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Abstract: The main purpose of this article is to undertake a conceptual investigation of the Berlin Wisdom Paradigm: a psychological project initiated by Paul Baltes and intended to study the complex phenomenon of wisdom. Firstly, in order to provide a wider perspective for the subsequent analyses, a short historical sketch is given. Secondly, a meta-theoretical issue of the degree to which the subject matter of the Baltesian study can be identified with the traditional philosophical wisdom is addressed. The main result yielded by a careful conceptual analysis is that the philosophical and psychological concepts of wisdom, though not entirely the same, are at least parallel. Finally, one of the revealed aspects of the Berlin Wisdom Paradigm, i.e. its relative neglect of the non-cognitive and personal aspects of wisdom is brought to the fore. This deficiency, it is suggested, can be remedied by the application of the virtue ethics' conceptual framework.
Abstract: Emotional cognitivists, such as the Stoics and Aristotle, hold that emotions have cognitive content, whereas noncognitivists, like Plato and Kant, believe the emotions to be nonrational bodily movements. I ask, taking Martha Nussbaum's account of cognitivism, what if Kant had become convinced of a cognitive theory of the emotions, what changes would this require in his moral philosophy. Surprisingly, since this represents a radical shift in his psychology, it changes almost nothing. I show that Kant's account of continence, virtue, the evaluation of inclinations, and his argument for morality taking the form of categorical imperatives, are immune to such a change, despite the prima facie deep connection (on the received view) between these and his moral psychology.
Abstract: This paper attempts some integration of two perspectives on questions about rationality and irrationality: the classical conception of irrationality as sophism and themes from the romantic revolt against Enlightenment reason. However, since talk of "reason" and "the irrational" often invites rigid dualities of reason and its opposites (such as feeling, intuition, faith, or tradition), the paper turns to "intelligence" in place of "reason," thinking of human intelligence as something less abstract, less purely theoretical, and more firmly rooted in practice, including communicative practice. "Intelligence" is "reason" naturalized.
Abstract: It is argued that the many manifestation of the Knobe effect can be explained by the conjunction of two claims: (i) that in making propositional attitude attributions we are influenced by whether the agent intentionally violated or conformed to a norm; and (ii) there is a fundamental asymmetry between what is needed for intentional norm violation and what is needed for intentional norm conformity -- the former only requires knowing violation, whereas the latter requires that the norm function as a guide.
Abstract: I examine the consistency of Kant's notion of moral progress as found in his philosophy of history. To many commentators, Kant's very idea of moral development has seemed inconsistent with basic tenets of his critical philosophy. This idea has seemed incompatible with his claims that the moral law is unconditionally and universally valid, that moral agency is noumenal and atemporal, and that all humans are equally free. Against these charges, I argue not only that Kant's notion of moral development is consistent, but also that the assumption of the possibility of moral progress is indispensible for Kant's moral theory.
Abstract: The psychological study of ethical reasoning tends to concentrate on a few specific issues, with the bulk of the research going to the study of people's attitudes toward moral rules or the welfare of others. But people's ethical reasoning is also shaped by a wide range of other concerns. Here I focus on the importance that people attach to the ideal of being yourself. It is shown that certain experimental results - results that seemed anomalous and inexplicable to researchers who focused on moral rules and concern for the welfare of others - can be explained quite elegantly as the product of people's attachment to the ideal of 'being yourself'. The success of this explanation then points to the need for a more general inquiry into the role that the ideal of 'being yourself ' plays in people's ethical reasoning
Abstract: Pragmatism is a philosophical movement developed near the turn of the century in the work of several prominent American philosophers, most notably, Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. Although many contemporary analytic philosophers never studied American Philosophy in graduate school, analytic philosophy has been significantly shaped by philosophers strongly influenced by that tradition, most especially W.V. Quine, Donald Davidson, Hilary Putnam, and Richard Rorty. Like other philosophical movements, it developed in response to the then-dominant philosophical wisdom. What unified pragmatism was its rejection of certain epistemological assumptions about the nature of truth, objectivity, and rationality. The rejection of these assumptions springs from the pragmatist's belief that practice is primary in philosophy. Meaningful inquiry originates in practice. Theorizing is valuable, for sure, but its value arises from practice, is informed by practice, and, its proper aim is to clarify, coordinate, and inform practice. Theorizing divorced from practice is useless
Abstract: A Very Bad Wizard is a collection of delightful interviews or conversations conducted by philosopher Tamler Sommers. Sommers interviews an array of researchers--from psychologists to primatologists to philosophers--who all have one thing in common: their work has direct implications for the study of morality. The distinguished interviewees are Galen Strawson, Philip Zimabrdo, Franz De Waal, Michael Ruse, Joseph Henrich, Joshua Greene, Liane Young, Jonathan Haidt, Stephen Stich, and William Ian Miller. I read the book on my flights back to the West Coast after picking it up a few days prior in Massachusetts. I simply couldn't put it down! It truly is--as Steven Pinker states in his blurb--both thought-provoking and entertaining. It is a lively way into some of the most fascinating interdisciplinary research on ethics--what often now goes under the heading "moral psychology."
Abstract: We use the phrase ‘‘moral intuition” to describe the appearance in consciousness of moral judgments or assessments without any awareness of having gone through a conscious reasoning process that produces this assessment. This paper investigates the neural substrates of moral intuition. We propose that moral intuitions are part of a larger set of social intuitions that guide us through complex, highly uncertain and rapidly changing social interactions. Such intuitions are shaped by learning. The neural substrates for moral intuition include fronto-insular, cingulate, and orbito-frontal cortices and associated subcortical structure such as the septum, basil ganglia and amygdala. Understanding the role of these structures undercuts many philosophical doctrines concerning the status of moral intuitions, but vindicates the claim that they can sometimes play a legitimate role in moral decision-making