Despite its title, Alan Wertheimer’s new book is not another tiresome exploration of Marxist economic theories. Indeed, there is virtually no extended discussion of Marxism at all, since Wertheimer believes that what is unique to that perspective is highly problematic, given that when Marxists simply assert that capitalists do exploit wage laborers they are appealing to “the ordinary notion that one party exploits another when it gets unfair and undeserved benefits from its transactions or relationships with others”. His goal is (...) to analyze this ordinary sense of exploitation, to explore in detail some of the many forms it can take, and to begin some serious thinking about what he terms its moral weight and its moral force. This groundbreaking work, the first book-length treatment of its subject from a broadly analytic standpoint, should do much to disabuse non-Marxist philosophers of the notion that exploitation is largely peripheral to the central questions of moral and political philosophy. (shrink)
For roughly the first half of this century, philosophers in the Anglo-American tradition who worked in metaethics tended to focus much of their energies on the analysis of moral language. However, like so much else, this way of doing things started to unravel in the 1960s. These days, moral philosophers are concerned to address much broader, more substantive issues having to do with how actual moral behavior, as well as normative theorizing about such behavior, can be fitted into our best (...) overall account of the way the world is and of the place of human beings within that world. Timmons’ book is not only a fine example of such theorizing but also serves, for the uninintiated, as a highly sophisticated introduction to what contemporary metaethics is all about. (shrink)
A question that has recently attracted considerable attention is this: What is the nature and significance of the normative relationship a person bears to herself ? On one view, it is held that persons are self-owners : as Locke put it in one of the more famous passages in the Second Treatise : [E]very man has a property in his own person : this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of (...) his hands, we may say, are properly his. (shrink)
This is the only anthology that focuses exclusively on the two central issues in the philosophy of criminal law: (1) What kinds of behavior should society criminalize?; and (2) What should society do with those who engage in such behavior?
In his latest book, Philip Pettit begins with the apt observation that analyses of freedom in the context of human agency and the free will problem are typically kept separate from discussions of that concept in the political realm. This he regards as an unfortunate departure from the classical view that the psychological freedom of the agent and the political freedom of the citizen are intimately connected. Indeed, the book is a sustained argument for replacing this dichotomy with a single, (...) comprehensive account of freedom as "fitness to be held responsible". Petitt argues that such an analysis is not only intuitively plausible but can be supported on coherentist grounds because, while our intuitions about freedom in each of the two spheres radically underdetermine an overall theory in that domain, "the combination of those sets of intuitions is capable of significantly constraining the choice of a single, unified theory of freedom". The central claim of this intricately argued book is that fitness to be held responsible is most plausibly equated with a conception of freedom that is at once psychological and social. (shrink)
Philosophers have long debated whether there is a morally significant difference between acting with the intention of bringing about some state of affairs and acting with the mere awareness that that state of affairs will occur as an unintended side effect of what one is trying to achieve. This controversy is mirrored in the criminal law in a number of places, most notably with respect to the question of whether the mens rea for the crime of murder should require the (...) intent to cause death or only the knowledge that it will occur. In this paper I propose what I believe is a satisfactory way of drawing the intended/foreseen distinction and then argue, contrary to what Duff and others have supposed, that such a distinction does not underwrite a difference in moral or legal culpability. I leave open the possibility, however, that there may be consequentialist reasons for sometimes imposing greater liability in the case of intended harms than in the case of those that are merely foreseen. (shrink)