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editor's introduction
1. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Zachary Hoskins, Joan Woolfrey, Greg Hoskins Introduction
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part i: keynote addresses and commentaries
2. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Susan J. Brison What’s Consent Got to Do with It?
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What are we doing when we see rape as nonconsensual sex? What does this prevent us from seeing—and doing? On my account, the harm of rape—to the victim and to others—is not adequately captured by calling it “sex without consent.” If we want, first, to understand how rape harms its direct and its indirect victims and, second, to eradicate rape, or at least change the culture so that rape is less prevalent, the question “Did she consent to his doing this to her on that occasion?” may not be the most important question, or even a very helpful question, to ask, and focusing on it exclusively may be counterproductive. Defining rape as «sex without consent» or «nonconsensual sex» is, I argue, not only politically ineffective as an anti-rape strategy. It also constitutes an epistemic injustice against rape survivors who attempt to bear witness to the politically significant incessant and ubiquitous occurrence of male gender-based violence against women, which is something much larger than any one thing that was done to any one of them without their consent.
3. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Sarah Clark Miller Criticizing Consent: A Reply to Susan Brison
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In this article I engage Susan Brison’s “What’s Consent Got to Do with It?” by offering multiple contributions regarding the limitations of the language and culture of consent. I begin by briefly appreciating what consent reveals to us morally about the harms of nonconsensual sex. I then offer five points regarding the language and culture of consent: (1) Conceptualizing rape as nonconsensual sex hides from view the moral harm of having one’s will subjugated by another. (2) The framework of consent renders women’s desires insignificant and invisible. (3) Epistemic gaslighting represents one major and underappreciated form of epistemic injustice that consent-based views of rape propagate. (4) Consent-centered accounts of sexual violence impede our ability to imagine better sexual futures. And (5) consent not only functions to normalize gender-based violence but also to normalize other forms of violence, such as those that erupt in light of race, ability, nationality, weight, and age.
4. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Linda Martín Alcoff The Radical Future of #MeToo: The Effects of an Intersectional Analysis
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When feminist movements develop intersectional analyses of the problems they are addressing, especially to include race and class as well as other dimensions of society, their analyses of sexism will shift, and their demands will as a result become more structural, systemic, and radical. This paper will focus primarily on sexual harassment, with the understanding that harassment often escalates to coercive sex. I will argue that the future of the #MeToo movement not only should become more radical, but it must in order to achieve its own stated objectives of decreasing sexual harassment, assault and violence, given the significance of their institutional support systems and the fact that the highest incidence of sexual harassment is among low-wage workers. There are important issues of philosophical methodology involved in this shift. Including race and class alongside gender from the start means that considerations of “inclusion” cannot come in only after the central concepts and paradigms are created.
5. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Ann J. Cahilll Power, Intersectionality, and Radical Critique: A Response to Alcoff
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In this response to Linda Alcoff, I argue that her theory of power, influenced strongly by Michel Foucault, is central to understanding more clearly the political potential of liberatory social movements, as well as the threats against them. I argue that conceptualizing power as diffuse and ubiquitous is necessary to challenging unjust social structures, and that those defending those structures are invested in a binary conceptualization of power. Refusing such a binary conceptualization allows for an understanding of institutions and movements as both embedded in and potentially challenging power dynamics; it is also a requirement for intersectional analyses such as Alcoff’s.
part ii: respect, social action, and #metoo
6. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Saba Fatima Navigating the #MeToo Terrain in an Islamophobic Environment
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In this paper, I explore the significance of an intersectional lens when it comes to our conversations surrounding the #MeToo movement, in particular the way that such a lens helps us in recognizing narratives of sexual assault and harassment that are not typically viewed as such. The mainstream discourse on #MeToo in the United States has been quite exclusionary when it comes to women who are non-dominantly situated within societal structures. In particular, this paper looks at how Muslim American women’s issues surrounding sexual assault and harassment are presented as exotic and a function of their religion and culture, further narrowing what is considered worthy of attention within the discourse of the #MeToo movement. I argue that one such instance of sexual harassment that isn’t seen as such, is hijab snatching within particular contexts. Furthermore, I argue that a lack of an intersectional lens results in not only privileging certain harmful voices under the guise of inclusivity, but even when invaluable voices are allowed to enter mainstream discourse, they are often the sort that sidestep issues of Western imperialistic practices, Islamophobia, racialization of Muslims, etc. I highlight the dangers of speaking for others, especially in ways that attribute sexual violence experienced by Muslim women to their cultures and/or their men. I argue that acknowledging these dangers is in itself a crucial part of an inclusive conversation on #MeToo.
7. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Karina Ortiz Villa Construyendo Masculinidad: The Oppression of Men in the United States
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I argue that men can be oppressed by virtue of being men; however, our definitions of men and masculinity must be redefined and reclaimed from the dominant white perspective. My claims are: (1) current arguments on the oppression of men simpliciter are misguided as they fail to encompass the experiences of all men; (2) any question regarding the oppression of men must reject the current static and universal definition of men; (3) the oppression of men is an instantiation of structural oppression that allows for men to be both privileged and oppressed in different, forms, degrees, and dimensions; (4) the oppression of Latino men qua Latino men is an example of men being oppressed as men. Therefore, (5) we must redefine and reclaim the definition of “men” and “masculinity.” Last, (6) this redefinition cannot be done a priori but must use intersectionality as a regulative method to illuminate the oppression of men that remains obscured in other, one-dimensional approaches to the topic of the oppression of men.
8. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Karen Adkins Policing the Gendered Economy of Care
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In Kate Manne’s theory of misogyny, women’s behavior is surveilled (by men and other women) so that they conform to gendered norms of behavior and care, and they are threatened or punished when they refuse to abide by norms. I seek here to extend her argument about surveillance to norms around masculinity, and to demonstrate the ways in which surveillance actually runs throughout the gendered economy of care. I assess the impacts of this surveillance (particularly on men of color, who identify as gay or trans, or who are immigrants or religious minorities), and argue that misogyny and masculinity are inextricably interlinked and mutually reinforcing phenomena, that must be simultaneously demystified for progress towards gender equity.
9. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Tamara Fakhoury Oppositional Anger: Aptness Without Appreciation
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What makes anger an appropriate response to systemic injustice? Let us assume that it cannot merely be its positive effects. That is, sometimes we should be angry even when getting angry is bound to make things worse. What makes such anger appropriate? According to Amia Srinivasan (2017), counterproductive anger is only apt if it passes a necessary condition that I call the Matching Constraint: one’s personal reason for getting angry must match the fact that justifies their anger. When the Matching Constraint is satisfied, anger can be an intrinsically worthwhile way of affectively appreciating injustice. I argue that the Matching Constraint is incorrect. More precisely, I take issue with its status as a necessary condition on apt anger. Anger can be an apt response to injustice even when it fails to be a form of affective appreciation. Often enough, one does not know why they are angry, or one is not angry for the reason that justifies their anger. For all that, it may still be appropriate for them to be angry. After presenting several cases of apt anger that fail the Matching Constraint, I suggest an alternative standard for aptness based on the general function of anger in our psychology. On my view, anger is apt when and because it alerts one, however coarsely or crudely, to threats against one’s values.
10. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Farhan Lakhany Outcasts and Relational Egalitarianism
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Most individuals desire a more egalitarian society but figuring out what that would mean and how to get there is unclear. Elizabeth Anderson’s relational egalitarianism is one approach to understanding what building a more egalitarian society would mean; this article will agree with her analysis but will highlight how, in attempting to achieve that goal, some serious issues arise. Specifically, Anderson mentions that a consequence of her view would be the elimination of “outcasts” as a status of social groups and how this leads to a tension between promoting social relationships as a primary good and respecting autonomy and privacy. This article will attempt to navigate this tension by providing a close analysis of how outcasts are created and clearly articulating how the elimination of such a group status creates the aforementioned tension. The upshot of the analysis is a sketch of a positive proposal that avoids the tension and makes progress toward the elimination of outcasts as a social group.
11. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Cara O’Connor Choosing What to Mean by “Respectability Politics”
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This essay treats divergent conceptions of “respectability politics” as a question of conceptual ethics. Influential discussions of respectability politics in the public sphere have centered on disagreements about tactics and strategies for liberation. But entwined within this discourse one can find a parallel effort to decide which conception of “respectability politics” will best serve the current moment of struggle. Should we accept its newer normative meaning, where it is used to condemn political tactics that ask African-Americans and members of other marginalized groups to seem nonthreatening and morally acceptable to oppressors? Or should stakeholders work to preserve the descriptive meaning of the concept—the one introduced by Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (Righteous Discontent, 1993) to identify late-Ninenteeth century tactics of moral self-discipline that were sometimes elitist, but were also often progressive, rebellious, and pro-working class? The conceptual choice invites us to ask which social realities should be picked out by the phrase “respectability politics” and how to judge the different ways normative and descriptive conceptions function within our political lives. In this essay I offer criteria for adjudicating between the negative-normative and the complex-descriptive conceptions of respectability politics and I consider the whether or not they can be reconciled.
12. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Gabrielle Bussell Feminist Theory, Gender Identity, and Liberation from Patriarchal Power: An Argument for an Ascriptive Account of Gender
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Sally Haslanger offers the following concept of “woman”: If one is perceived as being biologically female and, in that context, one is subordinated owing to the background ideology, then one “functions” as a woman (2012b, 235). An implication of this account is that if someone is not regarded by others as their self-identified gender, they do not function as that gender socially. Therefore, one objection to this ascriptive account of gender is that it wrongly undermines the gender identities of some trans people. In this paper, I will argue that Haslanger’s definition can be defended against this objection and that her account inevitably aids in liberatory efforts not only for cisgender women, but for all sexual and gender minorities. While Katharine Jenkins’s dual account of gender aims to rectify this objection (2016, 407), I will point out two important problems with her argument: “the inclusion dilemma” and “the abolition problem.” Finally, I will argue that Haslanger’s account of gender is preferable to Jenkins’s because it outlines the reality of gender as an oppressive, hierarchical system whose categories ought to be dismantled.
part iii: reply
13. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Elizabeth Lanphier Breaking Down Communication: Narrative Medicine and its Distinctions.: A Reply to “Communication Breakdown: Probing the Limits of Narrative Medicine and its Discontents” by David J. Leichter.
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In “Communication Breakdown: Probing the Limits of Narrative Medicine and its Discontents” (2019), David J. Leichter engages practical experience teaching medical ethics in the college classroom to explore opportunities—and limits—of narrative engagement within medical ethics and clinical practice. Leichter raises concerns regarding potential epistemic harms, both testimonial and hermeneutical, when individuals, or their pain, cannot be adequately recognized through expressive modes traditionally understood as “narrative.” While I largely agree with Leichter’s worries about narrative authority and limits, I challenge his characterization of “narrative medicine.” In response, I suggest that “narrative medicine” is more than merely narrative engagement in medicine. As theorized by Rita Charon (2001, 2006), “narrative medicine” involves an inclusive approach to what narrative is, and more than mere mastery of “narrative competency.” I argue that at least one way to conceptualize “narrative medicine” is as a technical term, which refers to the process of attention, representation, and affiliation Charon develops as the achievement of narrative medicine. When understood in this technical way, narrative medicine can both resist and respond to the kinds of epistemic harms about which Leichter is rightfully worried.
part iv: the 2019 nassp book award
14. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Karen Adkins Exploiting the Vulnerable
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15. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Emily McGill Conspiring with the Enemy: The Ethic of Cooperation in Warfare by Yvonne Chiu
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16. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Abigail Gosselin NASSP Book Award Commentary
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17. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Karen Adkins Conspiring with the Enemy: The Ethic of Cooperation in Warfare
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18. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Yvonne Chiu The Boundaries of Battlefields, Collaboration Between Enemies, and Just War Theory (Reply to Commentators)
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19. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 37
Notes on Contributors
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20. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 36
Zachary Hoskins, Joan Woolfrey, Gregory Hoskins Editors' Introduction
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