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Child Rights Cover

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Child Rights

The Movement, International Law, and Opposition

edited by Clark W. Butler

Over twenty years after the 1989 UN General Assembly vote to open the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) for signature and ratification by UN member states, the United States remains one of only two UN members not to have ratified it. The other is Somalia. Child Rights: The Movement, International Law, and Opposition explores the reasons for this resistance. It details the objections that have arisen to accepting this legally binding international instrument, which presupposes indivisible universal civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, and gives children special protection due to their vulnerability. The resistance ranges from isolationist attitudes toward international law and concerns over the fiscal impact of implementation, to the value attached to education in a faith tradition and fears about the academic deterioration of public education. The contributors to the book reveal the significant positive influence that the CRC has had, despite not being ratified, on subjects such as educational research, child psychology, development ethics, normative ethics, and anthropology. The book also explores the growing homeschooling trend, which is often evangelically led in the US, but which is at loggerheads with an equally growing social science-based movement of experts and ethicists pressing for greater autonomy and freedom of expression for children. Looking beyond the US, the book also addresses some of the practical obstacles that have emerged to implementing the CRC in both developed countries (for example, Canada and the United Kingdom) and in poorer nations. This book, polemical and yet balanced, helps the reader evaluate both positive and the negative implications of this influential piece of international legislation from a variety of ethical, legal, and social science perspectives.

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Civil Disagreement

Personal Integrity in a Pluralistic Society

Edward Langerak

How can we agree to disagree in today's pluralistic society, one in which individuals and groups are becoming increasingly polarized by fierce convictions that are often at odds with the ideas of others? Civil Disagreement: Personal Integrity in a Pluralistic Society shows how we can cope with diversity and be appropriately open toward opponents even while staying true to our convictions. This accessible and useful guide discusses how our conversations and arguments can respect differences and maintain personal integrity and civility even while taking stances on disputed issues. The author examines an array of illustrative cases, such as debates over slavery, gay marriage, compulsory education for the Amish, and others, providing helpful insights on how to take firm stands without denigrating opponents. The author proposes an approach called "perspective pluralism" that honors the integrity of various viewpoints while avoiding the implication that all reasonable views are equally acceptable or true.

Civil Disagreement offers a concise yet comprehensive guide for students and scholars of philosophical or religious ethics, political or social philosophy, and political science, as well as general readers who are concerned about the polarization that often seems to paralyze national and international politics.

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Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity

Drucilla Cornell

In this risk-taking book, a major feminist philosopher engages the work of the actor and director who has progressed from being the stereotypical man's manto pushing the boundaries of the very genres-the Western, the police thriller, the war or boxing movie-most associated with American masculinity. Cornell's highly appreciative encounter with the films directed by Clint Eastwood revolve around the questions What is it to be a good man?and What is it to be, not just an ethical person, but specifically an ethical man?Focusing on Eastwood as a director rather than as an actor or cultural icon, she studies Eastwood in relation to major philosophical and ethical themes that have been articulated in her own life's work.In her fresh and revealing readings of the films, Cornell takes up pressing issues of masculinity as it is caught up in the very definition of ideas of revenge, violence, moral repair, and justice. Eastwood grapples with this involvement of masculinity in and through many of the great symbols of American life, including cowboys, boxing, police dramas, and ultimately war-perhaps the single greatest symbol of what it means (or is supposed to mean) to be a man. Cornell discusses films from across Eastwood's career, from his directorial debut with Play Misty for Me to Million Dollar Baby.Cornell's book is not a traditional book of film criticism or a cinematographic biography. Rather, it is a work of social commentary and ethical philosophy. In a world in which we seem to be losing our grip on shared symbols, along with community itself, Eastwood's films work with the fragmented symbols that remain to us in order to engage masculinity with the most profound moral and ethical issues facing us today.

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Cognition of Value in Aristotle's Ethics

Promise of Enrichment, Threat of Destruction

With this new interpretation, Deborah Achtenberg argues that metaphysics is central to ethics for Aristotle and that the ethics can be read on two levels—imprecisely, in terms of its own dialectically grounded and imprecise claims, or in terms of the metaphysical terms and concepts that give the ethics greater articulation and depth. She argues that concepts of value—the good and the beautiful—are central to ethics for Aristotle and that they can be understood in terms of telos where ‘telos’ can be construed to mean ‘enriching limitation’ and contrasted with harmful or destructive limitation. Achtenberg argues that the imprecision of ethics for Aristotle results not simply from the fact that ethics has to do with particulars, but more centrally from the fact that it has to do with the value of particulars. She presents new interpretations of a wide variety of passages in Aristotle’s metaphysical, physical, psychological, rhetorical, political, and ethical works in support of her argument and compares Aristotle’s views to those of Plato, Marcus Aurelius, the Hebrew Bible, Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Freud, and twentieth-century object relations theorists. Achtenberg also responds to interpretations of Aristotle’s ethics by McDowell, Nussbaum, Sherman, Salkever, Williams, Annas, Irwin, Roche, Gomez-Lobo, Burnyeat, and Anagnostopoulos.

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Community and Progress in Kant's Moral Philosophy

Kate A. Moran

The text draws on a wide range of Immanuel Kant's writings, including his texts on moral and political philosophy and his lectures on ethics, pedagogy, and anthropology. Though the book is grounded in an analysis of Kant's writing, it also puts forward the novel claim that Kant's theory is centrally concerned with the relationships we have in our day-to-day lives.

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Compassion and Moral Guidance

Steve Bein

Compassion is a word we use frequently but rarely precisely. One reason we lack a philosophically precise understanding of compassion is that moral philosophers today give it virtually no attention. Indeed, in the predominant ethical traditions of the West (deontology, consequentialism, virtue ethics), compassion tends to be either passed over without remark or explicitly dismissed as irrelevant. And yet in the predominant ethical traditions of Asia, compassion is centrally important: All else revolves around it. This is clearly the case in Buddhist ethics, and compassion plays a similarly indispensable role in Confucian and Daoist ethics.

In Compassion and Moral Guidance, Steve Bein seeks to explain why compassion plays such a substantial role in the moral philosophies of East Asia and an insignificant one in those of Europe and the West. The book opens with detailed surveys of compassion’s position in the philosophical works of both traditions. The surveys culminate in an analysis of the conceptions of self and why the differences between these conceptions serve either to celebrate or marginalize the importance of compassion.

Bein moves on to develop a model for the ethics of compassion, including a chapter on applied ethics seen from the perspective of the ethics of compassion. The result is a new approach to ethics, one that addresses the Rawlsian and Kantian concern for fairness, the utilitarian concern for satisfactory consequences, and the concern in care ethics for the proper treatment of marginalized groups. Bein argues that compassion’s capacity to address all of these makes it a primary tool for ethical decision-making.

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The Concept of Equity in Calvin’s Ethics

Ever since Calvin wrote his Institutes of the Christian Religion, admonishing the reader that “it would not be difficult for him to determine what he ought especially to seek in Scriptures, and to what end he ought to relate its contents,” scholars have endeavoured to identify a doctrine or theme at the heart of his theology. In his landmark book The Concept of Equity in Calvin’s Ethics, Guenther Haas concludes that the concept of equity is the theme of central importance in Calvin’s social ethic, in a similar way that union with Christ lies at the heart of his theology.

Haas provides, in Part One, a brief survey of the development of the concept of equity from Aristotle to the scholastics, and as it was used by Calvin’s contemporaries. Haas also examines the influences on Calvin’s thinking before and after his conversion to Protestantism, with special attention paid to those influences that employed the concept of equity.

In the heart of this study, Part Two, “Equity in Calvin’s Ethics,” Haas presents a thorough exposition and analysis of the extensive role the concept of equity plays in Calvin’s ethics, demonstrating that Calvin’s approach to ethics is not restricted to meditation of Scripture text.

This book will force a re-examination of approaches to Calvin studies that have not appreciated the historical context and background of Calvin’s thought. The Concept of Equity in Calvin’s Ethics establishes that the Protestant tradition in Christian ethics, founded by Calvin, has a distinctive and vital contribution to make to Christian ethics, as well as to the broader discussion of social ethics as they are practised today.

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Concern for the Other

Perspectives on the Ethics of K. E. Logstrup

Edited by Svend Andersen and Kees van Kooten Niekerk

The Danish philosopher K. E. Løgstrup is best known in the Anglo-American world for his original work in ethics, primarily in The Ethical Demand (original Danish edition, 1956). Løgstrup continued to write extensively on issues in ethics and phenomenology throughout his life, and extracts from some of his later writings are now also available in translation in Beyond the Ethical Demand. In Concern for the Other: The Ethics of K. E. Løgstrup, eleven scholars examine the structure, intention, and originality of Løgstrup's ethics as a whole. This collection of essays is a companion to Beyond the Ethical Demand, as well as to The Ethical Demand. The essays examine Løgstrup’s crucial concept of the “sovereign expressions of life”; his view of moral principles as a substitute for, or inferior form of, ethics; his relationships to other philosophers, including the twentieth-century British moral philosophers; and the role of his Lutheran background in his ethics. Løgstrup also firmly advanced the controversial thesis, examined by several essays in this volume, that the demand for “other-concern” central to his ethics does not depend on religious faith.

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Confucius, Rawls, and the Sense of Justice

Erin Cline

This book compares the role of a sense of justice in the ethical and political thought of Confucius and John Rawls. Erin Cline demonstrates that the Analects (the most influential record of Confucius' thought) and Rawls's work intersect in an emphasis on the importance of developing a sense of justice. Despite deep and important differences between the two accounts, this intersection is a source of significant philosophical agreement.The study does not simply compare and contrast two views by examining their similarities and differences; it also offers a larger argument concerning the reasons why comparative work is worthwhile, the distinctive challenges comparative studies face, and how comparative work can accomplish distinctive and significant ends.Not only can a comparative study of the capacity for a sense of justice in Confucius and Rawls help us better understand each of their views, but it also can help us to see new ways in which to apply their insights, especially with respect to the contemporary relevance of their accounts.

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Conscience and Other Virtues

From Bonaventure to MacIntyre

Douglass C. Langston

Conscience, once a core concept for ethics, has mostly disappeared from modern moral theory. In this book Douglas Langston traces its intellectual history to account for its neglect while arguing for its still vital importance, if correctly understood. In medieval times, Langston shows in Part I, the notions of "conscientia" and "synderesis" from which our contemporary concept of conscience derives were closely connected to Greek ideas about the virtues and practical reason, although in Christianized form. As modified by Luther, Butler, and Kant, however, conscience later came to be regarded as a faculty like will and intellect, and when faculty psychology fell into disrepute, so did the role of conscience in moral philosophy. A view of mature conscience that sees it as relational, with cognitive, emotional, and conative dimensions, can survive the criticisms of conscience as faculty. In Part II, through discussions of Freud, Ryle, and other modern thinkers, Langston proceeds to reconstruct conscience as a viable philosophical concept. Finally, in Part III, this better grounded concept is connected with the modern revival of virtue ethics, and Langston shows how crucial conscience is to a theory of virtue because it is fundamental to the training of any morally good person.

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