David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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There are many things in this book that I like. I like Gould's basic philosophical framework--her "social ontology" of human beings conceived of as individuals-in-relation-- which was developed in her earlier works, Marx's Social Ontology and Rethinking Democracy. I like her use of a feminist "ethic of care" throughout, even to ground human rights. This latter move is surprising in light of Carol Gilligan's provocative (and in my view insightful) contrast between an ethic of rights (characteristic of conventional male moral reasoning in our culture) and an ethic of care (more characteristic of the moral deliberation of women).1 But if human rights are conceived of as positive claims on others--as Gould argues, convincingly, they should be--then these claims have force only if we care for others and can related to them empathetically. I like the diversity of topics this book addresses: racism and democracy, cultural identity and group rights, women's human rights, the global "democratic deficit,” implications for democracy of the internet, and more. Rather than sketch an overview of the book, or comment superficially on its many significant issues, I will concentrate here on just two essays.
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