By In Agency and Responsibility, NDPR Discussion Forum Comments (15)

NDPR Forum: Bennett Helm’s “Communities of Respect,” Reviewed by Caroline Arruda

I am pleased to kick off another discussion forum on books recently reviewed in NDPR. The series gives book authors a chance to respond to their reviewers. We also invite reviewers to chime in, as well as anyone else who is interested. This forum is on Bennett Helm’s latest book, Communities of Respect: Grounding Responsibility, Authority, and Dignity (OUP 2017), reviewed in NDPR by Caroline T. Arruda. Normally, I would first post the OUP description of the book, followed by some flavorful passages from the review. But Bennett has written a rather robust response to the review, and in so doing he makes clear both what his book is about and what aspects of the review he thought involved misconstruals, so I’m going simply to let him start off this discussion in his own words.


Thanks to Caroline Arruda for engaging with my book with her review, and thanks to PEA Soup for the opportunity to respond and hopefully provoke further discussions. Unfortunately, the review involves significant misconceptions of what I am up to in this book and of the kind of account I offer, so I want to take this opportunity to clarify. The account I offer ends up rejecting deeply entrenched views of the mind and of persons, so perhaps it is not surprising that there would be misunderstanding of my central aim. Moreover, my theory is quite systematic and wide-ranging, developed over 25 years and two prior books (and a separate dissertation), with each building upon the rest. Thus Communities of Respect really is part 4 of a longer series, in which I investigate what it is to be a person by considering the nature of: (1) caring in general (Helm 1994), (2) personal values (Helm 2001), (3) interpersonal values in intimate relationships (Helm 2010), and now in this book (4) interpersonal values in non-intimate relationships (Helm 2017).


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By In Ethics Discussions at PEA Soup, Practical reasons, Reasons and rationality Comments (8)

An exchange between Chrisoula Andreau and Justin Snedegar’s on Snedegar’s book Contrastive Reasons.

With this post we are starting a new feature at PEA Soup: Author replies to book reviews published in Ethics. Our inaugural discussion is between Chrisoula Andreou (Utah) and Justin Snedegar (St. Andrews). Chrisoula reviews Justin’s new book, Contrastive Reasons (OUP, 2017) here. Justin Snedegar’s reply follows below.

Thanks first of all to the Daves for the opportunity to continue the discussion here. And thanks most of all to Chrisoula for her excellent review of my book. Her questions and objections have given me the chance to think harder about some central issues that didn’t receive all the attention they deserved in the book. In particular, she’s made clear that there are important questions about the nature of the objectives the promotion of which I appeal to in my contrastive analyses of reasons. I used a desire to remain neutral between competing views of these objectives as an excuse for not discussing them much, but this neutrality was about relatively substantive questions about whether the objectives were desires, values, etc. Chrisoula’s objections show that there are questions about structural or formal features of objectives and of the promotion relation which are crucial for my theory, and indeed for many theories of reasons.


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By In Discussions, JESP Discussions, Political Philosophy Comments (11)

JESP Discussion of Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin’s “A View of Racism”

Welcome to the return of the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy discussion! We’re looking at Benjamin Mitchell Yellin‘s new article, “A View of Racism: 2016 and America’s Original Sin”. Tommy Curry kicks things off with a critical précis, which appears immediately below. Please join the discussion!

Critical Précis by Tommy Curry

I. Introduction

The world before us has changed, not in any substantial way regarding the reality of racism, but merely in how its appearance has offended the sensibilities of what white Americans are willing to now perceive. The essay by Dr. Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin is an admirable product of the attention white philosophers are now paying to this break in racial etiquette under the Trump administration. Mitchell-Yellin has written a very powerful intervention into two dominant views of racism amongst philosophers that do in fact require attention and, as he points out, serious intervention.


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By In Ethics Discussions at PEA Soup, Metaethics, Practical reasons Comments Off on New Soup Feature: Replies to Ethics book reviews

New Soup Feature: Replies to Ethics book reviews

In our never-ending quest to expand to the limits of the Universe and beyond, Soup will begin having replies to Ethics book reviews.

First up, in about a week, will be Chrisoula Andreou’s review of Justin Snedegar’s Contrastive Reasons (OUP, 2017) which will be available open access here, together with Justin’s replies. Looking forward to the discussion!

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By In Ideas, Political Philosophy Comments (3)

Voter Fraud and Voter Suppression

Blackstone wrote that “it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”.  Fortescue wrote “one would much rather that twenty guilty persons should escape the punishment of death, than that one innocent person should be condemned and suffer capitally.”  Maimonides wrote “it is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death.” I don’t know what the correct number is (10, 20, 1000), but I do think that some such maxim is correct.


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By In Applied Ethics, Discussions, JESP Discussions, Normative Ethics, Political Philosophy Comments Off on Upcoming JESP Discussion (3/19) on Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin’s “A View of Racism”

Upcoming JESP Discussion (3/19) on Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin’s “A View of Racism”

We are excited to announce the return of the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy discussion! This time we’ll look at Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin’s “A View of Racism: 2016 and America’s Original Sin”, with a critical précis by Tommy Curry.

The discussion starts March 19th. As JESP is always open-access, you can check out the paper here. Please join us next Monday!

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By In Happiness, Ideas Comments (17)

Eden Lin: Subjective List Theories

How well a person’s life is going (i.e., how high it is in welfare or well-being) is determined by how good or bad for that person the things that are happening in her life are. Theories of well-being purport to tell us what it takes for a person’s life to go well by identifying the basic goods and bads: the kinds that are good or bad for a person in the most fundamental way. In the philosophical literature on well-being, there is a standard menu of theories: hedonism, desire satisfactionism, perfectionism, the happiness theory, hybrid theories, and objective list theories. In “The Subjective List Theory of Well-Being” (Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 2016), I argue that this menu should be expanded to include a neglected type of theory: subjective list theories. I also introduce a particular theory of this type, and I argue that it is superior to some existing theories. In this post, I will give an abbreviated version of the argument from that paper.


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