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21. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 24
David Macarthur Hilary Putnam: Quantum Philosopher
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. 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.
26. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Guillermo Hurtado The Dialogue as an Adventure
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How can believers and unbelievers engage in a fruitful dialogue? In order to answer this question from a postsecular position, it is claimed that a profound dialogue between believers and unbelievers requires them to go beyond openness and reach adventurousness.
27. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 24
Naomi Zack Starting from Injustice: Justice, Applicative Justice, and Injustice Theory
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Political philosophers have traditionally focused on justice and regarded equality as an ideal despite its lack of factual support; normative universal human equality is a new, twentieth-century regulative moral construct. The theoretical focus on justice overlooks what most people care about in reality—injustice. In modern democratic society, formal or legal equality now co-exists with real inequality. One reason is that justice is not applied to all groups in society and applicative justice––applying justice to those who don’t now receive it––is a remedy. But injustice theory also includes other forms of injustice such as legal, humanitarian, and injustice without blame or responsibility.
28. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Elizabeth Anderson, Tadhg Larabee, Nicholas Brown Elizabeth Anderson Interview for The Harvard Review of Philosophy
29. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Tommie Shelby Thinking about Race, Responding to Racial Inequality
30. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Richard P. Wang Introduction
31. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Paul C. Taylor The Influence of Dewey on Race Theory
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I once planned to write an essay detailing the advantages of a Deweyan approach to philosophical race theory. This essay would have developed my views in a way that highlighted their distinctly Deweyan resonances and debts. A recent essay by Ron Mallon gave me the opportunity to set this plan in motion, as Mallon’s reflections on social constructionism seemed likely to benefit from Deweyan insights. Unfortunately, or fortunately, setting to work on the project led to the distressing but edifying realization that this plan carried with it certain risks, risks made particularly dire by the race-theoretic context. “The Influence of Dewey on Race Theory” will credit this background with an argument that unfolds in two intertwined registers. It will interrogate (and resist) the impulse to work through Dewey, and it will use the lessons from this exercise—lessons, broadly, about parochialism and politics—as resources for critically engaging Mallon’s argument.
32. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Lawrence Blum Reflections on Brown vs. Board of Education and School Integration Today
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The Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1954 mandated school integration. The decision also to recognize that inequalities outside the schools, of both a class- and race-based nature, prevent equality in education. Today, the most prominent argument for integration is that disadvantaged students benefit from the financial, social, and cultural “capital” of middle class families when the children attend the same schools. This argument fails to recognize that disadvantaged students contribute to advantaged students’ educational growth, and sends demeaning messages to the disadvantaged students and messages of unwarranted superiority to the advantaged. Parents, teachers, and schools can adopt a justice perspective that avoids these deleterious aspects of the capital argument, and helps create a community of equals inside the integrated school. Struggles for educational justice must remain closely linked with struggles of both a class- and race-based nature for other forms of justice in the wider society.
33. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Frank J. Costa The Restorative Proportionality Theory: A New Approach to Affirmative Action
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This article offers a normative framework for affirmative action. It argues that affirmative action is not about diversity, but correcting historical injustice. The theory’s presumption is that racial groups would perform equally if not for history, because talent and hard work do not vary by race. The article explores the implications of that premise in answering the most provocative criticisms of affirmative action. Should white students pay for historical wrongs? Should African immigrants benefit from affirmative action? Are Asian Americans unfairly disadvantaged? The article proposes proportional representation as a limiting principle of affirmative action, because preferential treatment beyond proportionality contradicts the theory’s presumption of equal performance. The article proceeds to argue that some groups, like Asian Americans, rebut the presumption by fairly outperforming others and should not be penalized. Finally, the article argues that groups should not be classified on race per se, rather on a shared experience of injustice.
34. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 26
Naomi Zack Intersection Theory as Progressive: Philosophy of Race, Feminism, and Antisemitism
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Many are already familiar with the idea of intersectionality. Intersection Theory can be conceived as encompassing other progressive theories, such as Philosophy of Race and Feminism. In Philosophy of Race, the ultimate explanatory concept is race; in Feminism, the ultimate explanatory term is gender. This discrepancy has given rise to Black Feminism. Intersection Theory can also be contextualized and expanded to include more detailed intersections when there is inequality within intersected groups. But, intersectionality does not yet address unpredictable violence, either against blacks or normally advantaged groups, such as United States Jews. For such cases, it is useful to posit a new intersectional factor of regressive violence, to account for counter-revolutionary response to decades of progress for minorities. Overall, the flexibility of Intersection Theory allows for creative analysis. However, not all intersections yield politically viable identities and those that would might require governmental recognition of group rights.
35. 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.
36. 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.”
37. 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.
38. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Hubert Dreyfus Existential Phenomenology and the Brave New World of The Matrix
39. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Philippa Foot The Grammar of Goodness
40. The Harvard Review of Philosophy: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Julian Barbour The Deep and Suggestive Principles of Leibnizian Philosophy