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Essays in Philosophy

Volume 20, Issue 2, August 2019
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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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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