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Micah Lott
Boston College
  1. Have Elephant Seals Refuted Aristotle? Nature, Function, and Moral Goodness.Micah Lott - 2012 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (3):353-375.
    An influential strand of neo-Aristotelianism, represented by writers such as Philippa Foot, holds that moral virtue is a form of natural goodness in human beings, analogous to deep roots in oak trees or keen vision in hawks. Critics, however, have argued that such a view cannot get off the ground, because the neo-Aristotelian account of natural normativity is untenable in light of a Darwinian account of living things. This criticism has been developed most fully by William Fitzpatrick in his book (...)
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  2.  71
    Moral Virtue as Knowledge of Human Form.Micah Lott - 2012 - Social Theory and Practice 38 (3):407-431.
    This essay defends Aristotelian naturalism against the objection that it is naïvely optimistic, and contrary to empirical research, to suppose that virtues like justice are naturally good while vices like injustice are naturally defective. This objection depends upon the mistaken belief that our knowledge of human goodness in action and choice must come from the natural sciences. In fact, our knowledge of goodness in human action and character depends upon a practical understanding that is possessed by someone not qua scientist (...)
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  3. Moral Implications From Cognitive (Neuro)Science? No Clear Route.Micah Lott - 2016 - Ethics 127 (1):241-256.
    Joshua Greene argues that cognitive (neuro)science matters for ethics in two ways, the “direct route” and the “indirect route.” Greene illustrates the direct route with a debunking explanation of the inclination to condemn all incest. The indirect route is an updated version of Greene’s argument that dual-process moral psychology gives support for consequentialism over deontology. I consider each of Greene’s arguments, and I argue that neither succeeds. If there is a route from cognitive (neuro)science to ethics, Greene has not found (...)
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  4. Why Be a Good Human Being? Natural Goodness, Reason, and the Authority of Human Nature.Micah Lott - 2014 - Philosophia 42 (3):761-777.
    The central claim of Aristotelian naturalism is that moral goodness is a kind of species-specific natural goodness. Aristotelian naturalism has recently enjoyed a resurgence in the work of philosophers such as Philippa Foot, Rosalind Hursthouse, and Michael Thompson. However, any view that takes moral goodness to be a type of natural goodness faces a challenge: Granting that moral goodness is natural goodness for human beings, why should we care about being good human beings? Given that we are rational creatures who (...)
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  5. Is There a Role for ‘Human Nature’ in Debates About Human Enhancement?Daniel Groll & Micah Lott - 2015 - Philosophy 90 (4):623-651.
    In discussions about the ethics of enhancement, it is often claimed that the concept of ‘human nature’ has no helpful role to play. There are two ideas behind this thought. The first is that nature, human nature included, is a mixed bag. Some parts of our nature are good for us and some are bad for us. The ‘mixed bag’ idea leads naturally to the second idea, namely that the fact that something is part of our nature is, by itself, (...)
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  6.  78
    Must Realists Be Skeptics? An Aristotelian Reply to a Darwinian Dilemma.Micah Lott - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):71-96.
    In a series of influential essays, Sharon Street has argued, on the basis of Darwinian considerations, that normative realism leads to skepticism about moral knowledge. I argue that if we begin with the account of moral knowledge provided by Aristotelian naturalism, then we can offer a satisfactory realist response to Street’s argument, and that Aristotelian naturalism can avoid challenges facing other realist responses. I first explain Street’s evolutionary argument and three of the most prominent realist responses, and I identify challenges (...)
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  7. Does Human Nature Conflict with Itself?: Human Form and the Harmony of the Virtues.Micah Lott - 2013 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 87 (4):657-683.
    Does possessing some human virtues make it impossible for a person to possess other human virtues? Isaiah Berlin and Bernard Williams both answered “yes” to this question, and they argued that to hold otherwise—to accept the harmony of the virtues—required a blinkered and unrealistic view of “what it is to be human.” In this essay, I have two goals: (1) to show how the harmony of the virtues is best interpreted, and what is at stake in affirming or denying it; (...)
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  8.  68
    Restraint on Reasons and Reasons for Restraint: A Problem for Rawls' Ideal of Public Reason.Micah Lott - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (1):75–95.
    It appears that one of the aims of John Rawls' ideal of public reason is to provide people with good reason for exercising restraint on their nonpublic reasons when they are acting in the public political arena. I will argue, however, that in certain cases Rawls' ideal of public reason is unable to provide a person with good reason for exercising such restraint, even if the person is already committed to Rawls' ideal of public reason. Because it is plausible to (...)
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  9.  35
    Agency, Patiency, and The Good Life: The Passivities Objection to Eudaimonism.Micah Lott - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (3):773-786.
    Many contemporary eudaimonists emphasize the role of agency in the good life. Mark LeBar, for example, characterizes his own eudaimonist view this way: “It is agentist, not patientist, because it emphasizes that our lives go well in virtue of what we do, rather than what happens, to us or otherwise”. Nicholas Wolterstorff, however, has argued that this prioritizing of agency over patiency is a fatal flaw in eudaimonist accounts of well-being. Eudaimonism must be rejected, Wolterstorff argues, because many life-goods are (...)
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  10.  51
    Reasonably Traditional: Self-Contradiction and Self-Reference in Alasdair MacIntyre's Account of Tradition-Based Rationality.Micah Lott - 2002 - Journal of Religious Ethics 30 (3):315 - 339.
    Alasdair MacIntyre's account of tradition-based rationality has been the subject of much discussion, as well as the object of some recent charges of inconsistency. The author considers arguments by Jennifer Herdt, Peter Mehl, and John Haldane which attempt to show that MacIntyre's account of rationality is, in some way, inconsistent. It is argued that the various charges of inconsistency brought against MacIntyre by these critics can be understood as variations on two general types of criticism: (1) that MacIntyre's account of (...)
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  11.  57
    Situationism, Skill, and the Rarity of Virtue.Micah Lott - 2014 - Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (3):387-401.
    What is the Problem with the Rarity of the Virtues?An important strand of the situationist challenge to Aristotelian virtue ethics rests on the following claim:Rarity Thesis: On the basis of evidence from psychological research, we are justified in believing that possession of the Aristotelian virtues is very rare.The Rarity Thesis is sometimes regarded as a problem for virtue ethics, or as an embarrassing implication of claims made by virtue ethicists.See John Doris, Lack of Character (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002), (...)
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  12.  35
    Morality, Accountability and the Wrong Kind of Reasons.Micah Lott - 2016 - Utilitas 28 (1):28-40.
    In The Second Person Standpoint, Stephen Darwall makes a new argument against consequentialism, appealing to: the conceptual tie between obligation and accountability, and the for holding others accountable. I argue that Darwall's argument, as it stands, fails against indirect consequentialism, because it relies on a confusion between our being right to establish practices, and our having a right to do so. I also explore two ways of augmenting Darwall's argument. However, while the second of these ways is more promising than (...)
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  13.  47
    Ignorance, Shame and Love of Truth: Diagnosing the Sophist’s Error in Plato’s Sophist.Micah Lott - 2012 - Phoenix 66 (1-2):36-56.
  14.  26
    Justice, Function, and Human Form.Micah Lott - 2015 - In Martin Hähnel & Markus Rothhaar (eds.), Normativität des Lebens - Normativität der Vernunft? De Gruyter. pp. 75-92.
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  15.  17
    Constructing a Good Life.Micah Lott - 2016 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (3):363-375.
    _ Source: _Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 363 - 375 In _The Value of Living Well,_ Mark LeBar develops a position that he calls “virtue eudaimonism”. VE is both a eudaimonistic theory of practical reasoning and a constructivist account of the metaphysics of value. In this essay, I will explain the core of LeBar’s view and focus on two issues, one concerning VE ’s eudaimonism and the other concerning VE ’s constructivism. I will argue that, as it stands, VE does (...)
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  16.  15
    Labor Exploitation, Living Wages, and Global Justice: An Aristotelian Account.Micah Lott - 2014 - Journal of Catholic Social Thought 11 (2):329-359.