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articles in english
1. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Elisa Aaltola Emotion, Empathy and Core Moral Agency
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With the recent sentimentalism revival, both emotion and empathy have re-emerged as prominent contenders for the throne of moral agency. Particularly the emotive argument, according to which emotions are both the necessary and sufficient criterion for moral ability, has become increasingly popular. The emotive argument is supported by neurostudies and social psychology, which have manifested that the majority of moral decision-making appears to be rested on immediate intuition, and ultimately emotion. However, not all have been willing to accept emotion as the foundation of moral agency, and particularly supporters of the rationalistic argument have presented an arsenal of criticisms against it. The paper explores this rift between Humean and Kantian ethics in the light of contemporary literature, and analyses particularly arguments offered by Jesse Prinz and Jeannette Kennett. It will be suggested that both emotion and reason fail to offer a convincing basis for moral agency, and that we should instead favour a multi-tier approach, with affective empathy as the key capacity on which core moral agency is built.
2. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Aaron Ben-Zeev Are (romantic) Compromises Good for our Well-being?
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In many circumstances compromises seem to be of great value to our well-being; compromises can help us avoid disputes and fights and enable us to live peacefully with each other. However, compromises can also require us to surrender some of our values. These two opposing aspects implicit in compromise express the need to be sensitive to external circumstances and in particular to the wishes of other people, and at the same time to be willing to relinquish something of value. So are compromises, and in particular romantic compromises, good or bad for our well-being? McIntyre’s view in general and Aristotle’s distinction between extrinsically and intrinsically valuable activities in particular, are very useful in this regard. Compromises can be characterized as involving dissatisfied acceptance of a gap between a perceived feasible desire and our actual situation. The acceptance of the gap is merely behavioral stemming from unfavorable external circumstances. It is not psychologically accepted, as deep down we are not happy with the compromise, and still yearning for a better solution. Romantic compromises are particularly hard to accept in light of the prominent place of the Romantic Ideology, in which ideal love can overcome all obstacles and hence there is no place for compromises.
3. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Leah Bradshaw Have we Become Better?: A Commentary and Critique on Steven Pinker: The Better Angels of Our Nature
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Paper examines Steven Pinker’s thesis that we have become ‘better angels’ throughout the course of Western history. Pinker’s markers for this improvement are secularity, science, cosmopolitanism, feminization and rational legal norms. Author argues that while some of Pinker’s theses are convincing – notably those dealing with torture, hygiene, and literacy – we have good reason to be skeptical of Pinker’s claim that we human beings are less violent than we once were. Much of Pinker’s argument rests upon the scientific and technological conquests of the post-Enlightenment in the West. There may be less hope that human beings have truly mastered the ‘dark sides’ of our natures when we assess just how dependent we are upon the technological management of crises, and further, how our confidence in our superiority in the ‘civilized’ world may depend upon the continuing subordination and domination of large parts of less fortunate humanity.
4. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Simone Cheli Eastern and Western Paths in Understanding
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This paper is devoted to explore a basic concept of psychology and of all humankind: understanding. As people and as psychologists, we are continuously faced with the issue of attempting to understand: events, people, and meanings. In clinical practice, the word “understanding” is like a mantra: it is the main process in which therapist and patient are involved and plays a key role in therapeutic experience. To the extent that we are “able to understand”, we constantly create new, vital spaces and opportunities of construing and living. In this paper we will cautiously try to understand understanding by examining different philosophical traditions, in order to explore the different paths and enlarge the approach to this fascinating construct. This paper is based on the assumption that understanding is present in and actively shapes every human culture.
5. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Nikolaos Erinakis Prolegomena to a Historical Condition for Authenticity
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To conclude that certain desires are authentic, because simply they are outcomes of the current beliefs and values of the individual, without examining in which way these were formed seems inadequate to provide the assurance of authenticity. This paper maintains that contemporary theories of autonomy, which also discuss authenticity, including the ones of Frankfurt and Dworkin based on identification, seem insufficient and a conception closer to Christman and Mele’s models, which are based on historical conditions, should be explored. However, in contrast to the latter, it is argued that we should not only trust rationality and reflective thinking in distinguishing which are the authentic desires, values and beliefs, but also other properties of ours like intuition, inclinations and drives. Furthermore, it is suggested that a broader understanding of the conception of the agent’s resistance is required. Therefore, the aim of this essay is to conduct an outline of a historical condition for authenticity which will be able to overcome the weaknesses of both the former and the latter conceptions mentioned. This condition should be externalist, anti-intellectualist, not necessarily rationalist and content neutral.
6. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Marcia Homiak On Learning to be Virtuous
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On a view derived from Plato and Aristotle, being virtuous involves entrenched, wide-ranging dispositions not only to reason and act, but also to respond and feel. Because affective responses are crucial to being virtuous, Plato and Aristotle thought that it made all the difference how we are brought up. For Aristotle, this is matter of habituation: we learn by doing. What is it that we do when we learn by doing? There is no specific act associated with any virtue, so the answer cannot be that we perform the same kind of action countless times. Moreover, being virtuous involves caring sufficiently about someone or something such that we want to be virtuous. These remarks suggest that habituation is not a straightforward matter. I argue that we become virtuous not by performing actions stereotypically associated with the virtues, but by engaging in activities that give rise to the right loves and attachments. These attachments are the psychological grounding of virtue; without them, having a virtuous character is not possible.
7. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Frederik Kaufman Forgiveness and Warranted Resentment
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I argue that forgiveness necessarily involves overcoming resentment to which we are entitled when wronged. My view calls into question the standard understanding of forgiveness according to which resentment is no longer warranted once the transgressor apologizes or makes amends in some other way. If forgiveness entails relinquishing unwarranted resentment, as the standard account has it, then it is not freely given, since one must relinquish unwarranted resentments. On my view, forgiveness remains elective (and hence praiseworthy) since one chooses to relinquish resentment to which one has every right irrespective of whether the transgressor apologizes.
8. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Thomas Steinbuch The Foundations of Nietzsche’s Psychological Critique of Moral Equality in Ecce Homo
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Ecce Homo/Wise 4 & 5 contain Nietzsche’s unmasking critique of the psychology of pity and moral egalitarianism. The foundation of his critique is in his own experience of mastering life-weakening ressentiment as came to him from his father. The brain damage which claimed Karl Ludwig Nietzsche’s life in 1849 must have had an early psycho-traumatic effect on Nietzsche in his infancy. In his psycho-autobiography Ecce Homo, Nietzsche reveals how he imposed a regimen of second-order psychological strategies to master his psychology of compulsive ressentiment as came to him from his father. Appearing solicitous of his suffering in self-mastery, caritas approached him and, interacting with it, Nietzsche perceived its hateful resentment of strength of life. Moreover, against contract theory he argues that investing some with privileged rights is necessary for our progress to beings of überflüssige-leben. The author reviews Sarah Kofman’s Freudian reading of Nietzsche’s self-assessment of being a décadent, and her readings of EH/Wise 4 & 5. Also, the author develops a criticism of Dirk Johnson’s book Nietzsche’s Anti-Darwinism for failing in his account of how will to power reorders inner life to produce the values of affirmation. The author also argues that Lawrence Hatab’s position in A Nietzschean Defense of Democracy cannot be maintained.
9. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Wojciech Zaluski Three Forms of Egoism
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The paper provides a critique of the assumption (usually made in moral-psychological analyses) that egoism is a primitive motive of human action, i.e., not flowing from some other more basic psychological phenomena. It is argued in the paper that: (a) egoism is not a primitive – ‘unanalyzable’ – motive but, rather, a manifestation of some more basic psychological phenomena; (b) one can distinguish three different forms of egoism depending on its psychological basis – cognitively-based, hubris-based, and instinct-based;(c) in each of its forms egoism can be regarded as a moral defect, although the degree of its moral wrongfulness differs depending on its psychological basis: in the paper it is argued that the level is highest in the case of hubris-based egoism, and lowest in the case of instinct-based egoism.
articles in french
10. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Valérie Gateau, Isabelle Pariente-Butterlin Le consentement médical en question: Quelles sont les motivations du patient à consenter dans la relation médicale?
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L’exposé propose d’interroger les modèles du consentement dans le cadre de la relation médicale en tenant compte du débat qui oppose classiquement deux conceptions de la motivation, à savoir internalisme et externalisme. Il interroge des cas concrets liés à la pratique médicale contemporaine. En effet, si la thèse internaliste est prise au sérieux, elle constitue un obstacle à la conception du consentement médical comme libre et éclairé, en un mot rationnel. Sinon, il faut admettre une conception externaliste de la motivation. Dans ce débat, un des enjeux majeurs est de déterminer quelle part stratégique inhérente à toute situation de communication demeure compatible, de la part du médecin, avec l’exigence éthique de respecter l’expression de la volonté de son patient. L’exposé, au travers des cas concrets qu’il examinera, se propose de saisir l’épaisseur psychologique du concept de consentement plutôt que de le laisser n’être qu’une structure qui a en fait bien du mal à s’imposer dans une situation asymétrique telle que ne manque pas de l’être la relation entre le médecin et son patient.