The bulk of the literature on the relationship between art and morality is principally concerned with an aesthetic question: Do moral flaws with works of art constitute aesthetic flaws?1 Much less attention has been paid to the ways in which artworks can be morally flawed. There are at least three promising contenders that concern aesthetic education: Artworks can be morally flawed by endorsing immorality, corrupting audiences, and encouraging responses that are bad to have. When it comes to works of fiction, (...) the third suggestion requires what Allan Hazlett calls responsemoralism—the position that audience reactions to artworks can be morally bad.2 Here, I will put aside issues of aesthetic.. (shrink)
Here I defend responsemoralism, the view that some emotional responses to fi ctions are morally right, and others morally wrong, from the objection that responses to merely fi ctional characters and events cannot be morally evaluated. I defend the view that emotional responses to fi ctions can be morally evaluated only to the extent that said responses are responses to real people and events.
This response to “Morality or Moralism?” by Émilie Hache and Bruno Latour, while accepting the plausibility and importance of their critique of moralism in the name of morality, identifies a number of questionable steps and assumptions in their development of it. Mulhall's response questions an ambiguity in their specifications of what morality and moralism are—an unexplained tendency on their part to occlude distinctively nonhuman animal life in favor of the inanimate when advocating a concern for (...) the nonhuman, and what appears to be a misreading of Michel Serres. (shrink)
Most self-identified libertarians unwittingly have a moral muddle without a central factual theory of liberty. They cannot yet see that they first need to sort out what liberty is, and therefore entails if instantiated, and only after that can moral questions about it be coherently raised and tackled.
Legal moralists hold that the immorality of an action is a sufficient reason for the state to prevent it. Liberals in the tradition of Mill generally reject legal moralism. However, Larry Alexander has recently developed an argument that suggests that a class of legal restrictions on freedom that most liberals endorse is, and perhaps can only be, justified on moralistic grounds. According to Alexander, environmental restrictions designed to preserve nature or beauty are forms of legal moralism. In this (...) paper, I explore two liberal lines of response to Alexander’s argument. The first argues that an aesthetic interest is among our basic legally protectable interests. This argument claims that environmental and other regulations designed to protect beauty and nature are justified in order to prevent setbacks to this aesthetic interest. The second focuses on a democratic conception of the public interest. It holds that democratic communities are entitled, through their institutions, to shape the community and environment they live in. On this view, the community need not appeal to moralism to justify its adoption of environmental regulations, since in adopting such regulations it is simply enacting its collective preferences. On these grounds, I claim that Alexander’s case for the claim that aesthetic regulations can only be justified on moralistic grounds is much weaker than he takes it to be. (shrink)
My goal in this article is to provide support for the claim that moral flaws can be detrimental to an artwork's aesthetic value. I argue that moral flaws can become aesthetic flaws when they defeat the operation of good-making aesthetic properties. I do not defend a new theory of aesthetic properties or aesthetic value; instead, I attempt to show that on both the response-dependence and the supervenience account of aesthetic properties, moral flaws with an artwork are relevant to what (...) aesthetic properties obtain. I provide a description of the main features of both theories of aesthetic properties, and then explain how moral flaws can become aesthetic flaws on either account. I address several objections to moralism about art including the "moralistic fallacy.". (shrink)
Contemporary society faces a wide range of environmental problems. In what ways might business be part of the solution, rather than the problem? The Moralist Model is one general response. It tends to focus on particular corporations which it treats as moral agents operating within our common moral system. As a consequence, it claims that, with various (usually modest) changes, corporations may become environmentally responsible.This paper contends, on the contrary, that business has its own special “ethics,” which relates not (...) simply to the internal nature of the corporation but also to the corporate (free market) system. Given this special ethics, business cannot in general be environmentally responsible in the manner that the Moralists demand. Instead, more far-reaching changes are needed within corporations and the economic system to promote environmental responsibility. Though the requisite changes are significant, there are forces pushing in the dlrection which the paper identifies. (shrink)
This article examines Richard Rorty's approach to the self in Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity . In spite of their differing philosophical bases, Rorty and Emmanuel Levinas converge methodologically in their treatments of the self by avoiding paradigmatic notions of human nature and a philosophical project of justification. Although Rorty refuses to prioritize a moralist account of the self over its romanticist rivals, his presentation relies on the reader's response to the ethical appeal of the other as depicted by Levinas: (...) Rorty ultimately de-divinizes the moralist self on an ethical basis. Finally, a Levinasian approach would supplement Rorty's view of the self by manifesting: concern for victims of de-moralization, greater appreciation for philosophical rationality and justification, and acceptance of self-critically executed paternalistic interventions. In addition, Rorty's mistrust of universals converges with Kant's apprehension that ethical universalization could treat human beings as less than ends in themselves. Key Words: ethics Immanuel Kant Emmanuel Levinas neopragmatism phenomenology postmodernity psychology Richard Rorty the self solidarity. (shrink)
The commentators offer helpful suggestions at three levels: (1) explanations for the particular effects discussed in the target article; (2) implications of those effects for our understanding of the role of moral judgment in human cognition; and (3) more theoretical questions about the overall relationship between ordinary cognition and systematic science. The present response takes up these three issues in turn.
In the history of modern philosophy systematic connections were assumed to hold between the modal concepts of logical possibility and necessity and the concept of conceivability. However, in the eyes of many contemporary philosophers, insuperable objections face any attempt to analyze the modal concepts in terms of conceivability. It is important to keep in mind that a philosophical explanation of modality does not have to take the form of a reductive analysis. In this paper I attempt to provide a (...) class='Hi'>response-dependent account of the modal concepts in terms of conceivability along the lines of a nonreductive model of explanation. (shrink)
Gender is one of the most frequently studied variables within the ethics literature. In prior studies that find gender differences, females consistently report more ethical responses than males. However, prior research also indicates that females are more prone to responding in a socially desirable fashion. Consequently, it is uncertain whether gender differences in ethical decision-making exist because females are more ethical or perhaps because females are more prone to the social desirability response bias. Using a sample of 30 scenarios (...) from prior studies that find gender differences, we examine whether these gender differences remain robust once social desirability is controlled for in the analysis. Our data suggest that the effect of gender on ethical decision-making is largely attenuated once social desirability is included in the analysis. In essence, the social desirability response bias appears to be driving a significant portion of the relationship between gender and ethical decision-making. We discuss several important research implications of this study. (shrink)
I argue that there is a flaw in the way that response-dependence has been formulated in the literature, and this flawed formulation has been correctly attacked by Mark Johnston’s Missing Explanation Argument (1993, 1998). Moving to a better formulation, which is analogous to the move from behaviourism to functionalism, avoids the Missing Explanation Argument.
I argue that John Gray's modus vivendi-based justification for liberalism is preferable to the more orthodox deontological or teleological justificatory strategies, at least because of the way it can deal with the problem of diversity. But then I show how that is not good news for liberalism, for grounding liberal political authority in a modus vivendi undermines liberalism’s aspiration to occupy a privileged normative position vis-à-vis other kinds of regimes. So modus vivendi can save liberalism from moralism, but at (...) cost many liberals will not be prepared to pay. (shrink)
Moralism is often described as a vice. But what exactly is wrong with moralism that makes it aptly described as a character flaw? This paper will argue that the problem with moralism is that it downgrades the force of legitimate moral criticism. The first section will argue that moralism involves an inflated sense of the extent to which moral criticism is appropriate. The second section will examine the value of legitimate moral criticism, arguing that its value (...) stems from enabling us to take a stand against immoral behavior. The third section will argue that unwarranted moral criticism downgrades the force of legitimate moral criticism and that this is why moralism should be seen as a vice. (shrink)
Since time immemorial, the phenomenon of leadership and its understanding has attracted the attention of the business world because of its important role in human groups. Nevertheless, for years efforts to understand this concept have only been centred on people in leadership roles, thus overlooking an important aspect in its understanding: the necessary moral dimension which is implicit in the relationship between leader and follower. As an illustrative example of the importance of considering good morality in leadership, an empirical study (...) is conducted in which a good performance of the "leader-follower" relationship is reflected when individuals perceive ethical leadership in higher hierarchical managerial levels. To be precise, findings of this study demonstrate that follower job response is improved through an ethics trickle-down partial effect from the Top Manager to the immediate supervisor, and also reveal both key aspects and managerial level on which the practice of ethical leadership should rest upon to have a stronger effect on the follower positive job response. Practical implications of these findings and directions for future research are finally presented. (shrink)
This paper examines the associations among social desirability response bias, cultural constructs and gender. The study includes the responses of 1537 students from 12 countries including Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Nepal, South Africa, Spain, and the United States. The results of the analysis indicate that, on average, social desirability response bias decreases (increases) as a country’s Individualism (Uncertainty Avoidance) increases. The analysis also indicates that women scored significantly higher on Paulhus’ Image Management Subscale (...) on an overall basis and for seven of the 12 country comparisons. This research serves as a caution when considering the research findings of prior international survey-based ethics research that do not include a direct measure of social desirability response bias. For example, the finding that women score higher on Paulhus’ measure of social desirability response bias calls into question prior research that does not control for social desirability response bias indicating women are more ethically sensitive than men. (shrink)
After distinguishing different species of Legal Moralism I outline and defend a modest, positive Legal Moralism, according to which we have good reason to criminalize some type of conduct if it constitutes a public wrong. Some of the central elements of the argument will be: the need to remember that the criminal law is a political, not a moral practice, and therefore that in asking what kinds of conduct we have good reason to criminalize, we must begin not (...) with the entire realm of wrongdoing, but with conduct falling within the public realm of our civic life; the need to look at the different processes of criminalization, and to ask what kinds of consideration can properly figure in those processes; the need to attend to the relationship, and the essential differences, between criminal law and other modes of legal regulation. (shrink)
Researchers working on children's moral understanding maintain that the child's capacity to distinguish morality from convention shows that children regard moral violations as objectively wrong. Education in the moral domain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). However, one traditional way to cast the issue of objectivism is to focus not on conventionality, but on whether moral properties depend on our responses, as with properties like icky and fun. This paper argues that the moral/conventional task is inadequate for assessing whether children regard moral (...) properties as response-dependent. Unfortunately, children's understanding of response-dependent properties has been neglected in recent research. Two experiments are reported showing that children are more likely to treat properties like fun and icky as response-dependent than moral properties like good and bad. Hence, this helps support the claim that children are moral objectivists. (shrink)
Although previous studies focus on the role of women in the boardroom and corporate response to natural disasters, none evaluate how women directors influence corporate philanthropic disaster response (CPDR). This study collects data on the philanthropic responses of privately owned Chinese firms to the Wenchuan earthquake of May 12, 2008, and the Yushu earthquake of April 14, 2010. We find that when at least three women serve on a board of directors (BOD), their companies’ responses to natural disasters (...) are more significant. Age diversity among women on BODs as well as good corporate profitability (e.g., high earnings per share) positively moderates the relationship between women on BODs and CPDR. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to critically discuss the plausibility of legal moralism with an emphasis on some central and recent versions. First, this paper puts forward and defends the thesis that recently developed varieties of legal moralism promoted by Robert P. George, John Kekes and Michael Moore are more plausible than Lord Devlin's traditional account. The main argument for this thesis is that in its more modern versions legal moralism is immune to some of the (...) forceful challenges made to Devlin by Hart, Dworkin and Feinberg among others. Second, however, the paper challenges the new generation of legal moralists and suggests some areas for further development. Although Devlin's position has been scrutinized thoroughly in the literature on the philosophy of law, there has, to my knowledge, been no comparable, systematic critique of these different proponents of legal moralism. (shrink)
This is a slightly revised text of Jeffrie G. Murphyâs Presidential Address delivered to the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, in March 2006. In the essay the author reconsiders two positions he had previously defendedâthe liberal attack on legal moralism and robust versions of the retributive theory of punishmentâand now finds these positions much more vulnerable to legitimate attack than he had previously realized. In the first part of the essay, he argues that the use of Millâs liberal harm (...) principle against legal moralism cannot be cabined in such a way as to leave intact other positions that many liberals want to defendâin particular, certain fundamental constitutional rights and character retributivism in criminal sentencing. In the second part of the essay, he expresses serious doubtsâsome inspired by Nietzscheâabout the versions of character retributivism that he had once enthusiastically defended and now describes himself as no more than a reluctant retributivist. (shrink)
Mark Johnston claims the pragmatist theory of truth is inconsistent with the way we actually employ and talk about that concept. He is, however, sympathetic enough to attempt to rescue its respectable core using ‘response-dependence’, a revisionary form of which he advocates as a method for clarifying various philosophically significant concepts. But Johnston has misrepresented pragmatism; it does not require rescuing, and as I show here, his ‘missing explanation argument’ against pragmatism therefore fails. What Johnston and other critics including (...) Putnam have overlooked is the distinctive nature of the pragmatist strategy, specifically, that it is non-reductive, a characteristic it shares with a more promising form of response-dependence; what Johnston calls ‘Descriptive Protagoreanism’ (DP). In this paper I offer a defence of pragmatism and show how it might be re-articulated as a form of DP. (shrink)
Moral response-dependent metaethical theories characterize moral properties in terms of the reactions of certain classes of individuals. Nick Zangwill has argued that such theories are flawed: they are unable to accommodate the motive of duty. That is, they are unable to provide a suitable reason for anyone to perform morally right actions simply because they are morally right. I argue that Zangwill ignores significant differences between various approvals, and various individuals, and that moral response-dependent theories can accommodate the (...) motive of duty. (shrink)
Response-dependent accounts of value claim that to understand what we are saying about the objects of our value judgments, we must take into account the responses those objects provoke. Recent discussions of the proposal that value is response-dependent are obscured by dogmas about response-dependence, that (1) response-dependency must be known a priori, (2) must hold necessarily, and (3) the terms involved must designate rigidly. These “dogmas” stand in the way of formulating and assessing a clear conception (...) of value as response-dependent. I point out these dogmas and argue that there is no good reason for subscribing to them. (shrink)
In this essay Noël Carroll explores the question of whether a moral defect in a work of architectural art can ever also count as an aesthetic /artistic defect. Adopting the stance of a moderate moralist and mobilizing what has been called the “uptake argument,” he argues against the moderate autonomist that sometimes a moral defect in an architectural artwork can also be an aesthetic/artistic defect.
Miranda Fricker appeals to the idea of moral-epistemic disappointment in order to show how our practices of moral appraisal can be sensitive to cultural and historical contingency. In particular, she thinks that moral-epistemic disappointment allows us to avoid the extremes of crude moralism and a relativism of distance. In my response I want to investigate what disappointment is, and whether it can constitute a form of focused moral appraisal in the way that Fricker imagines. I will argue that (...) Fricker is unable to appeal to disappointment as standardly understood, but that there is a more plausible way of understanding the notion that she can employ. There are, nevertheless, significant worries about the capacity of disappointment in this sense to function as a form of moral appraisal. I will argue, finally, that even if Fricker can address these worries, her position might end up closer to moralism than she would like. (shrink)
This research is an extension of Walker Information’s (Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases, pp. 235–255, 1999) study on employees’ job attitudes that was conducted exclusively in the United States. Walker Information found that the reputation of the organization, fairness at work, care, and concern for employees, trust in employees, and resources available at work were important factors in an employee’s decision to remain with his or her company. Our sample includes 713 students from seven countries: Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, (...) Hong Kong, Ireland, South Africa, and the United States. When analyzing the entire sample, our data indicate that both social desirability response bias and gender were significant; however, this was not the case when the data are analyzed by country. On an individual country basis, our data suggest that the generally accepted premise that women are more ethically conscious than men was only true for the samples from the United States and Canada. The data also indicate that, while social desirability response bias was significant for the four factors suggesting ethical components for the sample from the United States, this finding was not universal. (shrink)
This paper is in five sections. In the first one, I summarize some views on truthmaking I will be presupposing, emphasizing however the various controversies on which I will remain neutral. In section two and three, I present the characterization of a response-dependent property. In section four, I present two ways in which a property can be response-dependent, in the characterized sense. In final section five, I present how these correspond to different versions of moderate relativism, namely indexical (...) and nonindexical contextualism. Thus the view presented here contrasts not only with pluralism about truth, but also with radical relativism about truth, as recently defended by John MacFarlane. (shrink)
A common view holds that humor and morality are antithetical: Moral flaws enhance amusement, and moral virtues detract. I reject both of these claims. If we distinguish between merely outrageous jokes and immoral jokes, the problems with the common view become apparent. What we find is that genuine morals flaws tend to inhibit amusement. Further, by looking at satire, we can see that moral virtues sometimes enhance amusement. The position I defend is called symmetric comic moralism. It is widely (...) regarded as patently absurd. I hope to correct this mistake. (shrink)
The traditional conception of response-dependence isinadequate because it cannot account for all intuitivecases of response-dependence. In particular, it is unableto account for the response-dependence of (aesthetic, moral, epistemic ...) values. I therefore propose tosupplement the traditional conception with an alternativeone. My claim is that only a combination of the twoconceptions is able to account for all intuitivecases of response-dependence.
Abstract Thomas Kuhn is the most famous historian and philosopher of science of the last century. He is also among the most controversial. Since Kuhn's death, his corpus has been interpreted, systematized, and defended. Here I add to this endeavor in a novel way by arguing that Kuhn can be interpreted as a global response-dependence theorist. He can be understood as connecting all concepts and terms in an a priori manner to responses of suitably situated subjects to objects in (...) the world. Further, I claim, this interpretation is useful for three reasons. First, it allows us to systematize and defend Kuhn's views. We can therefore better appreciate him as a thinker in his own right. Second, it deepens our understanding of both the uniqueness of Kuhn's views and the continuity of those views with those of others. We can therefore better appreciate his place in history. And third, as I explain in the paper, my interpretation affords us the only example of an ethnocentric global response-dependence theory. We can therefore better appreciate the versatility of response-dependence itself. (shrink)
The response mode bias, in which subjects exhibit different risk attitudes when assessing certainty equivalents versus indifference probabilities, is a well-known phenomenon in the assessment of utility functions. In this empirical study, we develop and apply a cardinal measure of risk attitudes to analyze not only the existence, but also the strength of this phenomenon. Since probability levels involved in decision problems are already known to have a strong impact on behavior, we use this approach to study the impact (...) of probabilities on the extent of the response mode bias. We find that the direction in which probabilities influence measured risk aversion is the opposite in the certainty equivalence (CE) method versus in the probability equivalence (PE) method. Utilizing the CE elicitation approach leads to an increase of risk seeking for gambles involving high probabilities. For the PE method, subjects tend to behave risk averse with gambles of high probabilities. This behavior is reversed in the gain domain. This “tailwhip” effect is consistently replicated in several experiments, involving both loss and gain domains of lotteries. (shrink)
The paper defends a neo-Lockean view of secondary qualities, in particular color, according to which the being of a given color amounts to having the disposition to produce in normal viewers under normal circumstances the response of seeing an objective manifest simple color. It also defends the view that the naïve color-concept, the simple color concept, so to speak, is a fully objective property. The defense of this view is carried against its nearest cousin , the view proposed and (...) defended by Philip Pettit and Frank Jackson, according to which the naive color concept is response dependent, whereas color itself is fully objective. It is argued that the neo-Lockean alternative better captures the phenomenology of color, and better predicts or accounts for the dramatic character of the historical scientific discoveries (of Newton and his followers). Against metaphysical response dependence, the paper proposes a brief positive argument from the unity of color properties, and a criticism of Jackson’s counter-argument against metaphysical response-dependence from the naïve intuitions about causal properties of color. (shrink)
Many response-dependence theorists equate moral truth with the generation of some affective psychological response: what makes this action wrong, as opposed to right, is that it would cause (or merit) affective response of type R (perhaps under ideal conditions). Since our affective nature is purely contingent, and not necessarily shared by all rational creatures (or even by all humans), response-dependence threatens to lead to relativism. In this paper, I will argue that emotional responses and moral features (...) do not align in the way predicted by the response-dependence theorist who wishes to tie morality to emotional affect. I further argue that since response-dependence accounts that tie morality to any sort of affect (be it an emotion, a desire, a desire to desire, or so on) cannot explain the objectivity and universality of morality; and since we do not need a psychological response to play a truth-constituting role in morality in order to explain the normativity or content of morality, we should reject such response-dependence accounts. (shrink)
Philip Pettit has argued that all semantically basic terms are learned in response to ostended examples and all non-basic terms are defined via them. Michael Smith and Daniel Stoljar maintain that this “global response-dependence” entails noumenalism, the thesis that reality possesses an unknowable, intrinsic nature. Surprisingly Pettit acknowledges this, contending instead that his noumenalism, like Kant’s, can be construed ontologically or epistemically. Moreover, Pettit insists, construing his noumenalism epistemically renders it unproblematic. The article shows that construing noumenalism epistemically (...) prevents Pettit from knowing whether members of different communities respond to different properties in the world or the same properties differently. Pettit then faces a trilemma. He can construe noumenalism ontologically and confront Smith and Stoljar’s charge. He can construe noumenalism epistemically and confront the author’s charge. Or he can reject global response-dependence. After explaining why Pettit should choose the middle horn, the article closes with lessons about global response-dependence generally. (shrink)
The paper examines three tenets of Dancy’s meta-ethics, finds them incompatible, and proposes a response-dependentist (or response-dispositional) solution. The first tenet is the central importance of thick concepts and properties. The second is that such concepts essentially involve response(s) of observers, which Dancy interprets in a way that fits the pattern of context-dependent resultance: thick concepts are well suited for the particularist grounding of moral theory. However, and this is the third tenet, in his earlier paper (1986) (...) Dancy forcefully argues against response-dispositional accounts of moral concepts and properties. The present paper argues that an anti-dispositional view is incompatible with the first two points concerning thick concepts. If thick concepts and properties are paramount and ubiquitous in moral thought and reality, and if they are essentially tied to human responses, then anti-dispositionalism is false. Dancy himself avoids obvious contradiction by characterizing thick items (concepts) differently from the usual characterization of response-dependent items. Actions that satisfy thick concepts do so in virtue of meriting a determinate response. The (non-reductionist) response-dependentist usually puts it slightly differently: such actions satisfy a given moral concepts in virtue of eliciting a merited response. I have argued at length that this tenuous difference in formulation is too weak to support a relevant difference in rebus. If the argument is right, Dancy is implicitly committed to a kind of response-dependentism. Finally, the particularist should embrace thick concepts and properties, and reject anti-dispositionalism. However, this would bring back the analogy with color and other secondary qualities. Since there are ceteris paribus laws governing such properties, the analogy suggests that moral properties might also be best accounted for by a ceteris paribus, or hedged account, a compromise between traditional generalism and the particularism of Dancy’s variety. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that certain stimulus-response learning models which are adequate to represent finite automata (acceptors) are not adequate to represent noninitial state input-output automata (transducers). This circumstance suggests the question whether or not the behavior of animals if satisfactorily modelled by automata is predictive. It is argued in partial answer that there are automata which can be explained in the sense that their transition and output functions can be described (roughly, Hempel-type covering law explanation) while (...) their behaviors are in principle not predictable short of possession of their complete histories or of information concerning present internal states by indirect observation. (shrink)
The ethical criticism of art has received increasing attention in contemporary aesthetics, especially with respect to the evaluation of narratives. The most prominent philosophical defenses of this art-critical practice concentrate on the notion of response , specifically on the emotional responses a narrative requires for it to be correctly apprehended and appreciated. I first investigate the mechanisms of emotional participation in narratives ; then, I address the question of the legitimacy of the ethical criticism of narratives and advance an (...) argument in support of such a practice . ;Chapter 1 analyzes different modes of emotional participation in narratives, distinguishing between: emotional inference, affective mimicry, empathy, sympathy, and concern. Chapter 2 first critically discusses Noel Carroll's objections to identificationism and to an empathy-based account of character participation, and then analyzes the sorts of imaginative activities involved in narrative engagement, by investigating the distinctions introduced by Richard Wollheim between central and acentral imagining, and iconic and non-iconic imagination. ;Chapter 3 offers a taxonomy of the possible views on the relationship between the ethical and the artistic values of a narrative, distinguishing between reductionist and non-reductionist views, and sorting the latter ones into autonomism and moralism, radical and moderate. Chapter 4 analyzes the ethical assessment of narratives for their consequences on their perceivers and the means of their production, and indicates the evaluation in terms of the ethical perspective a narrative embodies as the kind of ethical evaluation on which an argument for the ethical criticism of narratives ought to concentrate. Chapter 5 critically assesses the accounts of "imaginative resistance" to fiction offered by Kendall Walton, Richard Moran, and Tamar Gendler, and concludes that none of them is adequate to ground an argument for the ethical criticism of narratives. Chapter 6 looks at Carroll's argument for moderate moralism and Berys Gaut's "merited-response" argument for "ethicism," and finds both arguments wanting. Chapter 7 proposes a version of moralism grounded in the notion of a narrative's ethical perspective, and defended on the grounds of narratives' commitments to provide a realistic representation of reality. (shrink)
Noël Carroll’s (“Moderate Moralism”) conceptual framework includes four positions: radical autonomism, moderate autonomism, moderate moralism, and radical moralism. Alessandro Giovanelli (“The Ethical Criticism of Art: A New Mapping of the Territory”) argues that the radical positions, as Carroll defines them, have no modern day adherents. Therefore, the framework should be adapted such that we can see interestingly new distinctions. On Giovanelli’s new framework Carroll’s account is a moderate autonomist view. In this paper I adopt Giovanelli’s framework and (...) raise a different objection to Carroll’s account. I argue that Carroll’s account possesses a branching structure, since on this account moral and aesthetic criticism are not linearly related. Because of this structure, Carroll’s theory faces a dilemma: it’s either self-undermining or consistent with moderate autonomism, even in his own framework. Drawing on Kendall Walton’s (“Categories of Art”) notion of categories of art, I provide an account that is both non-branching and moderate moralist in Giovanelli’s framework. It’s non-branching because moral criticism bears a linear causal relation to aesthetic criticism. (shrink)
Because Levinas understands ethical response as a response to the radical alterity of the other, he contrasts it with justice, for which alterity becomes a question of equality. Drawing upon the practice of dependency work and the insights of feminist care ethics, I argue that the opposition between responding to another's singularity and leveling it via parity-based principles is belied in the experience of care. Through a hermeneutic phenomenology of caring for my post-stroke grandfather, I develop an account (...) of dependency work as a material dialectic of embodied response involving moments of leveling, attention, and interruption. Contra much of response ethics’ and care ethics’ respective literatures, this dialectic suggests that they complement each other in ways that productively illuminate themes of each. I conclude by suggesting that when response and care ethics are thought together through the experience of dependency work, such labors produce finite responsibility with infinite hope. (shrink)
In a recent thought-provoking piece, Peter Roberts argues against the central role of happiness as a guiding concept in education, and argues for more attention to be paid to despair. This does not mean cultivating despair in young people, but allowing them to make sense of their own natural occasional despair, as well as the despair of others. I agree with Roberts about happiness, and about the need for more attention to despair, but I argue that focusing too much on (...) despair is dangerous without paying simultaneous attention to goodness. Roberts argues that students must be helped to face the despair born of the realisation that we can never be sure of the moral grounds on which our actions are based, we can never fully know ourselves, and that education should make us more appreciative of what we don't know. I argue against all three claims: there are some moral truths that we can know; we can know enough of ourselves in certain contexts; education should not only teach intellectual humility, it should also give us confidence in appreciating the sources of meaning that are ordinarily available, e.g. personal relationships. The paper concludes with a response to the objection that my position is little more than old-fashioned moralism and conservatism. (shrink)
In response to kenneth winkler's criticism of my suggestion (found in my "david hume: common sense moralist, sceptical metaphysician") that frances hutcheson embraced an interesting form of moral realism. i show important differences between hutcheson and locke, amplify my previous account of hutcheson's notion of concomitant ideas, and provide evidence that hutcheson's contemporaries, including his student adam smith, believed him to have maintained "that there is a real and essential distinction between vice and virtue". ("theory of moral sentiments").
The paper proposes and defends the following characterization of response dependent property: a property is response-dependent iff there is a response-dependence biconditional for a concept signifying it which holds in virtue of the nature of the property. Finding out whether a property is such is to a large extent a posteriori matter. Finally, colors are response dependent: they are essentially tied to issuing the relevant experiences, so that having those experiences does give access to their, dispositional, (...) nature. Finally, some important contrary views are critically discussed in the paper. (shrink)
The irreversibility effect implies that a decision maker who neglects the prospect of receiving more complete information at later stages of a sequential decision problem will in certain cases too easily take an irreversible decision, as he ignores the existence of a positive option value in favour of reversible decisions. This option value represents the decision maker's flexibility to adapt subsequent decisions to the obtained information. In this paper we show that the economic models dealing with irreversibility as used in (...) environmental and capital investment decision making can be extended to emergency response decisions that produce important irreversible effects. In particular, we concentrate on the decision whether or not to evacuate an industrial area threatened by a possible nuclear accident. We show in a simple two-period evacuation decision model that non-optimal conclusions may be drawn when evacuation is regarded as a `now or never decision'. The robustness of these results is verified by means of a sensitivity analysis of the various model parameters. The importance of `options thinking' in this decision context is illustrated in an example. (shrink)
Ernest Lepore and Kirk Ludwig correctly observe that Donald Davidson’s account of radical interpretation is in tension with his Swampman thought experiment. Nonetheless, I argue, they fail to see the extent of Davidson’s tension—and so do not handle it adequately—because they fail to appreciate that the thought experiment pits two incompatible response-dependent accounts of meaning against one another. I take an account of meaning to be response-dependent just in case it links the meaning of terms in an a (...) priori manner to the responses that a suitable subject under suitable conditions could or did have to those terms. That Davidson proposes two such accounts is deeply problematic for his program. After explaining the sense in which Davidson endorses two incompatible response-dependent accounts of meaning, I use that explanation to resolve the tension myself. (shrink)
In this paper, I critically examine Berys Gaut’s proposals regarding ethical criticism, that is, regarding the question of whether, and if so how, an ethical evaluation of a work of art can be considered amongst the determinants of the work’s value as art. I critically examine Gaut’s proposed taxonomy on the possible positions on the ethical criticism question as well as his own influential answer to such question: ethicism. My critique focuses on one missing element, I argue, in Gaut’s overall (...) approach and in ethicism as he formulates and defends it: reference to artistic categorization and to the aims and commitments artworks have in virtue of the artistic categories they belong to. I show how reference to artistic categorization facilitates the generation of a more fine-grained taxonomy of positions than the one Gaut proposes. Such taxonomy makes it possible to distinguish between two very different types of positions within what Gaut dubs ‘contextualism’: what I call limited or restricted ethicism and particularism. As an application of this more fine-grained taxonomy, I show how Noël Carroll’s ‘moderate moralism’, which Gaut convincingly claims to be incomplete, need not reduce to either ethicism or contextualism as Gaut claims: the view can also be completed in the direction of a limited or restricted ethicism. As for Gaut’s own proposal, surprisingly it itself proves to have leanings towards particularism, in so far as it delegates the question of the artistic (or aesthetic) relevance of ethical features to case-by-case decisions. Again, reference to artistic categorization would offer Gaut grounds to be less sceptical on the possibility of finding general philosophical principles governing the relevance of ethical features to artistic worth. Further, lack of reference to artistic categorization can be shown to affect Gaut’s claims within all three the arguments he puts forward in defence of ethicism—the moral beauty, the cognitive, and the merited-response argument. I show such claims to be ill founded when not implausible. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that Joel Feinberg was wrong to suppose that liberals must oppose any criminalization of “harmless immorality”. The problem with a theory that permits criminalization only on the basis of his harm and offense principles is that it is underinclusive, ruling out laws that most liberals believe are justified. One objection (Arthur Ripstein’s) is that Feinberg’s theory is unable to account for the criminalization of harmless personal grievances. Another (Larry Alexander’s and Robert George’s) is that it (...) cannot account for public decency laws. I shall reject both of these underinclusiveness objections in favor of one that focuses on the “free floating evil” of corpse desecration. Liberals need “pure” legal moralism (PLM) to explain their support for a criminal ban on mistreatment of the dead. I also argue that while deterrence is plausibly regarded as the primary rationale for criminalizing and punishing wrongs like murder or rape, it is not plausibly regarded as any part of the rationale for criminalizing free floating evils. The point of punishing corpse desecrators has to be either retribution or the promotion of virtue/discouraging of vice. Finally, I consider Feinberg’s reason for rejecting all PLM, namely, that competent adults have a right to personal sovereignty or autonomy, and the state’s duty to respect that right trumps the desirability of punishing or reducing the vice associated with harmless immorality. I argue that Feinberg’s argument here fails because it exaggerates the right’s strength and scope. (shrink)
Symbolic healing, that is, responding to meaningful experiences in positive ways, can facilitate human healing. This process partly engages consciousness and partly evades consciousness completely (sometimes it partakes of both simultaneously). This paper, presented as the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness Distinguished Lecture at the 2011 AAA meeting in Montreal, reviews recent research on what is ordinarily (and unfortunately) called the “placebo effect.” The author makes the argument that language use should change, and the relevant portions of what is (...) often called the placebo effect should be referred to as the “meaning response.”. (shrink)
Response-dependence theses are usually formulated in terms of a priori true biconditionals of roughly the form 'something, x, falls under the concept 'F' ↔ x would elicit response R from subjects S under conditions C'. Such formulations are vulnerable to conditional fallacy problems; counterexamples threaten whenever the C-conditions' coming to obtain might alter the object with respect to F. Crispin Wright has suggested that such problems can be avoided by placing the C-conditions in a proviso. This ensures that (...) any changes triggered by the C-conditions' coming to obtain will be irrelevant to the truth of the biconditional. I argue that this move leaves the equations vulnerable to counterexamples of a slightly different kind: Cases where the change is triggered, not by the C-conditions' coming to obtain, but by the response. I consider two ways to resist these counterexamples, and argue that both are insufficient. The upshot is a challenge that must be met if provisoed biconditionals are to serve their purpose. (shrink)