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201. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
John Dowd Toward an Ethics of Education
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This paper utilizes Foucault to offer a preliminary sketch and critique of an instrumentalist mentalite within higher education. Part one tackles some of the socio-historical issues pertaining to American universities. Here, I address questions of liberal learning and offer them as important distinctions from more narrow, curriculum-based focuses on skill-sets and workforce training. Part two provides an ethical foundation for the study of colleges and universities. Both instrumental and ethical perspectives on education are considered. Instmmental approaches appear within the discourse of education as training. Altematively, ethical approaches emerge within the discourse of education as a process of self-cultivation or care of self I tum to Foucault's notion of spirituality and argue that education is a means by which we constitute ourselves and become capable of operating within fields of ethical action.
202. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Daniel Burston Authority, Effectiveness and Teaching In the Postmodern University: A Frommian Perspective
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The decline of the Liberal Arts in the 21st century is rooted in late 20th century trends, including grade inflation, the decline of rational authority, the rise of anonymous authority, and consumerism, which abets the tendency to elevate the pursuit of students' "self-esteem" above scholarly rigor. While the Left and the Right are apt to blame their ideological opponents, both share some responsibility for this state of affairs, which can only be remedied if they own up to their own erroneous oversights, and agree to work together.
203. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Charles Tedder The Liberal Arts and Commensurability
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This essay explores the future of the liberal arts by investigating the visions of the future assumed respectively in the institutions of specialized and general education. The core dichotomy is between the specialized, which is instrumentality useful for a closed future, against the general, which is inherently valuable for an open future. The author doubts that educators can prioritize, in a single pedagogy, both inspiring people to freedom (liberal education) and preparing people to fit into an economic or academic niche (professional education). This frames a critique of LEAP'S rationale for higher education, although the value of particular classroom practices therein is affirmed. With reference to Freire and Seery, the essay proposes that theory per se presents the best mode for teaching toward an open future. The value of such teaching would be "potential," neither usable nor exchangeable, instrumental nor inherent.
204. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Jeremiah Conway The Liberal Arts and Contemporary Culture
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This paper argues that the future of the liberal arts will be decided by how they engage or fail to engage broad cultural dynamics that threaten to diminish them. It focuses on three areas of concern: the cultural predominance of science and technology in the modem world, the widespread failure to address the moral cultivation of the young, and the leveling effects of mass society on individual lives. In each case, it recommends actions that, if undertaken, would combat the growing cultural isolation of these arts.
205. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Joseph Campisi Feast and Famine: The Technology of Fast Food
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Philosophical analyses of fast food have been relatively nonexistent. One of the only philosophers who provides a theoretical analysis of fast food is Douglas Kellner, who maintains that fast food is "dehumanizing." The most prominent scholarly or academic treatment of fast food is that of the sociologist George Ritzer, who advances the "McDonaldization" thesis, while claiming that fast food is "dehumanizing." Neither Kellner nor Ritzer offer a sustained analysis in defense of this claim. This paper will attempt to provide such an analysis, making use of the theory of technology put forth by Albert Borgmann. Fast food, it will be argued, is best understood as a "device" in Borgmann's sense. For Borgmann, devices lead to a "disconnected, disembodied, and disoriented sort of life." This aspect of fast food helps explain the reaction against it that we find in the work of Kellner and Ritzer.
206. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Sonya Charles On the Immorality of Lying to Children About Their Origins
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Using the moral work on trust and lying, I argue that allowing or encouraging children to believe you are their biological parent when you are not is a breach of trust in the parent-child relationship. While other approaches focus on specific harms or the rights of the child, I make a virtue theory argument based on our understanding of trust, lies, and the nature of the parent-child relationship. Drawing heavily on Nancy Potter's virtue theory of trustworthiness, I consider the nature of trust in the parent-child relationship and what this means for being a trustworthy parent.
207. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
José Jorge Mendoza Does "Sí Se Puede" Translate To "Yes We Can"?
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Philosophers of the American tradition should be more proactive in their inclusion of Latino/a thinkers, even when the work of these thinkers does not directly connect back to classical tradition of American philosophy. This argument has two mterrelated parts. First, if the American philosophical tradition is committed to a social and political philosophy that begins from "lived-experience," then one area it has largely overlooked is the Latino/a experience. Second, if the contributions of the Latino/a community go unrecognized as a part of the American tradition, then the American philosophical tradition is tacitly assenting to what Chavez calls the "Latino Threat Narrative." The Latino Threat Narrative puts forth a view of the Latino/a community as inherently anti-American, not to be celebrated, and to be avoided as a perpetual threat. Following Chávez, I argue that the American philosophical tradition should place more effort in the construction of the Latino/a Contribution Narrative.
208. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Christian Matheis U.S. American Border Crossings: Immigrants, Poverty and Suzanne Pharr's 'Myth of Scarcity'
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Contemporary analyses of unmigration cannot accurately portray the realities of border crossing without paying attention to poverty as a common sense concern for citizens, just as the act of border crossmg must be understood from the perspective of people who face real decisions about crossing borders. Through a feminist analysis of common sense conceptions of poverty, this essay exposes the act of border crossing as conceived in the minds of those facing actual life and death situations. Situating this analysis primarily within U.S. American discourse, perhaps those best suited to explain the role that poverty plays are conmiunity organizers, public intellectuals and activists who unport notions of border crossings from theh experiences with impoverished communities in order to develop rich theoretical descriptions of border crossing. To that end, the essay considers the writing of Jane Addams, W.E.B. Du Bois, Suzanne Pharr and similar American thinkers.
209. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Eric Brown Control, Risk, and the Role of Luck in Moral Responsibility
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Questions about the role of luck in attributions of moral responsibility have troubled theorists for some time. In this paper I will explicate a position that acknowledges luck as a contributing factor to most, if not all, outcomes and consequences while denying luck the exculpatory role that some theorists contend it plays. I begin by going through the characterization of two perspectives on luck offered by Susan Wolf. From there I outline two necessary conditions for the legitimate attribution of praise or blame. The first condition is that of Control. The second condition is the agent's creation of "undue risk". I revisit Wolfs two perspectives and break down the relationship between the necessary conditions and each perspective. I contend that a legitimate theory of moral responsibility must allow for factors outside of an agent's control when attempting to attribute praise or blame. Luck can be seen as one of these factors and it should not be seen as playing an exculpatory role.
210. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 18 > Issue: 2
Jeffrey P. Fry On the Supposed Duty to Try One's Hardest in Sports
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It is a common refrain in sports discourse that one should try one's hardest in sports, or some other variation on this theme. In this paper I argue that there is no generalized duty to try one's hardest in sports, and that the claim that one should do so is ambiguous. Although a number of factors point in the direction of my conclusion, particularly salient is the claim that, in the end, the putative requirement is too stringent for creatures like human beings. The putative duty to try one's hardest in sports does not comport with psychological realism. That being said, there are contexts in which it is reasonable to expect athletes to try hard. Perhaps there is even a duty to put forth such effort. Even so, this obligation does not rise to the level of a generalized duty to try one's hardest in sports.
211. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Robert Baird Achieving the Self
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Self-identity, in the sense of who one now is or who one may become, is widely recognized as a matter of both discovery and creativity. This understanding of self-identity is reflected in the often repeated admonition of Friedrich Nietzsche to become who one is. Against the background of a brief discussion of Nietzsche's admonition, two claims are advance. First, noting the role others play in our becommg who we are helps explicate the notion that self-identity involves both discovery and creativity. Second, emphasizing that self formation involves both discovery and creativity illummates several moral dimensions of the unfolding drama, perhaps the most important of which is the importance of creating a self which makes ongoing recreations of the self possible.
212. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Geoffrey F. Scarre Privacy and the Dead
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The privacy of the dead might be thought to be violated by, for instance, the disinterment for research purposes of human physical remains or the posthumous revelation of embarrassing facts about people's private lives. But are there any moral rights to privacy which extend beyond the grave? Although this notion can be challenged on the ground that death marks the end of the personal subject, with the consequent extinction of her interests, I argue that a right to privacy belongs to deceased persons in virtue of their moral status while alive and reflects their interest in the preservation of their dignity. The paper investigates what prima-facie privacy rights and interests may plausibly be ascribed to the dead and why these need to be taken seriously by those, such as archaeologists or biographers, who have "dealings with the dead."
213. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Tony Lynch, A.R.J. Fisher Pure Hypocrisy
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We argue that two mam accounts of hypocrisy— the deception-based and the moral-non-seriousness-based account—fail to capture a specific kind of hypocrite who is morally serious and sincere "all the way down." The kind of hypocrisy exemplified by this hypocrite is irreducible to deception, self-deception or a lack of moral seriousness. We call this elusive and peculiar kind of hypocrisy, pure hypocrisy. We articulate the characteristics of pure hypocrisy and describe the moral psychology of two kinds of pure hypocrites.
214. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Michael Falgoust Derivative Works, Original Value
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Many arguments offered by the free culture movement emphasize the ways in which new works rely on works, which have gone before, the discoveries and data of other scientists, and a general stock of common knowledge. An exammation of the ways in which old works mform new works will show that drawmg on previous works is a necessary and inevitable part of the act of creation. Despite the negative connotations surrounding the label "derivative," all works are, in an important sense, derivative, and must be so in order to be recognized as novel and creative. As such, there should be greater freedom in the creation and circulation of derivative works. Under the current intellectual property regime, the creation of derivative works can be controlled at the discretion of the author. Therefore, any system of intellectual property rights must preserve the ability of creators to draw on previous works, including the ability to employ significant elements of protected works in their own creations.
215. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Robert William Fischer Why Incest is Usually Wrong
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I contend that there are strong moral reasons for most adult family members to avoid having sex with one another; indeed, I argue that even among consenting adults, incestuous sex is usually wrong. The argument is simple. Absent compelling reasons, it's wrong to take a significant risk with something that's extremely valuable. But having sex with a family member takes a significant risk with something extremely valuable—namely, a family relationship. And since compelling reasons for taking such a risk are very hard to come by, it follows that incest is usually wrong.
216. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
C. Heike Schotten Reading Nietzsche in the Wake Of the 2008-09 War on Gaza
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This paper argues for a psychological understanding of Nietzsche's categories of master and slave morality. Disentangling Nietzsche's parallel discourses of strength, superiority, and spirituality in the first essay of On the Genealogy of Morals, I argue that master and slave morality are better understood as ethical practices of the self than surrogates for either a binary classification of strength and weakness or a political demarcation of oppressor and oppressed. In doing so, I offer an application of this analysis to the horrific violence visited upon the Gaza Strip by Israel in its 2008-09 military assault.
217. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Andrew Fiala Just War Ethics and the Slippery Slope of Militarism
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Considerations of the ethics of war should more carefully attend to the material conditions of war and the pressures of militarism. To understand contemporary warfare, and the failure of just war theory to restrain war in some cases, we must consider how the military-industrial complex influences war-making. Militarism and the profit to be made in warfare create a slippery slope of sorts which can incline us to fight wars that are unjust.
218. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
David K. Chan Editor's Introduction: War, Peace, and Ethics
219. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Shannon E. French No Separate Sphere: Assessing Character and Morality in the Context of War
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This paper addresses the concern that despite centuries of analysis of jus ad helium and jus in hello, the pernicious view persists that war is a separate and amoral sphere: "C'est la guerre!" In fact, there are and must be rules for armed conflicts, and foul offenses such as rape and murder are not excused by war. What individuals do beyond the bounds of jus in hello reveals and affects their character as much as actions taken in more peaceful contexts. Traditional martial virtues such as loyalty and discipline, if they are not undermined by mixed signals from leadership or corrupted by an unethical command climate, can be used to bolster the warrior's commitment to exercising restraint in wartime. These virtues remain accessible to the warrior even when dehumanization of the enemy dampens the mind's capacity for empathy and produces moral callousness.
220. Philosophy in the Contemporary World: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
David J. Garren The Curious Case of Combatant Culpability
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Are soldiers to blame for the wars in which they fight? If a war is unjust or illegal, do soldiers bear any responsibility? The traditional, and still dominant, view both in morality and law is that soldiers do not bear responsibility and therefore are not to blame for the wars in which they fight, no matter how unjust or illegal they may be because: a) soldiers are incapable of knowing whether the wars in which they fight are unjust or illegal; and b) even if they are capable of knowing, have no choice but to fight them anyway. Soldiers, in other words, are excused for their participation in unjust and illegal wars by what amounts to reasons of insanity (lack of mental responsibility) and duress (obedience to orders). In this article, I explore whether they should be, especially since soldiers are considered to be responsible and therefore blameworthy for what they do (or fail to do) in war and rarely, if ever, excused by reasons of insanity or duress.