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Displaying: 41-60 of 808 documents


part iii: aspects of power: rights, oppression, and vengeance
41. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 33
Geoffrey Karabin Impotent Vengeance: Is Afterlife Belief a Vehicle to Avenge?
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The afterlife has been imagined in a diversity of ways, one of which is as a vehicle for vengeance. Upon outlining, via the figures of Tertullian and Sayyid Qutb, a vengeful formulation of afterlife belief, this essay examines Friedrich Nietzsche’s critique of such a belief. The belief is framed as an expression of impotence insofar as believers imagine in the beyond what they cannot achieve in the present, namely, taking vengeance upon their enemies. Nietzsche’s critique leads to the essay’s central question. Is a vengeance-based formulation of afterlife belief an expression of impotence? To respond, this essay will analyze the practices and rhetoric of the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram, while also briefly mentioning Al Qaeda and ISIS. As a result of the analysis, a simplistic and unqualified form of the impotence critique is to be rejected. Nonetheless, the critique remains relevant. Boko Haram’s lack of emphasis on afterlife belief in general and its omission of a vengeance-based formulation in particular highlights the possibility that a radical religious group’s approach to the afterlife is related to the group’s relative strength or weakness. Such a possibility carries practical ramifications when assessing the scope of that group’s aims and its willingness to act.
42. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 33
Youjin Kong “Non-Idealizing Abstraction” as Ideology: Non-Ideal Theory, Intersectionality, and the Power Dynamics of Oppression
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Recently, social and political philosophers have shown increased interest in the ideological nature of ideal theory and the importance of non-ideal theory. Charles Mills, who sparked recent critiques of ideal theory, invokes the notion of “non-idealizing abstractions” and argues that these are helpful when applying non-ideal theory. In contrast, I argue that the notion of non-idealizing abstractions is not a helpful tool for non-ideal theory. I suspect that it pays insufficient attention to the actual power dynamics of oppression, which significantly influence judgments about whose experiences and interests are worth being reflected by an abstraction. Failing to take account of the power differences among the oppressed, what Mills considers non-idealizing abstractions falls into ideology, which cannot reflect the experiences or interests of less-privileged minorities, and only concerns those of more-privileged minorities. I examine cases in which the concept of “patriarchy,” which Mills alleges to be a non-idealizing abstraction, functions as what I refer to as the “Colonialist Concept of Patriarchy” that marginalizes Third World women’s experiences of intersectional oppression. I suggest that a more suitable and less ideological way to apply non-ideal theory should avoid asserting that an abstraction is “non-idealizing” and should, instead, protect “resignifiability” of the abstraction.
part iv: issues in social philosophy
43. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 33
Elizabeth S. Piliero Debating Collective Responsibility: Arendt and Young
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This paper elucidates Hannah Arendt’s conditions for collective responsibility in light of her political writings. In turn, it pushes back on Iris Marion Young’s reservations about Arendtian collective responsibility and demonstrates its compatibility with Youngian political responsibility. At issue is how to understand (a) Arendtian collective responsibility as political and therefore forward-looking, (b) Arendt’s view of responsibility in the political realm as different from her view in the moral-legal realm, and (c) what Arendt’s vision of collective responsibility requires of everyone. If Young’s political responsibility relates to Arendt’s collective responsibility more than she thinks, then this may call for a significant rethinking of Young’s reliance on Arendt. My inquiry into their debate leads to a standpoint from which one can contribute to contemporary discussions about responsibility in a world with growing and elaborate public spheres.
44. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 33
Kathryn J. Norlock Online Shaming
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Online shaming is a subject of import for social philosophy in the Internet age, and not simply because shaming seems generally bad. I argue that social philosophers are well-placed to address the we entertain when we engage in social media; activity in cyberspace results in more relationships than one previously had, entailing new and more responsibilities, and our relational behaviors admit of ethical assessment. I consider the stresses of social media, including the indefinite expansion of our relationships and responsibilities, and the gap between the experiences of those shamed and the shamers’ appreciation of the magnitude of what they do when they shame; I connect these to the literature suggesting that some intuitions fail to guide our ethics. I conclude that we each have more power than we believe we do or than we think carefully about exerting in our online imaginal relations. Whether we are the shamers or the shamed, we are unable to control the extent to which intangible words in cyberspace take the form of imaginal relationships that burden or brighten our self-perceptions.
part v: nassp book award
45. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 33
Gregory Hoskins Preventing the Anti-Science Blight: A Commentary on Paul B. Thompson’s From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone
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Paul Thompson’s From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone is a wonderful book, indeed accessible to a wide audience—to “everyone”—informative, provocative, wide-ranging, and infused by the author’s engaging, knowledgeable, and fair voice. After summarizing what I take to be a few of the appealing general features of the book I will attempt to articulate a genuine puzzle that the book raises for me. The puzzle derives primarily from my personal response to reading chapter 5, “Livestock Welfare and the Ethics of Producing Meat,” and from working through what are, for me, the two most intriguing chapters in the book: chapter 7, “Green Revolution Food Production and Its Discontents,” and the final chapter, “Once More, This Time with Feeling: Ethics, Risk, and the Future of Food.” The puzzle concerns a cluster of issues: the limits of liberal tolerance, the suspicion of (any or all) authority, the risks of ignoring science, and what I will call, inspired by Linda Zagzebski, a desire for epistemic self-respect. The puzzle, I must insist, is a genuine puzzle for me and is not a criticism of Thompson’s book. Indeed, the book has helped me to become clear about the components of the puzzle.
46. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 33
Elizabeth Sperry Commentary on Paul B. Thompson’s From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone
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Paul Thompson’s excellent book, From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone, argues that contemporary food ethics persistently ignores the nature and actual impact of GMOs, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, food aid to developing countries, and more. On Thompson’s view, such philosophical analyses must incorporate empirical knowledge. Additional strengths of Thompson’s book: its attention to quality-of-life issues, its openness to the concerns of the marginalized, and its emphasis on the interconnectedness of problems in food ethics. I raise one area of disagreement with Thompson: his treatment of GMOs is, I argue, insufficiently skeptical. I suggest a three-fold revision of the book’s treatment of the precautionary principle, and I levy an additional argument against GMOs, the Inductive Argument. Using the herbicide Roundup as a case study of the ways in which industry urges the use of technologies that have not been fully vetted or monitored, I argue that products originally seen as safe often turn out instead to be harmful to the environment and health. Significant inductive experience with similar cases gives people additional reason to be even more suspicious of GMOs than Thompson suggests.
47. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 33
Jeffrey M. Brown Paternalism, Health and Dietary Choices: Commentary on Paul B. Thompson’s From Field To Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone
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Paul B. Thompson’s From the Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone explains the growing number of ways that food connects to ethical questions concerning our consumption, production, storage, and distribution of food. Although this book serves as an introduction to food ethics for non-experts, professionals in agricultural science and food production, food activists, and philosophers will have a lot to learn from Thompson’s insight, careful argumentation, and mastery of the economic, scientific, and political issues that ground our current debates about food. In my comments, I will first briefly provide an overview of Thompson’s thoughtful book. I will explain the methodology employed in this book and how his methodology applies to specific philosophical questions within food ethics. I will focus my commentary on how Thompson frames the ethics of diet and obesity. I will then raise a few questions concerning food choice and paternalism that were omitted from this book, but that I think raise substantial ethical concerns in affluent countries. I will close with a very brief comment on Thompson’s methodology.
48. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 33
Paul B. Thompson From Field to Fork and on to Philosophy: Response to Commentators
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Jeffrey Brown, Greg Hoskins and Elizabeth Sperry pose questions about three different policy questions that are discussed in From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone: policy interventions to address obesity, welfare guidelines for egg production, and the safety of genetically engineered foods. However all three critiques turn on the question of what we can expect a non-specialist to know, and how much information they can be expected to process in making an ethical decision about what to eat. My response situates each question within literature on so-called “fast” and “slow” thinking. I argue that while ethical theories appear to have supposed that people are slow thinkers who can be expected to process a great deal of complexity, food ethics must be founded on principles that respect the habitual and heuristic basis of much eating behavior.
49. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 33
Notes on Contributors
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50. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
Jeffrey Gauthier Introduction
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part 1: presidential address
51. 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
52. 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
53. 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.
54. 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.
55. 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
56. 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.
57. 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
58. 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.
59. 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.
60. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 32
Michael Schleeter A Tale of Two Hypocrisies: Adam Smith, Ha-Joon Chang, and the Principles and Policies of Neoliberalism
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This essay represents an attempt to determine, first, whether or not the neoliberal principles and policies that have largely shaped the global economy over the past several decades in fact have their basis, as they are often thought to have, in classical political economy, particularly that of Adam Smith as it is developed in his Wealth of Nations, and, second, whether or not they in fact serve to promote, as they are often argued to do, the prosperity of individuals, particularly those living in developing nations. In both cases, this attempt depends heavily upon and benefits greatly from the work of Cambridge institutional economist Ha-Joon Chang. Ultimately, the essay presents a case, first, for the proposition that these neoliberal principles and polices depart significantly from those advocated by Adam Smith and, second, for the proposition that neither of these alternatives is best suited to promote the prosperity of individuals living in developing nations. In addition, it presents a brief account of why neoliberal policies have been so widely adopted by developing nations today as well as a brief account of how they might come to be replaced by better ones in the future.