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The aim of this article is twofold. First, I want to offer an introduction of and a comparison between three accounts of philistinism. Secondly, I show how the phenomenon of philistinism, a failure to speak for oneself, helps to develop an original perspective on Wittgenstein's moral thought. It is often claimed that Wittgenstein's personal ethics were quite unorthodox because he repeatedly seems to have supported destruction, war and slavery. I argue that, in the light of my discussion of philistinism, the remarks upon which such conclusions are based should be read differently.
Because of the communicative function of propositions, Logic is a moral science about what ought to be said. The association with morality derives from the connection between Logic and Truth, and the social value of speaking the truth. Propositions are used rather than mentioned sentences, and so are not the platonically abstract objects they have often been taken to be. Instead they are social objects formed by a community's employment of language. So it is the public use of sentences that settles what they mean, and thereby their logic. The matter has a particular relevance to Graham Priest's non-classical views.
There is a decided consensus that Kantian ethics yields an absolutist case against torture – that torture is morally wrong and absolutely so. I argue that while there is a Kantian case against torture, Kantian ethics does not clearly entail absolutism about torture. I consider several arguments for a Kantian absolutist position concerning torture and explain why none are sound. I close by clarifying just what the Kantian case against torture is. My contention is that while Kantian ethics does not support a variety of moral absolutism about torture, it does suggest a strong version of legal absolutism.
In discussions about the ethics of enhancement, it is often claimed that the concept of ‘human nature’ has no helpful role to play. There are two ideas behind this thought. The first is that nature, human nature included, is a mixed bag. Some parts of our nature are good for us and some are bad for us. The ‘mixed bag’ idea leads naturally to the second idea: the fact that something is part of our nature is, by itself, normatively inert. The Inert View claims that nothing normative follows from the mere fact that some trait is a part of our nature. If the Inert View is correct, then appeals to the value or importance of human nature in debates about enhancement are indeed misplaced. We argue that the Inert View is wrong, and that a certain concept of human nature – which we refer to as ‘human form’ – does have an important role to play in debates about enhancement.
Hume and Smith advance different answers to the question of whether sympathy can ever be the foundation of the moral order. They hold contradictory views of sympathy, called here ‘the Fellow-Feeling Paradox’. For Hume, fellow-feeling tends to reverberate in society, leading to the socialization of the individual and even mob (collective) psychology. Hence, sympathy cannot be the foundation of the moral order. In contrast, for Smith, fellow-feeling develops into critical judgment of the emotions/actions, leading to individual moral autonomy even self-command. Hence, sympathy can be the foundation of the moral order. This paper provides a resolution of the two answers.
Polemics are a sort of critique typically suffused with inimical emotions and passions. But how are these emotions and passions to be construed? Neither authorial expression nor actual arousal properly account for their role in polemics. Rather, the polemicist must stage an unequal battle between a polemical self and the polemical target vis-à-vis an anticipated audience, skilfully handling, through his or her words, the emotions ascribed to each of them.