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CPA Blog de l'ACP

  • 22 Dec 2021 by Okwudili Ogbu Sylvester



    Although a large part of happiness is looking forward to something, this aspect of happiness has remained largely unexplored and unexplained. The bulk of the attempts to explain it so far have come from fields such as neuroscience, music and psychology. In this work, I have attempted to provide a deepened understanding of the phenomenon of anticipation from the philosophical perspective. In the process, I have also tried to provide a unified understanding of the phenomena of boredom, anxiety, peace, habituation/adaptation, and set-point, among others.

    But what I have tried most of all to do here is to establish an articulate definition of happiness and suffering, thus answering an all important historical question – since it is one that has engaged humanity over the centuries, especially philosophers and psychologists. For, it has never been clear what this word which, according to Aristotle, is the ultimate goal of all human striving means. This has not only led to the word being “overused”, as Kant and Seligman say, but has also inspired false values. Through an analysis of the phenomenon of anticipation, I have here attempted to ground the meaning of happiness. In the light of the findings, I have equally tried to show how it could be attained. In the final analysis I have identified happiness as peace and suffering as worry or anxiety. And I posit that the way to achieve peace is to lower expectation, or in more concrete terms, to lead a simple life.


    The Science of Expectation: Happiness as Anticipation. Milwaukee: Goldine and Jacobs Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781938598333

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  • 15 Dec 2021 by Pablo Gilabert



    Human dignity: social movements invoke it, several national constitutions enshrine it, and it features prominently in international human rights documents. But what is it, and why is it important? My book offers a systematic defence of the view that human dignity is the moral heart of human rights. First, it develops the network of concepts associated with dignity, highlighting the notion of human dignity as an inherent, non-instrumental, egalitarian, and high-priority normative status of human persons. People have this status in virtue of their valuable human capacities rather than as a result of their national origin and other conventional features. Second, it shows how human dignity gives rise to an inspiring ideal of solidaristic empowerment, generating both negative duties not to undermine, and positive duties to facilitate, people’s pursuit of a flourishing life in which they develop and exercise their valuable capacities. The most urgent of these duties are correlative to human rights. Third, the book illustrates how the proposed dignitarian approach allows us to articulate the content, justification, and feasible implementation of specific and contested human rights, such as the rights to democratic political participation and decent labor conditions. Finally, the book’s dignitarian framework illuminates the arc of humanist justice, identifying both the difference and the continuity between basic human rights and more expansive requirements of social justice such as those defended by liberal egalitarians and democratic socialists. Human dignity is indeed the moral heart of human rights. Understanding it enables us to defend human rights as the urgent ethical and political project that puts humanity first. 



    Human Dignity and Human Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. ISBN 9780198827221

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  • 08 Dec 2021 by Lynda Gaudemard


    The main aim of my book is to provide both a new interpretation of Descartes’s substance dualism and a new defence of substance dualism called “emergent creationist substance dualism.” According to this view, the mind is a nonphysical substance (created and maintained by God), which cannot begin to think without a well-disposed body. While the mind does not directly come from the body, the mind can be said to emerge from the body in the sense that it cannot be created by God independently from a suitable physical categorical basis. The textual basis for this interpretation can partly be found in Descartes’s embryology that is developed in detail in this book. I show that emergent creationist substance dualism is consistent with Descartes’s defence of creationism and that it does not necessarily entail that the mind cannot survive the body. Then, I explain why the view I attribute to Descartes has some connections with Hasker’s substance emergent dualism (1999). Indeed, Hasker claims that the mind is a non physical substance emerging from neurons and that consciousness has causal powers which effects cannot be explained by physical neurons. For its proponents, Hasker’s view explains what Descartes’s dualism fails to explain, especially why the mind regularly interacts with one and only one body. Despite its ontological costs, I argue that emergent creationist substance dualism faces fewer problems than its rivals.


    Rethinking Descartes’s Substance Dualism. Cham: Springer, 2021. ISBN 978-3-030-75413-6

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  • 01 Dec 2021 by Owen Ware

    Cover image for Owen Ware's book, Kant's Justification of EthicsKant's arguments for the reality of human freedom and the normativity of the moral law continue to inspire work in contemporary moral philosophy. A number of prominent ethicists invoke Kant, directly or indirectly, in their efforts to derive the authority of moral requirements from a more basic conception of action, agency, or rationality. But many commentators have detected a deep rift between the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals and the Critique of Practical Reason, leaving Kant's project of justification exposed to conflicting assessments and interpretations. In my book I defend the controversial view that Kant's mature writings on ethics share a unified commitment to the moral law's primacy. In this way my goal is to overturn a paradigmatic way of reading Kant's arguments for morality and freedom, situating them within Kant's critical methodology at large. The result, I claim, is a novel understanding of Kant that challenges much of what goes under the banner of Kantian arguments for moral normativity today.


    Kant's Justification of Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. ISBN: 9780198849933

    What's New in Canadian Philosophy? is a blog series highlighting the work of CPA members. Send contributions to