Both consequentialist and non-consequentialist ethical reasoning have difficulties in accounting for the value of consequences. Taken neat, consequentialism is too fierce in its emphasis on success and disregard of luck, while non-consequentialism seemingly over-values inner states and undervalues actual results. In UneasyVirtue Julia Driver proposes a form of objective consequentialism which claims that characters are good if they typically (but not invariably) produce good results. This position addresses the problems moral luck raises for consequentialism, but requires some form of realism (...) about traits of character. However, if our knowledge of mental states is ascriptive, this form of objective consequentialism may make excessive demands. Non-consequentialists may gain in so far as the theories of action to which they are typically committed are less demanding, and are built to take account of the typical or systematic connections between states of character and results of action. (shrink)
Onora O’Neill was Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge from 1992 to 2006. She studied philosophy, psychology and physiology at Oxford and earned a PhD from Harvard, with John Rawls as supervisor. She taught at Barnard College, the women’s college at Columbia University, New York, before taking up a post at the University of Essex, where she became Professor of Philosophy in 1987. She lectures in the faculties of Philosophy and History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge, and has written (...) widely on ethics and political philosophy, with particular interests in questions of international justice, and in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. (shrink)
Onora O’Neill is one of the foremost moral philosophers writing today. Her work on ethics and bioethics, political philosophy and the philosophy of Kant is extremely influential. Her landmark Reith Lectures on trust did much to establish the subject not only on the philosophical and political agenda but in the world of media, business and law more widely. Reading Onora O’Neill is the first book to examine and critically appraise the work of this important thinker. It includes specially (...) commissioned chapters by leading international philosophers in ethics, Kantian philosophy and political philosophy. The following aspects of O’Neill’s work are examined: global justice Kant the ethics of the family bioethics consent trust. Featuring a substantial reply to her critics at the end of the book, Reading Onora O’Neill is essential reading for students and scholars of ethics and political philosophy. (shrink)
This review sets out the central arguments of Onora O’Neill’s book Justice Across Boundaries: Whose Obligations? and argues that whilst she puts forward a variety of incisive criticisms of the international human rights movement she fails to present any positive argument for improving it. Ultimately the book is an exceptional piece of criticism that lacks any significant attempt to solve the many problems that O'Neill highlighted.
Although Burke, Bentham, Hegel and Marx do not often agree, all criticized certain ethical theories, in particular theories of rights, for being too abstract. The complaint is still popular. It was common in Existentialist and in Wittgensteinian writing that stressed the importance of cases and examples rather than principles for the moral life; it has been prominent in recent Hegelian and Aristotelian flavoured writing, which stresses the importance of the virtues; it is reiterated in discussions that stress the distinctiveness and (...) particularity of moral vicissitudes and query the importance of ethical theory. Recent critics of abstraction are opposed not only to theories of rights, and the Kantian notions with which these are linked, but also to consequentialist ethical theories. The two ethical theories that are most influential in the English-speaking world now both stand accused of being too abstract. (shrink)
RESUMO O objetivo do presente trabalho é propor, mediante o papel que a relação entre método e objetivos desempenha em "A theory of justice", uma possível leitura da abordagem contratualista sui generis adotada por Rawls em sua obra-prima. De modo particular, aproveitaremos, como ponto de partida, duas críticas que Onora O'Neill apresenta em uma de suas últimas intervenções sobre o pensamento de Rawls. Tentaremos mostrar, então, como tais críticas padecem de certa inconsistência, na medida em que for enfatizada a (...) complementaridade entre alguns aspectos metodológicos e os objetivos gerais assumidos em "A theory of justice", sobretudo, no que diz respeito à caracterização da posição original como situação ideal de deliberação entre agentes racionais que se reconhecem como livres e iguais em sua pluralidade. Nesse sentido, concentrar-nos-emos na interpretação do nexo entre o véu de ignorância e o equilíbrio reflexivo como momento constitutivo de um processo de reflexão prática em que interagem, sem contradição, racionalidade lógicoformal e razoabilidade das restrições. Daí, indicaremos, em linhas gerais e de maneira absolutamente provisória, em que termos nos parece possível compatibilizar construtivismo e contratualismo em "A theory of justice". ABSTRACT The aim of this paper is to propose, through the role that the relationship between method and objectives plays in "A theory of justice", a possible reading of the contractarian sui generis approach adopted by Rawls in his masterpiece. In particular, we will take advantage, as a starting point, of two critical objections that Onora O'Neill presents in one of her latest interventions on Rawls' thought. Then, we will try to show how such critical objections are somewhat insubstantial, to the extent that the complementarity between some methodological aspects and the general objectives assumed in "A theory of justice" is emphasized, especially with regard to the characterization of the original position as ideal situation of deliberation among rational agents who recognize themselves as free and equal in their plurality. In this sense, we will focus on the interpretation of the link between the veil of ignorance and the reflective equilibrium as a constitutive moment of a process of practical reflection in which logical-formal rationality and reasonableness of restrictions interact, without contradiction. Hence, we will indicate, in a general and absolutely provisional way, in which terms it seems possible to reconcile constructivism and contractualism in "A theory of justice". (shrink)
O'Neill's critique of my account of Kant does point to serious inadequacies in that treatment, but I argue in reply that on some central points she is mistaken and that Kant's moral rigorism and his conception of what it is to be a rational agent are more open to the conventional objections than she allows. What needs to be put in question is the whole nature of rational justification in morality, for justification always in fact requires the context of a (...) tradition. In confronting Gaita's criticisms of my views on the relationship of moral philosophy to morality and of the teleological aspect of the virtues the relevant notion of tradition is further elaborated in a way that provides premises both for a response to Clark's defense of Moore and for an indication of how the social analysis of modernity in After Virtue might be defended. (shrink)