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James Mahon [14]James Edwin Mahon [13]James E. Mahon [1]
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James Mahon
Lehman College (CUNY)
  1. The Truth About Kant On Lies.James Edwin Mahon - 2009 - In Clancy W. Martin (ed.), The Philosophy of Deception. Oxford University Press.
    In this chapter I argue that there are three different senses of 'lie' in Kant's moral philosophy: the lie in the ethical sense (the broadest sense, which includes lies to oneself), the lie in the 'juristic' sense (the narrowest sense, which only includes lies that specifically harm particular others), and the lie in the sense of right (or justice), which is narrower than the ethical sense, but broader than the juristic sense, since it includes all lies told to others, including (...)
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  2. Abortion and the Right to not be Pregnant.James Mahon - 2016 - In Allyn Fives & Keith Breen (eds.), Philosophy and Political Engagement: Reflection in the Public Sphere. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 57-77.
    In this paper I defend Judith Jarvis Thomson's 'Good Samaritan Argument' (otherwise known as the 'feminist argument') for the permissibility of abortion, first advanced in her important, ground-breaking article 'A Defense of Abortion' (1971), against objections from Joseph Mahon (1979, 1984). I also highlight two problems with Thomson's argument as presented, and offer remedies for both of these problems. The article begins with a short history of the importance of the article to the development of practical ethics. Not alone did (...)
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  3.  58
    Contemporary Approaches to the Philosophy of Lying.James Mahon - 2018 - In The Oxford Handbook of Lying. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 32-55.
    The chapter examines fifty years of philosophers working on lying - from the 1970s to the current day – focusing on how lying is defined (descriptively and normatively), whether lying involves an intention to deceive (Deceptionists) or not (Non-Deceptionists), why lying is wrong, and whether lying is worse than other forms of deception, including misleading with the truth. Philosophers discussed include Roderick Chisholm and Thomas Feehan, Alan Donagan, Sissela Boy, Charles Fried, David Simpson, David Simpson, Bernard Williams, Paul Faulkner, Thomas (...)
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  4.  48
    Kant on Keeping a Secret.James Mahon - 2009 - Listening: Journal of Religion and Culture 44:21-36.
    In this article I address the neglected question of what kind of act keeping a secret is, and what Kant had to say about secret keeping. First, I provide a definition of keeping a secret, improving upon Sissela Bok's definition. I distinguish between keeping a secret and deception, incorporating Thomas Nagel. Then, I discuss what Kant had to say about keeping a secret, and advance an Kantian argument for the moral permissibility of secret-keeping.
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  5. MacIntyre and the Emotivists.James Edwin Mahon - 2013 - In Fran O'Rourke (ed.), What Happened in and to Moral Philosophy in the Twentieth Century. University of Notre Dame Press.
    This chapter both explains the origins of emotivism in C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards, R. B. Braithwaite, Austin Duncan-Jones, A. J. Ayer and Charles Stevenson (along with the endorsement by Frank P. Ramsey, and the summary of C. D. Broad), and looks at MacIntyre's criticisms of emotivism as the inevitable result of Moore's attack on naturalistic ethics and his ushering in the fact/value, which was a historical product of the Enlightenment.
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  6. Kant, Morality, and Hell.James Edwin Mahon - 2015 - In Robert Arp & Ben McCraw (eds.), The Concept of Hell. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 113-126.
    In this paper I argue that, although Kant argues that morality is independent of God (and hence, agrees with the Euthyphro), and rejects Divine Command Theory (or Theological Voluntarism), he believes that all moral duties are also the commands of God, who is a moral being, and who is morally required to punish those who transgress the moral law: "God’s justice is the precise allocation of punishments and rewards in accordance with men’s good or bad behavior." However, since we lack (...)
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  7. Innocent Burdens.James Edwin Mahon - 2014 - Washington and Lee Law Review 71.
    In this article Judith Jarvis Thomson's Good Samaritan Argument in defense of abortion in the case of rape is defended from two objections: the Kill vs. Let Die Objection, and the Intend to Kill vs. Merely Foresee Death Objection. The article concludes that these defenses do not defend Thomson from further objections from Peter Singer and David Oderberg.
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  8.  93
    Kant on Lying as a Crime against Humanity.James E. Mahon - 2012 - Parmenideum 4 (2):63-88.
    In this article, I argue that there is no discrepancy between Kant's Doctrine of Right (The Metaphysics of Morals) (1797), which legally permits lies that do not deprive someone of their rights or property, and his On a Supposed Right to Lie from Love of Humanity (1797), which argues that it would be a crime to lie to a murderer about the whereabouts of the innocent person he is pursuing.
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  9.  74
    Getting Your Sources Right: What Aristotle Didn’t Say.James Mahon - 1999 - In Researching and Applying Metaphor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 69-80.
    In this chapter I argue that writers on metaphor have misunderstood Aristotle on metaphor. Aristotle is not an elitist about metaphor and does not consider metaphors to be merely ornamental. Rather, Aristotle believes that metaphors are ubiquitous and believes that people can express themselves in a clearer and more attractive way through the use of metaphors and that people learn and understand things better through metaphor. He also distinguishes between the use of metaphor and the coinage of metaphor, and believes (...)
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  10.  65
    Emotivism and Internalism: Ayer and Stevenson.James Mahon - 2005 - Studies in the History of Ethics 1 (2).
    It is commonly assumed that the non-cognitivists of the first half of the twentieth century - the emotivists – were internalists about moral motivation. It is also commonly assumed that they were prompted to choose emotivism over other cognitivist positions in ethics because of their commitment to internalism. Finally, it is also commonly assumed that they used an internalist argument to argue for emotivism. -/- In this article I argue that the connection between emotivism and internalism is far more tenuous (...)
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  11.  72
    Classical Philosophical Approaches to Lying and Deception.James Mahon - 2018 - In The Oxford Handbook of Lying. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 13-31.
    This chapter examines the views of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle on lying. It it outlines the differences between different kinds of falsehoods in Plato (real falsehoods and falsehoods in words), the difference between myths and lies, the 'noble' (i.e., pedigree) lie in The Republic, and how Plato defended rulers lying to non-rulers about, for example, eugenics. It considers whether Socrates's opposition to lying is consistent with Socratic irony, and especially with his praise of his interlocutors as wise. Finally, it looks (...)
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  12.  70
    Truth and Metaphor: A Defense of Shelley.James Mahon - 1997 - In Metaphor and Rational Discourse. Tubingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. pp. 137-146. Translated by Timothy Jackson.
    In this chapter I argue that Richard Rorty and others are wrong to contrast the Romantic poets with Plato and other philosophers in virtue of a lack of concern for the truth. Percy Bysshe Shelley, in particular, believed that the metaphors in poetry revealed the fundamental truth about the world.
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  13. Murderer at the Switch: Thomson, Kant, and the Trolley Problem.James Edwin Mahon - 2021 - In Charles Tandy (ed.), Death and Anti-Death, Volume 19: One Year After Judith Jarvis Thomson (1929-2020). Ann Arbor, MI, USA: pp. 153-187.
    In this book chapter I argue that contrary to what is said by Paul Guyer in Kant (Routledge, 2006) Kant's moral philosophy prohibits the bystander from throwing the switch to divert the runaway trolley to a side track with an innocent person on it in order to save more people who are in the path of the trolley in the "Trolley Problem" case made famous by Judith Jarvis Thomson (1976; 1985). Furthermore, Thomson herself (2008) came to agree that it would (...)
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  14.  44
    Spinoza, Bad Faith, and Lying: A reply to John W. Bauer.James Edwin Mahon - 2013 - Wassard Elea Rivista 1:115-121.
    In this article I argue that it is underdetermined what Spinoza is arguing for when he says in Proposition 72 of Part IV of the Ethics that (translated) "A free man never acts deceitfully, but always in good faith." In "Spinoza, Lying, and Acting in Good Faith," John Bauer has argued that Spinoza lays down an absolute moral prohibition never to lie.
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  15. The Noble Art of Lying.James Mahon - 2017 - In Alan Goldman (ed.), Mark Twain and Philosophy. pp. 95-111.
    In this chapter, I examine the writings of Mark Twain on lying, especially his essays "On the decay of the Art of Lying" and "My First Lie, and How I Got Out of It." I show that Twain held that there were two kinds of lies: the spoken lie and the silent lie. The silent lie is the lie of not saying what one is thinking, and is far more common than the spoken lie. The greatest silent lies, according to (...)
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  16. Philosophy and Philosophers: An Introduction to Western Philosophy.James Edwin Mahon - 1995 - History of European Ideas 21 (4):584-585.
    In this review of John Shand's book on the history of western philosophy, I point out that the book is only concerned with epistemology and metaphysics, and only considers in detail the work of twenty individual philosophers. There are no entries on Socrates, Hobbes, Bentham, Schopenhauer, Mill, Kierkegaard, Marx, James, Frege, or Heidegger, and the final chapter on "Recent Philosophy" is only six and a half pages long, with each of the thirteen philosophers given a single paragraph each. Within these (...)
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  17. A Double-Edged Sword: Honor in "The Duellists".James Edwin Mahon - 2013 - In Alan Barkman, Ashley Barkman & Nancy King (eds.), The Culture and Philosophy of Ridley Scott. Lexington Books. pp. 45-60.
    In this essay I argue that Ridley Scott's first feature film, The Duelists, which is an adaptation of a Joseph Conrad novella, contains his deepest meditation on honor in his entire career. The film may be said to answer the following question about honor: is being bound to do something by honor, when it is contrary to one's self-interest, a good thing, or a bad thing? It may be said to give the answer that it may be either good or (...)
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  18. Recovering Lost Moral Ground: Can Walt Make Amends?James Mahon & Joseph Mahon - 2016 - In Kevin Decker, David Koepsell & Robert Arp (eds.), Philosophy and Breaking Bad. New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 143-160.
    Is it possible to recover lost moral ground? In the closing episodes of the TV show "Breaking Bad", it becomes clear that the protagonist, Walter White, believes that the correct answer to this question is an affirmative one. Walt believes that he can, and that he has, recovered lost moral ground. "Breaking Bad" may be said to explore two distinct and incompatible ways of attempting to recover lost moral ground. The first way is revisionist. This is to rewrite the script (...)
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  19. All's Fair in Love and War? Machiavelli and Ang Lee's "Ride With the Devil".James Edwin Mahon - 2013 - In Robert Arp, Adam Barkman & Nancy King (eds.), The Philosophy of Ang Lee. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 265-290.
    In this essay I argue that Machiavelli does not hold that all deception is permissible in war. While Machiavelli claims that "deceit... in the conduct of war is laudable and honorable," he insists that such deceit, or ruses of war, is not to be confounded with perfidy. Any Lee's U.S. Civil War film, "Ride With the Devil," illustrates this difference. The film also illustrates the difference between lying as part of romance, which is permitted, and lying at the moment of (...)
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  20. Lying.James Edwin Mahon - 2006 - In D. Borchert (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Macmillan Reference. pp. 2--618.
    Short survey of philosophical literature on the definition of lying and the ethics of lying.
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  21. The Good, the Bad, and the Obligatory.James Edwin Mahon - 2006 - Journal of Value Inquiry 40 (1):59-71.
    In this article I reject the argument of Colin McGinn ("Must I Be Morally Perfect?", 1992) that ordinary morality requires that each of us be morally perfect. McGinn's definition of moral perfection –– according to which I am morally perfect if I never do anything that is supererogatory, but always do what is obligatory, and always avoid doing what is impermissible –– should be rejected, because it is open to the objection that I am morally perfect if I always do (...)
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  22. Dismantling Democratic States. [REVIEW]James Mahon - 2005 - The Review of Politics 67:153-155.
    In this review of Ezra Suleiman's book I explain his argument that democracies need independent professional bureaucracies with Weberian "impersonal" authority, and that the greatest threat to the authority of government and the health of democracy is the trend towards turning bureaucracy into an instrument of the governing political party of the day.
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  23. Deception: From Ancient Empires to Internet Dating. [REVIEW]James Edwin Mahon - 2012 - Philosophy in Review 32 (4):275-278.
    In this review of Brooke Harrington's edited collection of essays on deception, written by people from different disciplines and giving us a good "status report" on what various disciplines have to say about deception and lying, I reject social psychologist Mark Frank's taxonomy of passive deception, active consensual deception, and active non-consensual deception (active consensual deception is not deception), as well as his definition of deception as "anything that misleads another for some gain" ("for gain" is a reason for engaging (...)
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  24. Moral Animals: Ideals and Constraints in Moral Theory. [REVIEW]James Mahon - 2007 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (4):617-622.
    Wilson's book has two aims: a metaethical aim, to provide a non-moral-realist account of moral judgment and moral theorizing in terms of preferences for certain 'paraworlds' over other 'paraworlds,' and a normative ethical aim, to argue for greater socio-economic, and gender, equality. I am sympathetic to the second normative ethical aim, but I do not consider the metaethical redescription of moral judgment and moral theorizing in terms of preferences for paraworlds to be accurate or helpful. Her critique of "immanentism," or (...)
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  25. Ethics and Practical Reason. [REVIEW]James Mahon - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 7:119-120.
    In this review of essays on the topic of practical reason, the neo-Humeanism of philosophers such as James Drier, according to whom reasons are instrumental, is shown to be susceptible to the objections of Kantian philosophers such as Christine Korsgaard: the fact that you desire to X can never entail that you ought to X. Kantianism, however, comes under attack from neo-Aristotelian philosophers such as Berys Gaut, who argues that it is a mistake to identify goodness with being the object (...)
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  26. The Rhetoric of Berkeley's Philosophy. [REVIEW]James Mahon - 1996 - Berkeley Newsletter 14:15-17.
    In this review of Peter Walmsley's book, the first book-length treatment of Berkeley as a writer, Berkeley is shown to be a master stylist. He is also shown to have a theory of language that is "explicitly rhetorical," since he held, contrary to Locke, that language had ends other than the communication of ideas.
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  27. Rights and Reason: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Rights. [REVIEW]James Mahon - 2005 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 13:285-289.
    In this review I consider Gorman's arguments for redescrbiing the history of ethics, from Plato to Isaiah Berlin, as the history of theories of human rights, and for the conclusions that human rights are dependent, that they change over time, and that they may conflict with each other. I disagree with his interpretations of Plato, Hobbes, and Kant, as well as the idea that their moral theories can be converted into theories of human rights without loss, and I argue that (...)
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  28. The Poetics of Mind. [REVIEW]James Edwin Mahon - 1996 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 4:202-203.
    Review of Gibbs' book in which he argues against the twin assumptions that language is inherently literal, and that thought itself is literal. Metaphors, etc., are omnipresent in language, Gibbs argues, and the mind is inherently 'poetic', i.e., it engages in figurative thinking. For example, we conceptualize anger as "ANGER IS HEATED FLUID IN A CONTAINER" (p. 7), and as a result, that is how we talk about anger ('Bill is getting hot under the collar,' 'She blew up at me', (...)
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