Do the rich descriptions and narrative shapings of literature provide a valuable resource for readers, writers, philosophers, and everyday people to imagine and confront the ultimate questions of life? Do the human activities of storytelling and complex moral decision-making have a deep connection? What are the moral responsibilities of the artist, critic, and reader? What can religious perspectives—from Catholic to Protestant to Mormon—contribute to literary criticism? Thirty well known contributors reflect on these questions, including iterary theorists Marshall Gregory, James Phelan, (...) and Wayne Booth; philosophers Martha Nussbaum, Richard Hart, and Nina Rosenstand; and authors John Updike, Charles Johnson, Flannery O'Connor, and Bernard Malamud. Divided into four sections, with introductory matter and questions for discussion, this accessible anthology represents the most crucial work today exploring the interdisciplinary connections between literature, religion and philosophy. (shrink)
This rich and varied collection of essays addresses some of the most fundamental human questions through the lenses of philosophy, literature, religion, politics, and theology. Peter Augustine Lawler and Dale McConkey have fashioned an interdisciplinary consideration of such perennial and enduring issues as the relationship between nature and history, nature and grace, reason and revelation, classical philosophy and Christianity, modernity and postmodernity, repentance and self-limitation, and philosophy and politics.
My aim in what follows is to sketch with a broad brush fundamental changes involving the concept of obligation in British ethics of the early modern period, as it developed in the direction of the view that obligatory force is a species of motivational force – an idea that deeply informs present thought. I shall also suggest, although I can hardly demonstrate it conclusively here, that one important source for this view was a doctrine which we associate with Kant, and (...) which it may seem surprising to find in British ethics, especially of the early modern period, viz., that rational agents are obligated by motives available through a form of practical thinking necessary for rational autonomy. (shrink)
In their well-known paper, John Gardner and Stephen Shute (2000) propose a pure case of rape, in which a woman is raped while unconscious and the rape, for a variety of stipulated reasons, never comes to light. This makes the pure case a harmless case of rape, or so they argue. In this paper I show that their argument hinges on an outdated conception of trauma, one which conflates evaluative responses that arise in the aftermath of rape with (...) the non-deliberative somatic responses of a central nervous system to a threatening event. In the first part of this paper, I elaborate this objection by drawing on the neurobiological model of trauma. This gives me an opportunity to illustrate the different ways that rape harms its victims, including the central way, what I call ‘threat-circuitry harm.’ This discussion of trauma invites us to rethink the wrong of rape, and sets the groundwork for my argument, in the second part of the paper, that the wrong of rape consists in its central harm. (shrink)
In what follows, I wish to discuss empathy and sympathy’s relevance to ethics, taking recent findings into account. In particular, I want to consider sympathy’s relation to the idea of a person’s good or well-being. It is obvious and uncontroversial that sympathetic concern for a person involves some concern for her good and some desire to promote it. What I want to suggest is that the concept of a person’s good or well-being is one we have because we are capable (...) of care and sympathetic concern. Well-being is normative for care in the sense that it is intrinsic to the very idea of a person’s good that threats to it are what it makes sense to be concerned about for that person for her sake. (shrink)
What are ethical judgments about? And what is their relation to practice? How can ethical judgment aspire to objectivity? The past two decades have witnessed a resurgence of interest in metaethics, placing questions such as these about the nature and status of ethical judgment at the very center of contemporary moral philosophy. Moral Discourse and Practice: Some Philosophical Approaches is a unique anthology which collects important recent work, much of which is not easily available elsewhere, on core metaethical issues. Reinvigorated (...) naturalist moral realism and the various versions of moral realism, as well as irrealist, expressivist, and neo-Kantian constructivist theories are all represented in this fine collection, constituting a rich array of approaches to contemporary moral philosophy's most fundamental debates. An extensive introduction by Darwall, Gibbard, and Railton is also included, making this volume the most comprehensive and up-to-date work of its kind. Moral Discourse is ideally suited for use in courses in contemporary ethics, ethical theory, and metaethics. (shrink)
In these essays Stephen White examines the forms of psychological integration that give rise to self-knowable and self-conscious individuals who are responsible, concerned for the future, and capable of moral commitment. The essays cover a wide range of basic issues in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, moral psychology, and political philosophy, providing a coherent, sophisticated, and forcefully argued view of the nature of the self. Beginning with mental content and ending with Rawls and utilitarianism, each essay argues a distinctive line. (...) Together they are a unified and powerful philosophical position of considerable scope, one that provides a unique vision of the mind, consciousness, personhood, and morality. White argues that the unity of the self revealed in personal identity and moral responsibility is best understood in normative terms. Basic to such features of the self are the patterns of self-concern in which they are characteristically displayed and the internal justification that supports such concern. The treatment of intentionality and consciousness that grounds this account emphasizes privileged selfknowledge and practical rationality and their corresponding contributions to the unity of the self. A final source of unity emerges from the analysis of our fundamental commitments, an analysis that ensures a central place in moral theory for the notion of the self. Preface Introduction I Content 1 Partial Character and the Language of Thought 2 Narrow Content and Narrow Interpretation II Qualia 3 Curse of the Qualia 4 Transcendentalism and Its Discontents III Identity and Consciousness 5 Metapsychological Relativism and the Self 6 What Is It Like to Be a Homunculus? IV Rationality and Responsibility 7 Self-Deception and Responsibility for the Self 8 Moral Responsibility 9 Rationality, Responsibility, and Pathological Indifference V Moral Theory 10 Rawls and Ideal Reflective Equilibria 11 Utilitarianism, Realism, and Rights Notes Bibliography Index. (shrink)
In this paper I distinguish three alternatives to the functionalist account of qualitative states such as pain. The physicalist-functionalist holds that (1) there could be subjects functionally equivalent to us whose mental states differed in their qualitative character from ours, (2) there could be subjects functionally equivalent to us whose mental states lacked qualitative character altogether and (3) there could not be subjects like us in all objective respects whose qualitative states differed from ours. The physicalist-functionalist holds (1) and (3) (...) but denies (2). The transcendentalist holds (1) and (2) and denies (3). I argue that both versions of physicalist-functionalism inherit the problem of property dualism which originally helped to motivate functionalist theories of mind. I also argue that neither version of physicalist-functionalism can distinguish in a principled way between those neurophysiological properties of a subject which are relevant to the qualitative character of that subject's mental states and those which are not. I conclude that the only alternative to a functionalist account of qualitative states is a transcendentalist account and that this alternative is not likely to appeal to the critics of functionalism. (shrink)
The advent of formal definitions of the simplicity of a theory has important implications for model selection. But what is the best way to define simplicity? Forster and Sober () advocate the use of Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC), a non-Bayesian formalisation of the notion of simplicity. This forms an important part of their wider attack on Bayesianism in the philosophy of science. We defend a Bayesian alternative: the simplicity of a theory is to be characterised in terms of Wallace's Minimum (...) Message Length (MML). We show that AIC is inadequate for many statistical problems where MML performs well. Whereas MML is always defined, AIC can be undefined. Whereas MML is not known ever to be statistically inconsistent, AIC can be. Even when defined and consistent, AIC performs worse than MML on small sample sizes. MML is statistically invariant under 1-to-1 re-parametrisation, thus avoiding a common criticism of Bayesian approaches. We also show that MML provides answers to many of Forster's objections to Bayesianism. Hence an important part of the attack on Bayesianism fails. (shrink)
James Madison is the thinker most responsible for laying the groundwork of the American commercial republic. But he did not anticipate that the propertied class on which he relied would become extraordinarily politically powerful at the same time as its interests narrowed. This and other flaws, argues Stephen L. Elkin, have undermined the delicately balanced system he constructed. In Reconstructing the Commercial Republic , Elkin critiques the Madisonian system, revealing which of its aspects have withstood the test of time (...) and which have not. The deficiencies Elkin points out provide the starting point for his own constitutional theory of the republic—a theory that, unlike Madison’s, lays out a substantive conception of the public interest that emphasizes the power of institutions to shape our political, economic, and civic lives. Elkin argues that his theory should guide us toward building a commercial republic that is rooted in a politics of the public interest and the self-interest of the middle class. He then recommends specific reforms to create this kind of republic, asserting that Americans today can still have the lives a commercial republic is intended to promote: lives with real opportunities for economic prosperity, republican political self-government, and individual liberty. (shrink)
have come in for increasing attention and controversy. A good example would be recent debates about moral realism where question of the relation between ethics (or ethical judgment) and the will has come to loom large.' Unfortunately, however, the range of positions labelled internalist in ethical writing is bewilderingly large, and only infrequently are important distinctions kept clear.2 Sometimes writers have in mind the view that sincere assent to a moral (or, more generally, an ethical) judgment concerning what one should (...) do is necessarily connected to motivation (actual or dispositional).s This necessity may be conceptual, or perhaps metaphysical, the thought being.. (shrink)
The purpose of this volume is to help develop, through a variety of exploratory essays, the art and science of institutional design. The authors look at a variety of good societies as artifacts, as products—at least partly—of design, and consider how such societies can be crafted. They identify themselves with the New Constitutionalism movement, which aims to develop and promote the knowledge necessary for institutional reform and institutional creation through understanding the designer's, creator's, founder's, or reformer's perspective. The first part (...) of the volume considers some of the boundaries of what is humanly possible in politico-economic designs and the role in them of deliberation and the processes of adapting to limits. The second part considers different ways of exercising constitutionalist judgment analyzing a variety of cases, including general visions of the good society. Looking at whole societies, and at complexes of institutions, complements and informs the picture of the institutional microscale. Understanding the microscale, on the other hand, often makes the difference between empty slogans and realistic political proposals. Contributors are Karol Edward Soltan, Elinor Ostrorn, Viktor J. Vanberg, James lvi. Buchanan, John S. Dryzek, Charles 'X". Anderson, Stephen U. Elkin, Car Alperovirz, and Philip Green. (shrink)
Varying conceptions of and purposes for dialogue exist. Recent dialogic theorists and advocates urge exploration of forms of dialogue for learning and applying relational responsibilities within stakeholder networks. A related phenomenon has been the recent emergence of multi-stakeholder dialogues that involve parties significantly affected by major issues or concerns, such as environmental sustainability, that have complex and wide-spread implications. The extent to which these recent multi-stakeholder dialogues assume anything resembling the relationship or caring and the learning potentials of dialogic goals (...) and processes suggested by recent advocates, however, can certainly be questioned. This article explores potential directions for research on enhanced forms of multi-stakeholder dialogues that emphasize goals of dialogic learning, relationship building, and business social responsiveness within a more reflective practice of corporate citizenship. Many issues and questions concerning appropriate antecedents, processes, and outcomes for these enhanced multi-stakeholder dialogues are raised and discussed. (shrink)
In a world where every person is exposed daily through the mass media to images of violence and suffering, as most dramatically exemplified in recent years by the ongoing tragedy in Darfur, the question naturally arises: What responsibilities do we, as bystanders to such social injustice, bear in holding accountable those who have created the conditions for this suffering? And what is our own complicity in the continuance of such violence—indeed, how do we contribute to and benefit from it? How (...) is our responsibility as individuals connected to our collective responsibility as members of a society? Such questions underlie Stephen Esquith’s investigation in this book. For Esquith, being responsible means holding ourselves accountable as a people for the institutions we have built or tolerated and the choices we have made individually and collectively within these institutional constraints. It is thus more than just acknowledgment; it involves settling accounts as well as recognizing our own complicity even as bystanders. (shrink)
Various measures related to individual values, ethical attitudes and moral reasoning exist and are being increasingly applied for research in business and professional ethics. The England Personal Values Questionnaire, the Rokeach Value Survey, and Rest's Defining Issues Test have received stronger support and application for management and organizational behavior research than other instruments, such as Gordon's Survey of Personal Values and Hogan's Survey of Ethical Attitudes. Beyond research usage, many of these measures offer potential for instructional purposes. Knowledge of the (...) characteristics and limitations of values and ethics-related measures allows business educators to make better selections of possible supplements to traditional instructional methods. (shrink)
_ Virtue Ethics_ collects, for the first time, the main classical sources and the central contemporary expressions of virtue ethics approach to normative ethical theory. Edited and introduced by Stephen Darwall, these readings are essential for anyone interested in normative theory. Introduced by Stephen Darwall, this collection brings together classic and contemporary readings which define and advance the literature on virtue ethics. Includes six essays which respond to the classic sources. Includes a contemporary discussion on character and virtue (...) by Gary Watson. Includes classic essays by Aristotle, Francis Hutcheson and David Hume, and recent reactions to this work by philosophers including Philippa Foot, John McDowell, Alasdair MacIntyre, Annette Baier, Rosalind Hursthouse, and Michael Slote. (shrink)
Between the later views of Wittgenstein and those of connectionism 1 on the subject of the mastery of language there is an impressively large number of similarities. The task of establishing this claim is carried out in the second section of this paper.
The formulation is persuasive. Yet clearly it does assert a necessary connection between any occurrence and its antecedents. In order for a different result to occur, there has to be a corresponding difference in the antecedents. This means that from any determinate set of antecedents, a single determinate result must follow. It is a formula for determinism. Anscombe wants to caution us not to take what it says for granted.