moral_philosophy   598

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Manne on Williams' "Moral Luck" | Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences Cornell Arts & Sciences
-- her more popular works

are more of the vanilla intersectional feminism kind but if she finds Williams motivating, then I am motivated to wait for the right paper...
moral_philosophy  feminism 
february 2019 by rvenkat
Public reason confucianism democratic perfectionism and constitutionalism east asia | Political theory | Cambridge University Press
"Recent proposals concerning Confucian meritocratic perfectionism have justified Confucian perfectionism in terms of political meritocracy. In contrast, 'Confucian democratic perfectionism' is a form of comprehensive Confucian perfectionism that can accommodate a plurality of values in civil society. It is also fully compatible with core values of democracy such as popular sovereignty, political equality, and the right to political participation. Sungmoon Kim presents 'public reason Confucianism' as the most attractive option for contemporary East Asian societies that are historically and culturally Confucian. Public reason Confucianism is a particular style of Confucian democratic perfectionism in which comprehensive Confucianism is connected with perfectionism via a distinctive form of public reason. It calls for an active role for the democratic state in promoting a Confucian conception of the good life, at the heart of which are such core Confucian values as filial piety and ritual propriety."
to:NB  political_philosophy  moral_philosophy  confucianism  democracy 
january 2019 by cshalizi
Reconstructing Individualism
"America has a love-hate relationship with individualism. In Reconstructing Individualism, James Albrecht argues that our conceptions of individualism have remained trapped within the assumptions of classic liberalism. He traces an alternative genealogy of individualist ethics in four major American thinkers-Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, John Dewey, and Ralph Ellison. These writers' shared commitments to pluralism (metaphysical and cultural), experimentalism, and a melioristic stance toward value and reform led them to describe the self as inherently relational. Accordingly, they articulate models of selfhood that are socially engaged and ethically responsible, and they argue that a reconceived-or, in Dewey's term, "reconstructed"-individualism is not merely compatible with but necessary to democratic community. Conceiving selfhood and community as interrelated processes, they call for an ongoing reform of social conditions so as to educate and liberate individuality, and, conversely, they affirm the essential role individuality plays in vitalizing communal efforts at reform."
in_NB  books:noted  moral_philosophy  individualism  pragmatism  something_about_america  james.william  dewey.john  ellison.ralph 
august 2018 by cshalizi
Injustice: Political Theory for the Real World - Paperback - Michael Goodhart - Oxford University Press
"This book challenges the conventional approach to problems of injustice in global normative theory. It offers a radical alternative designed to transform our thinking about what kind of problem injustice is and to show how political theorists might do better in understanding and addressing it. Michael Goodhart argues that the dominant paradigm, ideal moral theory (IMT), takes a fundamentally wrong-headed approach to injustice. At the same time, leading alternatives to IMT struggle to make sense of the role values play in politics and abandon political theory's critical and prescriptive aspirations. Goodhart treats justice claims as ideological and develops an innovative bifocal theoretical framework for making sense of them. This framework reconciles realistic political analysis with substantive normative commitments, enabling theorists to come to grips with injustice as a political rather than a philosophical problem. The book describes the work that political theory and political theorists can do to combat injustice and illustrates its key arguments through a novel reconceptualization of responsibility for injustice"
to:NB  books:noted  political_philosophy  moral_philosophy  moral_responsibility  heard_the_talk 
august 2018 by cshalizi
Critique of Forms of Life — Rahel Jaeggi | Harvard University Press
"For many liberals, the question “Do others live rightly?” feels inappropriate. Liberalism seems to demand a follow-up question: “Who am I to judge?” Peaceful coexistence, in this view, is predicated on restraint from morally evaluating our peers. But Rahel Jaeggi sees the situation differently. Criticizing is not only valid but also useful, she argues. Moral judgment is no error; the error lies in how we go about judging.
"One way to judge is external, based on universal standards derived from ideas about God or human nature. The other is internal, relying on standards peculiar to a given society. Both approaches have serious flaws and detractors. In Critique of Forms of Life, Jaeggi offers a third way, which she calls “immanent” critique. Inspired by Hegelian social philosophy and engaged with Anglo-American theorists such as John Dewey, Michael Walzer, and Alasdair MacIntyre, immanent critique begins with the recognition that ways of life are inherently normative because they assert their own goodness and rightness. They also have a consistent purpose: to solve basic social problems and advance social goods, most of which are common across cultures. Jaeggi argues that we can judge the validity of a society’s moral claims by evaluating how well the society adapts to crisis—whether it is able to overcome contradictions that arise from within and continue to fulfill its purpose.
"Jaeggi enlivens her ideas through concrete, contemporary examples. Against both relativistic and absolutist accounts, she shows that rational social critique is possible."

--- I detect a question being begged. Suppose you can show, to anyone's satisfaction, that a given form of life fails at "solv[ing] basic social problems and advanc[ing] social goods" in some crisis. Will not its adherents just retort "who cares about that, we're talking about right and wrong here, about basic decency rather than mere expedience?" And it's hard to see how one could prove they were _wrong_, rather than just _doomed_.
to:NB  books:noted  moral_philosophy  political_philosophy  fiat_justia_ruat_coelum  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
july 2018 by cshalizi
The Moral Meaning of Nature: Nietzsche’s Darwinian Religion and Its Critics, Woodford
"What, if anything, does biological evolution tell us about the nature of religion, ethical values, or even the meaning and purpose of life? The Moral Meaning of Nature sheds new light on these enduring questions by examining the significance of an earlier—and unjustly neglected—discussion of Darwin in late nineteenth-century Germany.
"We start with Friedrich Nietzsche, whose writings staged one of the first confrontations with the Christian tradition using the resources of Darwinian thought. The lebensphilosophie, or “life-philosophy,” that arose from his engagement with evolutionary ideas drew responses from other influential thinkers, including Franz Overbeck, Georg Simmel, and Heinrich Rickert. These critics all offered cogent challenges to Nietzsche’s appropriation of the newly transforming biological sciences, his negotiation between science and religion, and his interpretation of the implications of Darwinian thought. They also each proposed alternative ways of making sense of Nietzsche’s unique question concerning the meaning of biological evolution “for life.” At the heart of the discussion were debates about the relation of facts and values, the place of divine purpose in the understanding of nonhuman and human agency, the concept of life, and the question of whether the sciences could offer resources to satisfy the human urge to discover sources of value in biological processes. The Moral Meaning of Nature focuses on the historical background of these questions, exposing the complex ways in which they recur in contemporary philosophical debate."
to:NB  books:noted  moral_philosophy  evolution  nietzsche.friedrich  history_of_ideas 
april 2018 by cshalizi
Cities in the Urban Age: A Dissent, Beauregard
"We live in a self-proclaimed Urban Age, where we celebrate the city as the source of economic prosperity, a nurturer of social and cultural diversity, and a place primed for democracy. We proclaim the city as the fertile ground from which progress will arise. Without cities, we tell ourselves, human civilization would falter and decay. In Cities in the Urban Age, Robert A. Beauregard argues that this line of thinking is not only hyperbolic—it is too celebratory by half.
"For Beauregard, the city is a cauldron for four haunting contradictions. First, cities are equally defined by both their wealth and their poverty. Second, cities are simultaneously environmentally destructive and yet promise sustainability. Third, cities encourage rule by political machines and oligarchies, even as they are essentially democratic and at least nominally open to all. And fourth, city life promotes tolerance among disparate groups, even as the friction among them often erupts into violence. Beauregard offers no simple solutions or proposed remedies for these contradictions; indeed, he doesn’t necessarily hold that they need to be resolved, since they are generative of city life. Without these four tensions, cities wouldn’t be cities. Rather, Beauregard argues that only by recognizing these ambiguities and contradictions can we even begin to understand our moral obligations, as well as the clearest paths toward equality, justice, and peace in urban settings."
to:NB  books:noted  cities  political_economy  moral_philosophy  inequality 
april 2018 by cshalizi
Action versus Contemplation: Why an Ancient Debate Still Matters, Summit, Vermeule
"“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” Blaise Pascal wrote in 1654. But then there’s Walt Whitman, in 1856: “Whoever you are, come forth! Or man or woman come forth! / You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house.”
"It is truly an ancient debate: Is it better to be active or contemplative? To do or to think? To make an impact, or to understand the world more deeply? Aristotle argued for contemplation as the highest state of human flourishing. But it was through action that his student Alexander the Great conquered the known world. Which should we aim at? Centuries later, this argument underlies a surprising number of the questions we face in contemporary life. Should students study the humanities, or train for a job? Should adults work for money or for meaning? And in tumultuous times, should any of us sit on the sidelines, pondering great books, or throw ourselves into protests and petition drives? 
"With Action versus Contemplation, Jennifer Summit and Blakey Vermeule address the question in a refreshingly unexpected way: by refusing to take sides. Rather, they argue for a rethinking of the very opposition. The active and the contemplative can—and should—be vibrantly alive in each of us, fused rather than sundered. Writing in a personable, accessible style, Summit and Vermeule guide readers through the long history of this debate from Plato to Pixar, drawing compelling connections to the questions and problems of today. Rather than playing one against the other, they argue, we can discover how the two can nourish, invigorate, and give meaning to each other, as they have for the many writers, artists, and thinkers, past and present, whose examples give the book its rich, lively texture of interplay and reference.
"This is not a self-help book. It won’t give you instructions on how to live your life. Instead, it will do something better: it will remind you of the richness of a life that embraces action and contemplation, company and solitude, living in the moment and planning for the future. Which is better? Readers of this book will discover the answer: both."
to:NB  books:noted  moral_psychology  moral_philosophy 
april 2018 by cshalizi
If we disagree about morality, how can we teach it? – Michael Hand | Aeon Ideas
Photo by Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post/Getty People disagree about morality. They disagree about what morality prohibits, permits and requires. And they…
moral_philosophy  civic_virtue  from instapaper
march 2018 by dunnettreader
FAT* - 2018 Program
--includes Arvind Narayanan's talk on Algorithmic Fairness, and others
algorithms  ethics  artificial_intelligence  machine_learning  statistics  moral_philosophy 
february 2018 by rvenkat
Searching for justice: The discovery of IQ gains over time.
Humane-egalitarian ideals, whose aims are group justice and reducing environmental inequality and privilege, must be tested against reality, as revealed by psychology and other social sciences. Four issues are addressed: the equation between IQ and intelligence, whether group potential is determined by a group's mean IQ, whether the Black–White IQ gap is genetic, and the meritocratic thesis that genes for IQ will become highly correlated with class. Massive IQ gains over time test the IQ–intelligence equation, reveal groups who achieve far beyond their mean IQs, and falsify prominent arguments for a genetic racial IQ gap. Class IQ trends suggest America is not evolving toward a meritocracy, but a core refutation of that thesis is needed and supplied. Finally, the viability of humane ideals is assessed against a worst-case scenario.
psychology  measurement  iq  social_science  moral_philosophy  economics  flynn_effect 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Tirole, J. and Rendall, S.: Economics for the Common Good (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
When Jean Tirole won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics, he suddenly found himself being stopped in the street by complete strangers and asked to comment on issues of the day, no matter how distant from his own areas of research. His transformation from academic economist to public intellectual prompted him to reflect further on the role economists and their discipline play in society. The result is Economics for the Common Good, a passionate manifesto for a world in which economics, far from being a "dismal science," is a positive force for the common good.

Economists are rewarded for writing technical papers in scholarly journals, not joining in public debates. But Tirole says we urgently need economists to engage with the many challenges facing society, helping to identify our key objectives and the tools needed to meet them.

To show how economics can help us realize the common good, Tirole shares his insights on a broad array of questions affecting our everyday lives and the future of our society, including global warming, unemployment, the post-2008 global financial order, the euro crisis, the digital revolution, innovation, and the proper balance between the free market and regulation.

Providing a rich account of how economics can benefit everyone, Economics for the Common Good sets a new agenda for the role of economics in society.
economics  foundations  moral_philosophy  book 
november 2017 by rvenkat
The Morality of Administrative Law by Cass R. Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule :: SSRN
As it has been developed over a period of many decades, administrative law has acquired its own morality, closely related to what Lon Fuller described as the internal morality of law. Reflected in a wide array of seemingly disparate doctrines, but not yet recognized as such, the morality of administrative law includes a set of identifiable principles, often said to reflect the central ingredients of the rule of law. An understanding of the morality of administrative law puts contemporary criticisms of the administrative state in their most plausible light. At the same time, the resulting doctrines do not deserve an unambiguous celebration, because many of them have an ambiguous legal source; because from the welfarist point of view, it is not clear if they are always good ideas; and because it is not clear that judges should enforce them
democracy  moral_philosophy  governance  regulation  administrative_state  law  political_science  cass.sunstein 
october 2017 by rvenkat
The Idea of Justice — Amartya Sen | Harvard University Press
Social justice: an ideal, forever beyond our grasp; or one of many practical possibilities? More than a matter of intellectual discourse, the idea of justice plays a real role in how—and how well—people live. And in this book the distinguished scholar Amartya Sen offers a powerful critique of the theory of social justice that, in its grip on social and political thinking, has long left practical realities far behind.

The transcendental theory of justice, the subject of Sen’s analysis, flourished in the Enlightenment and has proponents among some of the most distinguished philosophers of our day; it is concerned with identifying perfectly just social arrangements, defining the nature of the perfectly just society. The approach Sen favors, on the other hand, focuses on the comparative judgments of what is “more” or “less” just, and on the comparative merits of the different societies that actually emerge from certain institutions and social interactions.

At the heart of Sen’s argument is a respect for reasoned differences in our understanding of what a “just society” really is. People of different persuasions—for example, utilitarians, economic egalitarians, labor right theorists, no-nonsense libertarians—might each reasonably see a clear and straightforward resolution to questions of justice; and yet, these clear and straightforward resolutions would be completely different. In light of this, Sen argues for a comparative perspective on justice that can guide us in the choice between alternatives that we inevitably face.
book  development_economics  moral_philosophy  welfare  economics  human_progress  ?  jurisprudence 
july 2017 by rvenkat
Tough Enough: Arbus, Arendt, Didion, McCarthy, Sontag, Weil, Nelson
"This book focuses on six brilliant women who are often seen as particularly tough-minded: Simone Weil, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Diane Arbus, and Joan Didion. Aligned with no single tradition, they escape straightforward categories. Yet their work evinces an affinity of style and philosophical viewpoint that derives from a shared attitude toward suffering. What Mary McCarthy called a “cold eye” was not merely a personal aversion to displays of emotion: it was an unsentimental mode of attention that dictated both ethical positions and aesthetic approaches.
"Tough Enough traces the careers of these women and their challenges to the pre-eminence of empathy as the ethical posture from which to examine pain. Their writing and art reveal an adamant belief that the hurts of the world must be treated concretely, directly, and realistically, without recourse to either melodrama or callousness. As Deborah Nelson shows, this stance offers an important counter-tradition to the familiar postwar poles of emotional expressivity on the one hand and cool irony on the other. Ultimately, in its insistence on facing reality without consolation or compensation, this austere “school of the unsentimental” offers new ways to approach suffering in both its spectacular forms and all of its ordinariness."
to:NB  books:noted  moral_psychology  moral_philosophy  literary_criticism  lives_of_the_artists  in_library 
july 2017 by cshalizi
The Quest for a Moral Compass by Kenan Malik |
In this remarkable and groundbreaking book, Kenan Malik explores the history of moral thought as it has developed over three millennia, from Homer’s Greece to Mao’s China, from ancient India to modern America. It tells the stories of the great philosophers, and breathes life into their ideas, while also challenging many of our most cherished moral beliefs.

Engaging and provocative, The Quest for a Moral Compass confronts some of humanity’s deepest questions. Where do values come from? Is God necessary for moral guidance? Are there absolute moral truths? It also brings morality down to earth, showing how, throughout history, social needs and political desires have shaped moral thinking. It is a history of the world told through the history of moral thought, and a history of moral thought that casts new light on global history.

From the eBook edition.
ethics  moral_philosophy  human_progress  the_civilizing_process  book 
june 2017 by rvenkat

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