Cover of Philosophy in the Contemporary World
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Displaying: 1-13 of 13 documents

1. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Jean Harvey Prestige, Power, and International Relations
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Paradigm cases of national power usually focus on material assets: military or economic power, natural resources etc. This article, though, considers a less "material" kind of national power: "relationship power" and "interactive power" that nations have when accorded a high prestige ranking. This is a more subtle type of power than that attached to material assets. But it is highly effective, even though trivialized and overlooked in international debate. This form of power can be more dangerous than it appears. And obvious solutions to these dangers are doomed to fail even if seriously attempted (just as the parallel "solution" fails to deal with the problem in everyday workplace meetings and interactions). This paper examines how national status is acquired. It draws attention to some oversimplifications (such as the notion that prestige is "earned"). It considers the connection between national status and interactive power, and shows how this skews the process and steers outcomes in international debate, to the detriment of international justice.
2. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Matthew Cashen False Happiness
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The idea that a person's happiness depends singly on her own subjective assessment and sunilarly subjectivist views of happiness have become philosophical orthodoxy lately. Against such views, I defend the claim that people do falsely judge themselves happy. I begin by clarifying the issues: what I mean by happiness and what I have in mind in claiming that happiness can be false. I then substantiate my claim by contrasting it with, and defending it against, a subjectivist view that makes happiness depend singly on a person's own self-assessment.
3. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Tim Johnston Holding Well and Holding Open: Bergson and Parental Deliberations on Neonatal Genital Normalization Surgery
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This essay is a philosophical analysis of a parent's decision whether or not to consent to neonatal genital nomalization surgery for a child bom with ambiguous genitals. Using Henri Bergson's analysis of duration, I make the distinction between spatialized narrative snapshots, and attention to duration, A spatialized narrative snapshot is a speculative picture of the child's entire life. Attention to duration requires we acknowledge that as long as the child is alive her life is indeterminate. I then take Hilde Lindemann's concept of holding and develop it to help parents understand attention to duration in order to resist the pressure to consent to genital normalization surgery.
4. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Robert Metcalf Religion as Ligature: On the Binding Character Of Religious Belief
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An argument found in the writings of the so-called "New Atheists" has it that the religious indoctrination of children is oppressive in and of itself, but this argument rests on what may be called an epidemiological orientation toward belief. While some forms of religious indoctrination may indeed be oppressive, any adequate phenomenology of religious belief must allow for various ways in which individuals relate themselves doxastically to the religion in which they were raised, and some of these ways could hardly be called "oppressive." Drawing on Wittgenstein's scattered writings on religion, this paper sketches out an account of religion as a form of ligature—in line with its etymology—whose binding-character lies in those life-regulating basic attitudes that are deeper, and more resistant to revision, than any opinion one happens to have.
5. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Lori Keleher Civil Unions for All
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The paper argues against using the language of "marriage" in public policy. Not simply because our current marriage laws result in confusing, unequal and unjust treatment of citizens, but because "marriage" is an unavoidably value-laden concept such that any marriage law will privilege some reasonable values over others. We should instead favor public policies that are more neutral, such as policies regarding civil unions.
6. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Candice L. Shelby Addiction: Beyond Disease and Choice
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While the addiction treatment industry holds steadfast to the idea that addiction is a disease, and the choice theorists maintam to the contrary that it is justa choice, the truth is not as simple as either. The idea of addiction is a social construct that evolved over the 20th century to encompass increasingly morephenomena, while becoming increasingly conceptually less clear. Taking a complex dynamic systems approach, rather than relying on either the obscure disease notion or the naive choice concept allows us to conceive of the organism, the mind, and the addiction as essentially temporal and emergent. From thisperspective, physical, mental, and social causes operate within one dynamic system, allowing for genetic, developmental, and environmental effects to be understood within a single framework. Such a framework offers much greater hope for successfully addressing the issue than does either the currently dominant disease paradigm or choice theory.
7. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Erica Lucast Stonestreet Clutter as a Misplaced Response to Value
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This paper explores the philosophical aspects of a problem—clutter—that has gathered growing attention from social scientists, but not philosophers, in recent years. The central questions are: What role should things play as we go about the business of living? How can we modify our relationship to things to better reflect who we are—our values and the shape we want our lives to have? I offer an analysis of clutter in both objective and subjective terms, suggesting that the problem of clutter lies on the subjective side. I then defend the claim that the problem stems from a mistaken sense of what kinds of action are appropriate with respect to things, given the attitudes called for by the recognition of value. My answer to the motivating questions, then, is that things can and should have personal value, and that once we recognize this, we are in a better position to see clearly the role they play in our identities and thus to respond appropriately to their value, thus preventing the experience of our stuff as clutter.
8. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 2
Andrew Fiala, José-Antonio Orosco Twenty Years of Philosophy in the Contemporary World
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9. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
James Rocha Unauthorized but Permitted: Limits on the Legal Obligations of Unauthorized Immigrants
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While politicians seek to increase punitive measures against so-called "illegal aliens," it is worth asking whether unauthorized immigrants are obligated by immigration laws that would demand their punishment, whether it is deportation or jail time. I seek to examine this question in light of the traditional defenses of legal obligations: consent, prudential interest, and fairness. Due to the various ways in which the benefits of society are largely excluded from them and the severe penalties that the state seeks to impose on them, these obligations cannot be justified. Unauthorized immigrants do not consent to follow these immigration laws under any of the usual meanings of "consent." We cannot provide a Hobbesian argument since the state refuses to offer its protection in exchange for the acceptance of benefits. Finally, the principle of fairness could not require these immigrants to be obligated since their contributions to society outweigh the benefits they receive.
10. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Jacob M. Held Pornography as Symptom: Refocusing the Anti-Pornography Debate on Pornification and Sexualization
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Anti-Porn activists have argued for decades that pom is discrimination, it hamis women as a class. The Pro-porn response has been to dismiss these concems, laud the First Amendment, or argue that pornography is a valuable contribution to society. The debate has progressed little beyond this stage. In this article, I argue that it is time to frame the pomography debate as a discussion on sexualized media in general. Recent research indicates that the negative results often attributed to hard-core pornography, such as sexist attitudes, lack of empathy for women, objectification, etc., are attributable to sexualized media as a whole. Pornography is, therefore, an infelicitous target. The solution to this problem is not the prohibition or litigation of one narrow aspect of this phenomenon, hard-core pornography, but the regulation of the producers of sexualized media in conjunction with efforts to educate consumers.
11. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Jakob Eklund The Nature of Empathy
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This paper addresses the question of the nature of empathy, and attempts to develop a unified understanding of empathy, and thereby overcome the split perspective that is present in current literature. Based on previous definitions, I present my own account of empathy as feeling the other's feeling. In an analysis of this new definition, empathy is characterized as feeling with the two constituents of understanding and care. Empathic understanding ensures that empathic care will lead to appropriate actions. A consequence of describing empathy as a feeling with the two constituents of understanding and care is that we are not forced to choose between the two main tracks in the empathy literature, empathy as understanding and empathy as care, but are instead at ease with both sides.
12. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey M. Courtright Is Trust Like an 'Atmosphere'? Understanding the Phenomenon of Existential Trust
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This article defends what I call the atmospheric claun about trust: at least one form of trust manifests itself in human life in a manner that is like an atmosphere (generalized, ambient, and diffuse). I also provide a provisional defense of the claim that trust is a necessary condition for the thriving of something that matters to us. I offer a phenomenological sketch of existential trust. Existential trust is a primordial and atmospheric (generalized, ambient, and diffuse) manifestation of trust that constitutes a fundamental a way of being in relationship with the world as a whole such that one feels supportively upheld, vulnerably open, orientationally attuned, and demanded in relation to this world, with the overall effect of feeling at home in it.
13. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 20 > Issue: 1
Steven M. Cahn, Christine Vitrano Choosing the Experience Machine
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In the decades since Robert Nozick posed his now famous thought experiment involving the experience machine, philosophers have taken his treatment as conclusive. A review of the literature finds almost no one who has argued that people would choose the experience machine. To find such unanunity among philosophers is unexpected. But the situation is especially surprising because Nozick's conclusion appears mistaken. In support of this view, we offer three different sorts of reasons why persons would be inclined to choose the experience machine. We illustrate these reasons by the use of numerous examples at least as plausible as the experience machine itself.