Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement


Foundations of a General Ethics: Selves, Sentient Beings, and Other Responsively Cohesive Structures

Warwick Foxa1


Everything we can refer to – physical, biological, psychological, or a human-created entity, institution, activity, or expression of some kind, and whether constituted of brute physical stuff or less tangible complexes of social arrangements, ideas, images, movements, and so on – can be considered in terms of its form of organization or structure. This applies even if what we want to say about these things is that they represent a disorganized or unstructured example of their kind or else that they simply lack any discernible form of internal organization or structure in the sense that their internal structure is undifferentiated or homogenous as opposed to being ‘all over the place’. We therefore live in a world in which everything can be characterized, either positively or negatively, in terms of its form of organization or structure. (The terms ‘form of organization’ and ‘structure’ can be used interchangeably in the context of this paper, although I will tend to use the term ‘structure’ in what follows.)

(Online publication September 22 2011)

I am grateful to Isis Brook, Simon Hailwood, and Antony Radford for discussions relating to the theory of responsive cohesion.