Book projects

Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical IdealPerfect me cover
By Heather Widdows

The demand to be beautiful is increasingly important in today’s visual and virtual culture. Rightly or wrongly, being perfect has become an ethical ideal to live by, and according to which we judge ourselves good or bad, a success or failure. Perfect Me explores the moral nature of the beauty ideal, showing how it is more dominant, more demanding, and more global than ever before.

Listed in The Atlantic's 19 Best Books of 2018, Heather Widdows argues that our perception of self is changing. More and more, we locate the self in the body. Not just our actual, flawed bodies, but our transforming and imagined ones. As this happens, we further embrace the beauty ideal. Nobody is firm enough, thin enough, smooth enough, or buff enough—not without significant effort and cosmetic intervention. And as more demanding practices become the norm, more will be required of us, and the beauty ideal will be harder and harder to resist.

If you have ever felt the urge to “make the best of yourself,” or worried that you were “letting yourself go,” this book explains why. Perfect Me examines how the beauty ideal has come to define how we see ourselves and others, how we structure our daily practices, and how it enthrals us with promises of the good life that are dubious at best. It demonstrates how, if we are ever to address its harms, we must begin by recognising its ethical nature.

Princeton University Press, 2018 

Climate change and individual responsibility: Agency, moral disengagement and the motivational gap
Climate change and individual responsibility

By Wouter Peeters, Andries De Smet, Lisa Diependaele, and Sigrid Sterckx

If climate change represents a severe threat to humankind, why then is response to it characterized by inaction at all levels? The authors argue there are two complementary explanations for the lack of motivation. First, our moral judgment system appears to be unable to identify climate change as an important moral problem and there are pervasive doubts about the agency of individuals. This explanation, however, is incomplete: Individual emitters can effectively be held morally responsible for their luxury emissions. Second, doubts about individual agency have become overly emphasized and fail to convincingly exonerate individuals from responsibility. This book extends the second explanation for the motivational gap, namely that the arguments for the lack of individual agency do in fact correspond to mechanisms of moral disengagement. The use of these mechanisms enables consumption elites to maintain their consumptive lifestyles without having to accept moral responsibility for their luxury emissions.

Palgrave MacMillan, 2015

 

 

Irrationality Irrationality
By Lisa Bortolotti

In this book Lisa Bortolotti discusses different conceptions of irrationality and review contemporary debates in philosophy and psychology that involve those conceptions. Judgements of irrationality are made constantly and on many occasions they play an important role in our mutual interactions and social practices. This book is an attempt to understand what we take irrationality to be, what grounds our judgements of irrationality, and how irrationality affects human agency. Judgements of irrationality typically express disapproval towards behaviour deviating from a standard or violating a norm. But which standards and which norms? The book debunks some philosophical myths about human rationality, and aims to contribute to a more psychologically realistic, but not entirely pessimistic, account of human agency. 

Polity Press, 2014

 

 

 

The Routledge Handbook of Global Ethicshandbook-global-ethics-cover
Edited by Darrel Moellendorf and Heather Widdows

Global ethics focuses on the most pressing contemporary ethical issues - poverty, global trade, terrorism, torture, pollution, climate change and the management of scarce recourses. It draws on moral and political philosophy, political and social science, empirical research, and real-world policy and activism. The Routledge Handbook of Global Ethics is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems and debates in this exciting subject, presenting an authoritative overview of the most significant issues and ideas in global ethics. The 31 chapters by a team of international contributors are structured into six key parts:

  • normative theory
  • conflict and violence
  • poverty and development
  • economic justice
  • bioethics and health justice
  • environment and climate ethics.

Covering the theoretical and practical aspects of global ethics as well as policy, The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Global Ethics provides a benchmark for the study of global ethics to date, as well as outlining future developments. It will prove an invaluable reference for policy-makers, and is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy, international relations, political science, environmental and development studies and human rights law. 

Routledge, 2014

 

 

handbook-global-ethics-coverThe Routledge Handbook of Global Ethics
Edited by Darrel Moellendorf and Heather Widdows

Global ethics focuses on the most pressing contemporary ethical issues - poverty, global trade, terrorism, torture, pollution, climate change and the management of scarce recourses. It draws on moral and political philosophy, political and social science, empirical research, and real-world policy and activism. The Routledge Handbook of Global Ethics is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems and debates in this exciting subject, presenting an authoritative overview of the most significant issues and ideas in global ethics. The 31 chapters by a team of international contributors are structured into six key parts:

  • normative theory
  • conflict and violence
  • poverty and development
  • economic justice
  • bioethics and health justice
  • environment and climate ethics.

Covering the theoretical and practical aspects of global ethics as well as policy, The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Global Ethics provides a benchmark for the study of global ethics to date, as well as outlining future developments. It will prove an invaluable reference for policy-makers, and is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy, international relations, political science, environmental and development studies and human rights law. 

Routledge, 2014

 

 

 

The Connected Self: The Ethics and Governance of the Genetic Individuaconnected-self-cover
by Heather Widdows 

 

This book is about how to balance individual and communal models of ethics and argues that: Currently, the ethics infrastructure – from medical and scientific training to the scrutiny of ethics committees – focuses on trying to reform informed consent to do a job which it is simply not capable of doing. Consent, or choice, is not an effective ethical tool in public ethics and is particularly problematic in the governance of genetics. Heather Widdows suggests using alternative and additional ethical tools, and argues that if individuals are to flourish it is necessary to recognise and respect communal and public goods as well as individual goods. To do this she suggests a two-step process – the ‘ethical toolbox’. First the harms and goods of the particular situation are assessed and then appropriate practices are put in place to protect goods and prevent harms. This debate speaks to core concerns of contemporary public ethics and suggests a means to identify and prioritise public and common goods.

Cambridge University Press, 2013

 

Global Ethics: An Introductionglobal-ethics-intro-cover
By Heather Widdows

Global ethics addresses some of the most pressing ethical concerns today, including rogue states, torture, scarce resources, poverty, migration, consumption, global trade, medical tourism, and humanitarian intervention. It is both topical and important. How we resolve (or fail to resolve) the dilemmas of global ethics shapes how we understand ourselves, our relationships with each other and the social and political frameworks of governance now and into the future. This is seen most clearly in the case of climate change, where our actions now determine the environment our grandchildren will inherit, but it is also the case in other areas as our decisions about what it is permissible for humans beings to do to each other determines the type of beings we are. This book, suitable for course use, introduces students to the theory and practice of global ethics, ranging over issues in global governance and citizenship, poverty and development, war and terrorism, bioethics, environmental and climate ethics and gender justice.

Acumen (now Routledge), 2011

 

global-social-justice-coverGlobal Social Justice
Edited by Heather Widdows and Nicola J. Smith

Global Social Justice provides a distinctive contribution to the growing debate about global justice and global ethics. It brings a multidisciplinary voice - which spans philosophical, political and social disciplines - and emphasises the social element of global justice in both theory and practice. Bringing together a number of internationally renowned scholars, the book explicitly addresses debates about the scope and hierarchies of justice and considers how different approaches and conceptions of justice interrelate. It explores a diversity of themes relating to global social justice including globalization, human rights, ecological justice, gender and sexuality, migration and trafficking, global health challenges, post-conflict resolution and torture.

Routledge, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs Delusions and other irrational beliefs
By Lisa Bortolotti

Delusions and Other Irrational Beliefs is a contribution to the debate about the nature of delusions and to the literature on the conditions for belief ascription. 

Of the numerous challenges to the view that delusions are beliefs, many are due to the conviction that there needs to be a background of rationality in the behaviour of the people to whom we ascribe beliefs. The view is that delusions cannot be beliefs because: (a) they are badly integrated with the subject’s other intentional states; (b) they are not supported by and responsive to the evidence available to the subject; (c) they are not endorsed with good reasons or consistently acted upon. In the book, Lisa Bortolotti attempts to show that the arguments against the doxastic conception of delusions are misleading when they are based on an idealised notion of belief, and she presents many examples of irrationality in paradigmatic cases of belief. As a result, Bortolotti maintains that we should give up (once and for all) the assumption that belief ascription is hostage to the satisfaction of norms of rationality. By bringing together recent work in philosophy of mind, cognitive psychology and psychiatry, the book offers a comprehensive review of the philosophical issues raised by the psychology of normal and abnormal cognition, defends the doxastic conception of delusions, and develops a theory about the role of judgements of rationality and of attributions of self-knowledge in belief ascription.
This book was awarded the American Philosophical Association Book Prize 2011. The book was also included in the Current World Literature published by Current Opinion in Psychiatry in 2011, and rated as "of outstanding interest".

Oxford University Press, 2009

 

 

philosophy-happiness-coverPhilosophy and Happiness
Edited by Lisa Bortolotti

Philosophy and Happiness addresses the need to situate any meaningful discourse about happiness in a wider context of human interests, capacities and circumstances. How is happiness manifested and expressed? Can there be any happiness if no worthy life projects are pursued? How is happiness affected by relationships, illness, or cultural variants? Can it be reduced to preference satisfaction? Is it a temporary feeling or a persistent way of being? Is reflection conducive to happiness? Is mortality necessary for it? These are the questions people ask themselves when they stop and think about how they feel, how their lives are going, and how they would be going if different choices had been made or different values had been prioritized. These are the questions that contributors to this volume begin to answer, adopting different methodologies, among which the analysis of widespread intuitions about imaginary and real-life scenarios, and reflection on the interpretation of the relevant empirical evidence emerging from psychology and economics.

Palgrave MacMillan, 2009