I argue, first, that the deprived individuals whose predicaments Nussbaum cites as examples of "adaptive preference" do not in fact prefer the conditions of their lives to what we should regard as more desirable alternatives, indeed that we believe they are badly off precisely because they are not living the lives they would prefer to live if they had other options and were aware of them. Secondly, I argue that even where individuals in deprived circumstances acquire tastes for conditions that (...) we regard as bad, they are typically better off having their acquired preferences satisfied. If they are badly off it is because they cannot get what we and they, would regard as more desirable alternatives. Preference utilitarianism explains why individuals in such circumstances are badly off whether they have adapted to their deprived circumstances or not. Even if they prefer the conditions of their lives to all other available alternatives, most would prefer alternatives that are not available to them which would, on the preferentist account, make them better off. And that, on the preferentist account, is the basis for a radical critique of unjust institutions that limit people's options and prevent them from getting what they want. (shrink)
Presence as ordinarily understood requires spatio-temporal proximity. If however Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is understood in this way it would take a miracle to secure multiple location and an additional miracle to cover it up so that the presence of Christ where the Eucharist was celebrated made no empirical difference. And, while multiple location is logically possible, such metaphysical miracles—miracles of distinction without difference, which have no empirical import—are problematic. I propose an account of Eucharist according to which Christ (...) is indeed really and objectively present in the religiously required sense, without benefit of metaphysical miracles. According to the proposed account, which draws upon Searle’s discussion of “social ontology” in The Construction of Social Reality and The Making of the Social World, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is an institutional fact. I argue that such an account satisfies the requirements for a real presence doctrine. (shrink)
It is difficult to reconcile claims about the Father's role as the progenitor of Trinitarian Persons with commitment to the equality of the persons, a problem that is especially acute for Social Trinitarians. I propose a metatheological account of the doctrine of the Trinity that facilitates the reconciliation of these two claims. On the proposed account, ‘Father’ is systematically ambiguous. Within economic contexts, those which characterize God's relation to the world, ‘Father’ refers to the First Person of the Trinity; within (...) theological contexts, which purport to describe intra-Trinitarian relations, it refers to the Trinity in toto-thus in holding that the Son and Holy Spirit proceed from the Father we affirm that the Trinity is the source and unifying principle of Trinitarian Persons. While this account is solves a nagging problem for Social Trinitarians it is theologically minimalist to the extent that it is compatible with both Social Trinitarianism and Latin Trinitarianism, and with heterodox Modalist and Tri-theist doctrines as well. Its only theological cost is incompatibility with the Filioque Clause, the doctrine that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son—and arguably that may be a benefit. (shrink)
Prima facie, relative identity looks like a perfect fit for the doctrine of the Trinity since it allows us to say that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each of which is a Trinitarian Person, are the same God but not the same Person. Nevertheless, relative identity solutions to logic puzzles concerning the doctrine of the Trinity have not, in recent years, been much pursued. Critics worry that relative identity accounts are unintuitive, uninformative or unintelligible. I suggest that the relative (...) identity account is worth a second look and argue that it provides a coherent account of the doctrine of the Trinity. (shrink)
Nozick’s Experience Machine thought experiment is generally taken to make a compelling, if not conclusive, case against philosophical hedonism. I argue that it does not and, indeed, that regardless of the results, it cannot provide any reason to accept or reject either hedonism or any other philosophical account of wellbeing since it presupposes preferentism, the desire-satisfaction account ofwellbeing. Preferentists cannot take any comfort from the results of such thought experiments because they assume preferentism and therefore cannot establish it. Neither can (...) anyone else, since only a preferentist should accept the terms of the thought experiment. (shrink)
This chapter discusses desire theory and how the temporal gap between desires and the states of affairs that satisfy them affects this theory. Satisfaction is not that important in desire theory because even if getting what we want fails to satisfy, we are better off for having got it. The rationale for rejecting hedonistic accounts of well-being in favor of desire theories is the intuition that states of affairs that are not “like” anything for us can harm and benefit us. (...) Sumner, however, suggests that even if we grant the desire theorist’s fundamental assumption that they can make a difference to our well-being, the prospective character of desire, which opens a temporal gap between desires and the states of affairs that satisfy them, undermines the account. (shrink)
Critics suggest that without some "objective" account of well-being we cannot explain why satisfying some preferences is, as we believe, better than satisfying others, why satisfying some preferences may leave us on net worse off or why, in a range of cases, we should reject life-adjustment in favor of life-improvement. I defend a subjective welfarist understanding of well-being against such objections by reconstructing the Amartya Sen's capability approach as a preferentist account of well-being. According to the proposed account preference satisfaction (...) alone—possible as well as actual—is of value. States of affairs contribute to well-being because and to the extent that they satisfy actual or nearby possible preferences, and are fruitful, that is, compatible with a range states that satisfy further actual or nearby possible preferences. The proposed account solves the problem of adaptive preference. Individuals whose preferences are "deformed" are satisfied with fruitless states of affairs, which constrain their options so that they are incapable of satisfying a wide range of nearby possible preferences—preferences they "could easily have had." Recognizing the value of capabilities as well as actual attainments allows us to explain why individuals who satisfy "deformed" or perverse preferences may not on net benefit from doing so. More fundamentally, it explains why some states are, as Sen suggests, bad, awful or gruesome while others are good, excellent or superb without appeal to any objective account of value. (shrink)
The doctrine of the Trinity developed in response to a range of theological interests, among them the project of reconciling claims about the divinity of Christ with monotheism and massaging Christian doctrine into the ambient (largely Platonic) philosophical framework of the period. More recently the Trinity doctrine has been deployed to promote normative claims concerning human nature, human relationships and social justice. During the past two decades analytic philosophers of religion have increasingly engaged with the doctrine. There are, however, a (...) number of foundational questions that have not been addressed in the philosophical literature. The Trinity: A Philosophical Investigation considers the competing accounts of the Trinity doctrine, whether orthodox or heterodox, and aims to respond to objections and explicate their motivations and entailments. (shrink)
Is Utilitarianism Bad for Women? Philosophers and policy-makers concerned with the ethics, economics, and politics of development argue that the phenomenon of ‘adaptive preference’ makes preference-utilitarian measures of well-being untenable. Poor women in the Global South, they suggest, adapt to deprivation and oppression and may come to prefer states of affairs that are not conducive to flourishing. This critique, however, assumes a questionable understanding of preference utilitarianism and, more fundamentally, of the concept of preference that figures in such accounts. If (...) well-being is understood as preference-satisfaction it is easy to see why poor women in the Global South are badly off: even if they do not desire more favorable conditions they nevertheless prefer them, and that preference is not satisfied. Preferentism provides a rationale for improving economic conditions and dismantling the unjust institutions that prevent them from climbing higher on their preference-rankings. Utilitarianism, therefore, insofar as utility is understood as preference satisfaction, is good for women. (shrink)
Sabellianism, the doctrine that the Persons of the Trinity are roles that a single divine being plays either simultaneously or successively, is commonly thought to entail that the Father is the Son. I argue that there is at least one version of Sabellianism that does not have this result and meets the requirements for a minimally decent doctrine of the Trinity insofar as it affirms that each Person of the Trinity is God and that the Trinity of Persons is God (...) while maintaining monotheism without undermining the distinctness of Persons. (shrink)
At first blush, the notion a “feminist epistemology” appears, at best, peculiar—not, as Sandra Harding suggests, because “‘woman the knower’ appears to be a contradiction in terms” but because it is hard to see how an epistemology, a philosophical theory of knowledge, can be either feminist or anti-feminist since it is not clear how such a theory might benefit or harm women.
Women in the labor force are at a disadvantage not only because of continuing discrimination in hiring and promotion, but because of factors extrinsic to the labor market hence adjusting conditions within the labor market will not completely eliminate women's disadvantage. Because, unlike most men, most women do not have spouses to take on the major responsibility of running their homes and caring for their children, the costs of working outside the home, particularly in a professional or managerial capacity, are (...) greater for women than they are for men. Thus, even if ongoing discrimination in the labor market were eliminated, through affirmative action policies or other such remedies, women would still be as a disadvantage relative to men.For women, the costs and benefits of behaving like men are different than they are for their male counterparts. To the extent that the costs and benefits of various policies of action are not the same for women as they are for men, men and women are not equal, therefore, arguably, it is not fair to treat them equally. (shrink)
Modal counterpart theory identifies a thing’s possibly being F with its having a counterpart that is F at another possible world; temporal counterpart theory, the stage view, according to which people and other ordinary objects are instantaneous stages, identifies a thing’s having been F or going to be F, with its having a counterpart that is F at another time. Both counterpart theories invite what has been called ‘the argument from concern’ : 327–54). Why should I be concerned about my (...) counterparts at other possible worlds or other times? I care about how things might have gone for me—not how they go for other people at other possible worlds; I care about my prospects—not the way go for other people at other times. Jiri Benovsky has argued that while modal counterpart theory can be defended against this style of argument, temporal counterpart theory cannot. I argue that temporal counterpart theory, like modal counterpart theory, resists the argument from concern. (shrink)
Most contemporary societies are ethnically and culturally diverse. Responding to diversity is a challenge--for the United States, a 'nation of immigrants', for post-colonial states of the global south, cobbled together from diverse ethnic groups, and for European nations experiencing mass immigration.
I argue on utilitarian grounds that while traditional constraints on heterosexual activity, including the prohibition of pre-marital sex and divorce may be justified by appeal to purely secular principles, no comparable prohibitions are justified as regards homosexual activity. Homosexuality is in this respect.
In Ethics in the Sanctuary, Margaret Battin argues that traditional evangelism, directed to promoting religious belief, practice, and affiliation, that is proselytizing, is morally questionable to the extent that it involves unwarranted paternalism in the interests of securing other-worldly benefits for potential converts. I argue that Christian evangelism is justified in order to make the this-worldly benefits of religious belief and practice available to everyone, to bring about an increase in religious affiliation for the purpose of providing a more supportive (...) social environment for Christians, and to promote the survival of the institutional Church, which benefits Christians and nonChristians alike by maintaining church property, providing access to church buildings and doing liturgy visibly and publicly for the sake of all people. (shrink)
Questions about the use of “inclusive language” in Christian discourse are trivial but the discussion which surrounds them raises an exceedingly important question, namely that of whether gender is theologically salient-whether Christian doctrine either reveals theologically significant differences between men and women or prescribes different roles for them. Arguably both conservative support for sex roles and allegedly progressive doctrines about the theological significance of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation are contrary to the radical teaching of the Gospel that in (...) Christ there is no male or female, Greek or Jew, slave or free man. (shrink)
Diachronic identity is understood as an identity holding between something existing at one time and something existing at another time. On the stage view, however, ordinary objects are instantaneous stages that do not exist at other times so diachronic identity is, at best, problematic. On account proposed here a name does not, as Sider and others suggest, denote a stage concurrent with its utterance. Rather, at any time, t, a name of an ordinary object designates a stage-at-t as its primary (...) referent and refers indeterminately over it and all and only those stages counterpart-related to it—its reference class at t. At any time, t, a at t1 is the same object as b at t2 iff for every stage x counterpart-related to a’s stage-at t and every stage y counterpart-related to b’s stage-at-t, x=y. Diachronic identity statements, therefore, assert strict identities—between concurrent stages. Ordinarily names select the same reference classes at every time so, in ordinary cases, identity statements are not ‘occasional’. In fission cases names select different reference classes at different times. Where a becomes b and c, at any pre-fission time ‘a’, ‘b’, and ‘c’ have same the primary referent and so select the same reference class—therefore, before fission b is the same object as c. At any post-fission time ‘b’ and ‘c’ select different reference classes—so after fission b is not the same object as c. Identity is not occasional but, in extraordinary cases, identity statements are—because reference is. (shrink)
Presence as ordinarily understood requires spatio-temporal proximity. If however Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is understood as spatio-temporal proximity it would take a miracle to secure multiple location and an additional miracle to cover it up so that the presence of Christ wherever the Eucharist was celebrated made no empirical difference. And, while multiple location is logically possible, such metaphysical miracles—miracles of distinction without difference, which have no empirical import—are problematic. I propose an account of Eucharist according to which Christ (...) is indeed really and objectively present in the religiously required sense, without benefit of metaphysical miracles. (shrink)
I defend a relative identity solution to the identity puzzle posed by the doctrine of the Trinity. It has been argued that relative identity theories which admit absolute identity, such as the account proposed here, do not succeed in saving the doctrine of the Trinity from logical incoherence. I show that this argument fails. Relative identity theories that admit absolute identity are logically conservative, metaphysically innocent, and unproblematic. And, given the account I propose we can, without incurring any logical or (...) metaphysical costs, hold that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same being but not the same trinitarian person. (shrink)
Ideologues of the American Dream doctrine assume that state intervention aimed at providing social safety nets for citizens and reducing economic inequality, restricts freedom and undermines individual opportunity. This assumption is the result of empirical misinformation and, more fundamentally, a conceptual mistake. Robust empirical data indicate that economic equality, far from stifling initiative or undermining opportunity, is conducive to social mobility.
This new anthology offers a wide selection of readings addressing the contemporary moral issues that arise from the division between the Global North and South—“the problem of the color-line” that W.E.B. Du Bois identified at the beginning of the twentieth century and which, on a scale that Du Bois could not have foreseen, is the problem of the twenty-first. The book is interdisciplinary in scope. In addition to standard topical essays in ethical theory by philosophers such as Anthony Appiah, Martha (...) Nussbaum, and Peter Singer, it contains essays from economists such as Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz, and Thomas DeGregori, as well as current empirical data from the World Bank, IMF, United Nations, and other sources. (shrink)
Introduction: is multiculturism good for anyone? -- Do people like their cultures? -- A philosophical prelude: what is multiculturalism? -- The costs of multiculturalism -- The diversity trap: why everybody wants to be an X -- White privilege and the asymmetry of choice -- Communities: respecting the establishment of religion -- Multiculturalism and the good life -- The cult of cultural self-affirmation -- Identity-making -- Identity politics: the making of a mystique -- Policy.
Traditional hardcopy publishing brought about a division of labor between producers and disseminators of information. Online publishing makes it feasible for authors to disseminate their work much more widely without any investment in equipment beyond the ubiquitous laptop, without labor costs and without any special technical expertise. As a consequence, the division of labor is no longer important and is, in a range of cases, inefficient. For some scholarly works and teaching materials in particular, traditional hardcopy publishing rather than rather (...) than facilitating the dissemination of creative works not only restricts access to these materials but also undermines their production. Arguably, hardcopy journals and textbook anthologies, are inefficient and only persist because of institutional inertia and what has become the vicious circle of academic publishing. (shrink)
members of minorities to divest themselves of features of their “identities” in order to approx- imate to a restrictive white male ideal which, they hold, should not be a requirement for fair treatment and social beneﬁts. I argue that this concern is unwarranted and that “Integration” with respect to gender, as I shall understand it, is overall more conducive to the happiness of both men and women than what I shall call “Diversity”.
Currently a number of feminists in philosophy and religious studies as well as other academic disciplines have argued that policies, practices and doctrines assumed to be sexneutral are in fact male-biased. Thus, Rosemary Reuther, reflecting on the development of theology in the Judeo-Christian tradition suggests that the long-term exclusion of women from leadership and theological education has rendered the “official theological culture” repressive to women and dismissive of women’s experience: “To begin to take women seriously,” she notes, “will involve a (...) profound and radical transformation of our religions.”3 Such a project exists in tension with what is generally regarded as Christian orthodoxy and so, as Reuther suggests, challenges the assumptions and categories of traditional theology. (shrink)
André Gallois argues that individuals that undergo fission are on some occasions identical, but on others distinct. Occasional identity however, is metaphysically costly. I argue that we can get all the benefits of occasional identity without the metaphysical costs. On the proposed account, the names of ordinary material objects refer indeterminately to stages that belong to reference classes determined by the context of utterance or temporal adverbs. In addition, temporal markers indicating the perspective from which we count objects and assign (...) properties to them determine how many count and what is true of them. So, as Gallois holds, the truth value of claims about what is true at a time may change over time and, where fission or fusion occur, does change. The current account, however, secures this result without commitment to occasional identity: reference, predication and counting are “occasional”; identity is not. (shrink)
Preferentism is the doctrine that "in deciding what is good and what is bad for a given individual, the ultimate criterion can only be his own wants and his own preferences." If preferentism is true then it would seem to follow that modifying a person's preferences so that they are satisfied by what is on offer should be as good as improving the circumstances of her life to satisfy her preferences. Our intuitive response to stories of life-adjustment through brainwashing, psychosurgery (...) and the like suggests otherwise. I sketch a broadly preferentist account drawing upon Sen's (non-preferentist) capability approach that resists such putative counterexamples. (shrink)
There appear to be at least two important disanalogies between the situation of women and that of racial and ethnic minorities whose members are generally regarded as paradigmatic victims of oppression. First, in the case of oppressed racial and ethnic minorities it is relatively easy to identify the oppressors and the policies which serve to keep the oppressed in their place; it is not so easy to determine who the oppressors of women are--surely men are not universally blameworthy--nor even to (...) ascertain which policies are oppressive. Secondly, unlike most members of disadvantaged racial and ethnic minorities, many women seem actively to support the very policies and institutions which contribute to their oppression. (shrink)
In Spring 2008 I went textbook-free. I linked all and only the readings for my Contemporary Analytic Philosophy course to the class website, along with powerpoints, handouts and external links to online resources.
Even in the absence of overt discrimination, women are often channelled into different directions from their male counterparts by the network of incentives and disincentives which constitute what has been called a ‘discriminatory environment’. On the account of freedom and coercion developed in this essay, the incentives and disincentives which typically figure in discriminatory environments are not coercive. Nevertheless such environments, it is argued, are morally objectionable on independent grounds.
A certain familiar but “deep” joke, which might be called “The Tattletale’s Paradox,” embodies a logical confusion that figures crucially in some discussions of substantive philosophical issues. “I can’t tell you the secret,” it runs, “because if I did it wouldn’t be a secret.” It is easy enough to detect the trick involved here: to tell a secret is not to make known a piece of information that is a secret at the time that it is revealed, but rather to (...) tell a story which was a secret but ceases to be one in the telling. The air of paradox arises insofar as we confuse the two claims. (shrink)