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Dale Dorsey
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Hi all, After an agonizing, frustrating, delay (curse you, Typepad!), I hope you'll all join me in welcoming Richard Arneson to PEA Soup! Dick is Distinguished Professor, and Valtz Family Chair of Philosophy at UC San Diego. Without further ado,... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2014 at PEA Soup
Hi all, Just a reminder that this Monday will feature a guest post by Richard Arneson in our Featured Philosophers section. Hope you'll all join us! Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2014 at PEA Soup
Hi all, It brings me great pleasure to introduce Cheshire Calhoun. Cheshire is Professor of Philosophy at Arizona State University, and Research Professor at the University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom. Her work is extremely original, as... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2014 at PEA Soup
Hi all, Just a quick note to remind you that Cheshire Calhoun will be joining us for a Featured Philosophers session on Sunday. Be sure to join us! Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2014 at PEA Soup
FYI, Soupers: Ann asks me to report that she's on the road today and may be a touch delayed in responding.
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2014 on Featured Philosopher: Ann Cudd at PEA Soup
Hi all - I'm especially pleased this month to introduce our Featured Philosopher, Ann Cudd. Ann is University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kansas (rock chalk!), and has done truly pioneering work in moral and political philosophy.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2014 at PEA Soup
Basically I want to second everything Doug just said, which seems to me to hit the nail. But I wanted to call your attention to Morton White's classic discussion of these sorts of inferences which might be relevant in "What Is and What Ought To Be". (White defends them, essentially by extending a sort of Quinean holism to include moral and other sorts of evaluative propositions in with the empirical ones. So basically he would deny, I think, Doug's claim that "the justification for B has to proceed through some knowledge of the empirical world, whether that comes directly from observing that C is the case or indirectly via the testimony of someone who has empirical knowledge such as the Reliable Scholar.") Another paper that might be relevant is Matt Brown's “Values in Science beyond Undetermination and Inductive Risk,” Philosophy of Science, 2013.
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2014 on From Ought to Is at PEA Soup
Once again, it's my great pleasure to welcome you to another edition of the Featured Philosophers. I hope you all will welcome Justin D'Arms and Daniel Jacobson! -dd Thanks very much to the editors of PEA Soup for this opportunity,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2014 at PEA Soup
Hi all, This is just a friendly reminder that this Friday we'll have another post in our Featured Philosophers series, this time from Justin D'Arms and Daniel Jacobson. Mark your calendars! -dd Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2014 at PEA Soup
No prob. The newspaper you linked to, the Lawrence Journal-World, uses "Kansas University" in its stylesheet, which is annoying and causes confusion.
I'm a current member of KU's philosophy department. I must say that this is a pretty scary policy. I would say more here, but honestly I'm unsure, given the text of the stated policy, that it would be wise for me to do so. Also, it's "The University of Kansas", not "Kansas University".
Hi all - Nomy asks me to post this response. --- Hi Again, Thanks a lot for your questions, everyone! Sven: I think that if the right action is to promote goods then there are as many right-making features as there are goods. I reject the theory that the right thing to do is to promote goods under that description, for if that were true then any action done to promote something that the agent believes to be good would be praiseworthy, which is false. The right thing to do is to promote X, the good thing (utility, say). A consequentialist like Railton could say that there are various such good things - knowledge, art, wellbeing, etc. Suppose I that in a given occasion the right thing to do is to promote art. I do the right thing and I do it because I am concerned to promote art. If I do, my action has moral worth. Thus, I think, the fact that it promotes art is a right making feature of my action. The same sort of thing is true for a case in which the right thing to do is to protect well being or knowledge. Even if the goods are rank-ordered and promoting art is only a pro tanto moral reason, I think it’s still true that if, in a given occasion, the right thing to do is to promote art and you have done it for the reason to it promotes art your action has moral worth, and the fact that it promotes art is a right-making feature of your action David: I don’t think what the agent sees as reasons is important for any kind of moral praise: only the reasons for which she actually acts, which might not seem like reasons to her, count. That aside: I am not sure that something as complicated as second personal reasons is requires to explain why paternalism is wrong and why the paternalistic person is missing something. Here is just one possibility: the virtuous person has a third-person concern with things like autonomous choice, or consent. The fact that a person did not consent to something is under some circumstances a (third person) reason not to do it, a wrong-making feature. Secretly putting a drug in someone’s coffee for his own good is wrong not because the victim does not want to be treated paternalistically – maybe he secretly wants someone to make his decisions for him – but for reasons having to do with the fact that his consent was not given. If Kantians have it right that deceiving a person for her own good is similar to forcing her to do something for her own good – in my example, it is interfering with the roommate’s decision whether to resume a romantic relationship and essentially forcing her to not do so – then something like lack of consent can explain the wrongness of lying to the roommate. Of course, I am not trying to come up with a comprehensive view of what’s wrong with being paternalistic here, one needs a moral theory for that. I am just giving an idea of how coming up with 3rd persons stories is not hopeless here. Also, I don’t agree that John would feel something inappropriate if he feels gratitude towards Jennifer. I feel gratitude when people do something nice for me with no ulterior motive. Knowing that the person who helped me with my dissertation would have, under different circumstances, lied to me paternalistically, it would make me wary of that person, but I would still be grateful. My speech to them would begin with “I am grateful for your help with my dissertation, but….” Some people feel that way about their over-interfering parents when they help. Pete: I must ask you a question. What do you mean by saying that the moral worth of Jennifer’s helping John is “tainted”? Do you mean that her action has no moral worth, or that it has moral worth (unlike the Grocer’s fair pricing) but to a lesser degree than other agents? If you think Jennifer’s action has no moral worth, we have a rather basic disagreement, and I continue to side with the undergrads. If you think it does have moral worth, to some degree, and would like the Kantian to account for it, here is what I would say. There is a Kantian duty to help others, and Jennifer acts in accordance with that duty. She does not, however, ex hypothesi, act from (Kantian) duty. She is not moved by thoughts, conscious or otherwise, of what would happen if she were in trouble and no one helped her, nor is she acting in any other way from the universal law formula. She is not acting on the formula of humanity, either – because she is acting for a motive that previously led her to be paternalistic. For Kant, paternalism is incompatible with following the formula of humanity: the formula tells us to treat people as ends. Paternalism, as in benevolent lies, is a way of treating people as mere means (it sounds strange, but that’s what Kant says). Jennifer, we assume, acted from the same motive on both cases, so she couldn’t have been motivated by the formula of humanity. If Jennifer is not acting on a Kantian motive, it’s hard to see how, if Kantianism is true, her action could have any moral worth at all. It occurs to me that apart from the “contradiction in the will” stuff, Kant seems to think of our duty to promote people’s wellbeing as coming from a duty to make their ends our own. He assumes that people always aim at wellbeing. They don’t always aim at wellbeing, so accepting your ends as mine is not necessarily the same thing as accepting my well being as your end. If I care about wellbeing, I might beg someone who values, say, working hard above all to make her own wellbeing an end: I want it for her even thought it is not her end… Anyway, most people can agree that concern for well being ought to be constrained by concern for justice, but to be a Kantian you need to think that concern for well being and concern for justice come from the same source- the categorical imperative. That’s where I disagree, and have attempted to argue for my position through the moral worth of the action of a person who is not concerned with universalizability or with treating people as ends.
Toggle Commented Dec 10, 2013 on Featured Philosopher: Nomy Arpaly at PEA Soup
Hi all - As promised, Nomy Arpaly joins us with a post below the fold. Welcome Nomy! -dd Hi everyone! I am honored and flattered to be a featured philosopher on PeaSoup. Please feel free to ask questions about any... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2013 at PEA Soup
Hi all, Just a quick reminder that we'll be having Nomy Arpaly over for a Featured Philosophers discussion, starting tomorrow! Hope you'll stop by. Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2013 at PEA Soup
Hi all, Julia returns this week with another post on a very important topic. I hope you'll all join me in welcoming Julia back for a second round! -dd I’d like to thank everyone who responded to my first post... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2013 at PEA Soup
Hi Julia, I've been ruminating on this question for a few days and I'm still not sure it makes any sense. I'm interested in normative ambivalence cases. To focus the discussion, consider something that I myself have been trying to figure out. (Admittedly not the most pressing moral issue, but it struck me for one reason or another.) At KU, we're asked to fill out special information cards on the progress of student athletes in our courses, usually a couple of times per semester. These reports go to special academic advisors that, presumably, direct special help to the student athletes. I find this deeply troubling, at least for the following reason: to have a special office of academic success for student athletes is deeply unfair, especially to those students who are engaged in no-less-demanding extracurricular activities (drama students, student musicians, students participating in special scientific inquiries, etc.). So were I to participate, I would find myself complicit in this practice, which I think is really skeezy and probably bad all-things-considered. But here's a further thought: my lack of participation is going to change precisely nothing, is not going to make KU any more fair. Furthermore, participating seems pareto-optimal; after all, I'm benefiting the student-athletes at a cost to no one. So this seems to be a normative ambivalence case. And I'm tempted, given this reasoning and my general consequentialist sympathies, to think that I morally ought to participate, for the reasoning on display above. You seem OK with this, insofar as the rightness of the action of participating depends on the consequences. But then I worry. If it's really right that participating tells something bad about my character, I would experience---in fact, do experience---substantial normative pressure not to contribute. I would reconsider the rightness of contributing. I suppose one could react in a number of ways to my intuition. One might react by refusing to so strongly divorce the morality of an act from the quality of the character trait it displays. Alternatively, one could react by downgrading the normativity of one or the other (act or trait). (The act is right, maybe, but you shouldn't really perform it because it would display a bad character; or your character is bad, but this doesn't really tell you anything about how you ought to live, etc., etc.) Or one might just live with the dilemma: to act rightly, you must display a bad character. That's life (something like that). Not sure how you might react to these cases. (I'm really just thinking with my fingers here.)
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2013 on Featured Philosopher: Julia Driver at PEA Soup
Hi all, I'm very pleased to introduce Julia Driver, this month's Featured Philosopher. Julia's work should be no stranger to anyone reading PEASoup. She's written pathbreaking work on consequentialism, including its relationship to the virtues, and on a number of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2013 at PEA Soup
Hi all, Just wanted to let you know that we'll be welcoming Julia Driver for a stint in our Featured Philosophers series starting Monday. One point of note: Julia will be doing not one but two posts, the second to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2013 at PEA Soup
I had a thought sort of similar to Brad's. Pragmatists, for instance, sometimes seem to suggest that various theories, including moral theories, ought to be judged against a general set of goals defined in a very broad way. Say moral theories are responses to the problem of social cooperation, or something of that nature. Then you could find out via empirical investigation whether belief in a certain moral theory or acceptance of a certain moral theory engenders social cooperation, or whatever. The problem with this sort of thought, though, is that it seems like the moral work is being done by a conception of social cooperation and its moral importance which seems independent of the empirical data. Furthermore, at best the empirical data can measure belief in a view---and it is a further controversial moral claim that a moral view ought to be assessed given the effects of people's belief in the view.
Hi all - I'm very pleased to welcome Connie Rosati to the Soup in our series of featured philosophers. Connie is Associate Professor at the University of Arizona, and has done a lot of very interesting and original work, much... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2013 at PEA Soup
Hi all - Very happy to have Sharon Street joining us at PEA Soup for a stint in the Featured Philosophers chair! Sharon is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Philosophy at NYU. She provides a very... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2013 at PEA Soup
Hi all - I'm very pleased to welcome Elizabeth Anderson to PEA Soup for a round of featured philosophizing. Liz is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Rawls Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies, and is an extremely exciting... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2013 at PEA Soup
Hi all! It's a great pleasure to welcome Sally Haslanger to the Soup for a stint as Featured Philosopher. As Sally does a great job summarizing some of her recent work below, I'm going to lay off here. Suffice it... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2013 at PEA Soup
Hi all, I'm pleased to introduce the next Featured Philosopher: David Enoch! We're all very excited that David agreed to participate. I'm going to let him talk for himself after the jump, so without further ado, please welcome David! -dd... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2013 at PEA Soup
Hi Soupers, I'm thrilled to introduce our next featured philosopher, Mark Schroeder! You all know Mark for his groundbreaking books Being For and Slaves of the Passions, as well as a a number of significant articles in metaethics and thereabouts.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2013 at PEA Soup