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Essays in Philosophy

Volume 20
The Philosophical Dimensions of Urban Transportation

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editor’s introduction
1. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Shane Epting Introduction
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essays
2. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Samantha Elaine Noll, Laci Nichole Hubbard-Mattix Health Justice in the City: Why an Intersectional Analysis of Transportation Matters for Bioethics
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Recently, there has been a concerted effort to shift bioethics’ traditional focus from clinical and research settings to more robustly engage with issues of justice and health equity. This broader bioethics agenda seeks to embed health related issues in wider institutional and cultural contexts and to help develop fair policies. In this paper, we argue that bioethicists who ascribe to the broader bioethics’ agenda could gain valuable insights from the interdisciplinary field of environmental justice and transportation justice, in particular. We then proceed to demonstrate the importance of adopting an intersectional approach to transportation and health. The paper concludes with the argument that intersectional gender inequality is of particular importance when studying both health equity and the unequal distribution of burdens associated with transportation systems in local contexts. This essay is meant to be the beginning of a robust conversation concerning health equity, transportation justice, and intersectional distributions of both benefits and burdens.
3. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Miloš N. Mladenović, Sanna Lehtinen, Emily Soh, Karel Martens Emerging Urban Mobility Technologies through the Lens of Everyday Urban Aesthetics: Case of Self-Driving Vehicle
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The goal of this article is to deepen the concept of emerging urban mobility technology. Drawing on philosophical everyday and urban aesthetics, as well as the postphenomenological strand in the philosophy of technology, we explicate the relation between everyday aesthetic experience and urban mobility commoning. Thus, we shed light on the central role of aesthetics for providing depth to the important experiential and value-driven meaning of contemporary urban mobility. We use the example of self-driving vehicle (SDV), as potentially mundane, public, dynamic, and social urban robots, for expanding the range of perspectives relevant for our relations to urban mobility technology. We present the range of existing SDV conceptualizations and contrast them with experiential and aesthetic understanding of urban mobility. In conclusion, we reflect on the potential undesired consequences from the depolitization of technological development, and potential new pathways for speculative thinking concerning urban mobility futures in responsible innovation processes.
4. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Sana Iqbal Mobility Justice, Phenomenology and Gender: A Case from Karachi
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Karachi is considered the economic hub of Pakistan, but it lacks a systematized public transport service. Although the demand-supply gap in the transport sector and the poor quality of this deregulated service affects everyone, it wreaks havoc for women, manifesting in the form of social exclusion. Men can benefit from alternative, (and sometimes cheaper) private modes of transport such as motorbikes, which are socially discouraged for women, making them dependent on their male counterparts. Despite the seriousness of this issue, there is little literature showing how women are differentially deprived of their agency due to gender disparity in society. To better understand this issue, the aim of this paper is to study the cultural foundations of transport poverty to assess their impact on women’s life opportunities. For this purpose, the experiences of women while using public transport have been analysed. The study has identified a variety of reasons why women curtail their mobility. It concludes that the social exclusion of women motivates a greater concern for their freedom of movement and that their needs be adequately reflected in transportation policies.
5. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Shane Epting Transportation Planning for Automated Vehicles—Or Automated Vehicles for Transportation Planning?
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In recent years, philosophical examinations of automated vehicles have progressed far beyond initial concerns over the ethical decisions that pertain to programming in the event of a crash. In turn, this paper moves in that direction, focusing on the motivations behind efforts to implement driverless vehicles into urban settings. The author argues that the many perceived benefits of these technologies yield a received view of automated vehicles. This position holds that driverless vehicles can solve most if not all urban mobility issues. However, the problem with such an outlook is that it lends itself to transportation planning for automated vehicles, rather than using them as part of planning efforts that could serve urban mobility. Due to this condition, present efforts aimed at improving transportation systems should resist dogmatic thinking. Instead, they should focus on goals that keep topics such a human flourishing, sustainability, and transportation justice firmly in view.
6. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Maria Nordström, Sven Ove Hansson, Muriel Beser Hugosson Let Me Save You Some Time... On Valuing Travelers’ Time in Urban Transportation
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Systems of urban transportation are largely shaped through planning practices. In transport economics, the benefits of infrastructure investments consist mainly of travel time savings calculated using monetary values of time. The economic interpretation of the value of travel time has significantly shaped our urban environment and transportation schemes. However, there is often an underlying assumption of transferability between time and money, which arguably does not sufficiently take into account the specific features of time. In this paper, we analyze the various properties of time as an economic resource using findings in behavioral economics and psychology. Due to limitations in the standard model, it is proposed that an alternative model value should be investigated in which time rather than money is the primary carrier of and the basic features of such a model are outlined. An improved understanding the nature of time as a source of utility puts us in a better position to determine what aspects of time matter. Additionally, the analysis can be applied to further develop modeling where value of time plays a significant role; such as new models for the planning of urban transport.
book reviews
7. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Steven Ross Review of Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal, by Heather Widdows
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8. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Robin L. Zebrowski Review of Doing Philosophy: From Common Curiosity to Logical Reasoning, by Timothy Williamson
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9. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Samantha Elaine Noll Review of Genetic Ethics: An Introduction, by Colin Farrelly
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10. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Maren Behrensen Review of A Philosophy for Europe – From the Outside, by Roberto Esposito, trans. Zakiya Hanafi
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editor’s introduction
11. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Sarah Conly Issue Introduction
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essays
12. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Anca Gheaus More Co-parents, Fewer Children: Multiparenting and Sustainable Population
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Some philosophers argue that we should limit procreation—for instance, to one child per person or one child per couple—in order to reduce our aggregate carbon footprint. I provide additional support to the claim that population size is a matter of justice, by explaining that we have a duty of justice towards the current generation of children to pass on to them a sustainable population. But instead of, or, more likely, alongside with, having fewer children in in each family, we could also create families with more than two parents. I explore this possibility by pointing out the ways in which multi-parenting can advance children’s interests: in higher levels of well-being, in non-monopolistic child-rearing, and in a future opportunity to become themselves parents.
13. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Leonard Kahn Is There an Obligation to Abort?: Act Utilitarianism and the Ethics of Procreation
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Most Act-Utilitarians, including Singer are Permissivists who claim that their theory usually permits abortion. In contrast, a minority, including Hare and Tännsjö, are Restrictionists who assert that Act-Utilitarianism (AU) usually limits abortion. I argue that both Permissivists and Restrictionists have misunderstood AU’s radical implications for abortion: AU entails that abortion is, in most cases in the economically developed world, morally obligatory. According to AU, it is morally obligatory for A to do F in circumstances C if and only if A’s doing F in C produces at least as much total net value as any other action that A could do in C. As mentioned above, AU has generally been seen to be fairly permissive about abortion. A little more exactly, AU is usually thought to hold that abortion is morally permissible in most cases, even during the second and third trimester. But not all AUs are Permissivists. Restrictionists maintain that the value of the future good that the fetus will experience over an entire life is likely to often outweigh the value of the good that its female parent will lose if the fetus is not aborted. Neither Permissivists nor Restrictionists have understood AU’s implications for abortion, at least as it concerns those living in economically developed countries today. First, Restrictionists have failed to recognize the marginal costs that a person in the developed world incurs on future people. One life lived now in the developed world consumes more resources (and contributes more to global warming) than a life lived in the developing world, and in the process makes the prospects of future people considerably worse. Restrictionists ignore these costs when they claim that it is often morally impermissible to abort fetuses. Second, Permissivists have not gone far enough when they have claimed that abortion is morally permissible. Singer and others have argued that we in the developed world ought to redirect much of our wealth to the underdeveloped world because its marginal value is much higher there than here. But the average cost of raising a child in the United States is almost $13,000 per year. Hence, by forgoing a child (including aborting a fetus) one can save and maintain, on average, between 6 and 65 people per year. Thus, AU entails that almost everyone in the developed world who is financially capable of supporting a child should not do so, even if that means aborting a fetus.
14. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Trevor Hedberg The Duty to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Limits of Permissible Procreation
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Many environmental philosophers have argued that there is an obligation for individuals to reduce their individual carbon footprints. However, few of them have addressed whether this obligation would entail a corresponding duty to limit one’s family size. In this paper, I examine several reasons that one might view procreative acts as an exception to a more general duty to reduce one’s individual greenhouse gas emissions. I conclude that none of these reasons are convincing. Thus, if there is an obligation to reduce one’s unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions, then people should also limit the size of their families when they have the means to do so.
15. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Gerald K. Harrison Antinatalism and Moral Particularism
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I believe most acts of human procreation are immoral, and I believe this despite also believing in the truth of moral particularism. In this paper I explain why. I argue that procreative acts possess numerous features that, in other contexts, seem typically to operate with negative moral valences. Other things being equal this gives us reason to believe they will operate negatively in the context of procreative acts as well. However, most people’s intuitions represent procreative acts to be morally permissible in most circumstances. Given moral particularism, this would normally be good evidence that procreative acts are indeed morally permissible and that the features that operate negatively elsewhere, simply do not do so in the context of procreative acts in particular. But I argue that we have no good reason to think our intuitions about the ethics of human procreation are accurate. Our most reliable source of insight into the ethics human procreative acts are not our intuitions those acts themselves, but our intuitions about the typical moral valences of the features such acts possess. If that is correct, then acts of human procreation are most likely wrong.
book reviews
16. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Valerie Soon Review of Elizabeth Anderson’s Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It)
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17. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Jessica Logue Review of Kwame Anthony Appiah’s The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity
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18. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Krista Karbowski Thomason Review of Agnes Callard’s Aspiration: The Agency of Becoming
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19. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Steve Ross Review of Charles W. Mills’ Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism
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