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81. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
William C. Pamerleau Ethical Uncertainty, Nietzschean Freedom, and the Continuing Need for an Existential Perspective
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Both existentialists and ethicists have made much of the concept of freedom. While these two camps make very different use of the concept, the relationship between the two is important: the nature and limits of freedom have an important bearing on moral responsibility, while the moral obligations to promote the development of freedom require that we understand just how free thinking is possible. In this paper, I will make some general observations about the prevailing trends in moral thought, both theoretically and culturally. I argue that now as much as in the past, existentialist descriptions of how freedom is experienced are a crucial complement to theoretical work on morality. Specifically, I argue that the uncertainty of our moral horizons and suspicions of the degree to which we are really free makes Nietzsche’s view of freedom a good fit for the ethical work that faces us in the twenty-first century.
82. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
Noel E. Boulting Science as a Paradigm in the Formation of Socio-Ethical Judgments
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Whether science can be regarded as value-neutral remains a contestable issue. Much of that debate is confused because it is not made clear exactly what the term science is meant to include. Three conceptions can be delineated: the iconic, the indexical, and the interpretative. The iconic employs a wide usage of the term science to include any process of inquiry. The indexical refers to the way the outcomes of inquiry can be made subject to testing and criticism. The interpretative conception, growing out of the iconic, emphasizes the methodology of science, marking it off from other forms of inquiry. These three conceptions of science—delineated in the writings of Charles Peirce—have haunted debates in the philosophy of science during the twentieth century. But whichever conception is adopted, none of these three can offer a satisfactory account of the way in which socio-ethical judgments come to be formed for their application in everyday life.
83. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
Haim Gordon, Rivca Gordon Heidegger's Understanding Of Truth And The Situation In The Gaza Strip
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This paper suggests that one of the reasons for the lack of understanding of what is happening in the Gaza Strip is our current understanding of truth. This understanding of truth, which has prevailed for 2500 years, holds that truth is the accordance of a statement with facts. Together with our recording some of the abuses of human rights in the Gaza Strip, which have all but been ignored, the paper suggests that Martin Heidegger’s understanding of truth as “aletheia,” as unconcealment, may lead to a better knowledge of what is truly occurring in the Gaza Strip.
84. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
Jordy Rocheleau Communications Theory and the Future of Ideology Critique: Problems in the Normative and Explanatory Foundations of Critical Social Theory
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Though the concept of ideology appears central to the explanation of the perseverance of systematic domination, the coherence and viability of the concepthave been repeatedly questioned. The status of the concept of ideology in critical theory has become one of simultaneous dependence and suspicion. While Habermas has been reluctant to develop the concept in his communications theory, this paper argues that ideology can be usefully and coherently defined in terms of distorted communication. It is shown that this discourse theoretical concept of ideology can meet the central normative and explanatory challenges facing the concept.
85. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
Jami L. Anderson The White Closet
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Whiteness theorists argue that whiteness has two essential features. First, whiteness colonizes, appropriates and controls the Other. Whiteness is, then, racist.Second, whiteness is constructed unwittingly. Whites are, it is claimed, unaware of the harms they inflict on a genocidal scale because whiteness, like the air we breathe, is “invisible” to those who construct it and are constructed by it. Whiteness is, then, innocent. I think defining whiteness as innocent racism is troubling for two reasons. First, it leaves whites unaccountable for the acts of racism they perpetuate. Second, I think that the claim that whiteness is invisible “like the air we breathe,” while a powerful and fascinating metaphor, is mistaken. I will argue that whiteness is closeted; and while the closet makes the acknowledgement of whiteness difficult, it does not make it impossible. Thus, though closeted, whites are morally accountable for the acts of racism they commit.
86. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
Sharon Anderson-Gold Objective Value in Environmental Ethics: Towards a Reconstituted Anthropocentric Ethic
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In this paper I explore and reject the claim that an anthropocentric ethic necessarily excludes recognition of the intrinsic value of nature. Part One reviews thereasons for attributing intrinsic value to nature and considers how a teleological view of nature can transform the role of the moral subject and the nature of moral judgment. Following Tim Hayward, I argue that anthropocentrism does not entail “speciesism” and can accommodate the extension of moral consideration to non-human nature, thus reconstituting an anthropocentric ethic. In Part Two, I apply these principles to Kant’s notion of natural purposiveness. I argue that Kantian ethics, a paradigm of anthropocentric ethics, cannot be considered speciesist because nature must be evaluated from the perspective of the highest good. I conclude that the highest good requires the promotion of a form of sustainable development that includes strong ecological values.
87. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
Jeremy Bendik-Keymer A Sense of Ecological Humanity
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Many cultures understand that being a flourishing human involves respectful relationships with the wider universe of life on Earth. Call this, “a sense of ecological humanity.” In this paper, I explore conceptual resources available for developing such a way of being. To this end, I explore two modes of practical reasoning. The first is analogical extension, which understands the respect due human life as the source of a like respect for non-human life. The second is analogical implication, which comes to self-respect out of respect for nature. These modes excavate two sides of an ecological relationship possible within our already existing sense of humanity, allow us to know ourselves more profoundly, and limit our capacity for wantonness. Our capitalist culture would do well to mature through these forms of practical reasoning.
88. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
Alistair M. MacLeod Freedom And The Role Of The State: Libertarianism vs. Liberalism
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According to Libertarians, the freedom of individuals to make crucial lifeshaping choices is effectively and adequately protected if other individuals and agenciesrefrain from interfering with their freedom and if the state takes steps to ensure that such interference is either prevented or punished. This paper presents a “Liberal” critique of this position, in three stages. First, prevention of interference is only one of several conditions that must be fulfilled if an individual’s lot in life is to be legitimately traceable to his or her choices. Second, the additional conditions resemble prevention of interference in that their fulfillment cannot be secured by the unaided efforts of individuals. Third, these further conditions resemble prevention of interference in that their fulfillment cannot be secured on an equitable basis for all if the state does not assume responsibility for trying to ensure their fulfillment. The argument (of non-anarchist Libertarians) that the state has a role to play in securing the fulfillment of the non-interference condition ought consequently to be extended to support the view that securing the fulfillment of the otherconditions of freedom of choice is also a legitimate function of the state.
89. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
Simon Cushing Liberal Nationalism, Culture, and Justice
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Over the past ten years or so, the position of Liberal Nationalism has progressed from being an apparent oxymoron to a widely accepted view. In this paper I sketch the most prominent liberal defenses of nationalism, focusing first on the difficulties of specifying criteria of nationhood, then criticizing what I take to be the most promising, culture-based defense, forwarded by Will Kymlicka. I argue that such an approach embroils one in a pernicious conservatism completely at odds with the global justice concerns that I take to be central to liberalism with its core values of equality and liberty.
90. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
John R. Wright Conflicts of Value and the Political Ideal of Citizenship: A Defense of Political Constructivism
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In this paper, I take up Habermas’s recent writing on Rawls in Inclusion of the Other and focus on an example that Habermas discusses there, the Catholic stance on abortion. He brings in this example to question how such views could be rationally negotiated, under Rawls’s views of political liberalism, prior to arriving at an overlapping consensus. Habermas argues that Rawls must affirm the truth of moral constructivism in order to resolve the question of which conceptions of the good make a valid claim on us. Though I have criticisms of how both Rawls and Habermas cast the issue of abortion, I argue that through properly understanding the role of the political ideal of citizenship in Rawls’s conception of political liberalism, we can find resources to contend with the problem Habermas finds here. I defend the capacity of political constructivism to resolve this issue without affirming the truth of moral constructivism.
91. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
Edmund F. Byrne Comments On Phillip Cole's Philosophies Of Exclusion
92. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
Natalei Bredder Exclusion and the Responsibilities of the Liberal State
93. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 18
Phillip Cole Reply to Professor Brender and Professor Byrne
94. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 19
Cheryl Hughes, Andrew Light Preface
95. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 19
Lawrence Blum Reply To Byrne And Silliman
96. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 19
Roger J. H. King The Place of Domesticated Spaces in Environmental Ethics: Toward an Environmentally Responsible Culture
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Environmental ethics has traditionally focused on a defense of the intrinsic value of animals and wild habitats. However, this ethical project needs to be supplemented by a consideration of the kind of culture that can take such an ethical point of view seriously. This essay argues that one component of an environmentally responsible culture is its domesticated environment. How we construct the domesticated environment has an impact on our perception of our own identities and our relations to wild nature. If we care about wild nature, we must also care about the domesticated environment in which we live our lives. This essay contributes to an ethical reflection on the need to overcome the traditional dualism between domesticated and wild, built and natural that permeates environmental ethical thinking.
97. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 19
Jeremy Bendik-Keymer The Idea of an Ecological Orientation
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In this paper, I do two things. First, I interpret a cultural shift in our understanding of what it is to be human. I focus on the self-understanding in three international documents: (1) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), (2) The Rio Charter on Sustainable Development (1992), and (3) The Earth Charter (2002). These documents are symptomatic: what it is to be human shifts from not considering environmental issues as central to our humanity to understanding respect for the environment as exemplary of our humanity. Second, I open up a way of justification: I ask that we consider how the shift contributes to the human good, not how it is morally required. In so doing, we provide a richer justification of environmentalism. I conclude with brief remarks on how this method of justification isimportant for the future of environmental ethics.
98. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 19
Brian K. Steverson Evolutionary Emotivism and the Land Ethic
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In developing the metaethical foundation for the Land Ethic, J. Baird Callicott has relied on the cognitive plasticity and directionality of the moral sentiments in order to argue for an extension of those sentiments to the environment. As he sees it, reason plays a substantial role in determining which objects we direct those sentiments toward, and ecology has now shown to reason’s satisfaction that we are part of larger, land communities. In this essay, I would like to develop the claim that we should be careful not to overemphasize the cognitive nature of the “moral sentiments” at the expense of their biological basis as an ecologicaladaptation. I hope to show that this is of special importance for the Land Ethic, where the metaethic involved is entirely dependent on a “felt” sense of community to generate the extension of moral consideration to the environment.
99. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 19
Bradford Z. Mahon The Genetics of Environment and the Environment of Genotypes
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In this paper I discuss one possible extension of Richard Lewontin’s proposal in The Triple Helix. After reviewing the theoretical commitments common to discussions that assume we will be able to compute an organism from its genes, I turn to Lewontin’s arguments that we will never be able to compute phenotype from genotype because the genotype specifies an organism’s phenotype relative to a range of environments. The focus of the discussion in this paper, however, is on what might follow if we take seriously the claim that genetic structure does not determine phenotypic structure. The question is: What becomes causally efficacious in an explanation of the development of a heritable trait if genes are not sufficient? Any answer to this question, and even the question itself, is central to an understanding of the types of relations and structures into which humans enter and which they create in an environment.
100. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 19
Steve Vanderheiden Justice in the Greenhouse: Climate Change and the Idea of Fairness
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The current debate surrounding the implementation of the Kyoto Treaty raises several issues that ought to be of interest to social and political philosophers. Proponents and critics alike have invoked ideas of fairness in justification of their positions. The two distinct conceptions of fairness that are involved in this debate—one of fair shares, and another of fair burdens—helpfully illuminate the proper role of fairness in designing an equitable and effective global climate regime. In this paper, I critically examine the idea of fairness as manifest in two contending visions of the proper international response to mounting evidence that human activity is causing climate change, and that harm from this change is likely to exacerbate existing inequalities. In addition, I recommend one idea of fairness (the fair shares conception) and the political program that it implies.