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Chinese and Western Perspectives on Morality
This book closely examines texts from Chinese and Western traditions that hold up ethics as the inviolable ground of human existence, as well as those that regard ethics with suspicion. The negative notion of morality contends that because ethics cannot be divorced from questions of belonging and identity, there is a danger that it can be nudged into the domain of the unethical, since ethical virtues can become properties to be possessed with which the recognition of others is solicited. Ethics thus fosters the very egoism it hopes to transcend, and risks excluding the unfamiliar and the stranger. The author argues inspirationally that the unethical underbelly of ethics must be recognized in order to ensure that it remains vibrant.
"Those who think they know George Dickieâ€™s views should be sure to read this book. They are in for some interesting surprises. Of course, those unfamiliar with Dickieâ€™s views will also learn a lot." â€”Anita Silvers, San Francisco State University In this book George Dickie presents a theory about how to judge a work of artâ€”as opposed to a theory that explains why a particular work is defined as art. Focusing mainly on the writings of Monroe Beardsley and critically examining the views of seven other philosophers and art criticsâ€”Paul Ziff, Frank Sibley, Nelson Goodman, Nicholas Wolterstorff, David Hume, Bruce Vermazen, and J. O. Urmsonâ€”Dickie synthesizes their insights to discover what can be derived from their theories. On this basis, he attempts to work out a theory of art evaluationâ€”the first such book on this topic by a contemporary philosopher. Initially, the author outlines all possible theories of art evaluation, assuming that traditional evaluative notions are used. He identifies seven theory-types that fall under four general headings: imitation value theory, objective intrinsic value theories, subjective intrinsic value theory, and instrumental value theories. Dickie then discusses the historical development of the theory of art evaluation, examining the ways in which eighteenth- and nineteenth-century philosophers treated representation and other cognitive dimensions of art as artistic values. His thorough analysis of the work of other contemporary theorists argues for a theory of art evaluation derived from various strands of thought.
In a challenge to current thinking about cognitive impairment, this book explores what it means to treat people with intellectual disabilities in an ethical manner. Reassessing philosophical views of intellectual disability, Licia Carlson shows how we can affirm the dignity and worth of intellectually disabled people first by ending comparisons to nonhuman animals and then by confronting our fears and discomforts. Carlson presents the complex history of ideas about cognitive disability, the treatment of intellectually disabled people, and social and cultural reactions to them. Sensitive and clearly argued, this book offers new insights on recent trends in disability studies and philosophy.
Levinas and Environmental Thought
Despite its attention to questions of ethics and “the ethical,” contemporary continental philosophy has often been disengaged from inquiring into our ethical obligation to nature and the environment. In response to this vacuum in the literature, Facing Nature simultaneously makes Levinasian resources more accessible to practitioners in the diverse fields of environmental thought while demonstrating the usefulness of continental philosophy for addressing major issues in environmental thought. Drawing on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, these scholars approach environmental philosophy from both humanistic and nonanthropocentric points of view. On the one hand, the book contributes to the discussion of environmental justice as well as the growth of ecophilosophical literature. At the same time, some of the essays take an interpretive approach to Levinas’s thought, finding that his work is able to speak to environmental thinkers whose positions actually diverge quite sharply from his own. While recognizing the limitations of Levinas’s writings from an environmental perspective, Facing Nature argues that themes at the heart of his work—the significance of the ethical, responsibility, alterity, the vulnerability of the body, bearing witness, and politics—are important for thinking about many of our most pressing contemporary environmental questions. Essays specifically highlight the otherness of nature, the vulnerability and suffering of nonhuman animals, the idea of an interspecies politics, the role of nature in ethical life, individual responsibility for climate change, and the Jewish understanding of creation as points of contact between Levinas’s philosophical project and environmental thought. Levinas is also brought into conversation with dialogue partners who enhance this connection, such as Theodor Adorno, Hanna Arendt, Tim Yilngayarri, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Henry David Thoreau. While widely relevant to all those who attempt to think through our ethical relation to the natural world, Facing Nature will be of special interest to scholars and students interested in both continental philosophy and the manifold areas of environmental studies.
This book of original essays provides a dialogue between four of the most distinguished scholars now working on problems of faith, reason, and skepticism. In their essays, William P. Alston, Robert Audi, Terence Penelhum, and Richard H. Popkin address both the corrosive and the constructive influences of skepticism on Christian and Jewish concepts of faith. The authors treat questions of perennial interest in philosophy of religion: the bases of human knowledge of God, the place of reason in religious belief, the difference between religious beliefs and those based on common sense, and the reconcilability of skepticism with religious belief. In terms of current epistemology, Alston explores the implications of reliabilism for Christian knowledge of God. Audi develops a concept of non-doxastic faith, which contrasts with flat-out beliefs, arguing that such faith can support a full range of Christian attitudes and ethics. Penelhum contends that religious beliefs cannot be defended in the same way as beliefs of common sense, and thus natural theology is essential. Popkin demonstrates, in a richly historical study, that Jewish skepticism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was used and can be used to neutralize questionable metaphysical theology while leaving a mysticism and spirituality without creed or institution. The essays are preceded by an Editorâ€™s Introduction and the volume concludes with a unifying dialogue between the four authors.
Essays in Friendship and in Truth
In his explorations of the relations between the sacred and violence, René Girard has hit upon the origin of culture — the way culture began, the way it continues to organize itself. The way communities of human beings structure themselves in a manner that is different from that of other species on the planet.
Like Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Émile Durkheim, Martin Buber, or others who have changed the way we think in the humanities or in the human sciences, Girard has put forth a set of ideas that have altered our perceptions of the world in which we function. We will never be able to think the same way again about mimetic desire, about the scapegoat mechanism, and about the role of Jewish and Christian scripture in explaining sacrifice, violence, and the crises from which our culture has been born.
The contributions fall into roughly four areas of interpretive work: religion and religious study; literary study; the philosophy of social science; and psychological studies.
The essays presented here are offered as "essays" in the older French sense of attempts (essayer) or trials of ideas, as indeed Girard has tried out ideas with us. With a conscious echo of Montaigne, then, this hommage volume is titled Essays in Friendship and in Truth.
Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality in Hispanic American and Latino/a Thought
Forging People explores the way in which Hispanic American thinkers in Latin America and Latino/a philosophers in the United States have posed and thought about questions of race, ethnicity, and nationality, and how they have interpreted the most significant racial and ethnic labels used in Hispanic America in connection with issues of rights, nationalism, power, and identity. Following the first introductory chapter, each of the essays addresses one or more influential thinkers, ranging from Bartolomé de Las Casas on race and the rights of Amerindians; to Simon Bolívar's struggle with questions of how to forge a nation from disparate populations; to modern and contemporary thinkers on issues of race, unity, assimilation, and diversity. Each essay carefully and clearly presents the views of key authors in their historical and philosophical context and provides brief biographical sketches and reading lists, as aids to students and other readers.
Are workers in the United States free? Gertrude Ezorsky traces the severe limits placed on their freedom by illegal coercion against organizing unions and by low wage offers-barely enough to feed their families-that workers are pressured to accept. Older, sick workers are forced to stay in exhausting jobs to be eligible for pensions.
Ezorsky shows that the notions of freedom held by most contemporary social scientists and philosophers are far too limited to account for the reality of the workplace, where a lack of freedom abounds. Students preparing to enter the workplace will be informed of that reality by reading this valuable book. In addition to her philosophical investigations Ezorsky provides valuable information on the specifics of labor relations, including employment at will; the NLRA and NLRB; OSHA; outsourcing; and the distinctions among closed, union, and agency shops. Readers interested in moral philosophy, applied ethics, and labor relations will find Ezorsky's arguments clear, forceful, and compelling.