Although common-sense moral theories tend to hold that everyone has reason to act morally, Bernard Williams argues in "Internal and External Reasons" that an agent has no reason to act if the act in question fails to promote any desire or project of hers. Williams considers this a logical property of reasons for acting and refers to this position as "internalism." ;After critically examining Williams' specific arguments, I use a heterogeneous group of arguments to show that internalism oversimplifies the logic (...) of reasons. There are various ways in which reasons can be attributed to an agent without first examining her motives or projects: some ways of undertaking obligations give rise to reasons for acting due to rational requirements on consistency of intention; Thomas Nagel's arguments that prudential reasons are best described in terms of the agent's metaphysical conception of herself allow us to attribute reasons for acting to an agent without checking her desires first; and John McDowell's account of agents "perceiving" reasons explains how an agent's conception of the facts will give rise to a reason and a motive for acting. ;It also appears that internalism's appeal relies in part on our prejudices in favor of self-interest theories of rationality and our tendency to view agents as more separate and independent than they actually are. As a result, internalism suffers from too narrow a value focus. The emphasis on a shared form of life that originates in the Wittgensteinian notion of a practice allows us to attribute reasons for acting to agents without considering their individual projects in each case and better suits the process of judging and understanding reasons for acting than a view which focuses as heavily on the individual as internalism does. ;Finally, because agents are sometimes perverse, reasons themselves do not always motivate and motivation cannot logically be part of having a reason. ;In conclusion, reasons for acting are significantly more diverse than internalism allows and the theory should therefore be rejected. (shrink)
There are questions about how ethics is best taught to undergraduate business students. There has been a proliferation in the number of stand-alone ethics courses for undergraduate students but research on the effectiveness of integrated versus stand-alone mode of delivery is inconclusive. Christensen et al. :347–368, 2007), in a comprehensive review of ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainability education, investigated how ethics education has changed over the last 20 years, including the issue of integration of these topics into the core (...) course offerings. We use Brenner and Molander’s :57–71, 1977) situational ethics survey instrument to examine the effect of the mode of delivery of business ethics education on undergraduate student responses. We found a significant difference on mode of delivery. Studies have also found interesting results in respect of the effect of cultural differences and gender on the effectiveness of business ethics instruction. While not the primary focus of this study, we also looked at the influence of gender and culture on students’ responses. Our results indicate significant differences in respect of mode of delivery and culture. In contrast to other studies, we found that gender was not significant. We did test for any interactive effects of gender, culture and mode of delivery. However, no significant differences were found. (shrink)
Offering both a discussion of feminism in its postmodern context and a critique of contemporary theory, the author here challenges feminists to move away from a theory-based approach, which focuses on securing or contesting "women" as an ...
Critics of Hannah Arendt's Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy argue that Arendt fails to address the most important problem of political judgment, namely, validity. This essay shows that Arendt does indeed have an answer to the problem that preoccupies her critics, with one important caveat: she does not think that validity is the all-important problem of political judgment--the affirmation of human freedom is.
If one is a woman, one is often surprised by a sudden splitting of consciousness, say in walking down Whitehall, when from being the natural inheritor of that civilization, she becomes, on the contrary, outside of it, alien and critical. Virginia Woolf.
Anyone who goes beyond procedural questions of a discourse theory of morality and ethics and, in a normative attitude … embarks on a theory of the well-ordered, or even emancipated, society will very quickly run up against the limits of his own historical situation.For some time now, a certain strand of contemporary critical theory has understood its task not as providing a substantive critique of power relations, let alone an alternative normative conception of what social relations might be, but as (...) how to justify critique as such: how to justify those elements which critique owes to its philosophical origins, albeit in a nonfoundationalist manner.1 This focus on—if not obsession with—the theoretical problem of... (shrink)
Max Tomba aims to reconstruct how historical actors reconstructed the past to open the future in ways that diverged from the trajectory of the dominant modernity. Insurgent Universality would break open the dead logic of the juridical, political, and economic trajectory of modernity that limits what is given and constrains what is possible. This essay reflects on the practice and the role of the historian. Beyond merely adopting insurgents’ perspectives, the historian must engage in a practice of critical and reflective (...) judgment. The essay draws on Michel-Rolph Trouillot on the silencing of the past, Reinhard Koselleck on the priority of the future, and Marisa Fuentes on the limits of the archives for voicing marginalized points of view. It concludes by calling for judgment and imagination where the archives run dry. (shrink)
John Locke famously sets the arts of rhetoric at odds with the pursuit of knowledge. Drawing on the work of Ernesto Grassi, this article shows that Locke’s epistemological and political arguments are parasitic on the very tropes and figures he would exclude in any serious discourse. Accordingly, Locke’s attack on the divine right of kings and his famous argument for the social contract is read as exhibiting a rhetorical structure. This structure is crucial to Locke’s critique of heteronomy and his (...) attempt to facilitate the identification of oneself as a free subject. (shrink)