Category Archives: Ethical Theory

New episodes of The Issue is Not The Issue

The Issue is Not the Issue: A Podcast with Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfs0MY7rs8J6jWlCdneoPVQ

 

Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas discuss contemporary debates on “political correctness” and related moral and social issues. They point to concepts such as virtue speech (“virtue signalling”), civil religion, “profilicity,” and the role of critique to better understand their nature.

 

Episode 3—Critique:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W1m0Bez8vU

Philosophy today runs the risk of once more becoming the “handmaiden of theology” by being put in the service of civil religion. The Kantian concept of critique is revived to reflect on contemporary dogmatism and associated power structures that lead to phenomena such as “competitive wokeness” in entertainment (Taylor Swift) or the need to write “diversity statements” in academia. The idea of a therapeutic rather than a normative philosophy is suggested and it is explained how society, along with critique, evolves rather than progresses.

 

Episode 4—Profilicity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yz1C0-mtWI

Why do we need to produce “virtue speech”? We need it to be competitive in society and to bolster our public profiles. A new profile-based identity paradigm, called “profilicity,” is on the rise. It is replacing other identity paradigms such as sincerity and authenticity and provides not only individuals but also institutions (political parties, companies, universities, etc.) with identity value.

The Issue is Not the Issue: A Podcast with Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas

Hans-Georg Moeller and Dan Sarafinas discuss contemporary debates on “political correctness” and related moral and social issues. They point to concepts such as virtue speech (“virtue signalling”), civil religion, and the role of critique to better understand their nature.

Episode 1–Virtue Speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pg8H-b87Cs;

The phenomenon of virtue speech (“virtue signalling”) has become a central feature in recent outrage movements pervasive throughout the West. Virtue speech, which is implicitly tied to accusations of hate speech, is a form of moralistic discourse setting speech examples that make it difficult to openly discuss elements of our culture without falling into the trap of moralizing.

Episode 2–Civil Religion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EDEuXCPHOQ

Civil religion plays a central role in the virtue speech, or political correctness, discourse. The history of the concept is discussed as well as the structure of the American form of civil religion and how tenets of civil religion are constantly being performed and re-enacted, particularly in current social media outrage movements.

 

Two Concepts of Roles

There are many images and metaphors that might serve as cores of conceptions of something for which one could use the English word “role.”  One way to look for some is to look at words from other languages.  I’ll look here at two, one from Greek and one from old Chinese.

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CFP: Volume on Moral Expertise

An opportunity to expand horizons — introduce this audience to the junzi?

Call for Abstracts

for an edited collection under contract with Springer:

Moral Expertise: New Essays from Theoretical and Clinical Perspectives

Editors: Jamie Carlin Watson, PhD and Laura Guidry-Grimes, PhD(c)

Deadline for Abstracts: October 31st, 2016
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Crary the Neo-Confucian? NDPR Reviews Inside Ethics

I’ve long been interested in Alice Crary’s work — her 2007 book is reviewed here — in part because of intriguing resonances between her ideas and some aspects of Neo-Confucianism that I find most attractive, such as the need to “discern patterns” in an “already moral world.” These issues come out even more strongly in her latest book, Inside Ethics, which is reviewed here. Rejecting an “ethically indifferent metaphysic” seems to me to be starting off in the right direction!

Harvard Lecture: Ethics and Professions in Asia

Ethics and the Professions – Good Practitioners in a Rising Asia

Friday, October 16, 2015, 12:15pm

S153, 1st Floor, CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA

Kenneth Winston, Visiting Scholar, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School

Many Asian countries are in transition, as they struggle to meet the demands of a global world.  This struggle is not only economic and political; it is moral.  Simply put, it is a struggle to preserve what one believes to be of value in one’s own culture or tradition while responding to new circumstances and participating in new relationships.  Thus, it often involves a hybrid of traditional beliefs and transplanted values, which makes Asian countries fascinating sites for the study of political and ethical development.  In particular, emerging democratic aspirations and increasing commitment to standards of professionalism are constituent elements of the new moral environment in Asia.  As a result, the ethical challenges faced by practitioners have a special urgency and demand close attention.  This talk presents a general framework for thinking about these challenges, focusing on the kinds of moral competence professionals require in working for the good of others.

Review of new book in Comparative Ethics

I was intrigued by Brandon Warmke’s recent review in NDPR of Judith Andre’s book Worldly Virtue: Moral Ideals and Contemporary Life. Apparently Andre makes considerable (and self-aware) use of Buddhist ideas as she argues that “the realities of our contemporary world require us both to re-interpret traditional virtues and to recognize new ones altogether.” Take a look!

Hansen’s MOOC on edX

Chad Hansen has created a MOOC on edX called “Humanity and Nature in Chinese Thought,” available here. Here is some copy from the course description:

Think along with Classical Chinese masters as they explore and debate how and where we can find ethical guidance in nature.

We make ethical or behaviour guiding right / wrong judgments all the time but have you ever wondered where Ethics comes from, what it is about and why it is important? This course provides an introduction to traditional Chinese ethical thought and focuses on the pervasive contrast in the way Chinese and Westerners think about ethical guidance or guidance concerning what is right and what is wrong, good or bad.  Traditional Western orthodoxy uses the metaphor of a law – in its most familiar popular form, the command of a supernatural being backed by a threat of eternal punishment or reward – to explain ethical guidance. The Classical Chinese philosophers by contrast were all naturalists. They talked about ethical guidance using a path metaphor – a natural dào…