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As Happy As Can Be: Reason, Justice, and Happiness in Plato's Republic
by Cathal Woods

The "philosopher's return" at Republic 519b-521c challenges Plato's thesis that the just person is better off than the unjust person. The philosopher, who is just, must return to rule. It appears that she could do better for herself by being unjust and continuing to contemplate, since this is what she values most. A widely employed method of avoiding this conclusion is to say that the philosopher's happiness consists in being able to bring to things the same rational order that she finds in the form of the good (Cooper) or the forms in general (Kraut), the most important place being her own soul. I argue that this approach begs the question and that contemplation must indeed be counted when judging the philosopher's happiness. In the second half of the paper I argue that, contrary to appearances, the philosopher does not suffer in terms of contemplation by returning to rule. The mutual interdependence of citizens places limits on the philosopher's life of contemplation. The philosopher is in the same situation with respect to happiness as the members of the other classes. Everyone in the ideal city views his work as a 'necessity' and has to be 'compelled' to do it (which explains any reluctance) but nevertheless they are all as happy as they can be.

Nietzsche or Nietzsche: The Inability of Aristotelian Teleological Ethics to Explain the Social Context of Virtue
by John Stopple

In his book, After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre argues that the only theoretically possible approaches to moral theory are the Aristotelian approach and the Nietzchean approach. I intend to argue that one is left with only the Nietzchean approach because of the failure of Aristotelian moral theory. This failure is due to the shortcomings of Aristotle's approach as well as the shortcomings of MacIntyre's approach.

Aristotle's approach falls short because it is unable to plausibly explain why a society should be configured in a specific way in order for that society to flourish. This is due to the fact that any claim on the ordering of society from Aristotelian biology fails. MacIntyre, on the other hand, fails to answer the question "Why should a person engage in a practice?". This is due to the fact that his approach does not seem to deny that a person engaging in a solitary lifestyle (e.g. Thoreau) can have virtue. Since fixing one of these problems results in the other, Aristotelian teleological ethics must be rejected as a possible moral theory.

The Ethics of Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Finding Common Ground
by Russell Daley

Stem cell research is a fast growing area of medical technology offering the potential to alleviate the pain and suffering of hundreds of millions of people. The goal of this paper is to find a common ground from which we as a society may reasonably and faithfully deliberate about the ethics of embryonic stem (ES) cell research. The essential dilemma here is that to allow this research to occur means to allow the destruction of embryos and, thus, of life. A primary objective of the paper will be to work resolve the tension between such values as respect for human life and relief of human suffering. A critical aspect to finding this common ground in a pluralistic society and across cultures is to be clear about our language and how we talk about ES cell research. In the paper I will (1) briefly identify and evaluate the main arguments both for and against ES cell research, (2) explore the central question of the moral status of the embryo, and (3) consider the application of a "multi-criterial" approach (as outlined by Mary Anne Warren in her book Moral Status: Obligations to Persons and Other Living Things) to the moral status of the embryo. In the end, I argue that to unnecessarily prevent or delay this valuable line of research is to act unethically.

Considering Truth Apart from Justification and the Relationship of Belief to Explanation: A Reply to Harman and Thomsom
by Sanjay Lal

In Moral Objectivity and Moral Relativism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996) Gilbert Harman and Judith Jarvis Thomson expound on and defend non-absolutist understandings of right and wrong. In this paper I discuss some of the two philosophers' ideas as they are presented in the symposium conducted on their book in the March 1998 (Vol. LVIII. No. 1) issue of Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. After doing that I give a brief overview of criticisms made against Harman and Thomson's views that appear in the journal's same issue. Finally, by considering the distinction that I see between truth and justification as well as the relationship I see our beliefs have to statements which we regard to have explanatory power, I attempt to show that Harman's and Thomson's attempts fall short of justifying a relativistic understanding of right and wrong.

Defending the Intrinsic Value of Experience
by Sam von Mizener

I argue that Singer's utilitarianism is all that is needed in justifying the value of life of both humans and non-human (sentient) animals. The fact that both humans and non-human animals have "interests" (i.e., are capable of feeling pain and pleasure) and, a fortiori, experiences, is what confers value to their lives. My view is that experiences have intrinsic value. The various and sundry experiences had by humans and non-human animals are valued for their own sake. And to deprive any being of potential valuable experiences is to cause them harm. It is for this reason that we find that even painlessly killing such beings is morally wrong.

I argue against the view that another kind of value is necessary in showing the value of life and safeguarding the lives of both humans and non-human animals. Regan holds that those animals that are "subjects of a life" have inherent value as individuals. It is a value they all have equally. I contend that Regan does not provide good reasons for thinking that "inherent value" is necessary in showing the value of life and safeguarding the lives of such animals. Moreover Regan does not provide convincing reasons as to why anyone should think that individuals have any value at all irrespective of their experiences. The intrinsic value of experiences is both necessary and sufficient in showing that life has value and that painlessly taking the life of any being capable of having experiences is a harm.

Creating Sexuality: Self-constitution and Perversion in the Ethics of Michel Foucault
by Anne Ozar

Contemporary discourse on sexuality takes as its starting point the evolution of sexuality over the last three centuries as a movement from repression into liberation through the expansion of the normative concepts that determine acceptable sexual practices and identities. In particular, the "perversion" of the homosexual, previously understood as profane by virtue of its deviation from the accepted norm of society, has now been deemed permissible as a result of this growing body of sexual concepts. One is tempted, therefore, to attribute the historical marginalization of certain peripheral sexualities to the constructs of normativity prevalent in society at a certain time in history.

Michel Foucault recognizes a connection between this historical construction of sexuality and the historical conception of sexuality as representative of a deep, transcendental self. He rejects this notion of a deep-seeded self with deep desires, which reflect one's humanity or ethical character, in favor of the claim that power produces and implants the notion of sexuality in people's bodies. However, if sexuality is an historical construction based on normative concepts of a specific culture rather than a reflection of a deep transcendental self, as Foucault claims in his genealogy, there appears to be no basis for determining what is sexually permissible. This hardly seems acceptable in the case of the pedophile or serial rapist. Thus, the question arises: Where do we draw the line on the perverse?

This paper will show that although Foucault's genealogical analysis of sexuality rejects the modernist conception of rationality inherent in his rejection of the deep transcendental self, Foucault's ethics of self-constitution, coming out of his genealogical analysis of the sexual self as that which has the capacity to be modified, is dependent on Foucault's understanding of reason as an archive of existing normative concepts and theories from which the sexual subject chooses the way in which she wishes to constitute herself as an acting ethical subject. By eliminating the notion of a deep transcendental self, Foucault locates the standard for determining the ethical stance of differing sexualities in action rather than desire.

Black Nationalism and Black Feminism: Confronting the Race Problem and the Woman Question
by Kathryn Gines

This essay is philosophically relevant as it pertains to key aspects of African-American Philosophy including Black Nationalism, Black Feminism, the construction of race and gender. I briefly examine the development of Black Nationalism and Feminism in an effort to situate some of the writings of Anna Julia Cooper. The essay is presented in three parts. First, I consider the historical background of Black Nationalism as presented by Wilson Moses in The Golden Age of Black Nationalism. Second, I present significant historical background to the development of the feminist movement in the nineteenth century, particularly as it relates to black feminist thought of that time. Finally, I focus on Anna Julia Cooper's conception of race and gender as expressed in two of her essays, "Womanhood, a Vital Element in the Regeneration and Progress of a Race" and "The Status of Woman in America."

I argue that while Cooper may have expressed sentiments of "Victorianism" and "Ethiopianism" in the former essay, she provides a greater contribution to the analysis of race and gender in the later essay. Based on the resistance to racism and sexism that Cooper describes in the later essay, I characterize Cooper as a Black feminist of her own time. I will also respond to criticisms of Cooper based exclusively on her assertions in the "Womanhood" essay by appealing to Wilson Moses' analysis of Ethiopianism in The Golden Age of Black Nationalism and bell hooks' analysis of the sexual exploitation of Black women in "Continued Devaluation of Black Womanhood."

Should the Proponent of a Paradigm of Punishment be a Desert-based Retributivist?
by Michael Austin

Is it morally permissible to punish offenders for the crimes they commit? If so, on what grounds do we justify the harmful treatment of criminals? In this papers, I argue that the proponent of the paradigm of punishment ought to be a desert-based retributivist. After giving a brief definition of punishment, I lay out a paradigmatic version of desert-based retributivism. I then examine several other possible solutions to the problem of punishment (act and rule consequentialist solutions, moral education, self-defense, forfeiture-based retributivism, and fairness-based retributivism) and conclude that each is unable to accommodate important moral intuitions we have with respect to particular cases of criminal acts and/or fails to justify the institution of punishment. When a proposed solution is adjusted in order to deal with the problematic implications that arise for it in view of such difficulties, it ends up holding that desert is both a necessary and sufficient condition for the permissibility of punishment. Hence, the theory in question ultimately reduces to desert-based retributivism. If this is in fact the case, then my claim is that the advocate of the paradigm of punishment ought to be a desert-based retributivist.