The Philosophical Ethics collection gathers resources from major philosophers dealing with philosophical ethics.

Recent Submissions

  • Filozofija i kritičko mišljenje

    Novina, Marina; Krasnodenski, Sabina (Sveučilište u Zagrebu. Fakultet filozofije i religijskih znanosti.University of Zagreb. Faculty of Philosophy and Religious Studies., 2023-09-13)
    Jedan od aktualnijih pojmova današnjice i jedna od traženijih odlika na tržištu rada neupitno je kritičko mišljenje. Stoga je važno i cilj je ovoga rada utvrditi što je kritičko mišljenje, kako ga odrediti i koja su mu temeljna obilježja. No s obzirom na to da je riječ o sintagmi koja je na više razina neodvojiva od filozofije cilj je ovoga rada utvrditi u kojem su odnosu filozofija i kritičko mišljenje. U tom smislu, ovaj rad u prvom dijelu prikazuje povijest razvitka teorija kritičkog mišljenja (sofisti, Sokrat, Francis Bacon, John Dewey) koja je neodvojiva od razvitka filozofske misli. Zatim se, u drugom dijelu rada, iznose karakteristike tri perspektive, filozofske, psihološke i edukacijske i utvrđuje se na koji način svaka od te tri perspektive istražuje i razumije kritičko mišljenje. Nadalje, u ovom se radu detaljnije, u trećem dijelu, utvrđuje što se može reći o naravi kritičkog mišljenja (Richard William Paul, Robert H. Ennis, Matthew Lipman) kao prvoj dimenziji filozofske perspektive. Na kraju se, u četvrtom dijelu rada, utvrđuje praktična dimenzija filozofije (na primjerima logike i etike), odnosno utvrđuje na koji je način filozofija alat za razvitak kritičkog mišljenja. Zaključak je ovoga rada da je filozofija moćan alat za razvitak kritičkog mišljenja, a čin filozofiranja kritičko mišljenje.
  • The shallow ecology of public reason liberalism

    Matthews, Fred (2023)
    In this article, I shall contend that Rawlsian public reason liberalism (PRL) is in tension with non-anthropocentric environmentalism. I will argue that many reasonable citizens reject non-anthropocentric values, and PRL cannot allow them to be used as the justification for ecological policies. I will analyse attempts to argue that PRL can incorporate non-anthropocentric ideas. I shall consider the view, deployed by theorists such as Derek Bell and Mark A. Michael, that PRL can make a distinction between constitutional essentials and non-essentials, and therefore ecocentric values can be employed when only non-essentials are at stake. I will also consider Simon Hailwood’s argument that PRL can incorporate concern for nature based on its ‘otherness’. I shall conclude that both positions fail to rebut the claim that PRL excludes non-anthropocentric viewpoints. I will consider the question of whether PRL’s exclusion of non-anthropocentric ethics is a problem, and I shall show that appealing to purely anthropocentric arguments leads to a variety of unpalatable conclusions. I will suggest that comprehensive liberalism can include non-anthropocentric concerns, and hence is superior from an environmental perspective.
  • Putting Flourishing First: Applying Democratic Values to Technology

    E. Zalesne, Kinney; Pyati, Nick (2023)
    When product design teams gather at the whiteboard in big-tech office parks and startup garages around the world, they ask themselves: How will customers use our technology? Is it better than our competitors’? How much money can we make? But one question that’s rarely asked: does our technology advance human flourishing? In a new white paper by Harvard professor Danielle Allen and her colleagues Eli Frankel, Woojin Lim, Divya Siddarth, Josh Simons, and Glen Weyl entitled “The Ethics of Decentralized Social Technologies: Lessons from Web3, the Fediverse, and Beyond,” the authors not only ask this question but offer a powerful framework for answering it. Drawing on the accumulated wisdom of democratic societies, the authors show that the values of democratic governance that have promoted human flourishing can be translated into a rubric for judging new technologies. In this short research brief, we unpack and comment on the four-step logic at the core of their case. Ultimately, their argument demonstrates the power and the challenge – and above all, the urgency – of placing human flourishing at the center of technology governance.
  • Nonaccidental Rightness and the Guise of the Objectively Good

    Kahn, Samuel J. M. (forthcomin)
    My goal in this paper is to show that two theses that are widely adopted among Kantian ethicists are irreconcilable. The paper is divided into four sections. In the first, I briefly sketch the contours of my own positive view of Kantian ethics, concentrating on the issues relevant to the two theses to be discussed: I argue that agents can perform actions from but not in conformity with duty, and I argue that agents intentionally can perform actions they take to be contrary to duty. In the second, I focus on Barbara Herman’s non-accidental rightness condition from “On the Value of Acting from Duty.” In the third, I focus on Christine Korsgaard’s guise of the objectively good from “Formula of Humanity.” In the fourth, I explain why the positions developed by Herman and Korsgaard are irreconcilable and I make a suggestion about how to move forward.
  • Individualidade, liberdade e educação (Bildung) em Max Stirner

    Alves, Alexandre (2018)
    This paper aims to discuss how the themes of individuality, freedom and education are articulated in Stirner's thought. It begins with a brief history of Stirner's reception. Next, the paper analyzes the subversion of Hegelian dialectics and the critique of Feuerbach's and Marx's atheistic humanism, which remain linked to Christian theology by deifying an abstract human essence. Then, the focus shifts to Stirnerian nominalism and its criticism of God, State, humanity and society as ideological constructs that dominate the concrete individual. Finally, the paper analyzes the proposal of a new ethics and a new education, based on the singularity of the mortal and corporeal self.
  • The Varieties of Applied Philosophy: Introduction

    Højme, Philip (2023)
    Applied philosophy is experiencing its “golden days,” as Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen says in his insightful introduction to A Companion to Applied Philosophy. Applied philosophy seems to be distinguished from its opposite, pure philosophy, usually understood as traditional philosophy, which deals with subjects such as free will, consciousness, or knowledge in philosophical subdisciplines like ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. To embrace applied philosophy could thus mean to advocate for a philosophy that deals with questions “relevant to ‘the important questions of everyday life,’” as Leslie Stevenson puts it, as opposed to questions that arise from within the subdisciplines of pure philosophy.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche: demolish consciousness, demolish the world

    Florito Mutton, Alan Matías (2018)
    The book "Against the truth" contains the compilation of three essays of the so -called Nietzschean thought. It is composed of writings that show the critical radicality of Friedrich Nietzsche: it is the concept of truth that must resist the blows of the philosophical hammer. And if you don't resist them, what is left of the world? Because the relationship of truth with science, politics, ethics is total (and apparently necessary). What happens in human consciences if the truth is killed by the demolition of a philosophy that advances against absolutely everything?
  • On the Buddhist Truths and the Paradoxes in Population Ethics

    Contestabile, Bruno (2010)
    Most discussion in population ethics has concentrated how to order populations by the relations “is better than” and “is as good as”. The topic is characterized by paradoxes which show that our considered beliefs are inconsistent in cases where the number of people and their welfare varies. The best known and most discussed example shattering our intuitions is Parfit’s Mere Addition Paradox. But why are paradoxes prevalent in population ethics? Can the analysis of Buddhist intuitions contribute to answer this question? The comparison of classical utilitarian and Buddhist intuitions demonstrates the close tie between intuitions and interests. The perplexing Buddhist intuition about non-existence can be explained (except for metaphysical reasons) by a radically different priority given to survival. The method of measuring the quality of life is not decisive for the existence of paradoxes. The Buddhist axiology changes but doesn’t remove counter-intuitive combinations. If the conflict of interest (quantity versus quality) is described within a two-parameter model, it causes conflicting intuitions. In axiologies which favour quantity (utilitarianism) or quality (perfectionism) the conflicting intuitions inevitably lead to paradoxes. In order to find a compromise, one would have to find a universal interest and a corresponding universal intuition. The obvious candidate to meet this request is sympathy. But since there is no universal consensus on the desirable degree of sympathy, the normative force of such an approach is limited. Breaking out of the two-parameter model and accepting the incommensurability of certain qualities threatens the normative claim of population ethics.
  • Oaths, Shild, Frith, Luck & Wyrd: Five Essays Exploring Heathen Ethical Concepts and their Use Today

    Rose, Winifred (2022)
    There are two areas of particular importance in Heathen ethics. One is the growth and maintenance of ethical personal power or 'might and main': the inner strength and drive that is necessary to develop and sustain a good character and reputation, and to achieve worthy deeds during our life. The second is the pursuit of relationships and community life that promote individual, group, and community well-being and effective functionality. Any thoughtful reading of Heathen history, old texts, tales, poems and sagas will show how important these two factors were in ancient Heathen life. This was generally illustrated by showing the painful, cascading disruptions that were caused by failures of, and transgressions against, these ethical values and aspirations. Modern Heathens can benefit from a fuller understanding of ancient Heathen ethical views: both their strengths and their weaknesses, their pros and cons. Only by a thoughtful grasp of these concepts can we make the best use of the elder ways as Heathens living in today’s world. This book offers philosophical discussions of certain Heathen ethical concepts, as well as guidelines for using these concepts to live ethically strong and spiritually healthy lives as modern Heathens. Fulfilled OATHS build Heathen might and main, increasing our personal power. Unpaid SHILD (moral obligation) weakens our might and main; taking responsibility for shild heals personal power. FRITH is a fabric of interwoven might and main, created and shared by many: the roots of relationship and community. LUCK and WYRD can be expressed through flows of might and main, discovered along the complex, hidden paths that lead to Heathen wisdom. Understanding, increasing, maintaining, and sharing ethical might and main is a foundation of Heathen ethics. “In Oaths, Shild, Frith, Luck & Wyrd, Winifred Hodge Rose draws on her extensive scholarship and experience to explore what the lore has to tell us about how the Old Heathens viewed certain ethical questions, and to offer suggestions on how these perspectives can help us deal with the challenges that we face today.” Diana L. Paxson, author of Essential Asatru: A Modern Guide to Norse Paganism. “Oaths, Shild, Frith, Luck & Wyrd provides tools for individual and collective healing, and articulates important questions and challenges that we must consider as we adapt the knowledge and life ways of our ancestors to our contemporary context.” Sara Axtell, Ph.D.
  • Book Review - Happiness in Kant’s Practical Philosophy: Morality, Indirect Duties, and Welfare Rights by Alice Pinheiro Walla

    Satne, Paula (2023)
    Kant is probably one of the most misunderstood philosophers in the history of Western thought. Some of the most well-known and pervasive objections to Kant’s practical philosophy often rest on considerable misunderstandings of his central theses or a poor and superficial reading of his work. A common misconception is that in Kant’s practical philosophy there is no place or role for human happiness. In Happiness in Kant’s Practical Philosophy: Morality, Indirect Duties, and Welfare Rights, Alice Pinheiro Walla dispels this misunderstanding by elucidating Kant’s conception of happiness (understood in broadly hedonist terms) and showing that, for Kant, the pursuit of happiness plays an important role in our personal and collective lives. This means that, far from endorsing an ascetic ideal of the moral agent, as it is commonly thought, Kant’s system embraces an ideal of the human life in which there is significant space, and even a duty, to pursue pleasurable endeavours. Somehow surprisingly, in Pinheiro Walla’s reading, Kant’s ethics is arguably less demanding than standard interpretations of Aristotelian and Utilitarian ethical theories.
  • John Rawls on Moral Emotions: Guilt and Shame

    Yelubayev, Bainur (2023)
    The main purpose of this work is to examine John Rawls’ views on guilt and shame, as well as briefly review the relationship between his theory of moral development and the problem of stability. First of all, in order to fully reveal the subject, it is important to outline the central views on moral emotions developed in Ethics. So, in the first part of the work, four families of moral emotions developed by Jonathan Haidt and the principal differences between shame and guilt will be studied. The second part will examine John Rawls’ theory of the development of the moral sense of guilt, as well as his reflections on shame. In the final part of the work, Rawls’ theory of the moral development of individuals and the prerequisites for acquiring a sense of justice in conjunction with the problem of stability will be studied in main terms.
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Weaponized: A Theory of Moral Injury

    MacIntosh, Duncan (2023)
    This chapter conceptually analyzes the post-traumatic stress injuries called moral injury, moral fatigue or exhaustion, and broken spirit. It then identifies two puzzles. First, soldiers sometimes sustain moral injury even from doing right actions. Second, they experience moral exhaustion from making decisions even where the morally right choice is so obvious that it shouldn’t be stressful to make it; and even where rightness of decision is so murky that no decision could be morally faulted. The injuries result of mistaken moral self-evaluation. Methods of preventing and treating these injuries are defended, including training in self-forgiveness, moral off-loading of actions and decisions to persons and devices less likely to feel inappropriate guilt, and the use of drugs to prevent such guilt. The foregoing has been about moral injury erroneously resulting from the non-violation of a correct moral code. But the chapter then introduces the concept of moral pseudo-injury—felt moral injury that has in reality resulted from violation of a false moral code, so that no one has really been morally injured. This can be used as a method in warfighting. And since the injuries it produces are illusory, this would be morally superior to physical violence. For it causes less injury to its victims, and should cause less guilt in those who must inflict it. Historical precedents are considered. Finally, our enemies often use moral pseudo-injury against us, in the form of terrorist violence against civilians. Terrorism causes comparatively few harms, yet we mistakenly see it as more morally horrific than conventional combat that causes much worse loss of life among armed forces members. Here we need the nuancing and clarifying power of philosophy to restore a sense of proportion, thence to prevent or therapize the moral pseudo-injury we may experience from these sorts of attacks. (This is a pre-penultimate version of the published version, available from OUP at the external link, which contains minor variances. The paper was earlier known as "PTSD Weaponized: A Theory of Moral Injury"; that now superseded version is archived under "past conferences" on the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law website.)
  • Outlines of Jacques Lacan’s Ethics of Subjectivity

    Sadler, Gregory (2014)
    Jacques Lacan was constantly and consistently motivated by the aims of carrying out, improving, and critically understanding psychoanalytic practice and theory. In his work and teaching, he examined and (re)incorporated a number of key experiences, conceptions, and insights from moral life and moral theories into psychoanalysis. One particularly interesting aspect of Lacan’s work, particularly in terms of moral theory, is that while problematizing them, and reconceiving how we must understand them, his approach remains anchored by key themes, concepts, and experiences of older moral theories and perspectives, such as the truth of the human subject, the nature of the good, and the processes and pitfalls of moral development. Three main sets of issues are analysed and discussed in this chapter. First, we examine Lacan’s criticisms of modes and schools of psychoanalysis that converted it into a simplistically moralistic discipline such as ego-psychology. Second, we run over Lacan’s main discussions and partial appropriations of Aristotelian, Kantian, Utilitarian, Sadean, and Judeo-Christian moral perspectives. Third and finally, we go deeper into discussing the implications Lacan’s reinterpretation of selected Freudian concepts bear for ethics, particularly in terms of ethics of subjectivity. Put very briefly, we might say that Lacan is situating a process of becoming-subject within a never-complete field of ethical discourses.
  • Kleine Philosophie der Souveränität

    Maissen, Thomas; Niels F., May; Kiesow, Rainer Maria; Maissen, T ( Thomas ); Niels F., M ( May ); Kiesow, R M ( Rainer Maria ); Cheneval, Francis; (Wallstein, 2023-10-25)
  • Spinoza on Freedom, Feeling Free, and Acting for the Good

    Moauro, Leonardo (2023)
    In the Ethics, Spinoza famously rejects freedom of the will. He also offers an error theory for why many believe, falsely, that the will is free. Standard accounts of his arguments for these claims focus on their efficacy against incompatibilist views of free will. For Spinoza, the will cannot be free since it is determined by an infinite chain of external causes. And the pervasive belief in free will arises from a structural limitation of our self-knowledge: because we are aware of our actions but unaware of their causes, we suppose that we alone must be responsible for them. Yet I argue that the standard accounts miss a further element of Spinoza’s arguments that also targets compatibilist views on which free will is consistent with a specific kind of determination—namely, self-determination in accordance with our value judgments. For Spinoza, we are misled not only in supposing that our actions lack external determination but also in thinking that they are determined by our representations of value. In fact, our actions are determined by our appetites, which are blind to our value judgments. And the pervasive belief that our actions are determined by such judgments arises from the projection of value onto the objects we seek. As he denies us free will, then, Spinoza also denies us a capacity central to agency—the capacity to determine our actions in accordance with our ideas of the good. This makes his arguments against free will more consequential, and more radical, than commonly assumed.
  • Mitigating emotional risks in human-social robot interactions through virtual interactive environment indication

    Bao, Aorigele; Zeng, Yi; lu, Enmeng (2023)
    Humans often unconsciously perceive social robots involved in their lives as partners rather than mere tools, imbuing them with qualities of companionship. This anthropomorphization can lead to a spectrum of emotional risks, such as deception, disappointment, and reverse manipulation, that existing approaches struggle to address effectively. In this paper, we argue that a Virtual Interactive Environment (VIE) exists between humans and social robots, which plays a crucial role and demands necessary consideration and clarification in order to mitigate potential emotional risks. By analyzing the relational nature of human-social robot interaction, we discuss the connotation of such a virtual interactive environment that is similar to the emotional states aroused when reading novels. Building on this comprehension, we further demonstrate that manufacturers should carry out comprehensive Virtual Interactive Environment Indication (VIEI) measures during human-social robot interaction with a stricter sense of responsibility when applying social robots. Finally, we contemplate the potential contributions of virtual interactive environment indication to existing robot ethics guidelines.
  • ‘Draw me after you’: Toward an erotic theosis

    Davis, Aaron Brian (2023)
    In this article I propose an erotic theosis as a fruitful possibility for conceptualising our final participation in union with God in the beatific vision and for imaging said participation on earth. Particularly, I propose a synthesis of recent work from Oliver Crisp on theosis with that of Sarah Coakley on sexual desire as an especially helpful way in which to conceive of our ever-deepening participation in God's love. Further, this synthesis uses contributions from Erin Dufault-Hunter on the intersections of sexual desire and ethics as a catalyst for its recommendations.
  • Edgeworth’s Mathematization of Social Well-Being

    Yee, Adrian K. (forthcomin)
    Francis Ysidro Edgeworth’s unduly neglected monograph New and Old Methods of Ethics (1877) advances a highly sophisticated and mathematized account of social well-being in the utilitarian tradition of his 19th-century contemporaries. This article illustrates how his usage of the ‘calculus of variations’ was combined with findings from empirical psychology and economic theory to construct a consequentialist axiological framework. A conclusion is drawn that Edgeworth is a methodological predecessor to several important methods, ideas, and issues that continue to be discussed in contemporary social well-being studies.
  • The Good is Being in Place (居善地 jushandi): Recovering Our Sense of Place to Ground an Ethics of the Environment

    Soh, Andrew (2020)
    Our home, planet Earth, is under threat from a host of environmental problems: global climate change, loss of biodiversity, and pollution of the air and waterways from industries. I posit that this global crisis arises from the loss of our sense of place in the world. Drawing upon insights on sense of place from the Daoist text, the Daodejing, I make the case for an ecological ethics of weiziran (為自然), that exhorts us to recover our sense of place in the world by dwelling rightly in our relation with the natural environment.
  • Philosophy of Technology in the Digital Age: The datafication of the World, the homo virtualis, and the capacity of technological innovations to set the World free.

    Vincent, Blok (2023)
    I will start my inaugural address by outlining the main argument of my lecture. First, I will identify the phenomenon that philosophers of technology research. This subject matter, in my view, consists not only of ethical issues that disruptive technologies raise but also of the disruption of the world in which we live and act by these technologies. I will illustrate this disruption by reflecting on the convergence of the physical and the virtual in the digital world, which is expected to change the way we live together. I propose that philosophers of technology should research new disruptive technologies and the digital world in which they are embedded in an integrated manner. Subsequently, I will ask how the emergence of digital technologies disrupts the world’s design in the digital age. My hypothesis is that technological innovations themselves constitute the World in a non-anthropocentric and non-determinist manner. To make my case, I will first draw attention to the difference between technology and innovation and propose a philosophy of innovation. This will enable me to consider how innovation processes have an economic, social-political and ontological impact on the world. Based on historical and contemporary examples, I will illustrate the redesign of the world in the digital age. This broader understanding of the impact of digital technologies will subsequently enable me to articulate some of the critical questions I have regarding digitalisation, and how the philosophical tradition can be made fruitful to critically reflect on the elision between the physical and the virtual in the digital age. This criticism informs my engagement with ethical questions in ethics of technology, ELSA (Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects) and Responsible Innovation. As a final step, I open a progressive perspective on the emancipatory potential of disruptive innovations to set the world free. In times of climate change, we are urgently in need of an emancipation of the World. We need to move beyond the classical opposition between technophobia and technophilia and look for innovations that can set the World free and contribute to a sustainable future. I will illustrate the emancipatory potential of disruptive technological innovations by considering the shift from human-centred technology to bio-centred technology in biomimetic design.

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