Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Phronimon]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1561-401820170001&lang=en vol. 18 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Bertrand Russell: cognitivism, non-cognitivism and ethical critical thinking</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1561-40182017000100001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Bertrand Russell converted from ethical cognitivism to ethical non-cognitivism and this was historically important, as it gave rise in part, to meta-ethics. It also clarified the central problem between cognitivism and non-cognitivism. Russell's view was that defining "good" is the basic problem of ethics. If "good" is not amorphous, the rest of ethics will follow. He did not believe in ethical knowledge per se and asserted that reason is, and must only be, the servant of desire. A factual statement is thus true if there is an equivalent fact, but as ethical statements do not state facts, there is no issue of a corresponding fact or the statement being true or false in the sense in which factual statements are. Ethics has no statement whether true or false, but consists only of desires of a general kind and people know intuitively what is "right" or "wrong". To Russell critical thinking is entrenched in the structure of philosophy. His epistemological conviction was that knowledge is difficult to attain, while his ethical conviction showed that people should be expected to exercise freedom of inquiry when arriving at conclusions of something being either "good" or "bad". <![CDATA[<b>Elements of environmental ethics in Ancient Greek Philosophy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1561-40182017000100002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this article, I consider how ancient Greek philosophical thinking might be approached differently if the environmental ethical import that is salient in it is critically considered. After pointing out how environmental ethics is generally construed in much of the discourse on current philosophical thinking, I spell out some unexplored elements of anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric environmental ethical thinking that are implicit in ancient Greek philosophy. I seek to critically challenge some common notions in Western environmentalism that take environmental ethics as a fairly new discourse of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Ultimately, I suggest that ancient Greek philosophical thinking ought to be judiciously interpreted from an environmental-ethical perspective. Overall, I critically interrogate elements of both anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric environmentalism in ancient Greek thinking, with the intention to examine the contribution of ancient Greek philosophy to environmental ethical thinking. <![CDATA[<b>Euripides' Medea and Jason: a study in the Social Power of Love</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1561-40182017000100003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Euripides' Medea resonates with modern issues in intimate relationships. However, little has been written on this, especially from the social-psychological perspective. This paper explores the breakdown of the Jason-Medea marriage in terms of the social-psychological theory of love as an exchange in a power game in which a certain degree of imbalance in the exchange could account for such a breakdown. I analyse the Medea text in terms of Olson and Cromwell's (1975) tripartite theoretical framework, namely: (a) the bases on which social power is built; (b) the processes by which social power is wielded; and (c) the outcomes produced by the use of social power. I And that Medea carried a greater burden of love towards Jason than Jason did towards her, fuelled and sustained by her enduring and greater need for security and happiness. And in intimate relationships, the principle of least interest (Waller and Hill 1951) works: the beloved tends to dominate the lover. Jason, however, overreached himself when he violated the minimum conditions of his own desirability - fidelity to and respect for Medea. I conclude that Medea's violent reaction to Jason's conduct indicates the fragility of love as a basis of social power in intimate relationships. <![CDATA[<b>The underlying motives of university student volunteers participating in community service activities in custodial settings in South Africa: a philosophical perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1561-40182017000100004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Socrates pronounced that "An unexamined life is not worth living" and maintained the belief that the purpose of human life was personal and spiritual growth. This article explores, against this background, the motives and experiences of 12 student volunteers who assisted with the assessment of sentenced offenders in custodial settings in South Africa, as part of the "third mission" of the Department of Criminology and Security Science at the University of South Africa (Unisa). A case study approach was followed to explore the underlying social context and thereby gain an understanding of the students' experience in terms of their exposure to the correctional milieu. The article relates the student volunteers' experiences regarding their expectations and motives at the outset, their personal experiences and the benefits that involvement in this project holds for them.