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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 17, 2001
Communication, Conflict, and Reconciliation

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Displaying: 1-10 of 20 documents

1. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Cheryl Hughes, James Wong Preface
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2. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
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part i: public discourse and rational politics
3. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Joseph Betz The Definition of Massacre
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Examining the reasons for the conventional application of the term 'massacre' to some sorts of killings but not others, I arrive at this definition of the term. A massacre is the mass murder and mutilation of innocent victims by an assailant or assailants immediately present at the scene. This is a conventional and not a stipulative definition. Many standard definitions are imprecise for several reasons. They might say the killing is unnecessary or indiscriminate or at a distance or they might confuse it with terrorism. lmprecise definitions do not grasp the etymological connection to the slaughterhouse, the limited space at the scene, or the cruelty required of the assailants. The difference between weak and strong, descriptive and evaluative uses of the term 'massacre' allows for dishonesty and propagandistic uses of the term.
4. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Richard M. Buck Sincerity and Reconciliation in Public Reason
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In Political Liberalism and the essay "The Idea of Public Reason Revisited" John Rawls argues that citizens must refrain from introducing sectarian values intopolitical debate over fundamental political questions unless the positions they are endorsing can be supported by public reasons. I will argue that this duty allows for a more limited use of non-public ideas and values than is suggested in Rawls's discussion. ln addition, I will argue that reconciliation between citizens and the reinvigoration of free exchange and debate both call for an extension of this duty to debate over issues that are of immediate concern to citizens. I argue that public reason requires citizens to support only those public policies which can be defended by appeal to liberal political values (values such as comity, social stability, equality, happiness), and to sincerely affirm liberal political values as the ultimate justification of the use of state power to implement the public policies they support.
5. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Sylvia Burrow Reasonable Moral Psychology and the Kantian Ace in the Hole
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Rawls's political constructivism in Political Liberalism maintains that the two principles of justice will be accepted and endorsed by persons who are both reasonable and rational. A Theory of Justice explains the motivation to endorse the political conception on the basis of a Kantian moral psychology. Both Leif Wenar and Brian Barry argue that despite Rawls's claims to the contrary, the later work still supposes a Kantian moral psychology. If so, political constructivism fails to account for stability in society among a plurality of reasonable conceptions of good. This paper draws on Rawls's distinction in Political Liberalism between the political and nonpolitical moral sell characterizing each citizens' moral identity in claiming that the two parts of the sell correlate to two sets of motivation, political and moral motivation. This account explains resolution of conflict in the agent in favor of the political conception without invoking a Kantian moral psychology.
6. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Stephen Finn Geometry and the Science of Morality in Hobbes
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In the central chapters of Leviathan, Hobbes offers a demonstration of the "true doctrine of the laws of nature," which is identified with the "science of virtue andvice" and the "true moral philosophy." In his deduction of the laws of nature, Hobbes attempts to mimic the science of geometry, which he says is the "only science God had hitherto bestowed on mankind. "In this paper, I discuss some of the problems associated with Hobbes's application of the method of geometry to civil philosophy. After locating the root of these problems in Hobbes's in ability to recognize the distinction between formal and applied sciences, I discuss a possible solution. According to this solution, Hobbes's "science of morality" is considered to be a formal science that is applied to the world by an act of human creation.
part ii: mediating conflicts
7. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Lou Marinoff The Geometry of Defection: Cascading Mimicry and Contract-Resistant Structures
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This paper examines a social contractarian model in which an actor cooperates by mimicry; that is, cooperates just in case there is majority cooperation in his orher vicinity. A computer simulation is developed to study the relation between initial and final proportions of such cooperators, as wel l as to chart the population dynamics themselves. The model turns out to be non-linear; item bodies a quintessentially chaotic threshold. The simulation also yields other unforeseen results, revealing a "geometry of delection" that unites delecting cells into robust molecular formations which persist with in overall cooperative domains, or which under certain conditions undermine cooperativeness entirely. The model thus sheds so me light on the structura l dimension of mimicry that underlies social communication, conflict and its resolution.
8. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Jan Narveson Communication and Human Good: The Twentieth Century's Main Achievement
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The invention of computers, and especially their communication capabilities is revolutionary in several ways. They show the paramount importance of communication in human life, as well as facilitating revolutionary improvements in virtually all areas of social life: business, the arts, agriculture, and others. They put in perspective the erroneous outlook of "materialism" -the idea that human well-being is a matter of accumulating material objects, with a corollary that we must be using up the material resources that make such life possible. In fact, we use fewer and fewer material resources to make life better. Given human ingenuity, natural resources simply do not pose any basic restriction on human potential. Humanity can be in for a great future, provided our politics can be kept from wrecking it all. Will we have the wisdom to leave people to their devices and continue to forward all this progress?
9. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Nancy Potter Is There a Role for Humor in the Midst of Conflict?
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Theories of humor tend to neglect the role that humor plays in situations of conflict. This paper explores epistemological and political dimensions of humor as it is used by members of disenfranchised and otherwise marginalized groups. Not only can this kind of humor I call "oppositional" aid members of oppressed groups in preparing for conflict; it can also help people's beliefs shift in politically significant ways. Although I think the use of oppositional humor can be very constructive both politically and epistemologically indealing with conflict, I am skeptical about the use of oppositional humor in situations of direct conflict resolution. Nevertheless, I suggest that a type of humor called banter can be productively engaged in by the relatively disempowered when certain parameters are drawn.
10. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Alex Wellington Professional Ethics for Mediators: Tensions Between Justice and Accountability
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In this paper, I examine the development and application of codes of ethics for alternative dispute resolution practitioners, specifically mediators. I discuss thecommon vocabulary that one linds in model codes of conduct, and address the various dilemmas that arise for the "ethical" practitioner who wishes to model their practices on the standards found in such codes. I assert that some of the most intriguing and trenchant work on ethical dilemmas for mediators concerns the tension between accountability to participants, and aspirations to ensure just outcomes. The latter invokes norms pertaining to social justice in society at large. I suggest that it can be helplul to conceive of such dilemmas in terms of a contrast between obligations a rising from the "role" of an ADR prolessional and the "policy" dimensions of evaluating the impacts (intended and unintended) of the work of ADR professionals on society at large.