The paper examines the ethical dimensions of Michel Houellebecq’s works of fiction. On the basis of keen diagnostics of contemporary Western culture, this world-renowned French writer predicts the destructive social consequences of ultra-liberalism and enters into an argument with transhumanist theories. His writings, depicting the misery of contemporary man and imagining a new human species enhanced by technologies, show that neither the so-called neo-humans nor the “last man” of liberal democracies can reach happiness. The latter can only be achieved if humanist values, shared by previous generations and promoted by the great 19th-century authors (Balzac, Flaubert), are reinvented.
This paper focuses on the current state of environmental education within formal education in Slovakia, emphasising its methodology and weak points. The author aims to identify the place and role of philosophicalethical theory within environmental education, which is an integral part of ethics education. What concrete knowledge, skills and instruments of both ethics and philosophy can (should) a teacher of ethics education put into effect when teaching environmental-educational topics? Before answering this question the place of environmental education within the broader context of moral education will be explored.
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This paper develops the situational model of primate beliefs from the Prior-Lurz line of thought. There is a strong skepticism concerning primate beliefs in the analytic tradition which holds that beliefs have to be propositional and non-human animals do not have them (e.g., Davidson 1975, 1982). The response offered in this paper is twofold. First, two arguments against the propositional model as applied to other animals are put forward: an a priori argument from referential opacity and an empirical argument from varieties of working memory. Second, the Prior-Lurz situational model based on state of affairs as opposed to propositions is introduced and defended with two significant modifications. With this model of primate beliefs we can make progress in understanding how other primates can have certain mindreading capacity.
The main aim of the presented paper is to suggest a new possible approach in moral education in Slovakia. The starting point for the presented argumentation is the position that moral education (ethics education) in Slovakia is based on insufficient foundations. One of the possible propositions of how to overcome this shortcoming is to supersede prosocial behavior (insufficient base) with value education and promotion of the development of critical and analytical moral thinking. The paper suggests that one of the possible ways how to achieve this goal is by the help of introducing the issue of moral (ethical) consumption as a topic of moral education.
In Peter Singer’s article “The Challenge of Brain Death for the Sanctity of Life Ethic”, he articulates that ethics has always played an important role in defining death. He claims that the demand for redefining death spreads rather from new ethical challenges than from a new, scientifically improved understanding of the nature of death. As thorough as his plea for dismissal of the brain-death definition is, he does not avoid the depiction of the complementary relationship between science and ethics. Quite the opposite, he tends to formulate a stronger, philosophically more consistent argument to help science and medical practitioners to define life, death, and the quality of life. In my commentary, I would like to focus on two issues presented in Singer’s study. Firstly, I will critically analyze the relationship between science and ethics. Secondly, I will follow on from Singer’s arguments differentiating between end of life as an organism and end of life as a person. The latter case is necessarily linked with man’s participation in her/his life, setting life goals, and fulfilling her/his idea of good life. Through the consequential definition of the dignity in ethics of social consequences, I will try to support Singer’s idea.
The Verisimilitudinarian approach to scientific progress (VS, for short) is traditionally considered a realist-correspondist model to explain the proximity of our best scientific theories to the way things really are in the world out there (ʻthe Truthʻ, with the capital ʻtʻ). However, VS is based on notions, such as ʻestimated verisimilitudeʻ or ʻapproximate truthʻ, that dilute the model in a functionalist-like theory. My thesis, then, is that VS tries to incorporate notions, such as ʻprogressʻ, in a pre-constituted metaphysical conception of the world, but fails in providing a fitting framework. The main argument that I will develop to support this claim is that the notions that they use to explain scientific progress (ʻestimated verisimilitudeʻ or ʻapproximate truthʻ) have nothing to do with ʻthe Truthʻ. After presenting Cevolani and Tamboloʻs answer (2013) to Birdʻs arguments (2007), I will claim that VS sacrifices the realist-correspondist truth in favor of an epistemic notion of truth, which can obviously be compatible with certain kinds of realism but not with the one the authors have in mind (the correspondence between our theories and the way things really are).
The article is a critical commentary on Peter Singer’s thesis that the brain death definition should be replaced by a rule outlining the conditions permitting organ harvesting from patients who are biologically alive but are no longer persons. Largely agreeing with the position, I believe it can be justified not only on the basis of utilitarian arguments, but also those based on Kantian ethics and Christianity. However, due to the lack of reliable methods diagnosing complete and irreversible loss of consciousness, we should refrain from implementing upper brain death into medical practice. Organs also should not be harvested from people in a persistent vegetative state or from anencephalic children, for similar reasons. At the same time, patients who suffered from whole-brain death should not be artificially sustained; in light of current knowledge they can be declared dead and become organ donors.
The article deals with two consequentialist theories and their comparison in terms of promoting certain values and evaluation of moral agents’ actions and behaviour. A basic presupposition is their mutual compatibility based primarily on their consequentialist nature. The paper searches for possible evidence that presented theories might be denominated as hybrid theories based on their dynamic transformations and it also searches for possible mutual enrichment of these theories/approaches as their examined similar character might be a good starting point for such goals. The nature of ethical values is questioned as well as the idea (supported by relevant argumentation) of not distinguishing ethical theories based on their implicit inclination towards usage of specific values. The paper confronts these traditional (classical) ideas of making such differentiation and thus strictly connecting specific moral values with specific ethical theories and not allowing possible productive associations. Ethics of social consequences and the theory of lesser evil are chosen as examples to prove that not limited approaches in terms of operation with only specific type of values might be productive. Their dynamic character predestines these theories to be hybrid ethical theories and thus compatible in their value structure and theory of right.