Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 10.4, December 2000


Feature Articles

    London, Alex John.
  • Amenable to Reason: Aristotle's Rhetoric and the Moral Psychology of Practical Ethics
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    Subject Headings:
    • Aristotle. Rhetoric.
    • Applied ethics.
    Abstract:
      An Aristotelian conception of practical ethics can be derived from the account of practical reasoning that Aristotle articulates in his Rhetoric and this has important implications for the way we understand the nature and limits of practical ethics. An important feature of this conception of practical ethics is its responsiveness to the complex ways in which agents form and maintain moral commitments, and this has important implications for the debate concerning methods of ethics in applied ethics. In particular, this feature enables us to understand casuistry, narrative, and principlism as mutually supportive modes of moral inquiry, rather than divergent and mutually exclusive methods of ethics. As a result, an Aristotelian conception of practical ethics clears the conceptual common ground upon which practical ethicists can forge a stable and realistic self-understanding.
    Kaebnick, Gregory E.
  • On the Intersection of Casuistry and Particularism
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    Subject Headings:
    • Casuistry.
    • Applied ethics.
    Abstract:
      A comparison of casuistry with the strain of particularism developed by John McDowell and David Wiggins suggests that casuistry is susceptible to two very different mistakes. First, as sometimes developed, casuistry tends toward an implausible rigidity and systematization of moral knowledge. Particularism offers a corrective to this error. Second, however, casuistry tends sometimes to present moral knowledge as insufficiently systematized: It often appears to hold that moral deliberation is merely a kind of perception. Such a perceptual model of deliberation cannot offer a convincing account of the possibility of moral progress. This second problem is one to which particularism is itself prone. To redress it, other aspects of casuistry must be exploited: Casuistry contains an account of presumptive generalizations that explains how moral deliberation might be structured by rules while also depending at critical junctures on perception.
    Polansky, Ronald M., 1948-
  • "Phronesis" on Tour: Cultural Adaptability of Aristotelian Ethical Notions
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    Subject Headings:
    • Aristotle.
    • Wisdom.
    • Ethics -- Greece.
    Abstract:
      How might bioethics take account of cultural diversity? Can practical wisdom of an Aristotelian sort be applied across cultures? After showing that practical wisdom involves both intellectual cleverness and moral virtue, it is argued that both these components have universality. Hence practical wisdom must be universal as well. Hellenic ethical thought neither depended on outdated theoretical notions nor limited itself to the Greek world, but was in fact developed with constant awareness of cultural differences, so it arguably works as well in other times and places as when formulated. Even the eudaemonistic setting for practical wisdom is unproblematic.
    Gauthier, Candace Cummins.
  • Moral Responsibility and Respect for Autonomy: Meeting the Communitarian Challenge
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    Subject Headings:
    • Autonomy (Philosophy)
    • Responsibility.
    Abstract:
      The principle of respect for autonomy has come under increasing attack both within health care ethics, specifically, and as part of the more general communitarian challenge to predominantly liberal values. This paper will demonstrate the importance of respect for autonomy for the social practice of assigning moral responsibility and for the development of moral responsibility as a virtue. Guided by this virtue, the responsible exercise of autonomy may provide a much-needed connection between the individual and the community.
    Quinn, Kevin P.
  • Method in Catholic Bioethics
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bioethics -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church.
    Abstract:
      Method in Catholic bioethics is distinguished by a specific philosophical and theological anthropology. Human beings are not to be considered simply as selves, but as selves in relation to God and each other. This essay reflects on that claim by reviewing four areas of concern from Catholic social teaching: common good, human dignity, option for the poor, and stewardship.



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