This book combines the insights of enlightenment thinking and feminist theory to explore the significance of love in modern philosophy. The author argues for the importance of emotion in general, and love in particular, to moral and political philosophy, pointing out that some of the central philosophers of the enlightment were committed to a moralized conception of love. However, she believes that feminism's insights arise not from its attribution of special and distinctive qualities to women, but from its recognition of (...) human vulernability. (shrink)
The debate between impartialists and their critics has dominated both moral and political philosophy for over a decade. Characteristically, impartialists argue that any sensible form of impartialism can accommodate the partial concerns we have for others. By contrast, partialists deny that this is so. They see the division as one which runs exceedingly deep and argue that, at the limit, impartialist thinking requires that we marginalise those concerns and commitments that make our lives meaningful. This book attempts to show both (...) that the dispute between impartialists and their critics runs very deep, and that it can nonetheless be resolved. The resolution begins by asking how impartialist political philosophy can defend the priority of justice when it conflicts with people's commitments to their conceptions of the good. It is argued that priority can only defended if political impartialism has a moral foundation, and that moral foundation must not be a foundation in the ideal of equality (as is often thought), but a foundation in the partial concerns we have for others. In short, impartialist moral philosophy must take our partial concerns as central if it is to gain allegiance. However, if it does take our partial concerns as central, then it can generate a defence of political impartialism which shows why justice must take priority, but which also acknowledges that pluralism about the good is permanent. (shrink)
Most modern moral theories are impartialist in character. They perceive the demands of morality as standing in opposition to partial concerns and acting as constraints upon them. In this paper I argue that our partial concerns in general, and our love and concern for others in particular, are not ultimately at odds with the demands of morality, impartially understood, but are the necessary preconditions of our being motivated by impartial morality. If we are to care about morality, we must first (...) care about people and things other than morality. If we are to be educated morally, we must first be educated in the emotions. (shrink)
This book traces the growth of philosophical justifications of toleration. The contributors discuss the grounds on which we may be required to be tolerant and the proper limits of toleration. They consider the historical and conceptual relation between toleration and scepticism and ask whether toleration is justified by considerations of autonomy or of prudence. The papers cover a range of perspectives on the subject, including Marxist and Socialist as well as liberal views. The editor's introduction prepares the ground by discussing (...) the essential features of the subject and offers a lucid survey of the theories and arguments put forward in the book. The collection arises out of the Morrell Toleration Project at the University of York and all the papers were written as contributions to that project. The discussion will be of interest to specialists in philosophy, in political and social theory and in intellectual history. (shrink)
In his essay ‘The Simple Art of Murder’, Raymond Chandler describes the world of the American detective story as ‘a world in which gangsters can rule nations and almost rule cities, in which hotels and apartment houses and celebrated restaurants are owned by men who made their money out of brothels, in which a screen star can be the fingerman for a mob, and the nice man down the hall is a boss of the numbers racket; a world where a (...) judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket, where the mayor of your town may have condoned murder as an instrument of money making, where no man can walk down a dark street in safety’. Nevertheless, ‘down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honour, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.’ What are the possibilities of being such a man in the world as we know it? The hero of the American detective story is not only a good man, and a man of honour, but also a man who must get things done. In Dashiel Hammett's Red Harvest he is the man who is sent in to clean up the pig-sty that is Poisonville, and in so doing he becomes poisoned himself. He has a choice between being effective and being good, but he cannot be both together. ‘Poisonville is right’, he says despairingly. ‘It's poisoned me.’. (shrink)
In his essay, ‘The Question of Machiavelli’, Isaiah Berlin notes the depth of Machiavelli's pluralism. Taking my cue from Berlin, I argue that much modern liberal political philosophy neglects this deep pluralism and, as a result, misunderstands modern political problems such as the phenomenon of religiously-motivated terrorism.
This paper focuses on two works of nineteenth-century feminism: Harriet Taylor's essay, Enfranchisement of Women, and John Stuart Mill's The Subjection of Women. My aim is to indicate that these texts are more radical than is usually allowed: far from being merely criticisms of the legal disabilities suffered by women in Victorian Britain, they are important moral texts which anticipate central themes within twentieth-century radical feminism. In particular, The Subjection of Women is not merely a liberal defence of legal equality; (...) it is a positive statement of the inadequacy of ‘male” conceptions of reason and its powers. So understood, I shall argue, it coheres with Mill's other moral and political writings, and draws much of its persuasive power from the doctrines advanced in Harriet Taylor's Enfranchisement of Women. (shrink)
Is toleration a requirement of morality or a dictate of prudence? What limits are there to toleration? What is required of us if we are to promote a truly tolerant society? These themes--the grounds, limits, and requirements of toleration--are central to this book, which presents the W.B. Morrell Memorial Lectures on Toleration, given in 1986 at the University of York. Covering a wide range of practical and theoretical issues, the contributors--including F.A. Hayek, Maurice Cranston, and Karl Popper--consider the philosophical difficulties (...) inherent in the concept as well as the practical problems of implementing a policy of toleration. Although the contributors differ in their conclusions about the grounds of toleration, they all share a belief in the importance of the concept both historically and in modern society. (shrink)
In Torture, Terror and Trade-Offs: Philosophy for the White House Jeremy Waldron asks how moral philosophy can illuminate real life political problems. He argues that moral philosophers should remind politicians of the importance of adhering to moral principle, and he also argues that some moral principles are absolute and exceptionless. Thus, he is very critical of those philosophers who, post 9/11, were willing to condone the use of torture. In this article I discuss and criticize Waldron’s absolutism. In particular, I (...) claim that the arguments he offers in support of it are either dependent on religious conviction or support only rule utilitarianism, not absolutism. Additionally, I argue that the character of politics is such that it is both undesirable and morally irresponsible for politicians to adopt the absolutist approach favoured by Waldron. We have reason to be glad that Professor Waldron does not go to Washington. (shrink)
Much modern liberal political theory takes the concept of autonomy as central and argues that political arrangements are to be assessed, in some part, by their ability to foster the development of individual autonomy understood as being the author of one's own life. This paper argues that so understood, autonomy is less important than is usually thought The liberal requirement that we 'author' our own lives disguises the importance of also being accurate readers of our own lives. I explore the (...) metaphor of reading through a discussion of the character of Nora in Ibsen's Doll's Houseand argue that Nora's case demonstrates the limitations of the liberal understanding of autonomy as involving authorship of one's own life. (shrink)
In his book Terror in the Mind of God Mark Juergensmeyer writes: ‘Perhaps the first question that came to mind when televisions around the world displayed the extraordinary aerial assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th 2001, was why anyone would do such a thing. When it became clear that the perpetrators’ motivations were couched in religious terms, the shock turned to anger. How could religion be related to such violent acts?’. That question – ‘how (...) can religion be related to violent acts?’ – is the question Susan Mendus addresses in this article. She discusses the concept of toleration; the specific problems associated, historically, with religious toleration and the differences between modern and historical understandings of religious belief. Her overall aim is to see whether the history of religious tolerance and intolerance can offer some lessons to us, now, in our attempts to secure political peace in the face of religious conflict and religious violence. (shrink)
I argue that, Pace bennett, Strawson and others, The paralogisms chapter of the "first critique" does not present a theory of personal identity. In particular, It is not an attempt to answer hume's questions in the 'of personal identity' chapter of the "treatise". Kant shows why hume's search for a continuing self is misguided, But his aim is to warn against inflating the conclusions of the paralogisms, Not to present a theory of personal identity.
The central question of this paper is how modern liberal political theory can understand and make sense of value pluralism and the conflicts upon which it is premissed. It is a commonplace that liberalism was born out of conflict, and has been partly characterised ever since as a series of attempts to accommodate it within the framework of the nation state . However, it is also true that liberals have proposed many different routes to the resolution, or containment, of conflict, (...) and these different routes are manifestations of different understandings of conflict itself both within an individual life and between lives. Thus, some assert the irreducible heterogeneity of value: John Stuart Mill famously inveighs against the attempt to model all human life on a single pattern and tells us that ‘human beings are not sheep, and even sheep are not indistinguishably alike. A man cannot get a coat or a pair of boots to fit him unless they are either made to his measure or he has a whole warehouseful to choose from; and is it easier to fit him with a life than with a coat?’ . On Mill's account, plurality is the natural condition of humanity. We should neither hope for nor expect the elimination of conflict, and a world in which there is diversity is richer and better for it. (shrink)
In What We Owe to Each Other, T.M. Scanlon says that any acceptable moral teory must answer what he calls the priority question: the question of why moral value should takes priority over other values, such as the values of love and friendship. In this essay I discuss Scanlon's answer to the priority question and contrast it with the answer offered by Christine Korsgaard in Sources of Normativity. I argue that each account contains important insights but that neither is completely (...) satisfactory. However, by combining elements of the two accounts we can arrive at a richer understanding of the relationship between morality and other values, and a better explanation of the priority of the moral. (shrink)