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Positive Peace

Reflections on Peace Education, Nonviolence, and Social Change


Edited by Andrew Fitz-Gibbon

Positive Peace is a scholarly and creative compilation of articles on peace education, nonviolence and social change. Arun Gandhi (grandson of Mahatma Gandhi) sets the scene in his introduction with the challenge that positive peace is both a resisting of the physical violence of war and the passive violence of the psychological structures that lead to conflict. Peace education rises to meet that challenge. In twelve chapters, philosophers and educators look at a variety of topics from Gandhian nonviolence, to pragmatic conflict solving; hope and the ethics of belief, to the way we use violent language; mothering and peace activism, to multiculturalism and peace. Recurring themes are: pragmatic nonviolence, the ethics of care as an antidote to violence, and hope in a violent world. Chapters on the use of film in peace education, song and nonviolent activism, and teaching art history and peace, demonstrate pragmatic possibilities for would-be peace educators. Arun Gandhi in his introduction asks, “For generations human beings have strived to attain peace, but with little or no success. … Why is peace so illusive? Is it unattainable? Are humans incapable of living in peace?” This book suggests that peace education has a large part to play. It is an important attempt to begin to meet the challenge.


Jon Mills and Janusz A. Polanowski

This book offers a bold and controversial new thesis regarding the nature of prejudice. The authors' central claim is that prejudice is not simply learned, rather it is predisposed in all human beings and is thus the foundation for ethical valuation. They aim to destroy the illusion that prejudice is merely the result of learned beliefs, socially conditioned attitudes, or pathological states of development. Contrary to traditional accounts, prejudice itself is not a negative attribute of human nature, rather it is the necessary precondition for the self and civilization to emerge. Defined as the preferential self-expression of valuation, prejudice gives rise to greater existential complexities and novelties that elevate selfhood and society to higher states of ethical realization. Rather than offer another contribution that highlights the destructive nature of prejudice, Mills and Polanowski address the ontological, psychological, and dialectical origins of prejudice as it manifests itself in the process of selfhood and culture. They provide an original conceptualization of the phenomenology of prejudice and its dialectical instantiation in the ontology of the individual, worldhood, and the very structures of subjectivity. As a unique synthesis of psychoanalysis, Hegelian idealism, Heideggerian existential ontology, and Whiteheadian process philosophy, prejudice is the indispensable ground for humanity to actualize its highest potentiality-for-Being. The striking result is (1) a revolutionary theory of human nature, (2) a new ethical system, and (3) the elevation of dialectical ethics to the domain of metaphysics.

On Education and Values

In Praise of Pariahs and Nomads


George David Miller and Conrad P. Pritscher

The educationally emaciated, suffering from intellectual and spiritual bilumia, binge on facts and linear thinking. The imprimatur of clarity and the infatuation with quantification are accoutrements of this affliction, often characterized by apathy. Chaos is introduced as the wrecking ball for the hierarchical skyscrapers that overcrowd the educational skyline. The type of chaos proposed can be explained by the neutron bomb analogy. Chaos destroys all that is inessential but leaves standing the essential and promotes holistic rather than compartmentalized learning. The authors further contend that one insight is better than a myriad of facts; in being vigilant of serendipity; that the value-aspect of facts is as important as the facts themselves. Such beliefs form a foundation for educational holism. Our goal is to popularize philosophy in the same way science has become popular without a mass understanding. Empiricism is criticized for creating the theoretical basis for fragmentation (forming the basis for an island ideology) by excising essence. Founded on inessential empirical ideology, efforts to teach multiculturalism merely exacerbate difference, promote alienation, and discourage tolerance. Within the framework of value hierarchies we favor, tolerance is not understood as open-armed acceptance of just anything, but the forbearance of an evil for the promise of greater good. Essence cannot be removed: even in the idiosyncratic we can find the essential. In the absence of chaotic methodology, critical thinking remains an apolitical, amoral, and atemporal process displaced from social and political reality. We propose a critical thinking that is not legalistic, but is action-oriented. The pipe dream for education is a political, moral, temporal, and decompartmentalized critical thinking that disseminates philosophy across the curriculum. Those who risk becoming pariahs and nomads are essential to the rejuvenation of the educational system.


David Speetzen


This article applies the traditional just war criteria of just cause, necessity, and proportionality to the use of force by police officers. After describing the origins and structure of the just war perspective, it details how those core criteria can be used to construct a normative account of police force, which, in turn, can be used to diagnose a variety of misconceptions that have helped shape, and continue to shape public discourse about police violence in the United States. On the account presented here, the use of force by police officers is justified if and only if the level of force used is necessary to secure compliance with a legal command (or in defense of self or others), and will not result in more harm than good all things considered. What becomes apparent is that many common beliefs and attitudes about police force are mistaken—e.g., that a suspect’s criminality, disrespectful behavior, or even use of lethal force automatically renders him liable to police force, or that police force is proportionate so long the amount of force used does not grossly exceed that used by the suspect. It concludes that, relative to the appropriate ethical standards, much if not most police force used at present is unjustified.


Edited by Johannes L. Brandl, Marian David and Leopold Stubenberg


Charles Padrón

eclectic , I am thinking of one overlapping attribute: that there are no absolutes— (values, morals, ideals, beliefs, political systems, philosophical ideas, scientific paradigms, ways of life)—and for human efforts to impose any form of absolutist structure on others, whether directly or indirectly, only


Eric Thomas Weber

understanding something’s nature in part as Aristotle did, as a matter of the conditions in which the thing flourishes, Lachs breaks with the Greek philosopher in arguing that human beings do not have a singular nature, but many. He argues for a belief in human natures (cf. Lachs 1995 , 228–242). While he


Peter Durno Murray

there is a need to direct this twofold will to redeem the activities of soul and spirit in a complex Dionysian process of twisting free from the ambiguity felt towards the value of life inherited from a belief in transcendence. This process occurs as an agonal relationship with a philosophical companion


Edited by Robert N. Fisher, Daniel T. Primozic, Peter A. Day and Joel A. Thompson

This book explores many of the issues that arise when we consider persons who are in pain, who are suffering, and who are nearing the end of life. Suffering provokes us into a journey toward discovering who we are and forces us to rethink many of the views we hold about ourselves.


Jacquelyn Ann K. Kegley

guidance about how to do this effectively (cf. Lachs, Meddling , 2014). Finally, in the tradition of the classical pragmatists, Lachs believes that philosophical skills and resources must address pressing societal issues, and he, like them, advocates a view of philosophy as a critique of beliefs and