Jonathan Dancy presents a long-awaited exposition and defence of particularism in ethics, a view with which he has been associated for twenty years. He argues that the traditional link between morality and principles, or between being moral and having principles, is little more than a mistake. The possibility of moral thought and judgement does not in any way depend on an adequate supply of principles. Dancy grounds this claim on a form of reasons-holism, holding that what is a reason in one case need not be any reason in another, and maintaining that moral reasons are no different in this respect from others. He puts forward a distinctive form of value-holism to go with the holism of reasons, and he gives a detailed discussion, much needed, of the currently popular topic of 'contributory' reasons. Opposing positions of all sorts are summarized and criticized. Ethics Without Principles is the definitive statement of particularist ethical theory, and will be required reading for all those working on moral philosophy and ethical theory.
Sovereignty, Ethics, and the Narratives of the Gulf War
Author: David Campbell
Publisher: Lynne Rienner Pub
Category: Political Science
This study examines the discursive practices and political strategies that obscured the issues involved in the Gulf region and moved the crisis toward conflict. In particular, it probes the discourse of moral certitude through which the United States and its allies located with Iraq - in unambiguous ethical terms - the responsibility for evil.
"In the last sentence of a posthumously published article, Richard Rorty wrote: "...individual men and women are more fully human when their memories are amply stocked with verses". Equally, we might say that they are more humane and wide-ranging thinkers when their minds are amply stocked with Rorty's subtle thoughts. We should be grateful for the editors of this anthology for giving us so many." Philip Kitcher, Columbia University "Pragmatist," "historicist," "literary," "anti-analytical," "postmodernist," "neo-liberal," "humanist," "ethnocentric" ù all these (and many other) terms have been applied to Richard Rorty, both as compliments and as insults. This careful selection from his writings, along with Christopher Voparil's excellent introduction, explains why. It charts Rorty's many philosophical twists and turns and it illuminates the intellectual and political commitments that provide his thinking with a deep continuity. And it brings back, for a broad audience, Rorty's characteristic voice: both simple and sophisticated, witty and passionate, light-handed and erudite, controversial and accommodating, detailed and sweeping, critical and hopeful ù above all, unmistakably individual and deeply missed." Alexander Nehamas, Princeton University "The Rorty Reader is a remarkable editorial accomplishment. By bringing together a wide variety of Richard Rorty's controversial and yet inspiring writings, Bernstein and Voparil provide an excellent introduction to this important thinker. The addition, their own insightful introductory chapter, makes the collection essential reading for everyone who wants to gain a better understanding of not just the significance of Rorty's philosophical contribution, but that of modern thought in general." Alan Malachowski, University of Stellenbosch The Rorty Reader represents the first comprehensive collection of the writings of Richard Rorty, one of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers, best known for the controversial Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979). Gathering together key essays from over four decades of writings, the volume offers an in-depth introduction to the philosopher's life and prolific body of work. Topics addressed include the continuities and transformations that span Rorty's early training in the history of philosophy, his engagement with the analytic tradition, and the 1979 publication that brought him international renown. Particular attention is devoted to his later political writings, including his turn to literature as the vehicle of moral reflection most suitable to democratic life, and his embrace of philosophy as cultural politics. With selections from The Linguistic Turn (1967), Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (1989), Achieving Our Country (1998), and his four volumes of philosophical papers, including Philosophy as Cultural Politics (2007), as well as in-depth interviews and revealing autobiographical pieces, The Rorty Reader offers a compelling and representative view of Rorty's relationship with American pragmatism and the overall intellectual trajectory of his philosophical and political thought. Christopher J. Voparil is on the Graduate Faculty of Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, OH, where he teaches philosophy and political theory. He is the author of Richard Rorty: Politics and Vision (2006), and has published articles in Contemporary Pragmatism, Journal of Speculative Philosophy, Philosophy and Social Criticism, and Education and Culture. He is also the current Secretary of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy. Richard J. Bernstein is Vera List Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, New York. His most recent book is The Pragmatic Turn (Polity, 2010).
Everyone allows that we can reason to a new belief from beliefs that we already have. Aristotle thought that we could also reason from beliefs to action. Practical Shape: A Theory of Practical Reasoning establishes this possibility of reasoning to action, in a way that allows also for reasoning to intention, hope, fear, and doubt. While many philosophers have found little sense in Aristotle's claim, Dancy offers a general theory of reasoning that is sensitive to current debates but still Aristotelian in spirit. The text clearly sets out the similarities between reasoning to action and reasoning to belief, which are far more striking than any dissimilarities. Its detailed account of practical reasoning, a topic inadequately covered in current literature, is presented in such a way as to be intelligible to a variety of readers, making it an ideal resource for students of philosophy but also of interest to academics in related disciplines.
With nearly 300 entries on key concepts, review essays on central issues, and self-profiles by leading scholars, this companion is the most comprehensive and up-to-date single volume reference guide to epistemology. Epistemology from A-Z is comprised of 296 articles on important epistemological concepts that have been extensively revised to bring the volume up-to-date, with many new and re-written entries reflecting developments in the field Includes 20 new self-profiles by leading epistemologists Contains 10 new review essays on central issues of epistemology
John Dewey, widely known as "America's philosopher," provided important insights into education and political philosophy, but surprisingly never set down a complete moral or ethical philosophy. Gregory Fernando Pappas presents the first systematic and comprehensive treatment of Dewey's ethics. By providing a pluralistic account of moral life that is both unified and coherent, Pappas considers ethics to be key to an understanding of Dewey's other philosophical insights, especially his views on democracy. Pappas unfolds Dewey's ethical vision by looking carefully at the virtues and values of ideal character and community. Showing that Dewey's ethics are compatible with the rest of his philosophy, Pappas corrects the reputation of American pragmatism as a philosophy committed to skepticism and relativism. Readers will find a robust and boldly detailed view of Dewey's ethics in this groundbreaking book.
Virtue ethics has emerged as a distinct field within moral theory - whether as an alternative account of right action or as a conception of normativity which departs entirely from the obligatoriness of morality - and has proved itself invaluable to many aspects of contemporary applied ethics. Virtue ethics now flourishes in philosophy, sociology and theology and its applications extend to law, politics and bioethics. "The Handbook of Virtue Ethics" brings together leading international scholars to provide an overview of the field. Each chapter summarizes and assesses the most important work on a particular topic and sets this work in the context of historical developments. Taking a global approach by embracing a variety of major cultural traditions along with the Western, the "Handbook" maps the emergence of virtue ethics and provides a framework for future developments.
W.D. Ross (1877-1971) was the most important opponent of utilitarianism and consequentialism in British moral philosophy between 1861 and 1939. In Rossian Ethics, David Phillips offers the first monograph devoted exclusively to Ross's seminal contribution to moral philosophy. The book has two connected aims. The first is to interpret and evaluate Ross's moral theory, focusing on its three key elements: his introduction of the concept of prima facie duty, his limited pluralism about the right, and his limited pluralism about the good. The metaethical and epistemological framework within which Ross develops his moral theory is the subject of the fifth and final chapter of the book. The second aim is to articulate a distinctive view intermediate between consequentialism and absolutist deontology, which Phillips calls "classical deontology." According to classical deontology the most fundamental normative principles are principles of prima facie duty, principles which specify general kinds of reasons. Consequentialists are right to think that reasons always derive from goods; ideal utilitarians are right, contra hedonistic utilitarians, to think that there are a small number of distinct kinds of intrinsic goods. But consequentialists are wrong to think that all reasons have the same weight for all agents. Instead there are a small number of distinct kinds of agent-relative intensifiers: features that increase the importance of certain goods for certain agents. Phillips claims that classical deontology combines the best elements of the moral theories of Ross and of Sidgwick, ultimately arguing that Ross is best interpreted as a classical deontologist.
Kant's ethical thought remains one of the most influential, yet notoriously challenging, systems in the history of philosophy. This volume provides a sympathetic but critical reconstruction of the main strands of Kant's ethics, focusing on the most commonly read of Kant's ethical works, the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. Part I outlines Kant's arguments in defense of his Categorical Imperative, as well as elaborating Kant's understanding of dignity and human freedom. Part II addresses the most common objections to Kant's ethics, including challenges to the Formula of Universal Law; Kant's controversial ethical stances on suicide, sex and marriage, and non-human animals; and the place of reason, sentiment, and happiness in Kant's ethics. For scholars and specialists alike, the volume offers a clear and accessible account of what Kantian morality both offers us and asks of us.
The history of moral philosophy has been dominated by attempts to find and defend the correct moral principle or set of principles. However, over the last two decades the assumption that morality can and should be understood in terms of principles has come under attack from several quarters. The most radical attack has come from so-called moral particularists according to whom principles are at best useless and at worst a hindrance to successful moral reasoning and action. Why should – and how can – morality be based on principles? These are the leading questions of this book. Moral Principles offers a historically informed, in-depth examination of the current particularist/generalist debate and presents a novel account of the place of principles in our moral thought and action.
This book is aimed at analyzing the foundations of medical ethics by considering different moral theories and their implications for judgments in clinical practice and policy-making. It provides a review of the major types of ethical theory that can be applied to medical and bioethical issues concerning reproductive genetics. In response to the debate on the most adequate ethical doctrine to guide biomedical decisions, this book formulates views that capture the best elements in each, bearing in mind their differences and taking into account the specific character of medicine. No historically influential position in ethics is by itself adequate to be applied to reproductive decisions. Thus, this book attempts to offer a pluralistic approach to biomedical research and medical practice. One usually claims that there are some basic principles (non-maleficence, beneficence, confidentiality, autonomy, and justice) which constitute the foundations of bioethics and medical ethics. Yet these principles conflict with each other and one needs some criteria to solve these conflicts and to specify the scope of application of these principles. Exploring miscellaneous ethical approaches as introduced to biomedicine, particularly to reproductive genetics, the book shall elucidate their different assumptions concerning human nature and the relations between healthcare providers, recipients, and other affected parties (e.g. progeny, relatives, other patients, society). The book attempts to answer the question of whether the tension between these ethical doctrines generates conflict in the field of biomedicine or if these competing approaches could in some way complement each other. In this respect, lecturers and researchers in bioethics would be interested in this reading this book.
The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory is a major new reference work in ethical theory consisting of commissioned essays by leading moral philosophers. Ethical theories have always been of central importance to philosophy, and remain so; ethical theory is one of the most active areas of philosophical research and teaching today. Courses in ethics are taught in colleges and universities at all levels, and ethical theory is the organizing principle for all of them. The Handbook is divided into two parts, mirroring the field. The first part treats meta-ethical theory, which deals with theoretical questions about morality and moral judgment, including questions about moral language, the epistemology of moral belief, the truth aptness of moral claims, and so forth. The second part addresses normative theory, which deals with general moral issues, including the plausibility of various ethical theories and abstract principles of behavior. Examples of such theories are consequentialism and virtue theory. As with other Oxford Handbooks, the twenty-five contributors cover the field in a comprehensive and highly accessible way, while achieving three goals: exposition of central ideas, criticism of other approaches, and putting forth a distinct viewpoint.
Of all the books written about the problems of sustainable development and environmental protection, Sustainable Development: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy is one of the first to examine the role of science, economics and law, and ethics as generally applied to decision making on sustainable development, particularly in respect to the recommendations contained in Agenda 21. Specifically, the book examines the role, capabilities, and certain strengths and weaknesses of these disciplines and their ethical implications in the context of sustainable development problems. Such an analysis is necessary to determine whether sustainable development problems create important new challenges and problems for government so that, where appropriate, new tools or approaches may be designed to overcome limitations or take advantage of the strengths of current scientific, economic and legal capabilities. Audience: Environmental professionals, whether academic, governmental or industrial, or in the private consultancy sector. Also suitable as an upper level text or reference.
Moral Theory explores some of the most historically important and currently debated moral theories about the nature of the right and good. After introducing students in the first chapter to some of the main aims and methods of evaluating a moral theory, the remaining chapters are devoted to an examination of various moral theories including the divine command theory, moral relativism, natural law theory, Kant's moral theory, moral pluralism, virtue ethics, and moral particularism.
Ethics and moral philosophy is an area of particular interest today. This book brings together some of the most important essays in this area. Topics include practical reason, particularism, moral realism, virtue ethics, and ethics and moral philosophy more generally.
Normative ethical theories generally purport to be explanatory—to tell us not just what is good, or what conduct is right, but why. Drawing on both historical and contemporary approaches, Mark Schroeder offers a distinctive picture of how such explanations must work, and of the specific commitments that they incur. According to Schroeder, explanatory moral theories can be perfectly general only if they are reductive, offering accounts of what it is for something to be good, right, or what someone ought to do. So ambitious, highly general normative ethical theorizing is continuous with metaethical inquiry. Moreover, he argues that such explanatory theories face a special challenge in accounting for reasons or obligations that are universally shared, and develops an autonomy-based strategy for meeting this challenge, in the case of requirements of rationality. Explaining the Reasons We Share pulls together over a decade of work by one of the leading figures in contemporary metaethics. One new and ten previously published papers weave together treatments of reasons, reduction, supervenience, instrumental rationality, and legislation, to paint a sharp contrast between two plausible but competing pictures of the nature and limits of moral explanation—one from Cudworth and one indebted to Kant. A substantive new introduction provides a map to reading these essays as a unified argument, and qualifies their conclusions in light of Schroeder's current views. Along with its sister volume, Expressing Our Attitudes, this volume advances the theme that metaethical inquiry is continuous with other areas of philosophy.
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.