Displaying: 1-20 of 38 documents


1. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Kate Farmer, Michelle Fath

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2. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Sophia Mihic

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The Supreme Court’s reversal of the right to abortion has significantly changed reproductive rights in the United States, and adversely affected the lives of potentially pregnant persons. The political fragility of the privacy right to abortion also raises questions about the practice and epistemic rules of American constitutionalism itself. In this essay, I situate the history of privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause in the tradition of legal reasoning. With Ludwig Wittgenstein’s On Certainty, I argue that the majority in Dobbs v. Jackson (2022) departs from this tradition. The upshot of this departure is that we now have a new interpretive language game battling a long established language game of interpretation–battling, that is, a constitutional tradition–in a contest to redefine how disagreement is transacted among justices and between the people and their government.

3. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Matthew Tiessen

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In this paper I explore privacy as a concept that becomes relevant and sometimes necessary under specific circumstances, but unnecessary in others. Privacy, I suggest, can be thought of as the right to be left alone and is integral to related concepts such as freedom, liberty, and independence. In light of the ongoing expansion of data-mining technologies, business models, and emerging modes of governance, I suggest that privacy is simultaneously more necessary and more at risk than ever. Privacy, in other words, is fragile and must be appreciated, understood, and defended. At the same time, privacy is increasingly an obstacle for businesses, governments, and financial interests, all of whom are eager to extract our data, manage our expectations, and shape and control our desires. To achieve their objectives, I describe how these organizations have long used propaganda and persuasive techniques to shape and manage the opinions, values, and expectations of the public. These days, I argue, the meaning of privacy is being made to evolve in order to bolster these organizations’ interconnected efforts to expand their power and control and to pave the way for the imposition of digital IDs. I also reflect on the way propaganda is being used today, the ways it has been described in the past, and the ways it will evolve in the future—either in defense of freedom, liberty, and independence, or in service of organizations intent on expanding their power and control over managed populations.

4. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Kevin Macnish, Orcid-ID Ethan Harris

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5. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Judith A. Swanson

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This essay contends that Marx sought to destroy privacy, analyzes his conception of it, and explains why he thought privacy impedes the full development of human beings. Central to his argument is a critique of constitutional states and modern liberalism, which, he maintains, by protecting and justifying individual rights, fail to recognize citizens as species beings.

6. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Nandita Biswas Mellamphy

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The War on Terror is an ambiguous term that has been used to circumvent the international laws of warfare. Instead of moving toward peace by way of limited warfare, and instead of preserving the independence of war and peace, War on Terror advances by masking itself in a fog of peace; it proliferates by overlapping the logic of “war-time” and “peace-time” operations. The fog of peace—as it shall herein be called—is a condition wherein the uncertainty qua “fog” of war,2 along with its militarized logic, overlaps with and eventually replaces civilian peace-time-and-spaces. The War on Terror is thus not a limiting of war by way of the conventional modern mechanisms of international law and diplomacy; it is a continuation of war by other means, including the use covert, often black-boxed methods of information-capture and surveillance. Globally, states are expanding the powers of intelligence organs and deploying covert mass surveillance programs in the name of counter-terrorism. In this manner, counter-terrorism policies become instruments enabling states to become predatory, especially in relation to civilians. Under the banner of fighting terrorism, peace-time has unwittingly become colonized by the logic of war.

7. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
John Perry

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Over the last century and a half, appeals to “privacy” have become common in American law. The result is a rather chaotic mix of concepts, which philosophers might be able to help bring into some kind of order. But I want to discuss one kind of privacy that isn’t discussed much in the law literature, what I call “natural privacy.” I strongly suspect that unlike cricket or checkers or bridge with respect to our concept of game (Wittgenstein’s example) there is something very basic about natural privacy that can illuminate, at least to a certain extent, part of the web of concepts for which we have come to use the term “privacy.” The basis of this hunch is that two aspects of natural privacy, imagination and contemplation, seem to be a very important part of what it is to be a human being. The privacy we seek by building houses, fences and private offices seems to bear a close kinship with the kind of privacy with which nature endows us. And so does the sort of privacy we seek to provide, often in vain, for things we do with the help of modern technology, from the printing press to the internet.

8. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Mark Jarzombek

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The attempt by the digital forces to ‘naturalize’ the digital and thus to make it one with our ontology raises a whole host of issues about how to identify the Self. The multi-pronged processes of naturalization are driven by a particular dynamic: the ‘more’ of data. Data is not a static pile of information, but only works within strategies of accumulation. Businesses and academe have bought into this strategy – addicted to its potential for control – in ways that make it impossible to see ‘an outside’. This ‘more’ is, however, hardly foolproof, and is in fact designed around a wide range of fallibilities – some visible, but most not - that are also now part of the new natural. The resultant dialectic is unstable and as it operates to re-engineer our sense of Self it faces its own destiny.

9. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Annabelle Lever

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Elections are generally considered the only way to create a democratic legislature where direct democracy is not an option. However, in recent years that assumption has been challenged by individuals who claim that lotteries are a democratic way of selecting people for office, elections are aristocratic or oligarchic, not democratic, and that elections as we know them are inadequate if true democracy is prioritized. In opposition to this wave, my paper argues that the assertions made to support the democratic merits of lotteries are unpersuasive. Current evidence that sortition is either more egalitarian or produces epistemically better results than elections is poor. Instead, these assertions illuminate the importance of elections in enabling the constituents of a democracy to reconcile the personal and political dimensions of their lives and, therefore, better reflect citizens’ claims to privacy and equality. The paper begins by recapping the main arguments for treating sortition as a democratic way to select a legislature, outlines their deficiencies, and then turns to what these perceived failings actually suggest about the democratic value of elections.

10. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Sophia Musante, Kate Farmer

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11. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3
Mark Tunick

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Mass surveillance involves the collection and storage of vast amounts of information, such as DNA samples from the general population, or location data from cell phones towers, aerial surveillance, and other sources, to then be used when a future crime occurs. For example, DNA from a crime scene could be checked against the database to identify a suspect; location data could identify suspects who were at the scene of a crime. Mass surveillance implicates important privacy interests, but it would surely reduce crime and therefore has been defended by those who reject “privacy at all costs.” I also reject “privacy at all costs.” However, while agreeing that privacy is a value that must be balanced against competing values, I argue that requiring everyone to provide a sample of their DNA or keeping track of everyone’s movements would limit the autonomy of vast numbers of people who there is no reason to suspect will pose a threat, and though such policies would make society safer, that is not worth the cost to individual autonomy. After explaining why individuals can have a substantial interest in privacy even if they are not guilty of a crime, by linking that interest to the value of individual autonomy, and drawing on a political theory of liberal pluralism to restrict what counts as a legitimate public interest that might justify mass surveillance, I articulate a method of balancing these competing interests that is more feasible than a utilitarian approach.

12. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 3

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13. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Jack Grimes, Kyle Klemme

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14. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Susanna Siegel

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Vigilantism, commonly glossed as “taking the law into one’s own hands,” has been analyzed differently in studies of comparative politics, ethnography, history, and legal theory, but has attracted little attention from philosophers. What can “taking the law into one’s hands” amount to? How does vigilantism relate to mobs, protests, and self-defense? I distinguish between several categories of vigilantism, identify the questions they are most useful for addressing, and offer an analysis on which vigilantism is a kind of political initiative done for the sake of enacting an immediate realignment of power in a polity in accordance with a political vision. In addition to defining a special kind of political initiative, my analysis helps us understand a range of rhetorical powers related to vigilantism, including some of the ways that attributions of vigilantism can mask instances of self-defense, and attributions of self-defense can mask instances of vigilantism.

15. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Sally J. Scholz

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Jus post bellum, a relatively new addition to the just war tradition, offers a set of principles to ensure a just peace. The jus post bellum principles establish important guidelines for punitive and transitional justice in the wake of unjust aggression. However, sexual violence during conflict highlights some of the limits of relying solely on a rights-based approach to jus post bellum. Using the jus post bellum principles, I offer some suggestions for what might be required regarding punishment, compensation, and rights vindication for both individuals and communities, highlighting throughout the limits of relying solely on a rights-based approach to jus post bellum. I then argue that post bellum considerations need to account for the structural injustices of sexual violence in conflict situations. Doing so supports important social justice initiatives proposed for a global response to sexual violence in conflict aimed not only at punishment but at prevention.

16. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Eric Patterson

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How should we think about justice at war’s end (jus post bellum) in the case of Afghanistan in 2022 and beyond? The basic principles of jus post bellum include order, justice, and conciliation; and there have been numerous policy attempts to realize these principles since the fall of the Taliban and flight of al Qaeda in December 2001. With the precipitous abandonment of Afghanistan by the Biden Administration and other allies in 2021, we have a sober opportunity to reflect on three periods of jus post bellum efforts: an initial humanitarian and human security phase (2002–2005); the surprising resilience of the Taliban and efforts at some sort of national grand bargain circa the 10-year mark (2009–2012); and now a future based upon Western withdrawal and the re-emerging dominance of the Taliban.

17. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Jovana Davidovic, Kyle Klemme

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18. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Carlos Alberto Sánchez

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In this paper I consider the notion of “moral ecology” in relation to the social/cultural construction known as “narco-culture.” My claim is that the moral ecology of narco-culture is one that is both destructive and prohibitive of human flourishing. The general idea of a “moral ecology” is that the moral space of human conviviality is not unlike an ecological, or environmental, space—both are constituted by various interdependent relations which, when working harmoniously and in optimal capacity, maintain the overall well-being of its inhabitants (i.e., human agents or the flora and fauna). Within non-human ecosystems, the quality or health of rivers, trees, earth, air, predator-prey relationships, etc., define what Allen Hertzke calls the system’s “carrying capacity.” The carrying capacity refers to what the system can handle while staying balanced and healthy and also indicates the point beyond which the system, if overburdened or degraded, begins to fall apart. In a social setting, the ecology is constituted by moral rules and behaviors, the degradation of which can cause the degradation of the entire system.

19. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Peter Olsthoorn

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Unmanned systems bring risk asymmetry in war to a new level, making martial virtues such as physical courage by and large obsolete. Nonetheless, the dominant view within the military is that using unmanned systems that remove the risks for military personnel involved is not very different from using aircrafts that drop bombs from a high altitude. According to others, however, the use of unmanned systems and the riskless killing they make possible do raise a host of new issues, for instance the question to what extent the willingness to take risks is part of the military profession. This article addresses that existential question, but also the question of whether the elimination of all risk would make the military profession a less moral one. To that end, it juxtaposes the military viewpoint that riskless killing by means of drones is morally uninteresting with the more critical viewthat such riskless killing is in fact highly problematic.

20. Washington University Review of Philosophy: Volume > 2
Jason Gardner

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The world is a contentious place, both politically and personally. As a result, virtually all people have enemies both at home and abroad. This essay argues that we should annihilate these enemies, all of them, future as well as present, and do so forthwith. It begins with a metaphysical sketch of enemies, which reveals how such an annihilation is possible and much easier than we generally suppose. It continues by arguing, first, that general prudential considerations yield a prima facie case that it is in our best interest to annihilate our enemies and, second, that moral reasons require this because enemies are persons. The essay ends by briefly considering some implications of this destructive proposal.