This paper defends an account of forgiveness that is sensitive to recent work on anger. Like others, we claim anger involves an appraisal, namely that someone has done something wrong. But, we add, anger has two further functions. First, anger communicates to the wrongdoer that her act has been appraised as wrong and demands she feel guilty. This function enables us to explain why apologies make it reasonable to forgo anger and forgive. Second, anger sanctions the wrongdoer for what she (...) has done. This function allows us to explore the moral status of forgiveness, including why forgiveness is typically elective. (shrink)
In The Ethics of Authorship, Daniel Berthold depicts G. W. F. Hegel and Søren Kierkegaard as endorsing two postmodern principles. The first is an ethical ideal. Authors should abdicate their traditional privileged position as arbiters of their texts’ meaning. They should allow readers to determine this meaning for themselves. Only by doing so will they help readers attain genuine selfhood. The second principle is a claim about language. To wit, language cannot express an author’s thoughts. I argue that if the (...) claim about language holds, the ethical ideal becomes superfluous. In addition, if Berthold has identified Hegel and Kierkegaard’s views regarding the issues in question by reading their works, then either they failed to execute their ethical project or their views about language are false. (shrink)
The phrase κατ Σαρπηδνιον χμα πολψαμμον at Aeschylus, Supplices 869–702 is explained by a scholiast as κατ τν Σαρπηδοναν κραν referring to a promontory in Cilicia. All modern commentators on this passage seem to have accepted the scholiast, and in the 1940 edition of LSJ ‘promontory, spit of sand’ are given as translations of χμα in this passage.
This book is aimed at providing the reader with a systematic overview of the concepts of health and disease as utilized in various areas of the health sciences. It attempts to provide some historical background to modern models of health and disease. Special attention is given to controversial topics such as the notion of "mental health." the volume contains a number of new papers on health and disease by physicians, philosophers and others.
Following the pattern set by the early German Romantics, Kierkegaard conveys many of his insights through literature rather than academic prose. What makes him a valuable member of this tradition is the theory he develops to support it, his so-called “theory of indirect communication.” The most exciting aspect of this theory concerns the alleged importance of indirect communication: Kierkegaard claims that there are some projects only it can accomplish. This paper provides a critical account of two arguments Kierkegaard offers in (...) defense of this claim. The first argument is that he needs to use indirect communication in order to discourage people from losing themselves in the “crowd”. The second argument is that he needs to use it in order to help people out of a “monstrous illusion”. It is shown that while both arguments justify Kierkegaard’s decision to use indirect communication, neither one supports the original claim about its indispensability. (shrink)
On one standard view, paraphrasing Kierkegaard requires no special literary talent. It demands no particular flair for the poetic. However, Kierkegaard himself rejects this view. He says we cannot paraphrase in a straightforward fashion some of the ideas he expresses in a literary format. To use the words of Johannes Climacus, these ideas defy direct communication. In this paper, I piece together and defend the justification Kierkegaard offers for this position. I trace its origins to concerns raised by Lessing and (...) Mendelssohn about the relationship between form and content in works of art. I maintain that Kierkegaard follows early German Romantic thinkers in applying these aesthetic concerns to philosophical writing. By way of conclusion, I discuss the implications of Kierkegaard’s position for contemporary scholarship. (shrink)
This dissertation concerns Kierkegaard’s theory of indirect communication. A central aspect of this theory is what I call the “indispensability thesis”: there are some projects only indirect communication can accomplish. The purpose of the dissertation is to disclose and assess the rationale behind the indispensability thesis. -/- A pair of questions guides the project. First, to what does ‘indirect communication’ refer? Two acceptable responses exist: (1) Kierkegaard’s version of Socrates’ midwifery method and (2) Kierkegaard’s use of artful literary devices. Second, (...) for what end does Kierkegaard use indirect communication? There are two acceptable responses here as well: (1) helping others become religious and (2) making others aware of the nature of existence. -/- These responses are interrelated. First, Kierkegaard’s notion of religion places restrictions on the means he can use to get readers to become religious. These restrictions ultimately entail that the only viable form of religious pedagogy is the midwifery method. Second, Kierkegaard engages in the midwifery method in part by making readers aware of the nature of existence (especially religious existence). But given the problems plaguing his readers, he thinks a straightforward approach to this project will likely fail. An approach that used artful literary devices such as deception and humor would be more successful. Third, Kierkegaard believes that there is one aspect of religious existence (viz. subjectivity) that people can come to know only first-hand. As such, he cannot directly impart knowledge of subjectivity to his readers. He argues that this means he must use the midwifery method. And he thinks the most productive way to do so is to provide readers with the kind of fictional narratives found in his early pseudonymous writings. Thus artful rhetorical devices play a role here as well. -/- All of Kierkegaard’s arguments for the indispensability thesis turn on debatable assumptions. But the arguments concerning artful rhetorical devices have the additional defect of being merely probabilistic in nature. They lack the strength to support the indispensability thesis even if we grant the relevant background assumptions. Therefore, to the degree that the indispensability thesis has merit, it lies with the arguments concerning the midwifery method. (shrink)
Recent attention to the relationship between aesthetic value and cognitive value has focused on whether the latter can affect the former. In this article, I approach the issue from the opposite direction. I investigate whether the aesthetic value of a work can influence its cognitive value. More narrowly, I consider whether a work's aesthetic value ever contributes to or detracts from its philosophical value, which I take to include the truth of its claims, the strength of its arguments, and its (...) internal consistency. I argue that aesthetic value does have such an impact, at least sometimes and to some degree. The aesthetic merits of some works help to preserve their consistency, and the aesthetic defects of other works render them self-contradictory. (shrink)
This paper provides an account of Kierkegaard’s central criticism of the Danish Hegelians. Contrary to recent scholarship, it is argued that this criticism has a substantive theoretical basis and is not merely personal or ad hominem in nature. In particular, Kierkegaard is seen as criticizing the Hegelians for endorsing an unacceptable form of intellectual elitism, one that gives them pride of place in the realm of religion by dint of their philosophical knowledge. A problem arises, however, because this criticism threatens (...) to apply to Kierkegaard himself. It is shown that Kierkegaard manages to escape this problem by virtue of the humorous aspect of his work. (shrink)
Like many 19th c. thinkers, Kierkegaard embraces a cognitivist view of art. He thinks works of art matter because they can teach us in important ways. This chapter defends two striking features of Kierkegaard’s version of this theory. First, works of art do not teach “directly” by telling us truths and offering us evidence. Instead, they educate us “indirect-ly” by helping us make our own discoveries. Second, the fact that art does not teach in a straightforward manner is no defect. (...) On the contrary, it is precisely because art teaches indirectly that it teaches better than philosophy and science do. (shrink)
Kierkegaard faces an apparent dilemma. On the one hand, he concurs with the biblical injunction: we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. He takes this to imply that self-love and neighbor-love should be roughly symmetrical, similar in kind as well as degree. On the other hand, he recommends relating to others and to ourselves in disparate ways. We should be lenient, charitable, and forgiving when interacting with neighbors; the opposite when dealing with ourselves. The goal of my paper is (...) to solve this puzzle. I first consider addressing it by appealing to Gene Outka’s idea that equal love does not entail identical treatment. After rejecting this solution, I offer my own: Asymmetry between the two loves is not a moral ideal for Kierkegaard but a rehabilitative strategy. He recommends being more latitudinarian with others than with ourselves to correct against a common tendency toward the opposite extreme. (shrink)
This paper illuminates the central arguments in Sartre's UNESCO address, 'The Singular Universal." The address begins by asking whether objective facts tell us everything there is to know about Kierkegaard. Sartre's answer is negative. The question then arises as to whether we can lay hold of Kierkegaard's "irreducible subjectivity" by seeing him as alive for us today, i.e., as transhistorical. Sartre's answer here is affirmative. However, a close inspection of this answer exposes a deeper level to the address. The struggle (...) to find a place for Kierkegaard within the world of objective knowledge is an allegory. It mirrors Sartre's struggle to find a place for his existentialism within the Marxism that dominates his later thinking. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Kierkegaard seeks to inspire transformations. His aim is to get us to devote our lives to God or the Good rather than our own personal enjoyment – to abandon the aesthetic life in favour of the ethical or religious one. Drawing on Laurie Paul and Agnes Callard’s recent work, I maintain that two obstacles stand in Kierkegaard’s way. First, transformations involve adopting a new perspective on the world, one we cannot fully grasp ahead of time. Second, transformations also involve (...) coming to care about something we do not yet care about. On my interpretation, Kierkegaard sees art, especially literature, as central to overcoming both obstacles. Good stories afford us a glimpse into what it would look and feel like to live in ways other than we currently do. In addition, they have the power to attract us to points of view we would ordinarily reject. (shrink)
Recent scholarship has shown that the success of Pascal’s wager rests on precarious grounds. To avoid notorious problems, it must appeal to considerations such as what probability we assign to the existence of various gods and what religion we think provides the greatest happiness in this life. Rational judgments concerning these matters are subject to change over time. Some claim that the wager therefore cannot support a steadfast commitment to God. I argue that this conclusion does not follow. By drawing (...) upon the line of reasoning employed in getting married, I explain how unstable considerations can provide a sufficient rational foundation for a stable commitment. (shrink)
Works of art can be difficult in several ways. One important way is by making us face up to unsettling truths. Such works typically receive praise. I maintain, however, that sometimes they deserve moral censure. The crux of my argument is that, just as we have a right to know the truth in certain contexts, so too we have a right not to know it. Provided our ignorance does not harm or seriously endanger others, the decision about whether to know (...) the truth ought to be left to us. Within this limit, therefore, difficult art is morally problematic if it intentionally targets those who have chosen not to know. To illustrate the problem, I discuss the literary writings of Søren Kierkegaard, which aim to deceive readers into seeing unpleasant truths about themselves that they seek to ignore. (shrink)
Drawing on insights from Søren Kierkegaard, Art and Selfhood: A Kierkegaardian Account defends the idea that art matters in our society today because it can play a pivotal role in helping us become better and more authentic versions of ourselves.
In Religion of Existence, Noreen Khawaja suggests that Kierkegaard is an “ascetic” thinker. By this, she means that he regards religious striving as (1) requiring ceaseless renewal and (2) being an end in itself rather than a means to some further end. In this paper, I raise challenges to both parts of Khawaja’s proposal. I argue that the first part stands in tension with Kierkegaard’s assertion that his infinitely demanding account of religious existence is meant merely as a “corrective.” The (...) second part, I maintain, does not fit well with his claim that our eternal salvation is at stake in religious striving. (shrink)
Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) has often been cast as an irrationalist -- an enemy of reason, logic, and perhaps even truth. It is easy to see why. Some of his works encourage us to "crucify" our understanding or to take a leap of faith beyond the evidence. We also encounter texts suggesting that passionate beliefs are more important than true ones. Perhaps his most frequently read book, Fear and Trembling, lauds Abraham for following God's commands "by virtue of the absurd." Finally, (...) a number of passages encourage us to accept "the absolute paradox" or "the contradiction" of the God-man, Jesus Christ. -/- Richard McCombs joins a growing chorus of scholars who reject this view. Indeed, there is something approaching a consensus among specialists that Kierkegaard is not as irrational as he appears. What sets McCombs apart is that he also defends a more ambitious thesis. In addition to downplaying the irrationality of Kierkegaard, he maintains that Kierkegaard is actually a "robustly rational thinker" (7). (shrink)
A key feature of facial behavior is its dynamic quality. However, most previous research has been limited to the use of static images of prototypical expressive patterns. This article explores the role of facial dynamics in the perception of emotions, reviewing relevant empirical evidence demonstrating that dynamic information improves coherence in the identification of affect (particularly for degraded and subtle stimuli), leads to higher emotion judgments (i.e., intensity and arousal), and helps to differentiate between genuine and fake expressions. The findings (...) underline that using static expressions not only poses problems of ecological validity, but also limits our understanding of what facial activity does. Implications for future research on facial activity, particularly for social neuroscience and affective computing, are discussed. (shrink)
This paper describes the first three-year experience of the Consortium Ethics Program (CEP-1) of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Medical Ethics, and also outlines plans for the second three-year phase (CEP-2) of this experiment in continuing ethics education. In existence since 1990, the CEP has the primary goal of creating a cost-effective, permanent ethics resource network, by utilizing the educational resources of a university bioethics center and the practical expertise of a regional hospital council. The CEP's conception and specific (...) components stem from recognition of the need to make each hospital a major focus of educational efforts, and to provide academic support for the in-house activities of the representatives from each institution. (shrink)
Abstract Kohlberg's theory of moral development draws a distinction between content and structure of moral thought. An inference based on this distinction is that content and structure are independent. To investigate this inference, we studied fourth?and eighth?grade students in two distinct educational settings in the United States. Sample 1 contained 83 students attending a church?sponsored, evangelical Christian school. Sample 2 contained 60 students attending government?supported public schools. Students were administered Kohlberg's moral dilemmas of life versus law, punishment versus conscience, and (...) authority versus contract. Christian school students made more religious references in resolving dilemmas. More Christian than public school students favoured law, punishment and authority. More importantly, regardless of the school attended, students who used religious terminology to resolve dilemmas were less likely to reason in Kohlberg's Stage 2 than those who did not. Grade differences emerged. Regardless of terminology, most fourth?grade students used some Stage 2 reasoning. However, among eighth?grade students, using religious terminology correlated with less Stage 2 reasoning. The results of our study raise doubts as to the independence of structure and content. (shrink)