This collection of essays, offered in honor of the distinguished career of prominent political philosophy professor Clifford Orwin, brings together internationally renowned scholars to provide a wide context and discuss various aspects of the virtue of “humanity” through the history of political philosophy.
After decades of marginalization in the secularized twentieth-century academy, moral education has enjoyed a recent resurgence in American higher education, with the establishment of more than 100 ethics centers and programs on campuses across the country. Yet the idea that the university has a civic responsibility to teach its undergraduate students ethics and morality has been met with skepticism, suspicion, and even outright rejection from both inside and outside the academy. In this collection, renowned scholars of philosophy, politics, and religion (...) debate the role of ethics in the university, investigating whether universities should proactively cultivate morality and ethics, what teaching ethics entails, and what moral education should accomplish. The essays quickly open up to broader questions regarding the very purpose of a university education in modern society. Editors Elizabeth Kiss and J. Peter Euben survey the history of ethics in higher education, then engage with provocative recent writings by Stanley Fish in which he argues that universities should not be involved in moral education. Stanley Hauerwas responds, offering a theological perspective on the university’s purpose. Contributors look at the place of politics in moral education; suggest that increasingly diverse, multicultural student bodies are resources for the teaching of ethics; and show how the debate over civic education in public grade-schools provides valuable lessons for higher education. Others reflect on the virtues and character traits that a moral education should foster in students—such as honesty, tolerance, and integrity—and the ways that ethical training formally and informally happens on campuses today, from the classroom to the basketball court. _Debating Moral Education_ is a critical contribution to the ongoing discussion of the role and evolution of ethics education in the modern liberal arts university. _Contributors_. Lawrence Blum, Romand Coles, J. Peter Euben, Stanley Fish, Michael Allen Gillespie, Ruth W. Grant, Stanley Hauerwas, David A. Hoekema, Elizabeth Kiss, Patchen Markell, Susan Jane McWilliams, Wilson Carey McWilliams, J. Donald Moon, James Bernard Murphy, Noah Pickus, Julie A. Reuben, George Shulman, Elizabeth V. Spelman. (shrink)
Collected and edited by Noah Levin -/- Table of Contents: -/- UNIT ONE: INTRODUCTION TO CONTEMPORARY ETHICS: TECHNOLOGY, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, AND IMMIGRATION 1 The “Trolley Problem” and Self-Driving Cars: Your Car’s Moral Settings (Noah Levin) 2 What is Ethics and What Makes Something a Problem for Morality? (David Svolba) 3 Letter from the Birmingham City Jail (Martin Luther King, Jr) 4 A Defense of Affirmative Action (Noah Levin) 5 The Moral Issues of Immigration (B.M. Wooldridge) 6 The (...) Ethics of our Digital Selves (Noah Levin) -/- UNIT TWO: TORTURE, DEATH, AND THE “GREATER GOOD” 7 The Ethics of Torture (Martine Berenpas) 8 What Moral Obligations do we have (or not have) to Impoverished Peoples? (B.M. Wooldridge) 9 Euthanasia, or Mercy Killing (Nathan Nobis) 10 An Argument Against Capital Punishment (Noah Levin) 11 Common Arguments about Abortion (Nathan Nobis & Kristina Grob) 12 Better (Philosophical) Arguments about Abortion (Nathan Nobis & Kristina Grob) -/- UNIT THREE: PERSONS, AUTONOMY, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND RIGHTS 13 Animal Rights (Eduardo Salazar) 14 John Rawls and the “Veil of Ignorance” (Ben Davies) 15 Environmental Ethics: Climate Change (Jonathan Spelman) 16 Rape, Date Rape, and the “Affirmative Consent” Law in California (Noah Levin) 17 The Ethics of Pornography: Deliberating on a Modern Harm (Eduardo Salazar) 18 The Social Contract (Thomas Hobbes) -/- UNIT FOUR: HAPPINESS 19 Is Pleasure all that Matters? Thoughts on the “Experience Machine” (Prabhpal Singh) 20 Utilitarianism (J.S. Mill) 21 Utilitarianism: Pros and Cons (B.M. Wooldridge) 22 Existentialism, Genetic Engineering, and the Meaning of Life: The Fifths (Noah Levin) 23 The Solitude of the Self (Elizabeth Cady Stanton) 24 Game Theory, the Nash Equilibrium, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (Douglas E. Hill) -/- UNIT FIVE: RELIGION, LAW, AND ABSOLUTE MORALITY 25 The Myth of Gyges and The Crito (Plato) 26 God, Morality, and Religion (Kristin Seemuth Whaley) 27 The Categorical Imperative (Immanuel Kant) 28 The Virtues (Aristotle) 29 Beyond Good and Evil (Friedrich Nietzsche) 30 Other Moral Theories: Subjectivism, Relativism, Emotivism, Intuitionism, etc. (Jan F. Jacko). (shrink)
Toleration has a rich tradition in Western political philosophy. It is, after all, one of the defining topics of political philosophy—historically pivotal in the development of modern liberalism, prominent in the writings of such canonical figures as John Locke and John Stuart Mill, and central to our understanding of the idea of a society in which individuals have the right to live their own lives by their own values, left alone by the state so long as they respect the similar (...) interests of others. -/- Toleration and Its Limits, the latest addition to the NOMOS series, explores the philosophical nuances of the concept of toleration and its scope in contemporary liberal democratic societies. Editors Melissa S. Williams and Jeremy Waldron carefully compiled essays that address the tradition's key historical figures; its role in the development and evolution of Western political theory; its relation to morality, liberalism, and identity; and its limits and dangers. -/- Contributors: Lawrence A. Alexander, Kathryn Abrams, Wendy Brown, Ingrid Creppell, Noah Feldman, Rainer Forst, David Heyd, Glyn Morgan, Glen Newey, Michael A. Rosenthal, Andrew Sabl, Steven D. Smith, and Alex Tuckness. (shrink)
A philosophical essay under this title faces severe rhetorical challenges. New accounts of the good life regularly and rapidly turn out to be variations of old ones, subject to a predictable range of decisive objections. Attempts to meet those objections with improved accounts regularly and rapidly lead to a familiar impasse — that while a life of contemplation, or epicurean contentment, or stoic indifference, or religious ecstasy, or creative rebellion, or self-actualization, or many another thing might count as a good (...) life, none of them can plausibly be identified with the good life, or the best life. Given the long history of that impasse, it seems futile to offer yet another candidate for the genus “good life” as if that candidate might be new, or philosophically defensible. And given the weariness, irony, and self-deprecation expected of a philosopher in such an impasse, it is difficult for any substantive proposal on this topic to avoid seeming pretentious. (shrink)
There is much more said in the Critique of Pure Reason about the relationship between God and purposiveness than what is found in Kant's analysis of the physico-theological argument. The ‘Wise Author of Nature’ is central to his analysis of regulative principles in the ‘Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic’ and also appears in the ‘Canon’, first with regards to the Highest Good and then again in relation to our theoretical use of purposiveness. This paper will begin with a brief discussion (...) of the physico-theological argument before moving on to the Appendix and the Canon. Finally, it will consider some changes to the role of the Wise Author in the Critique of Judgement. (shrink)
Is language understanding a special case of social cognition? To help evaluate this view, we can formalize it as the rational speech-act theory: Listeners assume that speakers choose their utterances approximately optimally, and listeners interpret an utterance by using Bayesian inference to “invert” this model of the speaker. We apply this framework to model scalar implicature (“some” implies “not all,” and “N” implies “not more than N”). This model predicts an interaction between the speaker's knowledge state and the listener's interpretation. (...) We test these predictions in two experiments and find good fit between model predictions and human judgments. (shrink)
Howard Brody expresses concern that citing the “two cases that put futility on the map,” namely Helga Wanglie and Baby K, may be providing ammunition to the opponents of the concept of medical futility. He in fact joins well-known opponents of the concept of medical futility in arguing that it is one thing for the physician to say whether a particular intervention will promote an identified goal, quite another to say whether a goal is worth pursuing. In the latter instance, (...) physicians are laying themselves open “to the criticism of taking on basic value judgments that are more appropriately left to patients and their surrogates.” Brody states that in both the Wanglie and Baby K cases, the “basic value judgments” had to do with the worthiness of maintaining unconscious life via medical technology. He classifies this as “a question of professional integrity—but not a question of futility,” adding that “more than semantics hinges on this distinction.” The “more than semantics” factor is a pragmatic, even political one. Failure to make this distinction renders physicians “that much more suspect and less trustworthy in the public debate.”. (shrink)
In recent years, a particular doctrine about forms of life has come to be associated with Wittgenstein's name by followers and critics of his philosophy alike. It is not a doctrine which Wittgenstein espoused or even, given his understanding of philosophy, one which he could have accepted; nor is it worthy of acceptance on its own merits. I shall here outline the standard interpretation of Wittgenstein's remarks on forms of life, consider the textual basis for such a reading of Wittgenstein, (...) present a more consistent reading of the texts, place the problem of forms of life within a wider philosophical context, and show the ways in which it is indeed possible to say that a form of life is wrong. In the process, I shall note some important similarities between Wittgenstein's actual position, Quine's analysis of scientific knowledge, and Hans-Georg Gadamer's claims about the fusion of horizons. (shrink)
This book addresses some basic questions about intrinsic value: What is it? What has it? What justifies our beliefs about it? In the first six chapters the author defends the existence of a plurality of intrinsic goods, the thesis of organic unities, the view that some goods are 'higher' than others, and the view that intrinsic value can be explicated in terms of 'fitting' emotional attitudes. The final three chapters explore the justification of our beliefs about intrinsic value, including coherence (...) theories and the idea that some value beliefs are warranted on the basis of emotional experience. Professor Lemos defends the view that some value beliefs enjoy 'modest' a priori justification. The book is intended primarily for professional philosophers and their graduate students working in ethics, value theory and epistemology. (shrink)
This paper provides a semantic analysis of English rise-fall-rise (RFR) intonation as a focus quantifier over assertable alternative propositions. I locate RFR meaning in the conventional implicature dimension, and propose that its effect is calculated late within a dynamic model. With a minimum of machinery, this account captures disambiguation and scalar effects, as well as interactions with other focus operators like ‘only’ and clefts. Double focus data further support the analysis, and lead to a rejection of Ward and Hirschberg’s (Language (...) 61:747–776, 1985) claim that RFR never disambiguates. Finally, I draw out connections between RFR and contrastive topic (CT) intonation (Büring, Linguist Philos 26:511–545, 2003), and show that RFR cannot simply be reduced to a sub-case of CT. (shrink)
In this 2004 book, Noah Lemos presents a strong defense of the common sense tradition, the view that we may take as data for philosophical inquiry many of the things we ordinarily think we know. He discusses the main features of that tradition as expounded by Thomas Reid, G. E. Moore and Roderick Chisholm. For a long time common sense philosophers have been subject to two main objections: that they fail to give any non-circular argument for the reliability of (...) memory and perception; and that they pick out instances of knowledge without knowing a criterion for knowledge. Lemos defends the appeal to what we ordinarily think we know in both epistemology and ethics and thus rejects the charge that common sense is dogmatic, unphilosophical or question-begging. Written in a clear and engaging style, this book will appeal to students and philosophers in epistemology and ethics. (shrink)
The phenomenon of `consciousness' is intrinsically related to one's awareness of one's self, of time, and of the physical world. What, then, can be learned about consciousness from people who have suffered brain damage such as amnesia which affects their awareness? This is the question explored by Lawrence Weiskrantz, a distinguished neuropsychologist who has worked with such patients over 30 years. Written in an engaging and accessible style, Consciousness Lost and Found provides a unique perspective on one of the (...) most challenging issues in science today. (shrink)
When philosophers speak of the inconclusiveness of arguments for the existence of God, they often do so as if they were talking about a matter of principle—as if it were in principle impossible to prove God's existence, that every proof was in principle inconclusive. Of course, rebutals of the cosmological, ontological, and teleological arguments are usually designed to show that these types of arguments are in principle inconclusive. But one supposes that religious experience arguments are not all in such difficulties. (...) That is, one supposes, for example, that an encounter with the deity would provide a proof of his existence which is at least as conclusive as proofs for the existence of an ‘external world’. And thus it would be false to maintain in an unqualified way that ‘Reason cannot prove the existence of God’. The most one would be able to say would be that at present , or in terms of the currently available evidence, no one can prove God's existence. Further, whether or not sufficient evidence has ever been available in the past would be seen as an historical question— a matter of contingencies, not logical possibilities. (shrink)
Epistemology or the theory of knowledge is one of the cornerstones of analytic philosophy, and this book provides a clear and accessible introduction to the subject. It discusses some of the main theories of justification, including foundationalism, coherentism, reliabilism, and virtue epistemology. Other topics include the Gettier problem, internalism and externalism, skepticism, the problem of epistemic circularity, the problem of the criterion, a priori knowledge, and naturalized epistemology. Intended primarily for students taking a first class in epistemology, this lucid and (...) well-written text would also provide an excellent introduction for anyone interested in knowing more about this important area of philosophy. (shrink)
Lawrence, Carmen Why should we protect our heritage? In the broadest sense our heritage is what we inherit; it's what we value of that inheritance and what we decide to keep and protect for future generations. Heritage is both global enough to encompass our shock at the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan and as local as our own sepia-tinted family photographs. Everything which our predecessors have bequeathed, both tangible and intangible, may be called heritage - landscapes, (...) structures, objects, traditions, stories and language. (shrink)
SummaryCross-regional correlations between average IQ and socioeconomic development have been documented in many different countries. This paper presents new IQ estimates for the twelve regions of the UK. These are weakly correlated with the regional IQs assembled by Lynn. Assuming the two sets of estimates are accurate and comparable, this finding suggests that the relative IQs of different UK regions have changed since the 1950s, most likely due to differentials in the magnitude of the Flynn effect, the selectivity of external (...) migration, the selectivity of internal migration or the strength of the relationship between IQ and fertility. The paper provides evidence for the validity of the regional IQs by showing that IQ estimates for UK nations derived from the same data are strongly correlated with national PISA scores. It finds that regional IQ is positively related to income, longevity and technological accomplishment; and is negatively related to poverty, deprivation and unemployment. A general factor of socioeconomic development is correlated with regional IQ atr=0.72. (shrink)
Logic and humour tend to be mutually exclusive topics. Humour plays off ambiguity, while classical logic falters over it. Formalizing puns is therefore impossible, since puns have ambiguous meanings for their components. However, I will use Independence-Friendly logic to formally encode the multiple meanings within a pun. This will show a general strategy of how to logically represent ambiguity and reveals humour as an untapped source of novel logical structure.
In many learning or inference tasks human behavior approximates that of a Bayesian ideal observer, suggesting that, at some level, cognition can be described as Bayesian inference. However, a number of findings have highlighted an intriguing mismatch between human behavior and standard assumptions about optimality: People often appear to make decisions based on just one or a few samples from the appropriate posterior probability distribution, rather than using the full distribution. Although sampling-based approximations are a common way to implement Bayesian (...) inference, the very limited numbers of samples often used by humans seem insufficient to approximate the required probability distributions very accurately. Here, we consider this discrepancy in the broader framework of statistical decision theory, and ask: If people are making decisions based on samples—but as samples are costly—how many samples should people use to optimize their total expected or worst-case reward over a large number of decisions? We find that under reasonable assumptions about the time costs of sampling, making many quick but locally suboptimal decisions based on very few samples may be the globally optimal strategy over long periods. These results help to reconcile a large body of work showing sampling-based or probability matching behavior with the hypothesis that human cognition can be understood in Bayesian terms, and they suggest promising future directions for studies of resource-constrained cognition. (shrink)
Poverty continues to present an enormous challenge to the well-being of humanity. Different frameworks on poverty tend to identify different persons as poor, impacting on efforts to fight poverty. The church as a role player in the public domain needs a framework that can assist it in its task of working for salvation and liberation in the face of overwhelming poverty. Acombined framework, from Amartya Sen’s entitlement approach and capability approach, is amalgamated and suggested as an integrated framework that could (...) act as a lens or a viewpoint from which the church could venture to conceptualise, quantify and respond to instances of poverty. Keywords: Poverty; Church; Well-being; Amartya Sen; Entitlement Approach; Capability Approach. (shrink)
The first edition of Blindsight, written by Lawrence Weiskrantz was an important and highly cited account of studies of the phenomenon - Blindsight. The updated edition retains the original text of the first edition, but brings the book up to date with developments in this area in the past decade.
Catholic doctrine’s strict prohibition on abortion can lead clinicians or institutions to conscientiously refuse to provide abortion, although a legal duty to provide abortion would apply to anyone who refused. Conscientious refusals by clinicians to end a pregnancy can constitute murder or reckless homicide under American law if a woman dies as a result of such a refusal. Such refusals are not immunized from criminal liability by the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion or by statutes that confer (...) immunity from criminal homicide prosecution. Core principles of the rule of law require the state to protect the lives of all persons equally and to place the life and health of persons above any the interests of providers have in moral integrity or in respecting the moral status of prenatal humans. In some states criminal liability related to conscientious objection also applies to corporate hospital officials. (shrink)
The work of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty touches on some of the most essential and vital concerns of the world today, yet his ideas are difficult and not widely understood. Lawrence Hass redresses this problem by offering an exceptionally clear, carefully argued, critical appreciation of Merleau-Ponty's philosophy. Hass provides insight into the philosophical methods and major concepts that characterize Merleau-Ponty's thought. Questions concerning the nature of phenomenology, perceptual experience, embodiment, intersubjectivity, expression, and philosophy of language are fully and systematically (...) discussed with reference to main currents and discussions in contemporary philosophy. The result is a refreshingly jargon-free invitation into Merleau-Ponty's important and transformational way of understanding human experience. (shrink)