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special symposium: rebecca tuvel and her interlocutors
1. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 1
Peg Birmingham Introduction
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2. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 1
Chloë Taylor On Intellectual Generosity: A Response to Rebecca Tuvel’s "In Defense of Transracialism"
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In this response I compare Rebecca Tuvel’s article, “In Defense of Transracialism,” to several other recent examples of philosophical and social justice scholarship in which authors (Eli Clare, Alexandre Baril, Cressida Heyes, Ladelle McWhorter, Judith Butler) draw comparisons between diverse identities and oppressions, and draw ethical and political conclusions about experiences that are not necessarily their own. I ask what methodological or authorial differences can explain the dramatically different reception of these works compared to Tuvel’s, and whether these differences in reception were justified. In this response I also challenge the often-heard claim that Tuvel failed to draw on the evidence of experience in her article, as well as the assumption that social justice scholars should always do so. Finally, I consider Tuvel’s motivations in writing her article and describe them as intellectually generous, and I call for more intellectual generosity in academia as it is transformed by social media.
3. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 1
Lewis R. Gordon Thinking through Rejections and Defenses of Transracialism
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This article explores several philosophical questions raised by Rebecca Tuvel’s controversial article, “In Defense of Transracialism.” Drawing upon work on the concept of bad faith, including its form as “disciplinary decadence,” this discussion raises concerns of constructivity and its implications and differences in intersections of race and gender.
4. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 1
Kris Sealey Transracialism and White Allyship: A Response to Rebecca Tuvel
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My reading of Tuvel’s defense of transracialism focuses on her critiques of three main objections to a transracial identity. Tuvel attempts to show how her defense of transracialism stands in the face of these objections. However, I argue that her position is not sufficiently immune to them. In other words, my response delineates the ways in which all three objections remain, and effectively undermine her argument in favor of transracial identities. Additionally, through the question of white allyship, I ask about the moral and political consequences of choosing to identify as transracial. I show that, without a clear account of what an existential choice of racial transitioning implies for allyship across race, Tuvel does not sufficiently establish the differences between the historical constitutions of racialized and sexualized identities. In failing to engage with these moral/political implications, Tuvel’s position does not address the complex relationship between individual agency and collective accountability.
5. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 1
Sabrina L. Hom (Dis)Engaging with Race Theory: Feminist Philosophy’s Debate on “Transracialism” as a Case Study
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Rebecca Tuvel’s controversial “In Defense of Transracialism” has been criticized for a lack of engagement with critical race theory. Disengagement with salient material on race is a consistent feature of the philosophical conversation out of which it arises. In this article, I trace the origins of feminist philosophy’s disengaged and distorted view of “transracialism” and racial passing through the work of Janice Raymond, Christine Overall, and Cressida Heyes, and consider some of the relevant work on passing that is omitted in the philosophy of “transracialism.” Finally, I offer methodological suggestions to avoid such distortions and omissions in feminist philosophy.
6. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 1
Tina Fernandes Botts Race and Method: The Tuvel Affair
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Methodological tools for doing philosophy that take into account the historical context of the phenomenon under consideration (such as are often used in the continental tradition) are arguably better suited for examining questions of race and gender than acontextual or ahistorical methodological tools (such as are often used often in the analytic tradition). Accordingly, Rebecca Tuvel’s “defense” of so-called transracialism (based largely on an analogy to the transgender experience) arguably veers off track to the extent that it relies on acontextual and ahistorical tools. While Tuvel argues, largely relying on such tools, that so-called transracialism is both metaphysically possible and ethically permissible, from a perspective that factors in context and history, so-called transracialism is arguably neither. Nonetheless, Tuvel’s ethical call to the effect that an individual right to racial self-definition should be acknowledged has its appeal. However, the lesson to be learned from the Tuvel affair arguably has less to do with the metaphysical or ethical status of so-called transracialism than with changes that arguably need to be made in the way mainstream/analytic professional philosophy goes about its business, particularly with regard to non-ideal topics like race and gender.
7. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 1
Rebecca Tuvel Racial Transitions and Controversial Positions: Reply to Taylor, Gordon, Sealey, Hom, and Botts
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In this essay, I reply to critiques of my article “In Defense of Transracialism.” Echoing Chloë Taylor and Lewis Gordon’s remarks on the controversy over my article, I first reflect on the lack of intellectual generosity displayed in response to my paper. In reply to Kris Sealey, I next argue that it is dangerous to hinge the moral acceptability of a particular identity or practice on what she calls a collective co-signing. In reply to Sabrina Hom, I suggest that relying on the language of passing to describe transracialism is potentially misleading. In reply to Tina Botts, I both defend analytic philosophy of race against her multiple criticisms and suggest that Botts’s remarks risk complicity with a form of transphobia that Talia Mae Bettcher calls the Basic Denial of Authenticity. I end by gesturing toward a more inclusive understanding of racial identity.
special topic: futures of the theological turn
8. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 1
Joseph Rivera Introduction: Futures of the Theological Turn
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9. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 1
Joseph S. O'Leary Phenomenology and Theology: Respecting the Boundaries
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Examining the ways in which two representatives of the “theological turn in French phenomenology” speak of the interrelationship between philosophy and theology, one may detect a number of tendencies which are deleterious both to philosophy and theology. The idea of an autonomous philosophy, pursued as an end in itself, needs to be defended against claims that philosophy can only flourish under theological tutelage. Again, the integrity of theology as a science of faith excludes any identification of theology as a kind of philosophy. Interaction between the two disciplines, especially in the border areas of apologetics, fundamental theology, religious philosophy, and philosophy of religion, can be fruitful only if a keen sense of their radical difference of orientation is sustained. Behind the swamping of phenomenology by theological concerns lies a series of misunderstandings of metaphysics and its overcoming as well as a misguided notion that phenomenology allows revealed theology to re-enter the French university under the rubric of philosophy.
10. Philosophy Today: Volume > 62 > Issue: 1
Felix Ó Murchadha The Passion of Grace: Love, Beauty, and the Theological Re-turn
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This paper shows how turns in theology in early Modernity and in the last century framed the context of distinct philosophical understandings of the self. Focusing on the concept of “pure nature,” the foreshadowing of philosophical themes in theology is shown. It is further argued that while the modern self emerging from certain early Modern theological discourses from Suárez, through Descartes to Kant was deeply implicated in Stoic apatheia, the self which arises from a phenomenological rethinking (especially in Marion) of the place of love and beauty in the worldliness of being and appearance is one which is fundamentally passionate. At play here is a shift in the notion of will from that of sovereign indifference to desire.