Self-fulfillment of theories is argued to be a threat to social science in at least two ways. First, a realist might worry that self-fulfillment constitutes a threat to the idea that social science is a proper science consistent with a realist approach that develops true and successful statements about the world. Second, one might argue that the potential self-fulfilling nature of social science theories potentially undermines the ethical integrity of social scientists. We argue that if one accepts that (...) social science theories are not based on laws akin to those that govern natural reality or acknowledges that if one can predict self-fulfillment via a meta-theory that explains the underlying regularities of the self-fulfilling change, the threat to realism is dismantled. Furthermore, on the basis of these arguments, we show that if one is unable to predict the consequences of a theory, it is difficult to ascribe moral responsibility at the individual level. It is, therefore, not the potential self-fulfillment of theories per se that poses an ethical challenge, in contrast to claims in the literature. (shrink)
This paper argues that, in light of Dead Sea apple cases, we should reject desire-fulfillment welfare theories (DF theories). Dead Sea apples are apples that look attractive while hanging on the tree, but which dissolve into smoke or ashes once plucked. Accordingly, Dead Sea apple cases are cases where an agent desires something and then gets it, only to find herself disappointed by what she has gotten. This paper covers both actual DF theories and hypothetical (or idealized) DF theories. (...) On actual DF theories the agent’s well-being is determined by her actual desires, while on hypothetical DF theories the agent’s well-being is determined by the desires that she would have if she were fully and vividly informed with respect to non-evaluative information. Various actual and hypothetical DF theory responses to Dead Sea apple objections are considered, and all such responses are argued to be inadequate. (shrink)
Susan Wolf argues that meaning arises when subjective attraction meets objective attractiveness. Whereas we can agree with her claim that the conception of meaning invokes an objective standard, we think it is questionable whether a radically subjective fulfillment is a real possibility. Several reasons are provided why this cannot be the case.
This collection concludes with two essays dealing with concepts used in appraising the whole of a person's life: absurdity and self-fulfillment, and their interplay.Dealing with a diverse set of problems in practical and theoretical ethics, ...
Cultures around the world have regarded self-fulfillment as the ultimate goal of human striving and as the fundamental test of the goodness of a human life. The ideal has also been criticized, however, as egotistical or as so value-neutral that it fails to distinguish between, for example, self-fulfilled sinners and self-fulfilled saints. Alan Gewirth presents here a systematic and highly original study of self-fulfillment that seeks to overcome these and other arguments and to justify the high place that (...) the ideal has been accorded. He does so by developing an ethical theory that ultimately grounds the value of self-fulfillment in the idea of the dignity of human beings.Gewirth begins by distinguishing two models of self- fulfillment--aspiration-fulfillment and capacity-fulfillment--and shows how each of these contributes to the intrinsic value of human life. He then distinguishes between three types of morality--universalist, particularist, and personalist--and shows how each contributes to the values embodied in self-fulfillment. Building on these ideas, he develops a Odialectical' conception of reason that shows how human rights are central to self-fulfillment. Gewirth also argues that self-fulfillment has a social as well as an individual dimension: that the nature of society and the obstacles that disadvantaged groups face affect strongly the character of the self-fulfillment that persons can achieve.Bold in scope and rigorous in execution, Self-Fulfillment is a powerful new contribution to moral, social, and political philosophy. (shrink)
It seems to be a widely shared view that any defensible desire-fulfillment theory of welfare must be framed not in terms of what an agent, in fact, desires but rather in terms of what an agent would desire under hypothetical conditions that include improved information. Unfortunately, though, such accounts are subject to serious criticisms. In this paper I show that in the face of these criticisms the best response is to jettison any appeal to idealized information conditions: the considerations (...) put forward in support of the appeal to what would be desired in hypothetical circumstances of improved information do not, in fact, give adequate reason to make that appeal. (shrink)
This paper considers three general views about the nature of moral obligation and three particular answers concerning the following question: if on Monday you lend me a book that I promise to return to you by Friday, what precisely is my obligation to you and what constitutes its fulfillment? The example is borrowed from W.D. Ross, who in The Right and the Good proposed what he called the Objective View of obligation, from which he inferred what is here called (...) the First Answer to the question. In Foundations of Ethics Ross repudiated the Objective View in favor of the Subjective View, from which he inferred a Second Answer. In this paper each of the Objective and Subjective Views and the First and Second Answers are rejected in favor of the Prospective View and a Third Answer. The implications of the Prospective View for another question closely related to the original question are then investigated: what precisely is your right regarding my returning the book and what constitutes its satisfaction? (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship between psychological contract violations (PCVs) related to diversity climate and professional employee outcomes. We found that for our sample of US professionals of color including US-born African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans, employee perceptions of breach in diversity promise fulfillment (DPF), after controlling for more general organizational promise fulfillment (OPF), led to lower reported organizational commitment (OC) and higher turnover intentions (TI). Interactional justice partially mediated the relationship between DPF and outcomes. Procedural (...) justice and DPF interacted to influence OC of employees of color. For respondents who perceived a lack of DPF, moderate racial awareness was associated with greater PCV. We discuss the implications of the findings and provide directions for future research. (shrink)
This paper argues that the standard account of posthumous harm is untenable. The standard account presupposes the desire-fulfillment theory of welfare, but I argue that no plausible version of this theory can allow for the possibility of posthumous harm. I argue that there are, at least, two problems with the standard account from the perspective of a desire-fulfillment theorist. First, as most desire-fulfillment theorists acknowledge, the theory must be restricted in such a way that only those desires (...) that pertain to one’s own life count in determining one’s welfare. The problem is that no one has yet provided a plausible account of which desires these are such that desires for posthumous prestige and the like are included. Second and more importantly, if the desire-fulfillment theory is going to be at all plausible, it must, I argue, restrict itself not only to those desires that pertain to one’s own life but also to those desires that are future independent, and this would rule out the possibility of posthumous harm. If I’m right, then even the desire-fulfillment theorist should reject the standard account of posthumous harm. We cannot plausibly account for posthumous harm in terms of desire fulfillment (or the lack thereof). (shrink)
Rights, Democracy, and Fulfillment in the Era of Identity Politics develops a critical theory of human rights and global democracy. Ingram both develops a theory of rights and applies it to a range of concrete and timely issues, such as the persistence of racism in contemporary American society; the emergence of so-called 'whiteness theory;' the failure of identity politics; the tensions between emphases on antidiscrimination and affirmative action in the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990; the great unresolved issues (...) of workplace democracy; and the dilemmas of immigration policy for the U.S. and Europe. (shrink)
Communitarian sociological theory and research of the past 30 years has often assumed that a growing culture of self-fulfillment, or "personalism," is ultimately incompatible with commitment to the public good. This article argues that this "seesaw model" does not exhaust the possible relations between personalism and public commitment. It borrows insights from radical democratic theories to argue the existence of a form of public commitment that is enacted through, rather than impeded by, personalism. A cultural analysis that highlights everyday (...) practices enables us to conceptualize this personalized form of public commitment, which goes unrecognized in communitarian accounts, and which gets discussed only in formal theoretical, or social-psychological, terms in radical democratic theories. A case example of personalized public commitment in recent grass-roots environmentalism illustrates the limits in the seesaw model and speaks back to radical democratic theories of public commitment by illuminating how the individualized commitment they theorize may work in everyday cultural practice. I conclude with suggestions for further theoretical work on personalism. (shrink)
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the elusiveness of fulfillment was a source of much perplexity. You believe that the possession of something that you desire will bring you fulfillment, but the acquisition of it leaves you dissatisfied. Arthur Schopenhauer said that this is because the objects of desire lack any intrinsic value. By contrast, Nietzsche argued that our experience of boredom reflects our desire to engage in a challenging form of activity.
Followers of traditional modes of ethical thinking rightly approachpostmodern philosophical methodologies with a certain enigma andsuspicion due to the latter’s tendency to swipe clean basic assumptionswhich had been historically accepted without question. Contemporarytheorists conceptually dig their way into complex labyrinths of noveldefinitions not only to establish the neotericity of their paradigms but also to disengage themselves from the tyranny of dogmatic conclusions that may inhibit their suppositions from being enclosed by established systems of thought. When the Principle of Generic Consistency (...) was introduced by Alan Gewirth in his most popular work Reason and Morality, it spurred numerous reactions, both pros and cons,1 as the principle offered to fulfill the utopian dream of establishing a rational foundation for human rights. The latter part of the book, together with subsequent articles and works, explained in detail how the principle could be applied to the intricacies of applied morality, such as the promotion of man’s well-being, and consequently, the fulfillment of his existence. This paper deals with the same path of Gewirth; only this time, it seeks to construct a rational bridge between a PGC-basedhuman self-fulfillment and the creation of a habitat that embodies hope for political harmony. Moreover, the PGC would not only be construed as the foundation for human rights, but also as a rational trail by which man’s relation with his fellow could serve to develop an intersubjective enhancement of freedom and well-being. (shrink)
The existential analytic of Being and Time is set within the frame of the Seinsfrage. This question arises for Heidegger out of his critical engagement with Husserl's phenomenology. More careful attention to Heidegger's project as a phenomenological one reveals that Dasein, the entity who asks the Seinsfrage and who always has a pre-ontological understanding of Being, is also intentional. Dasein's existentiality is an intentionality. I will argue that inauthenticity and authenticity may be fruitfully understood in terms of the phenomenological notions (...) of empty intention and intentional fulfillment, respectively. Such an approach opens up the possibility of understanding Dasein's subjectivity in a way which challenges more traditional existentialist and voluntarist interpretations. (shrink)
Moral duties are often described in terms of rigid requirements to perform, or refrain from performing, actions of certain specific types. In various theological traditions this point is often expressed in terms of the demands God places upon His creatures. However, there are several important ways, as Kant, Mill, and others have noted, in which the fulfillment of duty admits of options. In this paper an effort is made to offer a precise characterization of these ways. On this basis (...) it is concluded that many duties are not of the form in which duties are commonly characterized. (shrink)
Las relaciones entre el mundo de la educación y el trabajo tienen objetivos diversos, relacionados con la pertinencia, la formación recibida, el ejercicio profesional, la eficiencia universitaria y la repercusión social; de manera que resulta valiosa la información sobre el cumplimiento del encargo social del profesional, al tiempo que se convierte en instrumento de gestión universitaria. Objetivo: determinar la satisfacción alcanzada por el cumplimento del encargo social de egresados de maestrías ejecutadas en la Facultad de Ciencias Médicas "Manuel Fajardo". Métodos: (...) se emplearon teóricos, empíricos, y estadísticos. Se asumió como universo a los 40 empleadores de egresados de maestrías del territorio, a quienes se les aplicó un cuestionario para obtener información sociodemográfica y de satisfacción, según escala Likert. Resultados: entre las opiniones emitidas por los empleadores predominaron las satisfactorias; seguidas por aquellos que no dieron su opinión y en tercer lugar por el grupo que manifestó insatisfacción con la labor investigativa de estos egresados al no dar respuesta al banco de problemas institucional y por tanto no reportar ningún beneficio al centro donde dirigen. Discusión: La satisfacción alcanzada por sus usuarios finales en el mundo laboral posibilitó a la Facultad de Médica del municipio determinar que las maestrías ejecutadas, cumplen satisfactoriamente con su encargo social, escuchar directamente cómo repercute su posgrado y convertir sus resultados como medida de gestión y herramienta interna institucional para monitorizar desde una perspectiva no explorada, el desempeño de sus egresados en opinión de sus empleadores directos. The relations between the world of education and work have different objectives related to appropriateness, the received training, professional practice, university efficiency and social impact; therefore the information on the fulfillment of professionals' social task is valuable, and it becomes a tool for university management at the same time. Objective: establishing the satisfaction got by the fulfillment of the social task of graduates from master degree courses implemented at Manuel Fajardo Medical Sciences Faculty. Methods: theoretical, empirical and statistical methods were used. The sample group was constituted by 40 employers of graduates from master degree courses in the region who were asked to fill in a questionnaire in order to get sociodemographic and satisfactory information according to the Likert scale. Results: satisfactory opinions prevailed among those given by employers, followed by those who did not give their opinions. The third place belongs to the group that expressed its dissatisfaction with the research work of the graduates who did not solve the institutional problems bank and therefore did not generate profits to the establishment they direct. Discussion: The satisfaction accomplished in the working world by final users made it possible for the Medical Faculty of the municipality to determine that the implemented master degree courses satisfactorily fulfill their social task, to directly listen to the impact of the postgraduate course and to change results as a management measure and as an internal institutional tool to monitor, from a non-explored perspective, the performance of graduates in their immediate employers' opinions. (shrink)
This article adapts the economic and social rights fulfillment index (SERF Index) developed by Fukuda-Parr, Lawson-Remer, and Randolph to assess the extent to which each of the 50 US states fulfills the economic and social rights obligations set forth in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It then extends the index to incorporate discrimination and examines differences in economic and social rights fulfillment by race and sex within each of the states. The overall SERF Index (...) score varies between states from below 70% to almost 85%, with wider variation on some of the six substantive rights that comprise the overall SERF Index score. The findings reveal limited sex discrimination but pronounced race discrimination. (shrink)
Political and social commentators regularly bemoan the decline of morality in the modern world. They claim that the norms and values that held society together in the past are rapidly eroding, to be replaced by permissiveness and empty hedonism. But as Edward Rubin demonstrates in this powerful account of moral transformations, these prophets of doom are missing the point. Morality is not diminishing; instead, a new morality, centered on an ethos of human self-fulfillment, is arising to replace the old (...) one. As Rubin explains, changes in morality have gone hand in hand with changes in the prevailing mode of governance throughout the course of Western history. During the Early Middle Ages, a moral system based on honor gradually developed. In a dangerous world where state power was declining, people relied on bonds of personal loyalty that were secured by generosity to their followers and violence against their enemies. That moral order, exemplified in the early feudal system and in sagas like The Song of Roland, The Song of the Cid, and the Arthurian legends has faded, but its remnants exist today in criminal organizations like the Mafia and in the rap music of the urban ghettos. When state power began to revive in the High Middle Ages through the efforts of the European monarchies, and Christianity became more institutionally effective and more spiritually intense, a new morality emerged. Described by Rubin as the morality of higher purposes, it demanded that people devote their personal efforts to achieving salvation and their social efforts to serving the emerging nation-states. It insisted on social hierarchy, confined women to subordinate roles, restricted sex to procreation, centered child-rearing on moral inculcation, and countenanced slavery and the marriage of pre-teenage girls to older men. Our modern era, which began in the late 18th century, has seen the gradual erosion of this morality of higher purposes and the rise of a new morality of self-fulfillment, one that encourages individuals to pursue the most meaningful and rewarding life-path. Far from being permissive or a moral abdication, it demands that people respect each other's choices, that sex be mutually enjoyable, that public positions be allocated according to merit, and that society provide all its members with their minimum needs so that they have the opportunity to fulfill themselves. Where people once served the state, the state now functions to serve the people. The clash between this ascending morality and the declining morality of higher purposes is the primary driver of contemporary political and cultural conflict. A sweeping, big-idea book in the vein of Francis Fukuyama's The End of History, Charles Taylor's The Secular Age, and Richard Sennett's The Fall of Public Man, Edward Rubin's new volume promises to reshape our understanding of morality, its relationship to government, and its role in shaping the emerging world of High Modernity. (shrink)
Continues the ongoing dialogue between religion and science. In this volume, the author has focused on scientific or science-based technology rather than just the significance of 'pure science'. This complex focus covers a number of issues including scientific theory, public policy, ethical consideration, cosmology, theological conundrums and the age-old issues of the meaning of human life and its fulfillment.
According to Richard Gelwick, one of the fundamental implications of Polanyi’s epistemology is that all intellectual disciplines are inherently heuristic. This article draws out the implications of a heuristic vision of theology latent in Polanyi’s thought by placing contemporary theologian David Brown’s dynamic understanding of tradition, imagination, and revelation in the context of a Polanyian-inspired vision of reality. Consequently, such a theology will follow the example of science, reimagining its task as one of discovery rather than mere reflection on a (...) timeless body of divine revelation. The ongoing development of a theological tradition thus involves the attempt to bring one’s understanding of the question of God to bear on the whole of the human experience. The pursuit of theology as a heuristic endeavor is a bold attempt to construct an integrated vision of nothing less than the entirety of all that is, without absolutizing one’s vision, and without giving up on the question of truth. (shrink)
Frantz Fanon was an enthusiastic reader of Sartre's Critique of Dialectical Reason and in this essay I focus on what can be gleaned from The Wretched of the Earth about how he read it. I argue that the reputation among Sartre's critics of the Critique as a failure on the grounds that it was left incomplete should take into account its presence in Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth . Their shared perspectives on the systemic character of racism and colonialism, (...) on the genesis and fragility of groups, and on parties indicates the vitality of the ideas set out in the Critique . However, these similarities between the two thinkers are offset by their differences on national consciousness and on the rural masses. I end by speculating about a certain defence on Sartre's part toward Fanon's concrete experience. (shrink)
The surprising comment Wittgenstein makes at the end of his Tractatus suggests that, even though the analysis of words is the proper method of doing philosophy, philosophy’s ultimate aim may be to experience silence. Whereas Wittgenstein never explains what he meant by his cryptic conclusion, Kant provides numerous clues as to how the same position can be understood in a more complete and systematic way. Distinguishing between the meanings of “silence,” “noise” and “sound” provides a helpful way of understanding how (...) philosophers can devote so much effort to analyzing words even though their quest is ultimately fulfilled only in a deep experience of reality that is most adequately expressed in silence. (shrink)
Christian hopes for salvation and redemption, and Marxist promises of emancipation and liberation have had and do have today much to do with each other. Historically they have grown up in dialogue with one another and today they address each other more than ever. Mutual condemnations get us nowhere. This article tries to identify areas of common intention and cooperation, without ignoring real differences, and offers a theological reflection that suggests an alliance with the critical elements within Marxist circles that (...) speak for humanism and the exercise of freedom in the present. (shrink)