A wealth of research in social psychology indicates that various ethically arbitrary situational factors exert a surprisingly powerful influence on moral conduct. Empirically-minded philosophers have argued over the last two decades that this evidence challenges Aristotelian virtue ethics. John Doris, Gilbert Harman, and Maria Merritt have argued that situationist moral psychology – as opposed to Aristotelian moral psychology – is better suited to the practical aim of helping agents act better. The Aristotelian account, with its emphasis on individual factors, invites (...) too much risk of morally bad conduct insofar as it ignores the power of situational factors which lead us astray. Moral agents are often better off detecting and intervening on situational factors to help themselves act better. This paper offers an argument against the claim that situationism enjoys practical advantages over Aristotelian virtue ethics. There is empirical evidence suggesting that people can improve their behavior via Aristotelian strategies of deliberate self-improvement. This evidence also suggests that focusing our ethical attention on morally trivial factors may result in worse overall conduct. Accordingly, Aristotelianism may fare better than situationism on the practical issue of moral improvement. (shrink)
Several philosophers, known as situationists, have argued that evidence in social psychology threatens to undermine Aristotelian virtue ethics. An impressively large amount of empirical evidence suggests that most people do not consistently act virtuously and lack the ability to exercise rational control over their behavior. Since possessing moral virtues requires these features, situationists have argued that Aristotelianism does not accurately describe the character traits possessed by most people, and so the theory cannot lay claim to various theoretical advantages such as (...) explanatory power and egalitarian character education. In contrast to previous defenses which either downplay the relevance of psychological evidence or revise philosophical conceptions of virtue to fit the data, this paper appeals to previously neglected psychological evidence on self-efficacy and mental contrasting in combination with “non-idealized” interpretations of Aristotelian moral virtue to support the view that the available empirical evidence is compatible with widespread possession of virtuous character. These “non-idealized” interpretations of virtuous character allow for serious deviations from virtuous conduct, especially in the contexts described by the psychology experiments. Furthermore, decades of research on mental contrasting and self-efficacy suggest that subjects in the psychology experiments acted for reasons and possessed the ability to exercise rational control over their behavior. Hence, situationists are mistaken in thinking that, based on the empirical data, Aristotelianism is deprived of various theoretical advantages. (shrink)
This book is a collection of secondary essays on America's most important philosophic thinkers—statesmen, judges, writers, educators, and activists—from the colonial period to the present. Each essay is a comprehensive introduction to the thought of a noted American on the fundamental meaning of the American regime.
The Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) is an ontology that provides terms with precisely defined meanings to describe all aspects of how investigations in the biological and medical domains are conducted. OBI re-uses ontologies that provide a representation of biomedical knowledge from the Open Biological and Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) project and adds the ability to describe how this knowledge was derived. We here describe the state of OBI and several applications that are using it, such as adding semantic expressivity to (...) existing databases, building data entry forms, and enabling interoperability between knowledge resources. OBI covers all phases of the investigation process, such as planning, execution and reporting. It represents information and material entities that participate in these processes, as well as roles and functions. Prior to OBI, it was not possible to use a single internally consistent resource that could be applied to multiple types of experiments for these applications. OBI has made this possible by creating terms for entities involved in biological and medical investigations and by importing parts of other biomedical ontologies such as GO, Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) and Phenotype Attribute and Trait Ontology (PATO) without altering their meaning. OBI is being used in a wide range of projects covering genomics, multi-omics, immunology, and catalogs of services. OBI has also spawned other ontologies (Information Artifact Ontology) and methods for importing parts of ontologies (Minimum information to reference an external ontology term (MIREOT)). The OBI project is an open cross-disciplinary collaborative effort, encompassing multiple research communities from around the globe. To date, OBI has created 2366 classes and 40 relations along with textual and formal definitions. The OBI Consortium maintains a web resource providing details on the people, policies, and issues being addressed in association with OBI. (shrink)
In this paper I respond to Robert Taylor's argument that a Rawlsian framework does not support strong affirmative action programs. The paper makes three main arguments. The first disputes Taylor's claim that strong AA would not be needed in ideal conditions. Private racial discrimination, I suggest, might still exist in such conditions, so strong AA might be needed there. The second challenges Taylor's claims that pure procedural justice constrains Rawlsian nonideal theory. I argue that this rests on (...) a fetishizing of pure procedural justice that is absent from Rawls's work. I also show that a revised formulation of Taylor's concern here also fails. My third argument makes a positive Rawlsian case for strong AA in nonideal conditions that builds on a Taylor concession. Taylor suggests that the goal of nonideal theory is to create a world in which ideal theory can be applied. My argument begins by showing that another permissible goal of Rawlsian nonideal theory is to ameliorate injustice. I then argue that Rawls's contractualist framework supports the strongest forms of AA when category 3 interventions are blocked. (shrink)
_Published by Taylor & Francis Group for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education_ This _Handbook_ addresses the concept and implementation of technological pedagogical content knowledge -- the knowledge and skills that teachers need in order to integrate technology meaningfully into instruction in specific content areas. Recognizing, for example, that effective uses of technology in mathematics are quite different from effective uses of technology in social studies, teachers need specific preparation in using technology in each content area they (...) will be teaching. Offering a series of chapters by scholars in different content areas who apply the technological pedagogical content knowledge framework to their individual content areas, the volume is structured around three themes: What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge? Integrating Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge into Specific Subject Areas Integrating Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge into Teacher Education and Professional Development The _Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Educators_ is simultaneously a mandate and a manifesto on the engagement of technology in classrooms based on consensus standards and rubrics for effectiveness. As the title of the concluding chapter declares, "It’s about time!" The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national, voluntary association of higher education institutions and related organizations. Our mission is to promote the learning of all PK-12 students through high-quality, evidence-based preparation and continuing education for all school personnel. For more information on our publications, visit our website at: www.aacte.org. (shrink)
Recently Robert Forman has attempted to muster support for the largely abandoned position that mystical experiences cross-culturally include an unmediated, non-relative core. To reopen the debate he has solicited essays from likeminded scholars for his book, The Problem of Pure Consciousness. Predictably the focus of the volume rests on the refutation of the position most notably expounded by Steven Katz in his influential article of 1978, ‘Language, Epistemology and Mysticism’.
Once we accept anyone's postulates he becomes our professor and our god: for his foundations he will grab territory so ample and so easy that, if he so wishes, he will drag us up to the clouds. Montaigne During the last fifteen years, the community of philosophers interested in religion has evinced a waxing concern with the justificatory value of religious experiences for theism. Two parallel but largely discrete debates have appeared in the literature.
Recently, many philosophers of religion have sought to defend the rationality of religious belief by shifting the burden of proof onto the critic of religious belief. Some have appealed to extraordinary religious experience in making their case. Religious Experience, Justification, and History restores neglected explanatory and historical considerations to the debate. Through a study of William James, it contests the accounts of religious experience offered in recent works. Through reflection on the history of philosophy, it also unravels the philosophical use (...) of the term justification. Matthew Bagger argues that the commitment to supernatural explanations implicit in the religious experiences employed to justify religious belief contradicts the modern ideal of human flourishing. (shrink)
What methodology should philosophers follow? Should they rely on methods that can be conducted from the armchair? Or should they leave the armchair and turn to the methods of the natural sciences, such as experiments in the laboratory? Or is this opposition itself a false one? Arguments about philosophical methodology are raging in the wake of a number of often conflicting currents, such as the growth of experimental philosophy, the resurgence of interest in metaphysical questions, and the use of formal (...) methods. This outstanding collection of specially-commissioned chapters by leading international philosophers discusses these questions and many more. It provides a comprehensive survey of philosophical methodology in the most important philosophical subjects: metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, phenomenology, philosophy of science, ethics, and aesthetics. A key feature of the collection is that philosophers discuss and evaluate contrasting approaches in each subject, offering a superb overview of the variety of methodological approaches - both naturalistic and non-naturalistic - in each of these areas. They examine important topics at the heart of methodological argument, including the role of intuitions and conceptual analysis, thought experiments, introspection, and the place that results from the natural sciences should have in philosophical theorizing. The collection begins with a fascinating exchange about philosophical naturalism between Timothy Williamson and Alexander Rosenberg, and also includes contributions from the following philosophers: Lynne Rudder Baker, Matt Bedke, Greg Currie, Michael Devitt, Matthew C. Haug, Jenann Ismael, Hilary Kornblith, Neil Levy, E.J. Lowe, Kirk Ludwig, Marie McGinn, David Papineau, Matthew Ratcliffe, Georges Rey, Jeffrey W. Roland, Barry C. Smith, Amie L. Thomasson, Valerie Tiberius, Jessica Wilson, and David W. Smith. (shrink)
_Kant and Applied Ethics_ makes an important contribution to Kant scholarship, illuminating the vital moral parameters of key ethical debates. Offers a critical analysis of Kant’s ethics, interrogating the theoretical bases of his theory and evaluating their strengths and weaknesses Examines the controversies surrounding the most important ethical discussions taking place today, including abortion, the death penalty, and same-sex marriage Joins innovative thinkers in contemporary Kantian scholarship, including Christine Korsgaard, Allen Wood, and Barbara Herman, in taking Kant’s philosophy in new (...) and interesting directions Clarifies Kant’s legacy for applied ethics, helping us to understand how these debates have been structured historically and providing us with the philosophical tools to address them. (shrink)
In this book, Matthew C. Ally explores the changing and increasingly troubled relationship between humankind and planet Earth. Oriented by the seemingly simple example of a woodland pond, he draws together insights from existential philosophy, scientific ecology, and several disciplines in the social sciences and humanities to articulate a strong sense of human belonging in the living Earth community and a binding imperative of participation in the struggle to preserve a habitable planet and build a livable world.
This remarkably comprehensive Handbook provides a multifaceted yet carefully crafted investigation into the work of Immanuel Kant, one of the greatest philosophers the world has ever seen. With original contributions from leading international scholars in the field, this authoritative volume first sets Kant’s work in its biographical and historical context. It then proceeds to explain and evaluate his revolutionary work in metaphysics and epistemology, logic, ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, political philosophy, philosophy of history, philosophy of education, (...) and anthropology. (shrink)
German Idealism was without doubt one of the most fruitful, influential, and exciting periods in the history of philosophy. The Palgrave Handbook of German Idealism covers this revolutionary philosophical movement in remarkable detail and includes contributions from 36 of the leading scholars in the field, including Paul Guyer, Terry Pinkard, Violetta Waibel, Jason Wirth, and Günter Zöller. In his introduction, Matthew Altman investigates the meaning of idealism and sets the historical context. Ensuing chapters then consider the philosophical importance of (...) the movement’s four most important thinkers (Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel) and explore the areas of philosophy on which they had their greatest impact. A concluding chapter examines the legacy of German Idealism from the nineteenth century to the present day. (shrink)
Through careful interpretive analysis, the piece argues that the Christian cosmic vision reveals the wrongness of industrial animal agriculture and that taking up more intentional eating practices is a morally significant spiritual discipline for Christians. It also testifies to our claim in the introduction [to the "Food and Religion" chapter of *Food, Ethics, and Society*] that religious food ethics have practical advantages over purely secular ethics insofar as the latter usually tries to begin from a neutral perspective that has very (...) little power to compel a person, whereas religious food ethics hooks into one's deepest commitments. (shrink)
Recourse to a variety of well-constructed arguments is undoubtedly a significant strategic asset for cultivating more ethical eating habits and convincing others to follow suit. Nevertheless, common obstacles often prevent even the best arguments from getting traction in our lives. For one thing, many of us enter the discussion hampered by firmly-entrenched but largely uninvestigated assumptions about food that make it difficult to imagine how even well-supported arguments that challenge our familiar frames of culinary reference could actually apply to us. (...) When an argument contests our cherished food ways, we are inclined almost reflexively to dodge, downplay, or dismiss it, and all the more anxiously if we suspect it’s a good one. Moreover, even when we find such arguments convincing and resolve to change, we often discover to our chagrin that, when the buffet is open, we lack the will to act on our convictions. Whether the obstacle is a lack of imagination or a failure of will, the way to concrete moral progress is blocked. Our aim here is to consider how other modes of philosophical inquiry can help us to overcome these two obstacles that arise at the margins of philosophy’s argumentative contributions to food ethics. In part I, we diagnose these obstacles as common moral malaises—we call them the malaise of imagination and the malaise of will—that create existential unease for moral agents that can curtail their ability to eat in accordance with what they learn from philosophical arguments. We then propose that other modes of philosophical inquiry can serve as therapy for these malaises. In part II, we argue that philosophical hermeneutics (exemplified by Hans-Georg Gadamer) can treat the malaise of imagination by helping us to excavate and revise hidden prejudices that interfere with our ability authentically to engage arguments that challenge entrenched assumptions about food. In part III, we argue that philosophy as care of the self (exemplified by Pierre Hadot) can treat the malaise of will by helping us to identify habits of thought and action that hamper concrete progress toward new dietary ideals and to replace them, through repetitive exercises, with transformed habits. In a brief conclusion, we identify some benefits of this approach. (shrink)
Though commentators have paid little thematic attention to Heidegger’s 1928 treatise “On the Essence of Ground” (OEG), recently available subsequent writings suggest that Heidegger himself saw OEG as a pivotal step on the way to “overcoming” his analysis of fundamental ontological transcendence. Among these writings is a set of rarely discussed lettered notes originally scribbled into his personal copy of OEG in which Heidegger offers a point-for-point deconstruction of the treatise’s fundamental ontological interpretation of transcendence. I argue that examining the (...) interplay between these two tiers of analysis may illuminate the murky trail that cuts between the beaten track of Being and Time and the increasingly well-trodden paths of Contributions to Philosophy and other later writings. Part one motivates the reading I propose by situating OEG in the broader contexts of its reception in the secondary literature, its engagement by Heidegger himself in subsequent writings, and my own interpretation—in view of Heidegger’s remarks—of its utility for illuminating the catalyst’s role played by the transcendence problem in the development of his overall project. Against this backdrop, part two advances a selective reading of the most important developments in OEG’s main text and lettered notes, elucidating in the process their hermeneutic significance for returning to and “turning” from the progressive elaboration of transcendence that both initiates and eventually exhausts Heidegger’s fundamental ontological inquiries. The picture that emerges, I conclude, is that OEG is hermeneutically a significantly more important work (for Heidegger certainly, but potentially also for his interpreters) than its marginal status in the secondary literature might lead one to believe. (shrink)
When examined critically, Kant's views on sex and marriage give us the tools to defend same-sex marriage on moral grounds. The sexual objectification of one's partner can only be overcome when two people take responsibility for one another's overall well-being, and this commitment is enforced through legal coercion. Kant's views on the unnaturalness of homosexuality do not stand up to scrutiny, and he cannot (as he often tries to) restrict the purpose of sex to procreation. Kant himself rules out marriage (...) only when the partners cannot give themselves to one another equally – that is, if there is inequality of exchange. Because same-sex marriage would be between equals and would allow homosexuals to express their desire in a morally appropriate way, it ought to be legalized. (shrink)
This article aims to serve as an accessible introduction to the idea of "ontotheology" and to the so-called "ontotheological critique of Western metaphysics" for which the twentieth-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger is especially well known. I begin by distinguishing two uses of "ontotheology" employed respectively by Kant and Heidegger, and go on to develop the Heideggerian interpretation and critique of ontotheology under three main headings: The Onto-theo-logical Constitution of Western Metaphysics; Ontotheology's Problematic Legacy: Anxiety, Calculation, Oblivion; and Ontotheology and God. (...) The article concludes with an annotated bibliography of helpful resources for learning more about ontotheology, the critique of ontotheology, and directions the critique has taken after Heidegger. (shrink)
This book chapter is a work of popular philosophy that offers general readers an opportunity to reimagine their relationship to non-human creatures by living vicariously through the experience of Jasmin--a hypothetical college student whose encounters with a cow, goat, and rooster on a visit to a local farm trigger a transformation in her views and actions toward other animals, allowing her to see them for the first time as subjects of their own lives rather than as objects for human use. (...) Though the chapter is written from the perspective of Jasmin's own Christian religious heritage, her awakening to the importance of the lives of other animals and the practices she undertakes in order to live out that new vision resonate with other religious and non-religious traditions, implicitly engaging the traditions of philosophical hermeneutics (Hans-Georg Gadamer) and philosophy as a way of life through the practice of spiritual exercises (Pierre Hadot, Martha Nussbaum). This chapter would be appropriate for use in introduction to philosophy courses or first-year writing seminars that seek to offer students an invitational introduction to some of the big ideas in animal and environmental ethics without getting philosophically technical in ways that can alienate beginners. (shrink)
I argue that Sartre’s philosophy can be both broadened in its aspirations and deepened in its implications through dialogue with the life sciences. Section 1 introduces the philosophical terrain. Section 2 explores Sartre’s evolving understanding of nature and human relations with nature. Section 3 explores Sartre’s perspectives on scientific inquiry, natural history, and dialectical reason. Section 4 outlines recent developments in the life sciences that bear directly on Sartre’s quiet curiosity about a naturalistic dialectics. Section 5 suggests how these developments (...) constitute progress toward an “ecologized” dialectical philosophy consistent with Sartre’s mature ontology of praxis and pertinent to addressing the burgeoning socioecological crisis. (shrink)
For the past thirty years, the late Tom Regan bucked the trend among secular animal rights philosophers and spoke patiently and persistently to the best angels of religious ethics in a stream of publications that enjoins religious scholars, clergy, and lay people alike to rediscover the resources within their traditions for articulating and living out an animal ethics that is more consistent with their professed values of love, mercy, and justice. My aim in this article is to showcase some of (...) the wealth of insight offered in this important but under-utilized archive of Regan’s work to those of us, religious or otherwise, who wish to challenge audiences of faith to think and do better by animals. (shrink)
Anti-reductionists hold that special science explanations of some phenomena are objectively better than physical explanations of those phenomena. Prominent defenses of this claim appeal to the multiple realizability of special science properties. I argue that special science explanations can be shown to be better, in one respect, than physical explanations in a way that does not depend on multiple realizability. Namely, I discuss a way in which a special science explanation may be more abstract than a competing physical explanation, even (...) if it is not multiply realizable, and I argue that this kind of abstraction can be used to support the idea that that special science explanation omits explanatorily irrelevant detail. (shrink)
From its inception in Kant's efforts to articulate a "religion within the limits of reason alone," the Continental tradition has maintained a strict division of labor between theological and philosophical reflection on religion. In what follows, I examine this continental legacy in the context of Jacques Derrida's recent work on the concept of responsibility. First I discuss three guiding themes (the limits of speculative analysis, the idea of nondogmatic religion, and the importance of the other) that characterize the continental tradition's (...) general orientation toward philosophy of religion, as well as Derrida's approach to the concept of responsibility. I turn next to elucidating Derrida's account of responsibility as developed in "Force of Law: The Mystical Foundations of Authority" and The Gift of Death. I conclude with a discussion of the uses and limits of this account for religious (and theological) reflection, as well as for the task of articulating a contemporary continental philosophy of religion. (shrink)
In a world where meat is often a token of comfort, health, hospitality, and abundance, one can be forgiven for raising an eyebrow at the conjunction “meat and evil.” Why pull meat into the orbit of harm, pestilence, ill-will, and privation? From another perspective, the answer is obvious: meat—the flesh of slaughtered animals taken for food—is the remnant of a feeling creature who was recently alive and whose death was premature, violent, and often gratuitous. The truth is that meat has (...) a checkered history in the West. From its origin-story in Abrahamic religion to its industrial production in today’s world, meat is well-marbled with evil and its minions: sin, violence, injustice, destruction, suffering, and death. Beyond keeping company with these obtrusive forms of evil, meat’s success at remaining, nevertheless, in our collective good graces illuminates some of evil’s subtler shades too. We might learn something of insidiousness, self-deception, rationalization, and bad faith by exploring why the ever-strengthening consensus that habitual meat-eating is unhealthful, morally dubious, and environmentally damaging is often still no match for a philosopher’s savor of cheeseburgers. My aim is to consider meat’s fitness for a place in the Western history of evil by reflecting briefly on its outsized roles at the bookends of this narrative: meat’s primeval history in Genesis, and its contribution today to ethical and environmental problems of arguably apocalyptic proportions. (shrink)
This remarkably comprehensive Handbook provides a multifaceted yet carefully crafted investigation into the work of Immanuel Kant, one of the greatest philosophers the world has ever seen. With original contributions from leading international scholars in the field, this authoritative volume first sets Kant’s work in its biographical and historical context. It then proceeds to explain and evaluate his revolutionary work in metaphysics and epistemology, logic, ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, political philosophy, philosophy of history, philosophy of education, (...) and anthropology. Key Features: • Draws attention to the foundations of Kant’s varied philosophical insights — transcendental idealism, logic, and the bridge between theoretical and practical reason • Considers hitherto neglected topics such as sexuality and the philosophy of education • Explores the immense impact of his ground-breaking work on subsequent intellectual movements Serving as a touchstone for meaningful discussion about Kant’s philosophical and historical importance, this definitive Handbook is essential reading for Kant scholars who want to keep abreast of the field and for advanced students wishing to explore the frontiers of the subject. (shrink)
As evidence of the unintended consequences of industrial farm animal production continues to mount, it is becoming increasingly clear that, far from being a trivial matter of personal preference, eating is an activity that has deep moral and spiritual significance. Surprising as it may sound, the simple question of what to eat can prompt Christians daily to live out their spiritual vision of Shalom for all creatures--to bear witness to the marginalization of the poor, the exploitation of the oppressed, the (...) suffering of the innocent, and the degradation of the natural world, and to participate in the reconciliation of these ills through intentional acts of love, justice, mercy, and good stewardship. The aim of this work is to understand the cultivation of more intentional "compassionate eating" habits as a form of engaged Christian discipleship that responds to a wide array of practical, moral, and spiritual problems affecting all aspects of creation--human, animal, and environmental. The guiding suggestion is that compassionate eating is a spiritual discipline that offers a symbolically significant and practically effective way to live in faithful anticipation of the "peaceable kingdom" described in Judeo-Christian creation and redemption narratives. (shrink)
«Why forbid the tree?» Of all the questions that arise from a reading of the Genesis protology, that over why God forbade Adam and Eve the fruit of the tree of knowledge is of perennial curiosity. The present article examines the exegesis of two second-century sources, Theophilus of Antioch and Irenaeus of Lyons, each of whom considered the question of profound importance in anthropological and soteriological reflections. An emphasis on the prohibition as a test in Theophilus meets the alternate interpretation (...) of the prohibition as a formative construct in defining the limits of human intellectual capability according to Irenaeus. These are explored in detail, and at the article's end are synthesised in a reading of the Genesis prohibition that makes use of both points of emphasis. (shrink)
Anthropocentric biases manifest themselves in two different ways in research on animal cognition. Some researchers claim that only humans have the capacity for reasoning, beliefs, and interests; and others attribute mental concepts to nonhuman animals on the basis of behavioral evidence, and they conceive of animal cognition in more or less human terms. Both approaches overlook the fact that language-use deeply informs mental states, such that comparing human mental states to the mental states of nonlinguistic animals is misguided. In order (...) to avoid both pitfalls -- assuming that animals have mental lives just like we do, or assuming that they have no mental lives at all -- I argue for a functional methodological approach. Researchers should study animal cognition by identifying environmental inputs, the functional role of internal states, and behavioral outputs. Doing so will allow for cross-species comparisons in a way that the use of folk psychological terms does not. (shrink)