The Sermon on the Mount is not abstract idealism. It connects to our political contest not least because it insists on the big questions of purpose and ends and how society should be ordered. Rooted in the Old Testament focus on the fair distribution of wealth (ensuring the poor get priority) – cf. Proverbs 2, 8, 9, 14, 15, 29 – the Sermon is a programme for social citizenship and local community development.
Must we fight terrorism with terror and torture with torture? Must we sacrifice civil liberty to protect public safety?In the age of terrorism Michael Ignatieff argues that we must not shrink from the use of violence. But its use - in a liberal democracy - must be measured. And we must not fool ourselves that whatever we do in the name of freedom and democracy is good. We may need to kill to fight the greater evil of terrorism, but we (...) must never pretend that doing so is anything better than a lesser evil.In making this case, Ignatieff traces the modern history of terrorism and counter-terrorism, from the nihilists of Czarist Russia and the militias of Weimar Germany to the IRA and the unprecedented menace of Al Qaeda. He shows how the most potent response to terror has been force, decisive and direct, yet restrained. The public scrutiny and politicalethics that motivate restraint also give democracy its strongest weapon: the moral power to endure when vengeance and hatred are spent. (shrink)
The text discusses the importance of religion as a symbolic construct which derives from fundamental human needs. At the same time, religious symbolism can function as an explanation for the major crises existent in the lives of individuals or their communities, even if they live in a democratic or a totalitarian system. Its presence is facilitated by the assumption of the biographical element existent in the philosophical and theological reflection and its extrapolation in a biography which concerns the communities and (...) its governmental resorts. It is in this context that we discuss the way in which the myth concerning the death of God can influence the formation of politicalethics relevant for the contemporary man. From the analysis of the signification of the death of God in the contemporary Judaic theology and philosophy emerges a series of important elements for the creation of a politicalethics situated between biblical morals and the extermination of the innocents in the 20th century. (shrink)
Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations constitutes an important source and subject for Michel Foucault’s 1981 lectures at the Collège de France, translated into English as Hermeneutics of the Subject. One recurring theme in these lectures is the deployment by Hellenistic/Roman philosophers such as Aurelius of the practice and figure of dance. Inspired by this discussion, the present essay offers a close reading of dance in the Meditations, followed by a survey of the secondary literature on this subject. Overall, I will attempt to (...) show that, despite Aurelius’s self-consciously critical comportment toward dance, dance nevertheless performs a critical function in the construction of what I will term his “politicalethics.” This politicalethics, I will argue, is composed of an ethics of patient tolerance funded by the generosity that flows from the micro-political power generated by cultivating the god that Aurelius identifies within each of us. (shrink)
How do the hard facts of political responsibility shape and constrain the demands of ethical life? That question lies at the heart of the problem of 'dirty hands' in public life. Those who exercise political power often feel they must act in ways that would otherwise be considered immoral: indeed, paradoxically, they sometimes feel that it would be immoral of them not to perform or condone such acts as killing or lying. John Parrish offers a wide-ranging account of (...) how this important philosophical problem emerged and developed, tracing it - and its proposed solutions - from ancient Greece through the Enlightenment. His central argument is that many of our most familiar concepts and institutions - from Augustine's interiorised ethics, to Hobbes's sovereign state, to Adam Smith's 'invisible hand', understanding of the modern commercial economy - were designed partly as responses to the ethical problem of dirty hands in public life. (shrink)
This paper attempts to mediate between the extremes of a managerial conception of business ethics which subordinates it to management and a political conception which subordinates it to political philosophy. The mediated position arrived at sees the central focus of business ethics in the intersection of micro-managerial concerns with macro-political ones provided by the task of determining morally optimum forms of business. Involvement with the macro rules out subordination to management while, conversely, involvement with the (...) micro rules out subordination to political philosophy. Moreover, such is the (increasing) social importance of business, that business ethics can have at least co-equal explanatory status with political philosophy as a discipline. (shrink)
In this chapter I take up the question of how Aristotle understood the relationship between the contemplative life and the active life in contributing to human flourishing and to the political regime. While the connections between Aristotle’s ethics and politics are abundant, there exists a prevalent assumption in the inclusive/dominant debate concerning the interpretation of eudaimonia (human flourishing) that Aristotle’s Politics cannot or should not play a prominent role in helping to understand eudaimonia. On the ‘inclusivist’ reading, eudaimonia (...) is understood as being a composite of all human goods or virtues. On the ‘dominant’ reading, eudaimonia is understood as being a single dominant good, theōria (contemplation). With this chapter I offer a competing interpretation which is in some ways similar to the recent ‘all-inclusive’ reading, but which relies heavily on the connection between Aristotle’s ethics and politics in order to explain how theōria fits into humans’ composite and political nature. (shrink)
Virginia Held assesses the ethics of care as a promising alternative to the familiar moral theories that serve so inadequately to guide our lives. The ethics of care is only a few decades old, yet it is by now a distinct moral theory or normative approach to the problems we face. It is relevant to global and political matters as well as to the personal relations that can most clearly exemplify care. This book clarifies just what the (...)ethics of care is: what its characteristics are, what it holds, and what it enables us to do. It discusses the feminist roots of this moral approach and why the ethics of care can be a morality with universal appeal. Held examines what we mean by "care," and what a caring person is like. Where other moral theories demand impartiality above all, the ethics of care understands the moral import of our ties to our families and groups. It evaluates such ties, focusing on caring relations rather than simply on the virtues of individuals. The book proposes how such values as justice, equality, and individual rights can "fit together" with such values as care, trust, mutual consideration, and solidarity. In the second part of the book, Held examines the potential of the ethics of care for dealing with social issues. She shows how the ethics of care is more promising than Kantian moral theory and utilitarianism for advice on how expansive, or not, markets should be, and on when other values than market ones should prevail. She connects the ethics of care with the rising interest in civil society, and considers the limits appropriate for the language of rights. Finally, she shows the promise of the ethics of care for dealing with global problems and seeing anew the outlines of international civility. (shrink)
In his Education of a Christian Prince Erasmus applies ancient and Christian virtues to the functions of a Christian prince. Slovak humanist writer Ján Milo- chovský , who new Erasmus’s work, expanded in his Ornamentum Magistratus Politici the scope of the ethical and moral functions of a prince, focusing on three fundamental virtues: piety, justice and tolerance.The paper offers an analysis of Erasmus’s politicalethics and examines the impact of the latter on the Slovak humanism of the second (...) half of the 17th century, especially in the writings of Ján Milochovský. (shrink)
How should politicians act? When should they try to lead public opinion and when should they follow it? Should politicians see themselves as experts, whose opinions have greater authority than other people's, or as participants in a common dialogue with ordinary citizens? When do virtues like toleration and willingness to compromise deteriorate into moral weakness? In this innovative work, Andrew Sabl answers these questions by exploring what a democratic polity needs from its leaders. He concludes that there are systematic, principled (...) reasons for the holders of divergent political offices or roles to act differently. Sabl argues that the morally committed civil rights activist, the elected representative pursuing legislative results, and the grassroots organizer determined to empower ordinary citizens all have crucial democratic functions. But they are different functions, calling for different practices and different qualities of political character. To make this case, he draws on political theory, moral philosophy, leadership studies, and biographical examples ranging from Everett Dirksen to Ella Baker, Frances Willard to Stokely Carmichael, Martin Luther King Jr. to Joe McCarthy. Ruling Passions asks democratic theorists to pay more attention to the "governing pluralism" that characterizes a diverse, complex democracy. It challenges moral philosophy to adapt its prescriptions to the real requirements of democratic life, to pay more attention to the virtues of political compromise and the varieties of human character. And it calls on all democratic citizens to appreciate "democratic constancy": the limited yet serious standard of ethical character to which imperfect democratic citizens may rightly hold their leaders--and themselves. (shrink)
Presents the Nicomachean Ethics as a work of political philosophy, emphasizing the interplay between its practical political concerns and its underlying philosophic perspective and arguing that it is rhetorical in the precise Aristotelian meaning of the term.
Political judgment is notoriously hard to theorise, and in the recent debates surrounding Habermas's discourse ethics we encounter classic disagreements around the nature, operation and validity of such judgments. This paper evaluates Habermas's account of political judgment and explores the problems raised by his critics. It then focuses on the contentious role played by universals within his account. What emerges is a reformulated theory of judgment based on the thin universalism of fair deliberation, and a description of (...) a sub-set of judgments, termed ``democratic judgments'', which are oriented to the preservation of democracy. (shrink)
This volume contains ten chapters, each of which takes up a different question in contemporary moral or political philosophy. The volume has three parts: meta-ethics, issues in freedom and autonomy, and contemporary political philosophy. In the meta-ethical section, the chapters address issues concerning acts and their value, the plausibility of aggregation and counting with respect to the value of human lives, and the role of moral character in causing and explaining moral behavior. In the second section, the (...) chapters take up questions about the connection between moral imagination and a plausible account of integrity, the connection between autonomy and rights to property, and the difficulties facing internalist accounts of autonomy. In the final section, the chapters address issues concerning feminist critiques of Rawlsian liberalism, the limits of liberalism and communitarianism, the importance of understanding Rawls's social contract as a contract for institutions, and the morality of nationalist movements. These chapters reflect a cross-section of the issues concerning value that are of contemporary scholarly interest in Canada and the United States. (shrink)
The eagerly-awaited second volume of The Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts will allow scholars and students access for the first time in English to major texts in ethics and political thought from one of the most fruitful periods of speculation and analysis in the history of western thought. Beginning with Albert the Great, who introduced the Latin west to the challenging moral philosophy and natural science of Aristotle, and concluding with the first substantial presentation in English of (...) the revolutionary ideas on property and political power of John Wyclif, the seventeen texts in this anthology offer late medieval treatments of fundamental issues in human conduct that are both conceptually subtle and of direct practical import. Special features of this volume include copious editorial introductions, an analytical index, and suggestions for further reading. This is an important resource for scholars and students of medieval philosophy, history, political science, theology and literature. (shrink)
This paper connects the question of the rationality of voting to the question of what it is morally permissible for elected representatives to do. In particular, the paper argues that it is rational to vote to increase the strength of the manifest normative mandate of one's favored candidate. I argue that, due to norms of political legitimacy, how representatives ought to act while in office is tied to how much support they have from their constituents, where a representative’s “support” (...) is a function of the percentage of adults living in the political jurisdiction who voted for her. In a representative system, whether a particular law or policy is legitimate is in part a function of how much support the particular representative government has, rather than simply being a function of the governmental structure or the normative content of the law or policy. Representatives with more support can permissibly act more like trustees (doing what they think is best) and less like delegates (doing what their constituents presently prefer). I argue that this fact provides a reason for individuals to vote, even given the incredibly small chance an individual voter has of casting a pivotal vote. (shrink)
Responsible citizens are expected to combine ethical judgement with judiciously exercised social activism to preserve the moral foundation of democratic society and prevent political injustice. But do they? Utilizing a research model integrating insights from rational choice theory and cognitive developmental psychology this book carefully explores three exemplary cases of morally inspired activism: Jewish rescue in wartime Europe, abortion politics in the United States, and peace and settler activism in Israel. From all three analyses a single conclusion emerges: the (...) most politically competent individuals are, most often, the least morally competent. This is the central paradox of political morality. These findings cast doubt on strong models of political morality characterized by enlightened moral reasoning and concerted political action while affirming alternative weak models that fuse activism with sectarian moral interests. They provide empirical support to further upend the liberal vision of democratic character, education, and society. (shrink)
The author suggests that a synchronic reading of Bonhoeffer's major works yields a typology of the two main images around which Bonhoeffer's politicalethics orbit: disciple and citizen. Concentrating on the latter, the author shows the centrality of the question of power for Bonhoeffer's politicalethics, and how it relates to responsibility and vocation. He argues that Bonhoeffer's ethics follows a christological grammar which constitutes its specific realism and provides its focus on institutions and good (...) works. The essay concludes that the call to citizenship, the vocation of co-operative, representative and vicarious action, forms the central idea of Bonhoeffer's politicalethics, which is still highly relevant for politicalethics today. (shrink)
For much of the twentieth century, Confucianism was condemned by Westerners and East Asians alike as antithetical to modernity. Internationally renowned philosophers, historians, and social scientists argue otherwise in Confucian PoliticalEthics. They show how classical Confucian theory--with its emphasis on family ties, self-improvement, education, and the social good--is highly relevant to the most pressing dilemmas confronting us today. Drawing upon in-depth, cross-cultural dialogues, the contributors delve into the relationship of Confucian politicalethics to contemporary social (...) issues, exploring Confucian perspectives on civil society, government, territorial boundaries and boundaries of the human body and body politic, and ethical pluralism. They examine how Confucianism, often dismissed as backwardly patriarchal, can in fact find common ground with a range of contemporary feminist values and need not hinder gender equality. And they show how Confucian theories about war and peace were formulated in a context not so different from today's international system, and how they can help us achieve a more peaceful global community. This thought-provoking volume affirms the enduring relevance of Confucian moral and political thinking, and will stimulate important debate among policymakers, researchers, and students of politics, philosophy, applied ethics, and East Asian studies. The contributors are Daniel A. Bell, Joseph Chan, Sin Yee Chan, Chenyang Li, Richard Madsen, Ni Lexiong, Peter Nosco, Michael Nylan, Henry Rosemont, Jr., and Lee H. Yearley. (shrink)
This article explores one of the key themes of Hans J. Morgenthau's moral theory, the concept of the lesser evil. Morgenthau developed this concept by reference to classical political theory, especially the articulation of the lesser evil found in Aristotle and Epicurus. The article begins by differentiating Morgenthau's work from that of E. H. Carr, whom he regards as engaged in a Quixotic quest to provide Machiavellism with greater ethical purpose. The article also contrasts the ethics of the (...) lesser evil with Kantian ethics. Morgenthau places the lesser evil in the context of a modernity that has lost the capacity to think about the relationship between politics and morality and stresses the importance of coming to grips with the existential demands of love and power. Finally, the article argues that despite the ubiquity of evil, the existence of the lesser evil gives rise to the development of specifically political virtues such as prudence and moderation which raise the possibility of moral politics beyond mere expedience. (shrink)
The cosmology of Deleuze and Guattari emphasises the new. I raise the question of whether this emphasis cancels out two other political virtues, solidarity and heterogeneity, and thereby amounts to a fascism of the new. I reply that what Deleuze and Guattari say about cosmological unity and difference suggests that they can avoid this negative designation. I support this conclusion by considering their statements on ethics and politics and by translating their cosmological philosophy into the more immediate ethico- (...) class='Hi'>political context of the alloplastic stratum. The latter effort is abetted by elaborating the two thinkers’ use of the term ‘voice’, for example, in Deleuze's statement that Being is the ‘single and same voice for the whole thousand-voiced multiple … a single clamour of Being for all beings’ or in the two authors’ notion of a ‘constellation of voices’ that makes up the ‘molecular’ or ‘unconscious’ collective assemblage of enunciation. This elaboration is pertinent because politicalethics is essentially which voices are heard, and which not, or at least their relative levels of audibility in the alloplastic regime. I further clarify this treatment of Deleuze and Guattari's politicalethics by linking it to the idea of parrhesia, courageous speech and hearing. (shrink)
The paper presents an overview of political and professional committees in the Federal Republic of Germany dealing with issues of biomedical ethics. The prevailing tendencies of paternalistic atittudes, the worst-casescenario argumentation method, and the unfortunate practice of applying general principles rather than mid-level principles in the assessment of concrete challenges in treatment and regulation are analyzed. Keywords: conflict, control, consent, commission design, paternalism, politicalethics, regulation, self-regulation CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
Jean-François Lyotard. First acquaintance with Lyotard -- Kant's notion of the sublime and its appropriation by Lyotard -- Transposing Kant to the key of the postmodern -- The role of feelings in Lyotard's political judgment -- Universality revisited -- Jacques Derrida. The Nietzschean influence -- Derrida and phenomenology -- Derrida's exploration of exteriority and anteriority -- Derrida's politicalethics : foundations -- Derrida's politicalethics : further elaborations : the international scene.
John Dewey delivered two sets of related lectures at the University of Chicago in the fall quarter 1895 and the spring quarter 1896. Designed for graduate students, the lectures show the birth of Dewey’s instrumentalist theory of inquiry in its application to ethical and political thinking. From 1891 through 1903, Dewey attempted to develop a revolutionary experimentalist approach to ethical inquiry designed to replace the more traditional ways of moral theorizing that relied on the fixed moral knowledge given in (...) advance of the situations in which they were applied. In the lectures on the logic of ethics, he sets forth and defends the view that the "is" in a moral judgment such as "This is good" is a coordinating factor in an inquiry. Although the subject matter of the lectures is highly technical, its significance is paramount. It provides the key to and opens the door for a theory that preserves the difference between strictly scientific inquiry and moral inquiry even while it provides a "scientific treatment" of the latter. The lectures on politicalethics apply Dewey’s theory of inquiry to the logical problems created by three disciplines designated as politics, economics, and ethics, which appear to have separate and antagonistic subject matters. Politics is a quest for political power; economics is based on self-interest; ethical inquiry is about morality. These lectures carry on the experimental theory of inquiry developed in the previous lectures by explaining how the distinction between these subject matters can be developed without the antagonism. These lectures enable us to make much better sense of Dewey’s later works on moral and political topics. (shrink)
The political morality that Plato and Aristotle supported was governed by various anthropological and social determinants, which means that they focused on man understood as a citizen and interpreted through the dialectic as well as through the prospects of the city’s happiness, since for both of them man was a social animal. The politicalethics of Plato and Aristotle does not endanger the political community with political bankruptcy. This political morality does not start from (...) intransigent principles to reach a compromise that has already been surpassed by the previous negative dynamics. The Byzantine political morality oscillates between the individual and the totality. It is not governed by individualism but rather by communitarianism, which entails that it confirms the dynamics of unity within the city. The Byzantine political morals is imbued with an anticipation of the political crisis, it seeks to identify any negative developments and strives to avoid the political marginalization of the citizens who are likely to rebel against any autocratic government. The Byzantine political morality is, thus, not an idle and selfish political introversion, concerned merely with political crises, conflict scenarios and conspiracy theories, as it strives to come up with various solutions that should guarantee political balance. (shrink)
Most research in political philosophy focuses on issues related to states and governments. Only rarely do political philosophers focus on the ethical actions of individuals—voters, lobbyists, politicians, party members—acting within large-scale political systems. _Political Ethics _works against the dominant paradigm, offering twenty-one, never before-published essays on the ethics of non-statist political agents. The chapters cover three major areas of politicalethics: The Rights and Obligations of Politicians; The Rights and Obligations of Citizens; (...) and Political Parties. The volume is a ground-breaking collection, aiming to alter future direction of political philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that philosophical anthropology is central to ethics and politics. The denial of this has facilitated the triumph of debased notions of humans developed by Hobbes which has facilitated the enslavement of people to the logic of the global market, a logic which is now destroying the ecological conditions for civilization and most life on Earth. Reviving the classical understanding of the central place of philosophical anthropology to ethics and politics, the early work (...) of Hegel and Marx is explicated, defended and further developed by interpreting this through developments in post-mechanistic science. Overcoming the opposition between the sciences and the humanities, it is suggested that the conception of humans developed in this way can orient people in their struggle for the liberty to avert a global ecological catastrophe. (shrink)
There is considerable overlap between the interests of business ethicists and those of political philosophers. Questions about the moral justifiability of the capitalist system, the basis of property rights, and the problem of inequality in the distribution of income have been of central importance in both fields. However, political philosophers have developed, especially over the past four decades, a set of tools and concepts for addressing these questions that are in many ways quite distinctive. Most business ethicists, on (...) the other hand, consider their field to be primarily a domain of applied ethics, and so adopt methods and conceptual frameworks developed by moral philosophers. In this paper, we discuss some of the salient differences between these two approaches, and suggest some ways in which business ethicists could benefit from taking a more “political philosophy” approach to these questions. Throughout, we underline the importance of seeking greater compatibility among the principles used in normative theorizing about markets, regulations, corporate governance, and business practices. (shrink)
Connecting Virtues examines the significant advances within the fast-growing field of virtue theory and shows how research has contributed to the current debates in moral philosophy, epistemology, and political philosophy. It includes groundbreaking chapters offering original solutions to long-standing issues, such as the plausibility of different lists of virtues, the relationship between virtues and the vices that oppose them, and the connection between moral and intellectual virtues. In addition, the volume offers insights into cutting-edge areas of application of the (...) topic of virtue, such as the role of intellectual virtues in an age of neuromedia, virtuous dispositions related to social epistemology, and the value of some neglected virtues for political philosophy. The book breaks down barriers between different philosophical perspectives on the study of the virtues—both to highlight the interplay and overlap among virtues pertaining to different philosophical areas, and to stress the peculiarity of specific virtues within their own fields. It is a unique and insightful collection of essays composed by some of the leading philosophers working on the topic. (shrink)
The central problems of political philosophy (e.g., legitimate authority, distributive justice) mirror the central problems of businessethics. The question naturally arises: should political theories be applied to problems in business ethics? If a version of egalitarianism is the correct theory of justice for states, for example, does it follow that it is the correct theory of justice for businesses? If states should be democratically governed by their citizens, should businesses be democratically managed by their employees? Most theorists (...) who have considered these questions, including John Rawls in Political Liberalism, and Robert Phillips and Joshua Margolis in a 1999 article, have said “no.” They claim that states and businesses are different kinds of entities, and hence require different theories of justice. I challenge this claim. While businesses differ from states, the difference is one of degree, not one of kind. Business ethicshas much to learn from political philosophy. (shrink)
The writings of Martin Rakovský can be seen as a reflection of the problems, including political ones, of his time. His aim was also to offer an idea of a perfect ruler, who would bring peoples the peace and calm down the stormy events of the 16th century. The personal virtues of such a ruler should have been the guarantee of the welfare of all citizens. Given Rakovský’s religious attitude he can be regarded as a re- formation humanist standing (...) between Machiavelli and Luther. (shrink)