Michael Huemer argues that cross-cultural convergence toward liberal moral values is evidence of objective moral progress, and by extension, evidence for moral realism. Nathan Cofnas claims to debunk Huemer’s argument by contending that convergence toward liberal moral values can be better explained by ‘two related non-truth-tracking processes’: self-interest and its long-term tendency to result in social conditions conducive to greater empathy. This article argues that although Cofnas successfully debunks Huemer’s convergence argument for one influential form of moral realism – Robust (...) Moral Realism, which holds that moral facts are non-natural, stance-independent normative facts – Cofnas’s debunking argument broadly supports a second type of moral realism: Enlightened Self-Interest Realism, the view that moral facts are reducible to stance-dependent requirements of instrumental (‘means-end’) rationality. Finally, this article argues that insofar as different Enlightened Self-Interest Realist theories make specific predictions about the intra- and inter-personal mechanisms behind moral convergence toward liberalism, empirical observations of cross-cultural convergence can provide independent support for Enlightened Self-Interest Realism. I conclude that this is an important mark in favor of Enlightened Self-Interest Realism over Robust Moral Realism. (shrink)
David Lewis rejected consequentialism in ethics. However, two aspects of his meta-ethical views make it a challenge to see how consequentialism could be resisted. Lewis endorses a maximising conception of rationality, where to be rational is to maximise value of a certain sort; he appears to think it is possible to be both rational and moral; and yet he rejects conceptions of moral action as acting to maximise moral value. The second tension in Lewis's views arises from his meta-ethics. Lewis's (...) naturalisation of morality is in terms of a naturalised account of value, including moral value. Insofar as he offers a motivational story for moral judgements, it is one that goes via a motivational connection to value. Yet his anti-consequentialism seems to commit him to rejecting a story of moral action entirely in terms of pursuit of moral value. In both cases there are things to be said about how to weave these strands of Lewis's thought together. After setting out these two apparent tensions in Lewis's thought about ethics, the paper discusses what a Lewisian could best say about these puzzles. Lewisians do have a number of plausible options for dealing with the first challenge. While there are things a Lewisian could attempt to extend Lewis's moral naturalism in a way that could deal with the second challenge, it is harder to see how to do this in a satisfying way. Attention then turns to what Lewis said in his letters on these topics: on that basis, perhaps Lewis was close to being an agent-relative consequentialist after all. (shrink)
According to one tradition, the virtues and vices should be understood in terms of their relation to value. But inside this tradition, there are three distinct proposals: virtues are intrinsically valuable; virtues are instrumentally valuable; or a hybrid proposal on which virtues are either intrinsically or instrumentally valuable. In this paper, I offer an alternative proposal inside this tradition. I propose that virtues and vices should be understood in terms of the degreed properties of being virtuous and being vicious, which (...) I analyze in terms of the value and disvalue of actions and attitudes. I defend my proposal as the best inside this tradition by showing how it is immune from standard problems the other three proposals face. (shrink)
We often assume that religious beliefs are no different in kind from ordinary factual beliefs—that believing in the existence of God or of supernatural entities that hear our prayers is akin to believing that May comes before June. Neil Van Leeuwen shows that, in fact, these two forms of belief are strikingly different. Our brains do not process religious beliefs like they do beliefs concerning mundane reality; instead, empirical findings show that religious beliefs function like the imaginings that guide make-believe (...) play. -/- Van Leeuwen argues that religious belief—which he terms religious “credence”—is best understood as a form of imagination that people use to define the identity of their group and express the values they hold sacred. When a person pretends, they navigate the world by consulting two maps: the first represents mundane reality, and the second superimposes the features of the imagined world atop the first. Drawing on psychological, linguistic, and anthropological evidence, Van Leeuwen posits that religious communities operate in much the same way, consulting a factual-belief map that represents ordinary objects and events and a religious-credence map that accords these objects and events imagined sacred and supernatural significance. -/- It is hardly controversial to suggest that religion has a social function, but Religion as Make-Believe breaks new ground by theorizing the underlying cognitive mechanisms. Once we recognize that our minds process factual and religious beliefs in fundamentally different ways, we can gain deeper understanding of the complex individual and group psychology of religious faith. (shrink)
Transhumanism proposes human enhancement while regarding the human body as unfit for the future. This fulfills age-old aspirations for a perfect and durable body. We use “alienation” as a concept to analyze this mismatch between human aspirations and our current condition. For Hannah Arendt alienation may be accounted for in terms of earth- and world-alienation, as well as alienation from human nature, and especially from the given (“resentment of the given”). In transhumanism, the biological body is an impediment to human (...) accomplishment. At most, this movement accepts “clean” bodies, not bodies with excretions. We argue that real human bodies are valued in the event of giving birth, so a modified concept that Arendt proposed, natality, seems a suitable way to explore the dialectic alienation-reconciliation involving the body (Arendt’s “A child has been born unto us”), when re-read by some feminist scholars. (shrink)
In this essay, I argue that the objections that have been raised against the view that equality is intrinsically valuable also provide objections to the view that all practical reasons can be explained in terms of value. Plausible egalitarian principles entail that under certain conditions people have claims to an equal share. These claims entail reasons to distribute goods equally that cannot be explained by value if equality has no intrinsic value.
Im März 2020 änderte sich das Leben für viele (nicht nur in Deutschland) radikal. Das Virus SARS-CoV-2, besser bekannt als „COVID-19-“ oder „Corona-Virus“, breitete sich als Verursacher einer zwischenzeitlich global virulenten Pandemie in unvermuteter Geschwindigkeit aus. Es verwundert nicht, dass viele in dieser unsicheren Zeit auf der Suche nach Orientierung nach scheinbar bekannten Mustern fahnden. Ein solches Muster glaubten offenbar einige, in Camus’ Roman "Die Pest" finden zu können, ein Roman, der – dem Titel nach – auch von einer Seuche (...) zu erzählen scheint. Befasst man sich mit dem Werk von Albert Camus, dem Philosophen und Literaturnobelpreisträger, kommt man schwerlich umhin, eines der Grundprobleme der Philosophie als einer akademischen Disziplin zu thematisieren, an der zweifelsohne ein öffentliches Interesse besteht, die sich aber in der Rolle des Um-Rat-Gefragten notorisch unwohl zu fühlen scheint. In diesem Beitrag werden die Thesen Albert Camus’ zur Relevanz der Kunst, zu deren Spannungsverhältnis zur akademischen Philosophie und zur Rolle beider in unserer krisengeschüttelten Gesellschaft untersucht. (shrink)
La tradición filosófica de los enfoques morales se basa predominantemente en conceptos y teorías metafísicas y teológicas. Entre los conceptos tradicionales de la ética, el más destacado es la Teoría del Mandato Divino (DCT). Según TCD, Dios da fundamentos morales a la humanidad desde su creación ya a través de revelaciones. Así, la moral y la divinidad serían inseparables de la civilización más remota. Estos conceptos se sumergen en un marco teológico y son mayoritariamente aceptados por la mayoría de los (...) seguidores de las tres tradiciones Abrahámicas: judaísmo, cristianismo e islam, que abarcan la mayor parte de la población humana. Teniendo como fundamento la fe y la Revelación, las Teorías del Mandato Divino no están estrictamente sujetas a ningún tipo de demostración. Los opositores a la concepción moral del Mandato Divino, basados en la imposibilidad de demostrar sus supuestos metafísicos y religiosos, han intentado durante muchos siglos desvalorizar su importancia. Apoyan el argumento de que la teoría no muestra evidencia material y coherencia lógica y, por ello, no puede ser tenida en cuenta para fines científicos o filosóficos. Es solo una creencia y como tal debe entenderse. Además de estas posiciones extremas, muchos otros conceptos atacan las teorías del Mandato Divino, de una forma u otra, en parte o en su totalidad. Muchos filósofos y científicos sociales, desde la filosofía griega clásica hasta la actualidad, por ejemplo, sostienen que la moralidad es solo una construcción y, por lo tanto, culturalmente relativa y culturalmente determinada. Sin embargo, esto trae a colación muchas otras discusiones y plantea el desafío de determinar cuál es el sentido de la cultura, qué elementos de la cultura son moralmente determinantes y, finalmente, cuáles son los límites de esta relatividad. Los deterministas morales, por su parte, afirman que todo lo relacionado con el comportamiento humano, incluida la moralidad, está determinado en sus causas, ya que no existe el libre albedrío. Más recientemente, los pensadores modernos han argumentado que existe una ciencia rigurosa de la moralidad. Sin embargo, el método científico por sí solo, a pesar de explicar varios hechos y evidencias, no puede aclarar todo el contenido y significado de la ética. La comprensión moral requiere una visión más amplia y un acuerdo entre los filósofos, lo que nunca lograron. Todas estas preguntas tienen muchas configuraciones diferentes, dependiendo de cada línea filosófica, e inician análisis complejos y debates interminables, ya que muchos de ellos son recíprocamente conflictivos. Independientemente de la validez de alguno o todos los elementos de esta discusión y de su significado como universo filosófico de este trabajo, el objetivo de nuestro estudio es demostrar y justificar la existencia y el significado de los arquetipos morales prehistóricos que surgen directamente de principios fundamentales, necesita esfuerzos sociales y de supervivencia. Estos arquetipos son la definición del fundamento esencial de la ética, su agregación al inconsciente colectivo y su correspondiente organización lógica y transmisión a las etapas evolutivas del genoma humano y a las distintas relaciones espacio-temporales, independientemente de cualquier experiencia contemporánea de los individuos. El sistema definido por estos arquetipos compone un modelo social humano evolutivo. (shrink)
Normative powers like promising allow agents to effect changes to their reasons, permissions and rights by the means of communicative actions whose function is to effect just those changes. An attractive view of the normativity of such powers combines a non-reductive account of their bindingness with a value-based grounding story of why we have them. This value-based view of normative powers however invites a charge of wishful thinking: Is it not bad reasoning to think that we have a given power (...) because it would be good? In this article, I offer a defence of the value-based view of normative powers against this surprisingly under-discussed objection. First, I clarify the challenge by distinguishing between two components of normative powers, which I call the material and normative components, respectively. Secondly, I defend the form of normative explanation involved, showing that it is needed to give convincing value-based explanations for other important normative phenomena, especially rights of autonomy. (shrink)
According to the Value-Neutrality Thesis, technology is morally and politically neutral, neither good nor bad. A knife may be put to bad use to murder an innocent person or to good use to peel an apple for a starving person, but the knife itself is a mere instrument, not a proper subject for moral or political evaluation. While contemporary philosophers of technology widely reject the VNT, it remains unclear whether claims about values in technology are just a figure of speech (...) or nontrivial empirical claims with genuine factual content and real-world implications. This paper provides the missing argument. I argue that by virtue of their material properties, technological artifacts are part of the normative order rather than external to it. I illustrate how values can be empirically identified in technology. The reason why value-talk is not trivial or metaphorical is that due to the endurance and longevity of technological artifacts, values embedded in them have long-term implications that surpass their designers and builders. I further argue that taking sides in this debate has real-world implications in the form of moral constraints on the development of technology. (shrink)
G.A. Cohen’s value conservatism entails that we ought to preserve some existing sources of value in lieu of more valuable replacements, thereby repudiating maximizing consequentialism. Cohen motivates value conservatism through illustrative cases. The consequentialist, however, can explain many Cohen-style cases by taking extrinsic properties, such as historical significance, to be sources of final value. Nevertheless, it may be intuitive that there’s stronger reason to preserve than to promote certain sources of value, especially historically significant things. This motivates an argument that (...) the weights of our reasons to preserve such things are especially strong relative to the amounts of value they bear. The value conservative can then explain these intuitions in non-consequentialist terms. There may be reason to preserve historically significant things as a matter of recognition respect for a cultural and historical heritage, or because it is virtuous to cultivate the right kind of connection with such a heritage. (shrink)
La primera parte de este libro expone la idea o teoría de las Leyes Noájicas, desde perspectivas espirituales, filosóficas, psicológicas, sociales y políticas. Varios de sus contenidos ya han sido presentados a líderes, incluidos estadistas internacionales (cuyas cartas se incluyen aquí), que han respondido con ánimo a su estudio y difusión. La segunda parte del libro presenta la conducta o práctica concreta de las Leyes Noájicas. Esta tarea precisa procede de una extensa investigación acerca de la Tradición del comentario sobre (...) la Revelación en el Sinaí, de la cual forman parte las Leyes de Noé (que ya anteriormente eran el pacto moral de la humanidad, pero que fueron reexpresadas con autoridad en el Sinaí). La forma en que las Leyes de Noé con sus detalles estructuran la conducta ética de los principales dominios de la existencia humana se establece claramente para el lector general; y con extensas notas a pie de página y referencias para aquellos que buscan profundizar el estudio. (shrink)
This essay delves into Nietzsche’s understanding of the jester in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. I argue here that its existence explains the shifting ethos from tragedy to comedy. The jester in the societal context exhibits the figure of fictionalism that redirects reality into a detour of comic interplays. As such, he embodies fictional overcoming from the modern backdrop. I then employ On the Genealogy of Morals to explain further four principles that aid in taking into effect the birth of the jester. (...) Nietzsche’s critique of morality attacks such principles as ressentiment, guilt and bad conscience taken together, free will, and ascetic ideal. Later, I present a way of going into the shadows as a manner of confronting the jester and overcoming it. (shrink)
Death is something we mourn or fear as the worst thing that could happen―whether the deaths of close ones, the deaths of strangers in reported accidents or tragedies, or our own. And yet, being dead is something that no one can experience and live to describe. This simple truth raises a host of difficult philosophical questions about the negativity surrounding our sense of death, and how and for whom exactly it is harmful. The question of whether death is bad has (...) occupied philosophers for centuries, and the debate emerging in philosophical literature is referred to as the "badness of death." Are deaths primarily negative for the survivors, or does death also affect the deceased? What are the differences between death in fetal life, just after birth, or in adolescence? In order to properly evaluate deaths in global health, we must find answers to these questions. -/- In this volume, leading philosophers, medical doctors, and economists discuss different views on how to evaluate death and its relevance for health policy. This includes theories about the harm of death and its connections to population-level bioethics. For example, one of the standard views in global health is that newborn deaths are among the worst types of death, yet stillbirths are neglected. This raises difficult questions about why birth is so significant, and several of the book's authors challenge this standard view. -/- This is the first volume to connect philosophical discussions on the harm of death with discussions on population health, adjusting the ways in which death is evaluated. Changing these evaluations has consequences for how we prioritize different health programs that affect individuals at different ages, as well as how we understand inequality in health. (shrink)
Running a marathon is not solely a personal achievement; rather it sets an example. Because of the nature of this example, it constitutes an achievement that deserves our praise (contrary to what has recently been argued in this Journal).
My purpose in this paper is to examine whether Pyrrhonian skepticism, as this stance is described in Sextus Empiricus’s extant works, has practical or epistemic value. More precisely, I would like to consider whether the Pyrrhonist’s suspension of judgment (ἐποχή) and undisturbedness (ἀταραξία) can be deemed to be of practical or epistemic value. By ‘practical’ value I mean both moral value and prudential value. Moral value refers to moral rightness and wrongness; prudential value to the value of well-being, personal or (...) social. Hence, when I ask whether the Pyrrhonist’s suspension and undisturbedness have practical value, I mean whether they make us behave in a manner that is morally right or wrong, and whether they allow us to attain those goals that would make it possible to live well. As for ‘epistemic’ value, it refers basically to the values of attaining truth and avoiding error. Hence, when I ask whether the Pyrrhonist’s suspension has epistemic value, I mean whether it allows us to attain truth and avoid error. My main focus will be the practical value of both suspension and undisturbedness because this is the value on which ancient philosophy scholars critical of Pyrrhonism have laid emphasis. The reason for examining the epistemic value of suspension is that doing so will enable a fuller assessment of the significance of Pyrrhonism as a kind of philosophy, which is my primary concern. (shrink)
A new explanation for the fairness of lotteries is presented. The explanation draws on elements of John Broome's and Richard Bradley's accounts, but is distinct from both of them. I start with Broome's idea that the fairness of lotteries has something to do with satisfying claims in a way which is proportional to their strength. I present an intuitive explication of.
Much has been written about what corporations owe society and whether it is appropriate to hold them responsible. In contrast, little has been written about whether anything is owed to corporations apart from what is owed to their members. And when this question has been addressed, the answer has always been that corporations are not worthy of any distinct moral consideration. This is even claimed by proponents of corporate agency. In this paper, I argue that proponents of corporate agency should (...) recognize corporations as worthy of moral consideration. Though particular views of moral status are often taken for granted in the literature, corporations can satisfy many views of moral status given the capacities often ascribed to them. They can even meet the conditions of the views assumed. I conclude by suggesting that recognizing the moral status of corporations may not be as drastic or harmful as we might imagine. (shrink)
This paper critically assesses existing accounts of the nature of difficulty, finds them wanting, and proposes a new account. The concept of difficulty is routinely invoked in debates regarding degrees of moral responsibility, and the value of achievement. Until recently, however, there has not been any sustained attempt to provide an account of the nature of difficulty itself. This has changed with Gwen Bradford’s Achievement, which argues that difficulty is a matter of how much intense effort is expended. But while (...) this account captures something important about the relationship between difficulty and achievement, it fails to account for the fact that part of what makes achievements great is that they are difficult in a moderately agent-neutral kind of way. Nor is this thought captured by any other extant account. I argue that to fill this gap we should think of difficulty in terms of low probability of success. (shrink)
What does it mean to be a morally good person? It can be tempting to think that it is simply a matter of performing certain actions and avoiding others. And yet there is much more to moral character than our outward actions. We expect a good person to not only behave in certain ways but also to experience the world in certain ways within.
Is consciousness intrinsically valuable? Some theorists favor the positive view, according to which consciousness itself accrues intrinsic value, independent of the particular kind of experience instantiated. In contrast, I favor the neutral view, according to which consciousness is neither intrinsically valuable nor disvaluable. The primary purpose of this paper is to clarify what is at stake when we ask whether consciousness is intrinsically valuable, to carve out the theoretical space, and to evaluate the question rigorously. Along the way, I also (...) show why the neutral view is attractive and why certain arguments for the positive view do not work. (shrink)
Many moral theories are committed to the idea that some kinds of moral considerations should be respected, whatever the cost to ‘lesser’ types of considerations. A person's life, for instance, should not be sacrificed for the trivial pleasures of others, no matter how many would benefit. However, according to the decision-theoretic critique of lexical priority theories, accepting lexical priorities inevitably leads us to make unacceptable decisions in risky situations. It seems that to operate in a risky world, we must reject (...) lexical priorities altogether. This paper argues that lexical priority theories can, in fact, offer satisfactory guidance in risky situations. It does so by equipping lexical priority theories with overlooked resources from decision theory. (shrink)
This paper critically examines Michael Zimmerman’s account of basic final value in The Nature of Intrinsic Value. Zimmerman’s account has several positive features. Unfortunately, as I argue, given one plausible assumption about value his account derives a contradiction. I argue that rejecting that assumption has several implausible results and that we should instead reject Zimmerman’s account. I then sketch an alternative account of basic final value, showing how it retains some of the positive features of Zimmerman’s account while avoiding its (...) pitfalls. (shrink)
Doris argues that an agent is responsible for her behavior only if that behavior expresses (a relevant subset of) the agent’s values. This view has problems explaining responsibility for mistakes or episodes of forgetfulness. These problems highlight a conceptual problem with Doris’s theory of responsible agency and give us reasons to prefer an alternative (non-valuational) theory of responsible agency.
I defend the bold claim that self-described speciesists are not really speciesists. Of course, I do not deny that self-described speciesists would assent to generic speciesist claims (e.g. Humans matter more than animals). The conclusion I draw is more nuanced. My claim is that such generic speciesist beliefs are inconsistent with other, more deeply held, beliefs of self-described speciesists. Crucially, once these inconsistencies are made apparent, speciesists will reject the generic speciesist beliefs because they are absurd by the speciesists’ own (...) lights. (shrink)
A work of Vietnamese art crossed a million-dollar mark in the international art market in early 2017. The event was reluctantly seen as a sign of maturity from the Vietnamese art amidst the many existing problems. Even though the Vietnamese media has discussed the issues enthusiastically, there is a lack of literature from the Vietnamese academics examining the subject, and even rarer in from the market perspective. This paper aims to contribute an insightful perspective on the Vietnamese art market, and (...) hesitantly the Vietnamese art as well, through the lens of fake, forgery and copy artworks. 35 cases of fake, forgery and copy paintings were found on the news and from the experts' wisdom. Through the examples, we argue that the Vietnamese art market is a temporary reaction to the immaturely rising of the Vietnamese art and the economy. Therefore, the art market is unable to function healthily unless the Vietnamese art and the economy developed. (shrink)
When we quote Luther’s dictum, “Here I stand. I can do no other,” we refer to the composure of someone who experiences the necessity to follow a particular course of action against all odds. The incapacity of alternative action is not regarded as a deficit; in such cases, it seems to “lend some added weight” to the decision. This paper deals with the question what kind of value is attributed to experiences of practical necessities or incapacities, in particular, if these (...) derive from an individual’s psychological “structure” and the limits of someone’s personality. Finally, it distinguishes between different types of added weight that are related to different forms of personal and normative necessities. This weight can be legitimately attributed to the virtue of standing for something and being an example of what everybody should do, but it can also be attributed to the valid claim of standing by the demarcation line of one’s personality and defending it against the threat of losing oneself. (shrink)
Many philosophers and non-philosophers are attracted to the view that moral truths are relative to moral framework or culture. I distinguish between two versions of such a view. I argue that one version is coherent but not plausible, and I argue that the second one can’t be made sense of. The upshot is that we have to make sense of at least some objective moral truths.
Institutionalized and internalized, competence intersubjectivity contain many user-illusions and an imaginary or manifest image of reality, including of themselves (Dennett and Sellars),. This can be contrasted we a comprehension or comprehensive, understanding intersubjectivity. It is possible and perhaps even necessary to transform or replace the competence intersubjectivity to a comprehension or understanding (scientific, Dennett and Sellars) image of reality and themselves.Ethics and morality and studies of ethics and morality deal with the reality of competence intersubjectivity (by means of socio-cultural practices (...) that are derived from, based on an created by means of this restrictive, misleading, unreal, illusory, unrealistic intersubjectivity and the life-worlds associated with it) and human life-worlds constituted on the basis of and in terms of this intersubjectivity. This is why I am a nihilist, a libertarian, at least a minarchist or rather an anarchist and epistemologically a sceptic. Kant’s things in themselves are similar to Dennett and Searle’s notions of manifest and scientific image. With my addition that we are socialized and internalize the competent, know how to do it, institutionalized manifest, everyday intersubjectivity, instead of the comprehension, insights and understanding knowing that, scientific intersubjectivity of all scientific disciplines. This piece can be read as independent as comments on meta-ethics, or it can be read as a chapter in my Book ‘Intersubjectivity (continued)’, or it can be read as an introduction to my thoughts on philosophy and more specifically Intersubjectivity as – Determining the nature of philosophy Determining the nature of the subject-matter of philosophy, sociology, social psychology, aspects of cognitive sciences, ethics, epistemology, etc, Determining the nature of philosophical methodology and approaches. (shrink)
This is an imagined dialogue between one of the more famous skeptics regarding moral attribution, Thrasymachus, and an imagined Socrates who, through the convenient miracle of time travel, returns to Athens after exposure to contemporary metaethics, now a devoted and formidable quasi-realist expressivist. The dialogue focuses on the characterization of moral conflict and moral justification available to the expressivist, and the authors attempt to lay out the distinctive strengths and weaknesses of the expressivist view.
This paper presents a moral argument in support of the view that the mind is a nonphysical object. It is intuitively obvious that we, the bearers of conscious experiences, have an inherent value that is not reducible to the value of our conscious experiences. It remains intuitively obvious that we have inherent value even when we represent ourselves to have no physical bodies whatsoever. Given certain assumptions about morality and moral intuitions, this implies that the bearers of conscious experiences—the objects (...) possessing inherent value—are not physical objects. This moral evidence is corroborated by introspective evidence. (shrink)
Philosophers theorizing about ‘evil’ usually distinguish evil actions from acts of ordinary wrongdoing. They either attempt to isolate some quality or set of qualities shared by all evil actions that is not found in other wrongful actions, or they concede that their account of evil is only distinguished by capturing the very worst acts on the scale of moral wrongness. The idea that evil is qualitatively distinct from wrongdoing has recently been under contention. We explore the grounds for this contention, (...) and argue that there is a third option that might be useful for a variety of philosophical accounts of evil. The alternate form of distinctness we propose is called quality of emphasis distinctness. We illustrate this form of concept distinctness with a modified version of Hillel Steiner’s account of evil. We then explain how QE distinctness could also be applied to more complex theories of evil, such as the theories proposed by Claudia Card, John Kekes, and Todd Calder. (shrink)
I briefly introduce Moral Failure as a book that brings together philosophical and empirical work in moral psychology to examine moral requirements that are non-negotiable and that contravene the principle that “ought implies can.” I respond to Rivera by arguing that the process of construction that imbues normative requirements with authority need not systematize or eliminate conflicts between normative requirements. My response to Schwartzman clarifies what is problematic about nonideal theorizing that limits itself to offering action-guidance. In response to Kittay, (...) I defend my rejection of “ought implies can,” and consider the implications of the concept of unfair moral requirements. (shrink)
According to standard comparativist views, death is bad insofar as it deprives someone of goods she would otherwise have had. In The Ethics of Killing, Jeff McMahan argues against such views and in favor of a gradualist account according to which how bad it is to die is a function of both the future goods of which the decedent is deprived and her cognitive development when she dies. Comparativists and gradualists therefore disagree about how bad it is to die at (...) different ages. In this paper I examine two prominent criticisms of gradualism and show that both misconstrue McMahan. I develop a related criticism that seems to show that a gradualist cannot coherently relate morbidity and mortality. This criticism also fails, but has an instructive implication for how policy-makers setting priorities for health care investments should regard choices between life-saving interventions and interventions against non-fatal diseases in the very young. (shrink)
I propose an analysis of harm in terms of causation: harm is when a subject is caused to be worse off. The pay-off from this lies in the details. In particular, importing influential recent work from the causation literature yields a contrastive-counterfactual account. This enables us to incorporate harm's multiple senses into a unified scheme, and to provide that scheme with theoretical ballast. It also enables us to respond effectively to previous criticisms of counterfactual accounts, as well as to sharpen (...) criticisms of rival views. (shrink)
Human rights, as traditionally understood in the West, are grounded in an anthropocentric theory of personhood. However, as this chapter argues, such a stance is certainly not culturally universal; historically, it is derivable from a cultural orientation that is Greek in origin. Such an orientation conflates thought with language (logos), and identifies humans as uniquely deserving of moral consideration or standing to the exclusion of non-human knowers. The linguistic theory of thought impedes insight and understanding of both Indian and Western (...) contributions to political and moral thought. It is argued that the idea that we have rights by virtue of being human is problematic. In contrast, the chapter argues for an account of personal rights derivable from Patañjali’s philosophy. On a Patañjalian account, the rights necessary for the good of persons transcend species, sex, caste, race, class, age, ability, and sexual orientation. (shrink)
Philosophers interested in the fitting attitude analysis of final value have devoted a great deal of attention to the wrong kind of reasons problem. This paper offers an example of the reverse difficulty, the wrong kind of value problem. This problem creates deeper challenges for the fitting attitude analysis and provides independent grounds for rejecting it, or at least for doubting seriously its correctness.
I start by arguing that Mackie’s claim that there are no objective values is a nonsensical one. I do this by ‘assembling reminders’ of the correct use of the term ‘values’ and by examining the grammar of moral propositions à la Wittgenstein. I also examine Hare’s thought experiment which is used to demonstrate “that no real issue can be built around the objectivity or otherwise of moral values” before briefly looking at Mackie’s ‘argument from queerness’. In the final section I (...) propose that Robert Arrington’s ‘conceptual relativism’, inspired by Wittgenstein, helps to make our use of moral language more perspicuous and avoids the problems faced by Mackie. (shrink)
Why does a baby who is otherwise cognitively similar to an animal such as a dog nevertheless have a higher moral status? We explain the difference in moral status as follows: the baby can, while a dog cannot, participate as a rearee in what we call “person-rearing relationships,” which can transform metaphysically and evaluatively the baby’s activities. The capacity to engage in these transformed activities has the same type of value as the very capacities (i.e., intellectual or emotional sophistication) that (...) explain unimpaired adult humans’ high moral status. We attempt to extend this account to individuals with severe cognitive impairments. (shrink)
This note explores how ideal subjectivism in metanormative theory can help solve two important problems for Fitting Attitude analyses of value. The wrong-kind-of-reason problem is that there may be sufficient reason for attitude Y even if the object is not Y-able. The many-kinds-of-fittingness problem is that the same attitude can be fitting in many ways. Ideal subjectivism addresses both by maintaining that an attitude is W-ly fitting if and only if endorsed by any W-ly ideal subject. A subject is W-ly (...) ideal when the most robust way of avoiding W-type practical problems is deferring to her endorsement. (shrink)
There was a consensus in late Scholasticism that evils are privations, the lacks of appropriate perfections. For something to be evil is for it to lack an excellence that, by its nature, it ought to have. This widely accepted ontology of evil was used, in part, to help explain the source of evil in a world created and sustained by a perfect being. during the second half of the seventeenth century, progressive early moderns began to criticize the traditional privative account (...) of evil on a variety of philosophical and theological grounds. Embedded in Scholastic Aristotelianism and applied to problems of evil, privation theory seemed to some like yet another instance of pre-modern pseudo-explanation.1Against this .. (shrink)
„Jdu na chvíli ven a možná se zdržím,“ měl říci kapitán Oates (Scott, 1912), opustit stan a nikdy se nevrátit. Měl mít vážně omrzlé nohy, měl ztrácet síly rychleji než ostatní. Údajně žádal, aby byl ponechán svému osudu. Ostatní to odmítli, a proto odešel sám. Scott (1912) napsal, že věděli, že jde Oates na smrt, že to byl skutečný anglický gentleman.V diskusích o eutanazii je zmiňován argument, že je-li smrt na požádání povolena, mohou lidé dojít k závěru, že mají nejen (...) právo, ale dokonce i povinnost zemřít, a to by byl nepřípustný výsledek. Povinnost zemřít je chápána jako něco nepřijatelného, nepřipustitelného. Nicméně existují případy, ve kterých tuto povinnost připouštíme. Oates opustil stan, odešel zemřít, protože kdyby zůstal, měli by ostatní velmi malou, žádnou, šanci na přežití. Nebyli schopni ho opustit, on je ale opustit musel. Zdá se tak, že měl povinnost zemřít. Stejně tak horolezci při pádu odříznou raději sami sebe, než aby vystavili riziku ostatní.Existují čtyři základní a obecné motivy, které jsou spojeny s rozhodnutím zemřít (Warnock, 2008). Lze je také rozdělit do dvou skupin: pro smrt se rozhodujeme ve vztahu k sobě, s ohledem k bolesti nebo s ohledem k důstojnosti, a ve vztahu k druhým, s ohledem ke svým blízkým nebo s ohledem ke společnosti. Pokud samotný člověk nechápe svůj život jako nejvyšší a nezpochybnitelnou hodnotu, pokud si nemyslí, že se může rozhodovat bez ohledu ke komukoli jinému, k čemukoli jinému, pak lze ukázat, že jsou chvíle, kdy máme povinnost zemřít. Máme povinnost zemřít, abychom uchránili právě to, o čem si myslíme, že je významnější než náš život, ať už se jedná o životy jiných lidí, či představu o nás samotných. Povinnost zemřít se tak nezdá jako něco, co by mělo zakládat důvody pro odmítnutí eutanazie, není něčím nepřípustným nebo nepřijatelným. (shrink)
Current Controversies in Political Philosophy brings together an international team of leading philosophers to explore and debate four key and dynamic issues in the field in an accessible way. Should we all be cosmopolitans? – Gillian Brock and Cara Nine Are rights important? – Rowan Cruft and Sonu Bedi Is sexual objectification wrong and, if so, why? – Lina Papadaki and Scott Anderson What to do about climate change? – Alexa Zellentin and Thom Brooks These questions are the focus of (...) intense debate. Preliminary chapter descriptions, bibliographies following each chapter, and annotated guides to supplemental readings help provide clearer and richer snapshots of active controversy for all readers. (shrink)
How wrong is it to deceive someone into sex by lying, say, about one's profession? The answer is seriously wrong when the liar's actual profession would be a deal breaker for the victim of the deception: this deception vitiates the victim's sexual consent, and it is seriously wrong to have sex with someone while lacking his or her consent.
This article forms part of a tribute to Anita L. Allen by the APA newletter on Philosophy and Law. It celebrates Allen's work, but also explains why her conception of privacy is philosophically inadequate. It then uses basic democratic principles and the example of the secret ballot to suggest how we might develop a more philosophically persuasive version of Allen's ideas.
THE STRUCTURE OF THIS PAPER IS AS FOLLOWS. I begin §1 by dealing with preliminary issues such as the different relations expressed by the “good for” locution. I then (§2) outline the Locative Analysis of good for and explain its main elements before moving on to (§3) outlining and discussing the positive features of the view. In the subsequent sections I show how the Locative Analysis can respond to objections from, or inspired by, Sumner (§4-5), Regan (§6), and Schroeder and (...) Feldman (§7). I then (§8) reply to an imagined objector who claims that the Locative Analysis generates implausible results with respect to punishment, virtue and agent-centered duties. (shrink)
“Our call is to young India. It is the young who must be the builders of the new world.” Sri Aurobindo -/- India was always rich in the establishment of centers even in Vedic times where the first principles of education were to be found in the Ashrams and Gurukuls and later on in the great universities of Nalanda and Taxila. The term education usually refers to the technical sense and is generally limited to the context of teachers instructing students. (...) Teachers may draw on many subjects, including reading, writing, mathematics, science and history. The true aim and principle of national education according to Sri Aurobindo is to take our culture as its foundation while not ignoring modern truth and knowledge. Education provides conditions for all human beings towards their divine perfection and to achieve the power, the harmony, the beauty and joy of self-realisation. According to him education brings out, “to full advantage, makes ready for the full purpose and scope of human life all that is in the individual man, and which at the same time helps him to enter his right relations with the life, mind and soul of the people to which he himself is a unit and his people or nation a living, a separate and yet inseparable member.”(Sri Aurobindo, Vol.17, p.198) -/- -/- In this approach we can study his ideas on the nature of education and objectives of education, its basic principles, how we develop curriculum for students, methods of teaching etc. Besides this we can also study the role of students and responsibility of a teacher to student’s education. Because according to him the teacher is only a guide and he shows the pupils how to perfect their instruments of knowledge and helps and encourages them in this process. Instead of imparting knowledge he shows how to acquire knowledge for himself. A teacher must be a student, so that he can understand student’s problems, motivate them to solve their problems and helps in the development of successful life. (shrink)