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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 25, 2009
Gender, Diversity, and Difference

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Displaying: 1-20 of 23 documents

1. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
John Rowan Preface
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2. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
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part 1: gender
3. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Naomi Zack No More Mothers?: How Attenuating Factors Are Changing the Identity
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The role of motherhood was attenuated over the second half of the twentieth century, by literal and metaphorical factors: Privileged women gained control over their reproduction and developed non-mothering life priorities; government and society became less nurturing in public ideals; projects of spontaneous speciation began in biology; the environment became unsustaining. In addition, feminist criticism resulted in greater individuation between the persons of mothers and their children. With these changes, the role of motherhood lacks a positive identity, culturally and psychically. Extending a literary character, I suggest that mothers consider an attenuated internal identity, based on their unique biological relationships to their children. This would afford a more positive self-identity, as well as a pragmatic solution to demands made by present “middleman” roles for mothers to procure expert child enculturation care, in addition to their “second shifts.”
4. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Lynda Lange Globalization and the Conceptual Effects of Boundaries Between Western Political Philosophy and Economic Theory: The Case of Publicly Supported Child Care for Working Mothers
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This paper analyzes the historical and cultural genealogy of the presumed separation between ethics and economic theory, taking publicly supported care for children of working mothers (or parents) as a case that illuminates problems for thinking about gender justice that arise because of these disciplinary boundaries and the particular concept of “the human individual” that is implicit in them. Care for children of working mothers is an issue that has been important in the West since the inception of “second wave” feminism. However, I argue that the global expectation that women are responsible for care of small children, coupled with the reality that small children really must have caregivers, makes this issue pertinent to women everywhere, and it has lately been recognized as an issue for development and global justice. Predominant political philosophies and neoclassical economics have a common philosophical root in abstract individualist method. I argue that this has made possible a claim of intellectual respectability for neo-liberal politics that resists feminist and postcolonial critique, even though these critiques show its inability to deal with matters, such as the need for child care, that have moral issues inextricably involved in them. The economy of rationalindividual self-interest has so far only generated child care with a very large component of exploitation of caregivers.
5. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Claudia Leeb The Im-Possibility of a Feminist Subject
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It is widely acknowledged that the notion of a stable feminist subject, which refers to the category “woman” as a shared identity for all women, has led to the exclusion of all those women who do not fit neatly into its boundaries. Against the giving up of the subject or the invoking of the feminist subject as a pragmatic strategy, as suggested by Judith Butler, this paper suggests that we need a feminist subject-in-outline for an emancipatory feminist politics. Such a subject emerges in what Jacques Lacan has termed the moment of the real, the remainder or the gap in the total signifier “woman.” It is in this moment where all those women who have been rendered invisible and without a proper place in the feminist community can become subjects and transform its boundaries.
part ii: diversity and difference
6. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Yolanda Estes J. G. Fichte’s Account of Human Sexuality: Gender Difference as the Basis of Human Equality within a Just Society
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In this essay, I offer an interpretation of J. G. Fichte’s account of human sexuality and its relation to sexual inequality and social justice and apply this interpretation to contemporary questions about gender, equality and justice. According to my interpretation of Fichte, sexual intercourse provides a primary natural relationship—initiated by woman—wherein human beings cultivate their capacities for communication or reciprocal influence by expressing desires guided by both feeling and reason. Thus, the interchange of sexual love and solicitude is the original basis for all other social skills and ultimately for any form of social justice.
7. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Loren Cannon Trans-marriage and the Unacceptability of Same-sex Marriage Restrictions
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This essay analyzes the coherency and reasonableness of legal restrictions against same-sex marriage. The population of focus is transgender individuals and their partners. Focusing on trans-marriage makes clear that the restriction of marriage to one man and one woman is misguided in that the law rests on the assumption that the categories of sex and gender comprise two disjoint, exhaustive, and unambiguous groupings. The primary argument here is not that the restrictions of same-sex marriage are harmful to certain transpersons who participate in legal marriage, although they certainly are, but rather that this legal restriction fails to meet the minimum requirements of any reasonable law. This analysis compares the current marriage restriction and its reliance on the above mentioned false belief with judgments of the Race Classification Appeal Board of Apartheid era South Africa. I employ two actual cases and the legal philosophy of Lon L. Fuller in my argument.
8. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
James Boettcher Internal Minorities, Membership, and the Freedmen Controversy
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This paper looks at recent efforts within the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma to expel descendants of the freedmen, persons of African descent held as slaves until their emancipation and subsequent adoption as tribal citizens according to the terms of an 1866 treaty. The unavoidable racial dimensions of this controversy lead me to examine it as an example of the internal minorities problem, i.e., the problem of minorities within minority cultures, familiar from the literature on liberal multiculturalism. I argue that while no single approach to the internal minorities problem is fully adequate for resolving the controversy, the balance of reasons drawn from these approaches shows expulsion of the freedmen descendants to be unjust. Furthermore, in contrast to leading theoretical approaches, a deliberative approach to multiculturalism can best account for the need to encourage critical public dialogue about underlying notions of blood, race and Cherokee identity.
part iii: ethics and others
9. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Dan Haggerty Speaking for Others: Epistemology and Ethics
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In this paper, I explore risks and responsibilities associated with speaking for others. I argue that, contrary to the recent philosophical literature on the subject, speaking for others is not always epistemically or politically illegitimate. Moreover, epistemological justification is not the only important consideration when trying to determine if we should speak for others. Ethical justification also matters and can override epistemological worries. Indeed, sometimes we should speak for others though we cannot know their experience. I identify and evaluate five kinds of speaking for others. I end by exploring some of the implications of my analysisfor social justice for women and girls internationally.
10. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Maurice Hamington Liberté, Égalité, Sororité: How Care Ethics Informs Social Justice
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When theorists first struggled to define and distinguish care ethics from other moral theories, many chose to sharply differentiate it from justice. Now that care ethics has matured as a field, theorists no longer characterize care and justice as purely oppositional, giving rise to new questions about how the two moral concepts relate to one another. This article suggests that care ethics contributes to a richer social morality than traditional justice approaches in at least four areas: metaphysics, epistemology, psychology, and ethical content. Accordingly, taking care ethics seriously as a political framework can enrich our concept of social justice. I begin with an overview of the state of care theory and then offer a framework for understanding the continuity between care and justice. The bulk of the article addresses the contribution of care ethics to our understanding of social morality beyond justice.
11. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Margaret Crouch Sexual Harassment in Public Places
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Most discussions of sexual harassment and laws addressing sexual harassment focus solely on sexual harassment in the workplace and/or in academe. In this paper, I will explore sexual harassment in public spaces such as streets and public transportation. Street and/or transportation harassment is a major problem for women in a number of countries. These forms of harassment constrain women’s freedom of movement, preventing them from taking advantage of opportunities at school, at work, and in politics. I will argue that such harassment must be eliminated if women are to have equal opportunities in society.
12. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Peter W. Higgins Immigration Justice: A Principle for Selecting Just Admissions Policies
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This paper is addressed to those who hold that states’ immigration policies are subject to cosmopolitan principles of justice. I have a very limited goal in the paper, and that is to offer a condensed explication of a principle for determining whether states’ immigration policies are just. That principle is that just immigration policies may not avoidably harm disadvantaged social groups (whether domestic or foreign). This principle is inspired by the failure, among many extant cosmopolitan proposals for regulating immigration, to attend to the morally salient fact that all national societies are cleaved by social institutions that create distinct groups of individuals, often privileging some and disadvantaging others. In this paper I explicate this principle in terms of three questions: (1) What is a social group? (2) Under what conditions is a social group disadvantaged? And (3) what is it to avoidably harm a social group?
part iv: autonomy and equality
13. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Elizabeth Sperry Autonomy Luck: Relational Autonomy, Moral Luck, and Social Oppression
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I bring together three philosophical accounts to argue that differential social shaping puts agents’ autonomy status outside their complete control, thanks to specific forms of good and bad luck generated by agents’ membership in socially privileged and socially oppressed groups. Oppression generates psychological harms and external damages, all of which can impede autonomy. Relational Autonomy analyses suggest that agents become autonomous only through relationships with others and further enact that autonomy in social contexts. Moral Luck theorists examine the apparent paradoxes involved in our being held responsible for states and results outside our control; I consider the import of constitutive luck, situational luck, and resultant luck. We have limited control—hence, luck—with reference to beneficial and harmful ways in which relationships and social institutions affect our autonomy.
14. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Pamela J. Lomelino Reconceptualizing Autonomy to Address Cross-Cultural Differences in Informed Consent
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Given the increase in research in less developed countries and the necessary reliance on informed consent guidelines, we should pay close attention to the extent to which these guidelines address important cross-cultural differences. I argue that the current underlying conception of autonomy that is reflected in informed consent guidelines fails to adequately address important cultural differences—namely differences in conceptions of the person. Since this conception directly influences one’s conception of autonomy, the narrowness of the current guidelines demands attention. In examining a conception of the person that is popular in Africa—a less developed country in which much research is currently being conducted—I argue that the current foundation for informed consent should rest on strong relational autonomy in order to be more globally applicable. This revision, in turn, calls for changes to the policies for informed consent.
15. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Matt Silliman Is Equality a Moral Concept?
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The characters in this epistolary exchange are from the book-length dialogue Sentience and Sensibility: A Conversation about Moral Philosophy. Manuel Kant is a student of philosophy from Cuba and Northern India, who is in the United States seeking what he calls “philosophical asylum.” His interlocutor, Harriet Taylor, is a former student of philosophy and biology, now working for the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Boston. In this exchange, they make and try to reconcile cases for and against the conceptual coherence and efficacy of equality as a moral concept, leaving it to the reader to settle the question.
part v: democracy and legitimacy
16. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Sharon Anderson-Gold Cosmopolitanism and Democracy: Global Governance without a Global State
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Global governance has become a topic of interest to many contemporary political theorists. Issues arising from the nature of global markets and multinational corporations can no longer be locally contained. These developments signal the decline of the nation state and therewith the end of the liberal moral and political theory that justified national institutions. The alternative possible orders appear bleak, including anarchy, hegemonic power or the most horrific of all specters, the liberty crushing “world state.” Kant’s cosmopolitan theory of justice can provide a third way between nationalism and its bleak alternatives, providing a measureof global governance upheld by nations without recourse to a world state. My thesis is that a juridical society of states is necessarily founded upon cosmopolitan right having universal jurisdiction and that the implementation of the norms of hospitality underlying cosmopolitan right requires global institutions based upon democratic representation and accountability.
17. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Shane Ralston Deweyan Democracy and Pluralism: A Reunion
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What Talisse refers to as his “pluralist objection” states that Deweyan democracy, or John Dewey’s theory of democracy as contemporary Dewey scholars understand it, resembles a thick account, that is, a theory establishing a set of prior restraints on the values that can count as legitimate within a democratic community, and thus is incompatible with pluralism, at least insofar as contemporary political theorists define that term. In this paper, I argue that by undermining the pluralist objection, a reunion of Deweyan democracy and pluralism—two ideas that have been torn asunder by Talisse’s misreading of Dewey andDeweyans—becomes possible.
18. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Joshua W. Houston Contestation and Deliberation Within: Dryzek, Goodin, and the Possibility of Legitimacy
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In this paper, I pursue a dialogue between John Dryzek and Robert E. Goodin’s positions on deliberative democracy’s ‘problem of economy’ with an eye toward a synthesis that could lead us toward a conception of deliberation that counters the threat to legitimacy posed by this problem. By sketching a view that makes the two accounts more consonant by casting discourses as intersubjectively constituted, with deliberation as the contestation of intersubjectively constituted discourses in the public sphere, we ought to be able to describe democratic legitimacy as being linked to the epistemic quality of deliberation while not succumbing to the problem of economy. This would thereby maintain deliberative democracy’s critical edge and feasibility and legitimize the deliberative democratic model as a standpoint to critically evaluate social relations and collective decisions, such that our politics can be rendered more just.
part vi: nassp book award
19. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Joseph Betz Remarks on Will Kymlicka’s Multicultural Odysseys: Navigating the New International Politics of Diversity
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20. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 25
Cindy Holder Commentary on Will Kymlicka’s Multicultural Odysseys
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