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symposium on moral virtue
1. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Elias Baumgarten Curiosity as a Moral Virtue
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I argue that curiosity about the world deserves attention as a moral virtue, even apart from the role it may play in (the more generally praised) love of wisdom. First, close relationships and caring are reasonably considered part of a well-lived life, and curiosity is important for caring both about people and about things in the world. Second, curiosity helps us to define an appropriate way for persons to be affected by certain situations. Perhaps most important, curiosity can help one to live well because it addresses the most fundamental existential task humans face, the need to see their lives as meaningful. I argue that curiosity is a distinctive virtue but suggest that related virtues (e.g., receptivity, reverence) may contribute to different kinds of worthy engagement with the world.
2. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Charles Zola Geriatric Filial Piety
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Today many adult children find themselves in the position of caring for elderly parents and attending to the other demands of life. Because of the unique balance of power in the adult child/elderly parent relationship as well as other negative influences, many adult children find caring for parents a frustrating task. This article argues a solution to this dilemma can be found in a renewed appreciation of filial piety as it specifically relates to caring for elderly parents. Using the moral insights of Aristotle and Aquinas, this paper develops a contemporary theoretical framework for geriatric filial piety that incorporates the traditional virtues of gratitude, respect, honor and obedience. It also illustrates their practical application so that adult children can find caring for their elderly parents a meaningful activity.
symposium on truth and construction of reality in psychotherapy
3. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Valerie E. Broin Standing in the Way of Truth: Understanding Narratives of Domestic Violence
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Telling the truth about experiences of sexualized trauma is viewed as a necessary element of healing. Yet, the notion of truth as representational accuracy is seriously limited, and striving to achieve such a truth may actually hinder the healing process. This article examines the complexity of truth telling, reconceptualizing it as an ongoing event of expression that opens up a space for intimacy in which meanings can emerge that allow a survivor to navigate her way in the world.
4. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Robert Scott Stewart Hacking the Blues: The Construction of the Depressed Adolescent
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This paper employs Ian Hacking’s notion of interactive kinds to examine the recent construction of the kind, “depressed adolescent.” I examine first how adolescents themselves were constructed. I then trace how, in North America, we have moved in the past thirty-odd years from a situation of virtually no adolescent depression to the current situation where it is estimated that approximately one in four adolescents is depressed. I offer some reasons why we should be uncomfortable both with the exponential increases in this kind and with the way in which depressed adolescents are being treated at present. In conclusion, I tentatively suggest some ways of proceeding in the future.
5. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Brian T. Trainor Social Work, Social Policy, and Truth: Foucault and Bosanquet
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In this article, I wish to suggest that the relationship of social work and social policy to “Truth” is of crucial importance for sound professional practice, and I attempt to substantiate this claim by analyzing and highlighting the very harmful consequences of ignoring, dismissing or distorting this relationship. I will show that these very definite and deleterious consequences inevitably arise as soon as Foucauldian postmodernists attempt to cut the link between professional practice in social work and social policy, and the ongoing quest for the “Truth” of our humanity. I then suggest that if Foucault, taken as representative of contemporary postmodernism, is the “problem,” then the solution lies in the work of a theorist such as Bosanquet, taken as representative of traditional social philosophy and political theory. I conclude with an investigation into the role of what I call “ethico-political consciousness” in both the civic and professional pursuit of Truth in social life.
6. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
David Benatar To Be or Not to Have Been?: Defective Counterfactual Reasoning About One’s Own Existence
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Most people think that their coming into existence benefited them. This paper reports on and analyses a study that shows that most people, when making such a judgement, do not really consider the counterfactual case -- the scenario in which they never come into existence. Because proper consideration is not given to both options, the ranking of one over the other is not an appropriately informed judgement. The preference for having come into existence is thus a profoundly unreliable indicator of whether it really is better to be than not to have been. The practical value of knowing this will be outlined.
7. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
Noreen C. Facione, Peter A. Facione Analyzing Explanations for Seemingly Irrational Choices: Linking Argument Analysis and Cognitive Science
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People make significant decisions in contexts of risk and uncertainty. Some of these decisions seem wise under the circumstances, and others seem like irrational choices. In both cases, people offer reasons as clarifications and explanations of these choices to others and to themselves. Argument analysis, a technique well known in philosophy and more generally in the humanities, can explicate the strands of assumptions, intermediate conclusions, data, warrants, and claims that the person articulates. But alone, argument analysis often falls short of revealing why the person’s decision makes sense to that person. Thefindings of empirical research into the influences of cognitive heuristics, the mental shortcuts we all use in decision making and problem solving, adds focus to the analysis of these choices. This paper links these two powerful analytic strategies, and provides a much fuller, more fruitful picture of explanations for seemingly irrational choices. Using an example explanation for deciding not to quit smoking, the paper makes both its methodological argument and its implicit argument for the significance of extending this analytical strategy to applied contexts. The implications of extending this analysis of everyday argument to management, health care, and education could be profound.
8. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
George Schedler Are Confederate Monuments Racist?
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I offer a way of classifying Confederate monuments and two ways of extracting meaning from these monuments. A few of them are racist on one of the two interpretations. Most of them, in the final analysis, implicitly acknowledge racial equality by extolling in African Americans the same virtues to which southern whites themselves aspired. Toppling those which seem racist entails serious difficulties, constitutional and philosophical. Additional interpretive material about the controversial ones is the more appropriate response.
9. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 2
David E. W. Fenner Virtues and Vices in Film Criticism
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Too often we relegate criticism of films to merely a rational or cognitive treatment of possible interpretations or meanings of the film under review. This is short sighted. After exploring the nature of the critical film review, this paper examines some of the potential vices that are found in film criticism today (such as “cerebralization,” “narrative fixation,” and “anticipatory blindness”), and highlights some of the virtues of a good film critic (such as “context sensitivity,” “aesthetic experiencing,” and “value maximization”).
symposium on criminal justice
10. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
John Kleinig The Blue Wall of Silence: An Ethical Analysis
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The “blue wall of silence” -- the rule that police officers will not testify against each other -- has its roots in an important associational virtue, loyalty, which, in the context of friendship and familial relations, is of central importance. This article seeks to distinguish the worthy roots of the “blue wall” from its frequent corruption in the covering up of serious criminality, and attempts to offer criteria for determining when to testify and when to respond in other ways to the flaws of fellow officers.
11. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Charles K. B. Barton Victim-Offender and Community Empowerment: A New Paradigm in Criminal Justice
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With the growing prominence of restorative justice interventions, criminal justice is being reconceptualized in terms of a new paradigm of justice. The central concept of this new paradigm is victim-offender empowerment. The paper articulates the meaning and application of this idea in restorative justice philosophy and practice.
symposium on computer technology
12. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
A. T. Nuyen The World Wide Web and the Web of Life: Some Critical Reflections on the Internet
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Heidegger is well known for his views on technology. What would he have to say about the crowning glory of digital technology, the Internet? This paper argues that he would not reject the new technology, which would be just as inauthentic as being delivered over to it. Instead, Heidegger would urge us to reflect critically on it to see how we could develop a free relationship to it. He would say that in order to have a free relationship to it, we need to avoid letting it serve to make us forget our Being as Being-in-the-world. An inauthentic relationship with the Internet occurs when we take to it because of the anonymity it affords, or because we mistake the wealth of information it makes available for real knowledge. For all that, Heidegger regards technology as having a “saving power,” or the potential to reveal Being. However, I argue that to be saved by technology’s saving power, we need to develop, on the one hand, what Foucault calls the “arts of existence,” and on the other what Habermas calls “human interests,” interests that will help realize the potential of the Internet.
13. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
William Spees Ethical Responsibilities of Software Developers in Developing Simulations: The Robotic Pet
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Recent innovations in computer software development have produced a new breed of pet, AIBO 2, a robotic pet that simulates the behavior of real pets. This paper argues that software developers who create such simulations have ethical responsibilities to product users and to society. The paper concludes with some general ethical guidelines for software developers to follow when engaged in projects involving real-world simulations.
symposium on philosophy of psychology
14. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Kathinka Evers The Importance of Being a Self
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A traditional belief is that there is but one self to a body, and that each of us has a single biography and personality. Varieties of this monistic view have dominated most of mankind’s intellectual history in philosophy, science, religion, and psychology, as well as legal and social theory. It has been challenged by appeal to those people whom psychiatry labels “multiple,” or “dissociated” personalities who, some claim, are “multiple selves.” This may be adequate if the self is explained by reference to personality. But if the self is characterized in terms of self-awareness, its numerical identity will be independent of that of the individual’s personality. On this account, the self is a biological ability that forms the basis of subjective reality without determinately enumerating the subject living it. The concept “self” is ambiguous and contextually sensitive; its meaning can vary with circumstances. On conceptual, ethical and existential grounds, a minimal conception of the self should be adopted without thereby excluding complementary stronger notions of the self. In principle, one organism could thus simultaneously be one and many selves in different meanings of that term. In human societies, the importance of being a self can hardly be overestimated, and any denial of this status must therefore carefully be considered.
15. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Jason A. Beyer Is the Current Practice of Psychotherapy Morally Permissible?
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This essay aims to morally evaluate psychotherapy as it is currently practiced through the lens of sales/exchange ethics. The main focus of the essay is on psychotherapists’ claims to special expertise at diagnosing and treating mental illness. I review the research evidence relevant to these claims and conclude that these claims are not supported by the available evidence. Psychotherapists do not appear to be any better than actuarial tests at diagnosing mental illnesses, and meta-analyses of psychotherapy outcome studies casts serious doubt on the existence of treatment expertise. Given that the expertise that psychotherapists claim to have is lacking, those seeking psychotherapy are not adequately informed about the quality of the product that they are seeking. Using Holley’s principles of sales ethics as a springboard, I argue that this situation is morally unacceptable; thus the current practice of psychotherapy is morally impermissible. I provide and evaluate some suggestions for rectifying this problem. The most important of these is Dawes’s suggestion that psychotherapists be licensed according to their use of experimentally confirmed diagnostic and treatment methods.
16. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
John Michael Atherton Ethics through Aikido: Practical Ethics Gets Physical
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A mugging can overwhelm our ability to apply moral principles. When words fail, we still need advice that allows us to remain moral in the face of an attack. Self-defense offers just such advice and can be supported by utilitarian, deontological, and virtue approaches to ethics. Self-defense increases safety and security that enhance our freedom and well-being, which, in turn, allow us to survive and flourish as moral agents. Self-defense must, however, itself be qualified because its violent treatment of muggers may produce human time bombs that reduce the safety and security of society.The martial art of Aikido trains our hand to act morally in the face of a physical attack when our mind is otherwise occupied. Aikido teaches self-defense, but it goes beyond self-centeredness to also protect the attacker. Such concern helps build community because it reduces vectors of resentment that spread when violence is perpetuated. The defense-only nature of Aikido teaches virtues in an embodied form on the mat. It offers philosophers an experiential and kinesthetic view of moral conduct that supplements and complements an exclusively intellectual approach. Moral philosophy cannot demand that we learn a martial art since it is only one of many possibilities to assist us in living a moral life; nevertheless, a reasonable attention to those conditions necessary for freedom and well-being entails an awareness of self-defense.
17. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Paul M. Hughes Moral Atrocity and Political Reconciliation: A Preliminary Analysis
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Over the past decade or so political leaders around the world have begun to apologize for, and even seek reconciliation between perpetrators and victims of large-scale moral wrongs such as slavery, campaigns of ethnic cleansing, and official regimes of racial segregation. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is probably the most well-known example of such political efforts to effect what might be called moral healing within and between nations. In this essay, I canvass various senses of reconciliation, clarifying which are appropriate for understanding these recent political efforts to heal the wounds caused by state-sanctioned moral atrocities. I argue that interpersonal reconciliation is not likely to be a promising model for understanding political efforts to achieve moral closure for large-scale wrongs, and I close with some worries about the efficacy of state-sponsored attempts to reconcile victims to their wrongdoers.
18. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
Lloyd Fields Coercion and Moral Blameworthiness
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Some interpretations of the term “coercion” entail that a person who is coerced is morally entitled to do what she does. But there is a vague spectrum of uses of this term, in which one use shades into another. “Coercion” can legitimately be interpreted in a way according to which it is possible for a person who is coerced not to be morally entitled to do what she does and indeed to be blameworthy for her action. In order to distinguish between cases in which a coercee is not blameworthy for compliance and those in which a coercee is blameworthy, an account of moral blameworthiness is presented. The account does not deal, however, with the question of when one harm or evil outweighs another. A person is morally blameworthy if and only if she performs an action which is, on balance, morally wrong, and for which she is morally responsible. Three different standards of moral responsibility are considered. The first two are found to be susceptible to counterexamples. The third, which is claimed to be adequate, is that a moral agent is responsible for a morally wrong action if and only if, first, either she has the psychological capacity to refrain from doing what she does, or, if she lacks this capacity, she nevertheless had a Isecond-order) psychological capacity to prevent the lack of capacity in question; and, second, the moral agent knows what she is doing, under the description of her action according to which it is a wrong action. Thus, where a moral agent is coerced into doing an immoral action, and lacked the psychological capacity to refrain from performing the action, this standard of responsibility enables us to decide whether or not she is blameworthy on the basis of whether the lack of the capacity was due to ordinary human weakness or to a fault of character.
19. International Journal of Applied Philosophy: Volume > 15 > Issue: 1
M. Andrew Holowchak Excellence as Athletic Ideal: Autonomy, Morality, and Competitive Sport
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Liberalism is the view that humans are independent, autonomous, and self-sufficient and, thus, institutional policy is warranted only when it advances these values. As an important thread in moral thought today, liberalism defines a good life as the complete freedom of all people to pursue their own desires, provided that little or no harm is done to others along the way.Moral liberalism also pervades the literature in philosophy of sport today. In this paper, I argue that liberalism as moral policy in sport is wrong because liberalism as moral policy is wrong. Human autonomy implies social responsibility, which moral liberalism today disavows. At paper’s end, I sketch out a normative account of sport, aretism, that fleshes out the types of responsibilities that bind athletes to sport, properly construed as a social institution.