A common view holds that humor and morality are antithetical: Moral flaws enhance amusement, and moral virtues detract. I reject both of these claims. If we distinguish between merely outrageous jokes and immoral jokes, the problems with the common view become apparent. What we find is that genuine morals flaws tend to inhibit amusement. Further, by looking at satire, we can see that moral virtues sometimes enhance amusement. The position I defend is called symmetric comicmoralism. It is (...) widely regarded as patently absurd. I hope to correct this mistake. (shrink)
Humour is a source of moral concern because some jokes contain both elements of immorality and funniness. This raises the question of whether jokes can be funny despite moral flaws and, more generally, how immorality affects funniness. One answer to this question is comicmoralism; the position that immorality negatively affects funniness. Berys Gaut has given a merited-response argument in defence of comicmoralism, but Noël Carroll has criticised this argument. In this paper, I defend Gaut's (...) argument from Carroll's criticism. Specifically, I argue that benign appraisal is a necessary condition for amusement, which is a commonly proposed claim across many disciplines. (shrink)
Jokes are sometimes morally objectionable, and sometimes they are not. What’s the relationship between a joke’s being morally objectionable and its being funny? Philosophers’ answers to this question run the gamut. In this paper I present a new argument for the view that the negative moral value of a joke can affect its comedic value both positively and negatively.
This article explores several views on the relation of humour, especially tendentious humour, to morality, including comic amoralism, comic ethicism, comic immoralism, and moderate comicmoralism. The essay concludes by defending moderate comicmoralism.
According to comicmoralism, moral flaws make comic works less funny or not funny at all. In contrast, comic immoralism is the view that moral flaws make comic works funnier. In this article, I argue for a moderate version of comic immoralism. I claim that, sometimes, comic works are funny partly in virtue of their moral flaws. I argue for this claim—and artistic immoralism more generally—by identifying artistically valuable moral flaws in relevant actions (...) undertaken in the creation of those works. Underlying this argument is the idea that such generative actions are partly constitutive of a work's identity, and, therefore, they may affect the ethical value of an artwork either positively or negatively, and they are the proper objects of ethical appraisal. (shrink)
Usually the ethics of humor revolves around the content of humor. After giving a synopsis and exposing some shortcomings of the recent controversies, this paper takes into account additional aspects and proposes a change of perspective from token to type level and deploys tools of the philosophy of language to tackle the question whether a joke as a type can be considered morally flawed irrespective of its tokens. After exploring possible ways one can think of to furnish evidence for the (...) opposite position, two novel lines of argumentation based on counterfactual conditionals and speech act theory are provided to show that these ways aren’t viable and that joke as types (even offensive jokes like sexist or racist ones) are ethically neutral. Moreover, the presented approach increases the resolution of the debate and provides a framework to capture other hitherto neglected questions of the philosophy humor as well. (shrink)
I argue that genuine moral flaws never enhance amusement, but they sometimes detract.I argue against comic immoralism--the position that moral flaws can make attempts at humor more amusing.Two common errors have made immoralism look attractive.First, immoralists have confused outrageous content with genuine moral flaws.Second, immoralists have failed to see that it is not sufficient to show that a morally flawed joke is amusing; they need to show that a joke can be more amusing because of the fact that it (...) is morally flawed.I argue that the immoralist lacks a plausible account of how this could be the case.I reject immoralism and argue for comicmoralism—the position that moral flaws can make attempts at humor less amusing. (shrink)
The aim of this critical commentary is to distinguish and analytically discuss some important variations in which legal moralism is defined in the literature. As such, the aim is not to evaluate the most plausible version of legal moralism, but to find the most plausible definition of legal moralism. As a theory of criminalization, i.e. a theory that aims to justify the criminal law we should retain, legal moralism can be, and has been, defined as follows: (...) the immorality of an act of type A is a sufficient reason for the criminalization of A, even if A does not cause someone to be harmed. In what follows, I critically examine some of the key definitions and proposals that have, unfortunately, not always been carefully distinguished. Finally, I propose a definition that seems to capture the essence of what many philosophers refer to when they talk about legal moralism, while also providing more clarity. (shrink)
After distinguishing different species of Legal Moralism I outline and defend a modest, positive Legal Moralism, according to which we have good reason to criminalize some type of conduct if it constitutes a public wrong. Some of the central elements of the argument will be: the need to remember that the criminal law is a political, not a moral practice, and therefore that in asking what kinds of conduct we have good reason to criminalize, we must begin not (...) with the entire realm of wrongdoing, but with conduct falling within the public realm of our civic life; the need to look at the different processes of criminalization, and to ask what kinds of consideration can properly figure in those processes; the need to attend to the relationship, and the essential differences, between criminal law and other modes of legal regulation. (shrink)
This is a slightly revised text of Jeffrie G. Murphyâs Presidential Address delivered to the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, in March 2006. In the essay the author reconsiders two positions he had previously defendedâthe liberal attack on legal moralism and robust versions of the retributive theory of punishmentâand now finds these positions much more vulnerable to legitimate attack than he had previously realized. In the first part of the essay, he argues that the use of Millâs liberal harm (...) principle against legal moralism cannot be cabined in such a way as to leave intact other positions that many liberals want to defendâin particular, certain fundamental constitutional rights and character retributivism in criminal sentencing. In the second part of the essay, he expresses serious doubtsâsome inspired by Nietzscheâabout the versions of character retributivism that he had once enthusiastically defended and now describes himself as no more than a reluctant retributivist. (shrink)
I argue that John Gray's modus vivendi-based justification for liberalism is preferable to the more orthodox deontological or teleological justificatory strategies, at least because of the way it can deal with the problem of diversity. But then I show how that is not good news for liberalism, for grounding liberal political authority in a modus vivendi undermines liberalism’s aspiration to occupy a privileged normative position vis-à-vis other kinds of regimes. So modus vivendi can save liberalism from moralism, but at (...) cost many liberals will not be prepared to pay. (shrink)
Moralism is often described as a vice. But what exactly is wrong with moralism that makes it aptly described as a character flaw? This paper will argue that the problem with moralism is that it downgrades the force of legitimate moral criticism. First, I will argue that moralism involves an inflated sense of the extent to which moral criticism is appropriate. Next, I will examine the value of legitimate moral criticism, arguing that its value stems from (...) enabling us to take a stand against immoral behavior. Finally, I will argue that unwarranted moral criticism downgrades the force of legitimate moral criticism and that this is why moralism should be seen as a vice. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to critically discuss the plausibility of legal moralism with an emphasis on some central and recent versions. First, this paper puts forward and defends the thesis that recently developed varieties of legal moralism promoted by Robert P. George, John Kekes and Michael Moore are more plausible than Lord Devlin's traditional account. The main argument for this thesis is that in its more modern versions legal moralism is immune to some of the (...) forceful challenges made to Devlin by Hart, Dworkin and Feinberg among others. Second, however, the paper challenges the new generation of legal moralists and suggests some areas for further development. Although Devlin's position has been scrutinized thoroughly in the literature on the philosophy of law, there has, to my knowledge, been no comparable, systematic critique of these different proponents of legal moralism. (shrink)
The bulk of the literature on the relationship between art and morality is principally concerned with an aesthetic question: Do moral flaws with works of art constitute aesthetic flaws?1 Much less attention has been paid to the ways in which artworks can be morally flawed. There are at least three promising contenders that concern aesthetic education: Artworks can be morally flawed by endorsing immorality, corrupting audiences, and encouraging responses that are bad to have. When it comes to works of fiction, (...) the third suggestion requires what Allan Hazlett calls response moralism—the position that audience reactions to artworks can be morally bad.2 Here, I will put aside issues of aesthetic.. (shrink)
In this essay Noël Carroll explores the question of whether a moral defect in a work of architectural art can ever also count as an aesthetic /artistic defect. Adopting the stance of a moderate moralist and mobilizing what has been called the “uptake argument,” he argues against the moderate autonomist that sometimes a moral defect in an architectural artwork can also be an aesthetic/artistic defect.
What is the relationship between morals and politics? What is the relationship between moral philosophy and political philosophy? Defenders of political moralism postulate moral aims or constraints for politics, and hence they see political philosophy as a chapter of moral philosophy. Contrastingly, advocates of political realism describe politics as an independent endeavor aiming at providing order and security, and conceive of political philosophy as an autonomous discipline. This article claims that political moralism and political realism share the mistake (...) of assuming that politics has substantial, permanent goals or constraints. After criticizing political substantialism, the article explains the main ingredients of its alternative, political minimalism: the idea that politics, understood as collective instrumental rationality, aims at providing adequate means for the accomplishment of people's goals, whatever these are; and the conception of the relationship between morality and politics as one of “reciprocal containment.” Finally, it addresses some foreseeable criticisms of political minimalism. (shrink)
Noël Carroll’s (“Moderate Moralism”) conceptual framework includes four positions: radical autonomism, moderate autonomism, moderate moralism, and radical moralism. Alessandro Giovanelli (“The Ethical Criticism of Art: A New Mapping of the Territory”) argues that the radical positions, as Carroll defines them, have no modern day adherents. Therefore, the framework should be adapted such that we can see interestingly new distinctions. On Giovanelli’s new framework Carroll’s account is a moderate autonomist view. In this paper I adopt Giovanelli’s framework and (...) raise a different objection to Carroll’s account. I argue that Carroll’s account possesses a branching structure, since on this account moral and aesthetic criticism are not linearly related. Because of this structure, Carroll’s theory faces a dilemma: it’s either self-undermining or consistent with moderate autonomism, even in his own framework. Drawing on Kendall Walton’s (“Categories of Art”) notion of categories of art, I provide an account that is both non-branching and moderate moralist in Giovanelli’s framework. It’s non-branching because moral criticism bears a linear causal relation to aesthetic criticism. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Joel Feinberg was wrong to suppose that liberals must oppose any criminalization of “harmless immorality”. The problem with a theory that permits criminalization only on the basis of his harm and offense principles is that it is underinclusive, ruling out laws that most liberals believe are justified. One objection (Arthur Ripstein’s) is that Feinberg’s theory is unable to account for the criminalization of harmless personal grievances. Another (Larry Alexander’s and Robert George’s) is that it (...) cannot account for public decency laws. I shall reject both of these underinclusiveness objections in favor of one that focuses on the “free floating evil” of corpse desecration. Liberals need “pure” legal moralism (PLM) to explain their support for a criminal ban on mistreatment of the dead. I also argue that while deterrence is plausibly regarded as the primary rationale for criminalizing and punishing wrongs like murder or rape, it is not plausibly regarded as any part of the rationale for criminalizing free floating evils. The point of punishing corpse desecrators has to be either retribution or the promotion of virtue/discouraging of vice. Finally, I consider Feinberg’s reason for rejecting all PLM, namely, that competent adults have a right to personal sovereignty or autonomy, and the state’s duty to respect that right trumps the desirability of punishing or reducing the vice associated with harmless immorality. I argue that Feinberg’s argument here fails because it exaggerates the right’s strength and scope. (shrink)
This paper argues that according to the influential version of legal moralism presented by Moore infidelity should all-things-considered be criminalized. This is interesting because criminalizing infidelity is bound to be highly controversial and because Moore’s legal moralism is a prime example of a self-consciously liberal legal moralism, which aims to yield legislative implications that are quite similar to liberalism, while maintaining that morality as such should be legally enforced. Moore tries to make his theory yield such implications, (...) first by claiming that the scope of our moral obligations is much more limited than legal moralists have traditionally claimed, and second by allowing for the possibility that the goodness of legally enforcing morality is often outweighed by the badness of limiting citizens’ morally valuable autonomy and spending scarce resources on enforcement. If Moore is successful in this, legal moralism is strengthened because it becomes immune to many of the most damaging liberal objections. By showing that despite making those moves Moore’s legal moralism is still committed to criminalizing infidelity, a manifestly illiberal implication for legislation, it is established that Moore is unsuccessful in creating a liberal legal moralism, and Moore’s failure in this regard raises questions about whether there can be such a thing as a liberal legal moralism. (shrink)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's thinking about ethics and Christianity is a fascinating attempt to combine different, and often conflicting, strands in the Christian intellectual tradition. In this article, I outline his thinking, analyse the advantages and disadvantages in his approach, and relate it to developments in contemporary philosophy. His critique of an excessive stress upon principles and abstraction in opposition to a concern for concrete circumstances is, I argue, best seen as a necessary critique of what I call moralism rather than (...) morality. It is also related to recent philosophical theories of particularism and the debates about ‘emergency ethics’ in current philosophy. On the negative side, Bonhoeffer has a tendency to treat non-Christian ethics as necessarily relativist and at times is excessively influenced by the elements in Christian theological tradition that are hostile to the natural and to non-Christian philosophy. In addition, his invocation of ‘the Divine mandates’ seems to have undesirable implications for some genuine values in liberal democratic theory and practice. (shrink)
The article introduces and critiques Antony Duff’s Modest Legal Moralism from a strictly analytical angle. It seeks to illuminate its core tenets and modestly addresses a number of aspects that deserve further elaboration from the author’s point of view. Notwithstanding these points of contention the main thrust of the article is the exploration of the constructive potential of Duff’s concept. It will be shown that its core elements are well-equipped to come to grips with the lacuna of theorization of (...) supranational criminal justice systems and their criminalization processes. (shrink)
Legal moralists hold that the immorality of an action is a sufficient reason for the state to prevent it. Liberals in the tradition of Mill generally reject legal moralism. However, Larry Alexander has recently developed an argument that suggests that a class of legal restrictions on freedom that most liberals endorse is, and perhaps can only be, justified on moralistic grounds. According to Alexander, environmental restrictions designed to preserve nature or beauty are forms of legal moralism. In this (...) paper, I explore two liberal lines of response to Alexander’s argument. The first argues that an aesthetic interest is among our basic legally protectable interests. This argument claims that environmental and other regulations designed to protect beauty and nature are justified in order to prevent setbacks to this aesthetic interest. The second focuses on a democratic conception of the public interest. It holds that democratic communities are entitled, through their institutions, to shape the community and environment they live in. On this view, the community need not appeal to moralism to justify its adoption of environmental regulations, since in adopting such regulations it is simply enacting its collective preferences. On these grounds, I claim that Alexander’s case for the claim that aesthetic regulations can only be justified on moralistic grounds is much weaker than he takes it to be. (shrink)
Like lynching and other mass hysterias, xenophobia exemplifies a contagious, collective wave of energy and hedonic quality that can point toward a troubling unpredictability at the core of political and social systems. While earlier studies of mass hysteria and popular discourse assume that cooler heads (aka rational individuals with their logic) could and should regain control over those emotions that are deemed irrational, and that boundaries are assumed healthy only when intact, affect studies pose individuals as nodes of biosocial networks (...) larger than themselves. Thus rather than suggesting that the individual can only prevent societal harm by gaining command and patrolling the borders of an autonomous self, we embrace the notion that affects can exert a positive and transformative force on a social reality that is resistant to top-down policy intervention and any straightforward moral or logical plea. (shrink)
Most self-identified libertarians unwittingly have a moral muddle without a central factual theory of liberty. They cannot yet see that they first need to sort out what liberty is, and therefore entails if instantiated, and only after that can moral questions about it be coherently raised and tackled.
Recent work in moral and philosophical psychology provides valuable resources for religious ethicists, and this review examines contributions by Julia Annas, Annette Baier, John Bowlin, John McDowell, and William Wainwright. This literature raises important questions about the character of human moral being as naturalistic, about whether an explicitly supernatural morality can be other than inevitably "moralistic," and about how that might be so. Nonetheless, religious ethicists should appropriate it only with care, particularly in its emphasis on naturalism, and the partiality (...) of its appropriation of ancient thinkers. (shrink)
This article sets out some of the key features of a realist critique of liberal moralism, identifying descriptive inadequacy and normative irrelevance as the two fundamental lines of criticism. It then sketches an outline of a political theory of modus vivendi as an alternative, realist approach to political theory. On this account a modus vivendi should be understood as any political settlement that involves the preservation of peace and security and is generally acceptable to those who are party to (...) it. In conclusion, some problems with this conception of modus vivendi and with a realist political theory more generally are discussed. In particular, the question is raised of whether a realist political theory should be understood as an alternative to liberal moralism or only a better way of doing basically the same kind of thing. (shrink)
Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor develops an inclusive theory that integrates psychological, aesthetic, and ethical issues relating to humor Offers an enlightening and accessible foray into the serious business of humor Reveals how standard theories of humor fail to explain its true nature and actually support traditional prejudices against humor as being antisocial, irrational, and foolish Argues that humor’s benefits overlap significantly with those of philosophy Includes a foreword by Robert Mankoff, Cartoon Editor of The New Yorker.
A modern form of narrative, comic books are used to communicate, discuss, and critique issues in business ethics and social issues in management. A description of comic books as a legitimate medium is followed by a discussion of the pedagogical uses of comic books and assessment techniques. The strengths of the pedagogy include crossing cultural barriers, understanding the complexity of individual decision-making and organizational influences, and the universality of dilemmas and values. We provide an initial source for (...) educators on the topics, comic books, plotlines, and other commentary for consideration of use in the classroom from high school to graduate business ethics and social issues in management courses. (shrink)
It has often been suggested that people’s ordinary capacities for understanding the world make use of much the same methods one might find in a formal scientific investigation. A series of recent experimental results offer a challenge to this widely-held view, suggesting that people’s moral judgments can actually influence the intuitions they hold both in folk psychology and in causal cognition. The present target article distinguishes two basic approaches to explaining such effects. One approach would be to say that the (...) relevant competencies are entirely non-moral but that some additional factor (conversational pragmatics, performance error, etc.) then interferes and allows people’s moral judgments to affect their intuitions. Another approach would be to say that moral considerations truly do figure in workings of the competencies themselves. It is argued that the data available now favor the second of these approaches over the first. (shrink)
My goal in this article is to provide support for the claim that moral flaws can be detrimental to an artwork's aesthetic value. I argue that moral flaws can become aesthetic flaws when they defeat the operation of good-making aesthetic properties. I do not defend a new theory of aesthetic properties or aesthetic value; instead, I attempt to show that on both the response-dependence and the supervenience account of aesthetic properties, moral flaws with an artwork are relevant to what aesthetic (...) properties obtain. I provide a description of the main features of both theories of aesthetic properties, and then explain how moral flaws can become aesthetic flaws on either account. I address several objections to moralism about art including the "moralistic fallacy.". (shrink)
Cohn's (2013) theory of “Visual Narrative Grammar” argues that sequential images take on categorical roles in a narrative structure, which organizes them into hierarchic constituents analogous to the organization of syntactic categories in sentences. This theory proposes that narrative categories, like syntactic categories, can be identified through diagnostic tests that reveal tendencies for their distribution throughout a sequence. This paper describes four experiments testing these diagnostics to provide support for the validity of these narrative categories. In Experiment 1, participants reconstructed (...) unordered panels of a comic strip into an order that makes sense. Experiment 2 measured viewing times to panels in sequences where the order of panels was reversed. In Experiment 3, participants again reconstructed strips but also deleted a panel from the sequence. Finally, in Experiment 4 participants identified where a panel had been deleted from a comic strip and rated that strip's coherence. Overall, categories had consistent distributional tendencies within experiments and complementary tendencies across experiments. These results point toward an interaction between categorical roles and a global narrative structure. (shrink)
This book is the first attempt to think philosophically about the comic phenomenon in literature, art, and life. Working across a substantial collection of comic works author Agnes Heller makes seminal observations on the comic in the work of both classical and contemporary figures. Whether she's discussing Shakespeare, Kafka, Rabelais, or the paintings of Brueghel and Daumier Heller's Immortal Comedy makes a characteristic contribution to modern thought across the humanities.
Abstract: The practice of architectural criticism is supercharged with ethical evaluations. But do they have any bearing on the architectural value of a building? And how are the ethical value of an architectural work and its aesthetic value related? I defend the following answers, which define a version of moderate moralism with respect to architecture: An architectural work will in some cases be (1) architecturally flawed (or meritorious) due to the fact that it has ethical flaws (or merits), (2) (...) aesthetically flawed (or meritorious) due to the fact that it has ethical flaws (or merits), and (3) ethically flawed (or meritorious) due to the fact that it has aesthetic flaws (or merits). (shrink)
I defend the ethical fittingness theory (EFT), the thesis that whenever it is legitimate ethically to evaluate a representational artwork for the perspective it embodies, such evaluation systematically bears on the work's artistic value. EFT is a form of radical moralism, claiming that the systematic relationship between the selected type of ethical evaluation and artistic evaluation always obtains, for works of any kind. The argument for EFT spells out the implications of ethically judging an artwork for its perspective, where (...) such an ethical evaluation is understood as an assessment of how well the work's ethical perspective fits extra-fictional reality—how appropriate, correct, or true the perspective is. The argument shows that the ethical legitimacy of judging a work for its perspective ipso facto proves the judgment's art-critical relevance. Hence, the argument effectively amounts to a reductio ad absurdum of theories that admit the legitimacy of ethically judging artworks this way, but deny or qualify the judgment's relevance to artistic merit. Since EFT is stated conditionally, the argument need not indicate how often artworks are subject to this type of ethical evaluation. Nonetheless, I make a case for the relevance of EFT to actual art criticism and contemporary philosophical debate. (shrink)
Moralism involves the distortion of moral thought, the distortion of reflection and judgement. It is a vice, and one to which many - from the philosopher to the media pundit to the politician - are highly susceptible. This book examines the nature of moralism in specific moral judgements and the ways in which moral philosophy and theories about morality can themselves become skewed by this vice. This book ranges across a wide range of topics: the problem of the (...) demandingness of morality; the conflict between moral and other values; the contrast between the practice of moral philosophy and other modes of moral thought or reflection; moralism in the media; and, moralism in the public discussion of literature and art. This highly original and provocative book will be of interest to students of philosophy, psychology, theology and media, and to anyone who takes a serious interest in contemporary morality. (shrink)
This article examines whether a retributivist conception of punishment implies legal moralism and asks what liberalism implies about retributivism and moralism. It makes a case for accepting the weak retributivist thesis that culpable wrongdoing creates a pro tanto case for blame and punishment and the weak moralist claim that moral wrongdoing creates a pro tanto case for legal regulation. This weak moralist claim is compatible with the liberal claim that the legal enforcement of morality is rarely all‐thing‐considered desirable. (...) Though weak moralism has some plausibility, it does not follow from weak retributivism if legitimate state functions are limited in certain ways. (shrink)
Comedy, from social ridicule to the unruly laughter of the carnival, provides effective tools for reinforcing social patterns of domination as well as weapons for emancipation. In Irony in the Age of Empire, Cynthia Willett asks: What could embody liberation better than laughter? Why do the oppressed laugh? What vision does the comic world prescribe? For Willett, the comic trumps standard liberal accounts of freedom by drawing attention to bodies, affects, and intimate relationships, topics which are usually neglected (...) by political philosophy. Willett's philosophical reflection on comedy issues a powerful challenge to standard conceptions of freedom by proposing a new kind of freedom that is unapologetically feminist, queer, and multiracial. This book provides a wide-ranging, original, thoughtful, and expansive discussion of citizenship, social manners, and political freedom in our world today. (shrink)
Contemporary society faces a wide range of environmental problems. In what ways might business be part of the solution, rather than the problem? The Moralist Model is one general response. It tends to focus on particular corporations which it treats as moral agents operating within our common moral system. As a consequence, it claims that, with various (usually modest) changes, corporations may become environmentally responsible.This paper contends, on the contrary, that business has its own special “ethics,” which relates not simply (...) to the internal nature of the corporation but also to the corporate (free market) system. Given this special ethics, business cannot in general be environmentally responsible in the manner that the Moralists demand. Instead, more far-reaching changes are needed within corporations and the economic system to promote environmental responsibility. Though the requisite changes are significant, there are forces pushing in the dlrection which the paper identifies. (shrink)
Here I defend response moralism, the view that some emotional responses to fi ctions are morally right, and others morally wrong, from the objection that responses to merely fi ctional characters and events cannot be morally evaluated. I defend the view that emotional responses to fi ctions can be morally evaluated only to the extent that said responses are responses to real people and events.
Business ethics as an academic field is, not least, about moral criticism and self‐criticism, of business and of business education. However, the business ethics discourse appears to shift between a critique of immorality and a crude moralism. The article explores the concept of moralism with reference to the relevant literature and illustrates its various manifestations with reference to empirical studies. This is followed up by theses for further discussion and research.
abstract Moralism is often charged with being ineffective, rude, hypocritical, and intolerant. This article challenges all of those claims, first using evidence from social science to argue that moralism can be effective in changing others’ behaviour, serving as a remedy against the important problems of moral ignorance and weakness of will. Next, the apparent problems of rudeness, hypocrisy, and intolerance are argued to be either illusory or overstated. Finally, examples of unethical moralism are reviewed and a prudential (...) type of moralism is differentiated and defended. (shrink)
abstract In this paper moralism is defined as the illicit use of moral considerations. Three different varieties of moralism are then discussed — moral absolutism, excessive standards and demandingness, and presenting non‐moral considerations as moral ones. Both individuals and theories can be regarded as moralistic in some of these senses. Indeed, some critics of consequentialism have regarded that theory as moralistic. The author then describes the problems associated with each sense of ‘moralism’ and how casuistry evolved to (...) try to deal with some of these problems. The author also defends consequentialism against one charge of moralism . (shrink)
So, on 22 July 1865, under the title ‘Philosophy and Punch’, did England's premier comic weekly greet the election of J. S. Mill as MP for Westminster. Mill held his seat for only one term, until the general election of 1868, when his Whig-Liberal colleague Robert Wellesley Grosvenor was re-elected, but Mill was replaced by the loser in 1865, the Conservative W. H. Smith, Jr., who, though he never went to sea, became the ruler of the Queen's navy. The (...) reasons for that reversal have engaged the attention of many, including Mill himself; I should like to introduce into the discussion material from an ignored source, the comic weeklies, which took a continued and close look at Mill's behaviour during his parliamentary years. While this evidence generally does not disconfirm earlier judgments—including my own— it does more than merely add to the induction. First, it shows how different political stances led journals to focus on different aspects of Mill's parliamentary career, and to adopt different rhetorical strategies in portraying him in picture and word. Second, it demonstrates how the hardening of party allegiances during the parliament of 1865–68, which accelerated in the preparatory campaigns for the general election of 1868, affected Mill adversely. Third, it suggests strongly that it was not his ‘crotchets’ or ‘whims’, especially women's suffrage and proportional representation, that damaged his chances for re-election, but his advocacy of causes unpopular with the majority of Liberals as well as with Conservatives. (shrink)
Mrs. Digby told me that when she lived in London with her sister, Mrs. Brooke, they were every now and then honoured by the visits of Dr. Johnson. He called on them one day soon after the publication of his immortal dictionary. The two ladies paid him due compliments on the occasion. Amongst other topics of praise they very much commended the omission of all naughty words. 'What! my dears! then you have been looking for them?' said the moralist. The (...) ladies, confused at being thus caught, dropped the subject of the dictionary. (shrink)