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Katharina Nieswandt
Concordia University
  1. What Is Conventionalism about Moral Rights and Duties?Katharina Nieswandt - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):15-28.
    A powerful objection against moral conventionalism says that it gives the wrong reasons for individual rights and duties. The reason why I must not break my promise to you, for example, should lie in the damage to you—rather than to the practice of promising or to all other participants in that practice. Common targets of this objection include the theories of Hobbes, Gauthier, Hooker, Binmore, and Rawls. I argue that the conventionalism of these theories is superficial; genuinely conventionalist theories are (...)
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  2. Anscombe on the Sources of Normativity.Katharina Nieswandt - 2017 - Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (1):141-163.
    Anscombe is usually seen as a critic of “Modern Moral Philosophy.” I attempt a systematic reconstruction and a defense of Anscombe’s positive theory. Anscombe’s metaethics is a hybrid of social constructivism and Aristotelian naturalism. Her three main claims are the following: (1) We cannot trace all duties back to one moral principle; there is more than one source of normativity. (2) Whether I have a certain duty will often be determined by the social practices of my community. For instance, duties (...)
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  3. Automation, Basic Income and Merit.Katharina Nieswandt - 2021 - In Keith Breen & Jean-Philippe Deranty (eds.), Whither Work? The Politics and Ethics of Contemporary Work. Milton and New York: Routledge. pp. 102–119.
    A recent wave of academic and popular publications say that utopia is within reach: Automation will progress to such an extent and include so many high-skill tasks that much human work will soon become superfluous. The gains from this highly automated economy, authors suggest, could be used to fund a universal basic income (UBI). Today's employees would live off the robots' products and spend their days on intrinsically valuable pursuits. I argue that this prediction is unlikely to come true. Historical (...)
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  4. Beyond Frontier Town: Do Early Modern Theories of Property Apply to Capitalist Economies?Katharina Nieswandt - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (4):909-923.
    The theories of Locke, Hume and Kant dominate contemporary philosophical discourse on property rights. This is particularly true of applied ethics, where they are used to settle issues from biotech patents to managerial obligations. Within these theories, however, the usual criticisms of private property aren’t even as much as intelligible. Locke, Hume and Kant, I argue, develop claims about property on a model economy that I call “Frontier Town.” They and contemporary authors then apply these claims to capitalist economies. There (...)
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  5.  80
    Should Intro Ethics Make You a Better Person?Katharina Nieswandt - 2023 - In Christian Kietzmann (ed.), Teleological Structures in Human Life: Essays in Honor of Anselm W. Müller. New York: Routledge. pp. 113–134.
    There is a common demand that moral theory be 'practical', voiced both in- and outside of philosophy. Neo-Humeans, Kantian constitutivists and Aristotelian naturalists have all advocated the idea that my knowledge that I ought to do something must lead me to actually do it—an idea sometimes called the “practicality requirement” for moral theory. Some university administrators apply this idea in practice, when they force students who violate the code of conduct to complete classes in moral theory, hoping that the knowledge (...)
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  6. Foot Without Achilles’ Heel.Ulf Hlobil & Katharina Nieswandt - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (5):1501-1515.
    It is often assumed that neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics postulates an obligation to be a good human being and that it derives further obligations from this idea. The paper argues that this assumption is false, at least for Philippa Foot’s view. Our argument blocks a widespread objection to Foot’s view, and it shows how virtue ethics in general can neutralize such worries.
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  7. Virtues for the Imperfect.Katharina Nieswandt & Ulf Hlobil - 2018 - Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (4):605-625.
    We suggest a new neo-Aristotelian account of right action: An action A is right for an agent S in a situation C just in case it is possible for A in C to result from a good practical inference. A practical inference is good if people must have a disposition to make such practical inferences where a society is to flourish. One advantage of this account is that it applies to non-ideal agents. It thus blocks the right-but-not-virtuous objection to virtue (...)
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  8. Life and Other Basic Rights in Anscombe.Katharina Nieswandt - 2022 - In Roger Teichmann (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Elizabeth Anscombe. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 308–323.
    Following Elizabeth Anscombe, rights exist within practices. A right consists in a bundle of possible and impossible moves within the relevant social 'game', e.g. the practice of private property. What becomes of basic rights on such a social-constructivist conception? Metaphysically, basic rights do not differ from other rights. The right not to be murdered, however, enjoys a transcendental status within Anscombe's moral philosophy, and this construction might extend to other basic rights: Since practical reasoning is directed at the good life, (...)
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  9.  24
    Review: Metaphysical Animals, by Mac Cumhaill & Wiseman. [REVIEW]Katharina Nieswandt - 2022 - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie 5 (2):231–235.
    Mac Cumhaill and Wiseman’s book about the formative years of four influential female philosophers is well-researched and timely, appearing shortly after Lipscomb’s (2022) on the same topic. They describe the lives of Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley and Iris Murdoch from 1938 to 1956, that is, from the last pre-war term at Oxford, where all four took a BA, to the term in which Anscombe defended her famous objection to "Mr. Truman’s Degree" at Oxford’s general assembly. Using a wide (...)
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  10. Do Rights Exist by Convention or by Nature?Katharina Nieswandt - 2016 - Topoi 35 (1):313-325.
    I argue that all rights exist by convention. According to my definition, a right exists by convention just in case its justification appeals to the rules of a socially shared pattern of acting. I show that our usual justifications for rights are circular, that a right fulfills my criterion if all possible justifications for it are circular, and that all existing philosophical justifications for rights are circular or fail. We find three non-circular alternatives in the literature, viz. justifications of rights (...)
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  11. Do the Virtues Make You Happy?Katharina Nieswandt & Ulf Hlobil - 2019 - Philosophical Inquiries 7 (2):181-202.
    We answer the title question with a qualified “No.” We arrive at this answer by spelling out what the proper place of the concept 'happiness' is in a neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics: (1) Happiness in the sense of personal well-being has only a loose relation to virtue; it doesn't deserve any prominent place in virtue ethics. (2) Happiness in the sense of flourishing is impossible without virtue, but that doesn't imply that individual actions should aim at flourishing. (3) Instead, flourishing sets (...)
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  12. Peter Geach's Ethics.Katharina Nieswandt - 2020 - In Hähnel Martin (ed.), Aristotelian Naturalism: A Research Companion. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 183-193.
    Geach is best known for his contributions to theoretical philosophy: Most of his more than one hundred papers and a dozen books are on logic, philosophy of language and metaphysics. But he also made significant contributions to ethics. Particularly influential were a series of short metaethics papers, which are small masterpieces, both in terms of philosophical content and style. In usually less than ten pages, Geach delivers sharp analyses and powerful objections against influential schools. His arguments are always so clear (...)
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  13. Review: No Morality, No Self, by James Doyle. [REVIEW]Katharina Nieswandt - 2019 - Ethics 130 (1):102-106.
    James Doyle’s book is provocative and timely. It is an important contribution to the current wave of Anscombe scholarship, and it offers valuable insights into general metaethical ques­tions, such as: In what senses might morality be “unintelligible”? Or: To what extent does a divine law ethics rest on practical reason? Here, I do not want to summarize the many ad­mirable features of Doyle’s book. I will instead focus on his two main theses, of which I re­main unconvinced.
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  14. On Anscombe’s Philosophical Method.Ulf Hlobil & Katharina Nieswandt - 2016 - Klēsis Revue Philosophique 35:180-198.
    While many of Elizabeth Anscombe’s philosophical views are well-known (e.g. her views on practical knowledge or consequentialism), little has been written on her philosophical method, i.e., on her way of doing philosophy. This is unfortunate, for two reasons: First, the failure to understand Anscombe’s method is a major stumbling block for many of her readers. Second, and more importantly, we can still learn a lot from Anscombe’s way of doing philosophy: Her view differs considerably from current alternatives in metaphilosophy. Here (...)
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    On Anscombe's Philosophical Method [reprint from Klesis Revue Philosophique].Ulf Hlobil & Katharina Nieswandt - 2019 - In John Haldane (ed.), The Life and Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe. Exeter: Imprint Academic. pp. 42-61.
    While many of Elizabeth Anscombe’s philosophical views are well-known (e.g. her views on practical knowledge or consequentialism), little has been written on her philosophical method, i.e., on her way of doing philosophy. This is unfortunate, for two reasons: First, the failure to understand Anscombe’s method is a major stumbling block for many of her readers. Second, and more importantly, we can still learn a lot from Anscombe’s way of doing philosophy: Her view differs considerably from current alternatives in metaphilosophy. Here (...)
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  16. G. E. M. Anscombe: Aufsätze.Ulf Hlobil & Katharina Nieswandt (eds.) - 2014 - Suhrkamp.
    Die Wittgenstein-Schülerin Elizabeth Anscombe zählt zu den einflussreichsten Philosophinnen des 20. Jahrhunderts. Mit der Monographie Absicht begründete sie die analytische Handlungstheorie, viele ihrer Abhandlungen gelten als Klassiker, aber nur wenige liegen bislang in deutscher Übersetzung vor. Der vorliegende Band füllt diese Lücke: Er versammelt zwölf von Anscombes wichtigsten Aufsätzen, die thematisch von der praktischen Philosophie über die Metaphysik und die Philosophie des Geistes bis hin zu Aristoteles- und Wittgenstein-Interpretationen reichen, also das ganze Spektrum ihres Denkens repräsentieren. Die Anmerkungen und Erläuterungen (...)
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  17. What Determines Feelings of Belonging and Majoring in an Academic Field? Isolating Factors by Comparing Psychology and Philosophy.Heather Maranges, Maxine Iannuccilli, Katharina Nieswandt, Ulf Hlobil & Kristen Dunfield - forthcoming - Current Research in Behavioral Sciences.
    Feelings of belonging are integral in people’s choice of what career to pursue. Women and men are disproportionately represented across careers, starting with academic training. The present research focuses on two fields that are similar in their history and subject matter but feature inverse gender gaps—psychology (more women than men) and philosophy (more men than women)—to investigate how theorized explanations for academic gender gaps contribute to feelings of belonging. Specifically, we simultaneously model the relative contribution of theoretically relevant individual differences (...)
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