Ruling Passions

Author: Simon Blackburn
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 9780199241392
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download and Read
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, Docs
Download and Read
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.

Civil Passions

Author: Sharon R. Krause
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400837281
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download and Read
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, ePub, Docs
Download and Read
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.

Essays in Quasi realism

Author: Simon Blackburn
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0195080416
Format: PDF, Docs
Download and Read
This volume collects together the author's pioneering essays on "quasi-realism", a philosophical position he first introduced in 1980 which has become a distinctive and much discussed option in metaphysics and ethics.

Constructivism in Practical Philosophy

Author: James Lenman
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0199609837
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download and Read
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.

Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments

Author: R. Jay Wallace
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674766228
Format: PDF, Docs
Download and Read
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.

Humans in Nature

Author: Gregory E. Kaebnick
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199347239
Format: PDF, Docs
Download and Read
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

Spreading the Word

Author: Simon Blackburn
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019824651X
Format: PDF, ePub
Download and Read
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.

Naturalism and Normativity

Author: Mario De Caro
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231508875
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download and Read
Normativity concerns what we ought to think or do and the evaluations we make. For example, we say that we ought to think consistently, we ought to keep our promises, or that Mozart is a better composer than Salieri. Yet what philosophical moral can we draw from the apparent absence of normativity in the scientific image of the world? For scientific naturalists, the moral is that the normative must be reduced to the nonnormative, while for nonnaturalists, the moral is that there must be a transcendent realm of norms. Naturalism and Normativity engages with both sides of this debate. Essays explore philosophical options for understanding normativity in the space between scientific naturalism and Platonic supernaturalism. They articulate a liberal conception of philosophy that is neither reducible to the sciences nor completely independent of them-yet is one that maintains the right to call itself naturalism. Contributors think in new ways about the relations among the scientific worldview, our experience of norms and values, and our movements in the space of reason. Detailed discussions include the relationship between philosophy and science, physicalism and ontological pluralism, the realm of the ordinary, objectivity and subjectivity, truth and justification, and the liberal naturalisms of Donald Davidson, John Dewey, John McDowell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.