Ethical Transvaluation and Consequentialism

By Helen Ciacciarelli
As secularized accounts of morality’s social origins, the theories of Machiavelli and Nietzsche call for a transvaluation of morality. If we analyze their systems of thought through the distorting, reductive lens of modern connotations, we see the repugnancy of Nietzsche’s anti-Semitism or the cold, calculating, seemingly self-interested tactics of Machiavelli; as a consequence, we fail to delve deeper into the complexity of these works. This dismissive approach needs to be replaced with a detailed examination of how these figures redefine the notions of good and evil as the foundations of their philosophy and political theory. Continue reading Ethical Transvaluation and Consequentialism

Threatening Ambivalence: Aliza Shvarts’s Disruption of the Patriarchal (Hetero)Normative

By Asam Ahmad ABSTRACT: In April of 2008, Yale University’s Aliza Shvarts was accused of a sort of ‘insanity’ that made her unable to make sound judgements and jeopardize her own body for the sake of her art. This paper aims to explore the nature of Shvarts’ artistic project and understand the hyper-reactionary interventions that followed its appearance. I will argue that what caused this hyper intervention and the disciplinary actions that followed was more than just the project itself – it was the very ambiguity of the Event the project was presenting us with, its very refusal to ‘name’ the … Continue reading Threatening Ambivalence: Aliza Shvarts’s Disruption of the Patriarchal (Hetero)Normative

The Role of Inconsistency in the Death of Socrates

By Said Saillant Abstract: The death of Socrates has always been a controversial topic in philosophy, particularly the incongruity of his views on civil disobedience. In the Apology, Socrates claims that if acquitted on the condition he refrains from philosophizing, he will nevertheless continue to do so. In the Crito, Socrates argues that disobeying “the judgments the city came to” is wrong. The essay will address the inconsistency by focusing on the purpose of each argument, i.e. on the aim each argument serves. In Crito he argues against civil disobedience in order to convince Crito that escaping the death penalty … Continue reading The Role of Inconsistency in the Death of Socrates

No Thanks, This Experience Machine’s Fine.

Given the opportunity, would I allow myself to be hooked up to a machine that makes me feel as though I am authentically living out my wildest dreams? If this were the case given the choice, considering that I would be basing my decision on personal and psychological factors, I would not go into the machine. I am too attached to this life to follow through with this decision, even if I were to reason out that it was in my best interest, even with the knowledge that my decision would be irrelevant once in the machine. However, while my philosophical reasoning would be largely irrelevant in my actual decision-making process, I will argue that, philosophically, based on my conception of the ‘good life’, I would still not enter. Continue reading No Thanks, This Experience Machine’s Fine.

Why Impartialists Make Good Friends

by LEAH TRUEBLOOD Why Impartialists Make Good Friends: A Defense of The Motivational Structure of Consequentalism. Utilitarians are often thought to make bad friends and lousy lovers. Philosophical heavyweights such as John Rawls and Bernard Williams argue, respectively, that Utilitarianism destroys the distinction between persons and is an attack on our integrity. Even though, as Rawls and Williams show us, the objections to Utilitarianism vary, a common worry does emerge. This worry is something like: without family and friends our lives would be miserable. Meaningful friendships are impossible for utilitarians because their motivation is exclusively to produce the best consequences. … Continue reading Why Impartialists Make Good Friends

Kant’s Argument for Free Will

By Andy Yu
Kant argues that we can and must admit free will in order for morality to be meaningful at all. The aim of this paper is to reconstruct his arguments found in the Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals and the Critique of Practical Reason. I explore his main argument for free will, which relies on the thesis that morality reciprocally implies free will and break this argument into two steps: by discussing how Kant shows that morality implies rationality and how Kant shows that rationality implies free will. Finally, I review Kant’s position on the apparent incompatibility between free will and determinism.
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Ethical Subjects, Empowered Subjectivities

by FAHD HUSAIN Ethical Subjects, Empowered Subjectivities: Individuality, Agency and Interpersonality in the late Foucault ABSTRACT This essay will focus on the Foucauldian notion of the ‘care of the self’, wherein care is defined as the process undertaken by the self to perpetually regenerate its own unique ‘aesthetics’ that best informs and enriches its everyday life. Foucault’s insistence on a perpetual self-regeneration hinges upon a problematization of the pre-established criteria of normality structuring the context: it involves a mode of thinking that scrutinizes the relation of the self to such yardsticks and resists the passive acceptance of their prescribed normative … Continue reading Ethical Subjects, Empowered Subjectivities

Kant’s Religion vs. Our Religion

By Daniel Arango In Religion Within the Limits of Pure Reason Alone, Immanuel Kant considers the claim that God “arises out of mortality” without being the basis for moral obligation. “Morality thus leads ineluctably to religion, through which extends itself to the idea of a powerful moral Lawgiver, outside of mankind, for Whose will that is the final end (of creation) which at the same time can and ought to be man’s final end.” Kant develops what he calls the “pure religion of reason” and explains this true moral religion in relation to other established, historical religions. He was particularly interested … Continue reading Kant’s Religion vs. Our Religion

An Argument for the Hedonistic Account of Pain

By JOSHUA M. MITCHELL I. Introduction As we see from Cicero’s account of Epicureanism, its ethical system (i.e. Hedonism) revolves around the entities of pleasure and pain. As in all ethical theories, there is a “greatest good” that is the aim of life . For the hedonist, this is the absence of all pain, and they hold that this is the highest pleasure (and pleasure is equated with good for the Epicurean). There are many reasons the Epicureans give (via Cicero’s testimony) for this, which involve our senses and instinctual responses to good and bad, from our moment of conscious experience … Continue reading An Argument for the Hedonistic Account of Pain