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Jonathan Webber
Cardiff University
  1. Virtue, Character and Situation.Jonathan Webber - 2006 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 3 (2):193-213.
    Philosophers have recently argued that traditional discussions of virtue and character presuppose an account of behaviour that experimental psychology has shown to be false. Behaviour does not issue from global traits such as prudence, temperance, courage or fairness, they claim, but from local traits such as sailing-in-rough-weather-with-friends-courage and office-party-temperance. The data employed provides evidence for this view only if we understand it in the light of a behaviourist construal of traits in terms of stimulus and response, rather than in the (...)
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  2. Liar!Jonathan Webber - 2013 - Analysis 73 (4):651-659.
    We have good reason to condemn lying more strongly than misleading and to condemn bullshit assertion less harshly than lying but more harshly than misleading. We each have good reason to mislead rather than make bullshit assertions, but to make bullshit assertions rather than lie. This is because these forms of deception damage credibility in different ways. We can trust the misleader to assert only what they believe to be true. We can trust the bullshitter not to assert what they (...)
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  3. Character, Common-Sense, and Expertise.Jonathan Webber - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (1):89-104.
    Gilbert Harman has argued that the common-sense characterological psychology employed in virtue ethics is rooted not in unbiased observation of close acquaintances, but rather in the ‘fundamental attribution error’. If this is right, then philosophers cannot rely on their intuitions for insight into characterological psychology, and it might even be that there is no such thing as character. This supports the idea, urged by John Doris and Stephen Stich, that we should rely exclusively on experimental psychology for our explanations of (...)
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  4.  61
    Character, Consistency, and Classification.Jonathan Webber - 2006 - Mind 115 (459):651-658.
    John Doris has recently argued that since we do not possess character traits as traditionally conceived, virtue ethics is rooted in a false empirical presupposition. Gopal Sreenivasan has claimed, in a paper in Mind, that Doris has not provided suitable evidence for his empirical claim. But the experiment Sreenivasan focuses on is not one that Doris employs, and neither is it relevantly similar in structure. The confusion arises because both authors use the phrase ‘cross-situational consistency’ to describe the aspect of (...)
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  5.  94
    Intentional Side-Effects of Action.Jonathan Webber & Robin Scaife - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (2):179-203.
    Recent empirical research into the folk classification of the outcomes of actions as intentional is usually taken to show that such classification has an irreducibly normative dimension. Various interpretations of the experimental data have in common the claim that whether the side-effect of an action counts as intentional depends on some normative valence of that side-effect.1 This is the way that Joshua Knobe, for example, whose experimental research started this debate, understands the data. Some critics of this view claim the (...)
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  6. Character, Global and Local.Jonathan Webber - 2007 - Utilitas 19 (4):430-434.
    Philosophers have recently argued that we should revise our understanding of character. An individual’s behaviour is governed not by a set of ‘global’ traits, each elicited by a certain kind of situational feature, but by a much larger array of ‘local’ traits, each elicited by a certain combination of situational features. The data cited by these philosophers supports their theory only if we conceive of traits purely in terms of stimulus and response, rather than in the more traditional terms of (...)
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  7. Automaticity in Virtuous Action.Clea F. Rees & Jonathan Webber - 2014 - In Nancy E. Snow & Franco V. Trivigno (eds.), The Philosophy and Psychology of Character and Happiness. Routledge. pp. 75-90.
    Automaticity is rapid and effortless cognition that operates without conscious awareness or deliberative control. An action is virtuous to the degree that it meets the requirements of the ethical virtues in the circumstances. What contribution does automaticity make to the ethical virtue of an action? How far is the automaticity discussed by virtue ethicists consonant with, or even supported by, the findings of empirical psychology? We argue that the automaticity of virtuous action is automaticity not of skill, but of motivation. (...)
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  8. Character, Attitude and Disposition.Jonathan Webber - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (1):1082-1096.
    Recent debate over the empirical psychological presuppositions of virtue ethics has focused on reactive behavioural dispositions. But there are many character traits that cannot be understood properly in this way. Such traits are well described by attitude psychology. Moreover, the findings of attitude psychology support virtue ethics in three ways. First, they confirm the role of habituation in the development of character. Further, they show virtue ethics to be compatible with the situation manipulation experiments at the heart of the recent (...)
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  9. Character, Attitude and Disposition.Jonathan Webber - unknown
    Recent debate over the empirical psychological presuppositions of virtue ethics has focused on reactive behavioural dispositions. But there are many character traits that cannot be understood properly in this way. Such traits are well described by attitude psychology. Moreover, the findings of attitude psychology support virtue ethics in three ways. First, they confirm the role of habituation in the development of character. Further, they show virtue ethics to be compatible with the situation manipulation experiments at the heart of the recent (...)
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  10. The Existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre.Jonathan Webber - 2008 - Routledge.
    Webber argues for a new interpretation of Sartrean existentialism. On this reading, Sartre is arguing that each person’s character consists in the projects they choose to pursue and that we are all already aware of this but prefer not to face it. Careful consideration of his existentialist writings shows this to be the unifying theme of his theories of consciousness, freedom, the self, bad faith, personal relationships, existential psychoanalysis, and the possibility of authenticity. Developing this account affords many insights into (...)
  11.  51
    Sartre's Theory of Character.Jonathan Webber - 2006 - European Journal of Philosophy 14 (1):94–116.
    Various ethical theories recommend developing a morally sound character, and therefore require an understanding of the nature and development of traits. Philosophers usually accept the Aristotelian view that traits are a combination of habit and insight. Sartre’s early work offers an alternative: traits consist in projects. One aim of this paper is to show that this is indeed Sartre’s view, by explaining the errors that have lead philosophers to ignore his theory of character or deny that he has one. The (...)
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  12. Constancy, Fidelity, and Integrity.Clea F. Rees & Jonathan Webber - 2013 - In Stan van Hooft (ed.). Acumen Publishing. pp. 399-408.
  13. Instilling Virtue.Jonathan Webber - 2016 - In Alberto Masala & Jonathan Webber (eds.), From Personality to Virtue. Oxford University Press. pp. 134-154.
    Two debates in contemporary philosophical moral psychology have so far been conducted almost entirely in isolation from one another despite their structural similarity. One is the debate over the importance for virtue ethics of the results of situational manipulation experiments in social psychology. The other is the debate over the ethical implications of experiments that reveal gender and race biases in social cognition. In both cases, the ethical problem posed cannot be identified without first clarifying the cognitive structures underlying the (...)
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  14.  82
    Habituation and First-Person Authority.Jonathan Webber - 2016 - In Roman Altshuler & Michael Sigrist (eds.), Time and the Philosophy of Action. Routledge.
    Richard Moran’s theory of first-person authority as the agential authority to make up one’s own mind rests on a form of mind-body dualism that does not allow for habituation as part of normal psychological functioning. We have good intuitive and empirical reason to accept that habituation is central to the normal functioning of desire. There is some empirical support for the idea that habituation plays a parallel role in belief. In particular, at least one form of implicit bias seems better (...)
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  15.  95
    Reading Sartre: On Phenomenology and Existentialism.Jonathan Webber (ed.) - 2010 - Routledge.
    Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. The fourteen original essays in this volume focus on the phenomenological and existentialist writings of the first major phase of his published career, arguing with scholarly precision for their continuing importance to philosophical debate. Aspects of Sartre’s philosophy under discussion in this volume include: consciousness and self-consciousness imagination and aesthetic experience emotions and other feelings embodiment selfhood and the Other freedom, bad faith, and authenticity literary fiction as (...)
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  16. Doing Without Representation: Coping with Dreyfus.Jonathan Webber - 2002 - Philosophical Explorations 5 (1):82-88.
    Hubert Dreyfus argues that the traditional and currently dominant conception of an action, as an event initiated or governed by a mental representation of a possible state of affairs that the agent is trying to realise, is inadequate. If Dreyfus is right, then we need a new conception of action. I argue, however, that the considerations that Dreyfus adduces show only that an action need not be initiated or governed by a conceptual representation, but since a representation need not be (...)
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  17.  51
    Knowing One's Own Desires.Jonathan Webber - 2016 - In Daniel Dahlstrom, Andreas Elpidorou & Walter Hopp (eds.), Philosophy of Mind and Phenomenology: Conceptual and Empirical Approaches. Routledge. pp. 165-179.
    Do you know your own desires in some way that other people cannot know them? Richard Moran claims that his influential theory of first-person authority over beliefs and intentions can also cover desires. However, his deliberative model can apply to desire only if one already has some other way of knowing one’s own desires. Jean-Paul Sartre’s conception of pure reflection, on the other hand, portrays a direct epistemic access to one’s own desires that can ground fundamental first-person authority over desires (...)
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  18.  99
    Bad Faith and the Unconscious.Jonathan Webber - 2013 - In Hugh LaFolette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley.
    Freud's account of repression retains vestiges of the Cartesian model of the mind. Sartre's argument against Freud is essentially an objection to this Cartesian aspect, which Sartre's own theory of bad faith dispenses with.
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  19.  18
    Sartre’s Transcendental Phenomenology.Jonathan Webber - 2017 - In Dan Zahavi (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Phenomenology. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
    The first phase of Sartre’s philosophical publications is marked by an apparent ambivalence towards Husserl’s transcendental turn. Sartre accepts both major aspects of that turn, the phenomenological reduction and the use of transcendental argumentation. Yet his rejection of the transcendental ego that Husserl derives from this transcendental turn overlooks an obvious transcendental argument in favour of it. His books on emotion and imagination, moreover, make only very brief comments about the transcendental constitution of the world of experience. In each case, (...)
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  20. Sex.Jonathan Webber - 2009 - Philosophy 84 (2):233-250.
    The sexual domain is unified only by the phenomenal quality of the occurrence of the desires, activities, and pleasures classed as sexual. There is no conceptual restriction on the range of intentional objects those desires, activities, and pleasures can take. Neither is there good conceptual reason to privilege some sexual desires, activities, or pleasures as paradigmatic. Since the phenomenal quality unifying the sexual domain is not itself morally significant, the morality of sexuality is no different from morality in general. The (...)
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  21.  79
    Motivated Aversion: Non-Thetic Awareness in Bad Faith.Jonathan Webber - 2002 - Sartre Studies International 8 (1):45-57.
    Sartre's concept of ‘non-thetic awareness’ must be understood as equivalent to the concept of ‘nonconceptual content’ currently discussed in anglophone epistemology and philosophy of mind, since it could not otherwise play the role in the structure of ‘bad faith’, or self-deception, that Sartre ascribes to it. This understanding of the term makes sense of some otherwise puzzling features of Sartre's early philosophy, and has implications for understanding certain areas of his thought.
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  22.  87
    There Is Something About Inez.Jonathan Webber - 2010 - Think (27):45-56.
    Hell is other people. This miserable-sounding soundbite, the moment of revelation in Jean- Paul Sartre’s shortest play, must be the most quoted line of twentieth-century philosophy. Not even Jacques Derrida’s claim that ‘there is nothing beyond the text’, fondly cherished in some regions of academia, has anything like the cultural reach of what is often taken to be the quintessential Sartrean slogan. And the analytic tradition hardly abounds in snappy lines: meaning just ain’t in the head, to be is to (...)
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  23.  84
    Authenticity.Jonathan Webber - 2013 - In Steven Churchill & Jack Reynolds (eds.), Jean-Paul Sartre: Key Concepts. Acumen Publishing.
    I argue that Sartre's account of the nature and value of authenticity survives Larmore's recent criticism and is preferable to Larmore's alternative account.
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  24.  98
    Climate Change and Public Moral Reasoning.Jonathan Webber - 2011 - In Thom Brooks (ed.), New Waves in Ethics. Palgrave.
  25.  86
    Bad Faith and the Other.Jonathan Webber - 2010 - In Reading Sartre: On Phenomenology and Existentialism. Routledge.
    Nothingness , is his use of extended narrative vignettes that immediately resound with the reader’s own experience yet are intended to illustrate, perhaps also to support, complex and controversial theoretical claims about the structures of conscious experience and the shape of the human condition. Among the best known of these are his description of Parisian café waiters, who somehow contrive to caricature themselves, and his analysis of feeling shame upon being caught spying through a keyhole. There is some disagreement among (...)
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  26.  67
    Character.Jonathan Webber - 2010 - The Philosophers' Magazine (50):112-113.
    ‘Of all the difficulties which impede the progress of thought and the formation of well- grounded opinions on life and social arrangements’, wrote John Stuart Mill around 150 years ago, ‘the greatest is now the unspeakable ignorance and inattention of mankind in respect of the influences which form character’. Aristotle is never far in the background of Mill’s moral and political philosophy, a presence weightier than Jeremy Bentham’s in the foreground. That this is often overlooked is not only because thinkers (...)
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  27.  1
    Character, Consistency, and Classification.Jonathan Webber - unknown
    John Doris has recently argued that since we do not possess character traits as traditionally conceived, virtue ethics is rooted in a false empirical presupposition. Gopal Sreenivasan has claimed, in a paper in Mind, that Doris has not provided suitable evidence for his empirical claim. But the experiment Sreenivasan focuses on is not one that Doris employs, and neither is it relevantly similar in structure. The confusion arises because both authors use the phrase ‘cross-situational consistency’ to describe the aspect of (...)
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  28.  29
    Green-Blooded Passion.Jonathan Webber - 2008 - The Philosophers' Magazine 43:113-114.
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  29.  66
    Freedom.Jonathan Webber - 2011 - In Sebastian Luft & Søren Overgaard (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Phenomenology. Routledge.
    Human freedom was Jean-Paul Sartre’s central philosophical preoccupation throughout his career. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the cornerstone of his moral and political thought, Being and Nothingness, contains an extensive and subtle account of the metaphysical freedom that he considered fundamental to the kind of existence that humans have. Although rooted in phenomenology, Sartre’s account of freedom draws very little on analysis of the experience of freedom itself. It is rather based on a general phenomenological account of perceptual experience (...)
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  30.  60
    A Law Unto Oneself.Jonathan Webber - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (246):170-189.
    We should understand the concept of self-legislation that is central to Kant's moral philosophy not in terms of the enactment of statute, but in terms of the way in which judges make law, by setting down and refining precedent through particular judgements. This paper presents a descriptive model of agency based on self-legislation so understood, and argues that we can read Kant's normative ethics as based on this view of agency. It is intended to contribute to contemporary debates in moral (...)
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  31.  28
    Too Serious Sartre?Jonathan Webber - 2001 - The Philosophers' Magazine 16:46-47.
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  32.  50
    Reconstructing Alfie.Jonathan Webber - 2009 - The Philosophers' Magazine (47):61-66.
    Good stories tend to get told and retold, over and over again, mutating in the process. They adapt to different times and places, taking on and sloughing off embellishments as they are handed on. They persist through a kind of evolution. This is how it has always been and how it must be. Tales cannot survive otherwise. But this does not mean that all mutations are equally acceptable. For critical discussion is part of the environment in which stories survive. So (...)
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  33. Existentialism.Jonathan Webber - 2010 - In John Skorupski (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Ethics. Routledge.
    Since it gained currency at the end of the second world war, the term “existentialism” has mostly been associated with a cultural movement that grew out of the wartime intellectual atmosphere of the Left Bank in Paris and spread through fiction and art as much as philosophy. The theoretical and other writings of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, and Frantz Fanon in the 1940s and 1950s are usually taken as central to this movement, as are the sculptures of (...)
     
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  34.  49
    Cultivating Virtue.Jonathan Webber - 2013 - In Havi Carel & Darian Meacham (eds.), Phenomenology and Naturalism: Examining the Relationship Between Human Experience and Nature. Cambridge University Press. pp. 239-259.
    Ought you to cultivate your own virtue? Various philosophers have argued that there is something suspect about directing one’s ethical attention towards oneself in this way. These arguments can be divided between those that deem aiming at virtue for its own sake to be narcissistic and those that consider aiming at virtue for the sake of good behaviour to involve a kind of doublethink. Underlying them all is the assumption that epistemic access to one’s own character requires an external point (...)
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  35. Sartre Studies International Vol. 8, No. 1 (2002).Jonathan Webber - unknown
    Sartre's concept of ‘non-thetic awareness’ must be understood as equivalent to the concept of ‘nonconceptual content’ currently discussed in anglophone epistemology and philosophy of mind, since it could not otherwise play the role in the structure of ‘bad faith’, or self-deception, that Sartre ascribes to it. This understanding of the term makes sense of some otherwise puzzling features of Sartre's early philosophy, and has implications for understanding certain areas of his thought.
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  36.  20
    Whatever Next?Jonathan Webber - 2002 - The Philosophers' Magazine 20:37-38.
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  37.  24
    Virtue and Vice in the Hurt Locker.Jonathan Webber - 2011 - Dialogue (37).
    Much of the critical praise for the film concerns the first of these aims. Bigelow’s use of at least four film crews for every scene affords the sense of being present in the situation, continuously shifting perspective, alert to possible danger. The relative anonymity of the scenery, clearly somewhere in the Middle East but not clearly anywhere in particular, fosters this uneasy sense of immersion in an unfamiliar scenario where the sources of danger are unpredictable. Protracted periods of silence, punctuated (...)
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  38.  5
    Cultivating Virtue.Jonathan Webber - 2013 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 72:239-259.
    Ought you to cultivate your own virtue? Various philosophers have argued that there is something suspect about directing one's ethical attention towards oneself in this way. These arguments can be divided between those that deem aiming at virtue for its own sake to be narcissistic and those that consider aiming at virtue for the sake of good behaviour to involve a kind of doublethink. Underlying them all is the assumption that epistemic access to one's own character requires an external point (...)
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  39.  4
    Joseph S. Catalano, Reading Sartre, Cambridge University Press, 2010, 213pp., $25.99 , ISBN 9780521152273. [Book Review].Jonathan Webber - 2011 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201102.
    Review of Joseph Catalano's book Reading Sartre.
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  40.  2
    Sex.Jonathan Webber - unknown
    The sexual domain is unified only by the phenomenal quality of the occurrence of the desires, activities, and pleasures it includes. There is no conceptual restriction on the range of intentional objects those desires, activities, and pleasures can take. Neither is there good conceptual reason to privilege any class of them as paradigmatic. Since the quality unifying the sexual is not morally significant, the morality of sexuality is no different from morality in general. The view that participant consent is morally (...)
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  41.  2
    Sex.Jonathan Webber - unknown
    The sexual domain is unified only by the phenomenal quality of the occurrence of the desires, activities, and pleasures it includes. There is no conceptual restriction on the range of intentional objects those desires, activities, and pleasures can take. Neither is there good conceptual reason to privilege any class of them as paradigmatic. Since the quality unifying the sexual is not morally significant, the morality of sexuality is no different from morality in general. The view that participant consent is morally (...)
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  42.  2
    Sartre's Theory of Character.Jonathan Webber - unknown
    Various influential ethical theories propose that we should strive to develop morally sound character traits, either because good actions are those that issue from good character traits, or because good traits are those that generally incline us toward actions that are good for some independent reason such as the intentions with which they are performed or the consequences of performing them. This proposal obviously raises questions about the nature and origins of character traits, and our degree of control over them. (...)
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  43.  2
    A Law Unto Oneself.Jonathan Webber - unknown
    We should understand the concept of self-legislation that is central to Kant's moral philosophy not in terms of the enactment of statute, but in terms of the way in which judges make law, by setting down and refining precedent through particular judgements. This paper presents a descriptive model of agency based on self-legislation so understood, and argues that we can read Kant's normative ethics as based on this view of agency. It is intended to contribute to contemporary debates in moral (...)
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  44.  2
    Sex.Jonathan Webber - unknown
    The sexual domain is unified only by the phenomenal quality of the occurrence of the desires, activities, and pleasures it includes. There is no conceptual restriction on the range of intentional objects those desires, activities, and pleasures can take. Neither is there good conceptual reason to privilege any class of them as paradigmatic. Since the quality unifying the sexual is not morally significant, the morality of sexuality is no different from morality in general. The view that participant consent is morally (...)
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  45.  2
    Character.Jonathan Webber - 2010 - The Philosophers' Magazine 50:112-113.
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  46.  6
    Review of Joseph S. Catalano, Reading Sartre[REVIEW]Jonathan Webber - 2011 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2011 (2).
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  47.  1
    A Law Unto Oneself.Jonathan Webber - unknown
    We should understand the concept of self-legislation that is central to Kant's moral philosophy not in terms of the enactment of statute, but in terms of the way in which judges make law, by setting down and refining precedent through particular judgements. This paper presents a descriptive model of agency based on self-legislation so understood, and argues that we can read Kant's normative ethics as based on this view of agency. It is intended to contribute to contemporary debates in moral (...)
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  48.  1
    A Law Unto Oneself.Jonathan Webber - unknown
    We should understand the concept of self-legislation that is central to Kant's moral philosophy not in terms of the enactment of statute, but in terms of the way in which judges make law, by setting down and refining precedent through particular judgements. This paper presents a descriptive model of agency based on self-legislation so understood, and argues that we can read Kant's normative ethics as based on this view of agency. It is intended to contribute to contemporary debates in moral (...)
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  49.  1
    Character, Attitude and Disposition.Jonathan Webber - unknown
    Recent debate over the empirical psychological presuppositions of virtue ethics has focused on reactive behavioural dispositions. But there are many character traits that cannot be understood properly in this way. Such traits are well described by attitude psychology. Moreover, the findings of attitude psychology support virtue ethics in three ways. First, they confirm the role of habituation in the development of character. Further, they show virtue ethics to be compatible with the situation manipulation experiments at the heart of the recent (...)
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  50.  1
    Character, Attitude and Disposition.Jonathan Webber - unknown
    Recent debate over the empirical psychological presuppositions of virtue ethics has focused on reactive behavioural dispositions. But there are many character traits that cannot be understood properly in this way. Such traits are well described by attitude psychology. Moreover, the findings of attitude psychology support virtue ethics in three ways. First, they confirm the role of habituation in the development of character. Further, they show virtue ethics to be compatible with the situation manipulation experiments at the heart of the recent (...)
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