Cover of Philosophy in the Contemporary World
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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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