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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.
1

Beyond the sub-Humean model : instrumental reason in Aristotle, Hume and Kant

Kong, Camillia E. H. January 2010 (has links)
The thesis illustrates the importance of philosophical frameworks to our conception of instrumental reason through the comparative exegetical analysis of Aristotle, Hume, and Kant. Interpretations of each thinker reveal the significance of their respective philosophical frameworks in helping them avoid the subjectivist and freestanding connotations of the standard model. Specifically, since Aristotle, Hume, and Kant incorporate a notion of ethical normative objectivity within their frameworks, I show that these three thinkers represent a rich if divergent historical tradition according to which an adequate understanding of the normative significance of instrumental practical reasoning depends on situating it within a broader moral, social, or metaphysical framework. I establish how Aristotle's, Hume's, and Kant's thinking about practical reason is integrated within a more general frame of moral and political theorising that in each case reflects a degree of philosophical unease with the allure of a freestanding conception of instrumental rationality. Thus, a sympathetic examination of these historical thinkers' metaphysical commitments are important to illustrate the need for contemporary philosophers to directly confront, examine and articulate the comparative moral framework situating our current conception of instrumental reason.
2

Moral obligations to non-humans

Cochrane, Alasdair David Charles January 2007 (has links)
My PhD thesis provides an account of the moral obligations we have to non-humans. The project is divided into two sections: the theoretical and the applied. In the first section I examine the foundations of our moral obligations, answering two key questions: what types of thing have moral status, and how can we delineate our obligations to them. I maintain that those entities with the capacity for 'well-being' have moral status. I refute the claim made by some that all living organisms have well-being, and argue that only beings with 'phenomenal consciousness' (sentience) have lives that can go well or badly for themselves. At this point then, the thesis turns its focus towards sentient animals. Next I consider just how we should structure our moral obligations. I argue that a utilitarian or aggregative framework fails to individuate entities with moral status, treating them as mere 'receptacles' of value. I thus propose that an interest-based rights theory provides the appropriate means for delineating our obligations to non-human animals. The second part of the thesis involves teasing out the implications of this interest-based rights theory for the ways in which we treat animals. To this end, I evaluate four different contexts in which we use non-human animals: in experiments, in agriculture, in entertainment, and by cultural groups. During these considerations, I argue that animals' interests in avoiding pain and continued life ground prima facie animal rights not to be made to suffer and not to be killed. This renders many of the ways we currently use animals impermissible, particularly with regards to factory farming and experimentation. However, unlike other proponents of animal rights, I do not see the use of animals as impermissible in itself. This is because I claim that animals have no intrinsic interest in liberty, whether liberty is construed as the absence of interference or as the ability to govern one's own life. Since animals have no interest in liberty for its own sake, this means that they ordinarily have no right not to be used or interfered with by humans. Thus, the ultimate conclusion of my thesis is that the moral obligations we have to animals do not involve liberating them from zoos, farms and our homes. Rather, they necessitate putting an end to the suffering and death that animals endure at our hands.
3

Are moral requirements categorical imperatives?

Lubin, Dean Jonathan January 2006 (has links)
In this thesis, I investigate the question of whether moral requirements are categorical. I consider various attempts that have been made -by Immanuel Kant, John McDowell, Thomas Nagel, Philippa Foot, Alan Gewirth and David Gauthier- to establish that they are categorical. I conclude that each of these attempts fails; and, on the supposition that we cannot establish that moral requirements are categorical, I consider whether it follows that they are hypothetical. I reject the claim that this does follow. I accept that we cannot establish that moral requirements are categorical because we cannot establish that an agent has (whatever his particular inclinations) reasons for acting in accordance with the requirements of morality which take precedence over reasons he might have for acting otherwise. However, I claim that we can establish that they are nonhypothetical- that an agent has (whatever his particular inclinations) reasons to act in these ways. The claim that moral requirements are categorical is often thought to be a feature that marks them out as requirements of a special kind, distinguishing them from requirements of other kinds - for example, from those of prudence. I end by considering whether, if we think of moral requirements as merely non-hypothetical, we will have to give up the idea that they are speciaL I suggest that requirements of other kinds should be thought of as merely hypothetical; and conclude that in establishing that moral requirements are nonhypothetical, we can continue to think of them as speciaL
4

Individual responsibility

Brown, Alexander Colin January 2005 (has links)
When, and how far, should individuals assume responsibility for their own disadvantages themselves, and when, in contrast to this, is it right for society as a collective body to try to remedy or mitigate disadvantage? Some theorists argue that in so far as disadvantages result from voluntary choices, they should be borne by the agents themselves and do not raise a case of justice for public assistance. This criterion is plausible in some cases but far from self-evident in others. In reality, people often fail to make the kinds of choices about what to do that we might hope for yet this does not necessarily make it right for them to abrogate responsibility entirely. And even where a voluntary choice has been made by the individual, it is not obviously right in every case for the individual to bear all the consequences. It is argued that in order to fully account for common intuitions in this area we must appeal to a more inclusive theory of responsibility that takes in a number of criteria of justice including, but not exhausted by, the presence or absence of voluntary choice. In addition to this, however, it is argued that, though important, justice is not the only reason why responsibility matters. We also care about individual responsibility because of its associations with human flourishing and because of the alleged moral value of autonomous choice. Whilst this pluralistic view of the value of individual responsibility can make it harder to arrive at definitive prescriptions about which social policies best advance our concerns, it is nevertheless possible to draw at least some policy conclusions. One important conclusion is that sometimes it is better not to hold individuals responsible for their past choices by denying them aid now, so that they might be better able to assume individual responsibility at a later date.
5

In defence of a capacity-based theory of moral culpability

Slater, A. James January 2003 (has links)
This thesis is an outline and defence of the descriptive and evaluative power of a capacity-based theory of moral culpability for wrongdoing. Examinations and defences of capacity-based theories of moral culpability for wrongdoing are numerous. This thesis advances the debate in three ways. First, it gives a more articulate definition of the notion of capacity and organises human capacities in an illuminating way for the purposes of understanding moral culpability for wrongdoing. Secondly, it explains and defends a particular conception of the significance of the notion of capacity for moral culpability for wrongdoing. This significance lies in the existence and manner of exercise of human capacities. Moral responsibility requires the existence of certain capacities, and the allocation of blame amongst morally responsible wrongdoers depends on a moral evaluation of how these capacities are exercised. Thirdly, it argues that the conflict between character, choice and capacity as theories of moral culpability for wrongdoing is based on a misunderstanding of the relationship between them; once this misunderstanding is dispelled, it becomes possible to see that a theory based on capacity is correct.
6

Naïve phenomenology : thinking ethics through stories

Buckingham, Will January 2007 (has links)
No description available.
7

The personal in ethics

Cowley, Christopher Thomas January 2004 (has links)
No description available.
8

The ethics of dutiful faith, individuated quest and Kantian imperative

Onof, Christian Jerome January 2004 (has links)
No description available.
9

Response-dependence and realism in ethics

Ross, Allison Jane January 2004 (has links)
No description available.
10

Norms and games : realistic moral theory and the dynamic analysis of cooperation

Spiekermann, Kai January 2008 (has links)
The thesis investigates how social norms are enforced. It consists of two parts. The first part establishes the concept of "realistic constraints for moral theory" based on the "ought implies can principle". Different notions of feasibility lead to different degrees of moral realism. Game theory and computational modelling are the appropriate instruments to determine feasibility constraints for realistic moral theory. They allow for a dynamic perspective on norm enforcement, in contrast to more static approaches. The thesis discusses the use of computational models and game theory from a philosophy-of-science point of view. I conclude that computational models and game theory can inform moral theory if they are understood as sources of realistic constraints. The second part uses two agent-based models to explain the enforcement of social norms. In the first model, agents play one-shot, two-person prisoner's dilemmas. Before the game, agents have a better than random chance to predict which strategy the others are going to play. Cooperative agents do well if they are able to pool their information on the strategies of others and exclude defectors. The second model analyses repeated multi-person prisoner's dilemmas with anonymous contributions. The players are situated in a social space represented by a graph. Agents can influence with whom they are going to play in future rounds by severing ties. Cooperative agents do well because they are able to change the interaction network structure. I conclude by connecting the findings with debates in moral philosophy and evolutionary theory. The results obtained have implications not only for the emergence of cooperation and social norms literature, but also for theories of altruism, research on social network formation, and recent inquiries by behavioural economists into the effects of group identity.

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