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61. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Raymond Kolcaba Editor's Introduction: Art in the World Today—Danto and Beyond
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62. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Joe Frank Jones III Being There: Theatre and Existentialist Ethics
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A complete sense of the world is an alternative normative ethical standard utilizing aesthetic integration. The temporary nature of aesthetic integration renders it a more useful tool for understanding human experience than does any philosophical or religious system containing allegedly permanent truths. The aesthetic integration of theatre provides a basis for discussion of the cognitive content of choice in action. I show that theatre reflects ethics. Then I turn to Jean-Paul Sartre's and Karl Marx's notions of "reciprocal freedom" as an example ethic. A consequence of reciprocal freedom is that the needs of others must be taken into account. I contend that a life lived in pursuit of aesthetic integration can indeed be an ethical life—and even serve as a model for an ethical life. This is not an idea generally embraced in Western culture, particularly when it is contrasted with military meaning-visions
63. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Joshua M. Hall Apposite Bodies: Dancing with Danto
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Though Arthur Danto has long been engaged with issues of embodiment in art and beyond, neither he nor most of his interlocutors have devoted significant attention to die art form in which art and embodiment most vividly intersect, namely dance. This article, first, considers Danto's brief references to dance in his early magnum opus. The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, Second, it tracks the changes in Danto's philosophy of art as evidenced in his later After the End of Art and The Abuse of Beauty. And finally, it utilizes Danto's most recent work on the philosophy of action to suggest a new Danto-inspired definition of art, namely "apposite bodies."
64. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Gregory L. Burgin Danto's Error: Sustaining Art's Narrative with the Primacy of the Aesthetic
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According to Artlrnr C. Danto, widiout the progressive development of a dominant style the historical narrative structure of art in the West can no longer be sustained. It is thus the case in the contemporary world that art where liberated, has found its end in the arrival of a myriad of art-making styles where none is above the other. It is the aim of the present paper to suggest that the historical nanative structure of art cannot end in the way diat Danto asserted. Instead, by examining the issue through the application of the aesthetic conceptions of Benedetto Croce and R.G. Collingwood it can be shown that Danto is committing a philosophical error by abstraction. It is then the focus of this paper to resolve die error and to provide a descriptive account of art's liberated state in the world today by making the argument for the primacy of the aesthetic
65. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Stephen Snyder Danto's Narrative Philosophy of History and the End of Art: Does Inexplicability Mean Freedom
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This paper investigates Danto's claim that the narrative of art is over. In this state, which Danto sees as ideal, art is free from any master narrative, and its direction cannot be predicted. The claim that art ought to remain in its current state—pluralistic, free and with no further historical development—is problematic. Danto is correct that late 20th c. art could not be explained through a single narrative, and the myriad forms art takes demonstrate its pluralism. But Danto's assertions that freedom is the outcome of inexplicability and that progress is measured according to amenability to narrative do not necessarily follow. Based on Gombrich's theory of pictorial representation, I provide an alternative explanation of Danto's claim that art no longer manifests the narrative of the era of art, arguing that the shift in art's preferred form of presentation, though no longer supporting narrative explanation, is developing as a language of disclosure
66. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Travis T. Anderson Artistic Freedom in Kant and Hegel: Prolegomena to a Critique of Artistic Judgment
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Current controversies manifest an inherent tension between artistic freedom and moral constraint—a tension exacerbated by our reluctance or inability to define modem art. This paper maintains that Kant and Hegel are two of the pivotal figures with which any reflections on the ground, nature, and limits of artistic freedom must begin. Both phdosophers, for example, explicitly argue that artist and audience alike require a certain kind and a certain degree of freedom in order to carry out their respective projects, be they creative, cognitive, or aesthetic. While Kant's interest in art is limited mostly to its aesthetic affects, i.e., the faculty-driven feelings associated with beauty and the sublime, Hegel rejects feelings of any kind as constituting a proper subject-matter for philosophy, and so reaffirms the classical conception of art as essentially an expression of truth. Despite these fundamental differences, the two phdosophers' respective explanations of art and artistic autonomy must both be considered if we are to understand properly modem and post-historical forms of art, which for all their novelty and differences (both real and apparent) draw heavily on both the Kantian and Hegelian traditions for theh justification. So, while Kant and Hegel may not supply us with direct or decisive ways to think through contemporary issues involving artistic freedom or questions concerning the moral legitimacy of art, they can help us map out the historical landscape of philosophical thought on art and artistic autonomy and thereby provide us with the prolegomena to such an effort
67. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Spencer Bradley The Face of Modern Art: The Creation of Fascist Art
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Despite common perspectives, art has become less about creativity and more about cultural worth and service to the state. Using Deleuze, Guattari and Žižek, I argue the appropriation creates subjectivity subordinate to the state. This stifles the creative power of art and creates subjectivity by division. The state carries out this appropriation through the creation of propaganda. This ultimately leads to a negation of the subject. I then propose several methods to disassemble instituted subjectivity and shift art's creative powers back to the viewer and the artist. However, there are stdl possibilities of slipping back into this false art of the state. Thus, to free aesthetics and art from hierarchy and binaries, we must reexamine art's role and creative processes in order to return the creation of subjectivity to come from within, as opposed to from without
68. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 22 > Issue: 1
Raymond Kolcaba Finding Art in the World
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The task of finding art in the world is presented as a tale of three dynamic forces that have shaped art in recent times. The first is expansion of the domain of art. This is reflected in linguistic change. The term "art" has grown enormously in sense and extension. The second force is the public's subjective response to art writ large. Our commercial culture compels reaction. The third force is the art world's active promotion of the expansion of art's domain and the contextualization of the public's subjective response to it. The aspiration of the paper is to bring some clarity to how we presently identify art, respond to it, understand it, and institutionalize it. The tale concludes with discussion of the fiiture of art m the world today.
69. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Walter J. Riker Toward Limits on Diversity in Press Freedom
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Some argue that at least some non-liberal, non-democratic societies deserve fiill and good standing in the international community. These arguments imply that some divergence in understanding the role of the press is also justified and should be tolerated. But what are the limits of diversity here? I begin to find these limits by considering John Rawls's "decent" societies in the context of Amartya Sen's work on famine. Sen claims that a free press plays an important role in famine prevention. After giving an account of press rights, I argue that a partially free press can play the role Sen attributes to the free press. I then argue that decent societies could and should accommodate such partially free presses.
70. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Kate Padgett Walsh Consent, Kant, and the Ethics of Debt
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The 2008 housing and financial crisis brought to light many ethically questionable lending and borrowing practices. As we learn more about what caused this crisis, it has become apparent that we need to think more carefully about the conditions under which can loans be ethically offered and accepted, but also about when it might be morally permissible to default on debts. I critique two distinct philosophical approaches to assessing the ethics of debt, arguing that bothapproaches are too simplistic because they focus only on individual borrowers and lenders. As a result, neither approach can adequately grasp the moral implications of the social and economic failures that frame actual dilemmas of debt facing many individuals today.
71. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Wendell O'Brien The Permissibility of Happiness in a World of Suffering
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There is a rather disturbing argument that it is wrong for us ever to smile and be glad, in light of our knowledge of horrors happening everywhere all the time. The paper's primary aim is to respond to the challenge this argument presents and to see what can be said for being happy in spite of it. Drawing from the works of Tolstoy, Joseph Butler, and others, the author develops two or three lines of response to the argument against happiness. One line of response makes heavy use of what human nature is like and what some of our limitations are. The second line of response considers the consequences of the fact that we naturallycease to be moved by things we are used to. The third line explores the idea that it is justifiable to be happy in the midst of suffering if you yourself are sufferingtoo. The author believes that these lines of argument may answer to some degree the argument against happiness.
72. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
Caroline Meline Human and Animal Minds: Against the Discontinuity Thesis
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Are animals and humans different in kind or only different in degree when it comes to the mental springs of behavior? The source of this question is Charles Darwin's 1871 The Descent of Man, in which he argued for a difference in degree between animals and humans in mental abilities, rather than a difference in kind. Darwin's opponents in the ensuing debate were theologians and scientific traditionalists who insisted upon human specialness when it came to the mind,even if evolution held sway for explaining the body. In this paper I take up the same question, which has not gone away. Representing the continuity (differencein degree) thesis is Donald R. Griffin, a zoologist who founded the field of cognitive ethology in the 1980s, and voicing the discontinuity (difference in kind) thesis is Raymond Tallis, a neuroscientist and self-described humanist. Tallis's apparent mission is to protect human dignity from the onslaught of writing and research by evolutionary psychologists and sociobiologists, who claim to be demonstrating the evolutionary basis for all human mental capabilities, including higher reasoning and ethics. To raise humans up, Tallis lowers animals down, making disparaging remarks like, "Chimps are chumps." I defend the chimps by finding serious flaws in Tallis's reasoning. Tallis locates the crux ofthe cognitive difference between humans and nonhumans in the linguistic concept of intentionality. I present and counter his charge of a difference in kind by relying on empirical evidence provided by Griffin and others, and on my logical analysis of Tallis's claims. The paper has 3 sections: (1) introduction, (2) first point of argument, (3) second point of argument, and (4) concluding note.
73. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 2
David Alexander Craig From Philosophy of Race to Antiracist Politics: On Rorty's Approach to Race and Racism
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Shannon Sullivan has criticized Richard Rorty for the discrepancy in his treatments of Cornel West and Marilyn Frye's prophetic philosophies, which Sullivan reads to indicate a racial bias on Rorty's part. This article defends Rorty from this criticism, first clarifying his view of the discontinuous relation of philosophy to politics, then, on the basis of this clarification, arguing that Rorty's different treatments of West and Frye do not reveal a racial bias as Sullivan claims. Finally, revisiting Rorty's exchange with Nancy Fraser, it is argued that although Rorty has no philosophy of race, he does offer a strong antiracist politics.
74. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
David K. Chan Luck, Fairness, and Professional Mobility
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I compare the distribution of jobs and research opportunities in academic philosophy with how American society distributes economic rewards. In both cases, there is gross inequality and lack of upward mobility. Luck always plays a role in hiring decisions and the acceptance of papers by journals, but the entrenchment of luck has led to elitism which is unhealthy for the profession of philosophy, just as it is for the capitalist economy. I suggest some revolutionary steps to bridge the gap between the two tiers of philosophers.
75. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Chris Nagel College Faculty Professionalism: Ethical Responsibility And Precarious Work
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Discussions of college faculty professionalism most often address the ethical responsibilities or failures of "professors." Yet the majority of college faculty are not "professors," and work in conditions that preclude or prevent acting in accordance with high-minded statements like the AAUP's Statement on Professional Ethics, In addition, ignorance of the actual working conditions of both tenure-track and tenuous-track faculty has induced a crisis of ethical responsibility for all college faculty. Because official statements about college faculty professionalism neglect the reality of college faculty work, the ethical responsibility of faculty requires a new basis.
76. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Robert Paul Churchill The Ethics of Teaching and The Emergence of MOOCs: Should Philosophers Support the MOOC?
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MOOCS, or massive, online, and open courses aheady have made a major impact on college education. They are touted as a means of developing the best educational products most efficiently and to the widest possible audiences. Of several reasons for concern about MOOCs, however, one briefly considered here isthe contribution MOOCs might make to the decline of the professoriate. The major issue I discuss pertains to the way we ought to understand the ethics of teaching. While promoters of MOOCs believe that the process of teaching can be separated from its content, or product, I dispute this claim. Followmg Alasdair Maclntyre, I argue for an ethics of teaching that includes an ethics of aspiration as well as the virtues. On the model of ethical teachuig thus presented, process cannot be separated from product, and MOOCs seriously interfere with the ethical objectives we seek to attain with our students.
77. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Robert Metcalf Living with the Matter Itself: The Practice of Philosophy Reexamined
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The disorientation experienced by those new to philosophy attests to the fact that philosophy is, essentially, a self-transformative focal practice requiring long training and renewed commitment, and this has implications for how we think about the use of technology in teaching philosophy. By examing Plato's famous critique of writing in his Phaedrus, Statesman, and Seventh Letter, we find that his account of philosophy as an epitēdeuma, or "focal practice," demonstrates why teaching philosophy is not a matter of "content-delivery," but rather a process of reorienting the student toward the subject matter of philosophy. The implications of this for the debate over online instructional formats in higher education are then explored in some detail.
78. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Charles W. Harvey Heidegger within the Technium: Re-viewing The Question Concerning Technology after Kevin Kelly What Technology Wants
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In this essay I note some surprisingly deep parallels between the accounts of technology offered by Martin Heidegger and by Kevin Kelly. While Heidegger's insight is panoramic and almost prophetic, and grounded in his reading of the history of philosophy, Kelly's account is grounded in empirical and historical data, driven by a naturalistic and scientific understanding of our world. The similarities between these two authors are surprising in light of their different methodological frameworks and theu antithetical attitudes about the benefits and dangers of technology. After setting them in conversation, I ask: "Who has the correct methodological approach and evaluative attitude toward technology"? With some hesitation, I side with Kelly's more hopeful outlook.
79. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Jack Weir Finding Agreement Among Environmentalists
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This article attempts to find grounds for agreement and tolerance among environmentalists, as well as all persons of good will who are reasonable and scientifically informed. It beguis by taking stock of where we are today in ethics in general, and then hi environmental ethics in particular. What are the major theories, their central ideas, and problems? Is there a way forward? Explained and defended throughout is the thesis that moral pluralism is the best way forward.
80. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 21 > Issue: 1
Joe Frank Jones, III Analysis, Phenomenology and the Travails of Ontology
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This essay suggests loosening pedagogical boundaries in order to prepare children for useful philosophical reflection, particularly ontological boundaries. The argument for this is that the analytic-contmental distinction is muddier than most realize. I explain analytical developments in logic from 1884 to 1931 in a way designed to show there should be no real distinction between analytic and Contmental philosophy. I suggest this explanation provides sufficient support for dismissing ontological boundaries in certain philosophical contexts as well as in early philosophical education.