A great deal of scholarly attention has been paid to coercion. Less attention has been paid to what might be a more pervasive form of influence: manipulation. The essays in this volume address this relative imbalance by focusing on manipulation, examining its nature, moral status, and its significance in personal and social life.
Contemporary political philosophers disagree about whether theories of justice should be utopian or realistic. Contributors to this volume largely deny that the choice between realism and idealism is binary. Their contributions represent a continuum between realism and idealism that best represents the contemporary state of the debate.
Is it allowable for your government, or anyone else, to influence or coerce you 'for your own sake'? This is a question about paternalism, or interference with a person's liberty or autonomy with the intention of promoting their good or averting harm, which has created considerable controversy at least since John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. Mill famously decried paternalism of any kind, whether carried out by private individuals or the state. In this volume of new essays, leading moral, political and (...) legal philosophers address how to define paternalism, its justification, and the implications for public policy, professional ethics and criminal law. So-called 'libertarian' or non-coercive paternalism receives considerable attention. The discussion addresses the nature of freedom and autonomy and the relation of individuals to law, policy and the state. The volume will interest a wide range of readers in political philosophy, public policy and the philosophy of law. (shrink)
The fifteen new essays collected in this volume address questions concerning the ethics of self-defense, most centrally when and to what extent the use of defensive force, especially lethal force, can be justified. Scholarly interest in this topic reflects public concern stemming from controversial cases of the use of force by police, and military force exercised in the name of defending against transnational terrorism. The contributors pay special attention to determining when a threat is liable to defensive harm, though doubts (...) about this emphasis are also raised. The legitimacy of so-called "stand your ground" policies and laws is also addressed. This volume will be of great interest to readers in moral, political, and legal philosophy. (shrink)
According to the Leveling Down Objection, some, if not all, egalitarians must concede that leveling down can make things better in a respect—in terms of equality. I argue, first, that if this is true, then it is hard for such egalitarians to avoid the even more disturbing result that leveling down can be better all-things-considered. I then consider and reject two attempts to take this particular sting out of being an egalitarian. The first is Tom Christiano’s argument that the egalitarian (...) is not forced to concede that the leveled down state is better with respect to equality, on the grounds that if equality with respect to any X matters, e.g. welfare, then value must be assigned to X, rendering the leveled down state inferior even with respect to equality. This is insufficient, I argue, to justify his requirement that Pareto-inferior states cannot be better with respect to equality. The second, offered by both Ingmar Persson and Campbell Brown, is to argue that prioritarianism—a central rival to egalitarianism—is also subject to the Leveling Down Objection. Persson and Campbell fail, I claim, because their arguments turn on increases in measures in leveled down states that have no value on the prioritarian view. (shrink)
Prioritarianism can usefully be seen as a corrective to both egalitarianism and utilitarianism. It allegedly corrects for egalitarianism insofar as it tends toward equality but seems immune to the Leveling Down Objection. It allegedly corrects for utilitarianism insofar as it emphasizes improving peoples' lives but is distribution-sensitive, favoring benefiting those who are worse off over those who are better off, other things equal. The best way to understand the view and assess its prospects is to see whether on closer examination (...) it can indeed avoid the pitfalls of the two more traditional views it might replace. What emerges from such a closer examination is that prioritarianism must be very carefully specified to avoid the Leveling Down Objection. More significantly, to clearly avoid problems associated with utilitarianism, prioritarianism must be formulated in deontic rather than telic terms. It is not clear, however, that such a deontic prioritarianism has any advantages over deontic egalitarianism. (shrink)
A number of neo-Kantians have suggested that an act may be morally worthy even if sympathy and similar emotions are present, so long as they are not what in fact motivates right action–so long as duty, and duty alone, in fact motivates. Thus, the ideal Kantian moral agent need not be a cold and unfeeling person, as some critics have suggested. Two objections to this view need to be answered. First, some maintain that motives cannot be present without in fact (...) motivating. Such non-motivating reasons, it is claimed, are incoherent. Second, if such motives are not in fact motivating, then nonetheless the moral agent's performance of right action will be objectionably cold and unfeeling. While the first objection is not compelling, since the alternative according to which all motives in fact motivate but differ in strength suffers from the very same problems attributed to the neo-Kantian view, the second has force, and any account of moral worth must make room for motives such as sympathy actually motivating right action. (shrink)
As a result there is a considerable literature on the topic. I think, however, that the treatment in the literature is incomplete because there is a failure to examine the relevant emotions in significant detail, and in particular to consider their complexity and the conditions of their warrant. As a result, both defenses and critiques of the motive of duty in terms of reliability are inadequate as they stand.
Religious exemptions have a long history in American law, but have become especially controversial over the last several years. The essays in this volume address the moral and philosophical issues that the legal practice of religious exemptions often raises.
Many people are moved by the thought that if A is worse off than B, then if we can improve the condition of one or the other but not both that it is better to improve the condition of A. Egalitarians are buoyed by the prevalence of such thoughts. But something other than egalitarianism could be driving these thoughts. In particular, such thoughts could be motivated, instead, by a combination of the belief that desert should determine how people fare and (...) the belief that, for the most part, people are equally deserving. Shelly Kagan has pushed this line of argument, suggesting that desert should replace equality as a normative ideal. He argues that desert theory and egalitarianism often agree, and when they don’t intuition favors desert theory. A number of authors have offered responses to Kagan, including Serena Olsaretti, Fred Feldman, and Richard Arneson. However, I maintain that their responses are inadequate, primarily because they simply fail to capture the compelling intuitions that Kagan appeals to in making his case. There are other responses, however, and I consider three, each of which offers an egalitarian position that is compatible with Kagan’s most compelling intuitions. Thus, I maintain that Kagan has not sufficiently established that desert should replace equality as a normative ideal. There is still room for a genuinely egalitarian position, though Kagan’s reflections helpfully force egalitarians to further develop and refine their thinking. (shrink)
It is unclear in the Groundwork exactly what Kant takes to be necessary for an act to be morally good or worthy. Traditionally it has been thought that for Kant there are two conditions: it is 1) done in accord with duty, or the moral law, and 2) done for the sake of duty alone. The second condition is commonly thought to entail that an act is not morally good if the agent has a ‘supporting inclination’ or desire to do (...) what is right — be it an inclination of self-interest, or one stemming from some emotion of ‘fellow feeling,’ such as sympathy, compassion, or love. Recent interpreters, however, claim that Kant is not so strict, because for him the mere presence of a supporting inclination does not necessarily impugn the moral goodness of a dutiful act. The moral goodness of an act in accord with duty is compromised, it is claimed, only if some such supporting inclination is the actual motive for the dutiful act. Moral worth, on this view, requires that duty is the actual motive, and, so long as it is, it doesn’t matter whether there is a supporting inclination or not. Be that as it may, it is clear in the Groundwork that for Kant there is something special about the motive of duty. A common suggestion for what makes it special is that it is more reliable than other motives in producing right action. Although it is debatable whether such reliability is the most important consideration for Kant and contemporary Kantians, there are clear indications that it is for them a matter of concern — perhaps a necessary but not sufficient condition for moral worth. As a result there is a considerable literature on the topic. I think, however, that the treatment in the literature is incomplete because there is a failure to examine the relevant emotions in significant detail, and in particular to consider their complexity and the conditions of their warrant. As a result, both defenses and critiques of the motive of duty in terms of reliability are inadequate as they stand. (shrink)
Larry Temkin has shown that Derek Parfit’s well-known Mere Addition Paradox suggests a powerful argument for the intransitivity of the relation “better than.” The crux of the argument is the view that equality is essentially comparative, according to which the same inequality can be evaluated differently depending on what it is being compared to. The comparative view of equality should be rejected, I argue, and hence so too this argument for intransitivity.
Technological advances in computerization and robotics threaten to eliminate countless jobs from the labor market in the near future. These advances have reignited the debate about universal basic income. The essays in this collection offer unique and compelling perspectives on the ever-changing nature of work and the plausibility of a universal basic income to address the elimination of jobs from the workforce. The essays address a number of topics related to these issues, including the prospects of libertarian and anarchist justifications (...) for a universal basic income, the positive impact of a basic income on intimate laborers such as sex workers and surrogates, the nature of "bad work" and who will do it if everyone receives a basic income, whether a universal basic income is objectionably paternalistic, and viable alternatives to a universal basic income. This book raises complex questions and avenues for future research about universal basic income and the future of work in our increasingly technological society. It will be of keen interest to graduate students and scholars in political philosophy, economics, political science, and public policy who are interested in these debates. (shrink)
This volume considers the ethics of policing and imprisonment, focusing particularly on mass incarceration and police shootings in the United States. The contributors consider the ways in which non-ideal features of the criminal justice system―features such as the prevalence of guns in America, political pressures, considerations of race and gender, and the lived experiences of people in jails and prisons―impinge upon conclusions drawn from more idealized models of punishment and law enforcement. There are a number of common themes running throughout (...) the chapters. One is the contrast between idealism and realism about justice. Another is the attention to harmful consequences, not only of prisons themselves, but to the events that often precede incarceration, including encounters with police and pre-trial detention. A third theme is the legacy of racism in the United States and the role that the criminal justice system plays in perpetuating racial oppression. (shrink)
"With increasingly divergent views and commitments, and an all-or-nothing mindset in political life, it can seem hard to sustain the level of trust in other members of our society necessary to ensure our most basic institutions work. This book features interdisciplinary perspectives on social trust. The contributors address four main topics related to social trust. The first topic is empirical and formal work on norms and institutional trust, especially the relationships between trust and human behaviour. The second topic concerns trust (...) in particular institutions, notably the legal system, scientific community, and law enforcement. Third, the contributors address challenges posed by diversity and oppression in maintaining social trust. Finally, they discuss different forms of trust and social trust. Social Trust will be of interest to researchers in philosophy, political science, economics, law, psychology, and sociology"--. (shrink)
It is widely maintained that self-interested rationality is a matter of maximizing one's own good or well-being. Rationality more generally is also frequently characterized in maximizing terms: the rational thing to do in any decision context is whatever is best in terms of one's interests or will lead to the greatest preference-satisfaction, My dissertation consists of three independent papers that challenge this orthodoxy by lending support to "satisficing," the idea that it is rational to prefer what is good enough. In (...) the first I argue that the preferences frequently displayed in the Allais Paradox can not be reconciled with expected utility maximizing and therefore must be construed in satisficing terms. To the extent that common sense is an important touchstone for theory choice, this lends support to satisficing. In the second, I argue more directly for satisficing by claiming that satisficing is the best way to deal with the different temporal perspectives available to human beings. In the third, I argue that supererogation, the idea that options which are not optimal can nonetheless be morally or rationally acceptable, depends on "optional reasons," I claim, further, that the criticisms of the very idea of optional reasons are not compelling. I also include an appendix which addresses Derek Parfit's challenge to prudential rationality. (shrink)
Phototoxicity frequently occurs during live fluorescence microscopy, and its consequences are often underestimated. Damage to cellular macromolecules upon excitation light illumination can impair sample physiology, and even lead to sample death. In this review, we explain how phototoxicity influences live samples, and we highlight that, besides the obvious effects of phototoxicity, there are often subtler consequences of illumination that are imperceptible when only the morphology of samples is examined. Such less apparent manifestations of phototoxicity are equally problematic, and can change (...) the conclusions drawn from an experiment. Thus, limiting phototoxicity is a prerequisite for obtaining reproducible quantitative data on biological processes. We present strategies to reduce phototoxicity, e.g. limiting the illumination to the focal plane and suggest controls for phototoxicity effects. Overall, we argue that phototoxicity needs increased attention from researchers when designing experiments, and when evaluating research findings. (shrink)
'Sense perception in current process thought' was the topic of a workshop organized by the 'Whitehead Psychology Nexus' (for more information see below) at Fontareches in spring 2003. This and earlier Fontareches meetings can be characterized by just a few elements: non-dogmatism, interdisciplinarity and overlapping approaches. Although the convergence point is Whitehead's philosophy, this is intended in the sense of an 'eschaton' rather than a 'telos'. The vivid discussions, occurring in a very thoughtful, yet relaxed, atmosphere in the small village (...) of Fontareches in Southern France, have amply testified for the promising paths and synergies that can emerge in such an environment. This year, the core intention was to examine relations between Whitehead's theory of perception and contemporary psychology. The individual contributions can be sorted into the three areas of philosophy, cognitive science, and mental health/psychoanalysis. Unsurprisingly, the question of temporality was addressed -- explicitly or implicitly -- in most of the papers. (shrink)