Bergqvist, Anna, and . Thick Concepts and Context Dependence

2013, Southwest Philosophy Review 29(1): 221-32.

Abstract: In this paper I develop my account of moral particularism, focussing on the nature of thick moral concepts. My aim is to show how the particularist can consistently uphold an non-reductive cognitivist ‘dual role’ view of thick moral concepts, even though she holds that the qualities ascribed by such concepts can vary in their moral relevance – so that to judge that something is generous or an act of integrity need not entail that the object of evaluative appraisal is good to some extent. A novel particularist account of thick concepts is proposed, in response to recent work on variance holism. The particularist rejects the holist’s attempt to preserve the idea that thick concepts are evaluative concepts by postulating a special semantic content, a contextually variable evaluative valence, as theoretically unmotivated and conceptually confused. Instead it is argued that the thick concepts have determinable evaluative content in situ only.

Comment: This paper deals with very specific issues relating to how a particularist ought to construe thick concepts. It may be useful as further reading on Jonathan Dancy's work.

French, Shannon E.; McCain, John, and . The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present

2004, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Back matter: Warrior cultures throughout history have developed unique codes that restrict their behavior and set them apart from the rest of society. But what possible reason could a warrior have for accepting such restraints? Why should those whose profession can force them into hellish kill-or-be-killed conditions care about such lofty concepts as honor, courage, nobility, duty, and sacrifice? And why should it matter so much to the warriors themselves that they be something more than mere murderers? The Code of the Warrior tackles these timely issues and takes the reader on a tour of warrior cultures and their values, from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the “barbaric” Vikings and Celts, from legendary chivalric knights to Native American tribesmen, from Chinese warrior monks pursuing enlightenment to Japanese samurai practicing death. Drawing these rich traditions up to the present, the author quests for a code for the warriors of today, as they do battle in asymmetric conflicts against unconventional forces and the scourge of global terrorism.

Comment: A longish article, but very useful as a thorough critique of luck egalitarianism, for the author's take on the capability approach, and for her account of democratic equality which revolves around the ideal of democratic citizenship

Govier, Trudy, and . What’s Wrong with Slippery Slope Arguments?

1982, Canadian journal of philosophy. 12(2): 303-316.

Content: Govier distinguishes four kinds of slippery slope arguments – conceptual, precedential, causal and mixed – and argues that only the last kind are likely to ever be sound.

Comment: Useful in teaching about fallacious arguments in general, and about moral arguments an popular discourse about such arguments in particular.

Mulla, Zubin R. and Krishnan, Venkat R., and . Transformational Leadership. Do the Leader’s Morals Matter and Do the Follower’s Morals Change?

2011, Journal of Human Values 17 (2):129-143.

Abstract: In a study of 205 leader–follower pairs, we investigated the impact of the leader’s values and empathy on followers’ perception of transformational leadership and the effect of transformational leadership on followers’ values and empathy. The moderating effect of leader–follower relationship duration on the effect of transformational leadership on followers’ values and empathy was also investigated. We found that the leader’s values were related to transformational leadership and transformational leadership was related to followers’ values. Over time, the relationship between transformational leadership and followers’ empathy and values became stronger

Comment: This text provides an excellent background reading on issues related to leadership and business ethics, making clear connections between philosophical theory and its practical application.

Roberts, Debbie, and . Thick Concepts

2013, Philosophy Compass 8(8): 677-88.

Abstract: In ethics, aesthetics, and increasingly in epistemology, a distinction is drawn between thick and thinevaluative concepts. A common characterisation of the distinction is that thin concepts have only evaluative content whereas thick concepts combine evaluative and descriptive content. Because of thiscombination it is, again commonly, thought that thick concepts have various distinctive powersincluding the power to undermine the distinction between fact and value. This paper discusses theaccuracy of this view of the thick concepts debate, as well as assessing the prospects for a thickconcepts argument against the fact value distinction, while introducing the three main philosophicalpositions on the nature of thick concepts.

Comment: Useful in metaethics courses and relates to work by Bernard Williams, but it is also useful for translating to epistemic values too e.g. in virtue epistemology.