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A Historic View of the Esthetics of Nature
Departing from the traditional study of land use as a history of technology, this book explores the emergence of modern attitudes in literature, art, and architecture--their evolutionary past and their taproot in European and Mediterranean cultures. With humor and wit, Shepard considers the influence of Christianity on ideas of nature, the absence of an ethic of nature in modern philosophy, and the obsessive themes of dominance and control as elements of the modern mind. In his discussions of the exploration of the American West, the establishment of the first national parks, and the reactions of pioneers to their totally new habitat, he identifies the transport of traditional imagery into new places as a sort of cultural baggage.
Depicting Evil in the Modern Theatre
Messiahs and Machiavellians is an innovative exploration of “modern evil” in works of early- and late-modern theatre, raising issues about ethics, politics, religion, and aesthetics that speak to our present condition. Paul Corey examines how theatre—which expressed a key political dynamic both in the Renaissance and the twentieth century—lays open the impulses that instigated modernity and, ultimately, unparalleled levels of violence and destruction. Starting with Albert Camus’ Caligula and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, then turning to Machiavelli’s Mandragola and Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Corey traces the emergence of two dominant, intertwining features of modern evil: an unrestrained pursuit of power and the utopian desire for perfection. Corey’s imaginative and convincing readings of these plays, based on detailed textual analysis, move beyond the accounts usually offered by literary critics. Drawing on political, theological, and philosophical sources—a combination as fertile as it is unusual—Corey’s methodology allows him to make keen and subtle arguments about the eschatological nature of modern politics.
Studies in Ayn Rand's Normative Theory
Philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand (1905–1982) is a cultural phenomenon. Her books have sold more than twenty-five million copies, and countless individuals speak of her writings as having significantly influenced their lives. In spite of the popular interest in her ideas, or perhaps because of it, Rand’s work has, until recently, received little serious attention from academics. Though best known among philosophers for her strong support of egoism in ethics and capitalism in politics, there is an increasingly widespread awareness of both the range and the systematic character of Rand’s philosophic thought. Metaethics, Egoism, and Virtue examines central aspects of Ayn Rand’s ethical theory. Though her endorsement of ethical egoism is well known—one of her most familiar essay collections is The Virtue of Selfishness—the character of her egoism is not. Leading Rand scholars and specialists in ethical theory address issues such as: the basis of Rand’s egoism in a virtue-centered normative ethics; her account of how moral norms in general are themselves based on a fundamental choice by an agent to value his own life; and how her own approach to the foundations of ethics is to be compared and contrasted with familiar approaches in the analytic ethical tradition. Philosophers interested in the objectivity of value, in the way ethical theory is (and is not) virtue-based, and in acquiring a serious understanding of an egoistic moral theory worthy of attention will find much to consider here
Habermas's Political Philosophy
Excavates the experiential structure of Habermas’s communicative action. Complicating the standard interpretation of Habermas as a proceduralist, Mimesis and Reason uncovers the role that mimesis, or imitation, plays as a genuinely political force in communicative action. Through a penetrating examination of Habermas’s use of themes and concepts from Plato, George Herbert Mead, and Walter Benjamin, Gregg Daniel Miller reconstructs Habermas’s theory to reveal a new, postmetaphysical articulation of reason that lays the groundwork for new directions in political theory.
In this new edition of the classic book on the moral conduct of war, Sidney Axinn provides a full-length treatment of the military conventions from a philosophical point of view. Axinn considers these basic ethical questions within the context of the laws of warfare: Should a good soldier ever disobey a direct military order? Are there restrictions on how we fight a war? What is meant by “military honor,” and does it really affect the contemporary soldier? Is human dignity possible under battlefield conditions?
Axinn answers “yes” to these questions. His objective in A Moral Military is to establish a basic framework for moral military action and to assist in analyzing military professional ethics. He argues for the seriousness of the concept of military honor but limits honorable military activity by a strict interpretation of the notion of war crime.
With revisions and expansions throughout, including a new chapter on torture, A Moral Military is an essential guide on the nature of war during a time when the limits of acceptable behavior are being stretched in new directions.
First published in 1991, The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics introduced readers to an approach in Christian ethics that was not then much in vogue. Although the Second Vatican Council had marked a departure from the legalistic code of proper conduct for Catholics (known since the Catholic Reformation as “casuistry”), few Catholic theologians had yet begun to explore an ethics based on moral virtues rather than one based on narrow, prescriptive rules. At the forefront of studies that would begin to recover virtue ethics—the ethical teaching of the church in the patristic, monastic, and scholastic traditions—The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics has been widely used to introduce both students and scholars to the relatively “new” idea of virtue ethics, now a dominant principle in Catholic moral theology. Following a brief new preface, the text of the six chapters in the original edition remains unchanged. However, Romanus Cessario, O.P., has substantially updated the citations in the notes to account for recent literature on the subject and has written a new chapter that accommodates his original study to the current ethos of moral theology. He draws on documents of the Catholic Church since 1991 to enrich the contemporary discussion of moral virtues and the dynamics of living a happy life. This second edition will inspire a new generation of readers, especially students and teachers of moral theology.
Feminist Wittgensteinian Metaethics
Moral philosophy, like much of philosophy generally, has been bedeviled by an obsession with seeking secure epistemological foundations and with dichotomies between mind and body, fact and value, subjectivity and objectivity, nature and normativity. These are still alive today in the realism-versus-antirealism debates in ethics. Peg O'Connor draws inspiration from the later Wittgenstein's philosophy to sidestep these pitfalls and develop a new approach to the grounding of ethics (i.e., metaethics) that looks to the interconnected nature of social practices, most especially those that Wittgenstein called “language games.” These language games provide structure and stability to our moral lives while they permit the flexibility to accommodate change in moral understandings and attitudes. To this end, O'Connor deploys new metaphors from architecture and knitting to describe her approach as “felted stabilism,” which locates morality in a large set of overlapping and crisscrossing language games such as engaging in moral inquiry, seeking justifications for our beliefs and actions, formulating reasons for actions, making judgments, disagreeing with other people or dissenting from dominant norms, manifesting moral understandings, and taking and assigning responsibility.
Vol. 1 (2011) through current issue
Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics (NIB) provides a forum for exploring current issues in bioethics through the publication and analysis of personal stories, qualitative and mixed-methods research articles, and case studies. Articles may address the experiences of patients and research participants, as well as health care workers and researchers. NIB is dedicated to fostering a deeper understanding of bioethical issues by engaging rich descriptions of complex human experiences. While NIB upholds appropriate standards for narrative inquiry and qualitative research, it seeks to publish articles that will appeal to a broad readership of health care providers and researchers, bioethicists, sociologists, policy makers, and others.
The Scientific Ways of Treating Natural Law, Its Place in Moral Philosophy, and Its Relation to the Positive Sciences of Law
One of the central problems in the history of moral and political philosophy since antiquity has been to explain how human society and its civil institutions came into being. In attempting to solve this problem philosophers developed the idea of natural law, which for many centuries was used to describe the system of fundamental, rational principles presumed universally to govern human behavior in society. By the eighteenth century the doctrine of natural law had engendered the related doctrine of natural rights, which gained reinforcement most famously in the American and French revolutions. According to this view, human society arose through the association of individuals who might have chosen to live alone in scattered isolation and who, in coming together, were regarded as entering into a social contract.
In this important early essay, first published in English in this definitive translation in 1975 and now returned to print, Hegel utterly rejects the notion that society is purposely formed by voluntary association. Indeed, he goes further than this, asserting in effect that the laws brought about in various countries in response to force, accident, and deliberation are far more fundamental than any law of nature supposed to be valid always and everywhere. In expounding his view Hegel not only dispenses with the empiricist explanations of Hobbes, Hume, and others but also, at the heart of this work, offers an extended critique of the so-called formalist positions of Kant and Fichte.