In his dialogues, Plato presents different ways in which to understand the relation between Forms and particulars. In the Symposium, we are presented with yet another, hitherto unidentified Form-particular relation: the relation is Love, which binds together Form and particular in a generative manner, fulfilling all the metaphysical requirements of the individual’s qualification by participation. Love in relation to the beautiful motivates human action to desire for knowledge of the Form, resulting in the lover actively cultivating and bringing into being (...) new beauty in the world, and in herself. Chapters 1 and 2 of this thesis offer a survey of the arguments and examples Plato puts forward in the text of the corpus regarding the nature of Forms and the nature of participation, alongside a framework of the traditional interpretations of these two Platonic concepts in the literature. Chapter 3 turns to a close examination of Erôs in the Symposium, arguing that the love Plato presents in this dialogue is of a different sort than appetitive emotion. It is an aesthetic and intellectual attraction, capable of stimulating cognitive achievement. Erôs, however, does not stop there. The lover is led not only to contemplation of beauty, but to the generation of beauty, which is the subject of Chapter 4. The emotive-turn-to-cognitive relation of Erôs, I argue, is the clearest picture Plato paints of how possession of properties can be explained through participation in Forms. Erôs leads the lover to produce beauty in the world and in the soul, which explains how love in relation to the beautiful can lead to becoming beautiful. The object of love is the generation of beauty, the mortal mechanism of participation in the Form by which the lover herself becomes beautiful. Finally, Chapter 5 focusses on beauty itself and its role in moral education. Beauty, for Plato, is required for creative generation and can be understood as a uniquely powerful virtue of soul. (shrink)
The role of emotions in mental life is the subject of longstanding controversy, spanning the history of ethics, moral psychology, and educational theory. This paper defends an account of love’s cognitive power. My starting point is Plato’s dialogue, the Symposium, in which we find the surprising claim that love aims at engendering moral virtue. I argue that this understanding affords love a crucial place in educational curricula, as engaging the emotions can motivate both cognitive achievement and moral development. I first (...) outline the state of the challenge between dominant rival theories regarding emotions in learning. Next, I demonstrate how Platonic virtue ethics offers the most tenable prospect for an education of reason and emotion. Third, I sketch three practical ways educators might constructively engage emotions in the classroom. I conclude that love’s virtue is its peerless power to motivate the creative and lateral thinking which leads to moral development. (shrink)
Many aestheticians and ethicists are interested in the similarities and connections between aesthetics and ethics (Nussbaum 1990; Foot 2002; Gaut 2007). One way in which some have suggested the two domains are different is that in ethics there exist obligations while in aesthetics there do not (Hampshire 1954). However, Marcia Muelder Eaton has argued that there is good reason to think that aesthetic obligations do exist (Eaton 2008). We will explore the nature of these obligations by asking whether acts of (...) aesthetic supererogation (acts that go beyond the call of our aesthetic obligations) are possible. In this paper, we defend the thesis that there is good reason to think such acts exist. (shrink)
Neurophenomenological (NP) methods integrate objective and subjective data in ways that retain the statistical power of established disciplines (like cognitive science) while embracing the value of first-person reports of experience. The present paper positions neurophenomenology as an approach that pulls from traditions of cognitive science but includes techniques that are challenging for cognitive science in some ways. A baseline study is reviewed for “lessons learned,” that is, the potential methodological improvements that will support advancements in understanding consciousness and cognition using (...) neurophenomenology. These improvements, we suggest, include (1) addressing issues of interdisciplinarity by purposefully and systematically creating and maintaining shared mental models among research team members; (2) making sure that NP experiments include high standards of experimental design and execution to achieve variable control, reliability, generalizability, and replication of results; and (3) conceiving of phenomenological interview techniques as placing the impetus on the interviewer in interaction with the experimental subject. (shrink)
This paper defends two claims. First, we will argue for the existence of aesthetic demands in the realm of everyday aesthetics, and that these demands are not reducible to moral demands. Second, we will argue that we must recognise the limits of these demands in order to combat a widespread form of gendered oppression. The concept of aesthetic supererogation offers a new structural framework to understand both the pernicious nature of this oppression and what may be done to mitigate it.
This grounded study investigated the negotiation of authorship by faculty members, graduate student mentors, and their undergraduate protégés in undergraduate research experiences at a private research university in the northeastern United States. Semi-structured interviews using complementary scripts were conducted separately with 42 participants over a 3 year period to probe their knowledge and understanding of responsible authorship and publication practices and learn how faculty and students entered into authorship decision-making intended to lead to the publication of peer-reviewed technical papers. Herein (...) the theoretical model for the negotiation of authorship developed through the analysis of these interviews is reported. The model identifies critical causal and intervening conditions responsible for the coping strategies faculty and students employ, which, in our study, appear to often produce unfortunate consequences for all involved. The undergraduate student researchers and their graduate student mentors interviewed in this study exhibited a limited understanding of authorship and the requirements for authorship in their research groups. The power differential between faculty and students, the students’ limited epistemic development, the busy-ness of the faculty, and the faculty’s failure to prioritize authorship have been identified as key factors inhibiting both undergraduate and graduate students from developing a deeper understanding of responsible authorship and publication practices. Implications for graduate education and undergraduate research are discussed, and strategies for helping all students to develop a deeper understanding of authorship are identified. (shrink)
This paper defends an account of how erotic love works to develop virtue. It is argued that love drives moral development by holding the creation of virtue in the individual as the emotion’s intentional object. After analyzing the distinction between passive and active ac- counts of the object of love, this paper demonstrates that a Platonic virtue-ethical understanding of erotic love—far from being consumed with ascetic contemplation—offers a positive treatment of emotion’s role in the attainment and social practice of virtue.
On this episode of The Owl, LaurenWare sits down with host Ian Olasov to talk about how fear and other emotions shape our understanding of risk, about what fear is and when it's rational, and about why Halloween is a thing.
The medical intervention of ‘twilight sleep’, or the use of a scopolamine–morphine mixture to anaesthetise labouring women, caused a furore among doctors and early 20th-century feminists. Suffragists and women’s rights advocates led the Twilight Sleep Association in a quest to encourage doctors and their female patients to widely embrace the practice. Activists felt the method revolutionised the notoriously dangerous and painful childbirth process for women, touting its benefits as the key to allowing women to control their birth experience at a (...) time when the maternal mortality rate remained high despite medical advances in obstetrics. Yet many physicians attacked the practice as dangerous for patients and their babies and antithetical to the expectations for proper womanhood and motherly duty. Historians of women’s health have rightly cited Twilight Sleep as the beginning of the medicalisation and depersonalisation of the childbirth process in the 20th century. This article instead repositions the feminist political arguments for the method as an important precursor for the rhetoric of the early birth control movement, led by Mary Ware Dennett and Margaret Sanger. Both Twilight Sleep and the birth control movement represent a distinct moment in the early 20th century wherein pain was deeply connected to politics and the rhetoric of equal rights. The two reformers emphasised in their publications and appeals to the public the vast social significance of reproductive pain—both physical and psychological. They contended that women’s lack of control over both pregnancy and birth represented the greatest hindrance to women’s fulfilment of their political rights and a danger to the healthy development of larger society. In their arguments for legal contraception, Dennett and Sanger placed women’s pain front and centre as the primary reason for changing a law that hindered women’s full participation in the public order. (shrink)
An imperfect duty such as the duty to aid those in need is supposed to leave leeway for choice as to how to satisfy it, but if our reason for a certain way of satisfying it is our strongest, that leeway would seem to be eliminated. This paper defends a conception of practical reasons designed to preserve it, without slighting the binding force of moral requirements, though it allows us to discount certain moral reasons. Only reasons that offer criticism of (...) alternatives can yield requirements, but our reasons for particular ways of satisfying imperfect duties merely count in favor of the acts in question. When the state is authorized to take over charitable obligations, it should not be seen as enforcing fulfillment of our imperfect duties, but rather as forcing us to help fulfill collective duties that may be substantially modified by transfer to the state, replacing imperfect duties with perfect. Besides the cost to us in freedom of choice there is a moral cost to replacing the virtuous motives of charity with those that tend to accompany paying taxes. However, a compensating feature of state involvement is the fact that its more precise demands come with limits. (shrink)
What is morality? Where does it come from? And why do most of us heed its call most of the time? In Braintrust, neurophilosophy pioneer Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain. She describes the "neurobiological platform of bonding" that, modified by evolutionary pressures and cultural values, has led to human styles of moral behavior. The result is a provocative genealogy of morals that asks us to reevaluate the priority given to religion, absolute rules, (...) and pure reason in accounting for the basis of morality. Moral values, Churchland argues, are rooted in a behavior common to all mammals--the caring for offspring. The evolved structure, processes, and chemistry of the brain incline humans to strive not only for self-preservation but for the well-being of allied selves--first offspring, then mates, kin, and so on, in wider and wider "caring" circles. Separation and exclusion cause pain, and the company of loved ones causes pleasure; responding to feelings of social pain and pleasure, brains adjust their circuitry to local customs. In this way, caring is apportioned, conscience molded, and moral intuitions instilled. A key part of the story is oxytocin, an ancient body-and-brain molecule that, by decreasing the stress response, allows humans to develop the trust in one another necessary for the development of close-knit ties, social institutions, and morality. A major new account of what really makes us moral, Braintrust challenges us to reconsider the origins of some of our most cherished values. (shrink)
Every corporation has an internal decision structure which he terms the CID structure that represents "the personal organization for the exercise of the corporation's power with respect to its ventures.".
There are now quite a number of popular or semi-popular works urging rejection of the old opposition between rationality and emotion. They present evidence or theoretical arguments that favour a reconception of emotions as providing an indispensable basis for practical rationality. Perhaps the most influential is neuroanatomist Antonio Damasio's Descartes' Error, which argues from cases of brain lesion and other neurological causes of emotional deficit that some sort of emotional ‘marking,’ of memories of the outcomes of our choices with anxiety, (...) is needed to support learning from experience. (shrink)
In this innovative study Patricia Kitcher argues that we can only understand the deduction of the categories in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in terms of his attempt to fathom the psychological prerequisites of thought. Thus a consideration of his conception of psychology is essential to an understanding of his philosophy. Kitcher specifically considers Kant's claims about the unity of the thinking self; the spatial forms of human perceptions; the relations among mental states necessary for them to have content; (...) the relations between perceptions and judgment; and the limits of philosophical insight into psychological processes. (shrink)
Kaplan and Craver claim that all explanations in neuroscience appeal to mechanisms. They extend this view to the use of mathematical models in neuroscience and propose a constraint such models must meet in order to be explanatory. I analyze a mathematical model used to provide explanations in dynamical systems neuroscience and indicate how this explanation cannot be accommodated by the mechanist framework. I argue that this explanation is well characterized by Batterman’s account of minimal model explanations and that it demonstrates (...) how relationships between explanatory models in neuroscience and the systems they represent is more complex than has been appreciated. (shrink)
While there is now considerable anxiety about whether the psychological theory presupposed by virtue ethics is empirically sustainable, analogous issues have received little attention in the virtue epistemology literature. This paper argues that virtue epistemology encounters challenges reminiscent of those recently encountered by virtue ethics: just as seemingly trivial variation in context provokes unsettling variation in patterns of moral behavior, trivial variation in context elicits unsettling variation in patterns of cognitive functioning. Insofar as reliability is a condition on epistemic virtue, (...) we have reason to doubt that human beings possess the cognitive materials required for epistemic virtue, and thereby reason to think that virtue epistemology is threatened by skepticism. We conclude that while virtue epistemology has resources for addressing this challenge, exploiting these resources forces tradeoffs between empirical and normative adequacy. (shrink)
This paper examines the distinction between self-love and self-conceit in Kant's moral psychology. It motivates an alternative account of the origin of self-conceit by drawing a parallel to what Kant calls transcendental illusion.
According to grounded cognition, words whose semantics contain sensory-motor features activate sensory-motor simulations, which, in turn, interact with spatial responses to produce grounded congruency effects. Growing evidence shows these congruency effects do not always occur, suggesting instead that the grounded features in a word's meaning do not become active automatically across contexts. Researchers sometimes use this as evidence that concepts are not grounded, further concluding that grounded information is peripheral to the amodal cores of concepts. We first review broad evidence (...) that words do not have conceptual cores, and that even the most salient features in a word's meaning are not activated automatically. Then, in three experiments, we provide further evidence that grounded congruency effects rely dynamically on context, with the central grounded features in a concept becoming active only when the current context makes them salient. Even when grounded features are central to a word's meaning, their activation depends on task conditions. (shrink)
Despite Kant’s lasting influence on philosophical accounts of moral motivation, many details of his own position remain elusive. In the Critique of Practical Reason, for example, Kant argues that our recognition of the moral law’s authority must elicit both painful and pleasurable feelings in us. On reflection, however, it is unclear how these effects could motivate us to act from duty. As a result, Kant’s theory of moral sensibility comes under a skeptical threat: the possibility of a morally motivating feeling (...) seems incoherent. My aim in this paper is to reconstruct Kant’s theory in a way that overcomes this threat. By way of conclusion, I show how my reconstruction brings a new perspective to a long-standing dispute over intellectualist and affectivist views of moral motivation. (shrink)
Kant’s doctrine of the Fact of Reason is one of the most perplexing aspects of his moral philosophy. The aim of this paper is to defend Kant’s doctrine from the common charge of dogmatism. My defense turns on a previously unexplored analogy to the notion of ‘matters of fact’ popularized by members of the Royal Society in the seventeenth century. In their work, ‘facts’ were beyond doubt, often referring to experimental effects one could witness first hand. While Kant uses the (...) German equivalent in different contexts, I argue that the scientific analogy opens up a new framework for interpreting his strategy of justification in the Critique of Practical Reason. In the final section, I address a few possible objections to my reading, one of which I anticipate coming from Dieter Henrich and Ian Proops, who have argued that Kant’s Fact of Reason is best understood under a legal analogy. (shrink)
Slurring language has had a lot of recent interest, but the focus has been almost exclusively on racial slurs. Gendered pejoratives, on the other hand—terms like “slut,” “bitch,” or “sissy”—do not fit into existing accounts of slurring terms, as these accounts require the existence of neutral correlates, which, I argue, these gendered pejoratives lack. Rather than showing that these terms are not slurs, I argue that this challenges the assumption that slurs must have neutral correlates, and so that a new (...) approach to thinking about the meaning of slurring terms is required. (shrink)
Kant’s effort to defend the co-existence of transcendental freedom and natural necessity is one of the crowning achievements of the first Critique. Yet by identifying the will with practical reason in his moral philosophy, he lent support to the view that the moral law is the causal law of a free will – the result of which, as Reinhold argued, left immoral action impossible. However, Reinhold’s attempt to separate the will from practical reason generated difficulties of its own, which Maimon (...) was quick to point out. By identifying freedom with indifferent choice, Maimon argued, Reinhold had no resources to explain why a free will acts at all. My aim in this article is to show how Fichte’s theory of freedom seeks to reconcile these two commitments: the key lies in what I call Fichte’s Genetic Model, according to which indifferent choice is the original condition of the will, but a condition we must actively overcome. (shrink)
It is commonly held that Kant ventured to derive morality from freedom in Groundwork III. It is also believed that he reversed this strategy in the second Critique, attempting to derive freedom from morality instead. In this paper, I set out to challenge these familiar assumptions: Kant’s argument in Groundwork III rests on a moral conception of the intelligible world, one that plays a similar role as the ‘fact of reason’ in the second Critique. Accordingly, I argue, there is no (...) reversal in the proof-structure of Kant’s two works. (shrink)
In this paper, I identify a form of epistemic insensitivity that occurs when someone fails to make proper use of the epistemic tools at their disposal in order to bring their beliefs in line with epistemically relevant evidence that is available to them. I call this kind of insensitivity agential insensitivity because it stems from the epistemic behavior of an individual agent. Agential insensitivity can manifest as a failure to either attend to relevant and available evidence, or appropriately interpret evidence (...) that is attended to. The concept of agential insensitivity allows us to conceptualize the kind of not-knowing involved in forms of ignorance that are cultivated and maintained by individual agents, especially when this ignorance is enabled or encouraged by social structures. I use the skepticism about racial disparities in policing practices that is displayed by many white Americans as a lens for exploring this connection. Understanding agential insensitivity thus provides insight into both social and epistemic phenomena. (shrink)
The idea that introspection is transparent—that we know our minds by looking out to the world, not inwards towards some mental item—seems quite appealing when we think about belief. It seems that we know our beliefs by attending to their content; I know that I believe there is a café nearby by thinking about the streets near me, and not by thinking directly about my mind. Such an account is thought to have several advantages—for example, it is thought to avoid (...) the need to posit any extra mental faculties peculiar to introspection. In this paper I discuss recent attempts to extend this kind of outwards-looking account to our introspective knowledge of desire. According to these accounts, we know our desires by attending to what in the world we judge to be valuable. This, however, does not deal satisfactorily with cases where my value judgments and introspective knowledge of my desires come apart. I propose a better alternative for the proponent of transparency, but one that requires giving up on the supposed metaphysical advantages. (shrink)
We argue that Koch’s postulates are best understood within an interventionist account of causation, in the sense described in Woodward. We show how this treatment helps to resolve interpretive puzzles associated with Koch’s work and how it clarifies the different roles the postulates play in providing useful, yet not universal criteria for disease causation. Our paper is an effort at rational reconstruction; we attempt to show how Koch’s postulates and reasoning make sense and are normatively justified within an interventionist framework (...) and more difficult to understand within alternative frameworks for thinking about causation. (shrink)
Damon Tweedy is a psychiatrist, lawyer, and writer. He's also Black. While in his first year as a medical student at Duke University, one of his professors approached him in the classroom and asked why the light bulb in the room hadn't been changed, as requested. Tweedy realized that his professor assumed he was a maintenance worker, not a student. Tweedy never took up this incident with the professor, nor did the professor ever apologize. Tweedy recounts that his best "revenge" (...) would be to excel in the class, which he ultimately did. At the end of the semester, upon learning that Tweedy received the second highest grade of over one hundred students, this professor invited him to work as a research assistant in his... (shrink)
Dispositional ascriptions do not entail the counterfactuals we might expect, as interfering factors may be poised to prevent the disposition from manifesting in its very stimulus conditions. Such factors are commonly called finks and masks. It is thought, however, that finks and masks cannot be intrinsic to the disposition bearer; if an intrinsic property of the object would prevent a particular response in certain conditions, the object fails to have the corresponding disposition. I argue that we should accept intrinsic finks (...) and masks if we think there are finks and masks at all, and also if we maintain that paradigmatic dispositions are intrinsic. This last point is particularly problematic for the claim that there cannot be intrinsic finks and masks, for if paradigmatic dispositions are not intrinsic then the central argument for the impossibility of intrinsic finks and masks is undermined. (shrink)
ABSTRACT:Corporate social responsibility has been hailed as a new means to address gender inequality, particularly by facilitating women’s empowerment. Women are frequently and forcefully positioned as saviours of economies or communities and proponents of sustainability. Using vignettes drawn from a CSR women’s empowerment programme in Ghana, this conceptual article explores unexpected programme outcomes enacted by women managers and farmers. It is argued that a feminist Foucauldian reading of power as relational and productive can help explain this since those involved are (...) engaged in ongoing processes of resistance and self-making. This raises questions about the assumptions made about women and what is it that such CSR programmes aim to empower them ‘from’ or ‘to.’ Empowerment, when viewed as an ethic of care for the self, is better understood as a self-directed process, rather than a corporate-led strategy. This has implications for how we can imagine the achievement of gender equality through CSR. (shrink)
Although case-based training is popular for ethics education, little is known about how specific case content influences training effectiveness. Therefore, the effects of (a) codes of ethical conduct and (b) forecasting content were investigated. Results revealed richer cases, including both codes and forecasting content, led to increased knowledge acquisition, greater sensemaking strategy use, and better decision ethicality. With richer cases, a specific pattern emerged. Specifically, content describing codes alone was more effective when combined with short-term forecasts, whereas content embedding codes (...) within context was more effective when combined with long-term forecasts, leading to greater knowledge acquisition and sensemaking strategy use. (shrink)
In ‘Affectivity in Heidegger I: Moods and Emotions in Being and Time’, we explicated the crucial role that Martin Heidegger assigns to our capacity to affectively find ourselves in the world. There, our discussion was restricted to Division I of Being and Time. Specifically, we discussed how Befindlichkeit as a basic existential and moods as the ontic counterparts of Befindlichkeit make circumspective engagement with the world possible. Indeed, according to Heidegger, it is primarily through moods that the world is ‘opened (...) up’ and revealed to us as a world that is suffused with values and entities that already matter to us. In this companion essay, our aim is to expand our analysis of affectivity in the following ways: first, we revisit our discussion of Befindlichkeit in light of Heidegger's discussion of temporality in Division II of BT; second, we discuss the basic or fundamental mood of boredom and its ontological significance; we conclude by providing a brief characterization of how Heidegger's notion of mood changes in his later thinking. (shrink)
Causal selection has to do with the distinction we make between background conditions and “the” true cause or causes of some outcome of interest. A longstanding consensus in philosophy views causal selection as lacking any objective rationale and as guided, instead, by arbitrary, pragmatic, and non-scientific considerations. I argue against this position in the context of causal selection for disease traits. In this domain, causes are selected on the basis of the type of causal control they exhibit over a disease (...) of interest. My analysis clarifies the principled rationale that guides this selection and how it involves both pragmatic and objective considerations, which have been overlooked in the extant literature. (shrink)