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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

A New Vision Of Liberal Education: The Good Of The Unexamined Life, Daniel R. Denicola Apr 2018

A New Vision Of Liberal Education: The Good Of The Unexamined Life, Daniel R. Denicola

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Alistair Miller’s book, A New Vision of Liberal Education, is a dilation of his doctoral thesis, but it is enormously ambitious in aim: “My specific aim in this book is to explore whether aspects of the two traditions [of Enlightenment and Aristotelian ethics] might be synthesised in the concrete form of a liberal-humanist education” (NVLE, 11). Indeed, the arc of Miller’s argument ranges from these contrasting traditions of moral philosophy, through alternate versions of liberal education, to a proposal for curricular content. The book is well researched and proceeds dialectically, as Miller sifts through scholarship on liberal education ...


American Populism Shouldn’T Have To Embrace Ignorance, Daniel R. Denicola Nov 2017

American Populism Shouldn’T Have To Embrace Ignorance, Daniel R. Denicola

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Public ignorance is an inherent threat to democracy. It breeds superstition, prejudice, and error; and it prevents both a clear-eyed understanding of the world and the formulation of wise policies to adapt to that world.

Plato believed it was more than a threat: He thought it characterized democracies, and would lead them inevitably into anarchy and ultimately tyranny. But the liberal democracies of the modern era, grudgingly extending suffrage, have extended public education in parallel, in the hope of cultivating an informed citizenry. Yet today, given the persistence and severity of public ignorance, the ideal of an enlightened electorate seems ...


Democratic Rights And The Choice Of Economic Systems, Jeppe Von Platz Nov 2017

Democratic Rights And The Choice Of Economic Systems, Jeppe Von Platz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Holt argues that Rawls’s first principle of justice requires democratic control of the economy and that property owning democracy fails to satisfy this requirement; only liberal socialism is fully democratic. However, the notion of democratic control is ambiguous,and Holt has to choose between the weaker notion of democratic control that Rawls is committed to and the stronger notion that property owning democracy fails to satisfy. It may be that there is a tension between capitalism and democracy, so that only liberal socialism can be fully democratic, but if so, we should reject, rather than argue from, the theory ...


The Veil Of Ignorance In Rawlsian Theory, Jeppe Von Platz Jan 2017

The Veil Of Ignorance In Rawlsian Theory, Jeppe Von Platz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

As part of his effort to answer the question "What is the best conception of justice for a democratic society?" philosopher John Rawls constructed a thought experience called the original position. In the original position, representativs of members of society choose principles of justice for society in light of limited interests and with limited information. Situated behind the veil of ignorance, the parties in the original position have no knowledge about particular facts that could lead them to prefer principles of justice partial to those they represent. The veil of ignorance is thus an important part of Rawls's argument ...


Provocations In Consideration Of Thomas Nail's The Figure Of The Migrant, Vernon W. Cisney Jun 2016

Provocations In Consideration Of Thomas Nail's The Figure Of The Migrant, Vernon W. Cisney

Philosophy Faculty Publications

I am delighted to be part of the conversation surrounding this important work. Thomas Nail’s The Figure of the Migrant is one of those rare works that is at once timely and timeless. It is timely in the sense that the figure of the migrant has become a ubiquitous and undeniable reality of our time. As I write this at the end of spring 2016, the number of Syrian citizens displaced by civil war since 2011 has climbed to roughly 13.5 million; the United States is in the middle of its most racially charged presidential election of my ...


The Republic Of Ignorance, Daniel R. Denicola Feb 2016

The Republic Of Ignorance, Daniel R. Denicola

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Ignorance is trending. Despite universal compulsory education; despite new tools for learning and great advances in knowledge; despite breathtaking increases in our ability to store, access, and share a superabundance of information - ignorance flourishes. [excerpt]


The Republic Of Ignorance, Daniel R. Denicola Jan 2016

The Republic Of Ignorance, Daniel R. Denicola

Philosophy Faculty Publications

“When did ignorance become a point of view?” the cartoon character Dilbert once asked. It’s a question that has become increasingly resonant these days—especially in our public life, and especially in our political campaigns in which elected officials and those who seek election seem to assume a startling level of public ignorance. Perhaps that’s smart. [excerpt]


Snark Wars, Kerry S. Walters Jan 2015

Snark Wars, Kerry S. Walters

Philosophy Faculty Publications

The latest volley in the war of words waged by cultured despisers of Christianity was fired on Christmas Day. Celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of the television series "Cosmos," bushwhacked Christians with this tweeted broadside: "On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642."

Not content with just one shot, Tyson let fly again. "Merry Christmas to all," he tweeted. "A Pagan holiday (BC) becomes a Religious holiday (AD). Which then becomes a Shopping holiday (USA)."

Then, the coup de grace. "QUESTION: This ...


Orange Is The New Golgotha, Kerry S. Walters Dec 2014

Orange Is The New Golgotha, Kerry S. Walters

Philosophy Faculty Publications

The Roman soldiers jeered at Jesus, called him "towelhead" and "sand monkey," ripped off his garments and clad him in an orange jumpsuit. Then they pulled a black sack over his head and led him to an interrogation cell, where CIA operatives awaited him. They shackled Jesus's wrists and strung him up so that he dangled from the ceiling. One of them questioned him, and when his responses weren't to their liking, the other beat him. [excerpt]


Love As A Regulative Ideal In Surrogate Decision Making, Erica Stonestreet Oct 2014

Love As A Regulative Ideal In Surrogate Decision Making, Erica Stonestreet

Philosophy Faculty Publications

This discussion aims to give a normative theoretical basis for a “best judgment” model of surrogate decision making rooted in a regulative ideal of love. Currently, there are two basic models of surrogate decision making for incompetent patients: the “substituted judgment” model and the “best interests” model. The former draws on the value of autonomy and responds with respect; the latter draws on the value of welfare and responds with beneficence. It can be difficult to determine which of these two models is more appropriate for a given patient, and both approaches may seem inadequate for a surrogate who loves ...


"Freedom And Resentment" And Consequentialism: Why: 'Strawson's Point' Is Not Strawson's Point, Dale E. Miller Jan 2014

"Freedom And Resentment" And Consequentialism: Why: 'Strawson's Point' Is Not Strawson's Point, Dale E. Miller

Philosophy Faculty Publications

In The Second-Person Standpoint, Stephen Darwall offers an interpretation of P. F. Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment” according to which the essay advances the thesis that good consequences are the “wrong kind of reason” to justify “practices of punishment and moral responsibility.” Darwall names this thesis “Strawson’s Point.” I argue for a different reading of Strawson, one according to which he holds this thesis only in a qualified way and, more generally, is not the unequivocal critic of consequentialism that Darwall makes him out to be. In fact, I contend, Strawson’s account of the reactive attitudes can potentially ...


Reading Addams’S 'Democracy And Social Ethics' As A Social Gospel, Evolutionary Idealist Text, Marilyn Fischer Oct 2013

Reading Addams’S 'Democracy And Social Ethics' As A Social Gospel, Evolutionary Idealist Text, Marilyn Fischer

Philosophy Faculty Publications

There is a Disciplinary divide between philosophers and historians in how they read Addams’s first book, Democracy and Social Ethics. Philosophers identify Addams primarily as a pragmatist. They often compare and contrast her thinking with that of James and Dewey, and find her a fruitful resource for contemporary discussions about gender, social justice, and peace. Much of this scholarship gives central place to Addams’s Democracy and Social Ethics. Except for nods to her 1892 essay “The Subjective Necessity of Settlements,” philosophers rarely discuss whether her religious sensibilities influenced her theorizing.1 While historians debate Addams’s religious identity ...


Reading Dewey’S Political Philosophy Through Addams’S Political Compromises, Marilyn Fischer Apr 2013

Reading Dewey’S Political Philosophy Through Addams’S Political Compromises, Marilyn Fischer

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Both John Dewey and Jane Addams believed that the cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy. While their vision of democracy is rightly called radical, the processes through which they proposed to cure the ills of democracy are in large measure conservative, in the classical, Burkean sense of the term. To show this, I first explain how well their political philosophies line up, particularly their proposals for political reconstruction. I then use Addams’s experiences as a delegate to the 1912 Progressive Party Convention as a test case in real time for Dewey’s proposals for political reconstruction ...


Hirsch, Sebald, And The Uses And Limits Of Postmemory, Kathy Behrendt Jan 2013

Hirsch, Sebald, And The Uses And Limits Of Postmemory, Kathy Behrendt

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Marianne Hirsch’s influential concept of postmemory articulates the ethical significance of representing trauma in art and literature. Postmemory, for Hirsch, “describes the relationship of children of survivors of cultural or collective trauma to the experiences of their parents, experiences that they ‘remember’ only as the narratives and images with which they grew up, but that are so powerful, so monumental, as to constitute memories in their own right”. Through appeal to philosophical work on memory, the ethics of remembering, and Peter Goldie’s discussion of empathy, I explore the virtues and limitations of Hirsch’s concept of postmemory, and ...


The Purpose Of Personal Value, Erica Stonestreet Mar 2012

The Purpose Of Personal Value, Erica Stonestreet

Philosophy Faculty Publications

It seems as if there are things that have what we might call personal value—special objects, artwork by our children, etc. This term is meant to mark a difference between things whose value seems tied to a particular person, as opposed to things (like the Mona Lisa) that are valuable, period. The concept of personal value hasn’t received much focused attention, but I believe that it is of not only theoretical, but practical importance. In this paper, I explore the practical angle, arguing that personal value is important to our ability to make sense of ourselves. I give ...


Aldo Leopold’S Concept Of Land Health: Implications For Sound Public Health Policy, Paul Carrick Jan 2012

Aldo Leopold’S Concept Of Land Health: Implications For Sound Public Health Policy, Paul Carrick

Philosophy Faculty Publications

I show that the late American ecologist and philosopher Aldo Leopold's concept of 'land health,' connects his holistic understanding of man and nature to core principles of public health policy at the center of today's global health concerns, e.g., world hunger, pandemics, sanitation.


Consuming Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Tests: The Role Of Genetic Literacy And Knowledge Calibration, Yvette E. Pearson, Yuping Liu-Thompkins Jan 2012

Consuming Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Tests: The Role Of Genetic Literacy And Knowledge Calibration, Yvette E. Pearson, Yuping Liu-Thompkins

Philosophy Faculty Publications

As direct-to-consumer marketing of medical genetic tests grows in popularity, there is an increasing need to better understand the ethical and public policy implications of such products. The complexity of genetic tests raises serious concerns about whether consumers possess the knowledge to make sound decisions about their use. This research examines the effects of educational intervention and feedback on consumers' genetic literacy and calibration -- the gap between consumers' actual knowledge and how much they think they know. The authors find that consumers' genetic knowledge was generally low and that people tended to underestimate their knowledge level. Furthermore, consumers' perceived rather ...


The Principle Of Fairness And States’ Duty To Obey International Law, David Lefkowitz Jul 2011

The Principle Of Fairness And States’ Duty To Obey International Law, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Philosophers and political theorists have developed a number of different justifications for the duty to obey domestic law. The possibility of using one (or more) of these justifications to demonstrate that states have a duty to obey international law seems a natural starting point for an analysis of international political obligation. Amongst the accounts of the duty to obey domestic law, one that appears to have a great deal of intuitive appeal, and that has attracted a significant number of philosophical defenders, is the principle of fairness (or fair play). In this paper, I examine the possibility of using the ...


On A Duty Of Humanitarian Intervention, David Lefkowitz Jan 2011

On A Duty Of Humanitarian Intervention, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Perhaps the most discussed topic amongst just war theorists during the 1990s was the moral (and legal) justifiability of armed humanitarian interventions. Not surprisingly, that changed after the 9/11 terrorists attacks and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, with topics such as the morality of terrorism, torture, and preventive war receiving the lion's share of attention. Nevertheless, for reasons both good, such as the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty's endorsement of a limited duty of intervention in its report, The Responsibility to Protect, and bad, such as the conflict in Darfur, the morality of humanitarian ...


Tomáš Masaryk And Jane Addams On Humanitarianism And Cultural Reciprocity, Marilyn Fischer Jan 2011

Tomáš Masaryk And Jane Addams On Humanitarianism And Cultural Reciprocity, Marilyn Fischer

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Chapter addresses similarities between Addams's and Masaryk's positions on cultural difference and national states. The similarities were based not only on their shared general humanitarian point of view, but on a personal interaction as well. Masaryk visited the U.S. several times and even delivered series of lectures on Slavs and their history at Hull House in Chicago. Masaryk spoke with Addams and was in contact with her through his daughter Alice, who spent time in Chicago and whom Addams mentored. In these circumstances the similarities in their ideas of trans-nationalism, the plasticity of national identity, and cultural ...


On The Scope Of A Professional’S Right Of Conscience, David Lefkowitz Oct 2010

On The Scope Of A Professional’S Right Of Conscience, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Under what conditions, if any, do medical professionals enjoy a right of conscience? That is, when must a just state accommodate a physician’s, pharmacist’s, or other medical professional’s refusal to provide legally and professionally sanctioned services to which she morally objects; for example, by enacting laws that enable her to do so without fear of losing her job or her professional privileges? Recent assertions by several pharmacists of a right to conscientiously refuse to fill prescriptions for the so-called morning-after pill, and by a California fertility doctor of a right to conscientiously refuse to provide fertility treatment ...


Legitimate Authority, Following Orders, And Wars Of Questionable Justice, David Lefkowitz Jun 2010

Legitimate Authority, Following Orders, And Wars Of Questionable Justice, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

In this article, the author discusses philosophy teacher David Estlund's belief that subjects of a state with a morally justified claim to political authority have a duty to obey its legal commands to wage a particular war, even if they believe that the state has made a mistake in its reasons for waging the war. The author argues that Estlund's theory also allows for individuals to assess the justice of the wars they fight. He also argues that Estlund's view also holds that individual combatants should not be held accountable for any injustice of a war that ...


The Sources Of International Law: Some Philosophical Reflections, David Lefkowitz Jan 2010

The Sources Of International Law: Some Philosophical Reflections, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

It seems only natural to begin the study of international law with a description of its sources. After all, whether as practitioner or scholar a person cannot begin to ask or answer questions about international law until he or she has some sense of what the law is. This requires in turn a basic grasp of the processes whereby international legal norms and regimes come to exist. Thus students of international law must engage immediately with some of the most basic questions in the philosophy of law: what is law, and what is a legal order or system.

These questions ...


The Constitution Of Equality: Democratic Authority And Its Limits By Thomas Christiano (Book Review), David Lefkowitz May 2009

The Constitution Of Equality: Democratic Authority And Its Limits By Thomas Christiano (Book Review), David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

In this carefully argued and thought provoking new book, Thomas Christiano offers a novel defense of democracy's intrinsic value, its morally justifiable claim to authority, and the limits thereof, as well as for liberal rights. Central to Christiano's argument for each of these conclusions is the claim that in a moderately complex and pluralist society, social justice requires that people be treated publicly as equals. That is, ordinary agents must be able to see that the institutions and practices that provide the basic structure of the society in which they live treat them as equals, or what is ...


Partiality And Weighing Harm To Non-Combatants, David Lefkowitz Apr 2009

Partiality And Weighing Harm To Non-Combatants, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

The author contests the claim made independently by F.M. Kamm and Thomas Hurka that combatants ought to assign greater weight to collateral harm done to their compatriot noncombatants then they assign to collateral harm done to enemy non-combatants. Two arguments by analogy offered in support of such partiality, one of which appeals to permissible self/other asymmetry in cases of harming the few to save the many, and the second of which appeals to parents' justifiable partiality to their children, are found wanting. The author also rebuts Kamm's argument that combatants should assign greater weight to collateral harm ...


Governmentality, Biopower, And The Debate Over Genetic Enhancement, Ladelle Mcwhorter Jan 2009

Governmentality, Biopower, And The Debate Over Genetic Enhancement, Ladelle Mcwhorter

Philosophy Faculty Publications

Although Foucault adamantly refused to make moral pronouncements or dictate moral principles or political programs to his readers, his work offers a number of tools and concepts that can help us develop our own ethical views and practices. One of these tools is genealogical analysis, and one of these concepts is “biopower.” Specifically, this essay seeks to demonstrate that Foucault’s concept of biopower and his genealogical method are valuable as we consider moral questions raised by genetic enhancement technologies. First, it examines contemporary debate over the development, marketing, and application of such technologies, suggesting that what passes for ethical ...


Peace Is Not Perpetual, Autonomous, Or Rational, Danielle Poe Jan 2009

Peace Is Not Perpetual, Autonomous, Or Rational, Danielle Poe

Philosophy Faculty Publications

When I write about and teach Immanuel Kant, I am always impressed and seduced by the beauty and neatness of his work. After all, Kant makes morality a science; answers are clear and distinct, black and white. Individuals make ethical decisions by using reason according to universally accessible principles. People should do the right thing, not because it is easy, not because it makes them feel good, and not because they have been raised to do so. People should do the right thing because it is their duty, and they determine their duty by asking, "Can I universalize my action ...


On The Concept Of A Morally Relevant Harm, David Lefkowitz Dec 2008

On The Concept Of A Morally Relevant Harm, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

In this paper I explicate and defend the concept of a morally relevant harm. This concept figures prominently in common-sense and contractualist moral reasoning concerning cases where an agent can prevent harm to members of a large group or a small one, but not both. When the two harms to which members of these groups are exposed are morally relevant to one another, an agent is permitted (or perhaps required) to take into account the number of people he can save. When the harms are irrelevant, an agent should not even consider preventing the lesser harm, regardless of how many ...


The Responsibility Of Thinking In Dark Times: Hannah Arendt Versus Hans Jonas, Lawrence A. Vogel Apr 2008

The Responsibility Of Thinking In Dark Times: Hannah Arendt Versus Hans Jonas, Lawrence A. Vogel

Philosophy Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Collateral Damage, David Lefkowitz Jan 2008

Collateral Damage, David Lefkowitz

Philosophy Faculty Publications

The phrase "collateral damage" refers to harm done to persons, animals, or things that agents are not morally permitted to target in the conduct of war, as a side effect of attacks on persons, animals, or things that agents are morally permitted to target in the conduct of war. Call the first category that is, those persons, animals, or things that agents are not morally permitted to target - illegitimate targets of war, and the second category legitimate targets of war. Collateral damage, then, refers to harm done to illegitimate targets of war as a side effect of attacks on legitimate ...