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This chapter discusses Cicero’s views on the relation between ethical theory and the good human life, focusing on his main work on ethical theory, De finibus. Cicero’s critique of Stoic and Epicurean ethics has a common element, all the more striking given the differences between the two doctrines, namely that neither theory is livable with integrity in social contexts. This critique is a reflection both of Cicero’s belief that ethics should engage with lived human experience and of the commitment, in varying degrees, of the Stoics and Epicureans to a conception of the good human life as inherently social. The pluralism of the Old Academy’s ethics discussed in the final part of De finibus escapes this critique but is in danger, through lack of a single supreme value, of failing to offer a basis on which we may structure our lives. Taken as a whole, De finibus can thus be seen to cast a skeptical eye on the viability of ethical theory itself.
Drawing upon the arguments made throughout the book, in this concluding chapter I argue that as well as negating humanism through a focus on the non-human, animal historians have an imperative to find subjects and actors who can be ‘necessary fictions’ for radical politics. The animal remains important in this but not as a destabilizing spectre haunting humanistic assumptions. The animal can be a radical subject through our recognition that it represents more than just the organism itself. The animal is a synecdoche for the environments that they emerge from and are reproduced within. To include animals in our histories is to value the ecologies that make possible their continued existence in the world. But lest this claim become an empty gesture towards a liberal, inclusive environmental politics, it is a radical position that needs to be attenuated by a critique of the commoditization of life and marginalization of human populations.
Here I outline two crucial concepts that are returned to throughout the book. The first is the notion of ‘undead capital’, a concept that provides a lens to analyze the specific commodity form that working animals took in the colony. The second is an expanded understanding of colonial bio-politics, a politics that I argue served to render animals (including humans) into three states, namely, as subjects, as objects, and as abject. Together these concepts outline two key underpinning forces that shaped how animals came to be valued under colonial rule in Myanmar. In the first concept, this was through a process of valorisation as animal capital. In the second concept, this was through a governmentalizing evaluation of an animal.
The outcome of tasting as an embodied sensorial practice is, in the context of the gourmet shop, an assessment. This chapter offers a systematic analysis of the way not only assessments are verbally uttered, but also preceded and accompanied by facial expressions and other incarnated manifestations constituting embodied assessments. These are closely witnessed by the seller observing the customer tasting, and in some cases even anticipated by them. Assessments are a type of outcome of tasting that contrasts with outcomes, like descriptors, characterizing other activities – for example in tasting sessions participants rather search for the best word to express the tasting qualities of the sample. Even when minimal, they both address the quality of the sensed item and its coincidence with personal taste and orient to the embeddedness of the sensorial experience within the local actions and the global activity: assessing often retrospectively responds to a previous offer or proposal of the seller and prospectively orients to the closing of the purchase, in the form of a decision about buying (or not, in the case of negative assessments). Thus, assessments are followed by decision-making and often enable the seller to anticipate the latter. Assessments do not only complete the sensory experience of tasting in an intersubjective way but also demonstrate its relevance for broader activities, which reflexively also shape it.
In this chapter I apply the view of psychopathy developed in Chapter 2, to the account of moral responsibility as responsiveness to reasons developed in Chapter 1. I begin by considering the question of what reactive attitudes, if any, we should hold towards psychopaths, engaging with arguments by Piers Benn and Patricia Greenspan. I then turn to the question of whether psychopaths are responsive to reasons. I argue that evidence of psychopaths’ reasoning impairments, including those suggested by the famous ‘moral/conventional distinction’ experiments carried out by James Blair, may be enough to call into question the reasons-responsiveness of some psychopaths, but that other, even ‘hard-core’ psychopaths, may not exhibit such deficiencies. However, I argue that these psychopaths, though not oblivious to reasons, may be impervious to them, that is, unable to recognise them as reasons which bear on their own choices. I then argue that the specific reasons to which these psychopaths are impervious are reasons stemming from the rights, interests and concerns of other people, and that they are impervious to them because they are unable to see other people as sources of value.
This chapter completes the account begun in Chapter 4 of why psychopaths are unable to see other people as sources of value. I argue that as well as, and partly because of, their emotional deficiencies, psychopaths suffer a severe deficit of empathy, either from birth or brought on by abuse or neglect in childhood. Based on evidence from developmental psychology, I argue that empathy plays a central role in the way we come to ascribe value to entities other than ourselves. Lacking this crucial developmental stage, psychopaths reach adulthood without the capacity to see others as valuable. Because they lack this capacity due to factors which they cannot be expected to change, they are not morally responsible for lacking it. They are therefore not morally responsible for the failure to respond to certain reasons which stems from this lack. Finally, I consider other disorders of low empathy, specifically autism spectrum disorder and borderline personality disorder, and give an account of why these conditions do not apparently lead to the same outcomes in respect of the ability to value others.
G. A. Cohen has argued that there is a surprising truth in conservatism—namely, that there is a reason for some valuable things to be preserved, even if they could be replaced with other, more valuable things. This conservative thesis is motivated, Cohen suggests, by our judgments about a range of hypothetical cases. After reconstructing Cohen's conservative thesis, I argue that the relevant judgments about these cases do not favor the conservative thesis over standard, nonconservative axiological views. But I then argue that there is a Mirrored Histories case that is such that, if one shares Cohen's conservative attitude, judgments about this case favor Cohen's conservative thesis over a wide range of non-conservative axiological views. Reflection on this case also suggests a different explanation of apparently conservative judgments that merits consideration in its own right.
The concluding chapter revisits several broader issues regarding the emergence of money in historical societies, drawing conclusions from the historical contexts explored in this book. Emphasis is placed for example on the distance through which objects are constructed as valuables in exchange, making them appropriate as a form of money, and the effect that developing state institutions could have had on the use of money. In the framework of these and other issues connected to the early development of money, several novel insights are outlined, while highlighting the need for additional questions, and pointing to opportunities for future research.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, changes in philosophy and aesthetics as well as the increasing prominence of ‘pure’ instrumental music brought to a head questions over the meaning and value of music. While the merit of most of the fine arts (literature, painting, sculpture) was beyond serious doubt, instrumental music’s supposed lack of content posed a peculiar problem to writers. This chapter presents four main Romantic strategies used to argue for music’s meaning, including the use of programmes as well as the rethinking of the relations between music and feeling, music and words, and between content and form. Covering the first half of the nineteenth century, it encompasses the view of philosophers and composers as well as writers and critics, from Schopenhauer, Hoffmann, and Tieck to Mendelssohn, Schumann, Wagner, Brendel, and Hanslick.
The past is deeply important to many of us. But our concern about history can seem puzzling and needs justification. After all, the past cannot be changed: we can help the living needy, but the tears we shed for the long dead victims of past tragedies help no one. Attempts to justify our concern about history typically take one of two opposing forms. It is assumed either that such concern must be justified in instrumental or otherwise self-centered and present-centered terms or that our interest in history must be utterly disinterested and pursued for its own sake. But neither approach can fully explain, or justify, our concern about the past. I propose a third approach, on which the past matters because it contains much that is of value—all those past people and the things they did or had endured—and this value calls for our fitting response. In short: the significance of the past is past significance.
This chapter looks at Plato’s take on the nomos-phusis antithesis in his Laws. He argues that the goal of the Laws, of legislating in accordance with nature, should be distinguished from the much-studied idea of 'natural law' in two ways. First, in the relevant parts of the Laws, the focus is primarily the right way to conduct an activity, legislation, rather than its product (laws or law). Secondly, the Laws draws a comparison with other specialised or technical activities that can be performed well or badly, such as medicine or building. Legislation is natural, among other things, when it is undertaken in a certain ‘natural’ order, from the starting point of life to death. This order ensures that no stage of life is ignored during the legislative process and thus guarantees its comprehensiveness. Plato’s comparison between the legislator and other craftsmen presents a view of natural procedure within an art or profession: the craftsman is not subjected to constraints that are external to the subject matter and he is able to give full attention to the objectives and questions that belong to his craft. Finally, the legislation considered here is ‘natural’ without being underpinned by theology.
How can arts managers, artists, and art market observers approach the study of economics? Accompanied by hand-drawn illustrations, wide-ranging case studies, and expansive discussion resources, this interdisciplinary microeconomics primer engages with complex – and, at turns, political – questions of value and resourcefulness with the artist or manager as the decision-maker and the gallery, museum or studio as 'the firm'. Whitaker arms the reader with analytic and creative tools that can be used in service to economic sustainability for artists and organizations. By exploring the complexities of economics in application to art, design and creative industries, this book offers ways to approach the larger world as an art project.
The Conclusion sketches two notions: a metaphysical one – that much human goodness depends on implicit or explicit rankings and positionality; and an epistemic one – that we use implicit or explicit comparison to know what position we occupy in this continuum of goodness. Envy’s signaling value may be much more important than previously thought. If most of human goodness is relational, comparative, competitive, or positional, then it is not surprising that envy is a universal emotion. It safeguards our chance at happiness.
In Chapter 2, I argue that our ability to distill and evaluate what “multilingualism” is has been jarred, since the 1970s and even before, by profound transformations in political economy and its systems of value. An idealized economistic version of “multilingualism” has been engineered, for various mono- and multilingual subjects to embody or resist. I describe this production of an economistic model of “ordolingualism” as a mimesis of a mimesis, or what Michael Taussig has called a “mimetic excess” (1993, p. 252). Since the 1990s, this economistic dispositive of “ordolingualism” has functioned, with increasing allure, as an authoritative global infrastructure I call supralingualism, which is designed to suppress, manage, and alleviate the complex subjective and interactional experience of lived multilingualism.
This chapter provides a background to and analysis of REDD+ from multiple angles and across a number of different registers. Firstly, it traces the history of REDD+ as a legal agreement that provides the framework through which activities to address deforestation and forest degradation can be measured, reported and verified as ‘result-based action’ and made legible in the rubric of one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. Secondly, this chapter examines REDD+ as constituted through experimental practices, preparatory and market-construction activities. Thirdly, it analyses REDD+ as a concept or idea arising from the field of environmental economics, namely, that forest protection can be ‘incentivised’ through the financial valuation of nature and payment for environmental services schemes, including potentially the inclusion of forests in international carbon markets. Fourthly, it provides an overview of the activities that are promoted through REDD+ and interrogates the history of both conservation and sustainable forest management. Finally, it outlines how the scope of REDD+ programmes and projects has extended beyond its initial environmental focus, so that REDD+ has now also become a social project concerned with ‘co-benefits’ such as poverty alleviation, tenure reform and rights for people living in and around forested areas.
This chapter describes the key characteristics of cross-border taxation. Most countries around the world operate hybrid systems involving the taxation of their residents (usually on worldwide income) and non-residents on income which has a source in their jurisdiction. In order to lay some foundational groundwork for the later examination of the taxation of digitalised business, the history of the original 1920s compromise is discussed in order to establish the arbitrary nature of the framework and, in part, to try and understand why it has been so outstandingly successful for such a long period of time.The next part of the chapter looks at the fundamental question of how we justify taxation. The particular focus, in the context of cross-border taxation and trade, is on the taxation of non-residents doing business in a country. The benefit theory suggests that a modification to the 1920s compromise can be justified to expand the taxing rights of multinational enterprises in the digital age. This is also supported by the absence of any constraints in domestic source taxation. But in the age of base erosion and profits shifting, can the threats of the digital economy be ignored?
This chapter continues the examination of the international tax landscape and sets out the two broad options for the reform of tax on cross-border transactions. It has a particular focus on legal constraints existing in double tax agreements and trade agreements. In responding to the challenges detailed in Chapter 3, countries are faced with the option of a consensus-driven multilateral solution, or some form of unilateral domestic interim taxation. In designing unilateral taxes, one needs to be informed and aware of the limitations imposed by existing international trade and taxation agreements. This chapter highlights the potential constraints but concludes that certain forms of unilateral taxation remain as options within these existing legal constraints.
In his 1914 monograph, The Value of the State and the Significance of the Individual, accepted as an Habilitation in law in the field of state theory in 1916, Carl Schmitt proceeds from a discussion of his view of the relation between law (Recht) and power (Macht), through a discussion of the role of the state in the realization of law, to a discussion of his view of the significance of the individual within the state. Schmitt argues that the value of the state consists in the realization of law in the world, while the significance of the individual is that of fulfilling the roles that the state assigns and ascribes to them for the completion of the state’s task of realizing law and right. Schmitt thus claims a great value for his view of the state and a correspondingly diminutive significance for his view of the individual.
Value is a generalization of diversity. In ecological terms, it allows measurement of a community when its species are assigned a worth that need not be related to how distinctive they are. Mathematically, the characterization theorem for value measures that we prove here allows us to prove a characterization theorem for the Hill numbers (hence, in principle, the Rényi entropies).