The Geography of Morals

Varieties of Moral Possibility

Author: Owen Flanagan

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190212152

Category:

Page: 368

View: 7563

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The Geography of Morals is a work of extraordinary ambition: an indictment of the parochialism of Western philosophy, a comprehensive dialogue between anthropology, empirical moral psychology, behavioral economics, and cross-cultural philosophy, and a deep exploration of the opportunities for self, social, and political improvement provided by world philosophy. We live in multicultural, cosmopolitan worlds. These worlds are distinctive moral ecologies in which people enact and embody different lived philosophies and conceive of mind, morals, and the meaning of life differently from the typical WEIRD -- Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic -- person. This is not a predicament; it is an opportunity. Many think that cross cultural understanding is useful for developing a modus vivendi where people from different worlds are not at each other's throats and tolerate each other. Flanagan presses the much more exciting possibility that cross-cultural philosophy provides opportunities for exploring the varieties of moral possibility, learning from other traditions, and for self, social, and political improvement. There are ways of worldmaking in other living traditions -- Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Muslim, Amerindian, and African -- that citizens in Western countries can benefit from. Cross-cultural learning is protection against what Alasdair MacIntyre refers to as being "imprisoned by one's upbringing." Flanagan takes up perennial topics of whether there is anything to the idea of a common human nature, psychobiological sources of human morality, the nature of the self, the role of moral excellence in a good human life, and whether and how empirical inquiry into morality can contribute to normative ethics. The Geography of Morals exemplifies how one can respectfully conceive of multiculturalism and global interaction as providing not only opportunities for business and commerce, but also opportunities for socio-moral and political improvement on all sides. This is a book that aims to change how normative ethics and moral psychology are done.

The Geography of Morals

Varieties of Moral Possibility

Author: Owen Flanagan

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190212179

Category: Psychology

Page: 304

View: 950

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The Geography of Morals is a work of extraordinary ambition: an indictment of the parochialism of Western philosophy, a comprehensive dialogue between anthropology, empirical moral psychology, behavioral economics, and cross-cultural philosophy, and a deep exploration of the opportunities for self, social, and political improvement provided by world philosophy. We live in multicultural, cosmopolitan worlds. These worlds are distinctive moral ecologies in which people enact and embody different lived philosophies and conceive of mind, morals, and the meaning of life differently from the typical WEIRD -- Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic -- person. This is not a predicament; it is an opportunity. Many think that cross cultural understanding is useful for developing a modus vivendi where people from different worlds are not at each other's throats and tolerate each other. Flanagan presses the much more exciting possibility that cross-cultural philosophy provides opportunities for exploring the varieties of moral possibility, learning from other traditions, and for self, social, and political improvement. There are ways of worldmaking in other living traditions -- Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Muslim, Amerindian, and African -- that citizens in Western countries can benefit from. Cross-cultural learning is protection against what Alasdair MacIntyre refers to as being "imprisoned by one's upbringing." Flanagan takes up perennial topics of whether there is anything to the idea of a common human nature, psychobiological sources of human morality, the nature of the self, the role of moral excellence in a good human life, and whether and how empirical inquiry into morality can contribute to normative ethics. The Geography of Morals exemplifies how one can respectfully conceive of multiculturalism and global interaction as providing not only opportunities for business and commerce, but also opportunities for socio-moral and political improvement on all sides. This is a book that aims to change how normative ethics and moral psychology are done.

The Geography of Morals

Varieties of Moral Possibility

Author: Owen Flanagan

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190212160

Category: Psychology

Page: 304

View: 4643

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The Geography of Morals is a work of extraordinary ambition: an indictment of the parochialism of Western philosophy, a comprehensive dialogue between anthropology, empirical moral psychology, behavioral economics, and cross-cultural philosophy, and a deep exploration of the opportunities for self, social, and political improvement provided by world philosophy. We live in multicultural, cosmopolitan worlds. These worlds are distinctive moral ecologies in which people enact and embody different lived philosophies and conceive of mind, morals, and the meaning of life differently from the typical WEIRD -- Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic -- person. This is not a predicament; it is an opportunity. Many think that cross cultural understanding is useful for developing a modus vivendi where people from different worlds are not at each other's throats and tolerate each other. Flanagan presses the much more exciting possibility that cross-cultural philosophy provides opportunities for exploring the varieties of moral possibility, learning from other traditions, and for self, social, and political improvement. There are ways of worldmaking in other living traditions -- Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Muslim, Amerindian, and African -- that citizens in Western countries can benefit from. Cross-cultural learning is protection against what Alasdair MacIntyre refers to as being "imprisoned by one's upbringing." Flanagan takes up perennial topics of whether there is anything to the idea of a common human nature, psychobiological sources of human morality, the nature of the self, the role of moral excellence in a good human life, and whether and how empirical inquiry into morality can contribute to normative ethics. The Geography of Morals exemplifies how one can respectfully conceive of multiculturalism and global interaction as providing not only opportunities for business and commerce, but also opportunities for socio-moral and political improvement on all sides. This is a book that aims to change how normative ethics and moral psychology are done.

Self Expressions

Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life

Author: Owen J. Flanagan

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 0195096967

Category: Fiction

Page: 222

View: 4218

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Human beings have the unique ability to consciously reflect on the nature of the self. But reflection has its costs. We can ask what the self is, but as David Hume pointed out, the self, once reflected upon, may be nowhere to be found. The favored view is that we are material beings living in the material world. But if so, a host of destabilizing questions surface. If persons are just a sophisticated sort of animal, then what sense is there to the idea that we are free agents who control our own destinies? What makes the life of any animal, even one as sophisticated as Homo sapiens, worth anything? What place is there in a material world for God? And if there is no place for a God, then what hold can morality possibly have on us--why isn't everything allowed? Flanagan's collection of essays takes on these questions and more. He continues the old philosophical project of reconciling a scientific view of ourselves with a view of ourselves as agents of free will and meaning-makers. But to this project he brings the latest insights of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychiatry, exploring topics such as whether the conscious mind can be explained scientifically, whether dreams are self-expressive or just noise, the moral socialization of children, and the nature of psychological phenomena such as multiple personality disorder and false memory syndrome. What emerges from these explorations is a liberating vision which can make sense of the self, agency, character transformation, and the value and worth of human life. Flanagan concludes that nothing about a scientific view of persons must lead to nihilism.

Elements of Moral Cognition

Rawls' Linguistic Analogy and the Cognitive Science of Moral and Legal Judgment

Author: John Mikhail

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521855780

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 406

View: 5586

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John Mikhail explores whether moral psychology is usefully modelled on aspects of Universal Grammar.

Dreaming Souls

Sleep, Dreams and the Evolution of the Conscious Mind

Author: Owen Flanagan

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019534958X

Category: Psychology

Page: 224

View: 5352

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What, if anything, do dreams tell us about ourselves? What is the relationship between types of sleep and types of dreams? Does dreaming serve any purpose? Or are dreams simply meaningless mental noise--"unmusical fingers wandering over the piano keys"? With expertise in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, Owen Flanagan is uniquely qualified to answer these questions. And in Dreaming Souls he provides both an accessible survey of the latest research on sleep and dreams and a compelling new theory about the nature and function of dreaming. Flanagan argues that while sleep has a clear biological function and adaptive value, dreams are merely side effects, "free riders," irrelevant from an evolutionary point of view. But dreams are hardly unimportant. Indeed, Flanagan argues that dreams are self-expressive, the result of our need to find or to create meaning, even when we're sleeping. Rejecting Freud's theory of manifest and latent content--of repressed wishes appearing in disguised form--Flanagan shows how brainstem activity during sleep generates a jumbled profusion of memories, images, thoughts, emotions, and desires, which the cerebral cortex then attempts to shape into a more or less coherent story. Such dream-narratives range from the relatively mundane worries of non REM sleep to the fantastic confabulations of deep REM that resemble psychotic episodes in their strangeness. But however bizarre these narratives may be, they can shed light on our mental life, our well being, and our sense of self. Written with clarity, lively wit, and remarkable insight, Dreaming Souls offers a fascinating new way of apprehending one of the oldest mysteries of mental life.

Natural Moralities

A Defense of Pluralistic Relativism

Author: David B Wong

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199724840

Category: Philosophy

Page: 312

View: 9242

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In this book, David B. Wong defends an ambitious and important new version of moral relativism. He does not espouse the type of relativism that says anything goes, but he does start with a relativist stance against alternative theories such that there need not be only one universal truth. Wong proposes that there can be a plurality of true moralities existing across different traditions and cultures, all with one core human question as to how we can all live together.

Moral Brains

The Neuroscience of Morality

Author: S. Matthew Liao

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190614501

Category: Psychology

Page: 336

View: 4742

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In the last fifteen years, there has been significant interest in studying the brain structures involved in moral judgments using novel techniques from neuroscience such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Many people, including a number of philosophers, believe that results from neuroscience have the potential to settle seemingly intractable debates concerning the nature, practice, and reliability of moral judgments. This has led to a flurry of scientific and philosophical activities, resulting in the rapid growth of the new field of moral neuroscience. There is now a vast array of ongoing scientific research devoted towards understanding the neural correlates of moral judgments, accompanied by a large philosophical literature aimed at interpreting and examining the methodology and the results of this research. This is the first volume to take stock of fifteen years of research of this fast-growing field of moral neuroscience and to recommend future directions for research. It features the most up-to-date research in this area, and it presents a wide variety of perspectives on this topic.

The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data

Author: Michael P. Lynch

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 1631491865

Category: Philosophy

Page: 288

View: 7146

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With far-reaching implications, this urgent treatise promises to revolutionize our understanding of what it means to be human in the digital age. We used to say "seeing is believing"; now googling is believing. With 24/7 access to nearly all of the world's information at our fingertips, we no longer trek to the library or the encyclopedia shelf in search of answers. We just open our browsers, type in a few keywords and wait for the information to come to us. Indeed, the Internet has revolutionized the way we learn and know, as well as how we interact with each other. And yet this explosion of technological innovation has also produced a curious paradox: even as we know more, we seem to understand less. While a wealth of literature has been devoted to life with the Internet, the deep philosophical implications of this seismic shift have not been properly explored until now. Demonstrating that knowledge based on reason plays an essential role in society and that there is much more to “knowing” than just acquiring information, leading philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch shows how our digital way of life makes us overvalue some ways of processing information over others, and thus risks distorting what it means to be human. With far-reaching implications, Lynch's argument charts a path from Plato's cave to Shannon's mathematical theory of information to Google Glass, illustrating that technology itself isn't the problem, nor is it the solution. Instead, it will be the way in which we adapt our minds to these new tools that will ultimately decide whether or not the "Internet of Things"—all those gadgets on our wrists, in our pockets and on our laps—will be a net gain for humanity. Along the way, Lynch uses a philosopher's lens to examine some of the most urgent issues facing digital life today, including how social media is revolutionizing the way we think about privacy; why a greater reliance on Wikipedia and Google doesn't necessarily make knowledge "more democratic"; and the perils of using "big data" alone to predict cultural trends. Promising to modernize our understanding of what it means to be human in the digital age, The Internet of Us builds on previous works by Nicholas Carr, James Gleick and Jaron Lanier to give us a necessary guide on how to navigate the philosophical quagmire that is the Information Age.

The Oneness Hypothesis

Beyond the Boundary of Self

Author: Philip J. Ivanhoe,Eric Schwitzgebel,Hagop Sarkissian,Victoria S. Harrison,Owen J. Flanagan

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231544634

Category: Religion

Page: 403

View: 1223

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The idea that the self is inextricably intertwined with the rest of the world—the “oneness hypothesis”—can be found in many of the world’s philosophical and religious traditions. Oneness provides ways to imagine and achieve a more expansive conception of the self as fundamentally connected with other people, creatures, and things. Such views present profound challenges to Western hyperindividualism and its excessive concern with self-interest and tendency toward self-centered behavior. This anthology presents a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary exploration of the nature and implications of the oneness hypothesis. While fundamentally inspired by East and South Asian traditions, in which such a view is often critical to their philosophical approach, this collection also draws upon religious studies, psychology, and Western philosophy, as well as sociology, evolutionary theory, and cognitive neuroscience. Contributors trace the oneness hypothesis through the works of East Asian and Western schools, including Confucianism, Mohism, Daoism, Buddhism, and Platonism and such thinkers as Zhuangzi, Kant, James, and Dewey. They intervene in debates over ethics, cultural difference, identity, group solidarity, and the positive and negative implications of metaphors of organic unity. Challenging dominant views that presume that the proper scope of the mind stops at the boundaries of skin and skull, The Oneness Hypothesis shows that a more relational conception of the self is not only consistent with contemporary science but has the potential to lead to greater happiness and well-being for both individuals and the larger wholes of which they are parts.

Questions of Character

Author: Iskra Fileva

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199357714

Category: Character

Page: 496

View: 6499

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This collection features 26 new essays on character from first-rate scholars in philosophy, psychology, economics, and law. The essays are elegantly written and combine forceful argumentation with original ideas on a wide range of questions, such as: "Is Aristotle's theory of character a moral theory?," "Are character traits in tension with personal autonomy," "How do traits differ from mental disorders?," "What is the role of gossip in character attribution?," and "Can businessmen be virtuous?" The chapters are organized thematically into 5 sections, each prefaced by its own special introduction. In the introductions, the editor brings out often unexpected connections among different lines of argument pursued by the authors and raises important questions for further discussion. The collection as a whole offers students of character a unique opportunity to engage with some of the best contemporary work on the topic.

The Bodhisattva's Brain

Buddhism Naturalized

Author: Owen Flanagan

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 026229723X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 280

View: 1850

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If we are material beings living in a material world -- and all the scientific evidence suggests that we are -- then we must find existential meaning, if there is such a thing, in this physical world. We must cast our lot with the natural rather than the supernatural. Many Westerners with spiritual (but not religious) inclinations are attracted to Buddhism -- almost as a kind of moral-mental hygiene. But, as Owen Flanagan points out in The Bodhisattva's Brain, Buddhism is hardly naturalistic. In The Bodhisattva's Brain, Flanagan argues that it is possible to discover in Buddhism a rich, empirically responsible philosophy that could point us to one path of human flourishing. Some claim that neuroscience is in the process of validating Buddhism empirically, but Flanagan's naturalized Buddhism does not reduce itself to a brain scan showing happiness patterns. "Buddhism naturalized," as Flanagan constructs it, offers instead a fully naturalistic and comprehensive philosophy, compatible with the rest of knowledge -- a way of conceiving of the human predicament, of thinking about meaning for finite material beings living in a material world.

Family Values

The Ethics of Parent-Child Relationships

Author: Harry Brighouse,Adam Swift

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400852544

Category: Philosophy

Page: 240

View: 1480

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The family is hotly contested ideological terrain. Some defend the traditional two-parent heterosexual family while others welcome its demise. Opinions vary about how much control parents should have over their children's upbringing. Family Values provides a major new theoretical account of the morality and politics of the family, telling us why the family is valuable, who has the right to parent, and what rights parents should—and should not—have over their children. Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift argue that parent-child relationships produce the "familial relationship goods" that people need to flourish. Children's healthy development depends on intimate relationships with authoritative adults, while the distinctive joys and challenges of parenting are part of a fulfilling life for adults. Yet the relationships that make these goods possible have little to do with biology, and do not require the extensive rights that parents currently enjoy. Challenging some of our most commonly held beliefs about the family, Brighouse and Swift explain why a child's interest in autonomy severely limits parents' right to shape their children's values, and why parents have no fundamental right to confer wealth or advantage on their children. Family Values reaffirms the vital importance of the family as a social institution while challenging its role in the reproduction of social inequality and carefully balancing the interests of parents and children.

Neuroexistentialism

Meaning, Morals, and Purpose in the Age of Neuroscience

Author: Gregg Caruso,Owen Flanagan

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190460725

Category: Philosophy

Page: 392

View: 4645

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Existentialisms arise when the foundations of being, such as meaning, morals, and purpose come under assault. In the first-wave of existentialism, writings typified by Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche concerned the increasingly apparent inability of religion, and religious tradition, to support a foundation of being. Second-wave existentialism, personified philosophically by Sartre, Camus, and de Beauvoir, developed in response to similar realizations about the overly optimistic Enlightenment vision of reason and the common good. The third-wave of existentialism, a new existentialism, developed in response to advances in the neurosciences that threaten the last vestiges of an immaterial soul or self. Given the increasing explanatory and therapeutic power of neuroscience, the mind no longer stands apart from the world to serve as a foundation of meaning. This produces foundational anxiety. In Neuroexistentialism, a group of contributors that includes some of the world's leading philosophers, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and legal scholars, explores the anxiety caused by third-wave existentialism and possible responses to it. Together, these essays tackle our neuroexistentialist predicament, and explore what the mind sciences can tell us about morality, love, emotion, autonomy, consciousness, selfhood, free will, moral responsibility, law, the nature of criminal punishment, meaning in life, and purpose.

Developing the Virtues

Integrating Perspectives

Author: Julia Annas,Nancy E. Snow,Professor Darcia Narvaez, PhD

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190271469

Category: Conduct of life

Page: 328

View: 3717

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Ethicists and psychologists have become increasingly interested in the development of virtue in recent years, approaching the topic from the perspectives of virtue ethics and developmental psychology respectively. Such interest in virtue development has spread beyond academia, as teachers and parents have increasingly striven to cultivate virtue as part of education and child-rearing. Looking at these parallel trends in the study and practice of virtue development, the essays in this volume explore such questions as: How can philosophical work on virtue development inform psychological work on it, and vice versa? How should we understand virtue as a dimension of human personality? What is the developmental foundation of virtue? What are the evolutionary aspects of virtue and its development? How is virtue fostered? How is virtue exemplified in behavior and action? How is our conception of virtue influenced by context and by developmental and social experiences? What are the tensions, impediments and prospects for an integrative field of virtue study? Rather than centering on each discipline, the essays in this volume are organized around themes and engage each other in a broader dialogue. The volume begins with an introductory essay from the editors that a wide-angle view of the fuller range of philosophical and empirical issues that have surrounded the notion of virtue in recent years.

Consciousness Reconsidered

Author: Owen J. Flanagan

Publisher: Bradford Books

ISBN: 9780262560771

Category: Philosophy

Page: 234

View: 6588

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Owen Flanagan argues that we are on the way to understanding consciousness and its place in the natural order.

The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression

Author: Shannon Sullivan

Publisher: OUP Us

ISBN: 0190250615

Category: Feminist theory

Page: 224

View: 8446

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While gender and race often are considered socially constructed, this book argues that they are physiologically constituted through the biopsychosocial effects of sexism and racism. This means that to be fully successful, critical philosophy of race and feminist philosophy need to examine not only the financial, legal, political and other forms of racist and sexism oppression, but also their physiological operations. Examining a complex tangle of affects, emotions, knowledge, and privilege, The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression develops an understanding of the human body whose unconscious habits are biological. On this account, affect and emotion are thoroughly somatic, not something "mental" or extra-biological layered on top of the body. They also are interpersonal, social, and can be transactionally transmitted between people. Ranging from the stomach and the gut to the hips and the heart, from autoimmune diseases to epigenetic markers, Sullivan demonstrates the gastrointestinal effects of sexual abuse that disproportionately affect women, often manifesting as IBS, Crohn's disease, or similar functional disorders. She also explores the transgenerational effects of racism via epigenetic changes in African American women, who experience much higher pre-term birth rates than white women do, and she reveals the unjust benefits for heart health experienced by white people as a result of their racial privilege. Finally, developing the notion of a physiological therapy that doesn't prioritize bringing unconscious habits to conscious awareness, Sullivan closes with a double-barreled approach for both working for institutional change and transforming biologically unconscious habits. The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression skillfully combines feminist and critical philosophy of race with the biological and health sciences. The result is a critical physiology of race and gender that offers new strategies for fighting male and white privilege.