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1. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
José-Antonio Orosco, Lark Sontag, Zara Stevens, Taine Duncan Special Section: Anarres Project for Alternative Futures Collection
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This article contains four essays from the Anarres Project, a forum for conversations, ideas, and initiatives that promote a future free of domination, exploitation, oppression, war, and empire. In the spirit of philosophy in the contemporary world, the selection includes recent work on the pandemic and related struggles for justice in the past year. An introduction to the project is included.
2. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Becky Vartabedian Orcid-ID Guests in the Out-Side: Becoming, Knowing, and Acting in Jane Bennett’s Vital Materialism
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Jane Bennett’s vital materialism develops positive ontological commitments to lively matter and resistant vitality, articulated using notions of actant and assemblage, thing-power and the out-side. I show that these ontological commitments reveal a limit for traditional modes of human knowing, favoring an emergent epistemology that attends to the ways actants and assemblages express themselves. I then argue for an account of acting that positions humans as guests of vibrant matter. Compacts of guest-friendship in Plato’s Crito and Kant’s To Perpetual Peace indicate that to be a guest is to be embedded in an asymmetrical system. The compact that binds the guest in a world of vibrant matter is the prospect of friendship with nonhuman others, a prospect I discuss following the work of Nick Bingham. I conclude by addressing Axelle Karera’s recent critique of Anthropocenean discourses, explaining the role guest-friendship can play in addressing certain of the weaknesses Karera identifies.
3. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth Lanphier Orcid-ID Friends and Citizens in Plato’s Crito: A Revisionary Relational Reading
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I propose a revisionary reading of Plato’s Crito focusing on the dramatic rendering of the friendship between Crito and Socrates, which I argue affords a model for political participation in a social contract. Their friendship models how citizens can come to be conventionally related to one another, and how they should treat one another internal to that relationship. This approach is apt for contemporary democratic theory, perhaps more so than standard interpretations of the political theory traditionally mined from the text, rather than drama, of the Crito. My account moves beyond questions of civility in deliberative democratic politics and deepens an account of how and why we ought to regard those with whom we disagree, but to whom we have nonetheless quasi-voluntarily bound ourselves within the same project of democracy. Friendship also addresses regard for those who have not previously received equal consideration within a putatively democratic social contract.
4. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Seth Mayer Mass Deliberative Democracy and Criminal Justice Reform: Beyond Democratic Communitarian Localism
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The American criminal justice system falls far short of democratic ideals. In response, democratic communitarian localism proposes a more decentralized system with a greater emphasis on local control. This approach aims to deconcentrate power and remove bureaucracy, arguing local control would reflect informal cultural life better than our current system. This view fails to adequately address localized domination, however, including in the background culture of society. As a result, it underplays the need for transformative, democratizing change. Rejecting communitarian localism, I defend a mass deliberative democratic approach to criminal justice reform that relies on institutions outside localities to democratize local institutions and background cultural patterns. Nonetheless, local institutions must be empowered to exert democratic control, as well as to influence institutions outside the locality. This process of democratic co-development offers greater hope for political equality, non-domination, and inclusive democratic deliberation about criminal law than democratic communitarian localism.
book reviews
5. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
H. A. Nethery IV Echeverría, Bolívar. Modernity and “Whiteness”
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