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1. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
James Rocha Environmental Racism and Privileged Consumerism
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Environmental racism concerns the ways in which environmental protections are unfairly distributed along racial lines. One outcome of environmental racism is that environmental degradation does not harm us all equally, with oppressed racial groups facing greater burdens. Consequently, members of privileged groups can more comfortably engage in environmentally destructive consumerism because they will neither initially nor primarily face the worst impact from environmental destruction. I will argue that the ability to feel comfortable while engaging in environmentally destructive consumerism is a form of racism, and that this racism strengthens the blameworthiness of such privileged consumerism.
2. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Sanjay Lal On Becoming Worthy of Victory: Asserting a Natural Place for Philosophy in Global Struggle
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While there has been no shortage of philosophical writings dealing with humanity’s great struggles (be they on issues of justice, war, the proper structure of the state, et al) there is a notable absence within academic philosophy in asserting a broad, overriding, and natural place for philosophical analysis regarding such issues—a role which can be crucial in making us better people (and thus capable of realizing a better world). In the first part of this paper, I will discuss the notable absence of certain character traits on the part of activists fighting for a better world that are essential for attaining the lofty goals protest movements aim for. I will then show that philosophy is uniquely suited for helping develop such traits (specifically when philosophy is seen as a practice). In the last part of this paper, I will discuss possible areas of philosophical exploration that would be particularly fruitful for making us better people. My intention is to ultimately help establish a unique and irreplaceable role academic philosophy can have in activist movements.
3. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
José A. Haro Colonialism and Ressentiment
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In this paper I apply Friedrich Nietzsche’s critique of European morality to the Western colonial context. I specifically focus attention on his notions of ressentiment and slave morality, and how his critique implicates these as being exported and imposed upon the people Western powers colonized. However, the process of colonization reveals that the imposed morality is transformed into a distinct type of ressentiment that Nietzsche does not to consider. I call this type of ressentiment “colonial ressentiment” in distinction to Nietzsche’s slave morality. To provide the content to clearly distinguish colonial ressentiment from that of slave morality, I utilize Frantz Fanon’s description of the colonial drama to help illuminate their differences. To conclude the paper, I discuss some of the upshots of colonial ressentiment and their relation to present day struggles.
4. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Jeremy Wisnewski Affordances, Embodiment, and Moral Perception: A Sketch of a Moral Theory
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My aim in this article is programmatic. I argue that understanding perceptual experience on the model of perceptual affordances allows us to acknowledge the centrality of embodiment to moral phenomenology, on the one hand, and to see more transparently the place of the emotions in the moral life, on the other. I suggest some means by which moral perception, construed as the perception of moral affordances, might be cultivated.
5. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
David Koukal The Fatally Flawed Leadership of Donald J. Trump: A Platonic Analysis
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Over the past two years, several political commentators have drawn on Plato’s Republic to shed light on our last presidential election. Many of these authors emphasize the features of democracy that make it especially susceptible to demagoguery, which heralds the arrival of tyranny, and then go on to relate this to Donald Trump’s political ascension. The problem with these analyses is that they tend to unquestioningly adopt Plato’s pessimistic view of democracy. While Plato’s criticisms do have the virtue of making us aware of democracy’s weaknesses, we would argue that our present political circumstances did not issue from these flaws. This makes these criticisms irrelevant. Other commentators come closer to the mark when they talk about Plato’s passages addressing the person of the tyrant in Book IX, but what is lacking in these accounts is a context that more fully explains why the tyrant is what he is, in Platonic terms. In this essay we argue that other parts of the Republic, particularly Book IV, can tell us much more about Trump and his presidency. This part of the dialogue deals with Plato’s conception of human nature, which he presents in his discussion of the soul or psyche [ψυχή]. An examination of these passages will grant us insight into the Trump’s actions and utterances and show that the president is not only intellectually but also temperamentally unqualified for his office, which should give citizens good cause for worry.
6. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Rob Lovering “That’s Just So-and-So Being So-and-So”: On Some Possible Meanings, Functions, and Moral Implications of an Explanation
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When it comes to explaining someone’s puzzling, objectionable, or otherwise problematic behavior, one type of explanation occasionally employed in the service of doing so is as follows: “That’s just so-and-so being so-and-so.” But what, exactly, do explanations of the type “That’s just so-and-so being so-and-so” mean? More specifically, in what way, if any, is it meaningful or informative to say such things? And what is the precise function of such explanations of someone’s behavior? Is it merely to present what one takes to be the underlying causes of the behavior, or something beyond that? In what follows, I lay out a few possibilities—basic possibilities, to be precise, given philosophy’s keen interest in fundamentals—with respect to the various meanings, functions, and moral implications of explanations of the type “That’s just so-and-so being so-and-so.” While doing so, I apply these basic possibilities to three tokens of this kind of explanation: “That’s just Manny being Manny” (in reference to Manny Ramirez, the former professional baseball player), “That’s just Charlie being Charlie” (in reference to Charlie Rose, the former television host), and “That’s just Trump being Trump” (in reference to Donald Trump, the current President of the United States).
7. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
P.E. Wilson Finding Moral Casualties in Wartime Fatalities
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8. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Shay Welch The Cognitive Unconscious in Native American Embodied Knowing
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In this paper, I address only one small parallel between one subsection of Western epistemology and cognitive theory and Native American epistemology. I draw the connection between the recent theories of embodied cognition and distinctive Native modes of embodied implicit procedural knowing, such as blood memory, vision questions, and non-binary logical systems. My reason for doing so is twofold. First, I show how these distinctive ways of knowing within Native worldviews are not mere mystical claims that can be cast aside in favor of more ostensibly “rational” knowing practices. To do so, I utilized Mark Johnson’s account of the cognitive unconscious to demonstrate how and that Native embodied knowing practices and knowledge sources are easily explicable when examined though a phenomenological cognitive lens. Second, I highlight one small respect in which Native epistemologies are conceived of procedurally. Embodied forms of knowing are merely one facet of the procedural performative nature of Native American epistemology but they are highly demonstrative of the fact that procedural ways of knowing—knowing-how—account for deeply implicit ways of knowing that are lacking from other procedural knowledge accounts that are often hamstrung without such an accompanying account of knowing-how beyond counterfactual knowledge.
9. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Brock Bahler The Tree of Life: Wisdom Reflected in the Face of Domestic Terror
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book reviews
10. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Matthew Valentine Friedrich Nietzsche and European Nihilism
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