The Stupidity of Dignity: Conservative bioethics' latest, most dangerous ploy. Steven Pinker reviews Human Dignity and Bioethics, the latest report from the President's Council on Bioethics. [more inside]
You stink, therefore I am. Philosophers and psychologists have been studying the science of disgust, and its proper place in the law. Leon Kass, the chairman of the president's council on bioethics, cites "the wisdom of repugnance" in arguing against cloning. More recently, Martha Nussbaum has written a new book, "Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law," which rejects disgust as a moral guide. She has also written on the role of disgust in the mutilations of women in Gujarat.
The Cosmopolitan Illusion, by Lee Harris, is a challenging response to Martha Nussbaum's inspiring essay, Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism. Nussbaum's essay was the subject of a previous thread. [Via Ye Olde Phart.]
"The study of feelings, once the province of psychology, is now spreading to history, literature, and other fields." Scholarship on the emotions is a rich field for historians and philosophers. Martha Nussbaum (previously discussed here) has written on historical views of the relationship between morality and emotion, and delves more deeply into it in her recent book, Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions. Of particular relevance these days may be M.F. Burnyeat's new book, Restraining Rage: The Ideology of Anger Control in Classical Antiquity, which focuses on Classical views of anger and its proper place in human action. Many today could learn from Marcus Aurelius: "as grief is a mark of weakness, so is anger, for both have been wounded and have surrendered to the wound." [First link via Ye Olde Phart.]
Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism. An excellent essay by classicist Martha Nussbaum on the importance of a cosmopolitan education and the limitations of nationalism.