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Utilitarianism

In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press (2009)

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  1. Ethics in the Pandemic.Sfetcu Nicolae - manuscript
    The largest medical institutions and various ethicists advocate a utilitarian approach in times of public health crises, to maximize benefits for society, in direct conflict with our usual (Kantian) view of respect for people as individuals. A central problem with utilitarianism is that there is no clear way to evaluate moral choices, including in medical decisions. In general, in medicine is respected the Kantian medical ethics. But in a pandemic, when resources are poor, deep choices of life and death must (...)
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  • Contemplative Leadership: The Possibilities for the Ethics of Leadership Theory and Practice.Gina Grandy & Martyna Sliwa - 2017 - Journal of Business Ethics 143 (3):423-440.
    In this paper, we offer a conceptualization of leadership as contemplative. Drawing on MacIntyre’s perspective on virtue ethics and Levinas’ and Gilligan’s work on the ethics of responsibility and care, we propose contemplative leadership as virtuous activity; reflexive, engaged, relational, and embodied practice that requires knowledge from within context and practical wisdom. More than simply offering another way to conceptualize the ethics of leadership, this research contributes to understanding the ethics of leadership in practice. Empirically, we analyze the narratives of (...)
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  • Happiness and the Good Life: A Classical Confucian Perspective.Shirong Luo - 2019 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 18 (1):41-58.
    This essay examines the classical Confucian perspective on the topic of happiness through the lens of three Western theories: hedonism, desire satisfaction theory, and objective list theory. My analysis of the two classical texts—the Analects and the Mencius —reveals that three salient aspects of the Confucian conception of happiness, namely ethical pleasure, ethical desire, and moral innocence, play the fundamental role in the guidance and evaluation of an individual’s life. According to Confucius and Mencius, happiness consists primarily not in pleasure, (...)
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  • A Moderate Defence of the Use of Thought Experiments in Applied Ethics.Adrian Walsh - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (4):467-481.
    Thought experiments have played a pivotal role in many debates within ethics—and in particular within applied ethics—over the past 30 years. Nonetheless, despite their having become a commonly used philosophical tool, there is something odd about the extensive reliance upon thought experiments in areas of philosophy, such as applied ethics, that are so obviously oriented towards practical life. Herein I provide a moderate defence of their use in applied philosophy against those three objections. I do not defend all possible uses (...)
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  • Who is Afraid of Figure of Speech?Erik C. W. Krabbe - 1997 - Argumentation 12 (2):281-294.
    Aristotle's illustrations of the fallacy of Figure of Speech (or Form of Expression) are none too convincing. They are tied to Aristotle's theory of categories and to peculiarities of Greek grammar that fail to hold appeal for a contemporary readership. Yet, upon closer inspection, Figure of Speech shows many points of contact with views and problems that inhabit 20th-century analytical philosophy. In the paper, some Aristotelian examples will be analyzed to gain a better understanding of this fallacy. The case of (...)
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  • Moral Particularism and Moral Generalism.Michael Ridge & Sean McKeever - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Seemings and the Possibility of Epistemic Justification.Matthew Skene - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (2):539-559.
    Abstract I provide an account of the nature of seemings that explains why they are necessary for justification. The account grows out of a picture of cognition that explains what is required for epistemic agency. According to this account, epistemic agency requires (1) possessing the epistemic aims of forming true beliefs and avoiding errors, and (2) having some means of forming beliefs in order to satisfy those aims. I then argue that seeming are motives for belief characterized by their role (...)
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  • Well-Being, Categorical Deprivation and Pleasure.Yossi Yonah - 2001 - Philosophia 28 (1-4):233-253.
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  • Consequentialism or Deontology?Georg Spielthenner - 2005 - Philosophia 33 (1-4):217-235.
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  • It’s for Your Own Good: Natural Law and the Good Life.Playford Richard Charles - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Reading
    The goal of this thesis is to create a distinctively Aristotelian-Thomistic ethical schema. I shall do this in four stages. First, in chapter one, I am going to present a summary of Aristotelian metaphysics. I will present a slightly Thomistic take on Aristotelian metaphysics specifically when it comes to the distinction between accidental and substantial form. However, I will present a more classically Aristotelian account when it comes to the source of teleology. Along the way I will explore whether science (...)
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  • Divine Agriculture.Charles Taliaferro - 1992 - Agriculture and Human Values 9 (3):71-80.
    Theological literacy is an important asset in the development of a comprehensive agricultural ethic and philosophy. Four areas are delimited in which theological reflection is relevant for agricultural study.
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  • Commentary on Krabbe.John Hoaglund - unknown
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  • Impartial Reasons, Moral Demands.Brian McElwee - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (4):457-466.
    Consequentialism is often charged with demandingness objections which arise in response to the theory’s commitment to impartiality. It might be thought that the only way that consequentialists can avoid such demandingness objections is by dropping their commitment to impartialism. However, I outline and defend a framework within which all reasons for action are impartially grounded, yet which can avoid demandingness objections. I defend this framework against what might appear to be a strong objection, namely the claim that anyone who accepts (...)
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  • Economic Behavior—Evolutionary Versus Behavioral Perspectives.Ulrich Witt - 2011 - Biological Theory 6 (4):388-398.
    Behavioral economics focuses mainly on how limitations of the human cognitive apparatus, risk attitudes, and human sociality affect decision making. The former two lead to deviations from rationality standards, the latter to deviations from rational self-interest. Some of these research interests are also shared by evolutionary psychology which, however, explains the observed deviations by features of the human genetic endowment conjectured to have evolved under fierce selection pressure in early human phylogeny. Important as the decision-making theoretical perspective of the two (...)
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  • Perfect Happiness.Daniel Rönnedal - 2021 - Symposion. Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 8 (1):89-116.
    In this paper, I will develop a new theory of the nature of happiness, or “perfect happiness.” I will examine what perfect happiness is and what it is not and I will try to answer some fundamental questions about this property. According to the theory, which I shall call “the fulfillment theory,” perfect happiness is perfect fulfillment. The analysis of happiness in this paper is a development of the old idea that happiness is getting what you want and can be (...)
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  • Value and the Right Kind of Reason.Mark Schroeder - 2010 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 5:25-55.
    Fitting Attitudes accounts of value analogize or equate being good with being desirable, on the premise that ‘desirable’ means not, ‘able to be desired’, as Mill has been accused of mistakenly assuming, but ‘ought to be desired’, or something similar. The appeal of this idea is visible in the critical reaction to Mill, which generally goes along with his equation of ‘good’ with ‘desirable’ and only balks at the second step, and it crosses broad boundaries in terms of philosophers’ other (...)
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  • Painful Art and the Limits of Well-Being.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - In Jerrold Levinson (ed.), Suffering Art Gladly: The Paradox of Negative Emotions in Art. Palgrave/ Macmillan.
    In this chapter I explore what painful art can tell us about the nature and importance of human welfare. My goal is not so much to defend a new solution to the paradox of tragedy, as it is to explore the implications of the kinds of solutions that I find attractive. Both nonhedonic compensatory theories and constitutive theories explain why people seek out painful art, but they have troublesome implications. On some narrow theories of well-being, they imply that painful art (...)
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  • The Power to Make Others Worship.Aaron Smuts - 2012 - Religious Studies 48 (2):221 - 237.
    Can any being worthy of worship make others worship it? I think not. By way of an analogy to love, I argue that it is perfectly coherent to think that one could be made to worship. However, forcing someone to worship violates their autonomy, not because worship must be freely given, but because forced worship would be inauthentic—much like love earned through potions. For this reason, I argue that one cannot be made to worship properly; forced worship would be unfitting. (...)
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  • The Absolutism Problem in On Liberty.Piers Norris Turner - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (3):322-340.
    Mill argues that, apart from the principle of utility, his utilitarianism is incompatible with absolutes. Yet in On Liberty he introduces an exceptionless anti-paternalism principle—his liberty principle. In this paper I address ‘the absolutism problem,’ that is, whether Mill's utilitarianism can accommodate an exceptionless principle. Mill's absolute claim is not a mere bit of rhetoric. But the four main solutions to the absolutism problem are also not supported by the relevant texts. I defend a fifth solution—the competence view—that turns on (...)
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  • Practice Makes Perfect: The Effect of Dance Training on the Aesthetic Judge.Barbara Montero - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (1):59-68.
    According to Hume, experience in observing art is one of the prerequisites for being an ideal art critic. But although Hume extols the value of observing art for the art critic, he says little about the value, for the art critic, of executing art. That is, he does not discuss whether ideal aesthetic judges should have practiced creating the form of art they are judging. In this paper, I address this issue. Contrary to some contemporary philosophers who claim that experience (...)
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  • Challenges in Implementing the Responsibility to Protect: The Security Council Veto and the Need for a Common Ethical Approach.Brian D. Lepard - 2021 - The Journal of Ethics 25 (2):223-246.
    In 2005 the member states of the United Nations recognized a “responsibility to protect” victims of mass atrocities such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. They acknowledged a special role for the U.N. Security Council in responding to these atrocities, including potentially authorizing military action using its extensive powers under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. However, the Council has very rarely been able to agree on appropriate action, and the five permanent Council members, most notably China and (...)
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  • Substance and Procedure in Theories of Prudential Value.Valerie Tiberius - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (3):373 – 391.
    In this paper I argue that the debate between subjective and objective theories of prudential value obscures the way in which elements of both are needed for a comprehensive theory of prudential value. I suggest that we characterize these two types of theory in terms of their different aims: procedural (or subjective) theories give an account of the necessary conditions for something to count as good for a person, while substantive (or objective) theories give an account of what is good (...)
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  • Virtue Ethics is Self-Effacing.Simon Keller - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):221 – 231.
    An ethical theory is self-effacing if it tells us that sometimes, we should not be motivated by the considerations that justify our acts. In his influential paper 'The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories' [1976], Michael Stocker argues that consequentialist and deontological ethical theories must be self-effacing, if they are to be at all plausible. Stocker's argument is often taken to provide a reason to give up consequentialism and deontology in favour of virtue ethics. I argue that this assessment is a (...)
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  • Why Not Just Ask? Preferences, “Empirical Ethics” and the Role of Ethical Reflection.Daniel M. Hausman - unknown
    Many questions concerning health involve values. How well is a health system performing? How should resources be allocated between the health system and other uses or among competing healthrelated uses? How should the costs of health services be distributed among members of a population? Who among those in need of transplants should receive scarce organs? What is the best way to treat particular patients? Although many kinds of expertise bear on these questions, values play a large role in answering them. (...)
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  • What is the Use of the Universal Law Formula of the Categorical Imperative?Ido Geiger - 2010 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 18 (2):271-295.
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  • The Logic and Mill's Infamous Proof in Utilitarianism.Dan Yim - 2008 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (4):773 – 788.
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  • A Capacious Account of Liberal Feminism.R. Baehr Amy - 2017 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 3 (1).
    This paper presents an account of liberal feminism as a capacious family of doctrines. The account is capacious in the sense that it sweeps in a wide variety of doctrines, including some thought to be challenges to liberal feminism, and allows us to refer to doctrines with more than one label—so we can identify, for example, care-ethical liberal feminism, socially conservative liberal feminism, and liberal socialist feminism. The capacious account also provides a conceptual framework to allow us to think with (...)
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  • The Cost of Free Speech: Pornography, Hate Speech, and Their Challenge to Liberalism.Abigail Levin - 2010 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
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  • COVID-19 Pandemic – Philosophical Approaches.Sfetcu Nicolae (ed.) - 2020 - Drobeta Turnu Severin: MultiMedia Publishing.
    The paper begins with a retrospective of the debates on the origin of life: the virus or the cell? The virus needs a cell for replication, instead the cell is a more evolved form on the evolutionary scale of life. In addition, the study of viruses raises pressing conceptual and philosophical questions about their nature, their classification, and their place in the biological world. The subject of pandemics is approached starting from the existentialism of Albert Camus and Sartre, the replacement (...)
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  • Chance, Merit, and Economic Inequality: Rethinking Distributive Justice and the Principle of Desert.Joseph de la Torre Dwyer - 2019 - Springer Verlag.
    This book develops a novel approach to distributive justice by building a theory based on a concept of desert. As a work of applied political theory, it presents a simple but powerful theoretical argument and a detailed proposal to eliminate unmerited inequality, poverty, and economic immobility, speaking to the underlying moral principles of both progressives who already support egalitarian measures and also conservatives who have previously rejected egalitarianism on the grounds of individual freedom, personal responsibility, hard work, or economic efficiency. (...)
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  • The Experience Machine and the Experience Requirement.Jennifer Hawkins - 2016 - In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being. New York, NY, USA: Routledge. pp. 355-365.
    In this article I explore various facets of Nozick’s famous thought experiment involving the experience machine. Nozick’s original target is hedonism—the view that the only intrinsic prudential value is pleasure. But the argument, if successful, undermines any experientialist theory, i.e. any theory that limits intrinsic prudential value to mental states. I first highlight problems arising from the way Nozick sets up the thought experiment. He asks us to imagine choosing whether or not to enter the machine and uses our choice (...)
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  • The Financial Crisis, the Exemption View and the Problem of the Harmless Torturer.Michael Schefczyk - 2012 - Philosophy of Management 11 (1):25-38.
    Richard Posner avers in his A Failure of Capitalism that managers bear no moral responsibility for the financial crisis. This view has numerous supporters in economics and philosophy, and I shall call it the ‘exemption view’. In this paper, I criticise four arguments for the exemption view and propose a superior alternative, the ‘participation view’. The participation view claims that managers can be co-responsible for harm, even if their actions were not necessary or sufficient conditions for its occurrence. The paper (...)
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  • Hedonism Reconsidered.Roger Crisp - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (3):619–645.
    This paper is a plea for hedonism to be taken more seriously. It begins by charting hedonism's decline, and suggests that this is a result of two major objections: the claim that hedonism is the 'philosophy of swine', reducing all value to a single common denominator, and Nozick's 'experience machine' objection. There follows some elucidation of the nature of hedonism, and of enjoyment in particular. Two types of theory of enjoyment are outlined-intemalism, according to which enjoyment has some special 'feeling (...)
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  • Ways to Be Worse Off.Ian Stoner - 2016 - Res Philosophica 93 (4):921-949.
    Does disability make a person worse off? I argue that the best answer is yes and no, because we can be worse off in two conceptually distinct ways. Disabilities usually make us worse off in one way (typified by facing hassles) but not in the other (typified by facing loneliness). Acknowledging two conceptually distinct ways to be worse off has fundamental implications for philosophical theories of well-being.
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  • Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethics.James Stacey Taylor - 2012 - Routledge.
    _Death, Posthumous Harm, and Bioethics_ offers a highly distinctive and original approach to the metaphysics of death and applies this approach to contemporary debates in bioethics that address end-of-life and post-mortem issues. Taylor defends the controversial Epicurean view that death is not a harm to the person who dies and the neo-Epicurean thesis that persons cannot be affected by events that occur after their deaths, and hence that posthumous harms are impossible. He then extends this argument by asserting that the (...)
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  • 80,000 Hours for the Common Good: A Thomistic Appraisal of Effective Altruism.Ryan Miller - forthcoming - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.
    Effective Altruism is a rapidly growing and influential contemporary philosophical movement committed to updating utilitarianism in both theory and practice. The movement focuses on identifying urgent but neglected causes and inspiring supererogatory giving to meet the need. It also tries to build a broader coalition by adopting a more ecumenical approach to ethics which recognizes a wide range of values and moral constraints. These interesting developments distinguish Effective Altruism from the utilitarianism of the past in ways that invite cooperation and (...)
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  • Desert, Justice and Capital Punishment.Patrick Lenta & Douglas Farland - 2008 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 2 (3):273-290.
    Our purpose in this paper is to consider a procedural objection to the death penalty. According to this objection, even if the death penalty is deemed, substantively speaking, a morally acceptable punishment for at least some murderers, since only a small proportion of those guilty of aggravated murder are sentenced to death and executed, while the majority of murderers escape capital punishment as a result of arbitrariness and discrimination, capital punishment should be abolished. Our targets in this paper are two (...)
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  • A Defense of Animal Rights.Aysel Dog˘an - 2011 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 24 (5):473-491.
    I argue that animals have rights in the sense of having valid claims, which might turn out to be actual rights as society advances and new scientific-technological developments facilitate finding alternative ways of satisfying our vital interests without using animals. Animals have a right to life, to liberty in the sense of freedom of movement and communication, to subsistence, to relief from suffering, and to security against attacks on their physical existence. Animals’ interest in living, freedom, subsistence, and security are (...)
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  • Worthy Actions.Steven G. Smith - 2001 - The Journal of Ethics 5 (4):315-333.
    Concrete worthy actions have not been aterminus of discernment for moral theory in theway that they often are for the deliberatingmoral agent. Some ordinary hallmarks of worthyactions challenge the unworldly and impersonalways of envisioning life that dominatephilosophical ethics. I discuss six: a worthyaction (1) improves the world in moralperspective, (2) discloses the agent''s power,(3) is personally rewarding, (4) unites virtue,justice, and happiness, (5) is a prime objectof moral choice, and (6) belongs to a practicalgenre (such as work or love). Appreciatingworthy (...)
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  • The Ethics and Efficacy of Selling National Citizenship.Shaheen Borna & James M. Stearns - 2002 - Journal of Business Ethics 37 (2):193 - 207.
    The inevitable global marketplace creates a need for freer movement of labor. The question is not whether this movement will occur but how it will be implemented. This paper discusses the idea of selling citizenship rights as an alternative approach for allocating immigration and permanent residency. First presented is the rationale for using the market approach to selling citizenship. Next the political, country image, economic, and ethical implementation issues of the proposal are discussed. And last, selling citizenship is discussed in (...)
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  • Liberalism, Abstract Individualism, and the Problem of Particular Obligations.Alan Haworth - 2005 - Res Publica 11 (4):371-401.
    In the following I take issue with the allegation that liberalism must inevitably be guilty of ‘abstract individualism’. I treat Michael Sandel’s well-known claim that there are ‘loyalties and convictions whose moral force consists partly in the fact that living by them is inseparable from understanding ourselves as the particular persons we are’ as representative of this widely held view. Specifically, I argue: (i) that Sandel’s account of the manner in which ‘constitutive’ loyalties function as reasons for action presupposes the (...)
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  • Obligation and Moral Worth: Reflections on Prichard and Kant.Norman O. Dahl - 1986 - Philosophical Studies 50 (3):369 - 399.
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  • Willpower Satisficing.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):251-265.
    Satisficing Consequentialism is often rejected as hopeless. Perhaps its greatest problem is that it risks condoning the gratuitous prevention of goodness above the baseline of what qualifies as "good enough". I propose a radical new willpower-based version of the view that avoids this problem, and that better fits with the motivation of avoiding an excessively demanding conception of morality. I further demonstrate how, by drawing on the resources of an independent theory of blameworthiness, we may obtain a principled specification of (...)
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  • Harm, Affect, and the Moral/Conventional Distinction.Daniel Kelly, Stephen Stich, Kevin J. Haley, Serena J. Eng & Daniel M. T. Fessler - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (2):117–131.
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  • Epistemic Value: Truth or Explanation?David Resnik - 1994 - Metaphilosophy 25 (4):348-361.
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  • The Smuggler's Fallacy.Kenneth G. Ferguson - 2004 - Metaphilosophy 35 (5):648-660.
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  • Altruism and Volunteerism: The Perceptions of Altruism in Four Disciplines and Their Impact on the Study of Volunteerism.Debbie Haski-Leventhal - 2009 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 39 (3):271-299.
    Although volunteering is the most organized and formal manner of altruism, the two subjects are rarely connected in literature. In this article reviewed is the egocentric approach that is found in four social disciplines: psychology, sociology, economics and socio-biology , and the way that studies on altruism are based on Utilitarian philosophy and on the homo economicus perception of man. All of the above have influenced the study of volunteerism: the research questions, the study areas, and the conclusions on the (...)
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  • Equality as a Basis for Religious Toleration: A Response to Leiter.Corey Brettschneider - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (3):537-546.
    In this short essay, I respond to Brian Leiter’s Why Tolerate Religion. I focus on two criticisms. First, I argue that Leiter’s own theory depends on an unacknowledged ideal of equality, and that equality is central to the utilitarian and Rawlsian bases for religious toleration that he draws upon in his book. Second, I argue against Leiter’s allowing, in certain circumstances, the state to establish religion and to promote religious conceptions of the good.
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  • Can Positive Duties Be Derived From Kant’s Categorical Imperative?Michael Yudanin - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (3):595-614.
    Kant’s moral philosophy usually considers two types of duties: negative duties that prohibit certain actions and positive duties commanding action. With that, Kant insists on deriving all morality from reason alone. Such is the Categorical Imperative that Kant lays at the basis of ethics. Yet while negative duties can be derived from the Categorical Imperative and thus from reason, the paper argues that this is not the case with positive duties. After answering a number of attempts to derive positive duties (...)
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  • Questions From the Rough Ground: Teaching, Autobiography and the Cosmopolitan “I”.Viktor Johansson - 2015 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 34 (5):441-458.
    In this article I explore how cosmopolitanism can be a challenge for ordinary language philosophy. I also explore cosmopolitan aspects of Stanley Cavell’s ordinary language philosophy. Beginning by considering the moral aspects of cosmopolitanism and some examples of discussions of cosmopolitanism in philosophy of education, I turn to the scene of instruction in Wittgenstein and to Stanley Cavell’s emphasis on the role of autobiography in philosophy. The turn to the autobiographical dimension of ordinary language philosophy, especially its use of “I” (...)
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