Archive for the ‘Ancient Philosophy’ Category
I hope this engenders an open discussion about meta-ethics in general.
The Department of Philosophy is very pleased to announce that Paul Carelli (Kentucky) has accepted our offer for a tenure-track teaching position at UNF. Dr. Carelli is a specialist in Ancient Greek Philosophy, with a particular interest in Plato’s moral psychology. He also has teaching interests in Asian Philosophy, Ethics, and Logic. We look forward to welcoming him in the fall!
Recent debates in ethics and moral psychology have attempted to call into question the foundations of virtue theory by using empirical research from the social sciences. The situationists claim that virtue theory is empirically inadequate because although people’s behavior can be consistent in similar situations, it is often not consistent across different types of situations. Ross and Nisbett state that we cannot accurately predict how a particular person will respond in novel situations using information about that person’s dispositions or past behavior (Ross & Nisbett, 1991). They believe this suggests that there is no such thing as robust character traits and that, instead, behavior is influenced more by the situation than by individual differences (Doris, 1998). Not only do these situational factors affect our behavior, but they also claim that we are often unaware of the extent to which these factors influence us. This tendency to overlook the influence of situational factors is one component of the fundamental attribution error, what Ross and Nisbett define as “people’s inflated belief in the importance of personality traits and dispositions, together with their failure to recognize the importance of situational factors in affecting behavior” (Ross & Nisbett, 1991, p. 4).
On the Life of a Playboy-Bunny,
I recall an evening in the early summer of August 1997, when I was strolling towards a movie theatre in Santa Monica, California to take in some of Hollywood’s cinematographic delights. A friend of mine, who was, at the time, residing in Paris, rang in with the terrible news that 36-year old Princess Diana had died. As I entered the theatre, with news that had yet to break in most of America, I could not help but wonder how the people who were watching the movie with me would be affected by this death once they found out. While I was uncertain how people would react, I was somehow quite certain that most would likely have some form of reaction, be it grief, surprise, chock, or sadness.
This was not the case when I heard of the death of 39-year old Anna Nicole Smith (Thursday 02/09/07). In fact, I only just furrowed my brows a bit, turned off the news channel, and thought: ”Oh well…who cares”?! It was not until this morning I started pondering why I could possibly care so little about another human being.
While there are arguably not many things in philosophy that we can call ‘Absolutely True’ there is at least one thing in life that is certain. Those who have met me know that I tend to talk…at lot! After recently enjoying my birthday (which I celebrate, as I find birthdays a far better option than the alternative) I found myself pondering things such as adulthood, maturity, and knowledge. I wondered to myself, have I reached an age where I can be considered adult? And does that also mean that I am mature? And if I am mature, does that mean that I finally have ‘some knowledge’? And if I don’t have knowledge, then how do I get some? Socrates said that the only thing he knew was that he knew nothing at all. This acknowledgement, according to the Oracle, if I understand correctly, made Socrates the wisest man in the world. I wonder, though, if perhaps something else made Socrates so clever. Famous for his dialectic questioning, he had to have been very skilled at one thing: Listening! Listening is not the forte of someone, such as myself, who tends to talk too much. Though we, as students, tend to spend most of our day engaged in listening, for many reason, it appears that we are not very good at it. Scientific evidence will tell us that this is caused (among other things) by the fact that thought speed by far outruns speaking speed. Often people may find themselves bored with a presentation, or already planning rebuttals to arguments before the other person has quite finished speaking. Hoping that age will bring some knowledge, I decided that this year, I will practice listening more and speaking less (…this is not going well at all, I might add!). Listening, I realized, would mean that I would have to be silent. In order to do that effectively, I had to consider what that really means. What is silence?
12th Annual Arizona Colloquium on Ancient Philosophy
Plato and Socrates on the Nature and Teaching of Virtue
February 16-18, 2007
University of Arizona, Tucson
Registration is due February 1st. See website for more details.
- Jen Giesselmann