Traditional neo-Aristotelian accounts hold that temperance and continence are distinct character traits that are distinguished by the extent to which their bearers experience motivational conflict. In this paper, I formulate two pairs of necessary conditions—which, collectively, I call the conformity thesis—that articulate this distinction. Then, drawing on work in contemporary social and personality psychology, I argue that the conformity thesis is false. Being highly self-controlled is the best, psychologically realistic candidate for continence. However, our best evidence suggests that highly (...) self-controlled/continent people do not experience more or stronger desires that conflict with their evaluative judgments than others, and they are not particularly good at directly resisting these desires. In this way, actual continent people exhibit motivational harmony that is more similar to the traditional picture of temperance. On the other hand, they achieve this harmony because they are able to effectively employ indirect strategies for handling motivational conflict. These strategies are correctly associated with continence. Recognizing that temperance and continence are overlapping character traits puts us in a better position to understand, and design interventions to improve, the neuropsychological capacities that enable humans to intelligently manage their desires. (shrink)
The basic idea of expressivism is that for some sentences ‘P’, believing that P is not just a matter of having an ordinary descriptive belief. This is a way of capturing the idea that the meaning of some sentences either exceeds their factual/descriptive content or doesn’t consist in any particular factual/descriptive content at all, even in context. The paradigmatic application for expressivism is within metaethics, and holds that believing that stealing is wrong involves having some kind of desire-like attitude, with (...) world-tomind direction of fit, either in place of, or in addition to, being in a representational state of mind with mind-to-world direction of fit. Because expressivists refer to the state of believing that P as the state of mind ‘expressed’ by ‘P’, this view can also be described as the view that ‘stealing is wrong’ expresses a state of mind that involves a desire-like attitude instead of, or in addition to, a representational state of mind. According to some expressivists - unrestrained expressivists, as I’ll call them - there need be no special relationship among the different kinds of state of mind that can be expressed by sentences. Pick your favorite state of mind, the unrestrained expressivist allows, and there could, at least in principle, be a sentence that expressed it. Expressivists who seem to have been unrestrained plausibly include Ayer in Language, Truth, and Logic, and Simon Blackburn in many of his writings, including his , , and.. (shrink)
Darwinians are realists about the force of selection, but there has been surprisingly little discussion about what form this realism should take. Arguments about the units of selection in general and genic selectionism in particular reveal two realist assumptions: (1) for any selection process, there is a uniquely correct identification of the operative selective forces and the level at which each impinges; and (2) selective forces must satisfy the Pareto-style requirement of probabilistic causation. I argue that both assumptions are false; (...) we must temper realism about the force of selection and revise the way we think about probabilistic causation. (shrink)
In this paper I examine the moral psychology of the Phaedo and argue that the philosophical life in this dialogue is a temperate life, and that temperance consists in exercising epistemic discernment by actively withdrawing assent from incorrect evaluations the body inclines us to make. Philosophers deal with bodily affections by taking a correct epistemic stance. Exercising temperance thus understood is a necessary condition both for developing and strengthening rational capacities, and for fixing accurate beliefs about value. The (...) purification philosophers strive for, and the purifying role of philosophy, should then be understood as a clarificatory act consisting in making one’s thoughts clear and withdrawing assent from erroneous evaluative content in our desires and pleasures. Along the way, I argue that philosophers must neither avoid situations and activities that cause bodily affections as much as possible, nor ignore or care little about them. (shrink)
In this paper, I present and explore an alternative to a standard prioritarian axiology. Equality-tempered prioritarianism holds that the value of welfare increases should be balanced against the value of equality. However, given that, under prioritarianism, the value of marginal welfare benefits decreases as the welfare of beneficiaries increases, equality-tempered prioritarianism holds that the intrinsic value of equality will be sufficient to alter a prioritarian verdict only in cases in which welfare benefits are granted to the very well-off. I argue (...) that this view, suitably refined, solves a persistent problem for prioritarianism, and is superior to alternatives. (shrink)
The ongoing conflict between the economic imperative of stimulating consumption as part of the proliferation of neoliberal ideals of consumer supremacy and growing concern to increase environmental protection presents an opportunity to focus on consumption with respect to ethical behavior. Ethical concerns regarding purchasing and consumption behavior are addressed here in relation to the adoption of principles associated with temperance as applied to self-restraint in food purchase and consumption. The paper outlines theological links to the concept of temperance (...) as applied to environmental and health concerns. Employing a virtue ethics perspective, it examines people’s proactive attitudes that value the environment by adopting waste reduction behaviors. Within the context of normative ethics, it is asked: “Is temperance able to fulfill the role of a lever in consumers’ hands and thereby contribute to minimizing negative environmental impacts associated with food waste?” The research bears witness to the role that consumer behavior may play in promotion and application of temperance in daily life. Study results from a survey conducted in Romania extend the scant information on people’s food waste behavior in relation to religion, underscoring the relationship between religion, temperance-oriented behavior and environmental concerns. (shrink)
The idea of epistemic temperance is introduced and explicated through a discussion of Plato's understanding of it. A variety of psychological and epistemic phenomena are presented which arise due to epistemic intemperance, or the inappropriate influence of conations on cognition. Two cases familiar to philosophers, self-deception and racial prejudice, are discussed as the result of epistemic intemperance though they are not typically seen as having a common cause. Finally, epistemic temperance is distinguished from epistemic justice, as these have (...) been conflated. (shrink)
This paper provides an account of the Aristotelian virtue of temperance in regards to food, an account that revolves around the idea of enjoying the right objects and not enjoying the wrong ones. In doing so, the paper distinguishes between two meanings of “taking pleasure in something,” one that refers to the idea of the activity and one to the experience of the activity. The paper then connects this distinction to the temperate person’s attitude towards enjoying the right things (...) and to hitting the mean by enjoying the right object, at the right time, and so on. Throughout, the paper uses eating meat as a case in point, to both illustrate and inform the discussion. In the penultimate section, the paper argues that temperance admits of various conceptions depending on what is right and wrong in regards to eating meat. The paper concludes by responding to three objections. (shrink)
Moral leadership matters. As world politics enters a new and dangerous era, judgment, constancy, moral purpose, and a willingness to overcome partisan politicking are essential for America's leaders. Tempered Strength finds the alternative standard of leadership that Americans are seeking in the classical philosophy of prudence. Ethan Fishman's new work brings together leading American political scientists—including Ronald Beiner, Kenneth L. Deutsch, and George Anastaplo—to discuss the evolution of a standard of prudential leadership both reasonable in nature and practical in scope. (...) Section One studies the meaning of prudence and its evolution in the history of political science from Aristotelian phronesis to Xenophon, Thomas Aquinas, Edmund Burke, and Michael Oakeshott. Section Two demonstrates how the theory of prudential leadership can be applied to practical political issues. (shrink)
Several decision rules, including the minimax regret rule, have been posited to suggest optimizing strategies for an individual when neither objective nor subjective probabilities can be associated to the various states of the world. These all share the shortcoming of focusing only on extreme outcomes. This paper suggests an alternative approach of âtempered regretsâ which may more closely replicate the decision process of individuals in those situations in which avoiding the worst outcome tempers the loss from not achieving the best (...) outcome. The assumption of total ignorance of the probabilities associated with the various states is maintained. Applications and illustrations from standard neoclassical theory are discussed. (shrink)
The predominant approach of public health experts to cigarette smoking might be described as behaviorist, for it aims to eliminate this behavior without attending to human agency and intention. The requirement that physicians address smoking cessation at every patient visit also constitutes physicians as “managers” who focus narrowly on technical means to achieve predetermined ends. In this paper, I contrast such an approach with the Aristotelian tradition, according to which physician and patient ought to develop the virtue of temperance (...) that would allow the patient to quit smoking. Although this model could potentially mitigate medicine’s behaviorist-managerial tendencies, I follow Aristotle to argue that it requires a moral friendship in which participants share a conception of the human good and pursue that good together. Due to the intractable moral pluralism that characterizes contemporary life, physicians and patients are unlikely to achieve this sort of friendship, making Aristotelian medicine impracticable at present. (shrink)
The virtue of temperance with respect to food and drink is often assumed to be relatively straightforward, a matter of steering a mean between excess and deficiency. Given also that humans share the need to eat and drink with non-human animals, this topic might therefore seem promising to explore for possible connections between evolutionary research on morality and theological ethics. In this paper, however, I argue that many aspects of temperance go far beyond the Aristotelian account and can (...) be understood principally as reflecting the fact that human beings are embodied relational persons. This second-person account can indeed be connected to theological ethics, but it is also one that draws principally from the discontinuities of human and non-human behaviour. (shrink)
This paper assesses the prospects of a pragmatist theory of content. I begin by criticising the theory presented in D.H. Mellor’s essay ‘Successful Semantics’. I then identify problems and lacunae in the pragmatist theory of meaning sketched in Chapter 13 of Dummett’s The Logical Basis of Metaphysics. The prospects are brighter, I contend, for a tempered pragmatism, in which the theory of content is permitted to draw upon irreducible notions of truth and falsity. I sketch the shape of such a (...) theory and illustrate the role of its pragmatist elements by showing how they point towards a promising account of the truth conditions of indicative conditionals. A feature of the account is that it validates Modus Ponens whilst invalidating Modus Tollens. (shrink)
An oft-repeated dictum in contemporary epistemology is that the epistemic goal minimally includes the acquisition of true beliefs and the avoidance of false beliefs. There is, however, a robust epistemological tradition in the Christian West that distinguishes between a virtuous and a vicious desire for and pursuit of cognitive contact with reality. The cognitive ideal for humans consists in epistemic temperance, an appetite for and pursuit of truth that is conducted in appropriate measure, and calibrated to appropriate objects and (...) ends. Here I explore this rich Christian tradition with an eye toward its application to contemporary Christian philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper we shall draw on Peirce’s four methods of fixating belief to provide a template for examining classroom experience. Such a template provides a context for understanding the dynamics that emerge at the intersection of existing belief and new experience. We shall develop several examples of tenacity as an impediment to student growth, discuss traditional responses to the irrationally tenacious student (and teacher), develop Peirce’s four methods in the context of an educational setting, and draw conclusions from his (...) work for educational theory. Our belief is not that tenacity inevitably works against the cultivation of critical awareness, but that this virtue needs to be tempered by a full purview of educational aims and their attending virtues. (shrink)
The kind of temperance discussed is the virtue of moderation concerning the pleasures of eating and drinking. A person lacks this moderation if either his desire for such pleasures causes conflicts with his own standards of appropriate behaviour or the standards themselves attach too much importance to the pleasures concerned. Opinions vary about the proper status of these pleasures, but people surely value them too highly if they place them above their health or the moral duty not to cause (...) unnecessary suffering. Temperance concerns medicine because of its connection with health, ethics because it involves not only the good life for the individual but also the welfare of other creatures. (shrink)
Often a concern for truthfulness becomes the celebration of radical truthfulness, where this involves both the utter refusal of deception and that all moral and political beliefs be fit to survive publicity. An unfortunate consequence of this is that it has blinded us to a fair and accurate understanding of the nature and role of an important technique of virtue—temperance. Temperance implies a strategy of renunciation and withdrawal from the full content of our psychological lives. It involves us (...) in pursuing and sustaining a practice of deliberative silence about those purposes and ends which, as we see things, threaten us with corruption and the world with evil. (shrink)
“There are strong temptations for those at the top of an organisational hierarchy to appropriate to themselves a disproportionate share of the resources of the organisation and to exercise too much power over the activities of other organisational members.” Hence the case for taking a cool look at executive remuneration and other possible breaches of applying the classical virtue of temperance to corporate behaviour. The author is Principal Lecturer in the Business Studies Department, Manchester Metropolitan University, Aytoun Building, Aytoun (...) Street, Manchester M1 3GH. (shrink)
In this paper we shall draw on Peirce’s four methods of fixating belief to provide a template for examining classroom experience. Such a template provides a context for understanding the dynamics that emerge at the intersection of existing belief and new experience. We shall develop several examples of tenacity as an impediment to student growth, discuss traditional responses to the irrationally tenacious student, develop Peirce’s four methods in the context of an educational setting, and draw conclusions from his work for (...) educational theory. Our belief is not that tenacity inevitably works against the cultivation of critical awareness, but that this virtue needs to be tempered by a full purview of educational aims and their attending virtues. (shrink)
The author is concerned with resurrecting the political doctrines which supported the Greek democracies. He finds them in the Greek anthropologists, Anaximander, Anaxagoras, Archelaus, and Democritus, and in Protagoras and Antiphon. Their empirical approach to history produced a body of thought suggestive of Hume and Dewey which was both democratic in character and liberal in temper. Furthermore, this position was until now obscured by the Platonic and Aristotelian concern with authority and law and with the essential nature of the individual--the (...) source of later "inalienable rights" doctrines.--R. P. (shrink)
The paper discusses Kant's view of sexual desire in connection with Aristotle's account of sexual temperance, arguing that if the Kantian view is correct, the Aristotelian account is false (or that if the Aristotelian account is true, then the Kantian view is false). One cannot be both an Aristotelian and a Kantian about the ethics of sexual desire.
This paper shows that temperance is the highest order risk preference condition for which spreading N independent and unfair risks provides the highest level of welfare than any other possible allocations of risks. These results are also interpreted through the concept of N-superadditivity of the utility premium. This paper provides a novel application of temperance, not in terms of two risks as it is common, but in terms of N risks.
The purpose of this essay is to explore, and clarify, some key features in Aquinas’ account of the virtue of temperance, with an eye to answering some common objections raised against a positive evaluation of temperance. In particular, I consider three features of Aquinas’ understanding of temperance: First, the role of the rational mean in temperance; second, the role of rightly ordered passions in temperance; and third, the ‘despotic’ control of reason over the passions in (...)temperance. Along the way I consider three common objections to Aquinas’ account of temperance: the objection that temperance can be misused for evil, the objection that temperance devalues effort, and the objection that temperance devalues strong passions and thereby implicitly devalues the goodness of sexuality. In responding to these objections on behalf of Aquinas, I take the opportunity to clarify and slightly extend Aquinas’ account of temperance. (shrink)
Epistemic transparency tells us that, if an agent S knows a given proposition p , then S knows that she knows that p . This idea is usually encoded in the so-called KK principle of epistemic logic. The paper develops an argument in favor of a moderate version of KK , which I dub quasi-transparency , as a normative rather than a descriptive principle. In the second Section I put forward the suggestion that epistemic transparency is not a demand of (...) ideal rationality, but of ideal epistemic responsibility, and hence that ideally responsible agents verify transparency principles of some sort; I also contend that their satisfaction should not be tied to an internalist epistemology. The central argument in favor of transparency is then addressed in Sections 3 to 8, through the development of a formal system. I show that, in a well-behaved formal setting, a moderate version of transparency is imposed upon us as a result of a number of independent decisions on the structure of higher-order probabilities, as long as we request that our probability and knowledge attributions cohere with each other. Thus I give a rationale to build a model for a hierarchy of languages with different levels of knowledge and probability operators; we obtain an analogous to KK for successive knowledge operators without actually demanding transitivity. The formal argument reinforces the philosophical intuition that epistemic transparency is an important desideratum we should not be too ready to dismiss. (shrink)
The portrait Bowen paints of this controversial man, Francis Bacon (1561-1626), balances the outward life and actions of Bacon with the seemingly contradictory aspects of his refined philosophical reflections. As Lord Chancellor of England, Bacon was impeached by Parliament for taking bribes in office, convicted, and banished from London and the law courts. In a prayer Bacon composed during the interval following his punishment, he reveals that the dichotomy of his existence was no more deeply felt than by himself, and (...) he readily admits that his obligations to society were not as suited to his nature as the study of philosophy, science, and law. Modern scholars hold Bacon's philosophical works, Novum Organum, Advancement of Learning, and The New Atlantis, as his greatest achievements. Bowen's story reveals a man whose genius it was not to immerse himself in the rigor of scientific experimentation, but to realize what questions science should ask, and thereby reach beyond the status quo and appeal to the wider imagination of his generation. In his writings, Bacon challenged established social and religious orders, raised questions about the mind/body relation and the role of dreams, and foresaw the development of the modern research university. It is Bacon's legacy to have gone beyond his age and, out of pure intuition, anticipate the concerns of future generations. (shrink)
My own life -- Selections from Hume's letters concerning virtue, religion and matters literary -- Selections from Hume's letters on history, politics, law, commerce and Scottish affairs -- Hume's last letter : to Adam Smith -- Selections from An enquiry concerning the principles of morals -- Extracts from Of the liberty of the press.
In the famous continuous time random walk model, because of the finite lifetime of biological particles, it is sometimes necessary to temper the power law measure such that the waiting time measure has a convergent first moment. The CTRW model with tempered waiting time measure is the so-called tempered fractional derivative. In this article, we introduce the tempered fractional derivative into complex networks to describe the finite life span or bounded physical space of nodes. Some properties of the tempered fractional (...) derivative and tempered fractional systems are discussed. Generalized synchronization in two-layer tempered fractional complex networks via pinning control is addressed based on the auxiliary system approach. The results of the proposed theory are used to derive a sufficient condition for achieving generalized synchronization of tempered fractional networks. Numerical simulations are presented to illustrate the effectiveness of the methods. (shrink)
In this article I examine the question whether classical virtue ethics, specifically the virtue of moderation, can still be of any significance for one of the major problems of our times: the environment. Can the virtue of moderation make a meaningful contribution to environmental ethics?