Ruling Passions

Author: Simon Blackburn
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 9780199241392
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Simon Blackburn puts forward a compelling original philosophy of human motivation and morality. He maintains that we cannot get clear about ethics until we get clear about human nature. So these are the sorts of questions he addresses: Why do we behave as we do? Can we improve? Is our ethics at war with our passions, or is it an upshot of those passions? Blackburn seeks the answers in an exploration of guilt, shame, disgust, and other moral emotions; he draws also on game theory and cognitive science in his account of the structures of human motivation. Many philosophers have wanted a naturalistic ethics a theory that integrates our understanding of human morality with the rest of our understanding of the world we live in. What is special about Blackburn's naturalistic ethics is that it does not debunk the ethical by reducing it to the non-ethical. At the same time he banishes the spectres of scepticism and relativism that have haunted recent moral philosophy. Ruling Passions sets ethics in the context of human nature: it offers a solution to the puzzle of how ethics can maintain its authority even though it is rooted in the very emotions and motivations that it exists to control.

Truth Ideas in Profile

Author: Simon Blackburn
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 1782832920
Format: PDF, ePub
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Truth has always been a thorny topic. How does it work? Who decides what it is? And why is it seen as so important? In this lucid introduction to the topic, leading scholar Simon Blackburn describes the main approaches to the notion of truth and considers how these relate to different perspectives on belief, interpretation, facts, knowledge and action. He then looks at how these ideas can be applied to: - aesthetics, taste and the judgement of art; - ethics and how people decide how they should (or should not) live; - reason and rational truth and whether these may be found or learnt in conversation, agreement and disagreement; - religious belief and the ultimate cause of the cosmos. Understanding what constitutes truth has practical value in every aspect of life, and whether you are voting in an election or finding an excuse for being late, Professor Blackburn's clear and incisive account will illuminate your choice, and stimulate, inform and entertain you along the way.

The Rational and the Moral Order

Author: Kurt Baier
Publisher: Open Court Publishing
ISBN: 9780812692648
Format: PDF, Kindle
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'The Rational and the Moral Order' is a significant book providing a comprehensive theory of morality. The opening chapter is simply marvellous. Baier provides a cogent response to Hume's conundrums on practical reasoning: logical entailment, he argues, is not the correct model of the relation between reasons and that for which they are reasons. Indeed, the giving of reasons is, in part, a social enterprise, and there is no necessary connection between rationality and self-interest. Just as the giving of reasons is a social enterprise taught to succeeding generations, so too is the moral enterprise, for a moral order is a social order of some sort. It is a social order that encourages a critical stance toward, and permits the correction of, its mores. Moral precepts can be sound or unsound, and yet can be relative to a moral order. In the concluding chapter Baier shows how his theoretical framework can be used to confront some of the moral problems people face, problems which have also exercised contemporary philosophers. Though there are many philosophers who believe that killing is worse than letting anyone die, there are few that defend the view other than by raw intuition. Baier deploys the resources of his theory of morality in support of this widely shared but poorly defended viewpoints. "Along the way, Baier deals with virtually all the problems that have taxed moral philosophers for a very long time -- rationality, responsibility, morality's relation to law, the good life, prisoner's dilemma, moral motivation, and others. The Rational and the Moral Order is careful, insightful, and convincing." --Theodore M. Benditt, University of Alabama

Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments

Author: R. Jay Wallace
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674766228
Format: PDF, Docs
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R. Jay Wallace argues in this book that moral accountability hinges on questions of fairness: When is it fair to hold people morally responsible for what they do? Would it be fair to do so even in a deterministic world? To answer these questions, we need to understand what we are doing when we hold people morally responsible, a stance that Wallace connects with a central class of moral sentiments, those of resentment, indignation, and guilt. To hold someone responsible, he argues, is to be subject to these reactive emotions in one's dealings with that person. Developing this theme with unusual sophistication, he offers a new interpretation of the reactive emotions and traces their role in our practices of blame and moral sanction. With this account in place, Wallace advances a powerful and sustained argument against the common view that accountability requires freedom of will. Instead, he maintains, the fairness of holding people responsible depends on their rational competence: the power to grasp moral reasons and to control their behavior accordingly. He shows how these forms of rational competence are compatible with determinism. At the same time, giving serious consideration to incompatibilist concerns, Wallace develops a compelling diagnosis of the common assumption that freedom is necessary for responsibility. Rigorously argued, eminently readable, this book touches on issues of broad concern to philosophers, legal theorists, political scientists, and anyone with an interest in the nature and limits of responsibility.

Spreading the Word

Author: Simon Blackburn
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019824651X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This book provides a comprehensive introduction to many central aspects of the philosophy of language, among them representation, rule following, convention, intention and thought, realism, and particularly the substantial issues in the philosophy of truth and reference.

Civil Passions

Author: Sharon R. Krause
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400837281
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Must we put passions aside when we deliberate about justice? Can we do so? The dominant views of deliberation rightly emphasize the importance of impartiality as a cornerstone of fair decision making, but they wrongly assume that impartiality means being disengaged and passionless. In Civil Passions, Sharon Krause argues that moral and political deliberation must incorporate passions, even as she insists on the value of impartiality. Drawing on resources ranging from Hume's theory of moral sentiment to recent findings in neuroscience, Civil Passions breaks new ground by providing a systematic account of how passions can generate an impartial standpoint that yields binding and compelling conclusions in politics. Krause shows that the path to genuinely impartial justice in the public sphere--and ultimately to social change and political reform--runs through moral sentiment properly construed. This new account of affective but impartial judgment calls for a politics of liberal rights and democratic contestation, and it requires us to reconceive the meaning of public reason, the nature of sound deliberation, and the authority of law. By illuminating how impartiality feels, Civil Passions offers not only a truer account of how we deliberate about justice, but one that promises to engage citizens more effectively in acting for justice.

Passions and Projections

Author: Robert N. Johnson
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191034819
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This volume presents fourteen original essays which explore the philosophy of Simon Blackburn, one of the UK's most influential contemporary philosophers. Blackburn is best known to the general public for his attempts to make philosophy accessible to those with little or no formal training, but in professional circles his reputation is based on a lifetime pursuit of his distinctive version of a projectivist and anti-realist research program. As he sees things, we must always try first to understand and explain what we are doing when we think and talk as we do. This research program reaches into nearly all of the main areas of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, and moral psychology. The books and articles he has written provide us with perhaps the most comprehensive statement and defense of projectivism and anti-realism since Hume. The essays collected here document the range and influence of Blackburn's work. They reveal, among other things, the resourcefulness of his distinctive brand of philosophical pragmatism.

Constructivism in Practical Philosophy

Author: James Lenman
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0199609837
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This volume comprises twelve original papers on constructivism - some favourable, others critical - by a distinguished group of moral philosophers. Since John Rawls' account of Kantian constructivism in 1980, there has been much discussion of constructivist understandings - Kantian or otherwise - both of morality and of reason more generally. Such understandings typically seek to characterize the truth conditions of propositions in their target domain in maximallymetaphysically unassuming ways, but controversy abounds over the interpretation and the scope as well as the credibility of such constructivist ideas. The essays collected here reach to the heart ofthis contemporary philosophical debate, and offer a range of new approaches and perspectives.

Buddhism Virtue and Environment

Author: David E. Cooper
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351954318
Format: PDF, Docs
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Buddhism, one increasingly hears, is an 'eco-friendly' religion. It is often said that this is because it promotes an 'ecological' view of things, one stressing the essential unity of human beings and the natural world. Buddhism, Virtue and Environment presents a different view. While agreeing that Buddhism is, in many important respects, in tune with environmental concerns, Cooper and James argue that what makes it 'green' is its view of human life. The true connection between the religion and environmental thought is to be found in Buddhist accounts of the virtues - those traits, such as compassion, equanimity and humility, that characterise the life of a spiritually enlightened individual. Central chapters of this book examine these virtues and their implications for environmental attitudes and practice. Buddhism, Virtue and Environment will be of interest not only to students and teachers of Buddhism and environmental ethics, but to those more generally engaged with moral philosophy. Written in a clear and accessible style, this book presents an original conception of Buddhist environmental thought. The authors also contribute to the wider debate on the place of ethics in Buddhist teachings and practices, and to debates within 'virtue ethics' on the relations between human well-being and environmental concern.

Humans in Nature

Author: Gregory E. Kaebnick
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199347239
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Contemporary debates over issues as wide-ranging as the protection of wildernesses and endangered species, the spread of genetically modified organisms, the emergence of synthetic biology, and the advance of human enhancement, all of which seem to spin into deeper and more baffling questions with every change in the news cycle, often circle back to the same fundamental question: should there be limits to the human alteration of the natural world? A growing number of people view the human capacity to alter natural states of affairs -- from formerly wild spaces and things around us to crops and livestock to our own human nature -- as cause for moral alarm. That reaction raises a number of perplexing philosophical questions, however: Can we identify "natural" states of affairs at all? Does the idea of being morally concerned about the human relationship to nature make any sense? Should such a concern influence public policy and politics, or should government stay strenuously neutral on such matters? Through a study of moral debates about the environment, agricultural biotechnology, synthetic biology, and human enhancement, Gregory E. Kaebnick, a research scholar at The Hastings Center and editor of the Hastings Center Report, argues that concerns about the human alteration of nature can be legitimate and serious, but also that they are complex, contestable, and of limited political force. Kaebnick defends attempts to identify "natural" states of affairs by disentangling the nature/artifact distinction from metaphysical hoariness. Drawing on David Hume, he also defends moral standards for the human relationship to nature, arguing that they, and moral standards generally, should be understood as grounded in what Hume called the "passions." Yet what counts as "natural" can be delineated only roughly, he concludes, and moral standards for interaction with nature are less a matter of obligation than of ideals. Kaebnick also concludes, drawing on an interpretation of the liberal principle of neutrality, that government may support those standards but must be careful not to enforce them. Thus Kaebnick looks for a middle way on debates that have tended toward polarization. "As differences between nature and artifact become steadily less substantial, problems about preservation run to the core of how people can make sense of themselves, of each other, and of our shared world. Kaebnick's solutions are creative and compelling, theoretically elegant and politically practical. Providing distinctive ways forward, when much academic and policy discussion seems exhausted, his book demands wide attention. In return, it inspires hope." - James Nelson, Michigan State University