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Displaying: 41-60 of 274 documents

41. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Michael O. Hardimon Four Ways of Thinking about Race
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This essay presents four ways of thinking about race. They consist of four related but distinct race concepts: the racialist concept of race, which is the traditional, pernicious, essentialist, and hierarchical concept of race; the concept of socialrace, which is the antiracist concept of race as a social construction; the minimalist concept of race, which is the deflationary concept of biological race that represents race as a matter of color, shape and geographical ancestry; and the populationist concept of race, the race concept that represents races as populations, deriving from geographically separated and reproductive isolated founding populations. Taken together, the four concepts can help us better navigate our way through the murky conceptual domain of “race.”
42. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
J. L. A. Garcia Race as a Social Construction: Some Difficulties
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This paper raises serious problems for the commonly held claim that races are socially constructed. The first section sketches out an approach to our construction of institutional phenomena that, taking Searle’s general approach, restricts social construction proper to cases where we adopt rules that bind relevant parties to treat things of a type in certain ways, thus constituting important roles in, and parts of, our social lives. I argue this conception, construction-by-rules, helps distinguish genuine construction from other activities and relations and also solves a problem raised against simplistic conceptions. The second shows why and how Sally Haslanger, Linda Alcoff, and Glenn Loury have explained race as a social construct. The next points out problems for their and other accounts, including circularity, difficulties arising from conceptual and linguistic history, and non sequiturs. After returning to Haslanger in more detail, I proceed critically to engage work by Ian Hacking, Lawrence Blum, Luc Faucher and Edouard Machery, and Charles Mills. The following sections move from specific accounts in the literature to offer general arguments that viewing races as products of social construction threatens to mislead in numerous ways. At the end, I discuss the significance of the issue and challenge whether social constructionist accounts are genuinely liberating.
43. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther A Beginner’s Guide to the New Population Genomics of Homo sapiens: Origins, Race, and Medicine
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It is important to understand the science underlying philosophical debates. In particular, careful reflection is needed on the scientific study of the origins of Homo sapiens, the division of current human populations into ethnicities, populations, or races, and the potential impact of genomics on personalized medicine. Genomic approaches to the origins and divisions of our species are among the most multi-dimensional areas of contemporary science, combining mathematical modeling, computer science, medicine, bioethics, and philosophy of biology. The best evidence suggests that we are a young species, with a cradle in Africa. While prejudice, misunderstanding, and violence grow in many corners of the world, our best genomic science suggests a deep biological connection among all peoples.
44. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Lynnea Shuck, Jonathan Perez-Reyzin Editors' Introduction
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45. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Christine M. Korsgaard Animals: Ethics, Agency, Culture: Introduction
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ethics i
46. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Clare Palmer Should We Offer Assistance to Both Wild and Domesticated Animals?
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In this paper, I consider whether we should offer assistance to both wild and domesticated animals when they are suffering. I argue that we may have different obligations to assist wild and domesticated animals because they have different morally-relevant relationships with us. I explain how different approaches to animal ethics, which, for simplicity, I call capacity-oriented and context-oriented, address questions about animal assistance differently. I then defend a broadly context-oriented approach, on which we have special obligations to assist animals that we have made vulnerable to or dependent on us. This means that we should normally help suffering domesticated animals, but that we lack general obligations to assist wild animals, since we are not responsible for their vulnerability. However, we may have special obligations to help wild animals where we have made them vulnerable to or dependent on us (by habitat destruction or by captivity, for instance). I consider some obvious difficulties with this context-oriented approach, and I conclude by looking more closely at the question whether we should intervene, if we could do so successfully, to reduce wild animal suffering by reducing predation.
47. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Alan Wayne, Lori Gruen Entangled Empathy: An Interview with Lori Gruen
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48. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Michael Allen Fox The Ideology of Meat-Eating
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A network of beliefs and values (an ideology) underlies much of our behavior. While meat-eaters may not acknowledge that they have an ideology, I argue that they do by attempting to identify and deconstruct its elements. I also include numerous historical and philosophical observations about the origins of meat-eaters’ ideology. Explaining and examining ideologies may encourage discussion about a particular area of life (for example, dietary choice) and stimulate change in relation to it. Both adherents to vegetarian/vegan approaches and meat-eaters who wish to become less dependent on animal food sources (for ethical and environmental reasons) can benefit from the broader understanding that such an analysis provides.
49. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Jeff Sebo The Moral Problem of Other Minds
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In this paper I ask how we should treat other beings in cases of uncertainty about sentience. I evaluate three options: (1) an incautionary principle that permits us to treat other beings as non-sentient, (2) a precautionary principle that requires us to treat other beings as sentient, and (3) an expected value principle that requires us to multiply our subjective probability that other beings are sentient by the amount of moral value they would have if they were. I then draw three conclusions. First, the precautionary and expected value principles are more plausible than the incautionary principle. Second, if we accept a precautionary or expected value principle, then we morally ought to treat many beings as having at least partial moral status. Third, if we morally ought to treat many beings as having at least partial moral status, then morality involves more cluelessness and demandingness than we might have thought.
animals' minds
50. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Catherine Wilson Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenon: An Alternative to Panpsychism
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Reversing centuries of methodological caution and skepticism, philosophers have begun to explore the possibility that experience in some form is widely distributed in the universe. It has been proposed that consciousness may pertain to machines, rocks, elementary particles, and perhaps the universe itself. This paper shows why philosophers have good reason to suppose that experiences are widely distributed in living nature, including worms and insects, but why panpsychism extending to non-living nature is an implausible doctrine.
51. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Kristin Andrews Do Apes Attribute Beliefs to Predict Behavior?: A Mengzian Social Intelligence Hypothesis
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I defend a Mengzian version of the Social Intelligence Hypothesis, according to which humans think about one another’s beliefs and desires—and reasons for action—in order to solve our social living problems through cooperation, rather than through competition and deception, as the more familiar Machiavellian version has it. Given this framework, and a corresponding view about the function of belief attribution, I argue that while apes need not attribute propositional attitudes to pass the “false belief task,” we should not conclude that apes may be behaviorists. Rather, the Mengzian Social Intelligence Hypothesis perspective offers another interpretation of ape behavior, intermediate between behaviorist and propositional attitude schemas. I argue that the false belief task can be solved by individuals who have an agency schema which takes others to be minded beings who have goals, emotions, and perceptions, but who fail to consider propositional attitudes or reasons for behavior. I then argue that a true test of belief attribution in great apes would be one that shows they seek explanations in terms of reasons for behavior. However, no such test yet exists.
animal agency
52. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Dale Jamieson Animal Agency
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The rise of physicalism and naturalism, the development of cognitive science, and the explosion and popularization of knowledge about animal behavior has brought us to see that most of the properties that were once thought to distinguish humans from other animals are shared with other animals. Many people now see properties that are morally relevant to how it is permissible to treat animals, such as sentience, as widely distributed. Agency, however, is one area in which the retreat from human uniqueness is halting. In this essay I suggest that we should feel the same pressure to bring together accounts of human and animal agency that we feel with respect to sentience and other such characteristics. I go on to diagnose the resistance, and briefly sketch how things might look if we were to see agency as continuous.
53. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Nicolas Delon Animal Agency, Captivity, and Meaning
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Can animals be agents? Do they want to be free? Can they have meaningful lives? If so, should we change the way we treat them? This paper offers an account of animal agency and of two continuums: between human and nonhuman agency, and between wildness and captivity. It describes how human activities impede on animals’ freedom and argues that, in doing so, we deprive many animals of opportunities to exercise their agency in ways that can give meaning to their lives.
ethics ii
54. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Deborah Cao Wild Game Changer: Regarding Animals in Chinese Culture
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For the last two decades, the world has seen the rise of China. With its rise, unfortunately, has come the fall, retreat, and demise of some animals and animal species. China is often singled out for special attention in terms of animal destruction and endangerment. With an increasingly globalized economy and world, we now have a globalized wildlife crisis. This essay focuses on the exploitation of wild animals in China. It argues that the plight of wildlife in China stems from an underlying position in Chinese culture that animals are instruments for human benefits, and such an instrumentalist approach has always dominated the Chinese landscape. This is the case despite the fact that animals and humans are considered to be organically connected in the moral universe in Chinese traditional philosophy in contrast to the segregated approach to humans and non-humans in Western philosophical traditions. It is suggested that to achieve substantive progress in the protection of wildlife and other animals in China, a fundamental change of thinking and acting toward animals by the Chinese to recognize the intrinsic value of animals would be imperative.
55. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 25
Shih Chaohwei, Peter Singer Animal Welfare: A Buddhist-Utilitarian Dialogue
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This piece is an edited transcript of a dialogue between Professor Shih Chaohwei of Hsuan Chuang University in Taiwan and Professor Peter Singer of Princeton University in the United States and the University of Melbourne in Australia. The dialogue features considerations of various points of interaction between the Buddhist and utilitarian perspectives on animals. We hope that this conversation can serve to open a dialogue between seemingly very different philosophical traditions with regards to the treatment of animals.
56. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Emily Fox-Penner, Aaron Suduiko Editor's Introduction
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global history of philosophy
57. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Jonardon Ganeri What Is Philosophy?: A Cross-cultural Conversation in the Crossroads Court of Chosroes
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Three rival conceptions of philosophy overlap, we may imagine, in the Sassinid court of Chosroes (r. 531–579). One is due to Priscian, a refugee from Athens after Justinian’s closing of the philosophical schools. A second and third are from India: the Buddhist conception of Vasubandhu and the Nyāya view of Vātsyāyana. I will argue that the rivalry between these three understandings of philosophy ultimately rests in three different conceptions of what makes an inner life one’s own.
free will
58. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 24
John Heil Real Agency
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Peter van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument makes salient the difficulties facing attempts to reconcile determinism and agency. Others go further. Derk Pereboom, for instance, contends that science provides compelling evidence that no action is free, and Galen Strawson argues that conditions for genuinely free action are flatly unsatisfiable. Against such skepticism about free will, the paper introduces considerations in support of the idea that there are probably good reasons to think that conditions for free actions—real agency—are sometimes satisfied, that ascriptions of agency are sometimes true, but that truthmakers for these ascriptions could be wholly deterministic in a way that might seem to, but does not in fact, place them at odds with the possibility of genuinely free action.
moral and political philosophy
59. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Maria Svedberg, Torbjörn Tännsjö Consequentialism and Free Will: The Conditional Analysis Resuscitated
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Many moral theories incorporate the idea that when an action is wrong, it is wrong because that there was something else that the agent could and should have done instead. Most notable among these are consequentialist theories. According to consequentialism an action A is wrong if and only if there was another action B that the agent could have performed such that, if the agent had performed B instead of A, the consequences would have been better. Relatively little attention has been given to the question of how to understand the meaning of ‘could have’ in this specific context. However, without an answer to this question, consequentialist theories fail to yield determinate verdicts about the deontic status of actions in real scenarios. It is here argued that the following conditional analysis provides the required answer and gives us the most plausible version of consequentialism: the agent could have done B instead of A if and only if, there is a decision such that had the agent made this decision, then she would have done B, and not A. Such a conditional analysis has been universally rejected as an analysis of the general meaning of ‘could have’, but we show that in the specific context of specifying the meaning of ‘could have’ in a consequentialist criterion of right and wrong action, all the standard objections to it fail.
60. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Moises Vaca The Contractualist Dilemma
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In moral and political philosophy many contractualist views appeal to hypothetical consent when justifying their proposed normative contents. In this paper I argue that all of them fail. In particular, I defend three claims. First, I consider and develop what I call the common objection to contractualism: that the stipulation of a hypothetical consent adds nothing to the independent reasons offered in contractualist procedures in favor of the normative content in question. Second, I hold that this objection gives rise to what I call the contractualist dilemma. Third, in light of the dilemma, I argue that contractualism should be understood in a non-justificatory way. These three claims might sound familiar to readers versed on the contractualist tradition. It is striking, however, how many contemporary authors continue to defend contractualism as a method of justification despite these arguments. This paper is thus a strong invitation to finally abandon the justificatory interpretation of this view.