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1. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Jeremy Barris, Jeffrey C Ruff

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If we accept that at least some kinds of nonhuman animals are persons, a variety of paradoxes emerge in our ethical relations with them, involving apparently unavoidable disrespect of their personhood. We aim to show that these paradoxes are legitimate but can be illuminatingly resolved in the light of an adequate understanding of the nature of persons. Drawing on recent Western, Daoist, and Zen Buddhist thought, we argue that personhood is already paradoxical in the same way as these aspects of our ethical relations with nonhuman animals, and in fact is the source of their paradoxical character. In both contexts, depth and shallowness turn out to be internal to or crucial parts of each other, with logically anomalous consequences. We try to show that the character of this paradoxical relation between depth and shallowness in the nature of personhood involves a crucial inflection in the case of nonhuman animal persons that allows us to make sense of and resolve these ethical paradoxes.
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2. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Noel Boulting

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By employing Peirce’s semiotics, Totalitarianism is distinguished indexically from forms of Dictatorship and Authoritarianism. The former can be cast, as Arendt argued, to initiate a project for world domination dispensing with any sense of Authoritarianism in forwarding some purely fictitious conception where violence is manifested in terror. Alternatively, distortion of intellectual activity may issue within Populism so that the rule of Demagogy emerges initiating Despotism or a form of Dictatorship – either Commissarial or Sovereign form – where lawless violence is sustained by secret police inducing fear but not terror. In the case of Authoritarianism induced iconically in a populace, violence may be tolerated accompanying either lawmaking or lawpreserving, both to be separated from Benjamin’s sense of pure violence. The latter – whether humanistically or spiritually understood – transcends both utilitarianism and sheer arbitrariness.
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3. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Eleonora Montuschi

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It has been urged that philosophers in the contemporary world should be able to engage with domains of practice and not just with each other. If that is the case, in what sense philosophy can become an ‘applied’ discipline, and with what consequences both for philosophy and for practice? As a preliminary I will rehearse some of the reasons why philosophical investigation is socially commendable. I will then show (sect. 1) how philosophy in so called knowledge societies should interact with science and the contexts where science is used. A suitably formulated idea of interdisciplinarity (sect.2) will suggest the necessary epistemic conditions to achieve this interaction. I will use two illustrations (sects. 4 and 5) from the specific field of the philosophy of science to point out the kinds of readjustments required by philosophical analysis not so much to apply but to ‘engage’ with practice (in a sense qualified in sect.3).
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4. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Eoin O’Connell

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This paper argues that cool is a virtue in a specific context: that of black Americans living under a specific modality of white supremacy. But cool is not merely a coping mechanism. A historical analysis of the term shows that cool is being unimpressed by, and calm in the face of, white supremacy. This is made manifest in a style, the “cool pose,” the sophistication of which is captured in the jazz of Lester Young and Miles Davis. Thus, cool is both a virtue of character and a feature of black American aesthetics. But as a cultural phenomenon, it has been appropriated by white American culture.
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5. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 28 > Issue: 1
Sam Badger

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book symposium: eddy souffrant, global development ethics

6. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Eddy Souffrant

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7. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Robert Paul Churchill

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8. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Lori Keleher

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9. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Eddy Souffrant

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article

10. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Rob Lovering

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In this paper, I present a case study on a recent attempt at implementing what I refer to as the “Pro-lifer’s Asymmetrical Punishment View” (PAPV), the view that people should be legally punished for performing abortions whereas women should not be so punished for procuring abortions. While doing so, I argue that the endeavor, which took place in the state of Alabama, is incoherent relative to the conjunction of its purported underlying moral rationale and the Alabama criminal code. I then present what I take to be possible explanations for, practical implications of, and solutions to the attempt and its incoherence. Given that other endeavors to implement PAPV are currently in the works and are so with similar underlying moral rationales and within similar criminal codes, what I present and argue here is not limited to Alabama’s attempt at doing so.
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book reviews

11. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Benjamin A Rider

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12. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Shelly Johnson

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special section

13. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 2
Charles Harvey, Janet Donohoe, David K. Chan, Joseph Orosco, Andrew Fiala

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articles

14. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
José-Antonio Orosco, Lark Sontag, Zara Stevens, Taine Duncan

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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.
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15. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Becky Vartabedian Orcid-ID

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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.
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16. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Elizabeth Lanphier Orcid-ID

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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.
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17. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
Seth Mayer

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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.
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book reviews

18. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 27 > Issue: 1
H. A. Nethery IV

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articles

19. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1/2
Sharyn Clough

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I have argued that political values are beliefs informed, more or less well, by the evidence of experience and that, where relevant and well-supported by evidence, the inclusion of political values in scientific theorizing can increase the objectivity of research (e.g., Clough 2003, 2004, 2011). The position I endorse has been called the “values-as-evidence” approach (Goldenberg 2013). In this essay I respond to three kinds of resistance to this approach, using examples of feminist political values. Solomon (2012) questions whether values are beliefs that can be tested, Alcoff (2006) argues that even if our values are beliefs that can be tested, testing them might not be desirable because doing so assigns these important values a contingency that weakens their normative force, and Yap (2016) argues that the approach is too idealistic in its articulation of the role of evidence in our political deliberations. In response, I discuss the ways that values can be tested, I analyze the evidential strength of feminist values in science, and I argue that the evidence-based nature of these values is neither a weakness nor an idealization. Problems with political values affecting science properly concern the dogmatic ways that evaluative beliefs are sometimes held—a problem that arises with dogmatism toward descriptive beliefs as well. I conclude that scientists, as with the rest of us, ought to adopt a pragmatically-inclined appreciation of the fallible, inductive process by which we gather evidence in support of any of our beliefs, whether they are described as evaluative or descriptive.
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20. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 26 > Issue: 1/2
James B. Gould

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The Covid-19 pandemic provides a real-world context for evaluating the fairness of disability-based rationing of scarce medical resources. I discuss three situations clinicians may face: rationing based on disability itself; rationing based on inevitable disability-related comorbidities; and rationing based on preventable disability-related comorbidities. I defend three conclusions. First, in a just distribution, extraneous factors do not influence a person’s share. This rules out rationing based on disability alone, where no comorbidities decrease a person’s capacity to benefit from treatment. Second, in a just distribution, undeserved luck does not influence a person’s share. This rules out rationing for biologically caused comorbidities that decrease capacity to benefit. Third, in a just distribution, social injustice does not influence a person’s share. This rules out rationing for socially caused comorbidities that decrease capacity to benefit.
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