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Robin Attfield

This work defends an interrelated set of theses in value-theory, normative ethics and meta-ethics. The three Parts correspond to these three areas.
Part One (Value) defends a biocentric theory of moral standing, and then the coherence and objectivity of belief in intrinsic value, despite recent objections. Intrinsic value is located in the flourishing of living creatures; specifically, a neo-Aristotelian, species-relative account is supplied of wellbeing or flourishing, in terms of the development of the essential capacities of one's species. There follows a theory of priorities, or of relative intrinsic value, in which the satisfaction of basic needs takes priority over other needs and over wants, and the interests of complex and sophisticated creatures over those of others, where they are at stake.
Part Two defends a practice-consequentialist theory of the criteria of rightness and of obligation, which leaves room for supererogation, underpins our intuitions about justice, commends population growth only where it is genuinely desirable, and responds better than act-consequentialism to objections like that concerned with the separateness of persons. Part Three sifts meta-ethical theories, rejects moral relativism, and defends a cognitivist and naturalist meta-ethic. In defending analytical naturalism, it takes into account the latest literature on supervenience.
By responding to recent discussions, this study supersedes my Theory of Value and Obligation (1987). It is equipped with detailed end-notes and an ample bibliography, which could prove a research tool of itself.

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William Gerber

The book analyzes, synthesizes, and evaluates the insights of the world's outstanding thinkers, prophets, and literary masters on the good, the morally right, and the lovely (part one); the question whether the world operates on the basis of such universal laws as the logos, the tao, and the principle of polarity (part two); what there is and isn't in the world, including such categories as existence, reality, being, and nonbeing (part three); and pre-eminently credible and enriching beliefs about truth, wisdom, and what it all means (part four).
Emphasis is placed on the divergent views of such intellectual giants as Confucius and Laotse in ancient China; the classical Hindu philosophers from ancient times to Gandhi and Tagore; patriarchs and prophets quoted in Scripture; Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas in the Middle Ages; Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, and Kant; and nineteenth- and twentieth-century luminaries such as Bentham, Mill, Peirce, James, Dewey, Sartre, and Wittgenstein.
The differences and resemblances of their cogitations are portrayed as a conversation of the ages on questions of persistent concern.

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Daniel Statman and Avi Sagi

Religion and Morality seeks to answer two fundamental questions regarding the relation between religion and morality. The first is the puzzle posed by Socrates, the so-called ' Euthyphro dilemma', which asks: is morality valuable by virtue of its intrinsic importance and worth, or is morality valuable because, and only because, God approves it and commands us to follow its dictates? The second question is raised by Kierkegaard in Fear and Trembling. He asks: Is a conflict between religion and morality possible? Does God ever demand that we neglect our moral commitments? The discussion on these questions is divided into three parts. In the first two parts, we discuss the idea that morality depends on religion. The authors distinguish two types of dependence: strong dependence, according to which the very existence, or validity, of moral obligations depends on God's command, and weak dependence, according to which though morality itself is independent of God, God (or belief in God) is necessary to enable human beings to know their moral duties and to carry them out. The authors reject the strong dependence thesis, as well as most versions of the weak dependence. The third part of the book discusses different versions of the view that religion might conflict with morality. The authors reject this view, and show that very few religious thinkers would follow it all the way through to its ultimate consequences. The book has implications for the philosophy of religion, in its emphasis on the centrality of the moral element in religion, and for moral philosophy, in its highlighting, among other things, of the nature of moral judgments.

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Nicholas H. Smith

The chapter begins by contrasting two approaches to the analysis of hope, one which takes its departure from a view broadly shared by Hobbes, Locke and Hume, another which fits better with Aquinas’s definition of hope. The former relies heavily on a sharp distinction between the cognitive and conative aspects of hope. It is argued that while this approach provides a valuable source of insights, its focus is too narrow and it rests on a problematic rationalist psychology. The chapter then discusses the phenomenology of hope with particular reference to the contrast between the lived experience of expectation and anticipation. This leads to a discussion of the value of hope. My thesis here is that when philosophers reflect on hope, they bring along background, tacit assumptions regarding its worth, which I attempt to make explicit. Finally the chapter identifies a second kind of philosophical reflection on hope, which is concerned not so much with the logic or value of hope as with hope understood as a ‘principle.’

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Audrey Verma

This chapter examines the purported use of sorcery or black magic by female foreign domestic workers (FDWs) using Singapore as a context. Beneath the veneer of a technocratic and rational scientific society that would be expected to reject archaic beliefs, accusations of the use of sorcery by FDWs swirl rampantly, albeit in hushed undertones. Even employers who are sceptical express wariness on these grounds. There are three main types of sorcery that foreign domestic workers in Singapore are accused of using in an effort to covertly manipulate local employers – a) the harbouring of demons, b) the use of binding spells or charms, and c) the use of substances imbued with dark mystical power. There has been little critical examination of such accusations of sorcery against FDWs, even though these have been known to have drastic social and legal consequences. It is thus necessary to deconstruct the rumours in order to shed light on the nature and consequence of the social tension and conflicts of power between employers and FDWs, who may be best understood as the most threatening type of alien, the stranger in the home.

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Lelia Green and Anne Aly

In September 2009 the authors presented a chapter at a collaborative research forum focused upon exploring the cultural roles of Strangers, Aliens and Foreigners. That chapter, published elsewhere, suggested that Australian Muslims were a community in fear: more used to feeling fearful than to making others feel afraid. Members of Muslim communities found it difficult to identify with western fears of Muslims. The fears felt by Australian Muslims are partly fuelled by media representations of Muslim communities which strengthen stereotypes and gloss over the diversity of ethnicities, backgrounds and religious practice among Muslims in Australia. Given the range of ways in which Islam is observed, western representations of the Muslim other are based on a construction of Islam as an artificially unified religious ‘other’ against which the mainstream majority positions itself, as an artificially unified western ‘self’. Building upon our previous research this chapter responds to ideas explained in this volume and interrogates the original research data for indications as to how the Australian Muslim minority construct the fear of the Muslim other they experience from the Australian majority. Given the research demonstrated differences in how Australian Muslims respond to media coverage of ‘fear’ and ‘terror’, compared with the responses of broader community Australians, how do Australian Muslims construct the intentions and beliefs of those people and media institutions that circulate mainstream media messages?

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Raymond Angelo Belliotti

conventional notions of truth, meaning, and value are all shallow imposters, merely arbitrary sycophants of the supreme ruler: cosmic meaninglessness? Have you concluded that no substantive belief 4 genuinely warrants your deep allegiance? If so, you may have simply suffered the effects of consuming overly

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Raymond Angelo Belliotti

assertion of atheism but rather an observation of historical trajectory: the notion of God either is or will soon be unworthy of belief even if the masses are currently unaware that cultural conditions no longer support fervent religious belief and practice. The development of science and technology spawns

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Raymond Angelo Belliotti

true then false belief in theism may only add to the absurdity, deception, and gauzy illusion of human life. 2 Camus and the Absurd Albert Camus (1913–1960) focuses on the ancient Myth of Sisyphus to illustrate the relationship between human existence and the nature of the world and to entertain

Series:

Raymond Angelo Belliotti

better if he did not skulk about the planet; and the rest. But assuming his destruction of the Sphinx energized his faith and commitment to life (“All glory to Sphinx destroyers”); was a project that he devised voluntarily; and was not grounded in utterly delusional beliefs, must or should we conclude