Reasons and Persons

Author: Derek Parfit

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191622443

Category: Philosophy

Page: 560

View: 7329

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This book challenges, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity. The author claims that we have a false view of our own nature; that it is often rational to act against our own best interests; that most of us have moral views that are directly self-defeating; and that, when we consider future generations the conclusions will often be disturbing. He concludes that moral non-religious moral philosophy is a young subject, with a promising but unpredictable future.
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Semantics for Reasons

Author: Bryan R. Weaver,Kevin Scharp

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192568841

Category: Philosophy

Page: 176

View: 725

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Semantics for Reasons is a book about what we mean when we talk about reasons. It not only brings together the theory of reasons and natural language semantics in original ways but also sketches out a litany of implications for metaethics and the philosophy of normativity. In their account of how the language of reasons works, Bryan R. Weaver and Kevin Scharp propose and defend a view called Question Under Discussion (QUD) Reasons Contextualism. They use this view to argue for a series of novel positions on the ontology of reasons, indexical facts, the reasons-to-be- rational debate, moral reasons, and the reasons-first approach.
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On What Matters

Author: Derek Parfit

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198778600

Category: Philosophy

Page: 404

View: 6415

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Derek Parfit presents the third volume of On What Matters, his landmark work of moral philosophy. Parfit develops further his influential treatment of reasons, normativity, the meaning of moral discourse, and the status of morality. He engages with his critics, and shows the way to resolution of their differences. This volume is partly about what it is for things to matter, in the sense that we all have reasons to care about these things. Much of the book discusses three of the main kinds of meta-ethical theory: Normative Naturalism, Quasi-Realist Expressivism, and Non-Metaphysical Non-Naturalism, which Derek Parfit now calls Non-Realist Cognitivism. This third theory claims that, if we use the word 'reality' in an ontologically weighty sense, irreducibly normative truths have no mysterious or incredible ontological implications. If instead we use 'reality' in a wide sense, according to which all truths are truths about reality, this theory claims that some non-empirically discoverable truths-such as logical, mathematical, modal, and some normative truths-raise no difficult ontological questions. Parfit discusses these theories partly by commenting on the views of some of the contributors to Peter Singer's collection Does Anything Really Matter? Parfit on Objectivity. Though Peter Railton is a Naturalist, he has widened his view by accepting some further claims, and he has suggested that this wider version of Naturalism could be combined with Non-Realist Cognitivism. Parfit argues that Railton is right, since these theories no longer deeply disagree. Though Allan Gibbard is a Quasi-Realist Expressivist, he has suggested that the best version of his view could be combined with Non-Realist Cognitivism. Parfit argues that Gibbard is right, since Gibbard and he now accept the other's main meta-ethical claim. It is rare for three such different philosophical theories to be able to be widened in ways that resolve their deepest disagreements. This happy convergence supports the view that these meta-ethical theories are true. Parfit also discusses the views of several other philosophers, and some other meta-ethical and normative questions.
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Reasons Without Persons

Rationality, Identity, and Time

Author: Brian Hedden

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198732597

Category: Identity (Philosophical concept)

Page: 210

View: 9346

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Brian Hedden defends a radical view about the relationship between rationality, personal identity, and time. On the standard view, personal identity over time plays a central role in thinking about rationality, because there are rational norms for how a person's attitudes and actions at one time should fit with her attitudes and actions at other times. But these norms are problematic. They make what you rationally ought to believe or do depend on facts about yourpast that aren't part of your current perspective on the world, and they make rationality depend on controversial, murky metaphysical facts about what binds different instantaneous snapshots (or'time-slices') into a single person extended in time. Hedden takes a different approach, treating the relationship between different time-slices of the same person as no different from the relationship between different people. On his account, the locus of rationality is the time-slice rather than the temporally extended agent. This impersonal, time-slice-centric approach to rationality yields a unified approach to the rationality of beliefs, preferences, and actions where what rationalitydemands of you is solely determined by your evidence, with no special weight given to your past beliefs or actions.
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Explaining the Reasons We Share

Explanation and Expression in Ethics

Author: Mark Schroeder

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191022926

Category: Philosophy

Page: 256

View: 8091

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Normative ethical theories generally purport to be explanatory—to tell us not just what is good, or what conduct is right, but why. Drawing on both historical and contemporary approaches, Mark Schroeder offers a distinctive picture of how such explanations must work, and of the specific commitments that they incur. According to Schroeder, explanatory moral theories can be perfectly general only if they are reductive, offering accounts of what it is for something to be good, right, or what someone ought to do. So ambitious, highly general normative ethical theorizing is continuous with metaethical inquiry. Moreover, he argues that such explanatory theories face a special challenge in accounting for reasons or obligations that are universally shared, and develops an autonomy-based strategy for meeting this challenge, in the case of requirements of rationality. Explaining the Reasons We Share pulls together over a decade of work by one of the leading figures in contemporary metaethics. One new and ten previously published papers weave together treatments of reasons, reduction, supervenience, instrumental rationality, and legislation, to paint a sharp contrast between two plausible but competing pictures of the nature and limits of moral explanation—one from Cudworth and one indebted to Kant. A substantive new introduction provides a map to reading these essays as a unified argument, and qualifies their conclusions in light of Schroeder's current views. Along with its sister volume, Expressing Our Attitudes, this volume advances the theme that metaethical inquiry is continuous with other areas of philosophy.
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Reason, Value, and Respect

Kantian Themes from the Philosophy of Thomas E. Hill, Jr

Author: Robert Neal Johnson

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199699577

Category: Philosophy

Page: 311

View: 5216

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In 13 specially written essays, leading philosophers explore Kantian themes in moral and political philosophy that are prominent in the work of Thomas E. Hill, Jr., such as respect and self-respect, practical reason, conscience, and duty. In conclusion Hill offers an overview of his work and responses to the preceding essays.
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Economics and the Mind

Author: Barbara Montero,Mark D. White,Professor Department of Political Science Economics and Philosophy Mark D White

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135986460

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 240

View: 1971

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Economics is often defined as the science of choice or human action. But choice and action are essentially mental phenomena, an aspect rarely mentioned in the economics discourse. Choice, while not always a conscious or rational process, is held to involve beliefs, desires, intentions and arguably even free will. Actions are often opposed to mere bodily movements, with the former being in some sense only understandable in reference to mental processes while the latter are understandable in entirely non-mental, physical terms. While philosophers have long concerned themselves with the connections between these concepts, economists have tended to steer clear of what might appear to be an a priori debate. At the same time, philosophers working on these important notions have tended to not dirty their hands with the empirical, real-world applications in which economists are specialized. This volume fills these gaps by bringing economists and philosophers of mind together to explore the intersection of their disciplines.
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The Bloomsbury Companion to Metaphysics

Author: Neil A. Manson,Robert W. Barnard

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1472585879

Category: Philosophy

Page: 320

View: 7621

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Bridging the gap between the familiar figures of the history of philosophy and the technical approaches favoured by contemporary philosophers, The Bloomsbury Companion to Metaphysics introduces the key ideas and debates needed to understand analytic metaphysics. Presenting an effective syllabus for an introductory course in contemporary metaphysics, this companion brings together a team of leading metaphysicians. It begins with a comprehensive introduction to methodological problems and methods, before tackling the perennial metaphysical questions surrounding core topics such as: • Modality • Universals and Abstract Objects • Naturalism and Physicalism • Mind • Free Will • God
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The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory

Author: David Copp

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190208201

Category: Philosophy

Page: 680

View: 1962

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The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory is a major new reference work in ethical theory consisting of commissioned essays by leading moral philosophers. Ethical theories have always been of central importance to philosophy, and remain so; ethical theory is one of the most active areas of philosophical research and teaching today. Courses in ethics are taught in colleges and universities at all levels, and ethical theory is the organizing principle for all of them. The Handbook is divided into two parts, mirroring the field. The first part treats meta-ethical theory, which deals with theoretical questions about morality and moral judgment, including questions about moral language, the epistemology of moral belief, the truth aptness of moral claims, and so forth. The second part addresses normative theory, which deals with general moral issues, including the plausibility of various ethical theories and abstract principles of behavior. Examples of such theories are consequentialism and virtue theory. As with other Oxford Handbooks, the twenty-five contributors cover the field in a comprehensive and highly accessible way, while achieving three goals: exposition of central ideas, criticism of other approaches, and putting forth a distinct viewpoint.
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Reason's Grief

An Essay on Tragedy and Value

Author: George W. Harris

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139457136

Category: Philosophy

Page: N.A

View: 1821

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Reason's Grief takes W. B. Yeats's comment that we begin to live only when we have conceived life as tragedy as a call for a tragic ethics, something the modern West has yet to produce. Harris argues that we must turn away from religious understandings of tragedy and the human condition and realize that our species will occupy a very brief period of history, at some point to disappear without a trace. We must accept an ethical perspective that avoids pernicious fantasies about ultimate redemption but that sees tragic loss as a permanent and pervasive aspect of our daily lives, yet finds a way to think, feel and act with both passion and hope. Reason's Grief takes us back through the history of our thinking about value to find our way. The call is for nothing less than a paradigm shift for understanding both tragedy and ethics.
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