Cover of Philosophy in the Contemporary World
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Displaying: 1-16 of 16 documents

1. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey P. Fry On the Supposed Duty to Try One's Hardest in Sports
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It is a common refrain in sports discourse that one should try one's hardest in sports, or some other variation on this theme. In this paper I argue that there is no generalized duty to try one's hardest in sports, and that the claim that one should do so is ambiguous. Although a number of factors point in the direction of my conclusion, particularly salient is the claim that, in the end, the putative requirement is too stringent for creatures like human beings. The putative duty to try one's hardest in sports does not comport with psychological realism. That being said, there are contexts in which it is reasonable to expect athletes to try hard. Perhaps there is even a duty to put forth such effort. Even so, this obligation does not rise to the level of a generalized duty to try one's hardest in sports.
2. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Eric Brown Control, Risk, and the Role of Luck in Moral Responsibility
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Questions about the role of luck in attributions of moral responsibility have troubled theorists for some time. In this paper I will explicate a position that acknowledges luck as a contributing factor to most, if not all, outcomes and consequences while denying luck the exculpatory role that some theorists contend it plays. I begin by going through the characterization of two perspectives on luck offered by Susan Wolf. From there I outline two necessary conditions for the legitimate attribution of praise or blame. The first condition is that of Control. The second condition is the agent's creation of "undue risk". I revisit Wolfs two perspectives and break down the relationship between the necessary conditions and each perspective. I contend that a legitimate theory of moral responsibility must allow for factors outside of an agent's control when attempting to attribute praise or blame. Luck can be seen as one of these factors and it should not be seen as playing an exculpatory role.
3. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Sonya Charles On the Immorality of Lying to Children About Their Origins
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Using the moral work on trust and lying, I argue that allowing or encouraging children to believe you are their biological parent when you are not is a breach of trust in the parent-child relationship. While other approaches focus on specific harms or the rights of the child, I make a virtue theory argument based on our understanding of trust, lies, and the nature of the parent-child relationship. Drawing heavily on Nancy Potter's virtue theory of trustworthiness, I consider the nature of trust in the parent-child relationship and what this means for being a trustworthy parent.
4. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Joseph Campisi Feast and Famine: The Technology of Fast Food
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Philosophical analyses of fast food have been relatively nonexistent. One of the only philosophers who provides a theoretical analysis of fast food is Douglas Kellner, who maintains that fast food is "dehumanizing." The most prominent scholarly or academic treatment of fast food is that of the sociologist George Ritzer, who advances the "McDonaldization" thesis, while claiming that fast food is "dehumanizing." Neither Kellner nor Ritzer offer a sustained analysis in defense of this claim. This paper will attempt to provide such an analysis, making use of the theory of technology put forth by Albert Borgmann. Fast food, it will be argued, is best understood as a "device" in Borgmann's sense. For Borgmann, devices lead to a "disconnected, disembodied, and disoriented sort of life." This aspect of fast food helps explain the reaction against it that we find in the work of Kellner and Ritzer.
5. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Christian Matheis U.S. American Border Crossings: Immigrants, Poverty and Suzanne Pharr's 'Myth of Scarcity'
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Contemporary analyses of unmigration cannot accurately portray the realities of border crossing without paying attention to poverty as a common sense concern for citizens, just as the act of border crossmg must be understood from the perspective of people who face real decisions about crossing borders. Through a feminist analysis of common sense conceptions of poverty, this essay exposes the act of border crossing as conceived in the minds of those facing actual life and death situations. Situating this analysis primarily within U.S. American discourse, perhaps those best suited to explain the role that poverty plays are conmiunity organizers, public intellectuals and activists who unport notions of border crossings from theh experiences with impoverished communities in order to develop rich theoretical descriptions of border crossing. To that end, the essay considers the writing of Jane Addams, W.E.B. Du Bois, Suzanne Pharr and similar American thinkers.
6. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
José Jorge Mendoza Does "Sí Se Puede" Translate To "Yes We Can"?
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Philosophers of the American tradition should be more proactive in their inclusion of Latino/a thinkers, even when the work of these thinkers does not directly connect back to classical tradition of American philosophy. This argument has two mterrelated parts. First, if the American philosophical tradition is committed to a social and political philosophy that begins from "lived-experience," then one area it has largely overlooked is the Latino/a experience. Second, if the contributions of the Latino/a community go unrecognized as a part of the American tradition, then the American philosophical tradition is tacitly assenting to what Chavez calls the "Latino Threat Narrative." The Latino Threat Narrative puts forth a view of the Latino/a community as inherently anti-American, not to be celebrated, and to be avoided as a perpetual threat. Following Chávez, I argue that the American philosophical tradition should place more effort in the construction of the Latino/a Contribution Narrative.
7. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Robert Piercey Reading as a Philosophical Problem
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Reading for enjoyment is a mysterious activity. This article surveys several paradoxes displayed by this activity, paying particular attention to a handful of paradoxes connected with subjectivity. It argues that responding to these paradoxes is a distinctively philosophical task, one that cannot be farmed out to other disciplines. Some suggestions are made about how philosophers can begin tackling these problems, with a special focus on the phenomenology of Wolfgang Iser. While not offering a developed theory of reading, the paper draws attention to the problem of reading with the goal of understanding the problem.
8. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
George Teschner Wikies and Rethinking Author-ity
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The Wiki represents a legitimate form of literature that requires a deep rethinking of how texts are produced and consumed. In order to understand and evaluate the Wiki, Barthes' distinction between Text and Work, and the critique of authorship found in the writings of both Barthes and Foucault are employed. The Wiki is a genre of literature, which like Barthes' concept of the Text, is without identifiable authorship, and its production is directly related to semantic conventions governing the text as a system of signs. The authority of the Wiki is a function of its survival in an agonistic environment that extends from outright vandalism to reasoned discourse. Barthes concept of play, the pleasure of the text, the role of the reader, and Foucault's analysis of the hermeneutic function of authorship provide a theoretical basis for critiquing new forms of digital literature, which, like the Wiki, are disseminated across computer networks.
9. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Loren Cannon Moral Taint: Narrative and Identity
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This essay is concerned with the means by which individuals, especially in the context of group based harm, reconcile the gross inconsistency inherent in upholding moral standards within one's own group while at the same time rationalizing why such moral standards do not apply to certain others. The term moral taint is employed to describe the undesirable condition of one's character that can result from certain group affiliations or memberships. On this view, the vehicle by which one's character becomes tainted is the intemalization of certain narratives that serve to truncate the moral community and are used in attempts to justify group-based harm. I argue that individuals in some such circumstances need to re-describe both the story of their group and their own personal narrative to begin to take responsibility for group based devaluing practices.
10. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Carlos Alberto Sánchez Philosophy and The Post-Immigrant Fear
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This paper explores and expands upon Jorge Gracia's reasons for the apparent lack of Hispanics in US philosophy. The point is to explain the underrepresentation of Hispanics in philosophy, with a focus on a specific subgroup of Hispanics, namely, "homegrown" US Hispanics. This group wasentirely missing from the "established" ranks in Gracia's census. I propose a phenomenological explanation for this lack, rooted in my experience as ahomegrown US Hispanic. This experience gives rise to a sense of identity described as "post-immigrant." Those of us in the American philosophical establishment who share this identity, or who feel its pull, desire but hesitate to fully and authentically engage philosophy and the philosophical life, where thisrequires an uncompromising insertion of our cultural and historical identity into what we write and teach. The reason for the absence of homegrown Hispanicphilosophers who are willing to engage issues related to their circumstance as Hispanics is what I call, "the post-immigrant fear."
11. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Shari Stone-Mediatore A Not-So-Global Ethics: Contradictions in U.S. Global Ethics Education
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This paper traces the ethnocentric structure of U.S.-published anthologies in global ethics and related fields and it examines the ethical and philosophical implications of such ethnocentrism. The author argues that the ethnocentric structure of prominent work in global ethics not only impairs the field's ability to prepare students for global citizenship but contributes to the ideological processes that maintain global inequities. In conclusion, the author makes a case that fuller engagement with global-South and indigenous writers on global issues can encourage U.S. students and scholars to examine more closely the ideologies that order our lives and to risk the kind of selfexamination that is necessary in order to build effective relationships with diverse global communities.
12. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Tim W. Christie Predatory Corporations and their Immoral Offers
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My strategy is to assume a "market libertarian" ideology for the purposes of this paper and then argue that employment offers directed toward people in desperate circumstances are predatory immoral offers. I develop comparisons between predatory behaviour that is widely held to be immoral (cases where people in power prey on the desperate, i.e., people who are desperately hungry, ignorant, secretive, etc.,) and the predatory behaviour of corporate agents who prey on desperate people for cheap labour. What all of these cases have in common is that the predator takes advantage of the fact that the prey is not in a position to make a meaningful choice. When this argument by analogy is put in the context of the libertarian insistence that voluntary exchanges are at the foundation of everyone's freedom, it represents a devastating critique of neo-liberal consistency.
13. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
John Alexander Sweatshops, Context Differentiation, and the Rational Person Standard
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In making decisions regardmg what to do, people should employ plausible moral standards to defend what they think is morally permissible. One plausible moral standard that is often used is what I refer to as the Rational Person Standard: we, as rational agents, ought to choose the option that has the greatest benefit for us, under the constraint that what we choose does not unfairly limit other people from choosing what they think is best for them. Another way to phrase this standard is: rational agents will not choose an action that will cause uimecessary and avoidable harm. In this paper I will apply this standard to an analysis of a systemic issue common to many moral problems, using sweatshops as an example, that, if ignored, may lead us to make, and act upon, arguments that seem plausible in one context, but ultimately fail when considered from another context.
14. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Tony Lynch What Plato Can Teach Us About Politics and Freedom
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We have built our understanding of politics (the understanding that is today, letting us down) on a one-sided understanding of freedom as the ability or capacity to do as we wish, and have forgotten the role that self-discipline—self-control and self-mastery—have in ensuring real freedom. And we have done this at the same time as losing our capacity to think of polhics in terms of the virtues and vices of our ruling elites. To rectify these connected failures we need to look again at Plato's politics.
15. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Rob Lovering The Ever Conscious View: A Critique
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Elizabeth Harman has recently proposed a new theory of moral status, the Ever Conscious View. It is the view that "a being has moral status at a time just in case it is alive at that time and there is a time in its life at which it is conscious" (Harman, 2007, 220). In other words, all and only beings that (1) are alive and (2) either were, are, or will be conscious have moral status. In the following, I examine Harman's defense of her Ever Conscious View, raise a number of objections to it, and conclude that the Ever Conscious View is, as it stands, implausible.
16. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 1
Joe Frank Jones III Monotheism, War, and Intellectual Leadership: The Case of William James
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This paper revisits William James's 1906 speech, "The Moral Equivalent of War," to look at the relationship of religion, particularly Christianity, to war and violence. Beginning with an anthropological update concerning "biological or sociological necessity," which confirms James's anti-mystical view of war, this paper then offers a case that monotheism, including Christianity, has an extremely ambiguous relationship with war and violence. There is evidence both that doing away with monotheism would have little effect on the prevalence of war and that monotheism supports war in post-neolithic cultures. Finally, it seems the contribution James makes cannot be seen until the distinction between religion and philosophy is put aside. Only then can we see his suggestion that the proper role of intellectual leaders is to offer persons with politico-military power informed advice concerning actions that will result in fewer actual wars.