This book taps the best American thinkers to answer the essential American question: How do we sustain our experiment in government of, by, and for the people? Authored by an extraordinary and politically diverse roster of public officials, scholars, and educators, these chapters describe our nation's civic education problem, assess its causes, offer an agenda for reform, and explain the high stakes at risk if we fail.
Moral creativity consists in identifying, interpreting, and implementing moral values in ways that bring about new and morally valuable results, often in response to an unprecedented situation. It does not mean inventing values subjectively, as Sartre and Nietzsche suggested. Moral creativity plays a significant role in meeting role responsibilities, exercising leadership, developing social policies, and living authentically in light of moral ideals. Kenneth R. Feinberg’s service in compensating the victims of 9/11 provides a paradigm instance.
One of the many arguments against capital punishment is that execution is irrevocable. At its most simple, the argument has three premises. First, legal institutions should abolish penalties that do not admit correction of error, unless there are no alternative penalties. Second, irrevocable penalties are those that do not admit of correction. Third, execution is irrevocable. It follows that capital punishment should be abolished. This paper argues for the third premise. One might think that the truth of this premise is (...) self-evident. But in his paper “Is the Death Penalty Irrevocable?” Mike Davis argues that it is false: the death penalty is not irrevocable. While Davis’ argument is itself somewhat compelling, it receives additional support from work in the metaphysics of death, specifically the literature on posthumous harm. Strengthened in this way, the argument deserves careful consideration. I begin with a quick sketch of Davis’ argument, then show how the Pitcher-Feinberg theory of posthumous harm enables a more robust argument against the irrevocability of capital punishment, defending their theory of harm against standard objections in the literature. Having established the coherency of the robust argument, I conclude that it nevertheless fails to make the case against irrevocability. This is because it ignores the full set of practical requirements incumbent on legal institutions that wrongly punish someone. (shrink)
Feinberg is one of the leading philosophers of law of the last forty years. This volume collects recent articles, both published and unpublished, on what he terms "basic questions" about the law, particularly in regard to the relationship to morality. Accessibly and elegantly written, this volume's audience will reflect the diverse nature of Feinberg's own interests: scholars in philosophy of law, legal theory, and ethical and moral theory.
Joel Feinberg was a brilliant philosopher whose work in social and moral philosophy is a legacy of excellent, even stunning achievement. Perhaps his most memorable achievement is his four-volume treatise on The Moral Limits of the Criminal Law, and perhaps the most striking jewel in this crowning achievement is his passionate and deeply insightful treatment of paternalism.1 Feinberg opposes Legal Paternalism, the doctrine that “it is always a good reason in support of a [criminal law] prohibition that it (...) is necessary to prevent harm (physical, psychological, or economic) to the actor himself.” Against this doctrine Feinberg asserts that when an agent’s sufficiently voluntary choice causes harm to herself or risk of harm to herself, this category of harm-to-self is never a good reason in support of criminal law prohibition of that type of conduct. (shrink)
In his recent book, Harm to Others, Joel Feinberg addresses the question whether a person can be harmed after his or her own death, that is, whether posthumous harm is a logical possibility. There is a very strong tendency to suppose that harm to the dead is simply inconceivable. After all, there cannot be harm without a subject to be harmed, but when death occurs it appears to obliterate the subject thus excluding the possibility of harm. On the other (...) hand, there is an inclination to believe that harmful events can indeed occur posthumously. As Aristotle observed, “a dead man is popularly believed to be capable of having both good and ill fortune—honour and dishonour and prosperity and the loss of it among his children and descendants generally—in exactly the same way as if he were alive but unaware or unobservant of what was happening”. Feinberg sides with Aristotle on this issue and develops an intriguing theory purporting to show how posthumous harms are possible. My intention in this paper is to argue that Feinberg's account meets with such serious difficulties that we must either develop an alternative theory or agree with those who claim that death logically excludes the possibility of harm. I shall begin in §2 with a brief sketch of Feinberg's provocative theory. This will be followed in §3 by my comments and criticisms. Section 4 will close with suggestions about where Feinberg's account goes wrong and how it might be repaired. (shrink)
_The Other Adam Smith_ represents the next wave of critical thinking about the still under-examined work of this paradigmatic Enlightenment thinker. Not simply another book about Adam Smith, it allows and even necessitates his inclusion in the realm of theory in the broadest sense. Moving beyond his usual economic and moral philosophical texts, Mike Hill and Warren Montag take seriously Smith's entire corpus, his writing on knowledge, affect, sociability and government, and political economy, as constituting a comprehensive—though highly contestable—system (...) of thought. We meet not just Smith the economist, but Smith the philosopher, Smith the literary critic, Smith the historian, and Smith the anthropologist. Placed in relation to key thinkers such as Hume, Lord Kames, Fielding, Hayek, Von Mises, and Agamben, this other Adam Smith, far from being localized in the history of eighteenth-century economic thought or ideas, stands at the center of the most vibrant and contentious debates of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. (shrink)
C’est à une histoire en grande partie négligée et méconnue qu’est consacré l’ouvrage de Mike Davis Génocides tropicaux publié en 2001 sous le titre Late Victorian Holocausts, El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World. L’Inde, la Chine, le Brésil, l’Afrique du Nord, l’Afrique australe, les Philippines, en fait, un grand nombre de pays qu’Alfred Sauvy désignera en 1952 par pays du « tiers-monde », connurent à la fin du XIXe siècle et au tout début du XXe (...) siècle trois périodes climatique.. (shrink)
Many philosophers of science believe that empirical psychology can contribute little to the philosophical investigation of explanations. They take this to be shown by the fact that certain explanations fail to elicit any relevant psychological events (e.g., familiarity, insight, intelligibility, etc.). We report results from a study suggesting that, at least among those with extensive science training, a capacity to render an event intelligible is considered a requirement for explanation. We also investigate for whom explanations must be capable of rendering (...) events intelligible and whether or not accuracy is also viewed as a requirement. (shrink)
Philosophical discussions of Molyneux's problem within contemporary philosophy of mind tend to characterize the problem as primarily concerned with the role innately known principles, amodal spatial concepts, and rational cognitive faculties play in our perceptual lives. Indeed, for broadly similar reasons, rationalists have generally advocated an affirmative answer, while empiricists have generally advocated a negative one, to the question Molyneux posed after presenting his famous thought experiment. This historical characterization of the dialectic, however, somewhat obscures the role Molyneux's problem has (...) played in spawning debates within the empiricist tradition. Fortunately, the differences between various empiricist accounts have been widely recognized and discussed among historians of philosophy working on the topic. The focus of the present essay is to develop an interpretation of John Locke's views on Molyneux's problem that best coheres with his other views on human understanding as well as with the predominant scientific opinion about the nature of perception during the period in which he lived. (shrink)
Photographer Smith allows a rare and intimate glimpse of the unique region of Southern Apalachia. Smith's images evoke a range of emotions and reveal the reality behind the stereotypes of rural Southern life.