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'How to be Good?' is the pre-eminent question for ethics, although one that philosophers and ethicists seldom address head on. Knowing how to be good, or perhaps (more modestly and more accurately) knowing how to go about trying to be good, and the ways in which it is pointless or self-defeating to try to be good, is of immense theoretical and practical importance. And what goes for trying to be good oneself, goes also for trying to provide others with ways of being good, and for trying to make them good whether they like it or not. This is what is meant by 'moral enhancement'. There are many proposed methodologies or technologies for moral enhancement. Some of them are ancient and/or familiar: we may attempt moral enhancement by setting a good example, by good parenting, by education or training, by peer pressure, by telling stories with a moral, in words or in pictures, and so on. We can imbibe substances with mood changing or motivational effects. We can also use medical, biological, or other scientific means; we can search for and deploy chemicals, or biological or molecular agents, which we believe will change people for the better; and we can modify the environment to make bad outcomes of all sorts less likely. We can experiment with political and social systems, institutions, and arrangements designed to make the world a better place or people better people. The question whether and to what extent moral enhancement is possible is the subject of this book.
The human propensity to take an ethical stance toward oneself and others is found in every known society, yet we also know that values taken for granted in one society can contradict those in another. Does ethical life arise from human nature itself? Is it a universal human trait? Or is it a product of one's cultural and historical context? Webb Keane offers a new approach to the empirical study of ethical life that reconciles these questions, showing how ethics arise at the intersection of human biology and social dynamics. Drawing on the latest findings in psychology, conversational interaction, ethnography, and history, Ethical Life takes readers from inner city America to Samoa and the Inuit Arctic to reveal how we are creatures of our biology as well as our history--and how our ethical lives are contingent on both. Keane looks at Melanesian theories of mind and the training of Buddhist monks, and discusses important social causes such as the British abolitionist movement and American feminism. He explores how styles of child rearing, notions of the person, and moral codes in different communities elaborate on certain basic human tendencies while suppressing or ignoring others. Certain to provoke debate, Ethical Life presents an entirely new way of thinking about ethics, morals, and the factors that shape them.
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. Baked potatoes, Bombay potatoes, pommes frites . . . everyone eats potatoes, but what do they mean? To the United Nations they mean global food security (potatoes are the world's fourth most important food crop). To 18th-century philosophers they promised happiness. Nutritionists warn that too many increase your risk of hypertension. For the poet Seamus Heaney they conjured up both his mother and the 19th-century Irish famine. What stories lie behind the ordinary potato? The potato is entangled with the birth of the liberal state and the idea that individuals, rather than communities, should form the building blocks of society. Potatoes also speak about family, and our quest for communion with the universe. Thinking about potatoes turns out to be a good way of thinking about some of the important tensions in our world. Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
A comprehensive account of cognitive scaffolding and its significance for understanding mental disorders. In Scaffolded Minds, Somogy Varga offers a novel account of cognitive scaffolding and its significance for understanding mental disorders. The book is part of the growing philosophical engagement with empirically informed philosophy of mind, which studies the interfaces between philosophy and cognitive science. Varga draws on two recent shifts within empirically informed philosophy of mind: the first, toward an intensified study of the embodied mind; and the second, toward a study of the disordered mind that acknowledges the convergence of the explanatory concerns of psychiatry and interdisciplinary inquiries into the mind. Varga sets out to accomplish a dual task: theoretical mapping of cognitive scaffolding; and the application/calibration of fine-grained philosophical distinctions to empirical research. He introduces the notion of actively scaffolded cognition (ASC) and offers a taxonomy that distinguishes between intrasomatic and extrasomatic scaffolding. He then shows that ASC offers a productive framework for considering certain characteristic features of mental disorders, focusing on altered bodily experience and social cognition deficits. With Cognitive Scaffolding, Varga aims to establish that shifting attention from mental symptoms to fine-grained sensorimotor aspects can lead to identifying diagnostic subtypes or even specific sensorimotor markers for early diagnosis.
A book that produces sensory experiences while bringing the concept of experience itself into relief as a subject of criticism and an object of contemplation. Experience offers a reading experience like no other. A heat-sensitive cover by Olafur Eliasson reveals words, colors, and a drawing when touched by human hands. Endpapers designed by Carsten Hoeller are printed in ink containing carefully calibrated quantities of the synthesized human pheromones estratetraenol and androstadienone, evoking the suggestibility of human desire. The margins and edges of the book are designed by Tauba Auerbach in complementary colors that create a dynamically shifting effect when the book is shifted or closed. When the book is opened, bookmarks cascade from the center, emerging from spider web prints by Tomas Saraceno. Experience produces experience while bringing the concept itself into relief as an object of contemplation. The sensory experience of the book as a physical object resonates with the intellectual experience of the book as a container of ideas. Experience convenes a conversation with artists, musicians, philosophers, anthropologists, historians, and neuroscientists, each of whom explores aspects of sensorial and cultural realms of experience. The texts include new essays written for this volume and classic texts by such figures as William James and Michel Foucault. The first publication from MIT's Center for Art, Science, & Technology, Experience approaches its subject through multiple modes. Publication design by Kimberly Varella with Becca Lofchie, Content Object Design Studio. Cover concept by Olafur Eliasson in collaboration with Kimberly Varella (Content Object). Contributors Tauba Auerbach, Bevil Conway, John Dewey, Olafur Eliasson, Michel Foucault, Adam Frank, Vittorio Gallese, Renee Green, Stefan Helmreich, Carsten Hoeller, Edmund Husserl, William James, Caroline A. Jones, Douglas Kahn, Brian Kane, Leah Kelly, Bruno Latour, Alvin Lucier, David Mather, Mara Mills, Alva Noe, Jacques Ranciere, Michael Rossi, Tomas Saraceno, Natasha Schull, Joan W.Scott, Tino Sehgal, Alma Steingart, Josh Tenenbaum, Rebecca Uchill
How do middle-class Americans become aware of distant social problems and act against them? US colleges, congregations, and seminaries increasingly promote immersion travel as a way to bridge global distance, produce empathy, and increase global awareness. But does it? Drawing from a mixed methods study of a progressive, religious immersion travel organization at the US-Mexico border, Empathy Beyond US Borders provides a broad sociological context for the rise of immersion travel as a form of transnational civic engagement. Gary J. Adler, Jr follows alongside immersion travelers as they meet undocumented immigrants, walk desert trails, and witness deportations. His close observations combine with interviews and surveys to evaluate the potential of this civic action, while developing theory about culture, empathy, and progressive religion in transnational civic life. This timely book describes the moralization of travel, the organizational challenges of transnational engagement, and the difficulty of feeling transformed but not knowing how to help.
What significance does "ethics" have for the men and women serving in the military forces of nations around the world? What core values and moral principles collectively guide the members of this "military profession?" This book explains these essential moral foundations, along with "just war theory," international relations, and international law. The ethical foundations that define the "Profession of Arms" have developed over millennia from the shared moral values, unique role responsibilities, and occasional reflection by individual members the profession on their own practices - eventually coming to serve as the basis for the "Law of Armed Conflict" itself. This book focuses upon the ordinary men and women around the world who wear a military uniform and are committed to the defense of their countries and their fellow citizens. It is about what they do, how they do it, what they think about it, how they behave when carrying out their activities, and how they are expected to behave, both on and off the battlefield (whether in, or out of, uniform) - and what everyone (and not just military personnel themselves) needs to know about this. The book also examines how military personnel are treated and regarded by those whom they have sworn to defend and protect, as well as how they treat and regard one another within their respective services and organizational settings. Finally, the book discusses the transformations in military professionalism occasioned by new developments in armed conflict, ranging counterinsurgency warfare and humanitarian military intervention, to cyber conflict, military robotics, and private military contracting. From China to Russia, author George Lucas effectively sheds light on today's military ethics in existence throughout the world. What Everyone Needs to Know (R) is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.
As it was in Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Othello, so it is in
life. Most forms of private vice and public evil are kindled and
sustained by lies. Acts of adultery and other personal betrayals,
financial fraud, government corruption--even murder and
genocide--generally require an additional moral defect: a
willingness to lie.
Now revised and updated and containing several entirely new chapters, this book provides a comprehensive introduction to political philosophy. It discusses historical and contemporary figures and covers a vast range of topics and debates, including immigration, war, national and global economics, the ethical and political implications of climate change, and the persistence of racial oppression and injustice. It also presents accessible, non-technical discussions of perfectionism, utilitarianism, theories of the social contract, and the Marxian tradition of social criticism. Real-life examples introduce students to ways of using philosophical reflection and debates, and open up new perspectives on politics and political issues. Throughout, this book challenges readers to think critically about political arguments and institutions that they might otherwise take for granted. It will be a vital and provocative resource for any student of philosophy or political science.
In this book Timothy Clarke examines Aristotle's response to Eleatic monism, the theory of Parmenides of Elea and his followers that reality is 'one'. Clarke argues that Aristotle interprets the Eleatics as thoroughgoing monists, for whom the pluralistic, changing world of the senses is a mere illusion. Understood in this way, the Eleatic theory constitutes a radical challenge to the possibility of natural philosophy. Aristotle discusses the Eleatics in several works, including De Caelo, De Generatione et Corruptione, and the Metaphysics. But his most extensive treatment of their monism comes at the beginning of the Physics, where he criticizes them for overlooking the fact that 'being is said in many ways' - in other words, that there are many ways of being. Through a careful analysis of this and other criticisms, Clarke explains how Aristotle's engagement with the Eleatics prepares the ground for his own theory of the principles of nature. Aristotle is commonly thought to be an unreliable interpreter of his Presocratic predecessors; in contrast, this book argues that his critique can shed valuable light on the motivation of the Eleatic theory and its influence on the later philosophical tradition.
This book explores the deeper meaning of sports. Drawing on contemporary research, the author makes a strong case for why we should see sport not only in terms of religion but--more importantly-as a possible location for spiritual meaning. Taking this a step farther, she considers how gene editing, robotics, and other biomedical technological enhancements affect not only sports performances but experiences of sport as sacred. In addition, the author explores what difference it might make to the enhancement debate if sports' spirituality is taken seriously. The author is not afraid to explore the issue in all its complexity. Yet, the argument she presents is both meaningful and accessible. This investigation applies insights from Christian theology, applied ethics, psychology, and sports studies. From lightweight tennis racquets to anabolic steroids, athletes have long used technology and science to improve their performances. But, until now, no one has asked how biomedical technological enhancements might affect the undervalued spiritual dimension of sport. This book presents rich insights into the connection between sports, spirituality, and human enhancement technologies. It will appeal to researchers, athletes and sports followers, and undergraduate and graduate students in ethics, sport, religion or theology.
Alfred North Whitehead has never gone out of print, but for a time he was decidedly out of fashion in the English-speaking world. In a splendid work that serves as both introduction and erudite commentary, Isabelle Stengers one of today s leading philosophers of science goes straight to the beating heart of Whitehead s thought. The product of thirty years engagement with the mathematician-philosopher s entire canon, this volume establishes Whitehead as a daring thinker on par with Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, and Michel Foucault.
Reading the texts in broadly chronological order while highlighting major works, Stengers deftly unpacks Whitehead s often complicated language, explaining the seismic shifts in his thinking and showing how he called into question all that philosophers had considered settled after Descartes and Kant. She demonstrates that the implications of Whitehead s philosophical theories and specialized knowledge of the various sciences come yoked with his innovative, revisionist take on God. Whitehead s God exists within a specific epistemological realm created by a radically complex and often highly mathematical language.
To think with Whitehead today, Stengers writes, means to sign on in advance to an adventure that will leave none of the terms we normally use as they were.
That Ernst Gombrich was one of the most important art historians of the 20th century would seem to go without saying. And so one might expect him to feature prominently in the numerous surveys, guides and introductions to the history and methods of art history produced during the past two decades. Precisely the opposite, however, is the case. One reason for this certainly was that Gombrich was an avowed enemy of 'big ideas', interested not in generalizations but in the specifics of individual cases. Avoiding jargon or rhetoric, standing for 'common sense', he always argued from clear premises, and his thought was also very wide-ranging. He never 'owned' a subject, remarking "It cannot be too often repeated that the best tribute one can pay a scholar is to take him seriously and constantly to reappraise his lines of argument." The importance of Gombrich's work on the history of taste has yet to be fully recognized, and when it comes to the application of developments in psychology to the visual arts he has remained largely, among art historians, on his own. These essays assess the nature of his empiricism, the degree to which his ideas have been adopted, overturned or developed, and his contribution to the dialogue of art and perception.
This book brings together philosophical approaches to cooperation and collective agency with research into human-machine interaction and cooperation from engineering, robotics, computer science and AI. Bringing these so far largely unrelated fields of study together leads to a better understanding of collective agency in natural and artificial systems and will help to improve the design and performance of hybrid systems involving human and artificial agents. Modeling collective agency with the help of computer simulations promises also philosophical insights into the emergence of collective agency. The volume consists of four sections. The first section is dedicated to the concept of agency. The second section of the book turns to human-machine cooperation. The focus of the third section is the transition from cooperation to collective agency. The last section concerns the explanatory value of social simulations of collective agency in the broader framework of cultural evolution.
Time has always been the great Given, a fact of existence which cannot be denied or wished away; but the character of lived time is changing dramatically. Medical advances extend our longevity, while digital devices compress time into ever briefer units. We can now exist in several time-zones simultaneously, but we suffer from endemic shortages of time. We are working longer hours and blurring the distinctions between labour and leisure. For many, in an inversion of the old adage, time has become more valuable than money. In this look at life's most ineffable element, spanning fields from biology and culture to psychoanalysis and neuroscience, Eva Hoffman asks: are we coming to the end of time as we know it?
In the Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant laid out a framework upon which the whole of modern philosophy is based. This Penguin Classics edition is translated from the German and edited with an introduction by Marcus Weigelt, based on the translation by Max Muller. Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. It presents a profound and challenging investigation into the nature of human reason, its knowledge and illusions. Reason, Kant argues, is the seat of certain concepts that precede experience and make it possible, but we are not therefore entitled to draw conclusions about the natural world from these concepts. The Critique brings together the two opposing schools of philosophy: rationalism, which grounds all our knowledge in reason, and empiricism, which traces all our knowledge to experience. Kant's transcendental idealism indicates a third way that goes far beyond these alternatives. Marcus Weigelt's lucid re-working of Max Muller's classic translation makes the Critique accessible to a new generation of readers. His informative introduction places the work in context and elucidates Kant's main arguments. This edition also contains a bibliography and explanatory notes. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), born in Koenigsberg, East Prussia, was the most prominent thinker of the German Enlightenment, and one of the most influential philosophers of all time. His comprehensive and profound thinking on aesthetics, ethics and knowledge has had an immense impact on all subsequent philosophy. If you enjoyed the Critique of Pure Reason, you might enjoy Benedict Spinoza's Ethics, also available in Penguin Classics.
How do people maintain their humanity during wars? Despite its importance, this question receives scant scholarly attention, perhaps because war is overwhelming. The generally accepted belief is that wars bring out the worst in us, pitting one against another. 'War is hell', William Tecumseh Sherman famously noted, and even 'just' wars are massively destructive and inhumane. Since ethics is concerned with discovering what takes us to a morally superior place, one conducive to betterment and happiness - studying what helps people survive wartime trauma thus becomes an extremely valuable enterprise. A Darkling Plain fills an important scholarly void, analyzing wartime stories that reveal much about our capacity to process trauma, heal wounds, reclaim lost spirits, and derive meaning and purpose from the most horrific of personal events.
"What does it mean to say that we live in a secular age?" This apparently simple question opens into the massive, provocative, and complex A Secular Age, where Charles Taylor positions secularism as a defining feature of the modern world, not the mere absence of religion, and casts light on the experience of transcendence that scientistic explanations of the world tend to neglect. In Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age, a prominent and varied group of scholars chart the conversations in which A Secular Age intervenes and address wider questions of secularism and secularity. The distinguished contributors include Robert Bellah, Jose Casanova, Nilufer Goele, William E. Connolly, Wendy Brown, Simon During, Colin Jager, Jon Butler, Jonathan Sheehan, Akeel Bilgrami, John Milbank, and Saba Mahmood. Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age succeeds in conveying to readers the complexity of secularism while serving as an invaluable guide to a landmark book.
In the most comprehensive account to date of Walter Benjamin's philosophy of language, Alexander Stern explores the nature of meaning by putting Benjamin in dialogue with Wittgenstein. Known largely for his essays on culture, aesthetics, and literature, Walter Benjamin also wrote on the philosophy of language. This early work is famously obscure and considered hopelessly mystical by some. But for Alexander Stern, it contains important insights and anticipates-in some respects surpasses-the later thought of a central figure in the philosophy of language, Ludwig Wittgenstein. As described in The Fall of Language, Benjamin argues that "language as such" is not a means for communicating an extra-linguistic reality but an all-encompassing medium of expression in which everything shares. Borrowing from Johann Georg Hamann's understanding of God's creation as communication to humankind, Benjamin writes that all things express meanings, and that human language does not impose meaning on the objective world but translates meanings already extant in it. He describes the transformations that language as such undergoes while making its way into human language as the "fall of language." This is a fall from "names"-language that responds mimetically to reality-to signs that designate reality arbitrarily. While Benjamin's approach initially seems alien to Wittgenstein's, both reject a designative understanding of language; both are preoccupied with Russell's paradox; and both try to treat what Wittgenstein calls "the bewitchment of our understanding by means of language." Putting Wittgenstein's work in dialogue with Benjamin's sheds light on its historical provenance and on the turn in Wittgenstein's thought. Although the two philosophies diverge in crucial ways, in their comparison Stern finds paths for understanding what language is and what it does.
Originally published more than fifty years ago, "The Courage to Be" has become a classic of twentieth-century religious and philosophical thought. The great Christian existentialist thinker Paul Tillich describes the dilemma of modern man and points a way to the conquest of the problem of anxiety. This edition includes a new introduction by Harvey Cox that situates the book within the theological conversation into which it first appeared and conveys its continued relevance in the current century. "The brilliance, the wealth of illustration, and the aptness of personal application . . . make the reading of these chapters an exciting experience."--W. Norman Pittenger, "New York Times Book Review" "A lucid and arresting book."--Frances Witherspoon, "New York Herald Tribune" "Clear, uncluttered thinking and lucid writing mark Mr. Tillich's study as a distinguished and readable one."--"American Scholar" Selected as one of the Books of the Century by the New York Public Library
The Possibility of Culture: Pleasure and Moral Development in Kant's Aesthetics presents an in-depth exploration and deconstruction of Kant's depiction of the ways in which aesthetic pursuits can promote personal moral development. Presents an in-depth exploration of the connection between Kant's aesthetics and his views on moral development Reveals the links between Kant's aesthetics and his anthropology and moral psychology Explores Kant's notion of genius and his views on the connections between the social aspects of taste and moral development Addresses aspects of Kant's ethical theory that will interest scholars working in ethics and moral psychology
Although Soren Kierkegaard's death in the fall of 1855 foreshadowed a lasting split between conservative Christians and young contemporaries who saw him as a revolutionary thinker, it was not until the turn of the twentieth century and beyond the borders of his native Denmark that his lasting significance came to be felt. By transcending distinctions of genre, Kierkegaard brought traditionally separated disciplines to bear on deep human concerns and was able, through his profound self-insight, to uncover the strategies with which we try to deal with them. As a result, he is hailed today as no less than the father of modern psychology and existentialism.
While the majority of Kierkegaard's work leading up to The Concept of Anxiety dealt with the intersection of faith and knowledge, here the renowned Danish philosopher turns to the perennial question of sin and guilt. First published in 1844, this concise treatise identified long before Freud anxiety as a deep-seated human state, one that embodies the endless struggle with our own spiritual identities. Ably synthesizing human insights with Christian dogma, Kierkegaard's "psychological deliberation" suggests that our only hope in overcoming anxiety is not through powder and pills but by embracing it with open arms. Indeed, for Kierkegaard, it is only through our experiences with anxiety that we are able to become truly aware of ourselves and the freedoms and limitations of our own existence.
While Kierkegaard's Danish prose is surprisingly rich, previous translations the most recent in 1980 have tended either to deaden its impact by being excessively literal or to furnish it with a florid tone foreign to its original directness. In this new edition, Alastair Hannay re-creates its natural rhythm in a way that will finally allow this overlooked classic not only to become as celebrated as Fear and Trembling, The Sickness unto Death, and Either/Or but also to earn a place as the seminal work of existentialism and moral psychology that it is."
Uncertainty is interwoven into human existence. It is a powerful incentive in the search for knowledge and an inherent component of scientific research. We have developed many ways of coping with uncertainty. We make promises, manage risks and make predictions to try to clear the mists and predict ahead. But the future is inherently uncertain - and the mist that shrouds our path an inherent part of our journey. The burning question is whether our societies can face up to uncertainty, learn to embrace it and whether we can open up to a constantly evolving future. In this new book, Helga Nowotny shows how research can thrive at the cusp of uncertainty. Science, she argues, can eventually transform uncertainty into certainty, but into certainty which remains always provisional. Uncertainty is never completely static. It is constantly evolving. It encompasses geological time scales and, at the level of human experience, split-second changes as cells divide. Life and death decisions are taken in the blink of the eye, while human interactions with the natural environment may reveal their impact over millennia. Uncertainty is cunning. It appears at unexpected moments, it shuns the straight line, takes the oblique route and sometimes the unexpected short-cut. As we acknowledge the cunning of uncertainty, its threats retreat. We accept that any scientific inquiry must produce results that are provisional and uncertain. This message is vital for politicians and policy-makers: do not be tempted by small, short-term, controllable gains to the exclusion of uncertain, high-gain opportunities. Wide-ranging in its use of examples and enriched by the author's experience as President of the European Research Council, one of the world's leading funding organisations for fundamental research. The Cunning of Uncertainty is a must-read for students and scholars of all disciplines, politicians, policy-makers and anyone concerned with the fundamental role of knowledge and science in our societies today.
The Handbook of Economics and Ethics portrays an understanding of economic methodology in which facts and values, though distinct, are closely interconnected in a variety of ways. From theory building to data collection, and from modelling to policy evaluation, this encyclopaedic Handbook is at the intersection of economics and ethics. Irene van Staveren and Jan Peil bring together 75 unique and original papers to provide up-to-date insights on topics such as markets, globalization, human development, rationality, efficiency, and corporate social responsibility. The book presents contributions from an array of international scholars using methodological and theoretical approaches, and convincingly demonstrates the death of the positive/normative dichotomy that so long held economics in its grip. This invaluable resource will strongly appeal to students of economics and economic methodology, philosophy of science and ethics. It will also be of great benefit to academics and policy-makers involved in economic policies and ethics.
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