The 2011 Pacific Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association will be April 20th through 23rd in San Diego at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel.
The session of the Ayn Rand Society will be April 23rd (6:00–8:00 p.m.). The topic will be Rand and Punishment. The speakers will be David Boonin* and Irfan Khawaja. The session will be chaired by George Sher.*
The APA general sessions will include a symposium on Uncommon Virtues: Creativity, Productivity, and Pride. The speakers will be Christine Swanton and Allan Gotthelf. The commentators will be Helen Cullyer and Gregory Salmieri. This session will be April 22nd (1:00–4:00 p.m.).
Pride as a Virtue: Learning from Aristotle and Ayn Rand – Allan Gotthelf
In this paper I discuss pride as a trait of character and a principle of action. I draw significantly on the analyses by Aristotle and Rand, and endorse and defend their shared thesis that pride is a central moral virtue. In the course of this defense I will explore the value of self-esteem to a human life, and the connection between the virtue of pride and this value of self-esteem. That will position us to examine the roots of the historically frequent attack on pride as a great vice. I will conclude with a brief account of the way in which pride is a precondition both of Aristotelian character-friendship and a genuine romantic love.
Virtues of Creativity and Productivity, Moral Theory, and Human Nature – Christine Swanton
In this paper I show the centrality of virtuous creativity and productivity in a life of virtue. Certain tendencies in moral theory have downplayed the distinction between action and production as ethically central, including Aristotle’s distinction between action and production, and his relegating the latter to secondary status. Drawing on insights of Nietzsche, Rand, and the philosopher-psychologist Otto Rank, who was greatly influenced by Nietzsche and for whom creativity is central to self-love and thereby healthy love of other, I show that the creative productive life is central to human nature and the healthy development of the self. However, not all creativity is virtuous: some forms of what Rank calls “creative will” are unproductive, destructive, and expressive of self-contempt. An account of creative and productive virtues is required for what might be called an “ethics of creativity.”
Notes for first: a, b
Notes for second: c, d
Two other general sessions have subjects intersecting Allan Gotthelf’s subject:
A colloquium on Friendship on April 23rd (4:00–6:00 p.m.) comprises the following two papers, with comments from Noell Birondo and John Anders.
Aristotle on the Conditional Final Value of Friends – Matthew Walker
Aristotle’s account of the value of friends generates what I call the instrumentality problem: Can Aristotle simultaneously (i) argue that friends possess sufficient final value as to be essential constituents of the happy life, yet (ii) appeal to the utility of friends for eliciting self-awareness as part of his case for (i)? In this paper, I argue that Aristotle’s account of friendship can respond to the instrumentality problem. By adopting a key distinction of Christine Korsgaard’s, I argue for a reading of Aristotle according to which the value of friends for their own sakes—the “final” or “end” value of friends—is (in part) conditional upon their usefulness in eliciting self-awareness. On this reading, Aristole’s account can reasonably appeal to the utility of friends, but in a way that does not reduce their value to that utility.
Friendship and Enlightenment in Kant – Brian Watkins
Kant claims, on the one hand, that friendship is a privileged site for self-disclosure while, on the other hand, he warns that friends should not become excessively familiar with each other. Some have argued that this tension is a result of the difference between the kind of friendship Kant thinks we can achieve and the ideal. By contrast, I argue that, for Kant we have achieved the best kind of friendship not when we find someone with whom to share everything, but, instead, when we find someone with whom we can discuss those things that are actually worth revealing, namely, what we think when we think for ourselves. In other words, the best kind of friends are those who feel free to use their reason and participate together in what Kant calls enlightenment.
A colloquium on Aristotle’s Ethics on April 20th (1:00–4:00 p.m.) includes the following paper, with comments from Corinne Gartner.
Self-Love in the Aristotelian Ethics – Jerry Green
The Nicomachean Ethics is nearly universally given pride of place in Aristotle’s ethical corpus. I argue there is at least one topic in Aristotle’s ethics where this is a mistake. In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle presents self-love as the paradigm form of friendship, using it to explain how love of others occurs and why it is an important component of eudaimonia. But self-love has some theoretical problems, one of which is that it cannot be reciprocated the way Aristotle argues friendship requires. In the Eudemian Ethics, Aristotle addresses this worry, and uses it to motivate a modified view from that of the Nicomachean Ethics this change is difficult to explain if the Nicomachean Ethics were Aristotle’s last word on the subject, but makes perfect sense if the Eudemian Ethics were the revised version. This suggests we should follow Aristotle in turning to the Eudemian Ethics for Aristotle’s considered view.
(Edited by Stephen Boydstun on 2/08, 7:40am)