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101. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Eric Palmer The Balance of Sovereignty and Common Goods Under Economic Globalization
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Common goods and political sovereignty of nation-states are intertwined, since without government the orderly treatment of common goods would be unlikely. But large corporations, especially global multinationals, reshape and restrict national sovereignty through economic forces. Consequently, corporations have specific social responsibilities. This article articulates those responsibilities as they pertain to managing common goods.
102. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Lawrence Lengbeyer Altering Artworks: Creators’ Moral Rights vs. The Public Good
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The grounds for recognizing that artists possess a personal “moral right of integrity” that would entitle them to prevent others from modifying their works are weak. There is, however, an important (and legislation-worthy) public interest in protecting highly-valued entities, including at least some works of art, from permanently destructive transformations.
103. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 12 > Issue: 2
Julie van Camp The Unbearable Erosion of Common Goods: Copyright Extension and Eldred V. Ashcroft
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I identify issues of philosophical concern in Eldred v. Ashcroft, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on copyright extension, and encourage the participation of philosophers in these public policy debates. Philosophers have contributions to make to the dialogue not captured exclusively by the technical and often narrow legal debate in the courts.
104. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Janet Donohoe Rushing to Memorialize
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In the wake of the current rush to memorialize tragic events such as the World Trade Center attack of 2001, this article explores thefunction and role of monuments and memorials in the production of places for collective memory, communal mourning, and the preservation of the past. It argues that the rush to memorialize indicates a desire to control the way that an event is understood in bothcontemporary and future times and ultimately limits the effectiveness of memorials. Finally, drawing upon Heidegger, Derrida and Nietzsche, this article addresses the characteristics necessary for a memorial to be open to the complexities of human existence and how we can approach memorials to preserve such openness.
105. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Charles Harvey Reflective and Reflexive Selfhood: On the Sociology of the Self in High Modernity
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This essay briefly explicates, criticizes and supplements the work of two sociologists of “postmodern” society, Ulrich Beck and AnthonyGiddens, as their work develops and relates to the ideas of reflexivity and reflectivity with special regards to the self. Each of these writers bases some significant portion of his work on the idea of the inescapable “reflexivity” of contemporary life for both persons and institutions. For each author, the phenomenon of reflexivity has both positive and negative implications that relate to the traditionalenlightenment ideal of self-fashioning, autonomous selfhood; in each, the enlightenment ideal of reflectively grounded selfhood is existentially embedded in everyday reflexivity but it is simultaneously thinned and divested of many of its formerly most valued traits. This essay explores the nature of reflexivity in late modernity especially as it relates to the modernist ideal of deliberative rationality (reflectivity) and attempts to show that the latter is still necessary to complement the former and, indeed, how it is still possibIe for it to do so. I also try to show in what ways both the fact and the ideal of deliberative rationality lives on in what Giddens calls “post-traditional society” and sociological thought.
106. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
M. Andrew Holowchak Liberal Individualism, Autonomy, and the Great Divide
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Liberal individualism, in its atomic sense, asserts that people are autonomous and self-contained individuals, whose rights are prior to and independent of any conception of the good. It champions individual rights and toleration for different conceptions of the good life, and essays to secure justice for all in equal measure.In prioritizing right over good, liberal individualism demands that the state have a stance of strict neutrality concerning any particular conception of the good. It privileges political analysis, in that no conception of what is good must interfere with the fundamental rights, unconditionally guaranteed, of each individual. Consequently, it is essentially atomic ideal, and this atomism, whether metaphysical ormethodological, effects a separation of persons and institutions. This I call the “Great Divide”.In what follows, I argue that the liberal separation of persons from institutions is a disintegrative political and ethical ideal in personal, social, and ethical senses.
107. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
David K. Chan How War Affects People: Lessons from Euripides
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What do philosophers have to say about war beyond appeal to the just war doctrine? I suggest that they should concern themselves with the harmful consequences of war for the people who experience it. The ancient Greek tragedian Euripides was a moral philosopher of his time who wrote the plays Hecuba and The Trojan Women from the perspective of the losers in the Trojan War. There are striking parallels to the U.S. war in Iraq that began in 2003. Lessons that can be learned from Euripides include how good people learn to hate, how aggression has its own logic of necessary brutality, how each side is unable to recognize how much they are like their enemies, how the desire to end a war quickly disregards the cost to civilians, and how irrational the fear of the enemy can be.
108. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
P. Eddy Wilson Regulative Control and the Subjectivist’s View of Moral Responsibility
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In this essay I focus upon John Martin Fischer’s notion of taking on responsibility. In his view moral actors must acquire a proper self-understanding to take on moral responsibility. I question whether Fischer steps out of his role as a subjectivist, when he maintains that having only guidance control is a necessary condition for moral responsibility. I suggest that subjectivists are committed to the notion that taking on responsibility includes the acquisition of a proper phenomenology of freedom. I compare actors who have not acquired a sense of regulative control to actors whom Fischer identifies as nonresponsible actors.
109. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Patricia Trentacoste The Role of Aesthetic Competence for Moral Discernment
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The inclination to wrongfully harm others in the name of morality is a paradoxical behavior associated with much human misery, from suicide bombings to civil liberty violations. In this paper I argue that aesthetic competence plays a remedial role for moral self-deception. Consequently, aesthetic competence ought to be added to curriculum objectives for moral education and characterdevelopment. Since artists are by definition aesthetically astute perceivers and since their works are fairly accessible, both ought to be consulted, not for the casuistry they provide, but for their aesthetic insights and practices. Furthermore, because the arts offer efficient and pleasing means of acquiring aesthetic competence, their pedagogical value goes beyond showing us what morally charged scenarios might look like. At times they go as far as evoking moral epiphanies in which the extent andfolly of our own moral hubris become suddenly undeniable.
110. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Stephen R. Brown Naturalized Virtue Ethics and Same-Sex Love
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There are certain traits that make us good human beings by enabling us to realize our natural ends. From the perspective of such a naturalized virtue ethics, there is nothing obviously unethical or imprudent about the capacity for same-sex love. Moreover, given the resources of this theory, such questions are empirical ones. If the capacity for same-sex love is a trait the possession of which makes one a good human being, then the just state will promote and encourage it, or at least not stand in its way. It can do so by allowing same-sex marriage.
111. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey Sebo The Ethics of Incest
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In this article I challenge two common arguments against incest: the genetics argument (that incest is immoral because it might lead to the conception of a genetically deformed child), and the family argument (that incest is immoral because it undermines the family, the emotional center for the individual). These arguments, I contend, commit us to condemning not only incest, but also a wide range ofbehaviors that we currently permit. I thus present the reader with a dilemma: on pain of inconsistency, we must either accept certain forms of incest in order to maintain these other moral judgments, or reject these judgments in order to maintain our condemnation ofincest. The reader is free to decide which alternative is preferable, but I suggest that the former is a much less radical shift in our moral system as a whole.
112. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Don Fawkes Toward Understanding Reasoned Resolution of Disagreement
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People disagree. Along with doubt, modesty and curiosity, disagreement is one of the most valuable assets reasoning beings can have. Disagreements give us alternatives. Sometimes we need to decide among alternatives. This paper is for such times; it addresses the development of a rational model for the resolution of disagreement. The goal is to reach rational agreement, or to reach the stage at which disagreement can be clearly described and turned over to rational consensus theories. A rarely noticed problem with all such rational consensus models is that they do not provide for generating either rational agreement or clearly described disagreement before turning to procedures designed to produce consensus. One purpose of this paper is to close that gap.
113. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Keya Maitra Comparing the Bhagavad-Gita and Kant: A Lesson in Comparative Philosophy
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This paper examines the often-mentioned similarity in comparative moral philosophy between the Hindu Text Bhagavad-Gita’s notion of duty and Kant’s notion of duty. It is commonly argued that they are similar in their deontological nature where one is asked to perform one’s duty for the sake of duty only. I consider three related questions from Gita’s and Kant’s perspectives. First, What is the source of our duties: Self or Nature; second, How do we know that an act x is our duty, and third, What would be an acceptable example of a duty. In all these three cases I show that their respective answers diverge quite clearly and conclude by arguing that the reason for this divergence lies in their respective contexts: while the ideal of Kantian morality is to become a member of the ‘kingdom of ends’, the aims of the Gita’s system of duties are the sustenance of the social order and the realization of one’s identity with the Supreme Self.
114. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 1
Robert Lovering The Virtues of Hunting: A Reply to Jensen
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In this paper, I attempt to demonstrate that environmental virtue ethics (EVE) fails to provide sufficient justification for the hunting of nonhuman animals. In order to do this, I examine an EVE justification for the hunting of nonhuman animals and argue that it gives rise to the following dilemma: either EVE justifies the hunting of both human and nonhuman animals, or it justifies the hunting of neither. I then submit that the first lemma ought to be rejected as absurd and, thus, that the second lemma ought to be embraced
115. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Kathleen Poorman Dougherty The Socratic Elenchus and Moral Reflection
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Much recent attention has been paid to the Socratic elenchus, with considerable focus given to the structure of the elenchus and its desired benefits for both Socrates and his interlocutors. In this paper I focus on one of these benefits, namely the fostering of self-knowledge. I provide an examination of Socrates’ theory of self-knowledge and the way it is to be fostered through elenctic examination with an eye toward gaining afuller understanding of the foundations of our contemporary views. Though many commentators routinely dismiss the Socratic view as overly intellectual, I maintain that “knowing what we know and don’t know” remains an important component of self-knowledge, even if it needs to be supplemented by an understanding of our more general psychological traits and capacities. Additionally, I argue that the Socratic focus on self-examination as a means to gaining self-knowledge remains a timely and important moral task.
116. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Scott F. Aiken, Mark Anderson Argumentative Norms in Republic I
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We argue that there are three norms of critical discussion in stark relief in Republic I. The first we see in the exchange with Cephalus---that we interpret each other and contribute to discussions in a maximally argumentative fashion. The second we seein the exchange with Polemarchus---that in order to cooperate in dialectic, interlocutors must maintain a distance between themselves and the theses they espouse. This way they can subject the views to serious scrutiny without the risk of personal loss. Third, and finally, from Socrates’ exchange with Thrasymachus, it is clear that uncooperative discussants must be handled in a fashion that reinforces the goals of dialectic. So Thrasymachus is refuted and silenced not just for the sake of correcting his definition of justice, but also for the sake of those listening.
117. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Norman Fischer Fathers and Sons: On Piety and Humanity
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In the Apology of Socrates, Socrates is accused of corrupting the youth. Socrates accounts for this charge by saying that the young of Athens imitate him in revealing the ignorance of their elders. Philosophy is inherently, it seems, emancipatory, since it does not take any traditional opinion as per se authoritative. In this way, it seems that philosophy is essentially opposed to piety. In this essay, I willsuggest that the last few pages of Euthyphro indicate a conception of piety that is both consistent with philosophy in the Socratic sense as well as helpful in helping us understand more precisely the nature of philosophy’s emancipatory gesture.
118. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Susan Schoenbohm The Meaning of Politeia: Dikaiosunê as the Telos of Technê
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The aim of this essay is to revise the meaning of politics today in light of the full range of meanings of the ancient Greek word politeia. In Plato’s Republic (Politeia), we see a careful intenveaving of this range of meanings as Socrates’ discusses the means and ends of justice. Socrates elaborates a basic meaning of justice: the well-functioning coordination of peoples’ various skills (technai). Enacting justice in this sense enables people to meet their needs. In addition, Socrates points to a further political aim that justice in this basic sense should serve, one that first qualifies enacting justice to be an end in itself rather than only a technical means to afurther end beyond it. In this essay, I explore especially the importance of this additional aim in relation to the first.
119. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Robert Metcalf Editor’s Introduction to the Special Issue on Ancient Philosophy
120. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Matthew S. Linck The Harmony of Plato and Aristotle
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The pervasive tendency to characterize Plato and Aristotle as philosophers who are fundamentally in opposition blocks an adequate contemporary reception of their writings. This tendency results in superficial presentations of the philosophical concerns of both thinkers and obscures the historical affinity between their global projects. This article provides an example of a reading that respects the accord between Plato and Aristotle on one crucial issue: the foundation of a good life. With respect to Plato’s Republic, I demonstrate that the harmonization of the soul is the principal goal guiding the construction of the city in speech. Following this brief reading of the Republic, I turn to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and argue that once one understands the parameters of the inquiry, one can see that the programmatic foundation hinges on the possibility of harmonizing the multifarious capacities and faculties of the soul. In the final section of the article I suggest that this harmonic reading of Plato and Aristotle has implications for the teaching of philosophical texts generally.