McMahan argues that justification defeats liability to defensive attack (which would undermine the thesis of the "moral equality of combatants"). In response, I argue, first, that McMahan’s attempt to burden the contrary claim with counter-intuitive implications fails; second, that McMahan’s own position implies that the innocent civilians do not have a right of self-defense against justifiedattackers, which neither coheres with his description of the case (the justified bombers infringe the rights of the civilians) nor with his (...) views about rights forfeiture, is unsupported by independent argument, and, in any case, extremely implausible and counter-intuitive; and third, that his interpretation of the insulin case confuses the normative relations between an agent’s justification and non-liability on the one hand and permissible or impermissible interference with the agent’s act on the other. Similar confusions, fourth, affect his discussion of liability to compensation. (shrink)
Chaïm Perelman's new rhetoric represents both the foundation of his normative inquiry into the notion of justice and a fascinating exploration of argumentation that has relevance for philosophers and nonphilosophers alike. Notwithstanding the undoubted merits of the new rhetoric, the process of theorizing by means of which it is formulated is inherently problematic. The problematic nature of this process derives from its pursuit within the unintelligible perspective of a metaphysical standpoint. In order to demonstrate the unintelligibility of this standpoint and (...) of the theorizing that issues from it, I establish a parallel between Perelman's new rhetoric and Frege's views on logic. Specifically, I claim that while Frege wavers between a Kantian and an unKantian (scientific) conception of logic, Perelman wavers between a nonscientific and a scientific conception of practical reason. A scientific conception of logic and practical reason, I argue, makes it seem, respectively, that we can subject the laws of logic to a demand for judgment and that we can justify the ideals of practical reason. The unintelligibility of such a demand is demonstrated by Frege when he challenges the position of psychologism in logic. Indeed, Frege's challenge in this case effectively determines the form of the challenge that I mount subsequently against the intelligibility of Perelman's attempt to justify the ideals of practical reason. Both Frege's and Perelman's approaches fail, I argue, on account of their institution within philosophical inquiry of the methodology of scientific inquiry. Finally, the scientistic nature of the accounts of these theorists is examined in relation to comments by Hilary Putnam concerning the structure of philosophical controversy in general. (shrink)
Purpose This paper aims to examine whether there are morally defensible reasons for using or operating websites that offer distributed denial-of-service attacks on a specified target to users for a price. Booters have been linked to some of the most powerful DDoS attacks in recent years. Design/methodology/approach The authors identify the various parties associated with booter websites and the means through which booters operate. Then, the authors present and evaluate the two arguments that they claim may be used to justify (...) operating and using booters: that they are a useful tool for testing the ability of networks and servers to handle heavy traffic, and that they may be used to perform DDoS attacks as a form of civil disobedience on the internet. Findings The authors argue that the characteristics of existing booters disqualify them from being morally justified as network stress testing tools or as a means of performing civil disobedience. The use of botnets that include systems without the permission of their owners undermines the legitimacy of both justifications. While a booter that does not use any third-party systems without permission might in principle be justified under certain conditions, the authors argue that it is unlikely that any existing booters meet these requirements. Practical/implications Law enforcement agencies may use the arguments presented here to justify shutting down the operation of booters, and so reduce the number of DDoS attacks on the internet. Originality/value The value of this work is in critically examining the potential justifications for using and operating booter websites and in further exploring the ethical aspects of using DDoS attacks as a form of civil disobedience. (shrink)
Even among those who find lethal defense against non-responsible threats, innocent aggressors, or justified aggressors justified even in one to one cases, there is a debate as to what the best explanation of this permissibility is. The contenders in this debate are the liability account, which holds that the non-responsible or justified human targets of the defensive measures are liable to attack, and the justified infringement account, which claims that the targets retain their right not to (...) be attacked but may be attacked anyway, even in one to one situations. Given that we normally think that rights are trumps, this latter claim is counter-intuitive and rather surprising, and therefore in need of justification and explanation. So far only Jonathan Quong has actually tried to provide an explanation; however, I will argue that his explanation fails and that Quong’s own account of liability is misguided. I then address Helen Frowe’s critique of the liability account. She makes the important concession that the tactical bomber has to compensate his victims, but she tries to block the conclusion that he must therefore be liable. I will demonstrate that her attempt to explain away liability fails once that concession is made. (shrink)
There is a traditional conception of knowledge but it is not the Justified True Belief analysis Gettier attacked. On the traditional view, knowledge consists in having a belief that bears a discernible mark of truth. A mark of truth is a truth-entailing property: a property that only true beliefs can have. It is discernible if one can always tell that a belief has it, that is, a sufficiently attentive subject believes that a belief has it if and only if (...) it has it. Requiring a mark of truth makes the view infallibilist. Requiring it to be discernible makes the view internalist. I call the view Classical Infallibilism. (shrink)
In Justified Killing, Whitley R. P. Kaufman argues that none of the leading theories adequately explains why it is permissible even to kill an innocent attacker in self-defense, given the basic moral prohibition against killing the innocent. Kaufman suggests that such an explanation can be found in the traditional Doctrine of Double Effect, according to which self-defense is justified because the intention of the defender is to protect himself rather than harm the attacker.
In recent controversies about Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC), the principle of methodological naturalism (MN) has played an important role. In this paper, an often neglected distinction is made between two different conceptions of MN, each with its respective rationale and with a different view on the proper role of MN in science. According to one popular conception, MN is a self-imposed or intrinsic limitation of science, which means that science is simply not equipped to deal with claims of the supernatural (...) (Intrinsic MN or IMN). Alternatively, we will defend MN as a provisory and empirically grounded attitude of scientists, which is justified in virtue of the consistent success of naturalistic explanations and the lack of success of supernatural explanations in the history of science (Provisory MN or PMN). Science does have a bearing on supernatural hypotheses, and its verdict is uniformly negative. We will discuss five arguments that have been proposed in support of IMN: the argument from the definition of science, the argument from lawful regularity, the science stopper argument, the argument from procedural necessity, and the testability argument. We conclude that IMN, because of its philosophical flaws, proves to be an ill-advised strategy to counter the claims of IDC. Evolutionary scientists are on firmer ground if they discard supernatural explanations on purely evidential grounds, instead of ruling them out by philosophical fiat. (shrink)
The surge in threats aided by or carried out through cyberspace has placed significant pressure on the intelligence community to adapt or leave itself open to attack. Indeed, many in both political and intelligence circles argue for access to ever greater amounts of cyber information in order to catch potential threats before they become real. By collecting all our digital information, the intelligence community argues that it is not only able to detail what people have done or are currently doing (...) but also predict what their next move might be. However, the ethical implications are unclear and the backlash following Edward Snowden’s revelations have shown that such activities are not without controversy. This leaves the debate stuck between the important, ethical role that intelligence can play and the potential for its unrestrained use to cause undue harm. This paper will resolve this by giving greater detail to cyber-intelligence practices, highlighting the different levels of harm that the various intelligence operations can cause. The essence of this paper is not that cyber-intelligence should be banned outright, but that it can be justified given the necessary circumstances. Therefore, the paper will develop a specialised set of Just Cyber-Intelligence Principles, built on the just war tradition, to outline if and when such activities are justified. (shrink)
800x600 Normal 0 21 false false false RO X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Suicide attack has become a dangerous trend in the contemporary history of some Asian societies. While it has been used by some people as a means of protest, it has been largely rejected by humanity for its severe debilitating effects. Instances of suicide attack can be found in the contexts of the Israel-Palestine conflict, September 11 attacks, Bali bombing, Sunni-Shiite disagreement, struggle of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, as (...) well as the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by foreign powers. The recent contours of suicide attacks are basically largely related to various groups or organizations. The paper therefore examines the meaning, brief history, and the causes of suicide attack, and analyzes these within the purview of contemporary Islamic thought which is based on the textual arguments of the Qur'an and Sunnah. The paper concludes that though a tiny fraction of the whole Muslim spectrum tries to justify the suicide attack as a "weapon of the weak", the majority of the Muslim scholars has viewed it as a crime against humanity and therefore vehemently rejects this practice in any form. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend the following thesis: The Problem of Symmetrical Attackers does not falsify forfeiture theory. The theory asserts that except in the case where violence is necessary to avoid a catastrophe, only those who forfeit their rights are liable for defensive violence. The problem focuses on the following sort of case. Symmetrical Attacker Case Al and Bob are doppelgangers. They both mistakenly but justifiably think that the other is about to attack him. They both respond with (...) violence that is necessary and that they think is necessary to prevent the attack. The problem is that one person forfeit his right if and only if the second does not and that it appears to be impossible for both or neither to forfeit. I argue that the forfeiture theory is not falsified by this problem because the problem is equally damaging to every plausible theory of permissible defensive violence. (shrink)
The US has conducted or routinely conducts personality and signature drone strikes into Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and most likely other states as well. The US does this in order to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat terrorist organizations. In some of these attacks, states have given their expressed or tacit consent to the US to conduct these drone strikes. However, some states do not consent to the US conducting kinetic drone strikes within their territory. In these cases, it seems (...) prima facie reasonable to suggest that these acts or use of force are unjustified because they violate the political sovereignty and territorial integrity of a non-consenting state. Furthermore, the US is not at war with these other states so there is no leeway in suggesting that a state has a right to conduct these operations against another state. As it currently stands, attempting to use jus ad bellum criteria to discern a state’s moral justification for implementing force short of war is not only unhelpful but fails to provide a reasonable framework. The use of armed drones is a recent phenomena that will continue to evolve, and with this comes a need for establishing a set of moral guidelines on a state’s implementation of them. In an attempt to remedy this shortcoming, we need to look at drone strikes not as an act of war but as an act or force short of war. I want to make the case that drone strikes can be morally justified using the Responsibility to Protect norms. That is, the Responsibility to Protect norms should be the guiding norms with regard to jus ad vim. Incorporating the R2P norms into a jus ad vim account provides a framework of when states can morally resort to the use of force. (shrink)
Can the use of terror as a political weapon ever be justified? What are the political implications of the struggle to define the concept of "terrorism"? Was the attack on the USS Cole a terrorist act? What role do the intentions of the terrorist and the state of mind of the victims play? Does the modern concept of the nation-state necessarily require the radical devaluation of the use of terror for political ends? With Robert Rafalko, Philip Devine, and Scott (...) Hibbard. (shrink)
Can the use of terror as a political weapon ever be justified? What are the political implications of the struggle to define the concept of "terrorism"? Was the attack on the USS Cole a terrorist act? What role do the intentions of the terrorist and the state of mind of the victims play? Does the modern concept of the nation-state necessarily require the radical devaluation of the use of terror for political ends? With Robert Rafalko, Philip Devine, and Scott (...) Hibbard. (shrink)
The problems that arise from the presence of self-attacking ar- guments and odd-length cycles of attack within argumentation frameworks are widely recognized in the literature on defeasible argumentation. This paper introduces two simple semantics to capture diﬀerent intuitions about what kinds of arguments should become justiﬁed in such scenarios. These semantics are modeled upon two extensions of argumentation frameworks, which we call sustainable and tolerant. Each one is constructed on the common ground of the powerful concept of admissibility introduced (...) by Dung in . The novelty of this approach consists in viewing the admissibility of a subset of arguments as relative to potentially challenging subsets of arguments. Both sustainable and tolerant semantics are more credulous than preferred semantics (i.e. they justify at least the same arguments, and possibly more). Given certain suﬃcient conditions they coincide among them as well as with other semantics introduced by Dung. (shrink)
Radical environmental groups engaged in ecotage—or economic sabotage of inanimate objects thought to be complicit in environmental destruction—have been identified as the leading domestic terrorist threat in the post-9/11 “war on terror.” This article examines the case for extending the conventional definition of terrorism to include attacks not only against noncombatants, but also against inanimate objects, and surveys proposed moral limits suggested by proponents of ecotage. Rejecting the mistaken association between genuine acts of terrorism and ecotage, it considers the proper (...) moral constraints upon ecotage through an examination of just war theory and nonviolent civil disobedience. (shrink)
A hallmark of the war on terror is the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, to kill terrorists abroad. I argue that the justification for targeted killing is based on the same logic as the justification for killing the Naked Soldier in traditional wars. Since many drone strikes are personal strikes—the targeted killing of known individuals—this seems like a more justifiable attack than one against anonymous soldiers. Yet, I propose there are three problems to this analogy that (...) makes killing the Naked Terrorist—one unaware of the danger he is in—worse than killing the Naked Soldier: First, there is the epistemological problem regarding knowing with some certainty that the targets are indeed terrorists. Second, terrorists do not seem to pose a great enough danger for the necessity claim. Lastly, drones may not be as precise as the US claims they are. (shrink)
The behavioral sciences have come under attack for writings and speech that affront sensitivities. At such times, academic freedom and tenure are invoked to forestall efforts to censure and terminate jobs. We review the history and controversy surrounding academic freedom and tenure, and explore their meaning across different fields, at different institutions, and at different ranks. In a multifactoral experimental survey, 1,004 randomly selected faculty members from top-ranked institutions were asked how colleagues would typically respond when confronted with dilemmas concerning (...) teaching, research, and wrong-doing. Full professors were perceived as being more likely to insist on having the academic freedom to teach unpopular courses, research controversial topics, and whistle-blow wrong-doing than were lower-ranked professors (even associate professors with tenure). Everyone thought that others were more likely to exercise academic freedom than they themselves were, and that promotion to full professor was a better predictor of who would exercise academic freedom than was the awarding of tenure. Few differences emerged related either to gender or type of institution, and behavioral scientists' beliefs were similar to scholars from other fields. In addition, no support was found for glib celebrations of tenure's sanctification of broadly defined academic freedoms. These findings challenge the assumption that tenure can be justified on the basis of fostering academic freedom, suggesting the need for a re-examination of the philosophical foundation and practical implications of tenure in today's academy. (Published Online February 8 2007) Key Words: academia; academic freedom; ethical issues; faculty beliefs; professoriate; promotion; scientific misconduct; tenure; whistle-blowing. (shrink)
Robert richman tries to defend a justified-True-Belief analysis of knowledge by attacking the assumption that a justified belief can be false. But, Although 'p is justified but false' is incoherent if asserted about the way things actually are, It is not incoherent if asserted about a supposed situation. And critics of a justified-True-Belief analysis need only do the latter.
Mississippi Representative L.Q.C. Lamar was one of the most aggressive slavery supporters in Congress on the eve of the Civil War. Lamar had a personal stake in slavery, owning a plantation and 26 slaves in north Mississippi. In a speech delivered at the height of national debate on the slavery issue, Lamar attacked abolitionism and sought to justify slavery based on the supposed natural inferiority of blacks. His chief authority in the speech was Hegel.
Victims of hacker attacks are increasingly responding with a variety of “active defense” measures, including “invasive tracebacks” that are intended to identify the parties responsible for the attack by tracing its path back to its original source. The use of invasive tracebacks raise ethical issues because, in most cases, they involve trespassing upon the machines of innocent owners. Sophisticated hackers attempt to conceal their identities by routing their attacks through layers of innocent agent machines and networks that are compromised without (...) the knowledge of the owners. The use of invasive traceback technologies in such cases, then, involves an act is presumptively problematic from an ethical standpoint: intentionally entering upon the property of an innocent person without her consent constitutes a prima facie trespass. I argue that there is no ethical principle that would justify the use of invasive tracebacks by private persons or entities . First, I argue that invasive tracebacks cannot be justified under the Defense Principle, which allows one person to use proportional force to defend herself or other innocent persons from attacks. Second, I argue that, in ordinary cases, the use of an invasive traceback impacting innocent persons cannot be justified under the Necessity Principle, which permits the infringement of an innocent person’s rights when necessary to achieve a significantly greater good. Since these are the only applicable principles, I conclude that, in the absence of special circumstances, it is not ethically permissible for private parties and entities to implement invasive traceback technologies. (shrink)
Over the last 25 years, suicide attacks have become an alarming threat. They are a political tool which has been adopted by several organizations in Sri Lanka, Palestine and the Occupied Territories, Turkey, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and, in particular, by the Al-Qaeda-led insurgency in Iraq in its struggle against the US and its allies. Recent analyses have traced back the use of suicide terrorism to its `strategic logic': organizations and their militants resort to suicide attacks mainly because they view this (...) form of violence as an efficient weapon for their revolutionary and nationalist campaigns. An explanation based on the paradigm of rational choice theory or instrumental rationality alone is, however, insufficient. This article suggests the importance of combining the paradigm of instrumental rationality with that of axiological rationality. Only this kind of explanation is able to clarify the crucial role played by those cultural and symbolic elements which justify and encourage the martyrdom of suicide attackers. Moreover, by adopting a multi-causal analysis of the armed organizations, their constituencies and the attackers, as well as of their interaction, the article outlines a theoretical model of the most important social mechanisms underlying the use of suicide tactics. (shrink)
Acts of violence arising from hatred, racism, and bigotry have no place in a world of civility. The brutal attacks on Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, leaving 51 dead and 49 injured, can never be justified. Through adopting Van Dijk's ideological square of 'Us. vs. Them' , the present study uncovers the impact statements of the attacks' survivors and victims' families, denouncing the severity of the event and expressing the shattering effects of the attacks on (...) self, society, and humanity at large. Over a period of three days, about 90 people delivered their statements in the High Court in Christchurch. The data were compiled through YouTube videos and news articles that reported the testimonies. The findings showed that the overall discursive strategy used in the impact statements is that of positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation. Such presentations are realized by focusing on the positive aspects of the ingroup members represented by the attacks' survivors, victims' families, and people of New Zealand on the one hand, and the negative characteristics of the out-group members represented by the terrorist, on the other. As the paper sends a strong message for accepting 'otherness' and rejecting antagonism, it is of significance to readers and researchers in inter-faith dialogue, human rights, equality, freedom, and justice. (shrink)
I argue that rights-forfeiture by itself is no path to permissibility at all (even barring special circumstances), neither in the case of self-defense nor in the case of punishment. The limiting conditions of self-defense, for instance – necessity, proportionality (or no gross disproportionality), and the subjective element – are different in the context of forfeiture than in the context of justification (and might even be absent in the former context). In particular, I argue that a culpable aggressor, unlike an innocent (...) aggressor, forfeits rights against proportionate defense, including unnecessary defense (as well as rights against the infliction of proportionate non-defensive harm). Yet, I demonstrate that this stance need not lead to the abandonment of the necessity condition of justified self-defense in the case of a culpable aggressor. Since justification and liability are not the same, there is no reason to assume that the necessity condition of justified self-defense must be explained under an appeal to the aggressor’s rights. Parallel arguments apply to the other limiting conditions of permissible self-defense as well as to the limiting conditions of permissible punishment. Accordingly, I also sketch alternative explanations of the proportionality requirement and the subjective element. All these alternative explanations appeal to a principle of precaution: instead of explaining the unjustifiability of unnecessarily harming a culpable attacker or wrongdoer by an appeal to the rights of the attacker or wrongdoer himself, one can also, and better, explain it by a requirement to take reasonable precautions against violating the rights of innocent people. (shrink)
A single defining question perennially intrigues scholars and practitioners interested in public heath: To what extent should human rights be limited to protect the community’s health and safety? The question achieved prominence in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001 and with the intentional dispersal of anthrax spores through the U.S. Postal Systein. The conflict between security and public health intensified with the development of the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, (...) drafted by the Center for Law and the Public’s Health at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Model Act grants states consiclernble powers to control persons and property in response to a public health emergency, defined to inclucle bioterrorism or the appearance of novel or previously controlled or eradicated infectious agents or biological toxins. (shrink)
To say that the matter of the legality of the armed conflict against Iraq in 2003 was divisive is an understatement. The primary justification given by the UK government for the lawful nature of the Iraq war was an implied mandate from the Security Council. The implied mandate was said to be derived from a combination of Security Council Resolutions 678 and 1441. Many international lawyers remain unconvinced that such a mandate can be inferred from those resolutions. There is agreement (...) among both supporters and opponents of the war in Iraq that Saddam Hussein’s regime had an appalling human rights record. This was known to the coalition governments; indeed, Tony Blair expressly made the "moral case" for war on the basis of Hussein’s human rights violations. The legal justifications offered for the conflict by the UK government, however, did not refer to humanitarian intervention. This paper investigates whether it is possible that, despite the fact that the justification was not raised by the UK, it can provide a defence to any claims that the UK acted unlawfully, or that individuals committed an international crime, by initiating the attack on Iraq. (shrink)
Victor Tadros thinks the idea that in a conflict both sides may permissibly use force should (typically) be rejected. Thus, he thinks that two shipwrecked persons should not fight for the only available flotsam (which can only carry one person) but instead toss a coin, and that a bomber justifiably attacking an ammunitions factory must not be counterattacked by the innocent bystanders he endangers. I shall argue that Tadros’s claim rests on unwarranted assumptions and is also mistaken in the light (...) of the moral reasoning that he himself offers in support of his ‘means principle’. (shrink)
A standard example of a justified aggressor is the tactical bomber who is about to destroy an ammunitions factory in a proportionate, justified military attack, full well knowing that an innocent civilian bystander will also be killed by his attack (“collateral damage”). Intuitively it seems hard to believe that the innocent bystander threatened by the tactical bomber is morally prohibited from killing him in self-defense. Yet, Stephen R. Shalom indeed endorses such a prohibition. I shall argue that all (...) the examples Shalom offers in support of his view are disanalogous to the case in question, and provide examples that are analogous and strongly suggest that Shalom’s claim leads to counter-intuitive implications. Moreover, I will provide a clear-cut case that demonstrates that Shalom cannot rely on a general principle prohibiting lethal violence against permissible violence. Thus, I conclude that Shalom has failed to provide a convincing argument in support of his case. (shrink)
Rose's Lifelines justifiably attacks the rigid genetic determinism that pervades the popular press and even some scientific writing. Genes do not equate with destiny. However, Rose's argument should not be taken too far: genes do influence behavior, in animals as well as in man.
This paper argues that there is a significant moral difference between force applied against (imminent) attackers on the one hand and force applied against “threatening” people who are not (imminent) attackers on the other. Given that there is such a difference, one should not blur the lines by using the term “self-defense” (understood as including other-defense) for both uses of force. Rather, only the former is appropriately called self-defense, while for the latter, following German legal terminology, the term (...) “justifying defensive emergency” will be used here. The two justifications are not governed by the same criteria and thus lead to different results. The paper will proceed by providing first, in section (1), a brief sketch of the contours of the self-defense justification, putting particular emphasis on the necessity criterion. On the account presented here, the necessity criterion of the self-defense justification is particularly harsh on the aggressor (and thus not to be interpreted as literally requiring the employment of “the mildest means”) and its applicability is only triggered by an (imminent) attack, not by other kinds of threats. Section (2) will then further explain the differences between self-defense and justifying defensive emergency. A particularly important difference is that people who are subjected to justified self-defense cannot permissibly defend themselves, while people who are subjected to (extremely harmful or even lethal) justified defensive emergency measures can. Thus, in this latter case we have a “moral equality” (of sorts) of the involved parties: they can permissibly use force against each other. Section (3) will list and defend some conditions that a successful argument against the imminence requirement of the self-defense justification has to satisfy. In the light of these conditions, sections (4) to (7) will discuss a number of objections that have been adduced against the imminence requirement as well as proposals that have been made in support of alternative accounts. It will be argued that all these objections and proposals fail. Section (8) will provide a number of thought experiments in support of the claim that the harsh necessity criterion of the self-defense justification is only triggered by imminence while force against non-imminent threats can be justified with the help of the justifying emergency exemption, as well as for the claim that the justifying emergency exemption puts the person using preventive force against non-imminent threats on a shorter leash and makes him liable to counter-measures. Section (9) will explain the rationale for tying the applicability of the harsh necessity criterion of the self-defense justification to imminent attacks. Section (10) will discuss some special cases and show why they do not undermine the normative validity of this tie. (shrink)
Results from research in social psychology, such as findings about the fundamental attribution error and other situational influences on behaviour, are often used to justify attacking the existence of character traits. From this perspective, character development is an illusion, an impossibility, or both. We offer a different interpretation of how these issues interact with character development concerns. Rather than undermining the very idea of character traits, social psychology actually sheds light on the manner in which character development can occur. It (...) reaffirms Spinozistic and Aristotelian points about character, namely that: (1) knowledge of the fundamental attribution error can help us minimize the influence environment and situation have on our behaviour, and (2) proper habituation only takes place in appropriately structured environments. Acknowledging these important results from social psychology helps us improve some of our character education practices rather than destroying their basis. (shrink)
This paper examines whether patriotism and other forms of group partiality can be justified and what are the moral limits on actions performed to benefit countries and other groups. In particular, I ask whether partiality toward one’s country can justify attacking enemy civilians to achieve victory or other political goals. Using a rule utilitarian approach, I then defend the legitimacy of “moderate” patriotic partiality but argue that noncombatant immunity imposes an absolute constraint on what may be done to promote (...) the interests of a country or other group involved in warfare or other forms of violent conflict. (shrink)
Do innocent civilians who will be killed in a justified attack on a nearby military target have a right to defend themselves by shooting down the bomber pilot? I argue that they do not, and that Jeff McMahan's view that they do have such a right—that there is a moral equivalence between pilot and civilian—is flawed in much the same way that Michael Walzer's moral equivalence of combatants—a position that McMahan has so persuasively refuted—is flawed.
How We Fight: Ethics in War contains ten groundbreaking essays by some of the leading philosophers of war. The essays offer new perspectives on key debates including pacifism, punitive justifications for war, the distribution of risk between combatants and non-combatants, the structure of 'just war theory', and bases of individual liability in war.
What is the Role of Mental Imagery in Perception? A Defense of the Continuity ThesisWhat is the nature of the mental image, and which role does mental imagery play in perception? According to David Hume and Immanuel Kant, the capacity to form images lends a constitutive contribution to our perception of the world. Both philosophers portray the imagination as a unifying power that connects perceptions of different objects of the same kind, and that connects different perceptions of the same object. (...) I shall call this view the continuity thesis. Since the beginning of the 20th century the continuity thesis is heavily under attack. Jean-Paul Sartre and Ludwig Wittgenstein emphasize the conceptual and phenomenological distinction between perception and mental imagery. These philosophers are sceptical about the important psychological and epistemological role that is traditionally attributed to imagery. The central target of critique against the continuity thesis is primarily the Humean view that mental images, however complex, can be traced back to pictures or ‘copies’ of sense impressions. It will be argued that the sceptics about mental imagery, even though they justifiably attack pictorialism, have no grounds to dismiss the continuity thesis. Then I shall discuss the reassessment of the mental image with the rise of cognitive science since the 1970s, and I shall argue that the continuity thesis is supported by the so-called ‘enactive’ theory of mental imagery. (shrink)
Recent debate on the relationship between cyber threats, on the one hand, and both strategy and ethics on the other focus on the extent to which ‘cyber war’ is possible, both as a conceptual question and an empirical one. Whether it can is an important question for just war theorists. From this perspective, it is necessary to evaluate cyber measures both as a means of responding to threats and as a possible just cause for using armed kinetic force. In this (...) paper, I shift the focus away from ‘war’ as such in order to ask whether some cyber threats might justifiably be characterized as a form of ‘violence.’ Some theorists argue that the term violence ought to be defined so as to encompass things like ‘structural’ harm or harm by neglect and thereby question implicitly the focus of just war theorists on armed force. This paper draws on a theory of violence I developed elsewhere as a defence of just war theory’s narrow understanding of violence. According to the ‘Double-Intent’ theory, a distinctive form of ‘Violent Agency’ is the factor uniting the category of violence while partly accounting for the peculiar moral connotations of the term. Here, I argue that the resulting definition of violence reshapes the category in a way that includes some forms of cyber-attack. This may help us to see where cyber might fit in relation to just war theory and the ethics of kinetic attack. (shrink)
In this paper, I will provide a conceptual analysis of the term self-defense and argue that in contrast to the widespread “instrumentalist” account of self-defense, self-defense need not be aimed at averting or mitigating an attack, let alone the harm threatened by it. Instead, on the definition offered here, an act token is self-defense if and only if a) it is directed against an ongoing or imminent attack, and b) the actor correctly believes that the act token is an effective (...) form of resistance or the act token belongs to an act type that usually functions as a means to resist an attack. While resistance is effective in making the attack more difficult, it can often be overcome and therefore does not necessarily stop or mitigate the attack. This concept of self-defense, I shall argue, not only matches ordinary language use and plausible accounts of self-defense in the legal literature but also has important practical implications in helping to avoid confusions about necessity and proportionality. In particular, it avoids the notorious problem of the “knowingly helpless rape victim” whose futile struggle against the rapist (futile in terms of averting or mitigating harm) counter-intuitively could not count as justified self-defense on an instrumentalist account. (shrink)
According to the dominant position in the just war tradition from Augustine to Anscombe and beyond, there is no "moral equality of combatants." That is, on the traditional view the combatants participating in a justified war may kill their enemy combatants participating in an unjustified war - but not vice versa (barring certain qualifications). I shall argue here, however, that in the large number of wars (and in practically all modern wars) where the combatants on the justified side (...) violate the rights of innocent people ("collateral damage"), these combatants are in fact liable to attack by the combatants on the unjustified side. I will support this view with a rights-based account of liability to attack and then defend it against a number of objections raised in particular by Jeff McMahan. The result is that the thesis of the moral equality of combatants holds good for a large range of armed conflicts while the opposing thesis is of very limited practical relevance. (shrink)
It is tempting to regard the perpetrators of the September 11th terrorist attacks as evil incarnate. But their motives, as Bruce Lincoln’s acclaimed Holy Terrors makes clear, were profoundly and intensely religious. Thus what we need after the events of 9/11, Lincoln argues, is greater clarity about what we take religion to be. Holy Terrors begins with a gripping dissection of the instruction manual given to each of the 9/11 hijackers. In their evocation of passages from the Quran, we learn (...) how the terrorists justified acts of destruction and mass murder “in the name of God, the most merciful, the most compassionate.” Lincoln then offers a provocative comparison of President Bush’s October 7, 2001 speech announcing U.S. military action in Afghanistan alongside the videotaped speech released by Osama bin Laden just a few hours later. As Lincoln authoritatively demonstrates, a close analysis of the rhetoric used by leaders as different as George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden—as well as Mohamed Atta and even Jerry Falwell—betrays startling similarities. These commonalities have considerable implications for our understanding of religion and its interrelationships with politics and culture in a postcolonial world, implications that Lincoln draws out with skill and sensitivity. With a chapter new to this edition, “Theses on Religion and Violence,” Holy Terrors remains one of the essential books on September 11 and a classic study on the character of religion. “Modernity has ended twice: in its Marxist form in 1989 Berlin, and in its liberal form on September 11, 2001. In order to understand such major historical changes we need both large-scale and focused analyses—a combination seldom to be found in one volume. But here Bruce Lincoln . . . has given us just such a mix of discrete and large-picture analysis.”—Stephen Healey, Christian Century “From time to time there appears a work . . . that serves to focus the wide-ranging, often contentious discussion of religion’s significance within broader cultural dynamics. Bruce Lincoln’s Holy Terrors is one such text. . . . Anyone still struggling toward a more nuanced comprehension of 9/11 would do well to spend time with this book.”—Theodore Pulcini, Middle East Journal. (shrink)
What are our responsibilities in the face of injustice? How far should we go to fight it? Many would argue that as long as a state is nearly just, citizens have a moral duty to obey the law. Proponents of civil disobedience generally hold that, given this moral duty, a person needs a solid justification to break the law. But activists from Henry David Thoreau and Mohandas Gandhi to the Movement for Black Lives have long recognized that there are times (...) when, rather than having a duty to obey the law, we have a duty to disobey it. -/- Taking seriously the history of this activism, A Duty to Resist wrestles with the problem of political obligation in real world societies that harbor injustice. Candice Delmas argues that the duty of justice, the principle of fairness, the Samaritan duty, and political association impose responsibility to resist under conditions of injustice. We must expand political obligation to include a duty to resist unjust laws and social conditions even in legitimate states. -/- For Delmas, this duty to resist demands principled disobedience, and such disobedience need not always be civil. At times, covert, violent, evasive, or offensive acts of lawbreaking can be justified, even required. Delmas defends the viability and necessity of illegal assistance to undocumented migrants, leaks of classified information, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, sabotage, armed self-defense, guerrilla art, and other modes of resistance. There are limits: principle alone does not justify law breaking. But uncivil disobedience can sometimes be not only permissible but required in the effort to resist injustice. (shrink)
Cosmopolitan critics attack the scope-limitation of justice of egalitarian liberal theorists to states. They treat justice as the production of a given set of outcomes for people regardless of location or relationship. However, in doing so they either ignore the relevant agent towards whom principles of justice are addressed or see the question of agency as a practical, derivative question, of a secondary character. This paper argues that a principle of justice without a clearly justified agent is not a (...) genuine principle at all. This is what writers like Rawls mean by the "subject" of justice (analogous to the grammatical subject of a sentence, i.e.,the agent). We should reflect on agents and why they would or would not justifiably carry certain burdens for others and what kind of benefits or goods they are able to secure. The answers to those questions explain why the idea of cosmopolitan global justice is incomplete, either requiring a global basic structural agency or not applying because no relevant agent is present that can create cooperative arrangements between individual persons across the globe. Other moral principles will still apply globally, but they will be distinct from those that apply to basic-structural agencies. This account is not a practice dependence account, as it bases the distinctness of moral and political principles on purely moral and value-based considerations. (shrink)
Evidentialism is a view about the conditions under which a person is epistemically justified in having a particular doxastic attitude toward a proposition. Evidentialism holds that the justified attitudes are determined entirely by the person's evidence. This is the traditional view of justification. It is now widely opposed. The essays included in this volume develop and defend the tradition.Evidentialism has many assets. In addition to providing an intuitively plausible account of epistemic justification, it helps to resolve the problem (...) of the criterion, helps to disentangle epistemic and ethical evaluations, and illuminates the relationship between epistemic evaluations of beliefs and the evaluation of the methods used to form beliefs. These issues are all addressed in the essays presented here. External world skepticism poses the classic problem for an epistemological theory. The final essay in this volume argues that evidentialism is uniquely well qualified to make sense of skepticism and to respond to its challenge.Evidentialism is a version of epistemic internalism. Recent epistemology has included many attacks on internalism and has seen the development of numerous externalist theories. The essays included here respond to those attacks and raise objections to externalist theories, especially the principal rival, reliabilism. Internalism generally has been criticized for having unacceptable deontological implications, for failing to connect epistemic justification to truth, and for failing to provide an adequate account of what makes basic beliefs justified. Each of these charges is answered in these essays. The collection includes two previously unpublished essays and new afterwords to five of the reprinted essays; it will be the definitive resource on evidentialism for all epistemologists. (shrink)
Schonsheck attacks views which seek to justify the majority of citizens of a society passing legislation that is designed to serve the purpose of preventing their own first order preferences from changing over time (or being corrupted). The issue that I think is more important is a related one, but not precisely the same. It is not whether it is morally permissible for the majority of members of a society to pass legislation designed to prevent their own individual preferences from (...) changing over time, but whether it is morally permissible for them to pass legislation for the sake of preventing the community's preferences from changing over time. As some people mature and acquire preferences and others die, no individual's already-formed preferences have to change for the community's preferences to change. The arguments concerning these two issues are the same, or at least similar, but putting the matter the way I do, raises the question of influencing the preferences of children. I argue that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a community's doing this and that Schonsheck's arguments to the contrary either are not convincing, or apply in some cases but not in others. (shrink)
Evidentialism is a view about the conditions under which a person is epistemically justified in having a particular doxastic attitude toward a proposition. Evidentialism holds that the justified attitudes are determined entirely by the person's evidence. This is the traditional view of justification. It is now widely opposed. The essays included in this volume develop and defend the tradition. Evidentialism has many assets. In addition to providing an intuitively plausible account of epistemic justification, it helps to resolve the (...) problem of the criterion, helps to disentangle epistemic and ethical evaluations, and illuminates the relationship between epistemic evaluations of beliefs and the evaluation of the methods used to form beliefs. These issues are all addressed in the essays presented here. External world skepticism poses the classic problem for an epistemological theory. The final essay in this volume argues that evidentialism is uniquely well qualified to make sense of skepticism and to respond to its challenge. Evidentialism is a version of epistemic internalism. Recent epistemology has included many attacks on internalism and has seen the development of numerous externalist theories. The essays included here respond to those attacks and raise objections to externalist theories, especially the principal rival, reliabilism. Internalism generally has been criticized for having unacceptable deontological implications, for failing to connect epistemic justification to truth, and for failing to provide an adequate account of what makes basic beliefs justified. Each of these charges is answered in these essays. The collection includes two previously unpublished essays and new afterwords to five of the reprinted essays; it will be the definitive resource on evidentialism for all epistemologists. (shrink)
Schonsheck attacks views which seek to justify the majority of citizens of a society passing legislation that is designed to serve the purpose of preventing their own first order preferences from changing over time . The issue that I think is more important is a related one, but not precisely the same. It is not whether it is morally permissible for the majority of members of a society to pass legislation designed to prevent their own individual preferences from changing over (...) time, but whether it is morally permissible for them to pass legislation for the sake of preventing the community's preferences from changing over time. As some people mature and acquire preferences and others die, no individual's already-formed preferences have to change for the community's preferences to change. The arguments concerning these two issues are the same, or at least similar, but putting the matter the way I do, raises the question of influencing the preferences of children. I argue that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a community's doing this and that Schonsheck's arguments to the contrary either are not convincing, or apply in some cases but not in others. (shrink)
The book reconstructs the history of Western ethics. The approach chosen focuses the endless dialectic of moral codes, or different kinds of ethos, moral doctrines that are preached in order to bring about a reform of existing ethos, and ethical theories that have taken shape in the context of controversies about the ethos and moral doctrines as means of justifying or reforming moral doctrines. Such dialectic is what is meant here by the phrase ‘moral traditions’, taken as a name for (...) threads of moral discourse, made in turn of other interwoven threads, including transmission of shared codes, appeals to reform of prevailing custom, rational argument about the justification of some precept on the basis of some shared general teaching or principle, and rational argument about the ultimate basis for principles and justification of authoritative teaching. That is, the approach adopted to the reading of ethical texts depends on a firm belief in the fact that philosophers hardly created any ethical doctrine out of nothing. The main point this book tries to highlight is how different philosophical theories emerged and followed each other as a result of attempts at accounting for what was going on in the world of moral traditions. Changes were propelled by controversies between different schools, and highly abstract arguments were the unintended effects of moves made by controversialists forced to transform (and occasionally to turn upside down) their own doctrines in order to face the challenge posed by other arguments. This is the reason why the book examines not only texts that already enjoy pride of place in the history of philosophy (Aristotle, Kant, Hegel), but also other texts usually treated in the histories of religions (the Bible, the Talmud, the Quran), and others considered to be much less philosophical (Plutarchus, Pufendorf). -/- 1. Plato and a response to ethical scepticism. Two different traditions of morality in VI-V century Greece are described. The birth of philosophical questioning of traditional morality and temporal and spatial variation of custom is described within the context of the v century crisis, the demise of traditional aristocratic and tyrannical rule and the birth of democracy. Two conflicting answers to the challenge are reconstructed, namely conventionalist or immoralist theories formulated by the Sophists and the eudemonist and intellectualist Socratic theory. Plato’s own reformulation of Socrates answer to the Sophists is reconstructed. His psychological views, his classification of the four cardinal virtues and his political theory are described as parts of a unitary system, culminating in an extremely realist moral ontology identifying the idea of the good with the essence of the (moral and extra-moral) world itself. -/- 2. Aristotle and the invention of practical philosophy. Aristotle’s invention of practical philosophy as a field separated from first philosophy is shown to be an implication of his break with Plato moral ultra-realism. Aristotle’s agenda in his moral works is arguably dependent on a polemical intention, namely dismantling Socratic intellectualism. The semi-inductive or virtuously circular method of practical philosophy is illustrated, starting with the received opinions of the better and wiser individuals and trying dialectically to sift what is left of mistake and inconsistence in such opinions, finally trying to correct mistakes and make the overall practical science more consistent. The chapter illustrates then the relationship of individual ethics, or ‘monastics’, with the art and the science of the pater familias, or ‘economics’, and the science of the ruler and citizen, or politics. The nature of virtues, or better, excellences of character, is discussed, highlighting the basic role of hexis, or ‘disposition’. Prudence, or better practical wisdom, is the focus of the chapter. Its relationship with bouleusis or deliberation is examined, and its autonomous status vis-à-vis theoretical knowledge is stressed. -/- 3. Diogenes and philosophy as a way of life. The chapter provides an overview of Hellenistic ethics, which almost amounts to Hellenistic schools of philosophy, in so far as ‘philosophy’ became in these centuries primarily the name for a way of life. The typical character of the Cynical movement is highlighted, that of a school of life, not a school aimed at providing any kind of intellectual training was to be provided. -/- 4. Epicurus and ethics as self-care. The peculiar character of the Epicurean school is described, a combination of a science of well-being aiming, more than at pleasure as in the popular view, at reduction of useless suffering, of unnecessary needs, and at a balanced selection of pleasures of the best and most durable kind. -/- 5. Epictetus and ethics as therapy of the passions. The various phases of Stoicism are described, and the shifting place given to ethics in the Stoic system of idea, culminating in the paradoxical view of ethics, its impossibility in principle notwithstanding, as the only truly significant and necessary part of philosophy. Cicero is treated, showing how his own synthesis of various Hellenistic trends is as a truly philosophical enterprise, deserving serious consideration after one or two centuries when he was confined to the role of literate. Epictetus is chosen as the best example of what the Stoic tradition could yield, an art of living based on sophisticated introspection, in turn aimed at making a kind of cognitive therapy possible, dismantling obnoxious passions at their root by systematically correcting false representations. -/- 6. Philo and the reconciliation of Torah and Platonism. A reconstruction of basic ideas from a few books of the Hebrew Bible is provided, starting with the Prophetic tradition and the focus on God’s mercy as the source of motivation and standard for human behaviour. Then a comparative analysis is undertaken of a parallel tradition, namely the three codifications of the Torā (Law or, better, Instruction), highlighting how a core of moral ideas may be recognized as a basis and preamble of codification of civil law, cultural practice, and regulation of ritual purity. The importance of Leviticus is stressed as the turning point when emphasis mercy, typical of the Prophetic tradition, is combined with the legal tradition, yielding the change in sensibility of the Second Temple time. Philo of Alexandria is described as one of the three leading figures – together with Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Yeshua – at the apex the emergence of the mentioned new sensibility, gradually including mercy as an essential part of justice and establishing the starting point of both the Rabbinic and the Christian tradition. This consists precisely in the precept of one’s neighbour’s love or of the golden rule, two eventually identical precepts whose meaning is arguably more sober and sensible than the long-lasting Christian tradition deriving from John and Augustine has made us believe and no novelty vis-à-vis so-called Ancient-Testament teachings. -/- 7. Augustine and Christianity as Neo-Platonism. The first section examines the moral doctrines of so-called 'ethical Treaties' from the Talmud, a group of treaties, among which the best known is Pirqé Avot, that were left out of the six "orders" of the canon as they did not fit in any of the six groups of issues ritual or legal on which the division was based. According to Maimonides, their peculiar theme is provided by the Deòt, 'opinions', i.e., mental dispositions, that is, the translation of the Greek term hexeis and Arab akhlak (in turn providing in this language the name for ethics as such). The three topics I reconstruct are: i) the notion of Torah: The Torah is understood as the world order itself, or as the ‘Wisdom’ that existed even before creation and was ‘the tool by which the world was built’; however, the Torah is an earthly and human entity, as it was "received" by humans, and from that very moment belongs to them; ii) the relationship between love of God and love of neighbour; the treaties require us to study and practice the Torah ‘for its own sake’, that is, require us to act out of love, not out of fear or hope of reward; iii) the idea of sanctification of daily life: having disappeared with the destruction of the Temple the possibility of any conflict between liturgical service and everyday life, the latter is assumed to be in itself divine service: to give food to the poor has the same value as sacrifices in the Temple, and as an implication, the insistence become recurrent on the goodness of created things in themselves along with a polemic against ascetic currents. The conclusions drawn are: i) the moral teachings of the Talmud and those of Yeshua are, rather than similar, virtually identical; one may safely say that the precept of love and the golden rule are central ones for all Talmudic rabbis, that mercy plays an indispensable role alongside with justice, and the latter is not a different thing from one’s neighbour’s love; ii) a peculiarity of Talmud rabbis facing Yeshua is the idea of study as worship, and knowledge as a source of justice; but this is an idea of Judaism after the Temple's destruction that cannot be attributed to the Pharisees of Yeshua’s time; iii) the relation of study and practice in the Talmud parallels that between faith and deeds in Paul's epistles, that is, respectively faith or learning are a necessary and sufficient condition to be recognized as righteous , but deeds are the inevitable effect of either faith or learning. The sayings ascribed to Yeshua are examined first, yielding the conclusion that a close equivalent may be found for every saying in Talmudic literature and yet the whole is ascribed to one rabbi, with rather consistent stress on God’s mercy and unconditional forgiving as the mark of true imitation of God. Thus, Yeshua’s teaching is pure Judaism. The third section describes briefly the galaxy of Gnostic currents and Manichaeism, trying to sketch the profile of moral teachings resulting from an encounter of Asian spiritual traditions, Hellenistic lore and sparks of teachings from apocalyptic Jewish currents. The last section summarizes the turbulent history of several encounters between Christian currents and Hellenistic philosophical schools. The first one was with late Cynicism. Recent, rather controversial, literature discovered the jargon and a few topics from the Stoic-Cynical popular philosophy in a few books from the New Testament itself. This, far from proving that Rabbi Yeshua had been influenced by cynic preachers, is a proof of the necessity felt by Christian preachers to translate the original ‘Christian’ teaching into a Greek lexicon deeply impregnated with cynic terminology. The second was with Platonism, yielding the mild and temperate moral teaching of Clemens of Alexandria, teaching the sanctity of nature and the human body, the joy of moderate fruition of ‘natural’ kinds of pleasures, and the beauty of the marital life – in short, the opposite of the standard picture of Medieval Christianity. Ambrose of Milan brings about a different kind of synthesis, namely with Middle Platonism, where Stoic themes prevail. The most shocking case is Augustine, where an early Manichean education is overcome in a former phase by a synthesis of Plotinian Neo-Platonism and Christian preaching, yielding a sustained polemic with the Manicheans and rather optimistic views on life and Creation, the body and sexuality, and Hebrew-Judaic tradition not far from Clemens of Alexandria. In a later phase, occasioned by controversy on the opposite front, with such Christian currents as the Pelagians and Donatists, Augustine comes back to heavily anti-Judaic and world-denying ascetic attitudes where is earlier Manichean upbringing seems to emerge again. The tragedy of medieval Christianity will be the later Augustine’s overwhelming influence. A final section is dedicated to the monastic tradition where a curious mixture of world-denying asceticism with an astonishingly penetrating ‘science’ of introspection emerges. -/- 8. Al Farabi and the reconciliation of Islam and Platonism. The Qurān and the qadit, that is, collections of sayings ascribed to the prophet Muhammad contain a wealth of precepts and catalogues of virtues mirroring moral contents from the Jewish and the Christian traditions, among them the basic notion of imitation of the Deity, where mercy is assumed to be its basic trait. An important tradition within Islam, namely Sufism, stressed to the utmost degree the role of mercy, turning Islam into a mystic doctrine centred on retreat from the world, abandonment to God’s will, and a peaceful and fraternal attitude to our fellow-beings. A secular literary tradition originating in the Sassanid Empire, the literature of advice to the Prince had for a time a widespread influence in the newly constituted Arabic-Islamic commonwealth. In a later phase, the legacy of Hellenic philosophy made its way into the intellectual elite of the Islamic world. The first important legacy was Platonic, and the Republic became the main text for Islamic Platonism. Al-Farabi wrote an enjoyable remake of the Platonic Republic, arguing that the citizen’s virtues were the basis on which the political building needs to rest. The secular lawgiver is enlightened by the light of reason in his everyday practice of governance, but room is made for the Prophet as the voice of revealed truth that confirms and completes the rational truth that philosophy may afford. In a second phase also Aristotelian and Stoic influence were assimilated. Miskawayh’s treatise was the masterwork at the time Arabic philosophy reached its Zenith. It is a treatment of the soul’s diseases and their remedies, combining the Aristotelian doctrine of the golden mean with the Stoic doctrine of the passions and elements of Galenic medicine. Towards the eleventh-twelve centuries a war raged among theologians and philosophers, finally won by the former with disappearance of philosophy as such. The newly established mainstream, yet, was no kind of intolerant fanaticism. It drew from the work of mystic theologian Al-Ghazālī, the best heir of Sufism, teaching a tolerant and peaceful attitude to our fellow-beings and a passive attitude to destiny as an expression of the Divine will. -/- 9. Moshe ben Maimon and the reconciliation of Torah and Aristotelian ethics. The encounter between the Talmudic tradition and Hellenic philosophy had taken place a first time in Alexandria at the time of Philo but the two traditions had parted way again. In fact, the kind of Platonic Judaism founded by Philo survived only within Christianity, in the fourth Gospel and then in writings by Clemens of Alexandria. The Talmudic literature had absorbed just less striking traits from the Hellenic Philosophy, namely an idea of ethics as care of the self and a role for the education of character as propaedeutic to theoretical knowledge. In the Arabic-Islamic world, a second round started when Jewish authors writing in Arabic undertook the task to prove the full compatibility of the tradition deriving from Torah and Platonic philosophy. The culmination of this attempt is provided by Moshe ben Maimon who tried to use Aristotelian ethics as a language into which the teaching from the Pirké Avot could be translated. -/- 10. Thomas Aquinas and the reconciliation of Christian morality and Aristotelian ethics. In the first section the fresh start is described of philosophical ethics in Latin Europe at the turn of the Millennium. In a first phase, Anselm and Peter Abelard built on a Platonic and Augustinian legacy. In this phase. remarkable innovations are introduced, including Abelard’s claim of the obliging character of erring consciousness. In a second phase, the rediscovery of Nicomachean Ethics thanks to Latin translation of Arabic versions gives birth to a new wave of ethical studies, recovering the very idea of Aristotelian practical philosophy, with the potential implication of full legitimization of natural morality, i.e. ethics without Revelation. Aquinas’s ethics is a theological ethics out of which it would be vain to try to extract a self-contained philosophical ethics. His treatment of topics in philosophical ethics, yet, does not boil down to repetition of Aristotelian arguments but is rather a creative reshaping of such arguments. For example, he introduces also in the practical philosophy a first principle parallel to the principle of non-contradiction; and he also carries out a synthesis of Aristotelianism, Stoicism, and neo-Platonism. Even though it is essentially moral theology, Aquinas’s doctrine - unlike Augustine – grants full citizenship to "natural" morality, firstly by rejecting the claim that the corruption of human nature due to the original sin is so radical as to leave "pure nature" incapable of moral goodness. The doctrine is presented in a more sophisticated formulation in a few of the Quaestiones, such as De Malo and De Veritate, in the Summa contra Gentes and in the commentaries to Aristotle than in the famous Summa Theologica, but the latter work includes the only or the largest exposition of some decisive part of the theory. Thus, the Summa Theologica should be read for what it is more than criticized for not being what it was not meant to be. It was not meant to be the brilliant synthesis of all that Reason he had been able to produce with what Revelation had added about which the Neo-Thomists used to dream, but rather a manual for the training of preachers and confessors, where theoretical claims are not too demanding and a few serious tensions are left. Besides a jump between the Prima Secundae and the Secunda Secundae, being the former an essay in virtue theory and the latter a handbook for confessors, the most serious tension is perhaps the one between the ethics of right reason presented in most of Ia-IIae and the eudemonistic ethics developed in quaestiones 1-5 of the same part; the alternative ethical theory which also may be found in Augustine, the Stoic view of a cosmic reason eventually coincident with the moral law, was believed by Anselm (followed by John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham) to be incompatible with eudemonism. It is questionable whether Thomas could reduce the tension proving that it is just an apparent tension, in so far as the right reason and bliss derived from knowledge of God tend to coincide, but this is just a conjecture. Thomas’s ethics is a virtue ethic, not a law-based one, and moral judgment focuses on the virtues, particularly charity, not on the commandments and even less on absolute prohibitions; Thomas, however, would not have considered a drastic alternative between law and the virtues such as the one which has been advanced in late twentieth-century philosophy to be justified. Nonetheless, when it discusses ‘special’ virtues, it ceases to be an ethics of virtue and becomes a disappointing and often contradictory discussion of legal and illegal acts. Such a discussion takes most of the time ‘reasonable’ middle positions on controversial issues but not the alternative approach that Aristotelianism would have made possible; even when some occasional Aristotelian claim shows up, such as money’s barrenness as a reason against usury, this seems to be made by an author who apparently ignores the Aristotelian Thomas of the Prima Secundae. It is an ethic of human autonomy which recognizes the binding character of the individual conscience and, potentially, even a duty to disobey unjust laws. It is true that what Thomas writes in his discussion of death penalty and persecution of heretics is simply disgusting, and yet we should blame Thomas the man, not Thomist ethical theory. Finally, Thomas’s ethics is not ethical ‘absolutism’, as both traditionalist Catholic theologians and secularist enemies of dogmatic morality tend to believe. It is instead an ethic of prudential judgment. Exceptions to this approach – or better results of logical fallacies – are such claims as the absolute character of negative precepts and of the existence of "intrinsically evil acts", claims that simply cease to make sense in the light of Thomas’s own distinction between human act and natural act, carrying consequences Thomas did not live long enough to draw or was not consistent enough to dare to draw. -/- 11. Francisco de Vitoria and casuistry. The first topic illustrated is the discussion about the notion of pura natura, namely the human condition after the original sin and before divine revelation. The core notion was already there in Aquinas but was later developed by Caietanus (Thomas de Vio) with a number of interesting implications: firstly a view of human nature as such much more positive than Augustine’s and his followers’ view, including both Calvinists and Jansenists; secondly, the implication that the philosopher’s morality, as opposed to the Christian’s morality, is a quite respectable kind of morality; thirdly, that theocracy and prosecution of the unfaithful lacked justification, with more far-fetching consequences than Aquinas himself had dared to draw. The second topic is casuistry, a new name for a comparatively older way of thinking, which was already there in late Stoicism and Cicero as well as in the Talmudic literature. This is an approach aimed at yielding probable enough solutions for doubtful cases even in absence of completely safe staring points. The genre developed from medieval reference books for confessors and became by the sixteenth-century a sophisticated tool-box for dealing with various fields of applied ethics. Francisco Vitoria, the main authority of Baroque Scholasticism, was a controversial figure, among the proponents of the new discipline of casuistry and a consistent proponent of more separation between the religious and the civil authority, stricter limits to the legitimacy of war, innate rights of non-Christian nations in the New World based on the notion of pura natura, providing a standard of ‘natural’ goodness, previous to revelation, on which the Indian nations were judged to live in a naturally good condition, provided with the institutions of family, justice, and religion had accordingly a right to full respect by Christian sovereigns. Bartolomé de Las Casas, arguing along similar lines, was the leader of a historical battle in defence of the rights of the Indios. -/- 12. Michel de Montaigne and the art of living. A short description of one of the Renaissance Phyrronism, one of the classical philosophies revived in the fifteenth and sixteenth century. Montaigne combines the sceptical epistemology with an understanding of ethics – indeed of philosophy as a whole – in terms of an art of living inspired by two basic ideas, sagesse, that is, practical wisdom as the only kind of rationality available after theology, science, and tradition have declared bankrupt, and an aesthetic ideal of self-transformation through the art of writing and introspection. -/- 13. Pierre Nicole and neo-Augustinianism. The chapter illustrates first the vicissitudes of Augustinianism newly born after the late medieval triumph of Thomist Aristotelianism in the alternative Protestant and Catholic versions processed by the Calvinists and the Jansenists. Then it illustrates the doctrines of Pierre Nicole, Blaise Pascal’s best disciple, on the impossibility of introspection, on the ubiquity of self-deception, on the incurably evil character of the passion of love, and on the two moralities, the one of the man of the world, the morality of honesty which is indispensable for granting peace and order but devoid of any true value for eternal salvation, since the same external behaviour may be prompted by opposite motivations, and the morality of charity, the only true one but also useless to society. The third topic is Pierre Malebranche’s view of self-deception as a ubiquitous phenomenon accounting for human action and responsibility and his reformulated theory of self-love, no less ubiquitous than for Nicole and yet not as incurably evil, given the distinction between morally indifferent and even necessary amour de soi and vicious amour proper, a distinction on which the whole of Rousseau’s moral and political theory rests. -/- 14. Samuel von Pufendorf and the new science of morality. The chapter is dedicated to the discovery of the idea of a ‘new moral science’. Hugo Grotius is discussed first highlighting the real character of his project, much closer to the Thomist idea of a natural law accessible to non-corrupted human reason when human beings are living in a state of pura natura. Then Hobbes’s combination of scepticism, voluntarism, and conventionalism is described and both the continuity with Grotius’s new science, in the search for non-revealed rational morality, and the break with him, in the adoption of voluntarism and refusal of an intellectualist view of natural law, are illustrated. Pufendorf’s work is illustrated as a synthesis of the two previous attempts and the – up to Schneewind underestimated – paradigmatic example of the new science of morality. -/- 15. Richard Cumberland and consequentialist voluntarism. The chapter gives an overview of eighteenth-century Anglican ethics, noticing how the Cambridge tradition gave special weight to natural theology as opposed to positive or revealed theology – and how two Cambridge fellows, John Gay and Thomas Brown, elaborated on Cumberland’s (and Malebranche’s, as well as Leibniz’s) strategy for finding a third way between intellectualist view and voluntarist view of the laws of nature. The result of their elaboration was a kind of a rational-choice account of the origins of natural laws, where a law-giver God chooses among a number possible sets of laws on a maximizing criterion, and God’s maximandum is happiness for his creatures. The chapter notices also how such a solution aimed at solving at once the problem of evil and that of the foundation of moral obligation by proving how God’s choice was justified as far as it was the one minimising the amount of suffering in the world. 16. Richard Price and intuitionism. The chapter describes first the doctrines of the Cambridge Platonists, an example of hyper-rationalist reaction to Calvinism. Secondly it describes the sophisticated and universally ignored – from Sidgwick to Anscombe –version of what was later labelled ‘ethical intuitionism’ – showing how it escapes familiar objections and misrepresentations of intuitionism – from Mill to Rawls – in grounding its argument on transcendental arguments while carefully avoiding recourse to introspection and psychological evidence, which has been taken as a too easy target by critics of intuitionism. Thirdly, the chapter discusses Whewell’s ‘philosophy of morality’, as opposed to ‘systematic morality’, not unlike Kant’s distinction between a pure and an empirical moral philosophy. Whewell worked out a systematization of traditional normative ethics as a first step before its rational justification; he believed that the point in the philosophy of morality is justifying a few rational truths about the structure of morality such as to rule hedonism, eudemonism, and consequentialism; yet a system of positive morality cannot be derived solely from such rational truths but requires consideration of the ongoing dialectics between idea and fact in historically given moralities. Whewell’s intuitionism turns out closer to Kantian ethics than commentators have made us believe until now, and quite different from what Sidgwick meant by intuitionism. -/- 17. Adam Smith and the morality of role-switch. The chapter describes first, Hutcheson’s attempt at basing the ‘new science’ of natural law on different bedrock than Pufendorf and the English Platonists, namely a moral sense, a faculty whose existence is assumed to be proved on an empirical basis. The second step is a reconstruction of Hume’s rejoinder in terms of a new science of man including morality on an ‘experimental’ basis, that is, a ‘Newtonian’ hypothetical-deductive approach, distinguished from Hutcheson’s allegedly uncritical descriptive approach to human nature. The third step is a reconstruction of Adam Smith theory of morality understood as emerging from a spontaneous interplay of exchanges of situations (the most basic meaning of the word ‘sympathy’ as construed by this author). -/- 18. Jeremy Bentham and utilitarianism. The bulk of the chapter is dedicated to the doctrines of Jeremy Bentham. The Enlightenment spirit that suggested the idea of a new morality, free from religion, is illustrated. The notion of utility is illustrated as well as the subsequent formulations of the principle of utility. The idea of felicific calculus is discussed, showing how its inner difficulties prompted several reformulations of the principle of utility in order to avoid undesirable implications of proposed formulations. The role of the thesis of spontaneous convergence between interest and duty is discussed, showing how it left numberless questions open, and the distinction between the virtues of prudence, justice and beneficence is described as a way out of the deadlocks of classical utilitarianism. After Bentham, Mill’s reformed utilitarianism is reconstructed, showing how it is a kind of mixed system – as closer to common sense as it gives up Bentham’s claims to consistency and simplicity – resulting as unintended consequences from the controversies in which Mill was too keen to engage. The hidden agenda of the controversy between Utilitarianism and Intuitionism, going beyond the image of the battle between Prejudice and Reason, is described, showing how both competing philosophical outlooks turn out to be more research programs than self-contained doctrinal bodies, and such programs appear to be implemented, and indeed radically transformed while in progress thanks to their enemies no less than to their supporters. -/- 19. Immanuel Kant, practical reason and judgment. The chapter argues that Kant took from Moses Mendelssohn the idea of a distinction between geometry of morals and a practical ethic. He was drastically misunderstood by his followers precisely on this point. He had learned from the sceptics and the Jansenists the lesson that men are prompted to act by deceptive ends, and he was aware that human actions are also empirical phenomena, where laws like the laws of Nature may be detected. His practical ethics made room for judgment as a holistic procedure for assessing the saliency of relevant moral qualities in one given situation; this procedure yields the same results as the geometry of morals does for abstract cases but does so immediately and without balancing conflicting duties with each other, since what makes for the salient quality of a situation is perceived from the very beginning. Kant's practical philosophy is richer than the received image, making room for an ‘empirical moral philosophy’ or moral anthropology including treatment of commerce, needs, value and price, happiness and well-being; the overall social theory and philosophy of history is less different from Adam Smith's than the received image makes believe; the paradox of happiness is central to Kant's philosophy; a distinction between happiness and well-being is clearly drawn; the distinction plays a basic role in establishing a link between the economic and the moral life. -/- 20. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and the critique of abstract universalism. The chapter describes first the Romantic movement and the implications some of its concerns, rescuing passions, community, tradition, the individual as the bearer of a unique destiny, and the longing for organic unity between the individual, mankind and nature. Hegel’s contribution is discussed then, highlighting how, on the one hand, he shared a number of these concerns and on the other he had more rationalist leanings. The notion of morality is the pivotal point of the reconstruction, highlighting how Hegel construes this notion as a key to his own diagnosis of the malaise of modernity – the separation of individual and Gemeinschaft – and how his attack on Kant turns around this very idea. -/- 21. Friedrich Nietzsche against Christianity and the Enlightenment. The chapter illustrates first the idea of deconstruction of the back-world of values. Nietzsche claims to be legitimate heir of the French moralists, Leibniz, Kant and Hegel, in so far as he allegedly carries out to its deepest implications their discovery of what lies behind traditional naïve belief in the existence of an objective realm of values just waiting for description by the philosopher. The two exemplars form which genealogy draws inspiration are the classical philologist’s historical reconstructions of lost meanings and the chemist’s decomposition of elements. Then the genealogy of the notions of good and evil carried out in the first dissertation of Genealogy of morals is illustrated with its paradoxical conclusion that will to power is in fact the only ‘genuine’ kind of goodness. The third point illustrated is the dialectic of ascetism and self-realization with its ambiguous outcome. The suggested interpretation of such outcome is that Nietzsche’s normative ethics is a kind of virtue ethics taking an aesthetic ideal as a normative standard -/- 22. George Edward Moore and ideal utilitarianism. The chapter discusses the ideas of common sense and common-sense morality in Sidgwick. I argue that, far from aiming at overcoming common-sense morality, Sidgwick aimed purposely at grounding a consist code of morality by methods allegedly taken from the natural sciences to reach, also in ethics, the same kind of “mature” knowledge as in the natural sciences. His whole polemics with intuitionism was vitiated by the a priori assumption that the widespread ethos of the educated part of humankind, not the theories of the intuitionist philosophers, was what was worth considering as the expression of intuitionist ethics. In spite of a naïve positivist starting-point, Sidgwick was encouraged by his own approach in exploring the fruitfulness of coherentist methods for normative ethics. Thus, Sidgwick left an ambivalent legacy to twentieth-century ethics: the dogmatic idea of a “new” morality of a consequentialist kind, and the fruitful idea that we can argue rationally in normative ethics albeit without shared foundations. Then it reconstructs the background of ideas, concerns and intentions out of which Moore’s early essays, the preliminary version, and then the final version of Principia Ethica originated. I stress the role of religious concerns, as well as that of the Idealist legacy. I argue that PE is more a patchwork of rather diverging contributions than a unitary work, not to say the paradigm of a new school in Ethics. I add a comparison with Rashdall’s almost contemporary ethical work, suggesting that the latter defends the same general claims in a different way, one that manages to pave decisive objections in a more plausible way. I end by suggesting that the emergence of Analytic Ethics was a more ambiguous phenomenon than the received view would make us believe, and that the wheat (or some other gluten-free grain) of this tradition, that is, what logic can do for philosophy, should be separated from the chaff, that is, the confused and mutually incompatible legacies of Utilitarianism and Idealism. -/- 23. Edmund Husserl and the a-priori of action. The chapter illustrates first the idea of phenomenology and the Husserl’s project of a phenomenological ethic as illustrated in his 1908-1914 lectures. The key idea is dismissing psychology and trying to ground a new science of the a priori of action, within which a more restricted field of inquiry will be the science of right actions. Then the chapter illustrates the criticism of modern moral philosophy carried out in the 1920 lectures, where the main target is naturalism, understood in the Kantian meaning of primacy of common sense. The third point illustrate is Adolph Reinach’s theory of social acts as a key the grounding of norms, a view that basically sketches the very ideas ‘discovered’ later by Clarence I. Lewis, John Searle, Karl-Otto Apel and Jürgen Habermas. A final section is dedicated to Nicolai Hartman, who always refused to define himself a phenomenologist and yet developed a more articulated and detailed theory of ‘values’ – with surprising affinities with George E. Moore - than philosophers such as Max Scheler who claimed to Husserl’s legitimate heirs. -/- 24. Bertrand Russell and non-cognitivism. The chapter reconstructs first the discussion after Moore. The naturalistic-fallacy argument was widely accepted but twisted to prove instead that the intuitive character of the definition of ‘good’, its non-cognitive meaning, in a first phase identified with ‘emotive’ meaning. Alfred Julius Ayer is indicated as a typical proponent of such non-cognitivist meta-ethics. More detailed discussion is dedicated to Bertrand Russell’s ethics, a more nuanced and sophisticated doctrine, arguing that non-cognitivism does not condemn morality to arbitrariness and that the project of a rational normative ethics is still possible, heading finally to the justification of a kind of non-hedonist utilitarianism. Stevenson’s theory, another moderate version of emotivism is discussed at some length, showing how the author comes close to the discovery of the role of a pragmatic dimension of language as a basis for ethical argument. Last of all, the discussion from the Forties about Hume’s law is described, mentioning Karl Popper’s argument and Richard Hare’s early non-cognitivist but non-emotivist doctrine named prescriptivism. -/- 25. Elizabeth Anscombe and the revival of virtue ethics. The chapter discusses the three theses defended by Anscombe in 'Modern Moral Philosophy'. I argue that: a) her answer to the question "why should I be moral?" requires a solution of the problem of theodicy, and ignores any attempts to save the moral point of view without recourse to divine retribution; b) her notion of divine law is an odd one more neo-Augustinian than Biblical or Scholastic; c) her image of Kantian ethics and intuitionism is the impoverished image manufactured by consequentialist opponents for polemical purposes and that she seems strangely accept it; d) the difficulty of identifying the "relevant descriptions" of acts is not an argument in favour of an ethics of virtue and against consequentialism or Kantian ethics, and indeed the role of judgment in the latter is a response to the difficulties raised by the case of judgment concerning future action. A short look at further developments in the neo-naturalist current is given trough a reconstruction of Philippa Foot’s and Peter Geach’s critiques to the naturalist-fallacy argument and Alasdair MacIntyre’s grand reconstruction of the origins and allegedly unavoidable failure of the Enlightenment project of an autonomous ethic. -/- 26. Richard Hare and neo-Utilitarianism. The chapter addresses the issue of the complex process of self-transformation Utilitarianism underwent after Sidgwick’s and Moore’s fatal criticism and the unexpected Phoenix-like process of rebirth of a doctrine definitely refuted. A glimpse at this uproarious process is given through two examples. The first is Roy Harrod Wittgensteinian transformation of Utilitarianism in pure normative ethics depurated from hedonism as well as from whatsoever theory of the good. This results in preference utilitarianism combined with a ‘Kantian’ version of rule utilitarianism. The second is Richard Hare’s two-level preference utilitarianism where act utilitarianism plays the function of eventual rational justification of moral judgments and rule-utilitarianism that of action-guiding practical device. -/- 27. Hans-Georg Gadamer and rehabilitation of practical philosophy. The post-war rediscovery of ethics by many German thinkers and its culmination in the Sixties in the movement named ‘Rehabilitation of practical philosophy’ is described. Among the actors of such rehabilitation there were a few of Heidegger’s most brilliant disciples, and Hans-Georg Gadamer is chosen as a paradigmatic example. His reading of Aristotle’s lesson I reconstructed, starting with Heidegger’s lesson but then subtly subverting its outcome thanks to the recovery of the central role of the notion of phronesis. -/- 28. Karl-Otto Apel and the revival of Kantian ethics. Parallel to the neo-Aristotelian trend, there was in the Rehabilitation of practical philosophy a Kantian current. This started, instead than the rehabilitation of prudence, with the discovery of the pragmatic dimension of language carried out by Charles Peirce and the Oxford linguistic philosophy. On this basis, Karl-Otto Apel singled out as the decisive proponent of the linguistic and Kantian turn in German-speaking ethics, worked out the performative-contradiction argument while claiming that this was able to provide a new rational and universal basis for normative ethics. An examination of his argument is some detail is offered, followed by a more cursory reconstruction of Jürgen Habermas’s elaboration on Apel’s theory. -/- 29. John Rawls and public ethics as applied ethics. Rawls’s distinction between a “political” and a “metaphysical” approach to one central part of ethical theory, namely the theory of justice, is interpreted as a formulation of the same basic idea at the root of both the principles approach and neo-casuistry, both discussed in the following chapter, namely that it is possible to reach an agreement concerning positive moral judgments even though the discussion is still open – and in Rawls’ view never will be close – on the basic criteria for judgment. -/- 30. Beauchamp and Childress and bioethics as applied ethics. The chapter presents the revolution of applied ethics while stressing its methodological novelty, exemplified primarily by Beauchamp and Childress principles approach and then by Jonsen and Toulmin’s new casuistry. -/- . (shrink)
Sinnott-Armstrong has attacked the epistemology of moral intuitionism on the grounds that it is not justified to have some moral beliefs without needing them to be inferred from other beliefs. He believes that our moral judgments are inferentially justified because the “framing effects” which are mostly discussed in the empirical psychology cast doubt on any non-inferential justification. In this paper, I argue that Sinnott-Armstrong’s argument is question begging against intuitionists and his description of epistemological intuitionism is a diluted (...) version that most of intuitionists do not believe, therefore he is not attacking the epistemological intuitionism in its strongest form. I then propose my alternative modest account of epistemological intuitionism. I also reconsider the concept of “non-inferentiality”, as one of the key elements of intuitionist epistemology, and propose a modest account of non-inferentiality. (shrink)
This book tells the story of modern ethics, namely the story of a discourse that, after the Renaissance, went through a methodological revolution giving birth to Grotius’s and Pufendorf’s new science of natural law, leaving room for two centuries of explorations of the possible developments and implications of this new paradigm, up to the crisis of the Eighties of the eighteenth century, a crisis that carried a kind of mitosis, the act of birth of both basic paradigms of the two (...) following centuries: Kantian ethics and utilitarianism. The new science of natural law carried a fresh start for ethics, resulting from a mixture of the Old and the New. It was, as suggested by Schneewind, an attempt at rescuing the content of Scholastic and Stoic doctrines on a new methodological basis. The former was the claim of existence of objective and universal moral laws; the latter was the self-aware attempt at justifying a minimal kernel of such laws facing skeptical doubt. What Bentham and Kant did was precisely carrying this strategy further on, even if restructuring it each of them around one out of two alternative basic claims. The nineteenth- and twentieth-century critics of the Enlightenment attacked both not on their alleged failure in carrying out their own projects, but precisely on having adopted Grotius’s and Pufendorf’s project. What counter-enlightenment has been unable to spell out is which alternative project could be carried out facing the modern condition of pluralism, while on the contrary, if we takes a closer look at developments in twentieth-century ethics or at on-going discussions on practical issues, we might feel inclined to believe that Grotius’s and Pufendorf’s project is as up-to-date as ever. -/- Table of Contents -/- Preface I. Fathers of the Reformation and Schoolmen 1.1. Luther: passive justice and the good deeds; 1.2. Calvin: voluntarism and predestination; 1.3. Baroque Scholasticism; 1.4. Casuistry and Institutiones morales -/- II Neo-Platonists, neo-Stoics, neo-Sceptics 2.1. Aristotelian, neo-Platonic, neo-Epicurean and neo-Cynic Humanists; 2.2. Oeconomica and the art of living; 2.3. Neo-Stoics; 2.4. Neo-Sceptics; 2.5. Moralistic literature -/- III Neo-Augustinians 3.l. The Jansenists on natura lapsa, sufficient grace, pure love; 3.2. Nicole on the impossibility of self-knowledge; 3.3. Nicole on self-love and charity; 3.4. Nicole against civic virtue, for Christian civility; 3.5. Malebranche on general laws and necessary evil; 3.6. Malebranche on Neo-Augustinianism and Platonism. -/- IV Grotius, Pufendorf and the new moral science 4.1. Grotius against Aristotle and the sceptics; 4.2. Mersenne and Gassendi; 4.3. Descartes on ethics as the last branch of philosophy’s tree; 4.4. Hobbes on scepticism and the new moral science; 4.5. Spinoza on the new moral science as a descriptive science;4.6. Locke on voluntarism and probabilism; 4.7. Pufendorf on natural law as an exact science; 4.8. Pufendorf on physical and moral entities; 10. Pufendorf on self-preservation -/- V The empiricist version of the new moral science: from Cumberland to Paley 5.1. Cumberland against Hobbesian voluntarism; 5.2. Cumberland and theological consequentialism; 5.3. Cumberland on universal benevolence and self-love; 5.4. Shaftesbury on the moral sense; 5.5. Hutcheson on natural law and moral faculties; 5.6. Gay, Brown, Paley and theological consequentialism. -/- VI The rationalist version of the new moral science: from Cudworth to Price 6.1. The Cambridge Platonists; 6.2. Shaftesbury on the moral sense; 6.3. Butler and a third way between voluntarism and scepticism; 6.4. Price and the rational character of moral truths; -/- VII Leibniz’s compromise between the new moral science and Aristotelianism 1.Leibniz against voluntarism; 2.Leibniz against the division between the physical and the moral good; 3.Leibniz on la place d’autrui and theological consequentialism; 4.Thomasius, Wolff, Crusius -/- VIII French eighteenth-century philosophers without the new moral science 8.1. The genealogy of our ideas of virtue and vice; 8.2. Maupertuis and moral arithmetic 8.3. The philosophes and the harmony of interests; 8.4. Rousseau on corruption, self-love, and virtue; 8.5. Sade on the merits of vice -/- IX Experimental moral science: Hume and Adam Smith 9.1. Mandeville’s paradox; 9.2. Hutcheson on the law of nature and moral faculties; 9.3. Hume on experimental moral philosophy and the intermediate principles; 9.4. Hume’s Law; 9.5. Hume on the fellow-feeling; 9.6. Hume on natural and artificial virtues and disinterested pleasure for utility; 9.7. Adam Smith’s anti-realist metaethics; 9.8. Adam Smith on self-deception and the paradox of happiness; 9.9. Adam Smith on sympathy and the impartial spectator; 9.10. Adam Smith on the twofold criterion for moral judgement and its paradox; 9.11. Reid on the refutation of scepticism and the self-evidence of duty -/- X Kantian ethics 10.1. Kantian metaethics: moral epistemology; 10.2. Kantian metaethics: moral ontology; 10.3. Kantian metaethics: moral psychology; 10.4. Kantian normative ethics; 10.5. Kant on the impracticability of applied ethics; 10.6. Kantian moral anthropology; 10.7. Civilisation and moralisation; 10.8. Theology on a moral basis and the origins of evil; 10.9. Fichte and the transformation of theoretical philosophy into practical philosophy XI Bentham and utilitarianism 11.1. Bentham’s linguistic theory; 11.2. Bentham’s moral ontology, psychology, and theory of action; 11.3. The principle of greatest happiness; 11.4. The critique of religious ethics; 11.5. The new morality; 11.6. Interest and duty; 11.7. Virtues; 11.8. Private ethics and legislation -/- XII Followers of the Enlightenment: liberal Judaism and Liberal Theology 12.1. Mendelssohn; 12.2. Salomon Maimon; 12.3. Haskalā and liberal Judaism; 12.4. Liberal Theology. -/- XIII Counter-Enlighteners 13.1.Romanticism and the fulfilment of individuality as the Summum Bonum; 13.2. Hegel on history as the making of liberty; 13.3. Hegel on the unhappy consciousness and the beautiful soul; 13.4. Hegel on Morality and Sittlichkeit; 13.5. Marx on ideology, alienation, and praxis; 13.6. Schopenhauer on compassion; 13.7. Kierkegaard on faith beyond ethics. -/- XIV Followers of the Enlightenment: intuitionists and utilitarian 14.1 Whewell‘s criticism of utilitarianism; 14.2 Whewell on morality and the philosophy of morality; 14.3 Whewell on the Supreme Norm; 14.4 Whewell on the conflict between duties; 14.5 Mill and the proof of the principle of utility; 14.6 Mill’s eudemonistic utilitarianism; 14.7 Mill on rules -/- XV Followers of the Enlightenment: neo-Kantians and positivists 15.1. French spiritualism; 15.2. Neo-Kantians: the Marburg school; 15.3. Neo-Kantians: the Marburg school; 15.4. Comte’s positivism and the invention of altruism; 15.5. Social Darwinism; 15.6. Wundt and an ethic of humankind -/- XVI Post-enlighteners: Sidgwick 16.1. Criticism of intuitionism; 16.2. On ethical egoism; 16.3. Criticism of utilitarianism -/- XVII Post-enlighteners: Durkheim 17.1. Sociology as physics of customs; 17.2. Morality as physics of customs and as practical science; 17.3. On Kantian ethics and utilitarianism; 17.4. The variability of moralities;17.5. Social solidarity as end and justification of morality; 17.6. Secular morality as “sociodicy”; XVIII Post-enlighteners: Nietzsche 18.1. On the Dionysian; 18.2. On the deconstruction of the world of values 18.3 On the twofold genealogy of moralities; 18.4. On ascetics and nihilism; 18.5. Normative ethics of self-fulfilment -/- Bibliography / Index of names / Index of concepts -/- . (shrink)
The classical ethical questions of whether and to what extent moral criticism is a sort of rational criticism have received renewed interest in recent years. According to the approach that I refer to as rationalist, accounts of moral responsibility are grounded by explanations of the conditions under which an agent is rationally answerable for her actions and attitudes. In the sense that is relevant here, to answer for an attitude or action is to give reasons that at least purport to (...) justify it. To hold someone answerable for an attitude or action is thus to hold her rationally liable for it. T. M. Scanlon’s view is perhaps the most well-known example of this approach. The rationalist approach has recently been attacked by David Shoemaker for being too narrow: the charge is that attitudes exist for which an agent is responsible even though she cannot, in the relevant sense, answer for them. If there are morally significant attitudes that are attributable to an agent even though she cannot answer for them, then it would seem incomplete, misguided, or worse to treat morality as fundamentally a matter of demanding and giving reasons. By developing some remarks based on G. E. M. Anscombe’s _Intention_, I defend the rationalist approach against this critique. I show how an agent may be answerable for an attitude even though she cannot answer for it. The objective of this paper is thus twofold: to contribute to the discussion of the connection between rational liability and ethical responsibility, and to provide an example of the broad relevance of Anscombe’s thought to contemporary practical philosophy. (shrink)
Platonism is the most pervasive philosophy of mathematics. Indeed, it can be argued that an inarticulate, half-conscious Platonism is nearly universal among mathematicians. The basic idea is that mathematical entities exist outside space and time, outside thought and matter, in an abstract realm. In the more eloquent words of Edward Everett, a distinguished nineteenth-century American scholar, "in pure mathematics we contemplate absolute truths which existed in the divine mind before the morning stars sang together, and which will continue to exist (...) there when the last of their radiant host shall have fallen from heaven." In What is Mathematics, Really?, renowned mathematician Rueben Hersh takes these eloquent words and this pervasive philosophy to task, in a subversive attack on traditional philosophies of mathematics, most notably, Platonism and formalism. Virtually all philosophers of mathematics treat it as isolated, timeless, ahistorical, inhuman. Hersh argues the contrary, that mathematics must be understood as a human activity, a social phenomenon, part of human culture, historically evolved, and intelligible only in a social context. Mathematical objects are created by humans, not arbitrarily, but from activity with existing mathematical objects, and from the needs of science and daily life. Hersh pulls the screen back to reveal mathematics as seen by professionals, debunking many mathematical myths, and demonstrating how the "humanist" idea of the nature of mathematics more closely resembles how mathematicians actually work. At the heart of the book is a fascinating historical account of the mainstream of philosophy--ranging from Pythagoras, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, and Kant, to Bertrand Russell, David Hilbert, Rudolph Carnap, and Willard V.O. Quine--followed by the mavericks who saw mathematics as a human artifact, including Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Mill, Peirce, Dewey, and Lakatos. In his epilogue, Hersh reveals that this is no mere armchair debate, of little consequence to the outside world. He contends that Platonism and elitism fit well together, that Platonism in fact is used to justify the claim that "some people just can't learn math." The humanist philosophy, on the other hand, links mathematics with geople, with society, and with history. It fits with liberal anti-elitism and its historical striving for universal literacy, universal higher education, and universal access to knowledge and culture. Thus Hersh's argument has educational and political ramifications. Written by the co-author of The Mathematical Experience, which won the American Book Award in 1983, this volume reflects an insider's view of mathematical life, based on twenty years of doing research on advanced mathematical problems, thirty-five years of teaching graduates and undergraduates, and many long hours of listening, talking to, and reading philosophers. A clearly written and highly iconoclastic book, it is sure to be hotly debated by anyone with a passionate interest in mathematics or the philosophy of science. (shrink)