This book challenges, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity. The author claims that we have a false view of our own nature; that it is often rational to act against our own best interests; that most of us have moral views that are directly self-defeating; and that, when we consider future generations the conclusions will often be disturbing. He concludes that moral non-religious moral philosophy is a young subject, with a promising but unpredictable future.
Brian Hedden defends a radical view about the relationship between rationality, personal identity, and time. On the standard view, personal identity over time plays a central role in thinking about rationality. This is because, on the standard view, there are rational norms for how a person's attitudes and actions at one time should fit with her attitudes and actions at other times, norms that apply within a person but not across persons. But these norms are problematic. They make what you rationally ought to believe or do depend on facts about your past that aren't part of your current perspective on the world, and they make rationality depend on controversial, murky metaphysical facts about what binds different instantaneous snapshots (or 'time-slices') into a single person extended in time. Hedden takes a different approach, treating the relationship between different time-slices of the same person as no different from the relationship between different people. For purposes of rational evaluation, a temporally extended person is akin to a group of people. The locus of rationality is the time-slice rather than the temporally extended agent. Taking an impersonal, time-slice-centric approach to rationality yields a unified approach to the rationality of beliefs, preferences, and actions where what rationality demands of you is solely determined by your evidence, with no special weight given to your past beliefs or actions.
Philosophy Through Film offers a uniquely engaging and effective approach to introductory philosophy by combining an anthology of classical and contemporary philosophical readings with a discussion of philosophical concepts illustrated in popular films. Pairs 50 classical and contemporary readings with popular films - from Monty Python and The Matrix to Casablanca and A Clockwork Orange Addresses key areas in philosophy, including topics in ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, free will and determinism, the problem of perception, and philosophy of time Each unit begins with an extensive introduction by the editors and ends with study questions linking readings to films Features chapter by chapter discussion of clips from films that vividly illustrate the critical philosophical arguments and positions raised in the readings
This volume is the result of an interdisciplinary exchange between philosophers of identity, moral philosophers, philosophers of education, moral psychologists, and post-modern deconstructivists on the subject of personal and moral identity. This interdisciplinary character makes the book special, compared to other publications on the subject. The contributions to the first part of the book reflect on the implications of discussions in philosophy of identity for moral theory and the view of moral identity. In the second part the focus shifts to the philosophical and psychological perspectives on the concepts of self, personal and moral identity and their interrelation. It is argued that both perspectives are needed for giving an account of the emergence of moral identity as part of someone's development into a mature person. The contributions to the third part absorb the criticism of (de)constructivist theories on essentialist conceptions of personal and social identity. This book will be of interest for philosophers and psychologists active in research on identity, self, (moral) development, and related areas.
In Discovering Levinas, Michael L. Morgan shows how this thinker faces in novel and provocative ways central philosophical problems of twentieth-century philosophy and religious thought. He tackles this task by placing Levinas in conversation with philosophers such as Donald Davidson, Stanley Cavell, John McDowell, Onora O'Neill, Charles Taylor, and Cora Diamond. He also seeks to understand Levinas within philosophical, religious, and political developments in the history of twentieth-century intellectual culture. Morgan demystifies Levinas by examining his unfamiliar and surprising vocabulary, interpreting texts with an eye to clarity, and arguing that Levinas can be understood as a philosopher of the everyday. Morgan also shows that Levinas's ethics is not morally and politically irrelevant nor is it excessively narrow and demanding in unacceptable ways. Neither glib dismissal nor fawning acceptance, this book provides a sympathetic reading that can form a foundation for a responsible critique.
This provocative study revives a classical idea about rationality by developing analogies between the structure of personality and the structure of society in the context of contemporary work in the philosophy of mind, ehtics, decision theory, and social choice theory.
What does the idea of taking 'the point of view of the universe' tell us about ethics? The great nineteenth-century utilitarian Henry Sidgwick used this metaphor to present what he took to be a self-evident moral truth: the good of one individual is of no more importance than the good of any other. Ethical judgments, he held, are objective truths that we can know by reason. The ethical axioms he took to be self-evident provide a foundation for utilitarianism. He supplements this foundation with an argument that nothing except states of consciousness have ultimate value, which led him to hold that pleasure is the only thing that is intrinsically good. Are these claims defensible? Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer test them against a variety of views held by contemporary writers in ethics, and conclude that they are. This book is therefore a defence of objectivism in ethics, and of hedonistic utilitarianism. The authors also explore, and in most cases support, Sidgwick's views on many other key questions in ethics: how to justify an ethical theory, the significance of an evolutionary explanation of our moral judgments, the choice between preference-utilitarianism and hedonistic utilitarianism, the conflict between self-interest and universal benevolence, whether something that it would be wrong to do openly can be right if kept secret, how demanding utilitarianism is, whether we should discount the future, or favor those who are worse off, the moral status of animals, and what is an optimum population.
This provocative book refurbishes the traditional account of freedom of will as reasons-guided "agent" causation, situating its account within a general metaphysics. O'Connor's discussion of the general concept of causation and of ontological reductionism v. emergence will specially interest metaphysicians and philosophers of mind.
2 first-person point of view, I acknowledge these possible handicaps and try to overcome them. Other people may coherently judge that I am incapable of figuring out correctly what I rationally ought to do, or they may inform me of reasons of which I had heretofore been ignorant, or they may try to help me overcome intellectual hindrances. Like me, these people would be assuming that the goal is to identify what I really rationally ought to do. Nevertheless, we are concerned with reasons for the agent to act in a certain way, rather than with reasons, say, for someone to want it to be the case that the agent act. Thus to be a reason in our sense is to be a consideration which has an appropriate guiding role to play in the. agents deliberation. (An agent is guided by reasons if she determines what to do in light of the reasons. ) Suppose then that a nor mative theory says that it is supremely desirable, or that it rationally ought to be the case, that agents act in a way that maximizes the general utility, but that (since the general utility is never in fact maximized by those who pay attention to it) considerations of the general utility should play no role in the agents' deliberation. Such a theory would not be said to ascribe to agents a reason to maximize the general utility on our usage.
"Frohock makes a provocative argument: The effects of divisive beliefs can be mitigated with a version of public reason defined as mediated speech acts. These acts are dialogues on the model of a guided conversation in which collective terms dominate simple merit adjudication. This type of public reasoning requires a survey of considerations beyond the merits of the case at hand and opens public reason to the more general needs of the political society."--BOOK JACKET.