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Displaying: 1-20 of 263 documents

1. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 28
Justin Wong, Woojin Lim Editors' Introduction
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2. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 28
William A. Edmundson "In Such Ways as Promise Some Success"
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This year is the centenary of the birth of philosopher John Rawls (1921–2002) and the semi-centenary of his monumental A Theory of Justice (1971). This essay explores the differences between political opposition and political resistance as reflected in his work. Rawls is remembered for the careful conditions he imposed in the Vietnam-War era upon justifiable civil disobedience in “nearly just” societies. It is less well known that he came to regard the United States as a fundamentally unjust society. The nation has shown itself not merely unserious about political equality—the cornerstone of Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness—but hostile to it. The Supreme Court’s campaign finance jurisprudence sanctifies spending as speech and denies Congress the power to try to level the electoral playing field. In the Supreme Court’s Constitution, substantive political equality is of no value. The upshot is that civil disobedience, conceived as an appeal to a just constitution, is no longer possible in the United States. Political resistance may be permissible, however, within the bounds of right, “in such ways as promise some success.” This essay ekes out Rawls’s suggestive remarks about the justification of political resistance and attempts to extend them to current conditions.
3. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 28
Adam Burgos A Dialectical Taxonomy of Resistance
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Working from Adorno’s notion of negative dialectics, this essay charts a dialectical course of resistance toward a horizon of universal freedom. Rather than propose relations between ideal types of resistance, it emphasizes the ineliminable historical dimensions of not only real-world resistance movements but also the philosophical and political theorizing that attempts to make sense of them. In doing so it brings out certain conceptual relations that emerge or recede as the context of resistance shifts. The first moment considers the dichotomy between reform and revolution, the second moment delves into modes of reform, and the third looks to modes of revolution. Along the way the essay discusses the work of such varied figures and organizations as Rosa Luxemburg, John Rawls, Martin Luther King, Jr., Candice Delmas, Robin Celikates, Kimberlee Brownlee, Emma Goldman, Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground, and the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. In the end, the essay is written in the service of understanding the stakes and presuppositions of resistance, in theory and practice.
4. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 28
Michele Bocchiola, Emanuela Ceva Whistleblowing, or the Resistance to Institutional Wrongdoing from Within
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The article discusses the resort to whistleblowing as a form of resistance to institutional wrongdoing that comes from within an institution. The resort to whistleblowing can take either an individual or an institutional form. As an individual act of resistance, whistleblowing has often been presented as a last resort against institutional wrongdoing whose justification draws on normative arguments for civil disobedience. The institutional form we present in this article shows a nontrivial sense in which a “normalized resort” to whistleblowing can be morally justified as an ordinary practice to resist institutional wrongdoing. Whistleblowing is thus a component of an institutional ethics of office that calls on officeholders’ responsibility to engage in practices of self-scrutiny and self-correction of institutional dysfunctions. The integration of the justification of the resort to whistleblowing within this framework emphasizes the importance of entrusting the oversight of institutional action primarily to institutional members.
5. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 28
Tony Milligan The Tolerant Animal Advocate
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One of the recurring problems of animal rights advocacy in recent years has been the difficulty of matching up such advocacy with the broadly liberal political environment in which it operates. Animal advocates may score high on compassion for the animal victims of injustice, but much lower when it comes to political compassion for opponents. Fairly or otherwise, those with a robust, partisan commitment to animal rights have secured a reputation for intolerance. So much so, that it may even be difficult to form a plausible picture of what tolerant animal advocacy would look like, without compromising the partisanship of advocates. This paper attempts to unify partisanship and tolerance within a picture of the tolerant animal advocate as someone whose agency is marked by at least two significant constraining features. Firstly, they will engage in negative appraisals of dietary practices, but will not ordinarily move from such appraisals to any overall judgment of the character of others. Hence, they will be in no position to hold that vegetarians or vegans are in some sense better people than meat eaters. Secondly, they will deploy charges of hypocrisy rarely and with caution.
6. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 28
William E. Scheuerman Politically Motivated Property Damage
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Can politically inspired property damage or destruction be justified? This question is hardly of mere academic interest, in light of recent political protests in Hong Kong, the USA, and elsewhere. Against some contemporary writers, I argue that placing property damage under an open-ended rubric of uncivil disobedience does not generate the necessary conceptual and normative distinctions. Drawing on Martin Luther King, Jr., I instead argue that property damage should not be equated or conflated with violence against persons; it also takes a variety of quite different forms. Anyone hoping to pursue politically motivated property damage should meet preconditions whose stringency will be determined by a key question: Do their acts generate or at least plausibly relate to violence against persons? Our answer to the question provide some space for legitimate, politically motivated property damage. Although some theories of property resist the strict delineation of violence to persons from property damage I defend, they fail to capture the realities of property ownership in existing societies, including the USA and, as such, do not undermine my defense, under existing conditions, of limited property damage.
7. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 28
Bernardo Caycedo Masked Protesting: On Anonymous Civil Disobedience
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The rise of digital technologies has made possible a variety of anonymous acts of disobedience. Although the use of anonymity in political contestation is not new, online anonymous disobedience—such as that of the hacktivist collective Anonymous—urges political thinkers to reexamine the concept of civil disobedience. Important questions need to be asked about the extent to which anonymous, principled law-breaking is compatible with the definition, tradition, and justification of civil disobedience. This article argues that the understanding of civil disobedience employed by liberal thinkers, which rejects the notion that anonymous actions can be classified as civil disobedience, should be reviewed. Both the context in which actors break the law and the extreme risks they might face for doing so in illiberal and undemocratic societies need to be considered when thinking about what constitutes civil disobedience. The article takes these factors into account and offers a radical democratic account of civil disobedience according to which anonymous disobedience is indeed compatible with civil disobedience.
8. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 28
William Smith The Politics of Protest Policing: Neutrality, Impartiality, and “Taking the Knee”
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The dramatic fallout from the siege of the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump has included extensive debate about the role of law enforcement before and during the events. The apparent lack of adequate preparation and deployment fits with disturbing trends in protest policing, reflecting pervasive discrepancies between police responses to protests by right-wing or white supremacist movements and their responses to Black Lives Matter (BLM) or left-wing movements. This article addresses the ethical and political implications of these discrepancies by making the case for impartiality rather than neutrality in protest policing. The principle of impartiality is preferred because of its comparative advantages in expressing and encouraging rights-respecting forms of protest policing. The case for impartiality is also related to calls for a broader overhaul of protest policing, including a reversal of trends that pose a serious threat to the rights of assembly and protest.
9. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 28
Ashwini Vasanthakumar Victims’ Reasons and Responses in the Face of Oppression
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Victims of oppression often disagree amongst themselves on how best to respond to their oppression. Often, these disagreements are cast as disagreements about what strategies of resistance would be most effective. In this article, I argue that victims have a wider repertoire of responses to their oppression which reflect the different underlying reasons they have to respond. I outline three distinct reasons for action—self-respect, assistance, and justice—and the respective responses to oppression—rejection, assistance, and resistance—that these reasons call for. I then provide some general comments on how these distinct reasons and responses relate to one another. Appreciating a wider repertoire of reasons and responses can illuminate the nature of disagreement amongst victims, points to the unavoidability of conflict, and provides for a more nuanced understanding of resistance and its alternatives—an understanding that can aid in better responding to injustice.
10. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 28
Robin Celikates, Tomás Guerrero-Jaramillo, Polina Whitehouse An Interview with Robin Celikates
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11. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 28
Tommy J. Curry George Floyd Jr as a Philosophical Problem: Why Disaggregated Data Should Guide How Philosophers Theorize Black Male Death
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The trial of Derek Chauvin, the man who murdered Mr. George Floyd Jr on May 25, 2020, has become a national spectacle. For many Black Americans, it is merely another rehearsal of the injustice that befalls Black men in the United States when they are targeted by police violence. Mr. Floyd was murdered in broad daylight by Chauvin, yet it is Mr. Floyd’s character and temperament that is being depicted as threatening to Chauvin and the reason for his murder. Throughout the discipline of philosophy, the murder of Black men and boys is a topic most philosophy departments avoid and the American Philosophy Association neglects. This lecture argues that philosophy must abandon the martyrdom of the Black male body as the symbolic catalyst of racial change. Philosophy must not only accept that racism is a permanent feature of American society, but that this racism is misandric in that racist violence disproportionately targets Black males for death and dehumanization at levels not seen within other groups.
12. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Nicholas Brown, Tadhg Larabee Editors' Introduction
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13. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Justin Wong, Woojin Lim, Michelle Lara, Benjamin Simon, David Chalmers An Interview with David Chalmers
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14. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Romy Aran, Nathan Beaucage, Melissa Kwan, Peter Carruthers An Interview with Peter Carruthers
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15. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Felipe De Brigard The Explanatory Indispensability of Memory Traces
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During the first half of the twentieth century, many philosophers of memory opposed the postulation of memory traces based on the claim that a satisfactory account of remembering need not include references to causal processes involved in recollection. However, in 1966, an influential paper by Martin and Deutscher showed that causal claims are indeed necessary for a proper account of remembering. This, however, did not settle the issue, as in 1977 Malcolm argued that even if one were to buy Martin and Deutscher’s argument for causal claims, we still don’t need to postulate the existence of memory traces. This paper reconstructs the dialectic between realists and anti-realists about memory traces, suggesting that ultimately realists’ arguments amount to inferences to the best explanation. I then argue that Malcolm’s anti-realist strategy consists in the suggestion that causal explanations that do not invoke memory traces are at least as good as those that do. But then, Malcolm, I argue that there are a large number of memory phenomena for which explanations that do not postulate the existence of memory traces are definitively worse than explanations that do postulate them. Next, I offer a causal model based on an interventionist framework to illustrate when memory traces can help to explain memory phenomena and proceed to substantiate the model with details coming from extant findings in the neuroscience of memory.
16. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Frank Jackson Learning from What Color Experiences Are Good For
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Color is an incredibly controversial topic. Here is a sample of views taken seriously: colors are dispositions to look coloured; colors are physical properties of surfaces or of light; colors are properties of certain mental states, which get projected onto the surfaces of objects or onto reflected or transmitted light; colors are an illusion; colors are sui generis. One hopes to break the impasse by finding a compelling starting point—one drawing on obvious points that are common ground—which naturally evolves into the theory of color one likes. I start with remarks about the utility of having mental states with a phenomenology, remarks which are, I urge, non-controversial. I develop them into the theory of color I favor. According to it, colors are properties of objects as objective as their shapes. The final section explains how the theory handles the best argument for subjectivism about color.
17. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Michael Tye Filling In and the Nature of Visual Experience
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This essay begins with a discussion of the phenomenon of filling in. It is argued that filling in is naturally accounted for by taking visual experiences to be importantly like drawn pictures of the world outside. An alternative proposal is then considered, one that models visual experiences on incomplete descriptions. It is shown that introspection does not favor the pictorial view. It is also shown that the phenomenon of blurriness in visual experience does not provide a good reason for favoring the pictorial view either. Why, then, be a pictorialist? It is argued that visual experiences conform to what have been called “the laws of appearance” and that their conformity to these laws gives us an excellent reason for preferring the pictorial account.
18. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Eli Alshanetsky Making Our Thoughts Clear
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We often get clear on our thoughts in the process of putting them into words. I investigate the nature of this process by posing the question, “Do you know which thought you are trying to articulate, before successfully articulating it?” and rejecting two answers to the dilemma it yields. The first is that the answer is yes, and that articulation is either the recollection of prior knowledge or the mere acquisition of a skill or ability rather than of propositional knowledge. The second is that the answer is no, and that your thought is unknown in that it is not yet fully realized. Clarity, according to this response, is a metaphysical property of the thought rather than the thinker’s epistemic relation to it. I offer a third solution: you start out with implicit knowledge of your thought but lack explicit knowledge of it. The process of articulation moves you from implicit to explicit knowledge.
19. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Will Davies Colour Relations in Black and White
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I argue that it is possible to perceptually represent colour relations between two objects, without perceptually representing their colours. Such primitive relational colour representation (PRCR) goes against the orthodox view that we represent colour relations by virtue of representing colours. I first argue that under certain assumptions, PRCR is conceptually and even nomically possible. I then compare two possible models of PRCR: the linguaform model and chromatic edge model, the latter involving iconic rather than discursive representation. I argue that the chromatic edge model gives a better account of putative cases of PRCR in cerebral achromatopsia, a rare disorder of colour consciousness.
20. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 27
Hans-Johann Glock Determinacy of Content: The Hard Problem about Animal Intentionality
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Few arguments against intentional states in animals have stood the test of time. But one objection by Stich and Davidson has never been rebutted. In my reconstruction it runs: Ascribing beliefs to animals is vacuous, unless something counts as an animal believing one specific “content” rather than another; Nothing counts as an animal believing one specific content rather than another, because of their lack of language; Ergo: Ascribing beliefs to animals is vacuous. Several attempts to block the argument challenge the first premise, notably the appeals to “naked” belief ascriptions and alternative representational formats. This essay defends the first premise and instead challenges the second premise. There are non-linguistic “modes of presentation”; these can be determined by attributing to animals specific needs and capacities—a “ hermeneutic ethology” based on lessons from the debate about radical translation/interpretation in the human case. On that basis we can narrow down content by exclusion. What remains is an “imponderability of the mental” which does not rule out attributions of intentional states to animals.