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Profile: Margaret Watkins (Saint Vincent College)
  1.  7
    ‘Slaves Among Us’: The Climate and Character of Eighteenth‐Century Philosophical Discussions of Slavery.Margaret Watkins - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (1):e12393.
    This article introduces several aspects of eighteenth-century discussions of slavery that may be unfamiliar or surprising to present-day readers. First, even eighteenth-century philosophers who were opponents of slavery often exhibited marked racism and helped develop racial concepts that would later serve pro-slavery theorists. Such thinkers include Hume, Voltaire, and Kant. Second, we must see slavery debates in the context of larger scientific and political debates, including those about climate and character, just political systems, the superiority or inferiority of the moderns (...)
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  2.  16
    A Cruel but Ancient Subjugation?: Understanding Hume’s Attack on Slavery.Margaret Watkins - 2013 - Hume Studies 39 (1):103-121.
    This essay argues that Hume’s criticism of slavery in “Of the Populousness of Ancient Nations,” despite its contribution to the British Enlightenment’s anti-slavery movement, is not truly abolitionist in character. Hume’s aim was not to put an end to contemporary slave practices or forestall their expansion. Nonetheless, the criticism of slavery proves significant for reasons that transcend the demographic questions of the essay. It supports an argument that Hume develops throughout the Essays and Political Discourses. The conclusion of this argument (...)
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  3.  27
    Persuasion and Pedagogy.Margaret Watkins - 2008 - Teaching Philosophy 31 (4):311-331.
    Recent moral philosophy emphasizes both the particularity of ethical contexts and the complexity of human character, but the usual abstract examples make it difficult to communicate to students the importance of this particularity and complexity. Extended study of a literary text in ethics classes can help overcome this obstacle and enrich our students’ understanding and practice of mature ethical reflection. Jane Austen’s Persuasion is an ideal text for this kind of effort. Persuasion augments the resources for ethical reflection that students (...)
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  4.  12
    Delicate Magnanimity: Hume on the Advantages of Taste.Margaret Watkins - 2009 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 26 (4):389 - 408.
    This article argues that Hume's brief essay, "Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion," offers resources for three claims: (1) Delicate taste correlates with self-sufficiency and thus with a particularly Humean form of Magnanimity -- greatness of mind; (2) Delicate taste improves the capacity for profound friendships, characterized by mutual admiration and true compassion; and (3) magnanimity and compassion are thus not necessarily in tension with one another and may even proceed from and support harmony of character. These claims, in (...)
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  5.  18
    Humean Moral Knowledge.Margaret Watkins - 2008 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 51 (6):581 – 602.
    I develop resources from Hume to account for moral knowledge in the qualified sense developed by Bernard Williams, according to which the proper application of thick ethical terms constitutes moral knowledge. By applying to moral discernment the criteria of the good aesthetic critic, as explained in Hume's “ Of the Standard of Taste ”, we can see how Humean moral knowledge might be possible. For each of these criteria, an analogous trait would contribute to moral discernment. These traits would enable (...)
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  6.  1
    Her Conclusions—With Which He Is in Love: Why Hume Would Fancy Anscombe: Articles.Margaret Watkins - 2008 - Christian Bioethics 14 (2):175-186.
    Elizabeth Anscombe tangos with Hume in the middle of her march toward the three theses of "Modern Moral Philosophy" that we should abandon moral philosophy "until we have an adequate philosophy of psychology"; that the concepts of moral obligation and moral duty, of what is morally right and wrong, and of the moral sense of 'ought' "ought to be jettisoned if this is psychologically possible;" and that "the differences between the well-known English writers on moral philosophy from Sidgwick to the (...)
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  7.  1
    Persuasion and Pedagogy: On Teaching Ethics with Jane Austen.Margaret Watkins - 2008 - Teaching Philosophy 31 (4):311-331.
    Recent moral philosophy emphasizes both the particularity of ethical contexts and the complexity of human character, but the usual abstract examples make it difficult to communicate to students the importance of this particularity and complexity. Extended study of a literary text in ethics classes can help overcome this obstacle and enrich our students’ understanding and practice of mature ethical reflection. Jane Austen’s Persuasion is an ideal text for this kind of effort. Persuasion augments the resources for ethical reflection that students (...)
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