Thomas reviews economist Leland Yeager's Ethics as Social Science. Yeager presents an argument for a utilitarianism that in its commitment to a reality-oriented, practical, principled ethics of human happiness resembles Rand's Objectivism. The book incorporates a wide and varied literature, including virtually everything written on Objectivism. In sum, it is like an Old Right reconstruction of utilitarianism in response to Randian critiques. The principal shortcoming of the book is its lack of precision, novelty, and clarity in addressing philosophical problems. (...) This results in sloppy reasoning that renders its conclusions unconvincing. (shrink)
Thomas clarifies his basic criticism of Yeager's book, Ethics as Social Science, emphasizing his concern about lack of clarity of argument rather than style. Thomas discusses the role of ethical standards in contextual moral reasoning and defends Rand's rejection of ethical altruism against criticisms that it represents a "corner solution" or an unrealistic slippery-slope argument.
This monograph explores how seven prominent German and Austrian novelists of the twentieth century—Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Anna Seghers, Uwe Johnson, Ingeborg Bachmann, Wolfgang Hilbig, and Marlene Steeruwitz—conveyed their literary figures' time spent waiting. By presenting states of waiting as emblematic of human existence in the turbulent twentieth century, these writers criticized hierarchical power structures in various historical contexts. Killing Time presents fresh readings of seven German-language novels, while providing insights into how and why German and Austrian writers repeatedly (...) turned to the waiting motif to expose the injustices inherent in interpersonal, political, and social hierarchies. In investigating the treatment of waiting in literary texts, William reexamines how prominent philosophers of metaphor and time influenced German and Austrian writers of the past century. This study is underpinned in part by the work of cultural and social theorists who have emphasized how the liminal status of the subjugated within social hierarchies ensures that they are kept perpetually waiting. (shrink)
Previous research has identified two moral orientations in people's reasoning about moral dilemmas: an orientation to rights, fairness, and justice and another based on care, compassion and concern for others and the self. To investigate the association of political violence and ethnic conflict with children's preferred moral orientation, two studies were conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the first with 10-12-year-olds and the second with 6-8- and 9-11-year-olds. In the first study, children's solutions to dilemmas involving animal characters were most likely (...) to reflect an orientation to care and concern rather than to justice and fairness. In the second study, children who responded to stories involving humans were even more likely to offer solutions from the care perspective than those who heard stories about animals. No consistent gender differences were observed. These results were generally similar to those from North American samples; however, the content of Bosnian children's responses also reflected their experiences with displacement and their concerns about the role of physical power in conflict resolution. (shrink)
What determines whether an action is right or wrong? Morality, Rules, and Consequences: A Critical Reader explores for students and researchers the relationship between consequentialist theory and moral rules. Most of the chapters focus on rule consequentialism or on the distinction between act and rule versions of consequentialism. Contributors, among them the leading philosophers in the discipline, suggest ways of assessing whether rule consequentialism could be a satisfactory moral theory. These essays, all of which are previously unpublished, provide students in (...) moral philosophy with essential material and ask key questions on just what the criteria for an adequate moral theory might be. (shrink)
This volume addresses a wide variety of moral concerns regarding slavery as an institutionalized social practice. By considering the slave's critical appropriation of the natural rights doctrine, the ambiguous implications of various notions of consent and liberty are examined. The authors assume that, although slavery is undoubtedly an evil social practice, its moral assessment stands in need of a more nuanced treatment. They address the question of what is wrong with slavery by critically examining, and in some cases endorsing, certain (...) principles derived from communitarianism, paternalism, utilitarianism, and jurisprudence. (shrink)
The attempt to utilize the methods of science to justify one ethical code as opposed to another has the advantage of avoiding the dogmatism and question-begging techniques characteristic of many traditional ethical theories. However, such attempts are invariably involved in value reductionism, leaving normative terms bereft of their normative import. Science is related to ethics in a number of important ways, but not in the sense that inductive evidence can justify one standard of right conduct as opposed to others.