Norbert Elias’s project in The process of civilization involved reconstructing invisible movement—both the slow tempoof long-term historical change and the modification of psychic structures and embodied dispositions. To do this, he resorted to uncommon devices: treating historical texts as constituting a series amenable to a rudimentary discourse analysis, he constructed an imagined ‘curve of civilization’ serving as an approximation of the hidden process of change. Elias’s curve was not supposed to represent single past states, but movement itself, its direction (...) and pace. This novel concept of historical representation was related to the perception of cinema as a new medium making actual movement visible. But beyond making it possible to imagine how one could telescope long-term historical process, cinema also held the promise of serving as a microscope, making the minute movements of the human body, gestures and manners available for close inspection. While anthropologists were devising ways of using the new medium to document fleeting gestures and bodily postures, it was used by popular audiences as a source for remodelling behaviour and acquiring polite manners and body techniques, as noticed by such acute observers as Marcel Mauss and Joseph Roth. Hence, popular appropriation of the cinema gave rise to a heightened awareness of the historicity of gestures and the changing modalities of their transmission. Cinema was itself part of the accelerated motion of history, of a perceived change of pace in the process of civilization, which in its turn shed light on its historical antecedents and played an essential role in rethinking the notion of civilization and culture.Keywords: Norbert Elias; Marcel Mauss; Joseph Roth; Cinema; Gestures; Body; Discourse; Historiography; Sociology of culture. (shrink)
The moral psychologist Joshua Greene has proposed a number of arguments for the normative significance of empirical research and for the unreliability of deontological intuitions. For these arguments, much hinges on the combination of various components of Greene's research – namely the dual-process theory of moral judgement, ‘personalness’ as a factor in moral decision-making, and his functional understanding of deontology and consequentialism. Incorporating these components, I reconstruct three distinct arguments and show that the Personalness Argument for the claim that empirical (...) research can advance normative ethics and the Combined Argument against deontology are both sound and interesting in themselves. They do not, however, cast doubt on traditional deontology or reserve a specific role for neuroscience. The Indirect Route argument overcomes some of the other arguments’ limitations. It is, however, invalid. I conclude by pointing out the broader philosophical relevance of Greene's arguments as shedding light on second-order morality. (shrink)
What should we do if climate change or global injustice require radical policy changes not supported by the majority of citizens? And what if science shows that the lacking support is largely due to shortcomings in citizens’ individual psychology such as cognitive biases that lead to temporal and geographical parochialism? Could then a plausible case for enhancing the morality of the electorate—even against their will –be made? But can a democratic government manipulate the will of the people without losing democratic (...) legitimacy? This paper explores the problems that governmental manipulation of voters pose for democratic legitimacy and the tensions between non-manipulated input and morally acceptable output. These venerable issues of political theory resurface in light of recent suggestions to tackle today’s global mega-problems by Ingmar Persson and Julian Savulescu. They suggest that to avert the looming catastrophe, governments should alter psychological traits of the citizenry through biomedical means, from pharmaceuticals to genetics. However, we argue that a government cannot rule with democratic legitimacy if elected by a will of the people it manipulated before. Normatively, conferring power from the governed onto governors is a one-directional relation that is incompatible with manipulation. But while it is tempting to rebut suggestions to morally enhance the people as antithetical to essential ideas of democracy, swift rebuttals tend to overlook the deeper challenge: Majoritarian decision-making may lead to inacceptable outcomes. The dilemma between input and output runs through major works in political theory. Rather than wishfully ignoring the dangers of democracy, democratic theory has to provide answers. (shrink)
The objective of this article is to analyse and compare four methods of ethical case deliberation. These include Clinical Pragmatism, The Nijmegen Method of ethical case deliberation, Hermeneutic dialogue, and Socratic dialogue. The origin of each method will be briefly sketched. Furthermore, the methods as well as the related protocols will be presented. Each method will then be evaluated against the background of those situations in which it is being used. The article aims to show that there is not one (...) ideal method of ethical case deliberation, which fits to all possible kinds of moral problems. Rather, as each of the methods highlights a limited number of morally relevant aspects, each method has its strengths and weaknesses as well. These strengths and weaknesses should be evaluated in relation to different types of situations, for instance moral problems in treatment decisions, moral uneasiness and residue, and the like. The suggestion arrived at on the basis of the findings of this paper is a reasonable methodological plurality. This means that a method can be chosen depending on the type of moral problem to be deliberated upon. At the same time it means, that by means of a method, deliberation should be facilitated. (shrink)
Understanding Elias -- Origins of Elias's synthesis -- Norbert Elias and Karl Mannheim -- The civilizing process : the structure of a classic -- Involved detachment : knowledge and self-knowledge in Elias -- The symbol theory : secular humanism as a research programme -- Concluding remarks : the fourth blow to man's narcissism.
Carey's book on conceptual change and the accompanying argument that children's biology initially is organized in terms of naïve psychology has sparked a great detail of research and debate. This body of research on children's biology has, however, been almost exclusively been based on urban, majority culture children in the US or in other industrialized nations. The development of folkbiological knowledge may depend on cultural and experiential background. If this is the case, then urban majority culture children may prove to (...) be the exception rather than the rule, because plants and animals do not play a significant role in their everyday life. Urban majority culture children, rural majority culture children, and rural Native American children were given a property projection task based on Carey's original paradigm. Each group produced a unique profile of development. Only urban children showed evidence for early anthropocentrism, suggesting that the co-mingling of psychology and biology may be a product of an impoverished experience with nature. In comparison to urban majority culture children even the youngest rural children generalized in terms of biological affinity. In addition, all ages of Native American children and the older rural majority culture children gave clear evidence of ecological reasoning. These results show that both culture and expertise play a role in the development of folkbiological thought. (shrink)
This paper deals with the question of the logicality of modal logics from a proof-theoretic perspective. It is argued that if Dos̆en’s analysis of logical constants as punctuation marks is embraced, it is possible to show that all the modalities in the cube of normal modal logics are indeed logical constants. It will be proved that the display calculus for each displayable modality admits a purely structural presentation based on double-line rules which, following Dos̆en’s analysis, allows us to claim that (...) the corresponding modal operators are logical constants. (shrink)
This paper discusses “impartiality thought experiments”, i.e., thought experiments that attempt to generate intuitions which are unaffected by personal characteristics such as age, gender or race. We focus on the most prominent impartiality thought experiment, the Veil of Ignorance, and show that both in its original Rawlsian version and in a more generic version, empirical investigations can be normatively relevant in two ways: First, on the assumption that the VOI is effective and robust, if subjects dominantly favor a certain normative (...) judgment behind the VOI this provides evidence in favor of that judgment; if, on the other hand, they do not dominantly favor a judgment this reduces our justification for it. Second, empirical investigations can also contribute to assessing the effectiveness and robustness of the VOI in the first place, thereby supporting or undermining its applications across the board. (shrink)
This paper explores the relevance of the debate about ethical expertise for the practice of clinical ethics. We present definitions, explain three theories of ethical expertise, and identify arguments that have been brought up to either support the concept of ethical expertise or call it into question. Finally, we discuss four theses: the debate is relevant for the practice of clinical ethics in that it (1) improves and specifies clinical ethicists' perception of their expertise; (2) contributes to improving the perception (...) of moral competence of non-ethicists; (3) gives insight into complementary styles of argumentation of ethicists and non-ethicists; and (4) contributes to the awareness of the problem of profession-building of (clinical) ethicists. (shrink)
Many contemporary ethicists use case-based reasoning to reach consistent beliefs about ethical matters. The idea is that particular cases elicit moral intuitions, which provide defeasible reasons to believe in their content. However, most proponents of case-based moral reasoning are not very explicit about how they resolve inconsistencies and how they abstract principles from judgments about particular cases. The aim of this article is to outline a methodology—called Consistency Reasoning Casuistry—for case-based reasoning in ethics. This methodology draws on Richmond Campbell and (...) Victor Kumar’s naturalistic model for the resolution of inconsistencies between the content of intuitions about particular cases. I argue that reasons similar to those that motivate their model also support a more abstract form of moral reasoning that goes beyond mere resolutions of inconsistencies between case judgments and demands the formulation of more abstract moral norms. Consistency Reasoning Casuistry, it is argued, is a good candidate for a methodology for case-based moral reasoning that is in harmony with paradigms of contemporary moral psychology and that can accommodate the methodology implicit in the work of many contemporary ethicists. (shrink)
Anwander questions "the role that Pogge assigns to benefiting from injustice in the determination of our duties toward the victims of injustice... challenging his claim that there is a negative duty not to benefit from injustice.".
Norbert Elias's The Civilizing Process, which was published in German in 1939 and first translated into English in two volumes in 1978 and 1982, is now widely regarded as one of the great works of twentieth-century sociology. This work attempted to explain how Europeans came to think of themselves as more “civilized” than their forebears and neighboring societies. By analyzing books about manners that had been published between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries, Elias observed changing conceptions of shame and (...) embarrassment with respect to, among other things, bodily propriety and violence. To explain those developments, Elias examined the interplay among the rise of state monopolies of power, increasing levels of economic interconnectedness among people, and pressures to become attuned to others over greater distances that led to advances in identifying with others in the same society irrespective of social origins. Elias's analysis of the civilizing process was not confined, however, to explaining changing social bonds within separate societies. The investigation also focused on the division of Europe into sovereign states that were embroiled in struggles for power and security.This article provides an overview and analysis of Elias's principal claims in the light of growing interest in this seminal work in sociology. The analysis shows how Elias defended higher levels of synthesis in the social sciences to explain relations between “domestic” and “international” developments, and changes in social structure and in the emotional lives of modern people. Elias's investigation, which explained long-term processes of development over several centuries, pointed to the limitations of inquiries that concentrate on short-term intervals. Only by placing short-term trends in long-term perspective could sociologists understand contemporary developments. This article maintains that Elias's analysis of the civilizing process remains an exemplary study of long-term developments in Western societies over the last five centuries. (shrink)
This essay deals with the contrary opinions of Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart on synderesis and conscience. In his theory, Thomas Aquinas focuses more on prudence and less on conscience. Meister Eckhart is the proponent of an attitude ethics focusing on the notion of scintilla animae. For Thomas Aquinas, the Aristotelian thinker, the practical syllogism links judgement to spiritual values, whereas Meister Eckhart gives priority to self-predication. By means of self-predication, action and normativity can be combined immediately; the practical syllogism (...) combines them in an indirect way. (shrink)
This article challenges E.P. Thompson's definition of ‘moral economy’ as a traditional consensus of crowd rights that were swept away by market forces. Instead, it suggests that the concept has the potential of improving the understanding of modern civil society. Moral economy was a term invented in the eighteenth century to describe many things. Thompson's approach reflects only a minor part of this conceptual history. His understanding of moral economy is conditioned by a dichotomous view of history and by the (...) acceptance of a model according to which modern economy is not subject to moral concerns. It is on principle problematic to confine a term conjoining two concepts as general as ‘moral’ and ‘economy’ to a specific historical and social setting. Recent approaches that frame moral economy as an emotively defined order of morals are also misleading since they do not address economic issues in the way they are commonly understood. The most promising current approaches appear to be those that consider t.. (shrink)
The topic of this book is 'creation'. It breaks down into discussions of two distinct, but interrelated, questions: what does the universe look like, and what is its origin? The opinions about creation considered by Norbert Samuelson come from the Hebrew scriptures, Greek philosophy, Jewish philosophy, and contemporary physics. His perspective is Jewish, liberal, and philosophical. It is 'Jewish' because the foundation of the discussion is biblical texts interpreted in the light of traditional rabbinic texts. It is 'philosophical' because (...) the subject matter is important in both past and present philosophical texts, and to Jewish philosophy in particular. Finally, it is 'liberal' because the authorities consulted include heterodox as well as orthodox Jewish sources. The ensuing discussion leads to original conclusions about a diversity of topics, including the limits of human reason and religious faith, and the relevance of scientific models to religious doctrine. (shrink)
This article elaborates on the relation between ethical casuistry and common law reasoning. Despite the frequent talk of casuistry as common law morality, remarks on this issue largely remain at the purely metaphorical level. The article outlines and scrutinizes Albert Jonsen and Stephen Toulmin’s version of casuistry and its basic elements. Drawing lessons for casuistry from common law reasoning, it is argued that one generally has to be faithful to ethical paradigms. There are, however, limitations for the binding force of (...) paradigms. The most important limitations—the possibilities of overruling and distinguishing paradigm norms—are similar in common law and in casuistry, or so it is argued. These limitations explain why casuistry is not necessarily overly conservative and conventional, which is one line of criticism to which casuists can now better respond. Another line of criticism has it that the very reasoning from case to case is extremely unclear in casuistry. I suggest a certain model of analogical reasoning to address this critique. All my suggestions to understand and to enhance casuistry make use of common law reasoning whilst remaining faithful to Jonsen and Toulmin’s main ideas and commitments. Further developed along these lines, casuistry can appropriately be called “common law morality.”. (shrink)
Over 90% of the organs transplanted in China before 2010 were procured from prisoners. Although Chinese officials announced in December 2014 that the country would completely cease using organs harvested from prisoners, no regulatory adjustments or changes in China’s organ donation laws followed. As a result, the use of prisoner organs remains legal in China if consent is obtained. We have collected and analysed available evidence on human rights violations in the organ procurement practice in China. We demonstrate that the (...) practice not only violates international ethics standards, it is also associated with a large scale neglect of fundamental human rights. This includes organ procurement without consent from prisoners or their families as well as procurement of organs from incompletely executed, still-living prisoners. The human rights critique of these practices will also address the specific situatedness of prisoners, often conditioned and traumatized by a cascade of human rights abuses in judicial structures. To end the unethical practice and the abuse associated with it, we suggest to inextricably bind the use of human organs procured in the Chinese transplant system to enacting Chinese legislation prohibiting the use of organs from executed prisoners and making explicit rules for law enforcement. Other than that, the international community must cease to abet the continuation of the present system by demanding an authoritative ban on the use of organs from executed Chinese prisoners. (shrink)
Michel Foucault entwickelt sich gegenwartig zweifellos zu einer der neuen Bezugsgrossen des padagogischen Diskurses: Nach einer langen Phase grosser Widerstande innerhalb der deutschsprachigen Erziehungswissenschaft werden jetzt die ...
This article presents a sequent calculus for a negative free logic with identity, called N . The main theorem (in part 1) is the admissibility of the Cut-rule. The second part of this essay is devoted to proofs of soundness, compactness and completeness of N relative to a standard semantics for negative free logic.
The idea that thinking is a form of talking to oneself was discussed in classical Greece, analyzed by the Medievals and treated as a central issue by the American pragmatists. But whether inner speech is a language unto itself, distinct from outer language, has not been determined. To this end I ask how Saussure's defining ideas about language apply to inner speech. I show that Saussure's ideas, while partly usable, are mainly a poor fit. Inner speech is a variety of (...) language, or perhaps of dialect, with its own unique structure. Given that it is a unique window into human consciousness, I briefly discuss some of the research areas on which it sheds light. (shrink)