In this paper, I argue that John Locke's account of knowledge coupled with his commitments to moral ideas being voluntary constructions of our own minds and to divine voluntarism (moral rules are given by God according to his will) leads to a seriously flawed view of moral knowledge. After explicating Locke's view of moral knowledge, highlighting the specific problems that seem to arise from it, and suggesting some possible Lockean responses, I conclude that the best Locke can do is give (...) us a trivial account of moral knowledge which cannot avoid problems with subjectivity and relativism. (shrink)
Moral philosophers have given increased attention to moral intuitionism in recent years. Despite articulations of moral intuitionism that should be taken more seriously than they have been, dissenters continue to express opposition. Among the most frequent criticisms of moral intuitionism are the Mysteriousness and Dogmatism Objections. The Mysteriousness Objection charges moral intuitionists with postulating a mysterious faculty of knowing. The Dogmatism Objection accuses moral intuitionists of relying on dogmatic assertions which are not, or cannot be, proven or adequately argued for. (...) In this dissertation I defend moral intuitionism against both attacks. By drawing on resources going back to eighteenth-century intuitionists, I show that a carefully articulated moral intuitionism neither requires a mysterious faculty of knowing nor invites dogmatism. I first investigate the moral intuitionism of four eighteenth-century British philosophers which anticipates and begins to address the Mysteriousness and Dogmatism Objections. Both critics of and adherents to moral intuitionism in the contemporary period have largely ignored the moral intuitionism of these eighteenth-century thinkers. Two significant contributions of this chapter are that it gives serious attention to the moral intuitionism of the eighteenth-century moral intuitionists, and it prepares for utilizing their views in answering objections to contemporary moral intuitionism. Next, I briefly explicate a plausible version of a moderate moral intuitionism against which the Mysteriousness and Dogmatism Objections are evaluated. Finally, I set out the details of each of these objections and respond to them. The sustained attention I give to these objections is a further significant contribution of this dissertation. I conclude that the Mysteriousness and Dogmatism Objections are not successful attacks on moral intuitionism. (shrink)
Spatial asymmetries are an intriguing feature of directed attention. Recent observations indicate an influence of temperament upon the direction of these asymmetries. It is unknown whether this influence generalises to visual orienting behaviour. The aim of the current study was therefore to explore the relationship between temperament and measures of spatial orienting as a function of target hemifield. An exogenous cueing task was administered to 92 healthy participants. Temperament was assessed using Carver and White's (1994) Behavioural Inhibition System and Behavioural (...) Activation System (BIS/BAS) scales. Individuals with high sensitivity to punishment and low sensitivity to reward showed a leftward asymmetry of directed attention when there was no informative spatial cue provided. This asymmetry was not present when targets were preceded by spatial cues that were either valid or invalid. The findings support the notion that individual variations in temperament influence spatial asymmetries in visual orienting, but only when lateral targets are preceded by a non-directional (neutral) cue. The results are discussed in terms of hemispheric asymmetries and dopamine activity. (shrink)
A decade ago, we reviewed the field of clinical ethics; assessed its progress in research, education, and ethics committees and consultation; and made predictions about the future of the field. In this article, we revisit clinical ethics to examine our earlier observations, highlight key developments, and discuss remaining challenges for clinical ethics, including the need to develop a global perspective on clinical ethics problems.
In response to Mark D. White's Kantian critique of my article "A Modest Proposal: Accounting for the Virtuousness of Modesty," I argue that invoking Kant's notions of dignity and respect in order to provide an egalitarian account of modesty brings with it conceptual commitments that are not always easy to reconcile with the moral phenomenology of that virtue. In light of this I question White's claim that a Kantian account of modesty offers a better explanation than the existential phenomenological (...) approach that I endorse. (shrink)
If libertarianism is true, then there is a sense in which agents have it within their power to bring it about that some world is actual. Against recent arguments for the incompatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom, I offer an account of power over the past which takes this implication of libertarianism into consideration. I argue that the resulting account is available to Ockhamists and that it is immune to recent criticisms of the notion of counterfactual power over the (...) past. But I contend that it is not an option for Molinists and that this fact leaves that position vulnerable to incompatibilist arguments. (shrink)
It is customary to remark, in writings on retributivism, that the meaning of the term is so diffuse and variably applied that there is no one concept or justificatory principle picked out by the term. Cottingham identified 9 different ideas captured by the term retributivism, and a similar paper could today no doubt identify as many again. This edited volume of essays on retributivism does justice to that customary remark, by bringing together a range of writings on retributivism many of (...) which present quite different ways of construing the core of retributivist thinking, the virtues of it, and its role in criminal justice.The book is organised around three themes: the first part entitled ‘Conceptualizing Retributivism’, the second ‘Philosophical Perspectives on Retributivism’, and the third ‘Retributivism and Policy’. In the following I provide an overview of the chapters, before making some general remarks on the emerging themes of the edited collec .. (shrink)