In response to the discussion between William W. Morgan and Annette Kolodny in the Summer 1976 issue of Critical Inquiry I would like to address the issue of separating judgments based on feminism as an ideology from purely aesthetic judgments. Peripherally this included the issue of "prescriptive criticism," so labeled by Cheri Register in Feminist Literary Criticism: Explorations in Theory.1 In the same book, as Kolodny points out,2 I called for criticism that exists in the "prophetic mode." Kolodny indicates (...) reservations about both concepts without fully exploring the issue. I would like to explain my statement here and to explore further the issue of feminism and aesthetics. When I called for criticism in the prophetic mode, I did not intend to promote an idea of the critic as ideological prophet. Rather, as I explain in the context from which the term is taken,3 I am speaking of the engaged scholar who is concerned to influence the future by her/his work today. S/he chooses her/his work with an eye to encourage political and social changes. Obviously, for a feminist this translates into a concern for a future in which women will be free from many of the restrictions that have held them down in the past. Much feminist criticism is thus corrective criticism designed to redress the imbalance in current literary curricula, and more generally to reintroduce "the feminine" into the public culture. · 1. Cheri Register, "American Feminist Literary Criticism: A Bibliographical Introduction ," Feminist Literary Criticism: Explorations in Theory, ed. Josephine Donovan pp. 11-24.· 2. Annette Kolodny, "The Feminist as Literary Critic," Critical Inquiry 2 : 828.· 3. Josephine Donovan, "Critical Re-Vision," Feminist Literary Criticism, p. 81, n. 2. Josephine Donovan, currently working on a literary biography of Sarah Orne Jewett, has written "Feminist Style Criticism," "Sexual Politics in the Short Stories of Sylvia Plath," and has edited Feminist Literary Criticism: Explorations in Theory. Although the occasion for this response was the exchange between Annette Kolodny and William W. Morgan , the questions raised by Ms. Donovan have some bearing on other topics discussed in Critical Inquiry—e.g., the nature of accepted canons in the arts . In addition the question of how we may interpret literary works from the past that contain currently unacceptable representations of women has implications as well for how we respond to "objectionable" representations of ethnic and religious groups and even of social classes. The editors expect to see these issues explored further in the future. (shrink)
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)
This work is a lively philosophical debate exploring "the implications of classical and quantum Big Bang cosmology" for theism and atheism. Both authors accept one current estimate that the universe began about 15 billion years ago. The book has three parts. In the first two parts the authors offer theistic and atheistic cosmological arguments; in the third part they explore the quantum cosmology of Stephen Hawking.
This paper explores the relationship between operations research as practised during the Second World War and the claims of many of its proponents that it constituted an application of scientific method. It begins with an examination of the pre-war work of two of the most notable leaders in wartime OR, the British experimental physicist Patrick Blackett and the American theoretical physicist Philip Morse. Despite differences in their scientific work, each saw science as an essentially creative act relying on the skill (...) and judgement of the individual scientist in the deployment of rational methods for the development of legitimate conclusions. When scientists began to study military operations, their investigations were defined by the technically sophisticated heuristic practices already surrounding military planning. They did not seek to replace these practices with their own rational methods. Rather, they became scholars of the military's methods and adapted their pre-war experience by shifting their self-disciplined attitude to their own work to bodies of military knowledge. Thus scientists learned so well to navigate an alien heuristic system that investigations they conducted within it took on the characteristics that they judged defined scientific work. (shrink)