Empathy and psychopathy seem to be two distant extremes, which only differ, with nothing similar. Therefore, the question that seems to be surprising is whether such a theoretical perspective is justified. Empathy exerts significant influence on social relationships and is associated with moral development, whereas psychopathy seems to be an opposite phenomenon, as it is associated with the lack of deep interpersonal bonds and the violation of legal norms. As studies from various disciplines and scientific areas indicate, such concepts as behavioral effectiveness, morality or altruism might help explain the complex nature of the interrelationship between psychopathy and empathy. The authors tried to explore and describe the complexity of the two presented concepts in the light of the conducted research, and the resulting theoretical and empirical implications.
The 13th-century Persian poet Saʿdi from Shiraz is considered to be one of the most prominent representatives of medieval Persian ethical literature. His works full of moralizing anecdotes were well known and widely read not only in Persia, but in the other parts of the Islamic world as well. Due to his highly humanistic approach, the relations between people were one of the most important issues discussed by the poet. This article is an attempt to define the status of ‘speech’ in Saʿdi’s moral imagination and to show how it becomes a key instrument in shaping relations with others. In the poet’s opinion, the right words reasonably spoken, just like an appropriate silence, shape the relationship between people and help them avoid conflict and open dispute. Quarrels and confrontations, according to the poet, not only damage a person literally by exposing his flaws and imperfections of character, thereby compromising his reputation (aberu), but may also undermine the basis of social life, generating hostility between people. That is why Saʿdi urges his readers to use soft and gentle speech in dealing with people and always behave in a conciliatory manner in response to aggression and rudeness. Highlighting the moral aspect of speech, Saʿdi shows how kind words form an invisible veil between people, which should be preserved if man desires to maintain his image, good name and dignity.
Bogusław Wolniewicz presented his axiological system in four volumes of Filozofia i wartości (“Philosophy and Values”: 1993, 1998, 2003, 2016). For Wolniewicz, just as for his mentor Henryk Elzenberg, axiology is openly assertive and encompasses a painful confrontation of opposite moral beliefs. Wolniewicz’s vision of the reality is gloom, bitter, dramatic and deeply pessimistic. In history he detects unwelcome contributions of demonic powers (Manichaeism), he also believes that human moral character is genetically given and immutable (determinism), that some people are deprived of conscience (dualism), and that the tendency toward evil cannot be reformed (non-meliorism), human reason is not sufficient for a morally good action (voluntarism), while the so-called free will is no more than a manifestation of instincts (irrationalism). Everyone follows their pleasure (hedonism), but not everyone seeks pleasure in the same actions. In particular, some people take pleasure in cruel and destructive behaviour (demonism), while some others mind their own business (utilitarianism), and rare are those who devote themselves to higher values (perfectionism). Religion is a human invention and it emerges as a natural phenomenon in reaction to the fact of mortality. The institution of the Church should nevertheless be honored even by nonbelievers because it supports conservative values. In contemporary Western civilization a crisis can be observed between the conservative part of society (‘right-handed orientation’) and the liberal one (‘left-handed orientation’). Hateful emotions appear on both sides and are dangerous to Western unity. Conservative orientation is attached to the idea of fate, i.e. irrational power that occasionally turns human life into tragedy (fatalism). Wolniewicz’s vision is close to the theology of St. Augustine (original sin, predestination, radical dualism of good and evil) but without a consolation in hope for immortality.
This article proposes a model describing the nature of associative processes as diagnostic cues for formulating attitudes and judgments. The assumption of the model is that attitudes, judgments and behaviours are based on how people selectively activate, interpret and integrate previously associated signals (selectively limiting the excess of information from both the senses and from our immediate environment). The model specifies which factors hinder or facilitate the formulation of associations between diagnostic signals and how it translates into attitudes, judgments and behaviours. To test the predictions derived from this model, we first showed that linguistic cues of diminutives can indicate physical properties – they were associated with the belief that the described objects were smaller but also worse or less valuable. The second line of research dealt with embodied moral judgments – we demonstrated that the usage of a hand over heart gesture led to more honest behaviour, an increase in judgments of honesty but also reduced tendency to lie for one's own profit. Our findings also suggest that using “standing at attention” body manipulation increased participants' submissiveness to the experimenter and their obedience to norms. This pattern of results suggests that the described model integrates perspectives of embodied cognition and social cognition, documenting the cognitive mechanism needed to formulate and adjust attitudes and judgments.
The normative system of Bogusław Wolniewicz (1927–2017) can be subsumed under three categories: (1) pessimism (fatalism, or ‘tychism’ in Wolniewicz’s terms), (2) moral determinism (‘non-meliorism’), (3) conservatism (‘right-hand orientation’). Ad (1) Wolniewicz was pessimistic in two ways: he believed human life to be tragic (fatalism) and was also convinced that most people are guided by bad instincts (dualism). Ad (2) Wolniewicz believed that moral character was biologically determined and immutable. But his strong position on this subject ignores the classical view of Aristotle or the Stoics for whom moral character (or conscience) was acquired by habit and shaped deliberately. Ad (3) I suggest that a good historical example of conservative tendency was Critias of Athens. His famous fragment of the Sisyphus contains the idea of a supremacy of laws over human passions, and reduces religion to a supportive role with respect to ethics and politics. Wolniewicz’s dualism of right-hand and left-hand orientation encourages me to distinguish between a right-wing and a left-wing perception of value. For a leftist, value is intensity of a chosen feature (progressive value), whereas for a rightist, value is an area of freedom between inacceptable extremities (modular value). On these premises I propose a simple model of axiological conflict between left-wing and right-wing citizens.
The ethics of ‘theistic absolute morality’ (TAM), as any other ethical theory, must offer a definition of good, describe the connection between good and duty, and provide an effective guidance to human conduct. In the ethics of TAM we find, in my rendering of its claims, an irremediably unsuccessful definition of good, permanently loose connection between moral value and moral duty, and irreparably limited practical efficacy. It is not surprising that it has to be so, as it is a common condition of all ethical systems. The TAM ethics suffers, however, additionally from a unique conceptual trouble, but that is a story I have told elsewhere.
The subject of this article is an analysis of the earliest of Karl Marx’s articles, Comments on the Latest Prussian Censorship Instruction. The essence of his views presented in that article was to protest against the restriction of the right to free expression of opinions by journalists. Marx pointed out that the new Prussian Censorship Instruction only seemed to liberalize censorship, but in fact in many aspects tightened the rules, for example, reinforced those that pertained to religious criticism. He thought that the Prussian Censorship Instruction was not an enactment of law, because by limiting freedom, lawmakers acted against the essence of the press, law and state. Marx thought that a press law was needed to guarantee freedom of the press and that censorship should be abolished entirely.
There may be circumstances where academic degrees or the title of professor are obtained deceitfully, i.e. in breach of copyrights or moral principles in science. Dishonesty in scientific research constitutes gross misconduct because it is executed in order to appropriate ideas, findings, collocations and theses of others, without accurate citation of the source. It also entails infringement of intellectual property rights. Scientific misconduct in ethical and legal aspect is explicit. It disqualifies the offender as a scientist. The unlawful act of obtaining an academic degree (Ph.D.) or the title of professor in such a deceitful manner, irrespective of how much time has passed, shall not make the resumption condition fall under the statute of limitations. Thus, it enables the reopening of procedures to deprive the person who deceitfully obtained an academic degree or title of this degree or title.