Clearly, Marx thought he was promoting democratic values. In the Manifesto, the immediate goal of socialism is summed up as “to win the battle of democracy.” Marx sees the reduction of individuality as one of the greatest injuries done by a system in which most people buy and sell their labor power on terms over which they have little control. As they supervised translations and re-issues of the Manifesto, Marx and Engels singled out just one point as a major topic (...) on which their view in 1848 had been superseded. The forms of government needed to be changed to give people more control over the state, a change in structure pioneered by the Paris Commune. (shrink)
In a wide-ranging inquiry Richard W. Miller provides new resources for coping with the most troubling types of moral conflict: disagreements in moral conviction, conflicting interests, and the tension between conscience and desires. Drawing on most fields in philosophy and the social sciences, including his previous work in the philosophy of science, he presents an account of our access to moral truth, and, within this framework, develops a theory of justice and an assessment of the role of morality (...) in rational choice. In Miller's view, we are often in a position to claim that our moral judgments are true descriptions of moral facts. But others, relying on contrary ways of moral learning, would reject truths that we are in a position to assert, in dissent that does not depend on irrationality or ignorance of relevant evidence or arguments. With this mixed verdict on moral realism, Miller challenges many received views of rationality, scientific method, and the relation between moral belief and moral choice. In his discussion of justice, Miller defends the adequacy, for modern political choices, of a widely shared demand that institutions be freely and rationally acceptable to all. Drawing on social research and economic theories, he argues that this demand has dramatically egalitarian consequences, even though it is a premise of liberals and conservatives alike. In the final chapters, Miller investigates the role and limits of morality in the choice of conduct, arguing for new perspectives on reason and impartiality. (shrink)
Did the Gulf War defend moral principle or Western oil interests? Is violent pornography an act of free speech or an act of violence against women? In _Casuistry and Modern Ethics_, Richard B. Miller sheds new light on the potential of casuistry—case-based reasoning—for resolving these and other questions of conscience raised by the practical quandaries of modern life. Rejecting the packaging of moral experience within simple descriptions and inflexible principles, Miller argues instead for identifying and making sense (...) of the ethically salient features of individual cases. Because this practical approach must cope with a diverse array of experiences, Miller draws on a wide variety of diagnostic tools from such fields as philosophy of science, legal reasoning, theology, literary theory, hermeneutics, and moral philosophy. Opening new avenues for practical reasoning, Miller's interdisciplinary work will challenge scholars who are interested in the intersections of ethics and political philosophy, cultural criticism, and debates about method in religion and morality. (shrink)
Religious violence may trigger feelings of repulsion and indignation, especially in a society that encourages toleration and respect, but rejection contradicts the principles of inclusion that define a democracy and its core moral values. How can we think ethically about religious violence and terrorism, especially in the wake of such atrocities as 9/11? Known for his skillful interrogation of ethical issues as they pertain to religion, politics, and culture, Richard B. Miller returns to the basic tenets of liberalism (...) to divine an ethical response to religious extremism. He questions how we should think about the claims and aspirations of political religions, especially when they conflict so deeply with liberal norms and practices, and he suggests how liberal critics can speak confidently in ways that respect cultural and religious difference. Miller explores other concerns within these investigations as well, such as the protection of human rights and a liberal democratic commitment to multicultural politics. In relating religion and ethics, he develops a new lens for viewing political religions and their moral responsibilities. This probing inquiry also forces us to rethink our response to 9/11. (shrink)
Richard B. Miller aims to stimulate new work in religious ethics through discussions of ethnography, ethnocentrism, relativism, and moral criticism; the ethics of empathy; the meaning of moral responsibility in relation to children and friends; civic virtue, loyalty, war, and alterity; the normative and psychological dimensions of memory; and religion and democratic life.
This review both praises RichardMiller's book--a thoughtful, judicious, and comprehensive analysis of bioethics for the pediatric age group, notably the first effort worthy of the name--and points out the work still to be done in this area, work firmly based in and illuminated by Miller's ground-breaking thesis. Specifically, the book rightly compels us to recognize obligations of beneficence as primary and to refocus on the child's basic interests, rather than putative "best" interests. There remains much to (...) be done in defining and discerning basic interests and in distinguishing whose interests are on the table when decisions are being made for seriously ill and dying children. (shrink)
Essays in Memory of Richard Helgerson: Laureations brings together new essays by leading literary scholars of the British and European middle ages and early modern period who have been influenced by the groundbreaking scholarship of Richard Helgerson. The contributors evince the ongoing impact of Helgerson's work in critical debates including those of nationalism, formal analysis, and literary careerism.
This new edition of Alexander Miller’s highly readable introduction to contemporary metaethics provides a critical overview of the main arguments and themes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century contemporary metaethics. Miller traces the development of contemporary debates in metaethics from their beginnings in the work of G. E. Moore up to the most recent arguments between naturalism and non-naturalism, cognitivism and non-cognitivism. From Moore’s attack on ethical naturalism, A. J. Ayer’s emotivism and Simon Blackburn’s quasi-realism to anti-realist and best opinion (...) accounts of moral truth and the non-reductionist naturalism of the ‘Cornell realists’, this book addresses all the key theories and ideas in this field. As well as revisiting the whole terrain with revised and updated guides to further reading, Miller also introduces major new sections on the revolutionary fictionalism of Richard Joyce and the hermeneutic fictionalism of Mark Kalderon. The new edition will continue to be essential reading for students, teachers and professional philosophers with an interest in contemporary metaethics. (shrink)
This is an excellent collection of critical essays on Michael Walzer’s Spheres of Justice. David Miller provides a comprehensive and lucid introduction to Walzer’s views on justice, and Walzer offers a brief—perhaps too brief—response to his critics. Contributors are drawn from philosophy, political science, and sociology, and include Judith Andre, Richard Arneson, Brian Barry, Joseph Carens, Jon Elster, Amy Gutmann, David Miller, Susan Moller Okin, Michael Rustin, Adam Swift, and Jeremy Waldron.
First published in Paris in 1511, _The Praise of Folly _has__enjoyed enormous and highly controversial success from the author’s lifetime down to our own day.__It has__no rival, except perhaps Thomas More’s _Utopia, _as the most intense and lively presentation of the literary, social, and theological aims and methods of Northern Humanism. Clarence H. Miller’s highly praised translation of _The Praise of Folly, _based on the definitive Latin text, echoes Erasmus’ own lively style while retaining the nuances of the original (...) text. In his introduction, Miller places the work in the context of Erasmus as humanist and theologian. In a new afterword, William H. Gass playfully considers the meaning, or meanings, of folly and offers fresh insights into one of the great books of Western literature. _Praise for the earlier edition:_ “An eminently reliable and fully annotated edition based on the Latin text.”—_Library Journal_ “Exciting and brilliant, this is likely to be the definitive translation of _The Praise of Folly _into__English.”—Richard J. Schoeck. (shrink)
Our primary focus is on analysis of the concept of voluntariness, with a secondary focus on the implications of our analysis for the concept and the requirements of voluntary informed consent. We propose that two necessary and jointly sufficient conditions must be satisfied for an action to be voluntary: intentionality, and substantial freedom from controlling influences. We reject authenticity as a necessary condition of voluntary action, and we note that constraining situations may or may not undermine voluntariness, depending on the (...) circumstances and the psychological capacities of agents. We compare and evaluate several accounts of voluntariness and argue that our view, unlike other treatments in bioethics, is not a value-laden theory. We also discuss the empirical assessment of individuals? perceptions of the degrees of noncontrol and self-control. We propose use of a particular Decision Making Control Instrument. Empirical research using this instrument can provide data that will help establish appropriate policies and procedures for obtaining voluntary consent to research. (shrink)
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According to Peter Singer, virtually all of us would be forced by adequate reflection on our own convictions to embrace a radical conclusion about giving. The following principle, he says, is “surely undeniable” -- at least once we reflect on secure convictions concerning rescue, as in his famous case of the drowning toddler.
Investigation of neural and cognitive processes underlying individual variation in moral preferences is underway, with notable similarities emerging between moral- and risk-based decision-making. Here we specifically assessed moral distributive justice preferences and non-moral financial gambling preferences in the same individuals, and report an association between these seemingly disparate forms of decision-making. Moreover, we find this association between distributive justice and risky decision-making exists primarily when the latter is assessed with the Iowa Gambling Task. These findings are consistent with neuroimaging studies (...) of brain function during moral and risky decision-making. This research also constitutes the first replication of a novel experimental measure of distributive justice decision-making, for which individual variation in performance was found. Further examination of decision-making processes across different contexts may lead to an improved understanding of the factors affecting moral behaviour. (shrink)
This paper critically assesses three claims on behalf of the Iraq war made by the Bush administration and by various defenders of the war. Then it steps back from the specifics of these three rationales to ask whether they are in fact of the same sort.
This essay critically explores resources and reasons for the study of culture in religious ethics, paying special attention to rhetorics and genres that provide an ethics of ordinary life. I begin by exploring a work in cultural anthropology that poses important questions for comparative and cultural inquiry in an age alert to "otherness," asymmetries of power, the end of value-neutrality in the humanities, and the formation of identity. I deepen my argument by making a foundational case for the importance of (...) culture as a topic of normative analysis through a discussion of the emotions as cultural artifacts. To illustrate how cultural analysis can inform religious ethics, I turn to works by Wayne Meeks, Margaret Trawick, and Charles Taylor. I conclude by sketching some implications of a "cultural turn" for future work in religious ethics. (shrink)
The United States has had a moral duty, at least since the end of 2010, actively to pursue negotiations with the Taliban and Pakistan to achieve a political settlement, conceding control of the Pashtun countryside to the Taliban.
G. A. Cohen incisively argued that our judgments of social justice should fit our convictions about how to interact with others in our personal lives. Ironically, the ordinary morality of cooperation invoked in his last book undermines his favored principle of equality, and supports John Rawls' reliance on a relevantly impartial choice promoting appropriate fundamental interests as a basis for distributive standards. His further objections to Rawls' account of distributive justice neglect the role of social relations in establishing the proper (...) scope of that impartiality and the moral force of Rawls' taxonomy of non-ideal societies. In contrast, the powerful evocation of goods of community at the end of Cohen's last book points to a genuine inadequacy. Conscientious fellow-citizens must take account of the impact of their political choices on options for sharing and caring. In finding a proper balance between these goods and competing individualist concerns, the original position is of too little use to sustain Rawls' assessment of his conception of justice as complete. In the face of our strong moral convictions about how to live together, both Cohen's luck egalitarianism and Rawls' barriers between aspirations to community and political choice must give way. (shrink)