What exactly is hope and how does it influence our decisions? In How We Hope, Adrienne Martin presents a novel account of hope, the motivational resources it presupposes, and its function in our practical lives. She contends that hoping for an outcome means treating certain feelings, plans, and imaginings as justified, and that hope thereby involves sophisticated reflective and conceptual capacities. Martin develops this original perspective on hope--what she calls the "incorporation analysis"--in contrast to the two dominant philosophical conceptions of (...) hope: the orthodox definition, where hoping for an outcome is simply desiring it while thinking it possible, and agent-centered views, where hoping for an outcome is setting oneself to pursue it. In exploring how hope influences our decisions, she establishes that it is not always a positive motivational force and can render us complacent. She also examines the relationship between hope and faith, both religious and secular, and identifies a previously unnoted form of hope: normative or interpersonal hope. When we place normative hope in people, we relate to them as responsible agents and aspire for them to overcome challenges arising from situation or character. Demonstrating that hope merits rigorous philosophical investigation, both in its own right and in virtue of what it reveals about the nature of human emotion and motivation, How We Hope offers an original, sustained look at a largely neglected topic in philosophy. (shrink)
I argue for adopting a conception of obligation that is broader than the conception commonly adopted by moral philosophers. According to this broader conception, the crucial marks of an obligatory action are, first, that the reasons for the obliged party to perform the action include an exclusionary reason and, second, that the obliged party is the appropriate target of blaming reactive attitudes, if they inexcusably fail to perform the obligatory action. An obligation is directed if the exclusionary reason depends on (...) the relationship between the obliged person and the person to whom they owe the obligatory action, and the latter person is positioned to personally blame the obligated person for inexcusably failing to perform the obligatory action. Some direc- ted obligations are not owed as a matter of right, and the person to whom the obligatory action is owed is the only person positioned to blame nonperformance. Other directed obligations are owed as a matter of right, and people who are not part of the relationship grounding the obligation nevertheless are also positioned to (impersonally) blame non-performance. Only the rights-based form of directed obligation has received signifi- cant attention from moral philosophers, yet the former—which is at the heart of what I call “personal bonds”—is a pervasive and significant theme of our ordinary interpersonal lives. (shrink)
It is a commonplace in both the popular imagination and the philosophical literature that hope has a special kind of motivational force. This commonplace underwrites the conviction that hope alone is capable of bolstering us in despairinducing circumstances, as well as the strategy of appealing to hope in the political realm. In section 1, I argue that, to the contrary, hope’s motivational essence is not special or unique—it is simply that of an endorsed desire. The commonplace is not entirely mistaken, (...) however, because standard ways of expressing hope do have motivational influence that is different in kind from that of desire. In sections 2 through 4, I examine one of these ways of expressing hope, fantasizing, and argue that fantasies can present us with reasons to modify our goals and projects in multiple ways. (shrink)
Apologies are strange. They are, in a certain sense, very small. An apology is just a gesture—a set of words, a physical posture, perhaps a gift. But an apology can also be very powerful—this power is implicit in the facts that it can be difficult to offer an apology and that, when we are wronged, we may want an apology very much. More, even we have been severely wronged, we are sometimes willing to forgive or pardon the wrongdoer, if we (...) receive a sincere apology. In this paper, I want to begin to figure out how a mere gesture can be so powerful. The philosophers who discuss apology generally do not go into much detail, and they discuss it almost exclusively in connection with forgiveness. 2 I, too, will discuss apology’s power to provide reason to forgive, but in order to provide the resources to examine another power. Some apologies, I will argue, fail to provide reason to forgive, but nevertheless do provide the recipient a reason to maintain a relationship with the wrongdoer, or to allow the wrongdoer to remain in her community. To be clear: the “powers” I am interested in are reason-giving powers, or powers to make certain beliefs, attitudes, or actions rational. Apologies also, no doubt, have a sort of bare causal power. The sight of a vicious, racist, cruel war criminal on his knees and in tears, sincerely begging forgiveness, may inspire in us pity or even compassion, in spite of what we believe we have reason to feel. “I can’t help but feel sorry for the bastard,” we may say, even while believing that.. (shrink)
How do we encourage patients to be hopeful without exploiting their hope? A medical researcher or a pharmaceutical company can take unfair advantage of someone's hope by much subtler means than simply giving misinformation. Hope shapes deliberation, and therefore can make deliberation better or worse, by the deliberator's own standards of deliberation.
In this paper, I outline a Kantian moral psychology and use it to generate an analysis of the emotional attitude, love. At the heart of this moral psychology is a distinction between rational and subrational motives, and the thesis that interpersonal emotional attitudes like love are governed by a norm of respect. I show how an analysis of love that relies on this moral psychology—which I call “the incorporation conception” of love—tightly fits with paradigmatic cases of romantic love, reveals both (...) the continuities and differences between romantic and other forms of love, and also explicates our ambivalence about certain cases. Finally, I argue that this analysis, although it sees love as essentially a bundle of volitions, has the resources to respond to both David Velleman’s and Niko Kolodny’s critiques of volition-based analyses of love. Taken as a whole, the discussion provides an argument for both this analysis of love and the moral psychology it presupposes. (shrink)
What should we make of someone whose beliefs prevent her from accurately understanding her medical needs and care? Should that person still make her own health care decisions? In fact, she probably lacks decision‐making capacity. But that does not mean she is not competent.
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, March 2006. Significant effort has been devoted to locating a good argument for Kant ’s Formula of Humanity. In this paper, I contrast two arguments, based on Kant ’s text, for the Formula of Humanity. The first, which I call the “Valued Ends” argument, is an influential and appealing argument developed most notably by Christine Korsgaard and Allen Wood. Notwithstanding the appeal and influence of this argument, it ultimately fails on several counts. I therefore present as an (...) alternative the “Autonomy” argument, which is largely inspired by the failings of the Valued Ends argument. (shrink)
The Routledge Handbook of Love in Philosophycollects 39 original chapters from prominent philosophers on the nature, meaning, value, and predicaments of love, presented in a unique framework that highlights the rich variety of methods and traditions used to engage with these subjects. This volume is structured around important realms of human life and activity, each of which receives its own section: I. Family and Friendship II. Romance and Sex III. Politics and Society IV. Animals, Nature, and the Environment V. Art, (...) Faith, and Meaning VI. Rationality and Morality VII. Traditions: Historical and Contemporary. This last section includes chapters treating love as a subject in both Western and non-Western philosophical traditions. The contributions, all appearing in print here for the first time, are written to be accessible and compelling to non-philosophers and philosophers alike; and the volume as a whole encourages professional philosophers, teachers, students, and lay readers to rethink standard constructions of philosophical canons. (shrink)
Appreciation and gratitude get good press: They are central virtues in many religious and secular ethical frameworks, core in positive psychology research, and they come highly recommended by the self‐improvement set. Generally, appreciation and gratitude feature as good things, in popular consciousness. Of course, on an Aristotelian model, the belief that these are virtues implies they are something people can get right or wrong. This paper examines bad appreciation and bad gratitude, characterizing forms of appreciation and gratitude at the center (...) of some major social norms and practices, and demonstrating that they mask familiar oppressive expectations and power relations. (shrink)
The dominant consequentialist, Kantian, and contractualist theories by virtue ethicists such as G.E.M. Anscombe, Alisdair MacIntyre, Martha Nussbaum, and Michael Stocker have been criticized for their neglect of the emotions. There are three reasons why it might be a mistake for moral philosophy to neglect the emotions. Emotions have an important influence on motivation, and proper cultivation of the emotions is helpful, perhaps essential, to our ability to lead ethical lives. It is a plausible thesis that an ethical life involves (...) feeling certain ways in certain circumstances and acting from certain feelings in certain circumstances. Some emotions are forms of ethical perception, judgment, or even knowledge. This chapter examines the Ancient ethical tradition that inspires the virtue ethicists' critique, revealing versions of each of these three theses in one guise or another. It first considers the medieval transformations of the ancient doctrines, and then focuses on the third, more contentious thesis, distinguishing several versions of it in the moral philosophies of the seventeenth and eighteenth century and indicating some contemporary exemplars as well. (shrink)
"[R]easons for action must have their source in goals, desires, or intentions....[T]he possession of rationality is not sufficient to provide a source for relevant reasons,...certain desires, goals, or intentions are also necessary." ;So says Gilbert Harman. So say many other philosophers, from Aristotle to Hume to Harman and David Gauthier. To these many philosophers, this is a home truth, as obvious as the nose on your face. And yet as many philosophers---from the Stoics to Kant to Nagel and Korsgaard---reject this (...) view, and could not find it more obviously false. Any disagreement of this nature, which forces the disputants to find arguments for claims that seem to them self-evident and undeniable, is likely to generate a long, complicated and nasty war. Fortunately for the world, already subject to more fundamentalist clashes than one cares to count, this particular war stays mostly on paper and inside the walls of the academy, without any literal casualties. ;In this dissertation, I join the ranks of those who oppose Harman and his compatriots. I bring what I believe is a new strategy to the field of engagement. The strategy involves two stages. First, we are to undertake a thorough examination of what our opponents mean when they say that goals, desires, or intentions are the "source" of reasons; no one has ever satisfactorily cashed in this metaphor, and I propose to do so. The second stage follows naturally from the first, for in seeing what our opponents mean, we see a crucial weakness in their position: their troops are mercenary, and can be recruited to our side. The second stage is this recruitment. (shrink)
There are instances where religious beliefs can negatively impact a patient's decision-making capability. Any belief system that categorically prohibits psychiatric treatment in all cases is dangerous. The situation is illustrated through a case of a patient with schizophrenia who refuses to acknowledge her disease because of her religion.
We are interestingly ambivalent about romantic love, in a number of cases. Consider a man who abuses his wife, but is also passionate about her and easily distraught at the thought of losing her. There is some sense in which he loves her, but another in which he absolutely does not. Consider, too, a longtime partner who feels she has rather suddenly “fallen out of love” with the person to whom she was once devoted. She continues to feel there is (...) some sense in which she loves this person, but another in which she does not. And again, many people seem to both believe in love at first sight and think that the only true lovers are those whose feelings have withstood the tests of time and difficulty. In this paper, I propose that Kant’s conception of human feeling, desire, and motivation provides an unusually compelling account—both of ambiguous cases of romantic love and of love more generally. This proposal is not as shocking as it would have been 30 years ago, but I suspect it is still surprising to many, whom have been persuaded at most that there is room in Kant’s moral theory for feeling to play a positive supportive role in moral motivation; my proposal here is that Kant’s broader vision of human motivation—moral and nonmoral—tightly fits the phenomenon of love and, perhaps, emotions in general. (shrink)
In their classic, Principles of Biomedical Ethics (now in its fifth edition), Beauchamp and Childress, describe a puzzling case: A man who generally exhibits normal behavior patterns is involuntarily committed to a mental institution as the result of bizarre self-destructive behavior (pulling out an eye and cutting off a hand). This behavior results from his unusual religious beliefs. … [H]is peculiar actions follow “reasonably” from his religious beliefs. …While analysis in terms of limited competence might at first appear plausible, such (...) an analysis entails that persons with unorthodox or bizarre religious beliefs are less than competent, even if they reason clearly in light of their beliefs. (shrink)