Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Facebook Page

While I don't use Facebook in other ways, it seems like a good way to connect people with my work, so I've set up an author page. I'll post updates having to do with my blog posts here and over at Ethics for Everyone, as well as my scholarly work. So, if you are interested in philosophy, religion, questions about human fulfillment, and other issues related to ethics, happiness, and everyday life, like the page and updates will show up in your timeline. Thanks!

Here's the link:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Michael-W-Austin/452243244861866 

Monday, April 8, 2013

More on Modules of the Virtue of Humility

In a previous post, I offered the following as one of the cognitive modules of humility:

  • (C1) The humble person intentionally sees others as being more important than himself.

In the meantime, I've revised it to this:

  • (C1) The humble person believes that he ought to have a prima facie preference for the satisfaction of the interests of others over the satisfaction of his own interests.


The process of discussing, presenting ideas at conferences, and revising usually leads to more complex statements of one's initial views. That is the case here. Given this change, the heart of my account of humility is captured not only by the above revised cognitive module of humility, but also the following emotive module:

  • (E1) The humble person has a prima facie preference for the satisfaction of the interests of others over his own.
The humble person knows that objectively speaking, from a God's-eye perspective, the interests of all have equal weight. However, she intentionally has a willful appearance state, where she takes it to be the case that for her it is preferable that the interests of others be satisfied relative to her own. (E1) is not an absolute obligation, given the prima facie condition. The practical wisdom of the agent as well as other virtues will help to determine whether (E1) should obtain in particular circumstances as an all-things-considered preference leading to action.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Character and the Good Life

Readers of this blog will probably have noticed that not much has been happening here lately. I've gone back and forth, several times, about the aims and scope (and name!) of this blog over the years. I think the best use of this online space is to focus in on the topics I am currently researching and writing about, which are usually related to virtue, vice, character, and human flourishing. So "Character and the Good Life" seems like an appropriate title.

I will post some of my own work here as I think through whatever projects I'm working on at the moment, with the hope that readers will give their thoughts and feedback in the comments or via email. I will also occasionally comment on the work of other philosophers. This blog will focus on scholarship, then, but my hope is that it will also be accessible to the interested reader who is not a professional philosopher. Of course, since it is just a blog, after all, I may post about other items as well, including The Arsenal, Sporting KC, politics and the news, academia, and whatever else I get motivated to write. For those interested in work online that is written for a wider audience, see my blog at the Psychology Today website, Ethics for Everyone.

I will soon offer a series of posts related to character and the virtue of humility, as I am still at work on a book-length treatment of this character trait. I look forward to your feedback!