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Anderson, Elizabeth, , . Value in Ethics and Economics
1993, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Summary: Elizabeth Anderson offers a new theory of value and rationality that rejects cost-benefit analysis in our social lives and in our ethical theories. This account of the plurality of values thus offers a new approach, beyond welfare economics and traditional theories of justice, for assessing the ethical limitations of the market. In this light, Anderson discusses several contemporary controversies involving the proper scope of the market, including commercial surrogate motherhood, privatization of public services, and the application of cost-benefit analysis to issues of environmental protection.

Comment: This book as a whole would be an excellent addition to an upper level course on morals and markets. The last three chapters (7-9) cover a number of applied issues in economics and ethics. Chapter 8, "Is Women's Labor a Commodity" would be an especially good addition to a course on business ethics or biomedical ethics that discusses paid surrogacy.

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Detlefsen, Karen, , . Reason and Freedom: Margaret Cavendish on the order and disorder of nature
2007, Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 89(2): 157-191.
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Added by: Benjamin Goldberg, Contributed by:

Abstract: According to Margaret Cavendish the entire natural world is essentially rational such that everything thinks in some way or another. In this paper, I examine why Cavendish would believe that the natural world is ubiquitously rational, arguing against the usual account, which holds that she does so in order to account for the orderly production of very complex phenomena (e.g. living beings) given the limits of the mechanical philosophy. Rather, I argue, she attributes ubiquitous rationality to the natural world in order to ground a theory of the ubiquitous freedom of nature, which in turn accounts for both the world’s orderly and disorderly behavior.

Comment: This article examines Cavendish's concept of order and disorder in nature, and will prove a useful complement to advanced courses in early modern thought. Usefully paired with Cavendish's works, but also those of Descartes, Malebranche, etc.

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Heuer, Ulrike, , . Intentions and the Reasons for Which we Act
2014, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114(3pt3): 291-315.
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Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Abstract: Many of the things we do in the course of a day we don’t do intentionally: blushing, sneezing, breathing, blinking, smiling – to name but a few. But we also do act intentionally, and often when we do we act for reasons. Whether we always act for reasons when we act intentionally is controversial. But at least the converse is generally accepted: when we act for reasons we always act intentionally. Necessarily, it seems. In this paper, I argue that acting intentionally is not in all cases acting for a reason. Instead, intentional agency involves a specific kind of control. Having this kind of control makes it possible to modify one’s action in the light of reasons. Intentional agency opens the possibility of acting in the light of reasons. I also explain why when we act with an intention we act for reasons. In the second part of the paper, I draw on these results to show that the dominant view of reasons to intend and the rationality of intentions should be rejected.

Comment: This paper critically considers the relation between reasons for action and reasons to form an intention. It rejects the dominate symmetry view according to which a reason to φ is ipso factoia reason to intend to φ. It is a paper suitable for courses on philosophy of action.

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O'Neill, Onora, , . Constructions of Reason: Explorations of Kant’s Practical Philosophy
1989, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Two centuries after they were published, Kant’s ethical writings are as much admired and imitated as they have ever been, yet serious and long-standing accusations of internal incoherence remain unresolved. Onora O’Neill traces the alleged incoherences to attempts to assimilate Kant’s ethical writings to modern conceptions of rationality, action and rights. When the temptation to assimilate is resisted, a strikingly different and more cohesive account of reason and morality emerges. Kant offers a “constructivist” vindication of reason and a moral vision in which obligations are prior to rights and in which justice and virtue are linked. O’Neill begins by reconsidering Kant’s conceptions of philosophical method, reason, freedom, autonomy and action. She then moves on to the more familiar terrain of interpretation of the Categorical Imperative, while in the last section she emphasizes differences between Kant’s ethics and recent “Kantian” ethics, including the work of John Rawls and other contemporary liberal political philosophers

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O'Neill, Onora, , . Vindicating reason
1992, In Paul Guyer (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Kant. Cambridge University Press. pp. 280--308.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Abstract: Whatever else a critique of reason attempts, it must surely criticize reason. Further, if it is not to point toward nihilism, a critique of reason cannot have only a negative or destructive outcome, but must vindicate at least some standards or principles as authorities on which thinking and doing may rely, and by which they may (in part) be judged. Critics of ‘the Enlightenment project’ from Pascal to Horkheimer to contemporary communitarians and postmodernists, detect its Achilles’ heel in arrant failure to vindicate the supposed standards of reason that are so confidently used to criticize, attack, and destroy other authorities, including church, state, and tradition. If the authority of reason is bogus, why should such reasoned criticism have any weight?
Suspicions about reason can be put innumerable ways. However, one battery of criticisms is particularly threatening, because it targets the very possibility of devising anything that could count as a vindication of reason. This line of attack is sometimes formulated as a trilemma. Any supposed vindication of the principles of reason would have to establish the authority of certain fundamental constraints on thinking or acting. However, this could only be done in one of three ways. A supposed vindication could appeal to the presumed principles of reason that it aims to vindicate – but would then be circular, so fail as vindication. Alternatively, it might be based on other starting points – but then the supposed principles of reason would lack reasoned vindication, so could not themselves bequeath unblemished pedigrees.

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Wolf, Susan, , . Two levels of pluralism
1992, Ethics 102 (4):785-798.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Jojanneke Vanderveen

Abstract: Pluralism in ethics, as I understand it, is the view that there is an irreducible plurality of values or principles that are relevant to moral judgment. While the utilitarian says that all morally significant con- siderations can be reduced to quantities of pleasure and pain, and the Kantian says that all moraljudgment can be reduced to a single principle having to do with respect for rationality and the bearers of rationality, the pluralist insists that morality is not at the fundamental level so simple. Moreover, as many use the term, and as I shall use it in this essay, the pluralist believes that the plurality of morally significant values is not subject to a complete rational ordering. Thus, it is held that no principle or decision procedure exists that can guarantee a unique and determinate answer to every moral question involving a choice among different fundamental moral values or principles. My aim in this article is not to argue for the truth of ethical pluralism but, rather, to explore some implications of its truth, or even of the self-conscious recognition of the possibility of its truth. Specifically, I shall argue that pluralism, or, indeed, even the possibility of pluralism, has implications for the way we understand issues concerning moral objectivity and moral relativism, as well as implications for the positions we take on them. I shall begin by sketching a common pattern of thought about these issues.

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