We can see a theft, hear a lie, and feel a stabbing. These are morally important perceptions. But are they also moral perceptions--distinctively moral responses? In this book, Robert Audi develops an original account of moral perceptions, shows how they figure in human experience, and argues that they provide moral knowledge. He offers a theory of perception as an informative representational relation to objects and events. He describes the experiential elements in perception, illustrates moral perception in relation to everyday observations, (...) and explains how moral perception justifies moral judgments and contributes to objectivity in ethics. -/- Moral perception does not occur in isolation. Intuition and emotion may facilitate it, influence it, and be elicited by it. Audi explores the nature and variety of intuitions and their relation to both moral perception and emotion, providing the broadest and most refined statement to date of his widely discussed intuitionist view in ethics. He also distinguishes several kinds of moral disagreement and assesses the challenge it poses for ethical objectivism. -/- Philosophically argued but interdisciplinary in scope and interest, Moral Perception advances our understanding of central problems in ethics, moral psychology, epistemology, and the theory of the emotions. (shrink)
"Robert Audi's magisterial "The Good in the Right" offers the most comprehensive and developed account of rational ethical intuitionism to date."--Roger Crisp, St. Anne's College, University of Oxford "This is an excellent book.
This paper defends a moderate intuitionism by extending a version of that view previously put forward and responding to some significant objections to it that have been posed in recent years. The notion of intuition is clarified, and various kinds of intuition are distinguished and interconnected. These include doxastic intuitions and intuitive seemings. The concept of inference is also clarified. In that light, the possibility of non-inferential intuitive justification is explained in relation to both singular moral judgments, which intuitionists do (...) not take to be self-evident, and basic moral principles, which they typically do take to be self-evident in a sense explicated in the paper. This explanation is accomplished in part by drawing some analogies between moral and perceptual judgments in the light of a developmental conception of knowledge. The final section of the paper presents a partial account of rational disagreement and indicates how the kind of intuitionist view defended can allow for rational disagreement between apparent epistemic peers. (shrink)
This collection of papers (including three completely new ones) by one of the foremost philosophers in epistemology transcends two of the most widely misunderstood positions in philosophy--foundationalism and coherentism. Audi proposes a distinctively moderate, internalist foundationalism that incorporates some of the virtues of both coherentism and reliabilism. He develops important distinctions between positive and negative epistemic dependence, substantively and conceptually naturalistic theories, dispositional beliefs and dispositions to believe, episodically and structurally inferential beliefs, first and second order internalism, and rebutting as (...) opposed to refuting skepticism. These contrasts are applied not only to rational belief, but to rational action and the rationality of desires and intentions. The overall position is a pluralist, moderately rationalistic, internalist theory of justification and a partly externalist conception of knowledge. However, by virtue of offering a theory of rationality as well as an account of knowledge and justified belief, it will interest philosophers of ethics, science, and the social sciences and teachers and students of epistemology. (shrink)
This paper provides an account of virtues as praiseworthy traits of character with a far-reaching capacity to influence conduct. Virtues supply their possessors both with good reasons that indicate, for diverse contexts, what sort of thing be done and with motivation to them. This motivational power of virtue is crucial for the question of what kind of person, or businessperson, one wants to be. The paper shows how the contrast between virtue ethics and rule ethics is often drawn too sharply (...) and indicates how virtue theories can incorporate both theoretical and practical uses of rules. More generally, it shows how a virtue orientation affects attitudes in management practices and how an understanding of certain virtues can help in making better decisions, both ethically and in relation to success in business. (shrink)
Most of the literature on doxastic voluntarism has concentrated on the question of the voluntariness of belief and the issue of how our actual or possible control of our beliefs bears on our justification for holding them and on how, in the light of this control, our intellectual character should be assessed. This paper largely concerns a related question on which less philosophical work has been done: the voluntariness of the grounding of belief and the bearing of various views about (...) this matter on justification, knowledge, and intellectual virtue. In part, my concern is the nature and extent of our voluntary control over our responses to reasons for believing—or over what we take to be such reasons. This paper provides a partial account of such control and, on the basis of the account, will clarify the criteria for appraising intellectual virtue. (shrink)
We review recent developments in ethical pluralism, ethical particularism, Kantian intuitionism, rights theory, and climate change ethics, and show the relevance of these developments in ethical theory to contemporary business ethics. This paper explains why pluralists think that ethical decisions should be guided by multiple standards and why particularists emphasize the crucial role of context in determining sound moral judgments. We explain why Kantian intuitionism emphasizes the discerning power of intuitive reason and seek to integrate that with the comprehensiveness of (...) Kant’s moral framework. And we show how human rights can be grounded in human agency, and explain the connections between human rights and climate change. (shrink)
The literature on theoretical reason has been dominated by epistemological concerns, treatments of practical reason by ethical concerns. This book overcomes the limitations of dealing with each separately. It sets out a comprehensive theory of rationality applicable to both practical and theoretical reason. In both domains, Audi explains how experience grounds rationality, delineates the structure of central elements, and attacks the egocentric conception of rationality. He establishes the rationality of altruism and thereby supports major moral principles. The concluding part describes (...) the pluralism and relativity his conception of rationality accommodates and, taking the unified account of theoretical and practical rationality in that light, constructs a theory of global rationality--the overall rationality of persons. Rich in narrative examples, intriguing analogies, and intuitively appealing arguments, this beautifully crafted book will spur advances in ethics and epistemology as well in philosophy of mind and action and the theory of rationality itself. (shrink)
A major issue in political philosophy is the extent to which one or another version of nationalism or, by contrast, cosmopolitanism, is morally justified. Nationalism, like cosmopolitanism, may be understood as a position on the status and responsibilities of nation states, but the terms may also be used to designate attitudes appropriate to those positions. One problem in political philosophy is to distinguish and appraise various forms of nationalism and cosmopolitanism ; a related problem is how to understand the relation (...) of patriotism to each. Nationalists may tend to be patriots, but need not be; patriots may tend to be nationalists, but need not be. Like nationalism, patriotism may also be considered in propositional forms or in related attitudinal forms; but unlike nationalism and cosmopolitanism, patriotism can exist in the form of an emotion: roughly, love of one’s country. This paper characterizes nationalism, cosmopolitanism, and patriotism in both forms and argues for a conception of patriotism on which it is both distinct from nationalism and compatible with certain kinds of cosmopolitanism. It also suggests that, in qualified forms, nationalism and cosmopolitanism may overlap in what they require of their proponents. (shrink)
Can it be rational to be religious? Robert Audi gives a persuasive positive answer through an account of rationality and a rich, nuanced understanding of what religious commitment means. It is not just a matter of belief, but of emotions and attitudes such as faith and hope, of one's outlook on the world, and of commitment to live in certain ways.
Belief is a central focus of inquiry in the philosophy of religion and indeed in the field of religion itself. No one conception of belief is central in all these cases, and sometimes the term 'belief' is used where 'faith' or 'acceptance' would better express what is intended. This paper sketches the major concepts in the philosophy of religion that are expressed by these three terms. In doing so, it distinguishes propositional belief (belief that) from both objectual belief (believing something (...) to have a property) and, more importantly, belief in (a trusting attitude that is illustrated by at least many paradigm cases of belief in God). Faith is shown to have a similar complexity, and even propositional faith divides into importantly different categories. Acceptance differs from both belief and faith in that at least one kind of acceptance is behavioral in a way neither of the other two elements is. Acceptance of a proposition, it is argued, does not entail believing it, nor does believing entail acceptance in any distinctive sense of the latter term. In characterizing these three notions (and related ones), the paper provides some basic materials important both for understanding a person's religious position and for appraising its rationality. The nature of religious faith and some of the conditions for its rationality, including some deriving from elements of an ethics of belief, are explored in some detail. (shrink)
This book offers a unified collection of published and unpublished papers by Robert Audi, a renowned defender of the rationalist position in ethics. Taken together, the essays present a vigorous, broadly-based argument in moral epistemology and a related account of reasons for action and their bearing on moral justification and moral character. Part I details Audi's compelling moral epistemology while Part II offers a unique vision of ethical concepts and an account of moral explanation, as well as a powerful model (...) of moral realism. Part III extends this account of moral explanation to moral responsibility for both actions and character and to the relation between virtue and the actions that express it. Part IV elaborates a theory of reasons for action that locates them in relation to three of their traditionally major sources: desire, moral judgment, and value. Clear and illuminating, Audi's introduction outlines and interconnects the self-contained but cumulatively arranged essays. It also places them in relation to classical and contemporary literature, and directs readers to large segments of thematically connected material spread throughout the book. Audi ends with a powerfully synthetic final essay. (shrink)
ABSTRACT ABSTRACT: This paper provides a multifaceted account of intuition. The paper integrates apparently disparate conceptions of intuition, shows how the notion has figured in epistemology as well as in intuitionistic ethics, and clarifies the relation between the intuitive and the self-evident. Ethical intuitionism is characterized in ways that, in phenomenology, epistemology, and ontology, represent an advance over the position of W. D. Ross while preserving its commonsense normative core and intuitionist character. This requires clarifying the sense in which intuitions (...) are non-inferential and explaining how self-evident principles may be maintained without dogmatism, how intuition is significantly analogous to perception, and how rational disagreements can extend even to the self-evident. The paper distinguishes between two orders of normative disagreement, shows how intuition can contribute to resolving normative disagreements, and represents ethical intuitionism as capable of modified forms that depart from its traditional claims in being neutral with respect to both ethical naturalism and metaphysical realism. (shrink)
Widely acclaimed as the most authoritative and accessible one-volume dictionary available in English (and now with translations into Chinese, Korean, Russian, Italian, and Spanish underway) this second edition offers an even richer, more comprehensive, and more up-to-date survey of ideas and thinkers written by an international team of 436 contributors. Includes the most comprehensive entries on major philosophers, 400 new entries including over 50 on preeminent contemporary philosophers, extensive coverage of rapidly developing fields such as the philosophy of mind and (...) applied ethics, more entries on non-Western philosophy than any comparable volume, and increased coverage of Continental philosophy. (shrink)
Many religious people are alarmed about features of the current age - violence in the media, a pervasive hedonism, a marginalization of religion, and widespread abortion. These concerns influence politics, but just as there should be a separation between church and state, so should there be a balance between religious commitments and secular arguments calling for social reforms. Robert Audi offers a principle of secular rationale, which does not exclude religious grounds for action but which rules out restricting freedom except (...) on grounds that any rational citizen would accept. The book describes the essential commitments of free democracy, explains how religious and secular moral considerations can be integrated to facilitate co-operation in a world of religious pluralism, and proposes ideals of civic virtue that express the mutual respect on which democracy depends. Audi offers a balanced and sophisticated treatment of the relations between religion and politics in a modern, secular society. (shrink)
Integrity is a central topic in business ethics, and in the world of business it is quite possibly the most commonly cited morally desirable trait. But integrity is conceived in widely differing ways, and as often as it is discussed in the literature and given a central place in corporate ethics statements, the notion is used so variously that its value in guiding everyday conduct may be more limited than is generally supposed. Two central questions for this paper are what (...) work the notion does and whether it does any ethical work that is not done better by other concepts. In pursuing these questions the paper explores the most plausible range of understandings of integrity found in recent literature, considers in what sense it is a virtue, and proposes a strategy of clarification and interpretation that can facilitate both ethical reflection and the guidance of moral conduct in business. (shrink)
This paper presents a theory of how perception provides a basis for moral knowledge. To do this, the paper sketches a theory of perception, explores the sense in which moral perception may deserve that name, and explains how certain moral properties may be perceptible. It does not presuppose a causal account of moral properties. If, however, they are not causal, how can we perceive, say, injustice? Can it be observable even if injustice is not a causal property? The paper answers (...) these and other questions by developing an account of how moral properties, even if not causal, can figure in perception in a way that grounds moral knowledge. (shrink)
Testimony is the mainstay of human communication and essential for the spread of knowledge. But testimony may also spread error. Under what conditions does it yield knowledge in the person addressed? Must the recipient trust the attester? And does the attester have to know what is affirmed? A related question is what is required for the recipient to be justified in believing testimony. Is testimony-based justification acquired in the same way as testimony-based knowledge? This paper addresses these and other questions. (...) It offers a theory of the role of testimony in producing knowledge and justification, a sketch of a conception of knowledge that supports this theory, a brief account of how trust of others can be squared with critical habits of mind, and an outline of some important standards for intellectual responsibility in giving and receiving testimony. (shrink)
Weakness of will has been widely discussed from at least three points of view. It has been examined historically, with Aristotle recently occupying centre stage. It has been analysed conceptually, with the question of its nature and possibility in the forefront. It has been considered normatively in relation to both rational action and moral character. My concern is not historical and is only secondarily conceptual: while I hope to clarify what constitutes weakness of will, I presuppose, rather than construct, an (...) account of it. My chief aim is to assess the bearing of weakness of will on the rationality of actions that exhibit it--incontinent actions. Philosophers have tended to assume that incontinent action is a paradigm of irrationality, and none to my knowledge has seriously criticised this assumption. I challenge it and in doing so try to clarify rationality in general. (shrink)
This paper outlines and defends a moderate intuitionism. The point of departure is the intuitionism of W. D. Ross (1930) in The Right and the Good, conceived as ethically pluralist and epistemologically rationalist. The paper articulates a conception of self-evidence – including mediate as well as immediate kinds – appropriate to a moderate intuitionism, explores some of the resources and varieties of that position, and considers some problems and prospects for a rationalist version of intuitionism. The final section addresses the (...) issue of how best to conceive the nature and grounds of prima facie duty, the problem of whether intuitionism can adequately deal with conflicts of prima facie duties, and the question of how satisfactorily a moderate intuitionism can account for the epistemic status of moral judgments of overall duty and their connection with rational action. (shrink)
Abstract I distinguish various ways in which human life may be thought to be meaningful and present an account of what might be called existential meaningfulness. The account is neutral with respect to both theism and naturalism, but each is addressed in several places and the paper's main points are harmonious with certain versions of both. A number of important criteria for existential meaningfulness are examined, and special emphasis is placed on criteria centering on creativity and excellence, on contributing to (...) the well-being of persons, and on human relationships, particularly those pervaded by love. In the light of a conception of intrinsic goodness, the good life is compared with the meaningful life, and the relation between the two notions is explored. I argue that goodness in a life counts towards its meaningfulness and that the goodness of a life is sufficient for an important kind of meaningfulness. I also suggest that the overall notion of rewarding elements in a life-intrinsically good elements that are typically but not necessarily pleasurable-is a significant unifying concept that helps both in understanding existential meaningfulness and in integrating the various kinds of constituents in a life that conduce to its meaningfulness. (shrink)
This paper examines the nature and varieties of philosophical naturalism. A central question it pursues is whether there is any unifying conception of naturalism and, if so, whether it is substantive or methodological. Another question addressed is the extent to which naturalism is motivated by or depends on empiricism. The paper explores the connection between naturalism and scientific method---often taken as central in defining it---and critically discusses naturalistic positions in metaphysics (including philosophical theology), epistemology, and ethics. Given the ambitions of (...) philosophical naturalism---which extend to construing philosophy itself as broadly empirical in the way that natural science is---and given some of the difficulties that confront naturalism, its success remains a matter of lively controversy. (shrink)
The contemporary explosion of information makes intellectual responsibility more needed than ever. The uncritical tend to believe too much that is unsubstantiated; the overcritical tend to believe too little that is true. A central problem for this paper is to formulate standards to guide an intellectually rigorous search for a mean between excessive credulity and indiscriminate skepticism. A related problem is to distinguish intellectual responsibility for what we believe from moral responsibility for what we do. A third problem is how (...) to square intellectual responsibility in retaining our views with the realization that peers we respect disagree with us. Much of the paper is directed to articulating principles for dealing with such disagreements. (shrink)
This paper is an examination of the role of trust in the previous seven papers in this issue of the Journal. Trust and trustworthiness are briefly characterized; their importance in business itself and in business ethics is briefly described; and each paper is discussed in relation to how trust figures in the ethical issues it raises. The overall discussion brings out the need for further work on the nature of trust and on the elements in business, such as transparency, that (...) apparently help to sustain it. (shrink)
This book clarifies the relation between religion and ethics, articulates principles governing religion in politics, and outlines a theory of civic virtue. It frames institutional principles to guide governmental policies toward religion and counterpart standards to guide individual citizens; and it defends an account of toleration that leavens the ethical framework both in individual nations and internationally.
Mele's study of philosophical and psychological theories of self-deception informatively links the conceptual and dynamic aspects of self-deception and explicates it without positing mutually inconsistent beliefs, such as those occurring in two-person deception. It is argued, however, that he does not do full justice to the dissociation characteristic of self-deception and does not sufficiently distinguish self-deception from self-caused deception.
_ Source: _Page Count 23 It is uncontroversial that virtues and reasons are connected. But moral theorists differ widely regarding just what the connections are, and so far there has not been a fully adequate response to the question whether, in some important way, the category of reasons is more basic than that of virtues. This paper pursues that question. It begins with developmental considerations concerning what constitutes role modeling of the kind that best contributes to virtue. In this context, (...) it explores what is required for a proper “aretaic” responsiveness to such role modeling. Reasons for action are shown to play an essential role in such responsiveness. The paper also shows that we cannot adequately understand virtues apart from appeal to the kinds of normatively significant reasons that must figure in their characteristic exercises. The paper connects this conclusion with epistemological points, such as those indicating how one can know that a person has a virtue, with ontological points concerning what psychological properties ground virtues, and with developmental points indicating how virtue must apparently be role modeled if it is to be well taught. None of the emerging conclusions implies that virtues are of secondary importance in ethics, nor even that, apart from virtue, human beings can be expected to act morally with reliable steadfastness. Whether or not virtues are fundamental in one or another philosophically interesting way, they appear to be psychologically real traits of persons and both morally and intellectually indispensable. (shrink)