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Morality

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Moral Authority In Scientific Research, Evelyn Sowers Apr 2019

Moral Authority In Scientific Research, Evelyn Sowers

Philosophy Undergraduate Theses

This paper addresses the issue of applying moral guidelines to modern scientific research and who or what should have the authority to do so. It examines the role of morality in scientific research, and makes the argument that moral authority over scientific research should come from the scientific community. This argument is based on two premises: (1) that the scientific community is of sufficient moral character to guide the direction of scientific research and (2) that the scientific community has sufficient expertise to make informed moral decisions about scientific research.


Apophatic Community: Yannaras On Relational Being, Fred Dallmayr Jan 2019

Apophatic Community: Yannaras On Relational Being, Fred Dallmayr

Comparative Philosophy

For Martin Heidegger the story of Western philosophy ended basically in egocentrism or the metaphysics of “subjectivity”; however, he acknowledged the possibility of another path in Greece: that of pre-Socratic thinking. Yet, there is a further path he did not acknowledge: the tradition of Orthodox philosophy and theology. The paper focuses on some key works of the prominent contemporary Greek philosopher Christos Yannaras, for a long time professor in Athens. Taking over the notions of “Being” and ontology, Yannaras construes them (with Heidegger) not as ontic “substances” amenable to epistemic knowledge, but as guideposts to “relational” or participatory experience. His ...


Morality From Meaninglessness In Simone De Beauvoir's "The Ethics Of Ambiguity", Victoria L. Riggs Jan 2019

Morality From Meaninglessness In Simone De Beauvoir's "The Ethics Of Ambiguity", Victoria L. Riggs

University Honors Program Theses

In her book The Ethics of Ambiguity, French existentialist writer Simone de Beauvoir delves into the human condition and the possibilities for morality that arise from her understanding of such. Beginning with the assumption that there is no externally objective meaning or value to humanity, Beauvoir presents humanity as fundamentally free to create meaning and values for themselves. Beauvoir argues that humans are all simultaneously free to choose, yet limited in our choice by the facts of our situations, a paradoxical state of being she labels as our fundamental ambiguity. It is because of this ambiguity, she asserts, that we ...


The Denial Of Transcendental Freedom Is Self-Refuting, Theodore Kahn Jan 2019

The Denial Of Transcendental Freedom Is Self-Refuting, Theodore Kahn

CMC Senior Theses

The questions of what kind of freedom morality requires and how to reconcile the capacity for free agency within a determined temporal sequence represent the crux of the free will debate. Traditional compatibilists claim that determinism does not preclude our capacity for moral agency. Nuanced determinists, such as Derk Pereboom, deny the existence of moral agency and argue that free will is not required to save the basic modes of our practical lives, such as our capacity to affect each other and to lead practically morallives. I will argue in favor of Kant’s view, which holds that since freedom ...


The Good, The Bad, And The Necessity Of Empathy In Ethics, Emma Loftus Jan 2019

The Good, The Bad, And The Necessity Of Empathy In Ethics, Emma Loftus

Scripps Senior Theses

Although empathy has been implicated in both academia and pop culture as nearly analogous to morality, some philosophers and psychologists have taken issue with this assessment. It has been argued that from an ethical perspective, empathy is biasing, myopic, and perhaps more trouble than it is worth. In this paper, I first address whether empathy is a necessary baseline trait for having some degree of ethical motivation. Based on the differing moral experiences of sociopaths and autistic individuals, as well as empathy’s unique ability to motivationally bridge the gap between self and other, I conclude that empathy is a ...


Pro Tanto Principles In Public Policy, Marisa Galvez Jan 2019

Pro Tanto Principles In Public Policy, Marisa Galvez

CMC Senior Theses

Even when given the exact same moral dilemma, equally rational peers, colleagues, and friends will disagree about the right course of action. Pro tanto principles are one way to resolve moral conflicts such as these. When broadening the conflicts to real life situations, such as those seen in public policy, pro tanto principles prove to be an extremely useful tool. This paper explores the difference between the way that the individual interacts with pro tanto principles and the way that public policy interacts with such a moral system. In the end, difficulties in public policy attempt to be resolved by ...


Nietzsche And Emancipatory Politics: Queer Theory As Anti-Morality, C. Heike Schotten Dec 2018

Nietzsche And Emancipatory Politics: Queer Theory As Anti-Morality, C. Heike Schotten

C. Heike Schotten

This article offers an emancipatory appropriation of Nietzsche’s work, making the case that the founding of the field of queer theory exemplifies and proffers a liberatory Nietzschean praxis of anti-morality. This argument requires reading Nietzsche’s work from the perspective of the oppressed and (re-)reading queer theory as part of the project of critical theory.


Documents And Moral Knowledge: Art In Yellowstone National Park, Tim Gorichanaz Dec 2018

Documents And Moral Knowledge: Art In Yellowstone National Park, Tim Gorichanaz

Proceedings from the Document Academy

Documents have traditionally been conceptualized as representations of reality. Recently, scholars have been exploring how documents can also construct reality. In this paper, I follow this thread, discussing how documents can supply moral knowledge, showing what people ought to value in the world, thereby guiding action. Specifically, I discuss two works of art depicting Yellowstone National Park: a painting by Thomas Moran, done in the 19th century; and a photograph by Michael Nichols, from the 21st. Both of these works respond to a dualism in the human relationship to the wilderness, dating back at least to the European colonization of ...


Non-Naturalism And Naturalism In Mathematics, Morality, And Epistemology, Nicholas Distefano May 2018

Non-Naturalism And Naturalism In Mathematics, Morality, And Epistemology, Nicholas Distefano

Honors Projects

No abstract provided.


Review Of Engel's And Comstocks The Moral Rights Of Animals, Mark Bernstein Apr 2018

Review Of Engel's And Comstocks The Moral Rights Of Animals, Mark Bernstein

Between the Species

A brief review of Engel's and Comstock's The Moral Rights of Animals


A Defense Of The Moral Error Theory, John Alton Christmann Jan 2018

A Defense Of The Moral Error Theory, John Alton Christmann

Philosophy Graduate Theses & Dissertations

In the thesis, I provide a defense of the moral error theory. In the first section, I solve the formulation problem, which is the puzzle related to properly formulating the moral error theory without self-defeat. In the second section, I defend the claim that moral concepts commit their users to irreducibly normative reasons. Finally, in the third and last section, I defend the reduction argument against new criticisms and conclude that there are no irreducibly normative reasons.


Nietzsche’S Critique Of Morality And Revaluation Of Values, Omar Bin Salamah Jan 2018

Nietzsche’S Critique Of Morality And Revaluation Of Values, Omar Bin Salamah

Honors Theses at the University of Iowa

One of Nietzsche’s main projects was to critique morality and to invite a revaluation of our values. Neither secular nor religious interpretations of Nietzsche’s critique of morality do it justice. Each support their own interpretation by appealing to certain aspects of his writings. The former appeal to Nietzsche’s rejection of Christianity and Christian morality; while the latter appeal to Nietzsche’s anti-democratic and anti-egalitarian remarks. In actuality, Nietzsche was neither of the two: he argued that Western secular moralities are a modern manifestation of Christian morality, and that Christian morality is a manifestation of what he comes ...


The Philosophical Value Of Reflective Endorsement, Rachel Robison Jan 2018

The Philosophical Value Of Reflective Endorsement, Rachel Robison

Doctoral Dissertations

Through the years, many philosophers have appealed to reflective endorsement to address important philosophical problems. In this dissertation, I evaluate the merits of those approaches. I first consider Christine Korsgaard’s appeal to reflective endorsement to solve what she calls “the normative problem.” I then consider Harry Frankfurt’s use of reflective endorsement as part of his account of “caring,” which plays a crucial role in his accounts of agency, free will, and personhood. I then turn to Marilyn Friedman’s use of reflective endorsement to explain autonomous action. Finally, I turn to Alan Gibbard’s use of reflective endorsement ...


Can They Suffer?, Todd K. Shackelford Jan 2018

Can They Suffer?, Todd K. Shackelford

Animal Sentience

We should treat sentient nonhuman animals as worthy of moral consideration, not because we share an evolutionary history with them, but because they can suffer. As Chapman & Huffman (2018) argue, humans are not uniquely disconnected from other species. We should minimize the suffering we inflict on sentient beings — whether human or nonhuman — not because they, too, are tool-makers or have sophisticated communication systems, but because they, too, can suffer, and suffering is bad.


A Game We Have To Lose: Overcoming The Harm Of Coming Into Existence, Hannah Strang Dec 2017

A Game We Have To Lose: Overcoming The Harm Of Coming Into Existence, Hannah Strang

Honors Projects

This paper explores the asymmetry of pleasure and pain as expressed in David Benatar’s book Better Never to Have Been, which is the basis for the argument that it is always an irreparable harm to bring a person into existence, and therefore we are morally obligated to pursue extinction as a species. I will examine Benatar’s argument in support of the asymmetry’s existence and analyze the strength of his argument for extinction overall, ultimately determining that his conclusion is too strong. I will defend this claim on the grounds that Benatar’s asymmetry implies the truth of ...


What’S Wrong With Paying Parents To Not Have Children?, Benjamin Feis Nov 2017

What’S Wrong With Paying Parents To Not Have Children?, Benjamin Feis

SPICE: Student Perspectives on Institutions, Choices and Ethics

In this paper, I use the example of Project Prevention, a nonprofit that incentivizes people with substance abuse problems to not have children, as a launching point to pose a thought experiment. Namely, I consider a hypothetical policy whereby the U.S. government would issue a $5,000 tax credit per year to poor women or couples if they refrain from having a child. I examine several arguments in favor of such a policy, most notably that it produces mutual gains for both parties and is, technically speaking, completely voluntary. I then outline three potential objections to the policy. The ...


Intent Concerning Morality And Justice And The Particular Differences Between Morality And Justice, G. Colin Emerle Nov 2017

Intent Concerning Morality And Justice And The Particular Differences Between Morality And Justice, G. Colin Emerle

SPICE: Student Perspectives on Institutions, Choices and Ethics

No abstract provided.


Minority Report: Re-Reading Gilgamesh After Levinas, Francis Dominic Degnin Jul 2017

Minority Report: Re-Reading Gilgamesh After Levinas, Francis Dominic Degnin

Francis D. Degnin

The Epic of Gilgamesh attempts to answer the question of how, given the finality of death, one might find meaning and happiness in life. Many commentators argue that the text provides two separate, although ultimately unsatisfactory, alternatives. What these commentators appear to miss, however, is the possibility that these two solutions may not be separate. Using Levinas’s distinction between “need” and “desire,” I argue that, by the end of the Epic, they may in fact be synthesized into a single solution, one that suggests the priority of an affective moral grounding as prior to and more fundamental than intellectual ...


Teaching Excellence: The Use Of Heroes In Moral Education, Shaun Douglas Respess Jul 2017

Teaching Excellence: The Use Of Heroes In Moral Education, Shaun Douglas Respess

Institute for the Humanities Theses

Heroism allows us to explore morality on a much deeper level, supplying us with people, events, actions, and circumstances that make our beliefs more complex, more meaningful, and more practical. My research evaluates heroism as an instructional tool and subject for the use in moral education and personal development. In this thesis, I argue that heroes are and should be used in moral education to stimulate the retention or reevaluation of cultural values and moral conventions. My objective will be to explain how heroes are currently used to support and guide moral development, while raising important questions regarding the benefits ...


Building Morality: A New Strategy For Creating Human-Like Moral Psychology In Artificial General Intelligence, Christopher Barr May 2017

Building Morality: A New Strategy For Creating Human-Like Moral Psychology In Artificial General Intelligence, Christopher Barr

Lawrence University Honors Projects

Humanity seems well on its way to creating artificial general intelligence, or AGI, within the next century. Such a creation poses great existential risk to humanity, as an AGI of suitable power could conceivably wipe us all out, either by accident or through actual malevolence, and this threat has lead many to search for a solution to the “Control Problem”. Current theories propose various kinds of rule-based solutions, like Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, supposing that a rule-based system would be sufficient for creating a cooperative AGI. I argue that this is not the case; rather, what is necessary ...


Theory For A Starving Obese, Ishai Shapira Kalter May 2017

Theory For A Starving Obese, Ishai Shapira Kalter

School of Arts & Sciences Theses

Theory for a Starving Obese (2017) is both a book and an installation. During the years 2015-2017 I began writing Theory for a Starving Obese; a collection of essays and art criticism about exhibitions that took place in white cubes in New York. I was following my dissatisfaction, and hoped to delve deeper into the question “What is Contemporary Art?” At the end of a process, I sent seventeen envelopes to artists who exhibited solo shows in New York and whose works I have criticized. Each envelope consists of one digital drawing (שרבוט, pronounced Shirbut), DVD with the video Arabesque ...


Nietzsche's Genealogy: An Historical Investigation Of The Contingency Of Moral Values, John A. Greene May 2017

Nietzsche's Genealogy: An Historical Investigation Of The Contingency Of Moral Values, John A. Greene

Undergraduate Honors Theses

This work examines how values seem to be contingent on various factors which affect their growth and development. This study is based around the ethical writings of Friedrich Nietzsche. Specifically, On the Genealogy of Morals serves as the foundation for my thesis. This book contains three essays which purport to show how moral values originated as a result of certain human phenomena rather than, as many people take for granted, from moral “truths.” This contribution to ethics is important because it leaves many questions regarding the value of morality untouched. In the Genealogy, there are numerous themes of Nietzsche’s ...


The Morality Of Corporate Persons, Ladelle Mcwhorter Jan 2017

The Morality Of Corporate Persons, Ladelle Mcwhorter

Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Faculty Publications

This essay provides a genealogy of corporate personhood as it exists currently in US law and places moral personhood in a similar genealogical context. This treatment demonstrates that the two are inextricably intertwined in both conception and institutionalized practices. We would do well to dismantle both; meanwhile, however, corporate personhood's implicit illiberal notion of collective mentality and responsibility may suggest possibilities for establishing collective counterforces to oppose activities of transnational for-profit corporations and mitigate their devastating political, economic, and environmental effects upon actual people and the ecosystems upon which we depend.


Jess Smith And The Design Firm, Gabriel Tenaglia Jan 2017

Jess Smith And The Design Firm, Gabriel Tenaglia

Richard T. Schellhase Essay Prize in Ethics

No abstract provided.


Art By Jerks, Bernard Wills, Jason Holt Jan 2017

Art By Jerks, Bernard Wills, Jason Holt

Contemporary Aesthetics (Journal)

Is it wrong to enjoy art created by immoral people? Some people express discomfort with listening to or reading the works of artists who have been abusive to others in their personal lives. In this paper, the authors argue that, generally speaking, moral and aesthetic judgment should be kept distinct, as authors and their works formally differ. Indeed, works by morally dubious artists may well contain crucial acts of moral imagination we should not deprive ourselves of as ethical beings. Nonetheless, the authors argue there are limits to how far the ethical and aesthetic can be divorced. Art that is ...


The Demandingness Of Morality: The Person Confined, Jose Salazar Jan 2017

The Demandingness Of Morality: The Person Confined, Jose Salazar

CMC Senior Theses

Losing ownership and control over the development of and connection to our own person detaches us from the most innate embodiment of ourselves, our person. Without being able to develop and connect to our person, we become detached from expressing our identity, exercising our autonomy, and formulating our own values, the most intrinsic features our person encapsulates. While we yearn to act on our own projects to express our identity, exercise our autonomy, and formulate our own values the way we want, morality imposes huge demands on our person that restrain us from doing so. Morality’s major requirement to ...


Just War Thought And The Notion Of Peace, James G. Murphy Jan 2017

Just War Thought And The Notion Of Peace, James G. Murphy

Philosophy: Faculty Publications and Other Works

The goal of this chapter is to explore the notion of peace appropriate to just war thought. Some just war principles generate a number of inferences about peace.


Minority Report: Re-Reading Gilgamesh After Levinas, Francis Dominic Degnin Jul 2016

Minority Report: Re-Reading Gilgamesh After Levinas, Francis Dominic Degnin

Faculty Publications

The Epic of Gilgamesh attempts to answer the question of how, given the finality of death, one might find meaning and happiness in life. Many commentators argue that the text provides two separate, although ultimately unsatisfactory, alternatives. What these commentators appear to miss, however, is the possibility that these two solutions may not be separate. Using Levinas’s distinction between “need” and “desire,” I argue that, by the end of the Epic, they may in fact be synthesized into a single solution, one that suggests the priority of an affective moral grounding as prior to and more fundamental than intellectual ...


The Metaphysics Of Anthropocentrism: A Review Of Paul Ehrenfeld's "The Arrogance Of Humanism" And Mary Midgley's "Beast And Man", Bernard E. Rollin Jun 2016

The Metaphysics Of Anthropocentrism: A Review Of Paul Ehrenfeld's "The Arrogance Of Humanism" And Mary Midgley's "Beast And Man", Bernard E. Rollin

Bernard Rollin, Ph.D.

Our attitudes and behavior toward nature and toward other forms of life are clearly in the forefront of contemporary ethical concern. It thus becomes necessary to examine critically the metaphysics which has traditionally grounded these attitudes. Unquestionably, the key feature of the dominant underlying conceptual scheme has been the positing of a clear-cut dichotomy between man and the natural world. For most of the Greeks, man is radically separated from nature- he lives in the realm of nomos, convention, somehow above the realm of physis, nature. He can reason, communicate, choose, create a social order, apprehend ultimate reality, and even ...


Definition Of The Concept Of "Humane Treatment" In Relation To Food And Laboratory Animals, Bernard E. Rollin Jun 2016

Definition Of The Concept Of "Humane Treatment" In Relation To Food And Laboratory Animals, Bernard E. Rollin

Bernard Rollin, Ph.D.

The very title of this talk makes a suggestion which must be forestalled, namely the idea that laboratory and food animals enjoy some exceptional moral status by virtue of the fact that we use them. In fact, it is extremely difficult to find any morally relevant grounds for distinguishing between food and laboratory animals and other animals and, far more dramatically, between animals and humans. The same conditions which require that we apply moral categories to humans rationally require that we apply them to animals as well. While it is obviously pragmatically impossible in our current sociocultural setting to expect ...