Cornel West's reputation as a public and celebrity intellectual has overshadowed his important contributions to philosophy. Professor Clarence Shole Johnson provides a rectification of this situation in this benchmark, thought-provoking book. After a brief biographical sketch, Johnson leads us through a comprehensive examination of West's philosophy from his conceptions of pragmatism, existentialism, Marxism, and Prophetic Christianity to his persuasive writings on black-Jewish relations, affirmative action, and the role of black intellectuals. Special focus is given to West's writings on ethics and (...) social justice, and how these inform his entire theoretical framework. Cornel West and Philosophy is a unique and indispensable guide to West's diverse philosophical writings. (shrink)
The U.S. Civil War chained slave emancipation to war's violence, destruction and deprivation. The resulting health crisis, including illness, injury, and trauma, had immediate and lasting consequences. This essay explores the impact of ideas about race on the U.S. military's health care provisions and treatment of former slaves, both civilians and soldiers.
Immanuel Kant envisioned a kind of respect in which one recognizes each human (1) as being not fully comprehensible by any human understanding, (2) as being an end in him- or herself, and (3) as being a potential source of moral law. In this essay, Gregory Lewis Bynum uses this conception of respect as a lens with which to examine African American education rights on three levels: the individual level (the level of individual persons' moral experience and moral (...) significance), the community level (the level of the formation and sustaining of social groups that have value for humanity), and the global level (the level of a universal community of humanity). Bynum's goal in this examination is to strengthen our practical understanding of AfricanAmericans' right to education defined, in accordance with international human rights documents, as the right to an education that supports the full development of the human personality in a manner that respects students' “cultural identity, language, and values.”. (shrink)
A communitarian perspective, which is characteristic of African normative thought, accords some kind of primacy to society or a group, whereas human rights are by definition duties that others have to treat individuals in certain ways, even when not doing so would be better for others. Is there any place for human rights in an Afro-communitarian political and legal philosophy, and, if so, what is it? I seek to answer these questions, in part by critically exploring one (...) of the most influential theoretical works on human rights in a sub-Saharan setting, namely, Claude Ake’s ‘The African Context of Human Rights’. Ake famously maintains that a typically Western approach to rights is inappropriate in the sub-Saharan region, in two major respects. First, Ake contends that although a human rights legal framework might be suitable for an ‘individualistic’ society, it is not for one of the sort common among traditional black peoples, for whom group rights are alone apt. Second, Ake maintains that, insofar as rights are relevant, rights to socio-economic goods are of much more importance in an African context than rights to civil liberties, due process and the like. Using Ake’s article as a foil, I draw on values salient in sub-Saharan moral worldviews to construct a unified philosophy of rights that not only provides reason to doubt his two claims, but also offers a promising way to reconcile a communitarian framework with a robust prizing of human rights alongside ones that are more collectively oriented. In short, I aim to provide a principled foundation for the core elements of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights. (shrink)
In accordance with environmental injustice, sometimes called environmental racism, minority communities are disproportionately subjected to a higher level of environmental risk than other segments of society. Growing concern over unequal environmental risk and mounting evidence of both racial and economic injustices have led to a grass-roots civilrights campaign called the environmental justice movement. The environmental ethics aspects of environmental injustice challenge narrow utilitarian views and promote Kantian rights and obligations. Nevertheless, an environmentaljustice value exists in all (...) ethical world views, although it involves a concept of equitable distribution of environmental protection that has been lacking in environmental ethics discussion. (shrink)
This study explores the ethical ideol-ogies and ethical beliefs of African American consumers using the Forsyth ethical position questionnaire (EPQ) and the Muncy-Vitell consumer ethics questionnaire (MVQ). The two dimensions of the EPQ (i.e., idealism and relativism) were the independent constructs and the four dimensions of the MVQ (i.e., illegal, active, passive and no harm) were the dependent variables. In addition, this paper explores the consumer ethics of AfricanAmericans across four demographic factors (i.e., age, education, gender, (...) and marital status). A sample of 315 African American consumers was used to explore these relationships. Results confirmed that consumers who score high on the idealism scale are more likely to reject questionable consumer activities, but there was no relationship between relativism and consumers'' rejection of questionable activities. Older, more educated and married consumers rejected questionable activities more than younger, less educated and single consumers. Gender did not have any significant relationship to consumers'' ethical orientation. (shrink)
The Supreme Court dismissed the Pornography/CivilRights Ordinance as an unconstitutional restriction of speech. The Court's dismissal itself violates the free speech of the proposers of the Ordinance. It is not possible for both pornographers to perform the speech act of making pornography and feminists to perform the speech act of proposing the Ordinance. I show that the speech act of proposing the Ordinance takes First Amendment precedence over the speech act of making pornography.
Creative activities in a classroom can often be mistaken for negligence of academic requirements. This is especially true for many African American students. Recognition of the mental processes used in the expression of creative behaviors should give teachers the opportunity to harness this creative energy to develop academic skills. This article draws upon a historical perspective of creativity and its relationship to this trait in AfricanAmericans. Although many of the behaviors listed are common in all ethnic (...) groups those behaviors listed as uniquely evident among African American students are derived from assumptions made from experiences by various scholars, research documents and historical data. Strategies for addressing and enhancing these creative behaviors are included. (shrink)
The effects of the late civil strife have been to free the slave and make him a citizen. Yet he is not possessed of the civilrights which citizenship should carry with it. This is wrong, and should be corrected. To this correction I stand committed, so far as Executive influence can avail.
Philosophers often entertain positions that they themselves do not hold. This article is an example of this. While I do not advocate localized acts of violence to combat white supremacy, I think that it is worthwhile to explore why it might be theoretically justifiable for some AfricanAmericans to commit such acts of violence. I contend that acts of localized violence are at least theoretical justifiable for some AfricanAmericans from the vantage point of racial realism. (...) Yet, I also contend that the likely detrimental consequences of engaging in such violence on economically disadvantaged AfricanAmericans outweigh its possible benefits for them; hence, it should not be used by them to combat white supremacy presently. (shrink)
I seek to advance enquiry into the philosophical question of in virtue of what human beings have a dignity of the sort that grounds human rights. I first draw on values salient in sub-Saharan African moral thought to construct two theoretically promising conceptions of human dignity, one grounded on vitality, or liveliness, and the other on our communal nature. I then argue that the vitality conception cannot account for several human rights that we intuitively have, while the (...) community conception can do so. I conclude that, of plausible theories of human dignity with an African pedigree, the field ought to favour a community-based view and critically compare it in future work with the Kantian, autonomy-based view that dominates Western thinking about dignity. (shrink)
In this article I spell out a conception of dignity grounded in African moral thinking that provides a plausible philosophical foundation for human rights, focusing on the particular human right not to be executed by the state. I first demonstrate that the South African Constitutional Court’s sub-Saharan explanations of why the death penalty is degrading all counterintuitively entail that using deadly force against aggressors is degrading as well. Then, I draw on one major strand of Afro-communitarian thought (...) to develop a novel conception of dignity as the view that what is special and inviolable about human nature is our capacity for harmonious relationships. I argue that a principle of respect for the dignity of such a capacity entails that the death penalty is an indignity but that deadly force in self- or other-defense need not be, and I contend that this African- inspired principle promises to do no worse than the more Western, Kantian principle of respect for autonomy at accounting for a broad range of human rights. (shrink)
I argue that, even supposing substantive principles of distributive justice entail that animals warrant constitutional protection, there are other, potentially weightier forms of injustice that would probably be done by interpreting a Bill of Rights as implicitly applying to animals, namely, formal injustice and compensatory injustice. Formal injustice would result from such a reading of the Constitution in that the state would fail to speak with one voice upon newly according legal rights to animals. Compensatory injustice would likely (...) result from such a reading, at least in a South African context, in that the law would not only suppress facets of culture that many Africans deem important to their self-conception, but also require spending scarce resources on animals that could have gone toward saving African lives and livelihoods. If the state must choose between acting for the sake of the urgent interests of animals and those of humans, humans must take priority, even assuming that animals have a worth that morally forbids harming them in our private lives. (shrink)
Thurgood Marshall (1908?1993) profoundly shaped the direction and success of the American civilrights struggle. Joining the staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1936, he headed its Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 1939 until 1961, subsequently becoming a federal appeals court judge, Solicitor General, and Justice of the US Supreme Court. Marshall was more an egalitarian integrationist than a pluralist and deployed the law in pursuit of this moral objective. Although (...) tolerant of the Communist Party in the 1930s and 1940s, he supported anti?communism in the 1950s as a means of gaining significant support for black civilrights from the federal government. On the Supreme Court, Marshall sought to extend equality not only to AfricanAmericans but also to women, gays and the poor. Flexible and pragmatic, Marshall viewed the law as a means to an end, and the relevant end, or ideal, for him was liberal equality. (shrink)
The renewed interest in the issue of black reparations, both in the public sphere and among scholars, is a welcome development because the racial injustices of the past continue to shape American society by disadvantaging AfricanAmericans in a variety of ways. Attention to the past and how it has shaped present-day inequality seems essential both to understanding our predicament and to justifying policies that would address and undermine racial inequality. Given this, any argument for policies designed to (...) pursue racial justice must be, at least in part, backward-looking, justifi ed partly as compensation for the effects of the wrongs of the past. However, some arguments about black reparations, both pro and con, are focused too far in the past. An unspoken assumption of much of the debate about black reparations is that these would be reparations for slavery. This, we argue, is a mistake. Racial inequality in the United States today may, ultimately, be based on slavery, but it is also based on the failure of the country to take effective steps since slavery to undermine the structural racial inequality that slavery put in place. From the latter part of the nineteenth century through the fi rst half of the twentieth century, the Jim Crow system continued to keep Blacks “in their place,” and even during and after the civilrights era no policies were adopted to dismantle the racial hierarchy that already existed. An important part of the story of racial inequality today is the history of housing and lending discrimination in the second half of the twentieth century (McCarthy 2002; 2004). Home equity, for many Americans, is a very important source of wealth, and the decades after World War II were ones of rapid home equity growth. They were the decades that saw the creation of a large, mostly suburban, middle class. But the middle class that was created was also mostly White, and this was due largely to government policies that (in many cases intentionally) excluded Blacks from the opportunities to get into the home market and benefi t from home equity growth. In this paper we argue that recent housing and lending discrimination constitutes an important basis for black reparations.. (shrink)
This article describes the racial integration of Emory University and the subsequent creation of Pre-Start, an affirmative action program at Emory Law School from 1966 to 1972. It focuses on the initiative of the Dean of Emory Law School at the time, Ben F. Johnson, Jr. (1914-2006). Johnson played a number of leadership roles throughout his life, including successfully arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court while he was an Assistant Attorney General of Georgia, promoting legislation to create (...)Atlanta's subway system as a state senator, and representing Emory in its lawsuit to strike down the state statute that would have rescinded its tax exemption if it admitted African American students (Emory v. Nash, 218 Ga. 317 (Ga. 1962)). This account supplements my related article on Pre-Start, "'A Bulwark against Anarchy': Affirmative Action, Emory Law School, and Southern Self-Help" (SSRN abstract 1007006), providing more information about historical context generally, and particularly about Emory v. Nash. Johnson was ambitious for Emory as a whole, and particularly for the Law School, and he saw in segregation the single largest impediment to making Emory a nationally prominent research university. The story of Emory's integration, and Johnson's leadership, requires revision of the prevailing story of integration generally, and especially of universities. Integration at Emory came about because of the pressure that AfricanAmericans and their supporters created through the civilrights movement, but Emory administrators responded to such pressure more constructively than most (e.g., Universities of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Vanderbilt). Their actions provide an interesting case study in effective leadership during a period of significant moral and political conflict. (shrink)
At least the three major academic debates one encounters about human rights in an African context are usefully framed in terms how they relate to community in various ways. Specifically, this entry first discusses disputes among moral anthropologists and political scientists about the extent to which human rights were present in pre-colonial, communal sub-Saharan societies; then it takes up ways in which group-based claims have significantly influenced human rights discourse and observance in post-war Africa; and finally (...) it discusses how professional philosophers in and from Africa have tended to view human rights through communitarian lenses. (shrink)
The argument put forward by this article is not that democratization does not benefit from the activity of a vibrant civil society, but rather that academic research should address this relationship in a critical way. This article maintains that one should take care to distinguish between 'civil society' as an ideal-type concept that embodies the qualities of separation, autonomy and civil association in its pure form, and the factual world of 'civil societies' composed of associations that (...) embody these principles to varying degrees. At the same time, one should avoid a kind of triumphalism about civil society as a necessary source of democratic energy with homogenous goals and principles; in a word, one should avoid a theory of civil society that privileges civil society (Fine 1997). A first problem seems to be mainly definitional: what is meant by civil society? By reviewing the most relevant literature on democratization, the first part of this article discusses the main assumptions regarding the role of civil society as a democratizing power, namely its apolitical nature, its deep 'civil' stand and its relationship with the state. In the second part, the article utilizes the case of South Africancivil society as a relevant example of how difficult and nuanced the relationship between civil society organizations and democratization can be, with special regard to the process of democratic deepening and social emancipation. (shrink)
The Human Genome Project (HGP) represents a massive merging of science and technology in the name of all humanity. While the disease aspects of HGP-generated data have received the greatest publicity and are the strongest rationale for the project, it should be remembered that the HGP has, as its goal the sequencing of all 100,000 human genes and the accurate depiction of the ancestral and functional relationships among these genes. The HGP will thus be constructing the molecular taxonomic norm for (...) humanity. Currently the HGP genomic baseline is almost exclusively skewed toward North Atlantic European lineages through the extensive use of the Centre d’Études du Polymorphisme Humaine (CEPH) data set. More recently, the HGP has shifted to the use of volunteer donors since adequate informed consent had not been secured from the CEPH families. No evidence exists that either the CEPH families or the current volunteers are the most appropriate demographic or evolutionary lineages for the functional genomic studies that will guide production of new DNA based drugs, targeted therapeutics and gene-based diagnostics. The lack of scientific representativeness of the HGP is a serious impediment to its broad applicability. Yet this can be remedied, and five alternative sampling strategies are presented. In response to the current exclusionary design of the HGP, there is noteworthy caution and skepticism in the African American community concerning genetic studies. The Manifesto on Genomic Studies Among AfricanAmericans reflects both a desire to be systematically included in federally funded genomic studies and a desire to maintain some control over the interpretation and application of research results. Representative sampling in the HGP is seen as an international human rights issue with domestic ethical implications. (shrink)
Jesus Christ may be regarded as the chief spirit of agitation and innovation. He himself declared, “I come not to bring peace, but a sword.” One cannot delve seriously into the centuries of activism and scholarship against racism, Jim Crowism, and the terrorism of lynching without encountering the legacies of Timothy Thomas Fortune and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Black scholars from the 19th century to the present have been inspired by the sociological and economic works of Fortune and Wells. Scholars of (...) American philosophy, however, continue to ignore their writings, their theoretical contributions and their ethical aspirations, preferring instead the insipid declarations of white turn of the century .. (shrink)
This study assesses the extent to which job application forms violate the New Zealand Human Rights Act. The sample for the study includes 229 job application forms, collected from a variety of large and small, public- and private-sector organizations that together employ approximately 200,000 workers. Two hundred and four or 88% of the job application forms contain at least one violation of the Act. One hundred and sixty five or 72% contain two or more and 140 or 61% contain (...) three or more violations. The most common violations concern age, gender, nationality, and disability. The least common concern political opinion, ethical belief, religious belief, and sexual orientation. Despite widespread violations, many forms do have non-discriminatory questions that yield the same kind of useful information as discriminatory questions. Employers could incorporate these into their job application forms to bring themselves into compliance with the law. The same lessons also generally apply to North American employers, given the high degree of comparability between American, Canadian, and New Zealand anti-discrimination laws. (shrink)
Our century has witnessed violence on an unprecedented scale, in wars that have torn deep into the fabric of national and international life. And as we can see in the recent strife in Bosnia, genocide in Rwanda, and the ongoing struggle to control nuclear weaponry, ancient enmities continue to threaten the lives of masses of human beings. As never before, the question is urgent and practical: How can nations--or ethnic groups, or races--after long, bitter struggles, learn to live side by (...) side in peace? In An Ethic for Enemies, Donald W. Shriver, Jr., President Emeritus of Union Theological Seminary, argues that the solution lies in our capacity to forgive. Taking forgiveness out of its traditional exclusive association with personal religion and morality, Shriver urges us to recognize its importance in the secular political arena. The heart of the book examines three powerful and moving cases from recent American history--our postwar dealings with Germany, with Japan, and our continuing domestic problem with race relations--cases in which acts of forgiveness have had important political consequences. Shriver traces how postwar Germany, in its struggle to break with its political past, progressed from denial of a Nazi past, to a formal acknowledgement of the crimes of Nazi Germany, to providing material compensation for survivors of the Holocaust. He also examines the efforts of Japan and the United States, over time and across boundaries of race and culture, to forgive the wrongs committed by both peoples during the Pacific War. And finally he offers a fascinating discussion of the role of forgiveness in the American civilrights movement. He shows, for instance, that even Malcolm X recognized the need to move from contempt for the integrationist ideal to a more conciliatory, repentant stance toward CivilRights leaders. Malcolm came to see that only through forgiveness could the separate voices of the African-American movement work together to achieve their goals. If mutual forgiveness was a radical thought in 1964, Shriver reminds us that it has yet to be realized in 1994. "We are a long way from ceasing to hold the sins of the ancestors against their living children," he writes. Yet in this poignant volume, we discover how, by forgiving, enemies can progress and have progressed toward peace. A timely antidote to today's political conflicts, An Ethic for Enemies challenges to us to confront the hatreds that cripple society and threaten to destroy the global village. (shrink)
In this timely book, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., one of our nation’s rising young African American intellectuals, makes an impassioned plea for black America to address its social problems by recourse to experience and with an eye set on the promise and potential of the future, rather than the fixed ideas and categories of the past. Central to Glaude’s mission is a rehabilitation of philosopher John Dewey, whose ideas, he argues, can be fruitfully applied to a renewal of (...) class='Hi'>African American politics. According to Glaude, Dewey’s pragmatism, when attentive to the darker dimensions of life—or what we often speak of as the blues—can address many of the conceptual problems that plague contemporary African American discourse. How blacks think about themselves, how they imagine their own history, and how they conceive of their own actions can be rendered in ways that escape bad ways of thinking that assume a tendentious political unity among AfricanAmericans simply because they are black, or that short-circuit imaginative responses to problems confronting actual black people. Drawing deeply on black religious thought and literature, In a Shade of Blue seeks to dislodge such crude and simplistic thinking, and replace it with a deeper understanding of and appreciation for black life in all its variety and intricacy. Only when black political leaders acknowledge such complexity, Glaude argues, can the real-life sufferings of many AfricanAmericans be remedied. Heady, inspirational, and brimming with practical wisdom, In a Shade of Blue is a remarkable work of political commentary on a scale rarely seen today. To follow its trajectory is to learn how AfricanAmericans arrived at this critical moment in their history and to envision where they might head in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
The present paper aims at addressing a crucial legal conflict in the information society: i.e., the conflict between security and civilrights, which calls for a “fine and ethical balance”. Our purpose is to understand, from the legal theory viewpoint, how a fine ethical balance can be conceived and what the conditions for this balance to be possible are. This requires us to enter in a four-stage examination, by asking: (1) What types of conflict may be dealt with (...) by means of balancing? (2) What is meant by balancing? Is it a metaphor that hides and dissimulates discretionary powers and subjective decisions or a rational instrument that helps us cope with conflicts between fundamental values and interests? (3) What models of balancing are available to us? Are these models irreducible to each other? What can provide us with a common understanding of different models of balancing? (4) How can the crucial issues of rational controllability, predictability, and homogeneity of legal decisions be dealt with? Our paper will try to answer those questions by trying to reconstruct the act of balancing in terms of a rational legal reasoning, which relies upon information. In fact, every judicial decision contains some information that is delivered to the legal system: that information may serve as the basis for future evaluations, decisions, and actions, and thus influence the way we recognize and hence we protect our values, interests, and rights. In this perspective, our examination will attempt to understand those questions in informational terms. This informational treatment can provide us with a more universalistic understanding of those issues and offer us a novel way to conceptually deal with them. To this aim, we will avail yourself of Luciano Floridi’s philosophy of information: notably, we believe his constructionist conception of epistemology is crucial, based on the Maker’s Knowledge approach and his solution of the upgrading problem (i.e., from information to knowledge) in terms of a network theory of account. The informational approach will help us having a better understanding of the balance between competing interests. (shrink)
This wide-ranging, multidisciplinary collection of newly commissioned articles brings together distinguished voices in the field of Africana philosophy and African-American social and political thought. Provides a comprehensive critical survey of African-American philosophical thought. Collects wide-ranging, multidisciplinary, newly commissioned articles in one authoritative volume. Serves as a benchmark work of reference for courses in philosophy, social and political thought, cultural studies, and African-American studies.
A special issue of The Philosophical Forum , one of the most prestigious philosophy journals, is now available to a wider readership through its publication in book form. The volume includes twelve essays in three sections-- Philosophical Traditions; the African-American Tradition; and Racism, Identity, and Social Life. Contributors are: K. Anthony Appiah, Kwasi Wiredu, Lucius Outlaw, Leonard Harris, Bernard Boxill, Frank M. Kirkland, Tommy L. Lott, Adrian M.S. Piper, Laurence Thomas, Michele M. Moody-Adams, Anita L. Allen, and Howard McGary. (...) The introduction is by John P. Pittman. (shrink)
This comprehensive study of Aristotle's Politics argues that nature, justice, and rights are central to Aristotle's political thought. Miller challenges the widely held view that the concept of rights is alien to Aristotle's thought, and presents evidence for talk of rights in Aristotle's writings. He argues further that Aristotle's theory of justice supports claims of individual rights that are political and based in nature.
In the burgeoning field of whiteness studies, What White Looks Like takes a unique approach to the subject by collecting the ideas of African-American philosophers. George Yancy has brought together a group of thinkers who address the problematic issues of whiteness as a category requiring serious analysis. What does white look like when viewed through philosophical training and African-American experience? In this volume, Robert Birt asks if whites can "live whiteness authentically." Janine Jones examines what it means to (...) be a "goodwill white." Joy James tells of beating her "addiction" to white supremacy, while Arnold Farr writes on making whiteness visible in Western philosophy. What White Looks Like brings a badly needed critique and philosophically sophisticated perspective to central issue of contemporary society. (shrink)
Contemporary liberal thinkers commonly suppose that there is something in principle unjust about the legal prohibition of putatively victimless crimes. Here Robert P. George defends the traditional justification of morals legislation against criticisms advanced by leading liberal theorists. He argues that such legislation can play a legitimate role in maintaining a moral environment conducive to virtue and inhospitable to at least some forms of vice. Among the liberal critics of morals legislation whose views George considers are Ronald Dworkin, Jeremy Waldron, (...) David A.J. Richards, and Joseph Raz. He also considers the influential modern justification for morals legislation offered by Patrick Devlin as an alternative to the traditional approach. George closes with a sketch of a "pluralistic perfectionist" theory of civil liberties and public morality, showing that it is fully compatible with a defense of morals legislation. Making Men Moral will interest legal scholars and political theorists as well as theologians and philosophers focusing on questions of social justice and political morality. (shrink)
This controversial book is an impassioned African response to the racial stereotyping of African people and people of African descent by prominent white scholars. It highlights how the media contributes to the growth of racist ideas, particularly in reporting current events in Africa, and demonstrates how some of America’s most revered intellectuals cloak racist ideologies in ostensibly egalitarian discourses. The author seeks to rewrite the image of 'race' in order to show the damage racism can cause serious (...) scholarship. (shrink)
Globalization is being celebrated in many circles as a distinctive achievement of our age, drawing peoples and societies more closely together and creating far greater wealth than any previous generations ever knew. While the first of these assertions is correct in the sense that societies and cultures are colliding, hitherto relatively closed horizons are opening up, and spaces and time are compressing, the second deserves critical interrogations. Using Africa's experience with globalization as a case study, this article argues that globalization (...) be understood as an emerging preference for certain institutional and policy practices that are creating and coercively imposing pervasive but avoidable conditions of material deprivations on many societies. The article defends a motivational rationale anchored in the normative vision of socio-economic and development rights as a way to mitigate the deleterious effects of unguarded globalization. (shrink)
Rights have become,in recent years, a significant concern of legal theorists, as well as of those involved in moral and political philosophy. This new book seeks to move a number of debates forward by developing the analysis of rights and focusing upon more general theoretical considerations relating to rights. The book is divided into five parts. The first includes an explanation of the part played by conceptual analysis within jurisprudence, while the second conducts a re-examination of Hohfeld’s (...) analysis of rights. This part deals with the arguments advanced by a number of modern theorists including Hart, White and MacCormick. The third part contains the author’s own framework for discussing rights, including examples drawn from tort, constitutional law and international law, together with an analysis of Unger’s theory of rights. Part four centres on the perceived conflict between Dworkin, Rawls and Nozick as the defenders of a rights approach, and Bentham as the champion of utilitarianism and concludes that neither deals with the fundamental concerns of morality on which their theories are based. The fifth part consists of a conclusion which reflects on the key themes and considers the role of rights within general theory. For students, particularly helpful features of the book are the overt consideration of jurisprudential methodology and the opportunity to examine a number of key theorists linked by their divergent views on the subject of rights. (shrink)
This book looks at the civil justice system - the courts and what they do; legal aid and other methods of providing access to justice; lawyers and their conduct; and the role of legal procedure. It also looks at the impact the civil justice system has on wider society, and its relationship with economics and commercial development. The book is largely focussed on Britain, but includes material from the USA, the Indian sub-continent, south-east Asia, and Aboriginal society in (...) Australia. (shrink)
In March 1993, in preparation for the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights, representatives from the states of Asia gathered in Bangkok to formulate their position on this emotive issue. The result of their discussions was the Bangkok declaration. They accepted the concept of universal standards in human rights, but declared that these standards could not overridet he unique Asian regional and cultural differences, the requirements of economic development, nor the privileges of sovereignty. : The difficult and (...) powerful dichotomies raised in Bangkok, and their particular relevance to China, are explored in the ten essays contained in this book. The underlying political, cultural, philosophical, legal and economic issues which cut across the human rights spectrum are also considered. The writiers themselves are Chinese and Hong Kong scholars, or leading political figures who are involved in the current human rights debate. The ultimate goal of the book is not to resolve the issues raised in Bangkok, but to expose some contours of discussion in a way that is fresh and accessible. (shrink)
This collection of essays forms a lively debate over the fundamental characteristics of legal and moral rights. The essays examine whether rights fundamentally protect individuals' interests or whether they instead fundamentally enable individuals to make choices.
This paper asks whether statutory social insurance programs, which provide contributory tax-based income support to people with disabilities, are compatible with the disability rights movement's ideas. Central to the movement that led to the Americans with Disabilities Act is the insight that physical or mental conditions do not disable; barriers created by the environment or by social attitudes keep persons with physical or mental differences from participating in society as equals.The conflict between the civilrights approach (...) and insurance seems apparent. A person takes out insurance to deal with tragedy, such as premature death, or damage, such as accidental harm to an automobile or home. Social insurance, for example, the United States Social Security old-age and disability programs, consists of government-run insurance to cover risks of advanced age and disability for which the private market has not provided affordable coverage. But the civilrights approach to disability posits that disability is not a risk, not tragedy, and not a damage or defect. Instead it is a maladaptation of society to human variation. This paper argues that a justification remains for social insurance under the civilrights approach to disability, and further suggests that expansion of social insurance for disability is both compatible with disability rights principles and supported by wise public policy. (shrink)
In my 1990 work – Marxism, Morality, and Social Justice – I argued for four modifications of Rawls’s principles of social justice and rendered a modified version of his theory in four principles, the first of which is the Basic Rights Principle demanding the protection of people’s security and subsistence rights. In both his Political Liberalism (1993) and Justice as Fairness (2001) Rawls explicitly refers to my version of his theory, clearly accepting three of my four proposed modifications (...) but rejecting the fourth -- the demand for social and economic (in addition to political) democracy – on grounds that it automatically justifies socialism as opposed to capitalism. I argue, contrary to Rawls, that it is not true that this demand automatically picks (democratic) socialism as the preferable socioeconomic/political system and that a Social and Economic Democracy Principle demanding workplace and neighborhood democracy is officially neutral between these two systems … although plausible empirical assumptions may, indeed, favor the former. I then reprise my second version of Rawls’s theory of social justice which is composed of the following principles arranged in a very strong order of priority (if not quite a lexical order): (1) Basic Rights Principle, (2) Equal Basic Liberties Principle, (3) Fair Equality of Opportunity Principle, (4) Modified Difference Principle, and (5) Social and Economic Democracy Principle. (shrink)
Civil society organizations (CSOs) have significantly impacted on the politics of health research and the field of bioethics. In the global HIV epidemic, CSOs have served a pivotal stakeholder role. The dire need for development of new prevention technologies has raised critical challenges for the ethical engagement of community stakeholders in HIV research. This study explored the perspectives of CSO representatives involved in HIV prevention trials (HPTs) on the impact of premature trial closures on stakeholder engagement. Fourteen respondents from (...) South African and international CSOs representing activist and advocacy groups, community mobilisation initiatives, and human and legal rights groups were purposively sampled based on involvement in HPTs. Interviews were conducted from February-May 2010. Descriptive analysis was undertaken across interviews and key themes were developed inductively. CSO representatives largely described positive outcomes of recent microbicide and HIV vaccine trial terminations, particularly in South Africa, which they attributed to improvements in stakeholder engagement. Ongoing challenges to community engagement included the need for principled justifications for selective stakeholder engagement at strategic time-points, as well as the need for legitimate alternatives to CABs as mechanisms for engagement. Key issues for CSOs in relation to research were also raised. (shrink)
Ida B. Wells (1862?1931) was a considerable figure in her day. But she has not been accorded posthumous acclaim in parallel. This oversight is either just, or an unprecedented historical falsification ? enabled largely through unhappy, gendered misperception. African?American thought for long turned round dispute between accommodation (Washington) and protest (Du Bois) as forms of leadership. Yet this contrast may mislead. First, Washington was more white placeman than black leader. Second, Du Bois, more than anyone, helped diminish, even extinguish, (...) the Wellsian intellectual legacy. If Wells?s arguments (on violence) have critical significance, and Washington?s are insubstantial and time?serving, then the important struggle within African?American leadership may come to be relocated within the protest tradition ? as between Du Bois (romantic Pan?Africanist) and Wells (universal defender of human rights), both recovered by the CivilRights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Wells possibly more fittingly. (shrink)
Drawing on several recent studies, and a few personal interviews with leadership, the author reviews the history (1937-1968) of the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) in order to demonstrate how this Chicago-based labor movement exemplified radical commitments to social welfare and civilrights, in addition to more traditional concerns with pay and other shopfloor issues. Not only did the union have significant membership among African-American workers, but it also undertook active programs of anti-racism in order to (...) fight racial discrimination with its own ranks. The union also resisted much of the anti-communist politics of the post-Cold War era, resulting in a tradition of racial commitments to “social unionism.” For example, this was one of the first unions to offer financial support to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference soon after the civilrights organization was founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (shrink)
Frederick Douglass (1818?1895) was the most significant African?American leader of the nineteenth century. Secretly acquiring literacy as a slave, he grew into a brilliant speaker whose essential genius was to articulate and impeach the ideologies of the day. Douglass was one of the foremost defenders of black emancipation and women?s rights. He developed a dual philosophy of resistance and integration. He taxed blacks with the need for self?reliance; he recalled whites to the justice of racial equality. Freedom would (...) be won by securing to all workers, white or black, the fruit of their labour. Economic progress and enhanced social equality would be achieved by hard work, thrift, education and sobriety. Underlying all his thought and action was an ideology of free labour conjoined with republicanism. He early embraced the ideal of moral suasion. As the prospect of civil war loomed, he accepted the legitimacy of violence ? in self?defence, and to liberate the slaves. (shrink)
Barbara Jordan (1936?1996), a formidable politician, won election to the Texas Senate (1966) and to the US Congress (1972). She became one of the most celebrated African?American politicians of the twentieth century, acclaimed both by white and black. Jordan was a voluntarist, viewing individuals as able to change the world through their own actions. She was committed to the American dream of inclusion, and also to the importance of positive ties to elites; to coping with the ?world as it (...) is?, to the futility of confrontation, and also to changing and influencing the attitudes of men at the top. Jordan opposed civil disobedience, nonviolent or not. Yet she admired symbols of defiance like Malcolm X and Mohammed Ali. A highly public figure, she was also exceptionally self?repressed. Critics likened her to the conservative Booker Washington, yet she was a staunch defender of voting rights and a radical integrationist. (shrink)
There are three major reasons that ideas associated with ubuntu are often deemed to be an inappropriate basis for a public morality. One is that they are too vague, a second is that they fail to acknowledge the value of individual freedom, and a third is that they a fit traditional, small-scale culture more than a modern, industrial society. In this article, I provide a philosophical interpretation of ubuntu that is not vulnerable to these three objections. Specifically, I construct a (...) moral theory grounded on southern African worldviews, one that suggests a promising new conception of human dignity. According to this conception, typical human beings have a dignity in virtue of their capacity for community, understood as the combination of identifying with others and exhibiting solidarity with them, where human rights violations are egregious degradations of this capacity. I argue that this account of human rights violations straightforwardly entails and explains many different elements of South Africa’s Bill of Rights and naturally suggests certain ways of resolving contemporary moral dilemmas in South Africa and elsewhere relating to land reform, political power and deadly force. (shrink)
: This paper reviews current and suggested policies designed to increase organ donation in the United States and indicates the problems inherent to these approaches for increasing organ donation by AfricanAmericans. Data from a population-based study assessing attitudes and beliefs about organ donation among white and African-American respondents are presented and discussed. We pose the question of whether it is reasonable to maintain the existing system or whether we should institute a system that uses policies based (...) on the attitudes and beliefs of a minority group that is in greater need than the majority. In light of the discussion, we suggest that the current policies guiding the organ procurement system are not adequate to address existing concerns within the African-American community and that a different set of assumptions may be needed to drive organ procurement policy. (shrink)
Collective memory can be used conceptually to examine African-American perceptions of wildlands and black interaction with such places. The middle-American view of wildlands frames these terrains as refuges—pure and simple, sanctified places distinct from the profanity of human modification. However, wild, primitive areas do not exist in the minds of all Americans as uncomplicated or uncontaminated places. Three labor-related institutions—forest labor, plantation agriculture, and sharecropping—and terrorism and lynching have impacted negatively on black perceptions of wildlands, producing an ambivalence (...) toward such places among AfricanAmericans. (shrink)
Introduction: where do our rights come from? -- Jefferson's masterpiece: the Declaration of Independence -- Get off my land : the right to own property -- Names will never hurt me : the freedom of speech -- I left my rights in San Franscisco : the freedom of association -- You can leave any time you want: the freedom to travel -- You can leave me alone : the right to privacy -- That flesh is mine : you (...) own your body -- Sticks and stones will break my bones : the right to self-defense -- You'll hear from me : the right to petition the government for redress of grievances -- War . . .war . . .what is it good for? : the right to enjoy peace -- When the devil turns round on you : the right to fairness from the government -- A dime isn't worth a penny anymore : the right to sound money -- Theft by any other name : the right to spend your own money -- A ride on Dr. Feinberg's bus : the right to be governed by laws with moral limits -- Disobeying stupidity : the right to ignore the state -- Conclusion. (shrink)