We answer the title question with a qualified “No.” We arrive at this answer by spelling out what the proper place of the concept 'happiness' is in a neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics: (1) Happiness in the sense of personal well-being has only a loose relation to virtue; it doesn't deserve any prominent place in virtue ethics. (2) Happiness in the sense of flourishing is impossible without virtue, but that doesn't imply that individual actions should aim at flourishing. (3) Instead, flourishing sets (...) the standard of good practical reasoning; it is hardly ever the proper aim of a practical inference. This paper begins with a common (mis)interpretation of neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics, on which it is a form of rational egoism. We then develop our alternative understanding against this foil. (shrink)
Geach is best known for his contributions to theoretical philosophy: Most of his more than one hundred papers and a dozen books are on logic, philosophy of language and metaphysics. But he also made significant contributions to ethics. Particularly influential were a series of short metaethics papers, which are small masterpieces, both in terms of philosophical content and style. In usually less than ten pages, Geach delivers sharp analyses and powerful objections against influential schools. His arguments are always so clear (...) and his examples so simple that they leave the reader wondering why no one before Geach detected the problems he points out. (shrink)
We suggest a new neo-Aristotelian account of right action: An action A is right for an agent S in a situation C just in case it is possible for A in C to result from a good practical inference. A practical inference is good if people must have a disposition to make such practical inferences where a society is to flourish. One advantage of this account is that it applies to non-ideal agents. It thus blocks the right-but-not-virtuous objection to virtue (...) ethics. Our account furthermore suggests a new way of thinking about the concept of a fully virtuous agent. Ideal agents, we argue, necessarily have certain unmanifested dispositions, and failure is a real possibility for them. (shrink)
ABSTRACTA powerful objection against moral conventionalism says that it gives the wrong reasons for individual rights and duties. The reason why I must not break my promise to you, for example, should lie in the damage to you—rather than to the practice of promising or to all other participants in that practice. Common targets of this objection include the theories of Hobbes, Gauthier, Hooker, Binmore, and Rawls. I argue that the conventionalism of these theories is superficial; genuinely conventionalist theories are (...) not vulnerable to the objection; and genuine moral conventionalism is independently plausible. (shrink)
Anscombe is usually seen as a critic of “Modern Moral Philosophy.” I attempt a systematic reconstruction and a defense of Anscombe’s positive theory. Anscombe’s metaethics is a hybrid of social constructivism and Aristotelian naturalism. Her three main claims are the following: (1) We cannot trace all duties back to one moral principle; there is more than one source of normativity. (2) Whether I have a certain duty will often be determined by the social practices of my community. For instance, duties (...) imposed by other people’s rights are socially constructed. (3) Whether something constitutes a good, however, will often be determined by human nature—which is not socially constructed. (shrink)
It is often assumed that neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics postulates an obligation to be a good human being and that it derives further obligations from this idea. The paper argues that this assumption is false, at least for Philippa Foot’s view. Our argument blocks a widespread objection to Foot’s view, and it shows how virtue ethics in general can neutralize such worries.
The theories of Locke, Hume and Kant dominate contemporary philosophical discourse on property rights. This is particularly true of applied ethics, where they are used to settle issues from biotech patents to managerial obligations. Within these theories, however, the usual criticisms of private property aren’t even as much as intelligible. Locke, Hume and Kant, I argue, develop claims about property on a model economy that I call “Frontier Town.” They and contemporary authors then apply these claims to capitalist economies. There (...) are two problems with this application: First, we’ll be considering the wrong kind of property: The only property in Frontier Town are means of life. Critics, however, object to property in concentrated capital because they associate only this kind of property with economic coercion and political power. Second, the two economies differ in central features, so that very different claims about empirical consequences and hence about fairness and merit will be plausible for each. This second problem, I argue, is a consequence of the first. I conclude that Frontier Town theories are more likely to distort than to illuminate property issues in capitalist economies. (shrink)
James Doyle’s book is provocative and timely. It is an important contribution to the current wave of Anscombe scholarship, and it offers valuable insights into general metaethical questions, such as: In what senses might morality be “unintelligible”? Or: To what extent does a divine law ethics rest on practical reason? Here, I do not want to summarize the many admirable features of Doyle’s book. I will instead focus on his two main theses, of which I remain unconvinced.
I argue that all rights exist by convention. According to my definition, a right exists by convention just in case its justification appeals to the rules of a socially shared pattern of acting. I show that our usual justifications for rights are circular, that a right fulfills my criterion if all possible justifications for it are circular, and that all existing philosophical justifications for rights are circular or fail. We find three non-circular alternatives in the literature, viz. justifications of rights (...) by consequences, by autonomy or by divine commands. I show that all three alternatives fail, and I conclude that all rights exist by convention. This ontological result has a surprising and beneficial consequence. A common argument against conventionalism is that it implies cultural relativism. I finish by showing that the suggested conventionalism is incompatible with cultural relativism. (shrink)
While many of Elizabeth Anscombe’s philosophical views are well-known (e.g. her views on practical knowledge or consequentialism), little has been written on her philosophical method, i.e., on her way of doing philosophy. This is unfortunate, for two reasons: First, the failure to understand Anscombe’s method is a major stumbling block for many of her readers. Second, and more importantly, we can still learn a lot from Anscombe’s way of doing philosophy: Her view differs considerably from current alternatives in metaphilosophy. Here (...) we want to begin to fill this lacuna. -/- REPRINT IN: John Haldane (ed.) (2019): The Life and Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe. (St. Andrews Studies in Philosophy.) Imprint Academic: Exeter: 42-61. (shrink)
While many of Elizabeth Anscombe’s philosophical views are well-known (e.g. her views on practical knowledge or consequentialism), little has been written on her philosophical method, i.e., on her way of doing philosophy. This is unfortunate, for two reasons: First, the failure to understand Anscombe’s method is a major stumbling block for many of her readers. Second, and more importantly, we can still learn a lot from Anscombe’s way of doing philosophy: Her view differs considerably from current alternatives in metaphilosophy. Here (...) we want to begin to fill this lacuna. (shrink)
Die Wittgenstein-Schülerin Elizabeth Anscombe zählt zu den einflussreichsten Philosophinnen des 20. Jahrhunderts. Mit der Monographie Absicht begründete sie die analytische Handlungstheorie, viele ihrer Abhandlungen gelten als Klassiker, aber nur wenige liegen bislang in deutscher Übersetzung vor. Der vorliegende Band füllt diese Lücke: Er versammelt zwölf von Anscombes wichtigsten Aufsätzen, die thematisch von der praktischen Philosophie über die Metaphysik und die Philosophie des Geistes bis hin zu Aristoteles- und Wittgenstein-Interpretationen reichen, also das ganze Spektrum ihres Denkens repräsentieren. Die Anmerkungen und Erläuterungen (...) der Herausgeber sowie das Nachwort von Anselm W. Müller erschließen die Texte und bieten zusätzliche Einblicke in das facettenreiche Werk dieser solitären Denkerin. (shrink)
The Code of Capital significantly advances our understanding of the origins of inequality and provides a framework for evaluating proposed solutions. But reviews have so far missed some of the most important insights of the book, including the author's insistence on the indeterminacy of the law and the corresponding incompleteness of existing solutions to inequality that primarily rely on economic drivers. The review demonstrates the relevance of the book's main contributions for evaluating the shared value thesis for investors and reflects (...) on some of the solutions to the law's indeterminacy proposed in the book, including the author's surprising neglect of the increasing importance of ethics in business when innovation outpaces the law. The review concludes with consideration of the theoretical advancements that The Code of Capital makes for our understanding of inequality in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
This volume of thirteen essays originated in a conference on Latin philosophy at Columbia University, organized by the editors in 2012. The guiding principle was to examine how writing philosophy in Latin gave a distinctive character to Roman philosophical thinking. The conference was interdisciplinary, involving philosophers and literary scholars, some interested in ancient history as well. In publishing the papers, the editors had in mind as a model Philosophia Togata I and II, the second volume of which is almost twenty (...) years old. More up to date, this volume also aims to fill gaps in the earlier enterprise by devoting one of the four parts to Seneca, not treated as a separate topic there, and by going beyond... (shrink)
It is no secret that, for Nietzsche, philosophy and poetry are closely related. Some of his most important works contain poems, or even present themselves as poetry. Yet, in their efforts to make Nietzsche a respectable philosopher, scholars have turned their attention away from this poetic dimension and have privileged instead the philosophical dimension of his work. The title of the present volume, Nietzsche als Dichter, echoes Arthur Danto’s influential Nietzsche as Philosopher, and therefore aims to reinstate the part previously (...) left aside. In order to do so, the articles in the volume focus on specific poems or poetic aspects of Nietzsche’s... (shrink)
Text seznamuje čtenáře s výukovou metodou nastavení problému, jeho řešení pomocí zavedení a aplikování teoretických pojmů, konceptovou analýzou vybraného díla a důslednou oporou o kontext a ko-text díla. Příklady vybírá ze soudobé scény výtvarného umění a jeho cílem je zdůvodněná interpretace díla. Opírá se o Goodmanovské termíny denotace, exemplifikace a exprese. Metaforickou exemplifikaci, expresi člení průhledem poznávacími perspektivami 1. a 3. osoby na prožitkovou a empatickou komponentu, opírá se tak o teorii artefiletiky. Otevírá a řeší tak problém vztahu relativních objektivních (...) daností díla, jeho intersubjektivně kotvené interpretace a subjektivně vnímaného prožitku z díla. Tvorbu chápe jako způsob poznání. (shrink)