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Michael L. Frazer
University of East Anglia
  1.  14
    Utopophobia as a Vocation: The Professional Ethics of Ideal and Nonideal Political Theory.Michael L. Frazer - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2):175-192.
    : The debate between proponents of ideal and non-ideal approaches to political philosophy has thus far been framed as a meta-level debate about normative theory. The argument of this essay will be that the ideal/non-ideal debate can be helpfully reframed as a ground-level debate within normative theory. Specifically, it can be understood as a debate within the applied normative field of professional ethics, with the profession being examined that of political philosophy itself. If the community of academic political theorists and (...)
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  2.  58
    Including the Unaffected.Michael L. Frazer - 2014 - Journal of Political Philosophy 22 (4):377-395.
    One of the most basic questions facing democratic theory is who ought to be included in political participation. Most recent discussions of this question have focused on the wrongful exclusion of those who ought to be included. Less attention has been paid to the question of whether political participation can be objectionably over-inclusive. Robert Dahl insists that it can; a claim to inclusion, he writes, “cannot be justified if it is advanced by persons whose interests are not significantly affected by (...)
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  3.  33
    John Rawls: Between Two Enlightenments.Michael L. Frazer - 2007 - Political Theory 35 (6):756-780.
    John Rawls shares the Enlightenment's commitment to finding moral and political principles which can be reflectively endorsed by all individuals autonomously. He usually presents reflective autonomy in Kantian, rationalist terms: autonomy is identified with the exercise of reason, and principles of justice must be constructed which are acceptable to all on the basis of reason alone. Yet David Hume, Adam Smith and many other Enlightenment thinkers rejected such rationalism, searching instead for principles which can be endorsed by all on the (...)
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  4.  43
    Esotericism Ancient and Modern.Michael L. Frazer - 2006 - Political Theory 34 (1):33-61.
    Leo Strauss presents at least two distinct accounts of the idea that the authors in the political-philosophical canon have often masked their true teachings. A weaker account of esotericism, dependent on the contingent fact of presecution, is attributed to the moderns, while a stronger account, stemming from a necessary conflict between philosophy and society, is attributed to the ancients. Although most interpreters agree that Strauss here sides with the ancients, this view fails to consider the possibility that Strauss's writings on (...)
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  5. Review Article: The Modest Professor.Michael L. Frazer - 2010 - European Journal of Political Theory 9 (2):218-226.
    Given the extraordinary level of his philosophical achievements, John Rawls was by all accounts a remarkably modest man. This essay will focus, not on the role that Rawls’s modesty played in the presentation of his own ideas, but on the role it plays in his interpretations of the other canonical texts under examination in his Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy. It argues that the personal virtue of humility stands in a complicated relationship with the preeminent hermeneutic virtue of (...)
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  6.  43
    The Compassion of Zarathustra: Nietzsche on Sympathy and Strength.Michael L. Frazer - 2006 - The Review of Politics 68 (1):49-78.
    Contemporary theorists critical of the current vogue for compassion might like to turn to Friedrich Nietzsche as an obvious ally in their opposition to the sentiment. Yet this essay argues that Nietzsche’s critique of compassion is not entirely critical, and that the endorsement of one’s sympathetic feelings is actually a natural outgrowth of Nietzsche’s immoralist ethics. Nietzsche understands the tendency to share in the suffering of their inferiors as a distinctive vulnerability of the spiritually strong and healthy. Their compassion, however, (...)
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  7.  34
    The Affective Extension of ‘Family’ in the Context of Changing Elite Business Networks.Zografia Bika & Michael L. Frazer - forthcoming - Human Relations.
    Drawing on 49 oral-history interviews with Scottish family business owner-managers, six key-informant interviews, and secondary sources, this interdisciplinary study analyses the decline of kinship-based connections and the emergence of new kinds of elite networks around the 1980s. As the socioeconomic context changed rapidly during this time, cooperation built primarily around literal family ties could not survive unaltered. Instead of finding unity through bio-legal family connections, elite networks now came to redefine their ‘family businesses’ in terms of affectively loaded ‘family values’ (...)
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  8.  18
    Anatomist and Painter: Hume's Struggles as a Sentimental Stylist.Michael L. Frazer - 2016 - In Heather Kerr, David Lemmings & Robert Phiddian (eds.), Passions, Sympathy, and Print Culture: Public Opinion and Emotional Authenticity in Eighteenth-Century Britain. New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 223-244.
    When David Hume wrote to Baron de Montesquieu ‘J’ai consacré ma vie à la philosophie et aux belles-lettres’,1 he was not describing himself as having two separate callings. His was a single vocation — one involving the expression of deep thought through beautiful writing.2 This vocation did not come naturally or easily to Hume. He struggled continually to reshape his approach to prose, famously renouncing the Treatise of Human Nature as a literary failure and radically revising the presentation of his (...)
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  9.  45
    Interdisciplinary Before the Disciplines: Sentimentalism and the Science of Man.Michael L. Frazer - 2017 - In Remy Debes & Karsten Stueber (eds.), Ethical Sentimentalism: New Perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 15-32.
    This chapter argues that Enlightenment sentimentalism’s greatest potential contribution to scholarship today is not a matter for moral philosophy alone, but rather an agenda for fruitful collaboration between fields across the humanities and social sciences. This interdisciplinary program for both understanding an improving human nature is contrasted with alternative approaches, and defended against objections that it cannot produce a moral code categorically binding on any rational being as such. The chapter concludes with some sociological and psychological hypotheses that might help (...)
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  10.  18
    Moral Sentimentalism.Michael L. Frazer - 2017 - In Adrian Blau (ed.), Methods in Analytical Political Theory. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 91-111.
    A "how-to" guide to writing political theory in a sentimentalist mode.
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  11.  38
    Respect for Subjects in the Ethics of Causal and Interpretive Social Explanation.Michael L. Frazer - forthcoming - American Political Science Review.
    Rival causal and interpretive approaches to explaining social phenomena have important ethical differences. While human actions can be explained as a result of causal mechanisms, as a meaningful choice based on reasons, or as some combination of the two, it is morally important that social scientists respect others by recognizing them as persons. Interpretive explanations directly respect their subjects in this way, while purely causal explanations do not. Yet although causal explanations are not themselves expressions of respect, they can be (...)
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  12.  13
    Review of Our Great Purpose: Adam Smith on Living a Better Life by Ryan Patrick Hanley. [REVIEW]Michael L. Frazer - 2020 - Perspectives on Politics 18 (2):596-597.
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  13.  10
    Review of 'Political Philosophy Versus History? Contextualism and Real Politics in Contemporary Political Thought.' Edited by Jonathan Floyd and Marc Stears. [REVIEW]Michael L. Frazer - 2014 - Perspectives on Politics 12 (1):222-223.
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  14.  12
    Review of "Faces of Moderation: The Art of Balance in the Age of Extremes" by Aurelian Craiutu. [REVIEW]Michael L. Frazer - 2019 - History of Political Thought 40 (4):719-722.
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  15.  11
    Review of Ryan Muldoon, Social Contract Theory for a Diverse World: Beyond Tolerance. [REVIEW]Michael L. Frazer - 2017 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 1.
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  16.  25
    Seduced by System: Edmund Burke's Aesthetic Embrace of Adam Smith's Philosophy.Michael L. Frazer - 2015 - Intellectual History Review 25 (3):357-372.
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  17.  32
    Smith Contra Slote.Michael L. Frazer - 2011 - Analytic Philosophy 52 (4):319-327.
    Michael Slote’s Moral Sentimentalism is a wonderful model of a particular, under-appreciated philosophical method. It demonstrates that exciting, original work can be created by putting old ideas to new uses, proving once again that the classics of moral and political philosophy offer too rich an array of intellectual resources to leave to historians alone. Whenever one is reclaiming old ideas, however, the most important decision is which ideas to reclaim, and which to leave in the dustbin of history. Slote makes (...)
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  18.  36
    Sentimentalist Virtue Ethics.Michael L. Frazer & Michael Slote - 2015 - In Lorraine L. Besser & Michael Slote (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 197-208.
    Moral sentimentalism can be understood as a metaethical theory, a normative theory, or some combination of the two. Metaethical sentimentalism emphasizes the role of affect in the proper psychology of moral judgment, while normative sentimentalism emphasizes the centrality of warm emotions to the phenomena of which these judgments properly approve. Neither form of sentimentalism necessarily implies a commitment to virtue ethics, but both have an elective affinity with it. The classical metaethical sentimentalists of the Scottish Enlightenment—such as David Hume and (...)
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  19.  21
    Sentimentalism Without Relativism.Michael L. Frazer - 2013 - Nomos 53:19-37.
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  20.  32
    The Ethics of Intepretation in Political Theory and Intellectual History.Michael L. Frazer - 2019 - The Review of Politics 81 (1):77-99.
    Scholars studying classic political texts face an important decision: Should these texts be read as artifacts of history or as sources for still-valid insights about politics today? Competing historical and “presentist” approaches to political thought do not have a methodological dispute—that is, a disagreement about the most effective scholarly means to an agreed-upon end. They instead have an ethical dispute about the respective value of competing activities that aim at different purposes. This article examines six ethical arguments, drawn primarily from (...)
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