This book is a collection of secondary essays on America's most important philosophic thinkers—statesmen, judges, writers, educators, and activists—from the colonial period to the present. Each essay is a comprehensive introduction to the thought of a noted American on the fundamental meaning of the American regime.
For forty years, Harvey Mansfield has been worth reading. Whether plumbing the depths of MachiavelliOs Discourses or explaining what was at stake in Bill ClintonOs impeachment, MansfieldOs work in political philosophy and political science has set the standard. In Educating the Prince, twenty-one of his students, themselves distinguished scholars, try to live up to that standard. Their essays offer penetrating analyses of Machiavellianism, liberalism, and America., all of them informed by MansfieldOs own work. The volume also includes a bibliography of (...) MansfieldOs writings. (shrink)
Mystics have always claimed that a very significant kind of self-perception is possible, at the end of certain spiritual disciplines. The self that is then supposed to be known is a unity, identical from one experience to the next, and not to be identified with any particular experiences, such as impressions or ideas, which the self has. In short, mystical testimony supports something like a theory of the essential self as simple and unchanging.
Adam Smith raised a series of obstacles to effective large-scale social planning. In this paper, I draw these Smithian obstacles together to construct what I call the “Great Mind Fallacy,” or the belief that there exists some person or persons who can overcome the obstacles Smith raises. The putative scope of the Great Mind Fallacy is larger than one might initially suppose, which I demonstrate by reviewing several contemporary thinkers who would seem to commit it. I then address two ways (...) the fallacy might be overcome, finding both wanting. I close the paper by suggesting that Smith's Great Mind Fallacy sheds interesting light on his “impartial spectator” standard of morality, including with respect to the specific issues of property and ownership. (shrink)
Since the late nineteenth century, studies of mysticism have presented us with two contrasting conclusions. The first is that mystics all over the world report basically the same experience, and the second is that there are great differences among the reports, and possibly among the experiences. On the positive side there are such works as Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy , with its claim that all mystics say that all beings are manifestations of a Divine Ground, that men learn of this (...) by direct intuition, that men have two natures, one phenomenal and one eternal, and that identification with his eternal nature is the purpose of man. Walter Stace supports this view, in a modified way, with his observation that, while each mystic seems to advance a peculiar explanation of his experience, their statements collectively exhibit strong similarities. Mystics commonly report a consciousness of unity, carrying with it feelings of objectivity, blessedness, and holiness. They describe their experience in paradoxical language, and say that ultimately it is ineffable. These twentieth-century observations are repetitions of those of William James, so that this basic point has become a cliché, and, as R. C. Zaehner says, ‘We have been told ad nauseum that mysticism is the highest expression of religion and that it appears in all ages and in all places in a more or less identical form, often in a religious milieu that would seem to be the reverse of propitious.’. (shrink)
While the dominant approaches to the current study of political philosophy are various, with some friendlier to religious belief than others, almost all place constraints on the philosophic and political role of revelation. Mainstream secular political theorists do not entirely disregard religion. But to the extent that they pay attention, their treatment of religious belief is seen more as a political or philosophic problem to be addressed rather than as a positive body of thought from which we might derive important (...) insights about the nature of politics and the truth of the human condition. In a one-of-a-kind collection, DeHart and Holloway bring together leading scholars from various fields, including political science, philosophy, and theology, to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy and to demonstrate the role that religion can and does play in political life. Contributing authors include such important thinkers as Peter Augustine Lawler, Robert C. Koons, J. Budziszewski, Francis J. Beckwith, and JamesStoner. (shrink)
Every year in this country, some 10,000 college and university courses are taught in applied ethics. And many professional organizations now have their own codes of ethics. Yet social science has had little impact upon applied ethics. This book promises to change that trend by illustrating how social science can make a contribution to applied ethics. The text reports psychological studies relevant to applied ethics for many professionals, including accountants, college students and teachers, counselors, dentists, doctors, journalists, nurses, school teachers, (...) athletes, and veterinarians. Each chapter begins with the research base of the cognitive-developmental approach--especially linked to Kohlberg and Rest's Defining Issues Test. Finally, the book summarizes recent research on the following issues: * moral judgment scores within and between professions, * pre- and post-test evaluations of ethics education programs, * moral judgment and moral behavior, * models of professional ethicseducation, and * models for developing new assessment tools. Researchers in different professional fields investigate different questions, develop different research strategies, and report different findings. Typically researchers of one professional field are not aware of research in other fields. An important aim of the present book is to bring this diverse research together so that cross-fertilization can occur and ideas from one field can transfer to another. (shrink)
Knobe (2003a, 2003b, 2004b) and others have demonstrated the surprising fact that the valence of a side-effect action can affect intuitions about whether that action was performed intentionally. Here we report the results of an experiment that extends these findings by testing for an analogous effect regarding knowledge attributions. Our results suggest that subjects are less likely to find that an agent knows an action will bring about a side-effect when the effect is good than when it is bad. It (...) is further argued that these findings, while preliminary, have important implications for recent debates within epistemology about the relationship between knowledge and action. (shrink)
We report the results of a study that investigated the views of researchers working in seven scientific disciplines and in history and philosophy of science in regard to four hypothesized dimensions of scientific realism. Among other things, we found that natural scientists tended to express more strongly realist views than social scientists, that history and philosophy of science scholars tended to express more antirealist views than natural scientists, that van Fraassen’s characterization of scientific realism failed to cluster with more standard (...) characterizations, and that those who endorsed the pessimistic induction were no more or less likely to endorse antirealism. (shrink)
We report the results of two studies that examine folk metaethical judgments about the objectivity of morality. We found that participants attributed almost as much objectivity to ethical statements as they did to statements of physical fact and significantly more objectivity to ethical statements than to statements about preferences or tastes. In both studies, younger participants attributed less objectivity to ethical statements than older participants. Females were observed to attribute slightly less objectivity to ethical statements than males, and we found (...) important interactions between attributions of objectivity and other factors, such as how strong participants’ moral opinions were and how much disagreement about the issue they perceived to exist within society. We believe our results have significant implications for debates about the nature of folk morality and about the nature of morality in general. (shrink)
Professional ethics, a contemporary topic of conversation among business professionals, is discussed using the perceptions of college business students as the focal point. This research relates to the issues of college instruction in professional ethics, differences in perceptions of ethical behavior attributed to gender, and whether or not students' perceptions of ethical behavior can be modified. After presenting a review of the more important historical developments and research related to professional ethics, this paper focuses on the results of a study (...) that compared a set of ethical responses of various groups of college students with each other. The results of hypotheses testing show an ethics maturation process from students' initial exposure to business courses through the graduate level. These tests also show that formal ethics training, i.e., a separate professional ethics course or unit is an existing course, is not a significant factor in this process. However, one may conclude that the students' perceptions of proper ethical behavior matures toward society's expectations during college life. (shrink)
Adam Smith wrote two books, one about economics and the other about morality. How do these books go together? How do markets and morality mix? James Otteson provides a comprehensive examination and interpretation of Smith's moral theory and demonstrates how his conception of morality applies to his understanding of markets, language and other social institutions. Considering Smith's notions of natural sympathy, the impartial spectator, human nature and human conscience, the author addresses whether Smith thinks that moral judgments enjoy a (...) transcendent sanction. (shrink)
Abductivists claim that explanatory considerations (e.g., simplicity, parsimony, explanatory breadth, etc.) favor belief in the external world over skeptical hypotheses involving evil demons and brains in vats. After showing how most versions of abductivism succumb fairly easily to obvious and fatal objections, I explain how rationalist versions of abductivism can avoid these difficulties. I then discuss the most pressing challenges facing abductivist appeals to the a priori and offer suggestions on how to overcome them.
Th e present article reports a series of experiments designed to extend the empirical investigation of folk metaethical intuitions by examining how different kinds of ethical disagreement can impact attributions of objectivity to ethical claims.
A number of researchers have begun to demonstrate that the widely discussed ?Knobe effect? (wherein participants are more likely to think that actions with bad side-effects are brought about intentionally than actions with good or neutral side-effects) can be found in theory of mind judgments that do not involve the concept of intentional action. In this article we report experimental results that show that attributions of knowledge can be influenced by the kinds of (non-epistemic) concerns that drive the Knobe effect. (...) Our findings suggest there is good reason to think that the epistemic version of the Knobe effect is a theoretically significant and robust effect, and that the goodness or badness of side-effects can often have greater influence on participant knowledge attributions than explicit information about objective probabilities. Thus, our work sheds light on important ways in which participant assessments of actions can affect the epistemic assessments participants make of agents? beliefs. (shrink)
In 2004 Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols and Stephen Stich published what has become one of the most widely discussed papers in experimental philosophy, in which they reported that East Asian and Western participants had different intuitions about the semantic reference of proper names. A flurry of criticisms of their work has emerged, and although various replications have been performed, many critics remain unconvinced. We review the current debate over Machery et al.’s (2004) results and take note of which (...) objections to their work have been satisfactorily answered and which ones still need to be addressed. We then report the results of studies that reveal significant cross-cultural and intra-cultural differences in semantic intuitions when we control for variables that critics allege have had a potentially distorting effect on Machery et al.’s findings. These variables include the epistemic perspective from which participants are supposed to understand the research materials, unintended anchoring effects of those materials, and pragmatic factors involved in the interpretation of speech acts within them. Our results confirm the robustness of the cross-cultural differences observed by Machery et al. and thereby strengthen the philosophical challenge they pose. (shrink)
Some philosophers working on the epistemology of disagreement claim that conciliationist responses to peer disagreement embody a kind of intellectual humility. Others contend that standing firm or ‘sticking to one's guns’ in the face of peer disagreement may stem from an admirable kind of courage or internal fortitude. In this paper, we report the results of two empirical studies that examine the relationship between conciliationist and steadfast responses to peer disagreement, on the one hand, and virtues such as intellectual humility, (...) courage, grit, and actively open-minded thinking, on the other. We observed positive correlations between measures of conciliationism, intellectual humility, and actively open-minded thinking but failed to find any reliable association between steadfastness, courage, and grit. Our studies reveal that there are at least two important intellectual virtues associated with conciliationist responses to peer disagreement (viz., intellectual humility and actively open-minded thinking) and two vices associated with steadfast responses (intellectual arrogance and myside bias). These findings shed new light on the overall epistemic goodness of the conciliationist perspective. (shrink)
This paper reports the results of a four year study to measure the effect of a Business and Society course on the ethical judgment of students. The research involves a matched pre/post survey with control design, with the Business and Society course functioning as the treatment variable. The subjects were undergraduate and graduate (M.B.A.) business students (n=460). The answer to the question posed by the title of this paper is yes, in a more ethical direction.
Recent empirical work on folk moral objectivism has attempted to examine the extent to which folk morality presumes that moral judgments are objectively true or false. Some researchers report findings that they take to indicate folk commitment to objectivism (Goodwin & Darley, 2008, 2010, 2012; Nichols & Folds-Bennett, 2003; Wainryb et al., 2004), while others report findings that may reveal a more variable commitment to objectivism (Beebe, 2014; Beebe et al., 2015; Beebe & Sackris, 2016; Sarkissian, et al., 2011; Wright, (...) 2018; Wright, Grandjean, & McWhite, 2013; Wright, McWhite, & Grandjean, 2014). However, the various probes that have been used to examine folk moral objectivism almost always fail to be good direct measures of objectivism. Some critics (Beebe, 2015; Pölzler, 2017, 2018) have suggested that the problems with existing probes are serious enough that they should be viewed as largely incapable of shedding any light on folk metaethical commitments. Building upon the work of Justin Khoo and Joshua Knobe (2018), I argue that many of the existing probes can be seen as good measures of the extent to which people think that the truth of one moral judgment excludes the possibility that a judgment made by a disagreeing party is also true and that the best explanation of the findings obtained using these measures is significant folk support for indexical moral relativism—the view that the content of moral judgments is context-sensitive. If my thesis is correct, many contemporary moral philosophers are deeply mistaken about the metaethical contours of folk morality in one very important respect. (shrink)
Knobe (Analysis 63:190-193, 2003a, Philosophical Psychology 16:309-324, 2003b, Analysis 64:181-187, 2004b) found that people are more likely to attribute intentionality to agents whose actions resulted in negative side-effects that to agents whose actions resulted in positive ones. Subsequent investigation has extended this result to a variety of other folk psychological attributions. The present article reports experimental findings that demonstrate an analogous effect for belief ascriptions. Participants were found to be more likely to ascribe belief, higher degrees of belief, higher degrees (...) of rational belief, and dispositional belief to agents in central Knobe effect cases who bring about negative side-effects than to agents who bring about positive ones. These findings present a significant challenge to widely held views about the Knobe effect, since many explanations of it assume that agents in contrasting pairs of Knobe effect cases do not differ with respect to their beliefs. Participants were also found to be more confident that knowledge should be attributed than they were that belief or dispositional belief should be attributed. This finding strengthens the challenge that Myers-Schulz and Schwitzgebel (2013) have launched against the traditional view that knowledge entails belief. (shrink)