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51. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Lawrence Alexander Another Look at Moral Blackmail
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In this paper I describe cases of moral blackmail as cases where A is told by B that if A does not commit an otherwise immoral act, B will commit an immoral act of equal or greater gravity. I describe cases of moral dilemma as cases where A must commit an otherwise immoral act to avert a natural disaster of equal or greater gravity. I then argue that cases of moral blackmail are structurally identical to cases of moral dilemma in all respects but one: In cases of moral blackmail, A is predicting the free actions of a moral agent (B), whereas in cases of moral dilemma, A is predicting natural events. I conclude that cases of moral blackmail are more problematic than otherwise similar cases of moral dilemma for this reason alone.
52. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Joe F. Jones III Striking ‘Commensurate’ from the Oxford Translation of An Post A24
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This paper argues that G.R.G. Mure’s use of ‘commensurate universal’ to translate ‘katholou’ is mistaken in An. Post. A24, and that throughout this chapter whenever the word ‘katholou’ appears it is to be translated ‘universal’ simpliciter. Establishing this requires a short commentary on Aristotle’s use of the word ‘katholou’, which apparently he coined, and used none too carefully.
53. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10
Frederic L. Bender Heidegger’s Hermeneutical Grounding of Science: A Phenomenonological Critique of Positivism
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It is argued that, despite the neglect which Heidegger’s writings on science have generally received, the “fundamental ontology” of Being and Time reveals certain structures of experience crucial for our understanding of science; and that, as these insights cast considerable doubt upon the validity of the empiricist/positivist conception of science, Heidegger deserves considerably better treatment as an incipient philosopher of science than has been the case thus far. His arguments for the distortive effects of the alleged “change over” from praxis to theoria, for the circularity of all human understanding (including scientific understanding), for the necessity of interpreting scientific method in terms of the hermeneutic circle, and for viewing scientific “crises” in ontological terms, are examined and evaluated. The article concludes with some reflections on the later Heidegger’s views on the limits of his earlier idea of science.
54. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10 > Issue: Supplement
David N. James What is Professional Ethics?
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After distinguishing professional ethic s from legal and aesthetic norms I argue that a version of rule-utilitarianism is best able to account for professional ethics. The alleged relativism of role-specific duties is a badly posed issue, I argue, since how morality comes to one critically depends upon one's occupation. Alternative theories of the foundations of professional ethics are criticized, both consent theories and the views of those who object to the legalism implicit in a rule-based theory. A mixed theory of virtue is defended to include the most important aspects of an ethic of virtue in the overall rule-utilitarian framework.
55. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 10 > Issue: Supplement
Thomas McClintock Skepticism and the Basis of Morality
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Part I (Skepticism) contains analyses of the basic varieties of ethical skepticism and culminates in the idea that the refutation of ethical skepticism--or, what is the same thing, the discovery of the rational basis of morality--consists of a proof of the factual thesis that there exists in human beings a common underivative moral self that consists of an innate normative-practical source (or principle-spring) of human moral judgment and behavior. Part 2 (The Basis of Morality) develops the methodology for establishing this factual thesis and develops as well an argument employing this methodology that actually establishes it. This argument is to the effect that nature through the process of evolution-by-natural-selection built into us humans the following principle as the rational basis of morality: We ought to act only in those ways whose universal performance is both possible and consistent with the rational self-interest of every member of our species.
56. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Sander H. Lee Reverse Discrimination and Social Justice
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Tom Beauchamp has pointed out that there are three major positions advocated on the issue of “reverse discrimination”. In this article, I will argue that all three of these positions overlook a central issue which is at stake in this controversy and I will suggest that a fourth position exists. Furthermore, I will argue that the programs usually supported by those in favor of preferential treatment (e.g., the setting of educational or employmental goals or quotas) are, while unquestionably worthwhile in their aims, in fact only superficial “band-aid” type solutions to a problemwhich requires much more fundamental changes in our attitudes concerning the distribution of wealth and opportunities in our society.
57. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Michael R. Baumer Sketch for a Modal Interpretation of Descartes’ Cogito
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In his logical exegesis of Descartes’ cogito, Hintikka has claimed that, formulated as an inference, it would be question--begging and that it is best understood as a performance, But (1), Hintikka’s discussion of an inferential interpretation omits reference to the possible relevance ofmodalities, and (2), Hintikka assumes that to beg the question is to assume what one is trying to prove. Question-begging is better understood in terms of how evident the premisses are in relation to the conclusion. In this paper I construct a modal inferential interpretation, defend itagainst any charge of question-begging, and outline a system of quantified modal logic which would validate it.
58. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Natika Newton Acting and Perceiving in Body and Mind
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In this paper I sketch an account of (a) the origin of the terms and concepts of folk psychology, and (b) the true nature of mental states. I argue that folk psychology is built on metaphors for the functioning physical body, and that mental states are neurological traces which serve as schematic ‘mental images’ of those same functions. Special attention is paid to the folk psychology of self-consciousness. In particular, I argue that the notion of introspection is mistaken, and I criticize recent claims of Patricia and Paul Churchland on this subject. I conclude by discussingrecent empirical evidence in support of my approach.
59. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Sander H. Lee Existential Themes in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock
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The auteur theory of film-making (usually attributed in film to the French director Francais Truffaut) is explored with specific reference to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. It is argued that Hitchcocks’s films, in particular his later films, present a common theme which is in fact quite consistent with the outlook of Phenomenological Existentialism, especially as it was espoused by the philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger.To support this position, textual analyses of various films directed and produced by Hitchcock are presented, including Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Wrong Man, and Vertigo. The effects of this approach and its philosophical implications far the film-going audience are also examined.
60. Philosophy Research Archives: Volume > 11
Robert D. Heslep Gewirth and the Voluntary Agent’s Esteem of Purpose
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This paper discusses Alan Gewirth’s claim that the agent of a voluntary action necessarily values his purpose. It holds that not only is Gewirth wrong in making the claim but that his mistake is of serious importance for his moral theory. The criticism proceeds through an examination of the five arguments advanced by Gewirth, explicitly and implicitly, in support of the proposition that any agent necessarily esteems his goal. A key point in the criticism is that an agent of voluntary action might have his goal capriciously and for that reason might not appreciate the goal. The paper concludes by specifying how Gewirth’s inadequate defense of his claim undercuts certain principles of his moral theory, including the Principle of Generic Consistency.