The article discusses moral relativism in light of some recent criticism. The kind of criticism I discuss of a special kind, and the main idea of the article is to argue that the kind of criticism I discuss is misplaced. Moral relativism has been criticized for not being able to explain normative speech, for reducing moral disagreement under agreement to disagreement of a non-moral kind, and for not being able explain how we can condemn morally destructive ideologies. It is argued that the main reason why this kind of criticism fails, is that the question of what we morally ought to do according to moral relativism is determined by two sources, our reasons and the moral standards we have acquired and accepted.
This article elaborates upon the Capability Theory as it has been laid out by Amartya Sen and further developed by Martha Nussbaum and Elizabeth Anderson. The article claims that the Capability Theory in general contains a promising account of social justice and thus should be taken seriously in that respect. The article discusses what it takes to be the three most widely held objections against the theory. Firstly, that capability as a currency of justice is either not distinct from welfare on the one hand or from resources on the other. Secondly, that the Capability Theory sets a too demanding ideal of justice. And thirdly, that the containment of some sort of sufficiency-standard often found in capability theories is implausible. The article argues against each of these objections in turn and concludes that they are less worrisome than they may sound. The Capability Theory therefore stands as a promising account of social justice.
The article’s point of departure is Hans Skjervheim’s distinction between objective observer and subjective participant attitudes, a distinction to which a duality of causal and reason explanation is often thought to correspond. I defend the anti-naturalist import of the distinction, arguing that reasons for belief and action resist ontological identification with objective causes. Considering the contrast between object dependent truth and subject dependent reasoning and rationality, I first sketch a «transcendental» view on the abstract and irreducibly practical nature of reasons. This view is confirmed by recent theories of normative and motivating reasons. I proceed with some Wittgensteinian reflections on explaining reasons to the effect that in a basic sense they are not possible objects of propositional truth. They may instantiate a formal, subjective variant of causality however, and the resulting position is called transcendental epiphenomenalism.
Within this article I try both to contribute to the development of the philosophical practice as it is known in the tradition from Achenbach and Lindseth and on the other hand to the exegetic research on the later Heidegger. The reason why I combine those two quite different ‘traditions’ is that I take it to be possible to say something new about the phenomenon of ‘Lebenskönnerschaft’ (as put forward by Achenbach) and thereby a core issue of Philosophical Practice through a thorough reading of the late Heidegger. What is of special interest by the late Heidegger concerning the question of Lebenskönnerschaft, so it is argued, is that Heidegger in his later thinking is asking, what humans can do when language is speaking. In other words: What the later Heidegger asks is, what ‘freedom’ or ‘doing’ is, when the subject is not self-positing and not controlling the flux of language and meaning. Along this line I firstly argue that the question of Lebenskönnerschaft today has to be put as exactly the question what the subject can do when it’s not a ‘master-subject’ and secondly that the answer to that question found in the later Heidegger is of highly interest not only to those of interest in the current discussion concerning the ‘essence’ of freedom and rationality but also the practitioner of philosophical practice.
Using new philosophical perspectives and new political and military experiences, Foucault in the early 1970s changes his view on the history of psychiatry so that it is no longer a relationship between knowledge, policy and morality, but a relationship between knowledge, policy and social power. Foucault changed perspectives on psychiatric history is the result of a philosophical journey between Marxism and Nietzsche’s understanding of power. In his new perspectives Foucault changes the history of psychiatry to a history related to a type of power that manifests itself throughout the modern society. In particular, he shows how concepts and philosophical ideas arise in personal as well as collective experiences.