•  353
    Hannah Arendt’s (1906-1975) conception of power is entirely distinctive. It is rooted in a political philosophy that celebrates the public realm of freedom that emerges when people act with others as citizens or political equals. For Arendt, power is actualized where people act together to sustain or to change the world they share with one another. Her fundamental claim is this: ‘Power corresponds to the human ability not just to act but to act in concert. Power is never the property of an indiv…Read more
  •  107
    Responsibility
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006.
    We evaluate people and groups as responsible or not, depending on how seriously they take their responsibilities. Often we do this informally, via moral judgment. Sometimes we do this formally, for instance in legal judgment. This article considers mainly moral responsibility, and focuses largely upon individuals. Later sections also comment on the relation between legal and moral responsibility, and on the responsibility of collectives.
  •  101
    Moral responsibility
    Oxford Bibliographies Online. 2010.
    [Bibliographic article focussing on compatibilist approaches to responsibility.] Moral responsibility relates to many significant topics in ethics and metaphysics, such as the content and scope of moral obligations, the nature of human agency, and the structure of human interaction. This entry focuses on compatibilist approaches to moral responsibility—that is, approaches that see moral responsibility as compatible with the causal order of the world. This is partly because they have more to say …Read more
  •  99
    Nietzsche's response to Kant's morality
    Philosophical Forum 30 (3). 1999.
    Although commentators sometimes mention a link between Kant and Nietzsche, this paper claims that the continuities in their moral thought have been insufficiently explored. I argue that Nietzsche may offer us a profound rethinking of Kant’s morality – one indebted to Kant’s ideal of critique. The paper first considers the wide apparent gulf between the thinkers. The second section seeks to explain this gulf in terms which relate to Kant’s overall project, while the final section deals with Nietz…Read more
  •  96
    Praise and blame
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2004.
    Joel Feinberg observed that ‘moral responsibility… is a subject about which we are all confused.’ (1970: 37) Perhaps nowhere is this confusion more evident than in our understandings of praise and blame. This entry will contrast three influential philosophical accounts of our everyday practices of praise and blame, in terms of how they might be justified. On the one hand, a broadly Kantian approach sees responsibility for actions as relying on forms of self control that point back to the idea of…Read more
  •  94
    Hobbes: Moral and Political Philosophy
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2003.
    This encyclopedia entry surveys the moral and political thought of the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). Hobbes's vision of the world is strikingly original and still relevant to contemporary politics. His main concern is the problem of social and political order: how human beings can live together in peace and avoid the danger and fear of civil conflict. He poses stark alternatives: we should give our obedience to an unaccountable sovereign (a person or group empowered to decide ev…Read more
  •  92
    Human genetic banking:altruism, benefit and consent
    with Doris Schroeder
    New Genetics and Society 23 (1): 89-103. 2004.
    This article considers how we should frame the ethical issues raised by current proposals for large-scale genebanks with on-going links to medical and lifestyle data, such as the Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council's 'UK Biobank'. As recent scandals such as Alder Hey have emphasised, there are complex issues concerning the informed consent of donors that need to be carefully considered. However, we believe that a preoccupation with informed consent obscures important questions about the …Read more
  •  92
    Responsibility as a Virtue
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (4): 455-470. 2008.
    Philosophers usually discuss responsibility in terms of responsibility for past actions or as a question about the nature of moral agency. Yet the word responsibility is fairly modern, whereas these topics arguably represent timeless concerns about human agency. This paper investigates another use of responsibility, that is particularly important to modern liberal societies: responsibility as a virtue that can be demonstrated by individuals and organisations. The paper notes its initial importan…Read more
  •  82
    Kant's account of reason
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2009.
    Two of the most prominent questions in Kant's critical philosophy concern reason. The first, central to his theoretical philosophy, is the unprovable pretensions of reason in earlier “rationalist” philosophers, especially Leibniz and Descartes. The second, central to his practical philosophy, is the subservient role accorded to reason by the British empiricists—above all Hume, who declared, “Reason is wholly inactive, and can never be the source of so active a principle as conscience, or a sense…Read more
  •  78
    The claim that happiness and virtue ought to be proportionate to one another has often been expressed in the idea of a future world of divine justice, despite many moral difficulties with this idea. This paper argues that human efforts to enact such a proportionment are, ironically, justified by the same reasons that make the idea of divine justice seem so problematic. Moralists have often regarded our frailty and fallibility as reasons for abstaining from the judgment of others; and doubts abou…Read more
  •  63
    Like most bioethical discussion, examination of human biobanks has been largely framed in terms of research subjects’ rights, principally informed consent, with some gestures toward public benefits. However, informed consent is for the competent, rights-bearing individual: focussing on the individual, it thus neglects social, economic and even political matters; focussing on the competent rights-bearer, it does not serve situations where consent is plainly inappropriate (eg, the young child) or …Read more
  •  62
    Blame and responsibility
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6 (4): 427-445. 2003.
    This paper looks at judgments of guilt in the face of alleged wrong-doing, be it in public or in private discourse. Its concern is not the truth of such judgments, although the complexity and contestability of such claims will be stressed. The topic, instead, is what sort of activities we are engaged in, when we make our judgments on others' conduct. To examine judging as an activity it focuses on a series of problems that can occur when we blame others. On analysis, we see that these problems t…Read more
  •  60
    This paper considers the often-expressed fear that medical research may use children merely as means, and not respect them as ends in themselves – especially insofar as they are deemed less able to consent than adults. The main focus is on large-scale genetic, socio-medical and epidemiological research. The theoretical starting point of the paper is that to be treated as an end in oneself is to be regarded as – and to act as – a participant in cooperative endeavours. This participatory status is…Read more
  •  59
    Sharing Responsibility and Holding Responsible
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (4): 351-364. 2013.
    Who, in particular, may hold us responsible for our moral failings? Most discussions of moral responsibility bracket this question, despite its obvious practical importance. In this article, I investigate the moral authority involved and how it arises in the context of personal relationships, such as friendship or family relations. My account is based on the idea that parties to a personal relationship not only share responsibility for their relationship, but also — to some degree that is negoti…Read more
  •  56
    Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) is likely to be the first woman to join the canon of the great philosophers. Arendt's work has attracted a huge volume of scholarship. This collection reprints papers from the USA, Germany, France and the UK, where further scholarly work is emerging at an increasing pace. Given that there was vigorous debate of her work in her lifetime, that there have since been several waves of evaluation and re-evaluation, and because a new generation of scholars is now coming to her…Read more
  •  53
    Ethics and public policy
    with Dita Wickins-Drazilova
    In Luis Moreno, Iris Pigeot & Wolfgang Ahrens (eds.), Epidemiology of Obesity in Children and Adolescents, Springer Science+business Media. pp. 7--20. 2010.
    Ethical reflections help us decide what are the best actions to pursue in difficult and controversial situations. Reflections on public policy consider how to alter patterns of individual activity and institutional policies or frameworks for the better. The rising prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity may pose serious health issues. As such, it is related to ethical and public policy questions including responsibility for health, food production and consumption, patterns of physical act…Read more
  •  52
    Discusses different aspects of responsibility in Hannah Arendt's works.
  •  48
    Discusses the different senses of morality in Hannah Arendt's work, and her understanding of conscience.
  •  46
    Two approaches to moral responsibility : part two
    Richmond Journal of Philosophy 6 14-19. 2004.
    In this first part of the article, I want to sketch two things. First, I will say something about the idea of free will. The paradoxes involved in this idea often occur to people even before they come to philosophy, and these difficulties will be central to Kant’s account. But second, before turning to Kant, I would like to tackle Aristotle’s broad approach, and show that, before free will was invented by Christian philosophers, there was a quite different way of thinking about moral responsibil…Read more
  •  44
    A brief discussion of means and ends in Arendt's political theory, which considers the following quotation from Arendt's essay, 'What is freedom?': "Political institutions, no matter how well or badly designed, depend for continued existence upon acting men; their conservation is achieved by the same means that brought them into being. Independent existence marks the work of art as a product of making; utter dependence upon further acts to keep it in existence marks the state as a product of act…Read more
  •  42
    'Infrastructures of responsibility': The moral tasks of institutions
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (2). 2006.
    The members of any functioning modern society live their lives amid complex networks of overlapping institutions. Apart from the major political institutions of law and government, however, much normative political theory seems to regard this institutional fabric as largely a pragmatic convenience. This paper contests this assumption by reflecting on how institutions both constrain and enable spheres of effective action and responsibility. In this way a society’s institutional fabric constitutes…Read more
  •  41
    ‘Intelligible facts’:toward a constructivist account of action and responsibility
    In Sorin Baiasu, Sami Pihlstrom & Howard Williams (eds.), Politics and Metaphysics in Kant, University of Wales Press. 2011.
    This paper interprets facts about actions and responsibility in terms of Kant’s category of the ‘intelligible,’ but is also broadly naturalistic in its approach. It analyses intelligible facts in terms of two elements, the institutional and the normative. First, I draw on John Searle’s account of institutional facts. Searle emphasises that neither the meaning of a word nor my possession of something is a matter of empirical facts concerning the entity itself. Instead, to understand the nature of…Read more
  •  40
    Disclosure and responsibility in Arendt’s The Human Condition
    European Journal of Political Theory 14 (1): 37-54. 2015.
    Hannah Arendt is one of the few philosophers to examine the dynamics of political action at length. Intriguingly, she emphasises the disclosure of who the actor is as a specific distinction of political action. This emphasis is connected with some long-standing worries about Arendt’s account that centre on its apparent unconcern for political responsibility. In this paper, I argue that Arendt’s emphasis on disclosure actually harbours a profound concern with responsibility. I do so by examining …Read more
  •  40
    Between Ethics and Right: Kantian Politics and Democratic Purposes
    European Journal of Philosophy 20 (3): 479-486. 2012.
    Arthur Ripstein's book Force and Freedom insists that, ‘Freedom, understood as independence of another person's choice, is [all] that matters’. In this paper I suggest that this premise leads Ripstein to an instrumentalization of democracy that neglects a properly public and collective notion of freedom. The paper first criticizes Ripstein's key argument against any extension of public purposes beyond the upholding of persons’ ‘independence of others’ choice’. More constructively, the paper then…Read more
  •  40
    This paper explores an internal relation between wrong-doing and the ability to think in moral terms, through Hobbes ’ thought. I use his neglected retelling of our ‘original sin’ as a springboard, seeing how we then discover a need to vindicate our own projects in terms shared by others. We become normatively demanding creatures: greedy for normative vindication, eager to judge others amid the difficulties of our world. However there is, of course, no choice for us but to choose our own princip…Read more
  •  38
    Geoffrey Vickers: philosopher of responsibility
    Systems Research and Behavioral Science 22 (4): 291-8. 2005.
    In this article I discuss Geoffrey Vickers’ ideas from the perspective of moral and political philosophy. His thought is presented through three key terms, which I suggest can encapsulate his philosophy: (i) our human capacity to respond aptly to our situation; (ii) the analysis of modern society in terms of institutions; and (iii) the moral importance of responsibility to the maintenance of human culture and cooperation.
  •  35
    Kant and the question of meaning
    Philosophical Forum 30 (2). 1999.
    This paper discusses Kant’s problematic attempts to come to grips with the question of meaning. The first section sets out the problem as Kant discovers it, under the idea of a ‘Categorical Imperative.’ The second looks directly at his thoughts on the question of meaning, in connection with individual dignity, personal fulfilment and hope for our common future. Third, I examine inadequacies in Kant’s account, while the fourth part suggests that these arise through a lack of faith in the practica…Read more
  •  34
    Love and responsibility: A political ethic for Hannah Arendt
    Political Studies 46 (5): 937-950. 1998.
    This paper argues that those critics of Hannah Arendt's thought who have protested at her disavowal of ‘moral standards’ as being appropriate in the judgment of political action have, in fact, misjudged the structure of her thought. My argument is, however, a constructive one: the paper seeks to demonstrate how Arendt arrives at her sweeping rejection of conventional standards of moral judgment, and what solution she proposes. I do this in three stages. First, I address Arendt's understanding of…Read more
  •  33
    Review article of Christopher Kutz, Complicity: Ethics and Law for a Collective Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)