential outlines of the debate over voluntary euthanasia have not changed very much since Glanville Williams and Yale Kamisar debated the issues almost fifty years ago. On the one hand, there is an appeal to considerations of autonomy and the relief of suffering: individuals should be able to choose the timing and mode of their dying and they should not have to suffer from pain and other modes of indignity such as incontinence, paralysis, muscular wastage, and mental deterioration. So (...) far these would only generate a right or permission to take one's own life, but when we consider the problems in the context of end-of-life medical care and the uncontroversial duty of physicians to relieve the suffering of their patients we get a claim to assistance in dying. (shrink)
This paper examines the legitimacy of pro-active law enforcement techniques, i.e. the use of deception to produce the performance of a criminal act in circumstances where it can be observed by law enforcement officials. It argues that law enforcement officials should only be allowed to create the intent to commit a crime in individuals who they have probable cause to suppose are already engaged or intending to engage in criminal activity of a similar nature.
In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the question of when, if ever, the state may use coercion to enforce majority views about what types of conduct are right or wrong, noble or base, decent or indecent. Such interest has been generated by both political and philosophibal pressures. In recent political history, controversies over such issues as abortion, homosexuality, pornography, textbooks in schools, new reproductive technologies such as surrogate parenting and in vitro fertilization, and faith healing have focused (...) attention on the role of the state in supporting or opposing various moral views. In political philosophy, often a theoretical reflection of the political debates of the time, we have seen renewed attempts to provide a satisfactory foundation for traditional liberal views of the legitimate scope of state power. In particular, there has been an emphasis on the neutrality of the liberal state and the right of individuals to be treated as equals by the state. (shrink)