No adequate evidence exists for the evolution of facial pain expression and detection mechanisms, as opposed to social-learning processes. Although brain affective/emotional processes, and resulting whole body action patterns, have surely evolved, we should also aspire to monitor human suffering by direct neural measures rather than by more indirect indices.
Clinical ethics committees, with their typical threefold function of education, policy formation, and consultation, are present in nearly all U.S. hospitals today, and they are increasingly common in other healthcare settings such as long-term care and even home care. Ethics committees are at least as prevalent in Canadian hospitals as they are in U.S. hospitals, and their presence is growing in Europe, much of Asia, and Central and South America. Although ethics committees serve a variety of needs, their ultimate goal (...) ought to be to promote ethical practices or, in other words, to engender the integration of ethics into the life of the medical center. Of the three primary functions of ethics committees, ethics consultation has historically been the most controversial and problematic, and consult services in many healthcare institutions have struggled to thrive. (shrink)
What's the world made of? Donuts! and Beer! -- Protagoras, Gorgias, Captain Kirk, and Denny Crane -- Socrates : The Sergeant Schultz of Ancient Greece -- Plato is the new American Idol -- Aristotle loves Lucy -- Charlie Harper's Non-Epicurean lifestyle -- St. Augustine's Highway to Heaven -- Scully shaves Mulder with Ockham's Razor -- Larry Hagman dreams of Descartes -- Locke versus Hobbes, or The Brady Bunch takes on Survivor -- Can or can't Kant like vampires? -- Reading Hegel (...) in Outer Space -- John Stuart Mill and the Utilitarian Heroism of Dexter Morgan -- Karl Marx and Adam Smith, meet Alex P. Keaton -- Dr. Gregory House and the Nietzschean Superman -- Don Draper, George Costanza and the non-meaning of life -- Jersey Shore's 'The Situation': The Randian Ideal man with a tan? -- Earl Hickey meets Karma in My name is Earl -- Lost but not least. (shrink)
The emphasis on duly in Kant's ethics is widely held to constitute a defect. Marcia W. Baron develops and assesses the criticism, which she sees as comprising two objections: that duty plays too large a role, leaving no room for the supererogatory, and that Kant places too much value on acting from duty. Clearly written and cogently argued, Kantian Ethics Almost without Apology takes on the most philosophically intriguing objections to Kant's ethics and subjects them to a rigorous yet (...) sympathetic assessment. (shrink)
When Adam Smith published his celebrated writings on economics and moral philosophy he famously referred to the operation of an invisible hand. Adam Smith's Political Philosophy makes visible the invisible hand by examining its significance in Smith's political philosophy and relating it to similar concepts used by other philosophers, revealing a distinctive approach to social theory that stresses the significance of the unintended consequences of human action. This book introduces greater conceptual clarity to the discussion of the (...) invisible hand and the related concept of unintended order in the work of Smith and in political theory more generally. By examining the application of spontaneous order ideas in the work of Smith, Hume, Hayek and Popper, Adam Smith's Political Philosophy traces similarities in approach and from these builds a conceptual, composite model of an invisible hand argument. While setting out a clear model of the idea of spontaneous order the book also builds the case for using the idea of spontaneous order as an explanatory social theory, with chapters on its application in the fields of science, moral philosophy, law and government. (shrink)
Working in four scholarly teams focused on different global regions—North America, the European Union, the Middle East, and China—the contributors to _Religion, Secularism, and Political Belonging_ examine how new political worlds intersect with locally specific articulations of religion and secularism. The chapters address many topics, including the changing relationship between Islam and politics in Tunisia after the 2010 revolution, the influence of religion on the sharp turn to the political right in Western Europe, understandings of Confucianism as a form of (...) secularism, and the alliance between evangelical Christians and neoliberal business elites in the United States since the 1970s. This volume also provides a methodological template for how humanities scholars around the world can collaboratively engage with sweeping issues of global significance. Contributors. Markus Balkenhol, Elizabeth Bentley, Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, David N. Gibbs, Ori Goldberg, Marcia Klotz, Zeynep Kurtulus Korkman, Leerom Medovoi, Eva Midden, Mohanad Mustafa, Mu-chou Poo, Shaul Setter, John Vignaux Smith, Pooyan Tamimi Arab, Ernst van den Hemel, Albert Welter, Francis Ching-Wah Yip, Raef Zreik. (shrink)
Twentieth century philosophers introduced the distinction between “objective rightness” and “subjective rightness” to achieve two primary goals. The first goal is to reduce the paradoxical tension between our judgments of what is best for an agent to do in light of the actual circumstances in which she acts and what is wisest for her to do in light of her mistaken or uncertain beliefs about her circumstances. The second goal is to provide moral guidance to an agent who may be (...) uncertain about the circumstances in which she acts, and hence is unable to use her standard moral principle directly in deciding what to do. This paper distinguishes two important senses of “moral guidance”; proposes criteria of adequacy for accounts of subjective rightness; canvasses existing definitions for “subjective rightness”; finds them all deficient; and proposes a new and more successful account. It argues that each comprehensive moral theory must include multiple principles of subjective rightness to address the epistemic situations of the full range of moral decision-makers, and shows that accounts of subjective rightness formulated in terms of what it would reasonable for the agent to believe cannot provide that guidance. (shrink)
Recently two distinct forms of rule-utilitarianism have been introduced that differ on how to measure the consequences of rules. Brad Hooker advocates fixed-rate rule-utilitarianism, while Michael Ridge advocates variable-rate rule-utilitarianism. I argue that both of these are inferior to a new proposal, optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism. According to optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism, an ideal code is the code whose optimum acceptance level is no lower than that of any alternative code. I then argue that all three forms of rule-utilitarianism fall prey to two fatal (...) problems that leave us without any viable form of rule-utilitarianism. (shrink)
During the past decade ethical theory has been in a lively state of development, and three basic approaches to ethics - Kantian ethics, consequentialism, and virtue ethics - have assumed positions of particular prominence.
The distinction between justifications and excuses is a familiar one to most of us who work either in moral philosophy or legal philosophy. But exactly how it should be understood is a matter of considerable disagreement. My aim in this paper is, first, to sort out the differences and try to figure out what underlying disagreements account for them. I give particular attention to the following question: Does a person who acts on a reasonable but mistaken belief have a justification, (...) or only an excuse? One disagreement I highlight concerns the extent to which justification is primarily about agents rather than about actions. Those who think, as I do, of “His action, X, was justified” as “He was justified in doing X” are far more likely to allow that justification requires reasonable belief and does not require truth, than are those who think of “His action, X, was justified” as “Although actions of this type usually are prohibited, X is in these circumstances in fact permissible.” In addition to sorting out the differences and tracing them to some underlying disagreements, I defend the reasonable belief view of justification against some objections, and argue that, whether or not we continue to use the term “justified” in a way that does not require truth, we need the concept. Contrary to the claims of some who reject the reasonable belief view of justification, justification thus understood does not reduce to excuse. (shrink)
To "look good" and to "be good" have traditionally been considered two very different notions. Indeed, philosophers have seen aesthetic and ethical values as fundamentally separate. Now, at the crossroads of a new wave of aesthetic theory, Marcia Muelder Eaton introduces this groundbreaking work, in which a bold new concept of merit where being good and looking good are integrated into one.
Friends as well as foes of Kant have long been uneasy over his emphasis on duty, but lately the view that there is something morally repugnant about acting from duty seems to be gaining in popularity. More and more philosophers indicate their readiness to jettison duty and the moral 'ought' and to conceive of the perfectly moral person as someone who has all the right desires and acts accordingly without any notion that (s)he ought to act in this way. Elsewhere' (...) I have argued that such a picture of the perfectly moral person is flawed. In this paper I examine the claim that acting from duty is morally repugnant. There is some truth to this charge, but, I argue, the repugnance attaches not to acting from duty as such, but only to certain ways of acting from duty. In isolating the objectionable elements of acting from duty, I hope not only to vindicate the skeletal concept but also to offer illumination on the question of just how we should understand morally good conduct. (shrink)
This valuable and interesting book attempts to discern the essential Freudian theses about the mind and to give them a cogent philosophical defense. Like many philosophers Gardner sees psychoanalytic explanation as continuous with folk psychology, though he holds that the latter needs considerable expansion in order to accommodate irrationality of the “Freudian” sorts.