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ItemBernard Williams's moral psychology projectSaunders, Nicole ( 2006)Bernard Williams's important and controversial contributions to moral philosophy invite misunderstanding. Confusions are apparent in many critics' views of his aim and their understanding of his position's resources, resulting in mistaken views about both the implications of his arguments and the strongest lines of critical response. Williams did not provide a unified, comprehensive picture of his complex, nuanced position. In the absence of such a picture, and subject to certain preconceptions about moral philosophy's role and aim, it can be difficult to appreciate his thought, especially if we do not read him holistically. The most profitable approach recognises that Williams aims to articulate and execute a new style of moral psychology, trying to make sense of human beings in a realistic, naturalistic way and treating ethical concepts non-reductively. I will map his project's rationale, explain in detail how he pursues it, and clarify the implications seminal and controversial accounts he gives. I analyse Williams's methodological approach, characterising it as a non-reductive, naturalistic moral psychology project. His key insight is that for moral philosophy to speak realistically to and about human concerns and motivations, it must be able to make sense of individuals. To reveal this claim's implications, I compile Williams's scattered comments to assemble a unified account of his notion of character. I then re-evaluate 'Persons, character, and morality', clarifying his aim and revealing the enduring significance of this piece for moral philosophy. Using this as background, I offer a new approach to reading 'Practical necessity', further clarifying the notion of character. I then clarify the full extent of Williams's resources by integrating this picture with his notion of identification, and the concomitant psychological structures underpinning ethical agency revealed in his analysis of shame. I then revisit the controversial 'Internal and external reasons' and Williams's account of blame, which are more comprehensible and plausible than has previously been appreciated when set against the backdrop of the comprehensive account that I have developed. These resources were always available, but have been under-utilised in many critical discussions due to a failure to see the importance of a unified, holistic view of his moral psychology.
ItemThe affective creation of moral authorityBarton, Michael ( 2006)This paper will address the issue of the creation of a certain kind of moral authority. By 'creation' here I mean something like affective establishment, rather than creative in a sheer, artistic, or ex nihilo sense, and by 'affective' I mean something that goes beyond dictionary definitions ('concerning the emotions') and potentially moves the whole being, the intellect as well as the emotions.
ItemPhilosophical conceptions of saintlinessBarham, Ross Campbell ( 2006)This thesis is principally concerned with philosophical conceptions of saintliness. Ultimately, I explicate an original, philosophically adequate characterisation of saintliness. To achieve this end, I firstly provide a genealogical account of Western Philosophical conceptions of saintliness as they have appeared in the writings of a number of philosophers belonging to the Western canon. Having thereby achieved a heightened appreciation of the concept, I characterise 'saintliness' in terms of exceptional devotion to The Good, and elaborate accordingly. The following is a section-by-section synopsis of the main arguments advanced: 1. Pre-Modern conceptions of saintliness were entirely dependent upon Christian conceptions. 1.1. St Augustine's metaphysical emphasis reveals that contentious metaphysics cannot serve as the foundation for a philosophically adequate conception of saintliness. 1.2 St Thomas Aquinas' conception suggests the same of Theological authority. 1.3 Erasmus' satire, although not convincing and unable to sway the philosophical fanatic, nevertheless enables speculation concerning the psychology of saint veneration. 1.4 Martin Luther's attack on Roman Catholic doctrine suggests that philosophical conceptions of saintliness should also be wary of ecclesiastical authority. 1.5 Voltaire and David Hume signal the end of Pre-Modern conceptions as they both shifted ethical criticism to the phenomenon of saintliness itself. 2.1 Arthur Schopenhauer occasioned the advent of Modern philosophical conceptions of saintliness as his philosophy sought to construct a self-sustained metaphysical system to support his notion of saintliness. 2.2 The methodology that William James employed to arrive at his conception of the 'universal saint' is philosophically prudent, to the discredit of Schopenhauer's characterisation 2.3 Aldous Huxley's assertions of saintly homogeneity are unfounded, yet reveal the potentially biased nature of various forms of hagiography. 2.4 Nietzsche's conception was heavily influenced by Schopenhauer, but eventually rebelled against transcendental claims. 2.5 Jean-Paul Sartre refined Nietzsche's attitude to saintliness, but was misguided in doing so. 3. Contemporary conceptions of saintliness are essentially ethical. 3.1 J. O. Urmson's saintly supererogation collapses on metaethical grounds. 3.2 Susan Wolf s moral saint mistakenly besmirched saintly terminology. 3.3 Raimond Gaita's saintly love, although reliant upon religious language, is not thereby compelled to adopt attendant metaphysical commitments. Whether or not a saint must be psychologically dependent upon religious belief is unresolved. 4.1 Saintliness has been a dynamic, culturally dependent, and often problematic notion. That this is too often neglected thereby demands the explication of a philosophically adequate conception. 4.2 Preliminarily defined, saintliness is an exceptional devotion to The Good. 4.3 Saintliness is a term of commendation that bears no attendant metaphysical commitments. 4.4 Saintly devotion must be exceptional in both quality and quantity. 4.5 The Good' is able to encompass any moral ideal. Saints have and may. continue to embody various instantiations of The Good. 4.6 While there may be an essential nature to saintliness, pragmatic constraints permit only a normative understanding. 4.7 The conception of saintliness explicated herein is philosophically adequate.