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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 32, 2016
Education and Social Justice

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Displaying: 1-10 of 16 documents


1. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
Jeffrey Gauthier Introduction
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part 1: presidential address
2. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
Margaret Crouch Why Can’t We Behave? Justice and Ethical Conduct in the Academy
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The mantra of the Western philosopher is “know thyself.” However, many of us in the discipline of philosophy don’t seem to practice what we preach—or even preach this mantra. This is true in the conduct of our profession. The practices and norms of the members of an institution constitute that institution. If we are not rigorously self-examining ourselves, especially in the conduct of our professional lives, then the discipline of philosophy, the institution of philosophy as it exists in the West, is not consistent with this defining imperative.
part 1: keynote address
3. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
Lorraine Code Who Do We Think We Are?
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This paper begins to develop a conception of ecological subjectivity and hence of social-political practice that can promote social justice across diverse populations and situations. It urges a provocative posing of the question “who do we think we are?” to direct attention to often unspoken assumptions about subjectivity and agency that tend silently to inform current philosophical inquiry. Drawing attention to the often-unconscious processes of “we-saying.” it aims to highlight and to prompt contestation of the silent assumptions that tend to inform that “we.” In so doing, it appeals to humility as an epistemic and moral virtue.
part iii: education and social justice
4. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
Matt Silliman Learning as Learning How to Feel
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In this dialogue, Sir Isaac Newton and the Priestess Diotima of Mantinea (who have met previously in “Two Cheers for Reductionism”) engage current debates in the politics of education and their conceptual underpinnings. Diotima challenges the assumption that the acquisition of educational content or skills should dominate our concept of learning. She develops an alternative conception of education as fundamentally moral, interpersonal, and emotional, and thus prone to destruction in the face of the objectifying forces of high-stakes testing and a reductive audit culture. Lord Newton is skeptical of this conception, and of its pedagogical, rhetorical, and political implications.
5. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
Gordon B. Mower Doubts about Liberal Forms of Civic Education
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The liberal perspective entrusts to civic education the roles of combating declining numbers in national public participation and of closing the civic empowerment gap between privileged and under-privileged groups. Citizens equipped with rationality, on this view, will be able to see that participating in the public arena is a benefit to themselves and to the country. This paper critically examines this position, and finds that liberal forms of education suffer from three failings. First, people’s rationality is more likely to persuade them that public participation is too costly in comparison with the advantages found in private life. Second, cognitive states developed in learning-based education may not provide sufficient motivation for action. Third, the liberal take on education may have exaggerated people’s capacity for making rational choices. These three failings come together to suggest that liberal style civic education is unlikely to increase public participation or diminish the civic empowerment gap.
6. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
DeeDee Mower Deviance to Diminish Educational Disparity
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Using Michel Foucault’s framework of technologies (the goods and services provided to encourage particular practices or behaviors) can be a guide to understand how teachers become technological components that receive governance. Through this governance, pedagogical practices are perceived as similar yet may be vastly different. I utilize three of Foucault’s technologies to understand the differences in teacher practices. The first being governmental technologies, which are the rules and regulations that confine pedagogical practices. Second, the consumer technologies or the goods and services needed to sustain the rules that regulate pedagogy. Third is organizational technology, or ways in which one might police and govern the use of the pedagogical practices.
part iv: disability, autonomy, and epistemology
7. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
Christine Wieseler Objectivity as Neutrality, Nondisabled Ignorance, and Strong Objectivity in Biomedical Ethics
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This paper focuses on epistemic practices within biomedical ethics that are related to disability. These practices are one of the reasons that there is tension between biomedical ethicists and disability advocates. I argue that appeals to conceptual neutrality regarding disability, which Anita Silvers recommends, are counterproductive. Objectivity as neutrality serves to obscure the social values and interests that inform epistemic practices. Drawing on feminist standpoint theory and epistemologies of ignorance, I examine ways that appeals to objectivity as neutrality serve to maintain the status quo and ignorance regarding disability. I adapt Charles Mills’s notion of “white ignorance” in order to consider the systematic social ignorance regarding disability that is treated as knowledge. Bioethicists commonly dismiss the reports of disabled people regarding their quality of life as biased, while claiming that their own judgments are objective. Sandra Harding’s notion of strong objectivity is useful for thinking about ways that examination of values and interests informing epistemic practices related to disability in biomedical ethics could create better knowledge practices by taking the standpoint of disabled people seriously.
8. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
Andria Bianchi Autonomy, Sexuality, and Intellectual Disability
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Respect for autonomy grounds common ethical judgments about why people should be allowed to make decisions for themselves. Under this assumption, it is concerning that a number of feminist conceptions of autonomy present challenges for people with intellectual disabilities. This paper explores some of the most philosophically influential feminist accounts of autonomy and demonstrates how these accounts exclude persons with intellectual disabilities. As a possible solution to these accounts, Laura Davy’s inclusive design approach is presented, which is a revised conception of autonomy that accommodates intellectual disabilities. While Davy’s approach to autonomy views people with intellectual disabilities as autonomous, it encounters limitations in regard to sexual autonomy, which incorporates certain judgments that are intuitively at odds with her recommendations. The remainder of this paper describes some complexities of sexual autonomy and determines why these are problematic for Davy’s account. After analyzing some of the challenges that sexual autonomy presents, I suggest a potential modification for consideration. This modification will allow Davy’s account to address the topic of sexual autonomy for persons with intellectual disabilities. My proposal is a matter of theory following practice.
part v: issues in moral and political philosophy
9. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
Joan Woolfrey The Primacy of Hope
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This paper raises the question of whether there is anything foundational to hopefulness when considering it as a virtue, and uses the Aristotelian distinction between virtue in the “natural sense” and virtue in the “strict sense” to make the claim that hopefulness has a primacy to it. While that primacy rests on the existence of care and responsiveness of community, those caretakers must themselves be possessed of hopefulness, which, at its best will be virtuous.
10. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
Matt Waldschlagel How Not to Think about Forgiveness
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It is commonly held that the reason we ought to forgive those who wrong or harm us is to overcome the stranglehold that the vindictive passions or negative emotions have over us. On this common account, the driving reason to forgive someone else for the harm they have caused or the wrong they have done to us is to heal oneself. I find this account wrongheaded, as it runs the risk of treating forgiveness as a facile panacea which fails to reliably achieve the emotional benefits for the forgiver that it is meant to. Instead I offer what I call the Threefold View of Forgiveness. In proffering forgiveness, the forgiver must first “soften her heart” by overcoming hostile feelings toward the wrongdoer. But the forgiver must also actively and patiently work toward reconciliation with the wrongdoer. Finally, the forgiver must “wipe clean the slate” of the repentant wrongdoer by removing or suspending the wrong. I argue that the Threefold View of Forgiveness is superior because it is better suited to reliably achieving the psychological benefits we want from forgiveness on account of the social practice of reconciliation that underwrites it.