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See our Privacy Policy and User Agreement for details. Published on Feb 25, Part One defends a non-maximizing conception of rational choice, explains how even ultimate goals can be rationally chosen, defends the rationality of concern and regard for others even to the point of being willing to die for a cause , and explains why decision theory is necessarily incomplete as a tool for addressing such issues.

Part Two uses the tools of analytic philosophy to explain what we can do to be deserving ,what is wrong with the idea that we ought to do as much good as we can, why mutual aid is good, but why the welfare state does not work as a way of institutionalizing mutual aid, and why transferring wealth from those who need it less to those who need it more can be a bad idea even from a utilitarian perspective.

Most ambitiously, Part Two offers an overarching, pluralistic moral theory that defines the nature and limits of our obligations to each other and to our individual selves. Part Three discusses the history and economic logic of alternative property institutions, both private and communal, and explains why economic logic is an indispensable tool in the field of environmental conflict resolution.

In the final essay, Schmidtz brings the volume full circle by considering the nature and limits of our obligations to nonhuman species, and how the status of nonhuman species ought to enter into our deliberations about what sort of life is worth living. SlideShare Explore Search You.

Person, Polis, Planet: Essays in Applied Philosophy

Submit Search. Successfully reported this slideshow. We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime. Upcoming SlideShare. Perhaps more important, they are united by a distinctive and attractive methodological approach, one that combines the high degree of analytical clarity and rigor that one would expect from a first-rate philosopher with a kind of commonsense wisdom that is not always so common,an attention to empirical detail that goes well beyond the use of examples as mere illustrations, and a refreshingly humanistic concern with life as it is lived by people as they actually are.

Those who are already familiar with Schmidtz's body of work will welcome Person, Polis, Planet as a worthybrief of his accomplishments over the last fifteen years or so. And for those who have not yet discovered Schmidtz, the collection will provide a superb introduction to his work and will likely prompt readers to seek out more of his writing. Seller Inventory AAV More information about this seller Contact this seller.

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Seller Inventory BTE Book Description Oxford University Press. Seller Inventory NEW Seller Inventory I Seller Inventory BD His leading contention is that property institutions, by virtue of embodying the right to appropriate and the right to exclude, convert negative-sum games into positive-sum games, and therefore set the stage for society's flourishing as a positive venture.

Furthermore, that the Lockean proviso permitting appropriation of the commons if a person can leave 'enough and as good' for others actually requires such appropriation under conditions of scarcity. At the same time, these conclusions are tempered by Schmidtz's contextualism, in this case the recognition that there are circumstances in which communal property regimes may work better than private ones. In the two final essays, Schmidtz's contextualism again comes to the fore.

The thesis of 'Natural Enemies' ch. He nicely caps the common sentiment that, on anthropocentric grounds, we have reason to think biocentrically, with the retort that, on biocentric grounds, we have reason to think anthropocentrically" p. Schmidtz is too shrewd an economist to believe that land is simply a creature of the human economy.

But he is also too shrewd an ecologist to believe that the human economy is simply a creature of ecology.

Person, Polis, Planet Essays in Applied Philosophy

Hence his view that "To ignore the logic of human economy is to ignore the logic of human ecology" p. That said, it doesn't seem to me to follow that conflict resolution should focus on economic interests rather than on value positions p.


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In 'Are All Species Equal? He presses hard the point that carrots hardly command the same respect as cows, or mice as chimpanzees. On the other hand it might be replied that the case is not so clear cut. For one could be said to show equal respect by showing appropriate respect, and appropriate respect might show itself in very different forms of treatment. I conclude with two observations. One question that exercised me, especially during the earlier stages of reading, was why rationality plays such a fundamental role in Schmidtz's thinking.

I disclaim any bias for or against such an emphasis, but simply wanted to understand its rationale better. If rationality is explained in terms of -- say -- the capacity to act for a reason, which could reduce in turn to the capacity to act, or the capacity for agency, one can see some reason for regarding it as central.

And such an account would also do some justice to the age-old characterisation of humans as 'rational animals' and to associated doubts over whether non-human animals are rational. Furthermore, one can see that it is important to work on the connection between being moral and being rational if one is trying to answer the 'why be moral?

For Schmidtz, reflectively rational beings have reason to develop integrity and to have concern and respect for others, so if having integrity and having concern and respect for others are ways of being moral, then reflectively rational beings have reason to be moral p. However, to say that one has reason to be moral is not the same as saying that being moral is always a matter of being rational. Moreover, even if it were, and even if, as Schmidtz appears to believe as against Slote, for example , rationality always dictates that we choose the better option, it might be argued that being in a position to choose what is clearly the better option is actually the exception rather than the rule.

And Schmidtz himself shows some recognition of this. Hence we sometimes have no method by which to identify optimal trade-offs, and therefore no way of pursuing the goal of making life go as well as possible p. Indeed, one might continue, life is not, after all, simply a 'pursuit'.


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Call it feeble-minded, but the ideal of a "thoroughly rational life plan" p. In a recent obituary of an acquaintance, it is said that he 'would do nothing unless he saw the point of it'. Whether that was an admirable quality is unclear, but one might be forgiven for thinking of it as mildly eccentric. My second observation concerns the apparent absence from Schmidtz's writings of explicit reference to the emotions or to temperament.

This is in stark contrast with Aristotle and surprising, given the similarity of their projects whose account of how we make ourselves fit to live in a polis makes reference to our managing of our emotional lives -- 'at the right time, in the right way and so forth' -- central. Some cross-referencing with Burnyeat's 'Aristotle on Learning to be Good' could pay dividends here Rorty, Somewhat alarmingly, the one reference to the emotions that I noticed was in the context of 'emotional baggage' by which we are 'encumbered' p.

Perhaps Schmidtz simply does not see our inner lives in these terms. Or perhaps what we have here is an incipient critique of 'emotion-discourse'? Thus, on the one hand he describes devotion in telling terms.

He remarks how final ends inspire a devotion and take on a life of their own. Hence we cannot simply wipe the slate clean -- "devotion does not work that way" p.

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On the other hand, devotion is glossed, rather prosaically, as 'heavy investment' -- hardly applicable, for example, to the case of 'devoted' lovers. His fictional character Kate does not 'fall in love' but simply 'settles on a spouse'. Nor, when she loses her spouse in an accident, is she described as 'grief-stricken'.