: Bernard Rollin argues that it is permissible to change an animal's telos through genetic engineering, if it doesn't harm the animal's welfare. Recent attempts to undermine his argument rely either on the claim that diminishing certain capacities always harms an animal's welfare or on the claim that it always violates an animal's integrity. I argue that these fail. However, respect for animal dignity provides a defeasible reason not to engineer an animal in a way that inhibits the development of (...) those functions that a member of its species can normally perform, even if the modification would improve the animal's welfare. (shrink)
"Before they were 'junkies,' they were kids." The words appear on a poster, beneath a montage of photographs of children and the text: "Save Insite." Insite, located in Vancouver, Canada, is North America's first and only supervised injection facility (SIF). At Insite, people who use injection drugs can inject previously obtained drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, under medical supervision, using sterile equipment provided by this government-run facility. Opened under the auspices of a three-year exemption from federal drug laws in (...) 2003, the site was initially the focus of a research study aiming to determine whether such a service would be effective in reducing the harms associated with injection drug use. After .. (shrink)
How might the psycho-social effects of chronic skin disease, its treatments (and discontents) be figuratively expressed in writing and painting? Does the art reveal common denominators in experience and representation? If so, how do we understand the cryptic language of these expressions? By examining the works of artists with chronic skin diseases—John Updike, Elizabeth Bishop, and Zelda Fitzgerald—some common features can be noted. Chronically broken skin can fracture the ego or self-perception, resulting in a disturbed body image, which leads (...) to personality disorders and co-morbid affective disorders such as anxiety and depression. The vertiginous feeling that results can be noted in the paradoxical characters, figures, and psyches portrayed in the works of these artists. This essay will examine the more specific ways in which artists disclose and/or conceal their experiences and the particular ways in which these manifest in their works. While certain nuances exist, the common denominators give us a starting point for developing an eczema aesthetic, a code for interpreting the ways in which artists’ experiences with skin disease manifest in their works. (shrink)
continent. 1.2 (2011): 136-140. In early 2011, Cow Heavy Books published The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature , a compendium of catalog 'blurbs' for non-existent desired or ideal texts. Along with Erinrose Mager, I edited the project, in a process that was more like curation as it mainly entailed asking a range of contemporary writers, theorists, and text-makers to send us an entry. What resulted was a creative/critical hybrid anthology, a small book in which each page opens (...) to a new iteration of textual desire. These texts explore the material possibilities of the book. Somewhat parallel to the call of N. Katherine Hayles who, in her book Writing Machines , urges literary theorists to take up the practice of Medium Specific Analysis (to account for the way the medium in which it is presented conditions or at least bears on a literary text). I see in the imagined works of The Official Catalog a call for the innovative writers of today to become Medium-Responsive. This would mean thinking through the specific (materially constrained) possibilities offered by the media in which texts are presented, and in thinking of the literary text as a kind of art in the greater context of other arts and the book as a medium situated within the context of many other media. In doing so, the contemporary writer refutes the chorus of critics who lament the death of the book by consistently reinvigorating literary innovation. The following are selections from The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature that show possible paths for (thinking about) new writing that engages with its medium. —Ben Segal, Editor THE CUBE Even the most radical non-linear texts have tended to exploit or subvert only the sequential possibilities of print—from the continuous loop of Joyce's Finnegans Wake to the shuffled cards of Marc Saporta's Composition No. 1 —but The Cube takes such multiplicities to an entirely new level. Set in a grid, the book's words can be read conventionally, across the page, as well as down each column—with either route making complete grammatical sense. But they can also be read as stacked strata and mined like lexical core samples through the layered pages of the book. Each path tells the same story from a different perspective (the narrative, naturally, hinges on the potential outcomes of a throw of cubed dice). By opening up the z-axis to reading in this way, The Cube recognizes the book as a three-dimensional sculptural space. Taking its lead from Armand Schwerner's (If Personal) and Raymond Queneau's Cent mille milliards de poèmes , The Cube reads like a experiment by Christian Bök precision printed by Emily McVarish. Craig Dworkin is the editor, most recently, of The Consequence of Innovation: 21st Century Poetics (Roof Books, 2008), The Sound of Poetry/The Poetry of Sound , with Marjorie Perloff (U. Chicago Press, 2009), and Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing , with Kenneth Goldsmith (Northwestern UP, 2010). He teaches at the University of Utah. HE GOES In He Goes , we read notes, letters and e-mails from a scholar father to his novelist daughter. We read of the father's musings on Beckett, on Pinter, on Anne Frank; his description of a woman hanging laundry from a line. We read about his journey toward dying, followed by a brief, third person account of his death, and his obituary. Then a long series of blank pages that demand to be read in real time, non-sentence by non-sentence, blank page by blank page. Finally—and it is here that this peculiar little book begins to soar—the dead father writes to his as-of-yet-still-living daughter. He does not write from death. He does not write from life. The words unprint, unstamp, unkindle. Still, they require no translation. The father "writes" (for lack of a better word) about the serendipitous, the commonplace; he recommends another book. He jokes. He asks his daughter how her stomach is. He says forget about presence in absence, darling; screw words as memorial and the guys in garbage cans and loss as redemption and I can't go on I must go on. He goes, "Love, Fodder." He goes, "incidentally." He goes, "I thought you might like to know." Elizabeth Graver is the author of a story collection, Have You Seen Me? , and three novels: Unravelling ; The Honey Thief ; and Awake . Her work has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories , Best American Essays , and Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards . She teaches at Boston College. THE PAPER ARCHIVIST A stunning package and a triumph of imagination, The Paper Archivist at times looks to be less a book than an abstract expressionist painting. Softly bound, its contents unfold to a single sheet of uneven thickness and texture—a canvas splattered with colored lines, stickers, broken sentences, and nonsense pictographs. But by following the directions to fold, dip, smell, rub, scratch, and tear the sheet according to the contingencies of the weather and using only the objects at hand, the reader slowly brings the forces hidden in the noise into a glorious sculptural convergence, processing a different story and shape each time. This is the rare book that continues to stir, whirl, and pop on every new reading. Sean Higgins blogs at BOMBlog where he is responsible for the column Volumes and Territories, as well as Ghost Island , a fledgling collaborative intellectual collective. THE SLOW BOOK The Slow Book , written by an anonymous author at the dawn of literacy, on a minor planet (otherwise notable only as the source of that exceptionally hardy, not very tasty grain called “shef” sowed on hostile planets as an early step to colonization), and encoded into a series of punctures on a strip of copper coiled inside a clever device, something between a player piano and an old-fashioned film projector, is being released into print, as was the author’s intention, at a rate of one word per century (local time). Each word is, across the Forty Galaxies, agreed to be uncannily apt for the century in which it appears—even “of,” in a century during which the highest value was attached to fidelity, whether to ideals, worlds, or romantic love; even “the,” which governed two centuries, one extraordinarily materialistic, during which advances in propulsion and navigation accelerated the exchange of exceptional objects between the remotest planets of the Forty, and one in which the central concern, both of philosophers and the common man, was whether, in an age of rapidly proliferating hypothetical worlds, anyone or anything concretely existed at all. Even those words published long before interstellar contact can be seen in retrospect to have transgalactic pertinence. As a result, attempts to abstract the machine from its publishers, Hobson & Hui, in order to “predict the future” for insight or gain by “fast- forwarding” the copper strip have been many and ingenious. While, in centuries of skepticism (“maybe”), or of unrest (“go”) the book has been nearly forgotten, in others it seems to haunt every thought, every deed, despite the fact that the subject of The Slow Book is still unclear. So far only a few sentences exist in print; everyone knows them, can quote them, offer the standard exegeses and assorted heresies; yet certainties are the stuff of adolescence; mature readers are forced to acknowledge that these sentences are probably only a preamble to the main argument. They contain no proper nouns, nor can we identify any definite theme. There is even disagreement about their tone, whether coolly ironic, as some insist, or ardent. The appearance of an unusual grammatical case, sometimes called the future pluperfect continuous, used to describe events that at some future point will have always been true (but are not yet)—hitherto known to appear only in the synthetic dogmas of the Thanatographical Society, and in certain highly circumscribed religious contexts—has suggested to some scholars that the Slow Book was originally intended for ritual use, but the proximity of the usage to a term designating a small hand plow that, as Pott and Mielcke have convincingly shown, would have borne a distinctly obscene double meaning in its culture of origin in the author’s time, argues otherwise. It is likewise unclear whether the situation that seems to be—with teasing incompleteness—sketched out in these few lines is intended as an illustration of general principles, a case study, a dramatic scene, or an extended metaphor. In short, we have no idea what The Slow Book is about. In our own time, we believe that it is almost certainly a work of fiction, but that may be because we live in the century of “if”. In each age, perhaps, we see the book we most need to read. Some have dared to suggest that the metal strip is blank until, with millennial fanfare, it advances into its new position, that no ur-text exists, that the book itself is brought into being—written—by our need. But that is exactly the sort of thing we would believe, in 7645. Shelley Jackson is the author of the story collection The Melancholy of Anatomy , the novel Half Life , and hypertexts including Patchwork Girl . The recipient of a Howard Foundation grant, a Pushcart Prize, and the 2006 James Tiptree Jr Award, she has also written and illustrated several children's books, including The Old Woman and the Wave ; Sophia, the Alchemist's Dog ; and Mimi's Dada Catifesto . Her stories and essays have appeared in Conjunctions , McSweeney's , The Paris Review , and Cabinet Magazine . In 2004 she launched her project SKIN , a story published in tattoos on 2095 volunteers. THE BOOK OF SOUNDS The Book of Sounds is just that: a book of sounds made when letters are construed in new ways to bring forth out of the alphabet new forms of speech. A book meant to be read out loud, The Book of Sounds is not unlike Laurie Anderson's O Superman or Brian Eno's Music for Airports in its attempt to make music out of the most primary and simplest of methods. It breaks language down to its barest bones and makes out of the page a drum that has never before been beaten upon. Peter Markus is the author of a novel, Bob, or Man on Boat (Dzanc Books) as well as two books of short fiction, Good, Brother and The Singing Fish , both of which were published by Calamari Press. A new collection of stories, We Make Mud , is now available from Dzanc Books. PARADISE OF THE BLIND by Celan Solen Although the reclusive Celan Solen published his first and only book in 1963—paying out-of-pocket for a limited edition of the slim collection No One May Have the Same Knowledge Again —he remained in American obscurity for almost three decades. In 1992 a micro-press in Istanbul brought out No One in Turkish. A German translation followed in 1995. Soon it became clear in literary circles Solen was a world-class (if highly unclassifiable) artist—lyrical, dense, enigmatic—who could undo the conventional short story in 397 words by inventing impossible worlds housed in impossible whirls (in “Small Sadnesses,” a single chartreuse tree frog in Borneo unknowingly holds time together by its very presence in the universe, while each letter of its tale refers, not to itself, but to the one preceding it in the alphabet). By his disappearance last year, Solen was considered master by a generation of writers and critics (except, alas, for those gentlemen in the Swedish Academy). Imagine, then, that generation’s delight at the discovery, locked away in the author’s safe-deposit box, of his second and final composition. Had Lynch’s Lost Highway been book instead of film, and had it been penned by Beckett at his least certain, revised by Barthelme at his most formally deranged, and typeset by Derrida at his most semiotically catastrophic, the result might have been something like Paradise of the Blind : interlacing narratives of a man composed of borrowed organs (whose most cheerless and difficult to locate, god, could only have been invented by an empty heart), a nonexistent medieval painting blamed for the ruin of future hope, and the spread of a philosophy that holds earth a mistake constantly recurring in the dream of a fish lying on the floor of the Atlantic (if the fish wakes, our world winks off)—all contained in a text packed with typed-over passages, torn postcards, poems that can be deciphered only when held up to a mirror, pages ornamented with trompe-l'œil paperclips and coffee stains and buzzing houseflies, some busy with illegible runes that dissolve when exposed to light, three that smell like roses or lemons (depending on whether a man or woman is reading), two that stain with the bloody fingerprints of the those who handle them, one that ignites when brushed with breath, thirteen sewn from baby skin, one that moans when touched, and one that screams—yet all without mass, unimaginable, and invisible. Lance Olsen is author of more than 20 books of and about innovative fiction, including, most recently, the novels Calendar of Regrets (2010) and Head in Flames (2009). He teaches experimental narrative theory and practice at the University of Utah. SUPERSTRUCTURE! by Barbara D'Albi As soon as I opened the third drawer of Barbara D'Albi's wooden novel, everything became hopeless. Now in Ithaca, there was no going back. And it wasn't just the intricate series of shelves, hinged doors and locked drawers which D'Albi layered into the book, no, lo, I was constructed anew by the story. Who else but D'Albi to imagine a God who becomes a carpenter and gets killed?! And makes it good! You want stories? D'Albi is a skyscraper, built with planes and levers. Momentarily I wondered where I could shelve this book, and then I thought: no matter; I couldn't put it down. Adam Robinson lives in Baltimore, where he runs Publishing Genius. He is the author of Adam Robison and Other Poems and Say, Poem. 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Elizabeth Anscombe is among the most distinguished and original philosophers alive today. Her work has ranged over many areas of philosophy, including metaphysics, ethics, the philosophy of mind and action, and the philosophy of religion. In each of these areas she has made seminal contributions. The essays in this book reflect the breadth of her interests and the esteem in which she is held by her colleagues. The distinguished contributors include Michael Dunnett, Nancy Cartwright, Peter Geach and Philippa Foot; (...) and Professor Anscombe's essay 'Making True' is published here for the first time. (shrink)
: Elizabeth Spelman has famously argued against gender realism (the view that women have some feature in common that makes them women). By and large, feminist philosophers have embraced Spelman's arguments and deemed gender realist positions counterproductive. To the contrary, Mikkola shows that Spelman's arguments do not in actual fact give good reason to reject gender realism in general. She then suggests a way to understand gender realism that does not have the adverse consequences feminist philosophers commonly think gender (...) realist positions have. (shrink)
One of the most important philosophers of recent times, Elizabeth Anscombe wrote books and articles on a wide range of topics, including the ground-breaking monograph Intention. Her work is original, challenging, often difficult, always insightful; but it has frequently been misunderstood, and its overall significance is still not fully appreciated. This book is the first major study of Anscombe's philosophical oeuvre. In it, Roger Teichmann presents Anscombe's main ideas, bringing out their interconnections, elaborating and discussing their implications, pointing out (...) objections and difficulties, and aiming to give a unified overview of her philosophy. Many of Anscombe's arguments are relevant to contemporary debates, as Teichmann shows, and on a number of topics what Anscombe has to say constitutes a powerful alternative to dominant or popular views. Among the writings discussed are Intention, "Practical Inference," "Modern Moral Philosophy," "Rules, Rights and Promises," "On Brute Facts," "The First Person," "The Intentionality of Sensation," "Causality and Determination," An Introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus, "The Question of Linguistic Idealism," and a number of other pieces, including some that are little known or hard to obtain. A complete bibliography of Anscombe's writings is also included. Ranging from the philosophy of action, through ethics, to philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and the philosophy of logic and language, this book is a study of one of the most significant bodies of work in modern philosophy, spanning more than fifty years, and as pertinent today as ever. (shrink)
In Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence, I argued that coming into existence is always a harm and that procreation is wrong. In this paper, I respond to those of my critics to whom I have not previously responded. More specifically, I engage the objections of Tim Bayne, Ben Bradley, Campbell Brown, David DeGrazia, Elizabeth Harman, Chris Kaposy, Joseph Packer and Saul Smilansky.
(1999). Princess Elizabeth and Descartes: The union of soul and body and the practice of philosophy. British Journal for the History of Philosophy: Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 503-520. doi: 10.1080/09608789908571042.
Hanoch Ben-Yami has argued that the theory of the semantics of natural kind terms proposed by Kripke and Putnam is false and has proposed an allegedly novel account of the semantics of kind terms. In this article, I critically examine Ben-Yami’s arguments. I will argue that Ben-Yami’s objections do not show that Kripke and Putnam’s theory is false, but at most that the specific versions of it held by Kripke and Putnam have some weaknesses. Moreover, I will argue that Ben-Yami’s (...) account is not a novel account but it is only an unsatisfactory version of Kripke and Putnam’s theory. (shrink)
Many nonanthropocentric environmental ethicists subscribe to a ``principle-ist'''' approach to moral argument, whereby specific natural resource and environmental policy judgments are deduced from the prior articulation of a general moral principle. More often than not, this principle is one requiring the promotion of the intrinsic value of nonhuman nature. Yet there are several problems with this method of moral reasoning, including the short-circuiting of reflective inquiry and the disregard of the complex nature of specific environmental problems and policy arguments. In (...) the present paper, we advance an alternative, pragmatic contextualist approach to environmental ethics, one grounded in the moral theory of John Dewey. We present the results of an empirical study of public environmental ethics and natural resource management attitudes to support our position, and we conclude with a few recommendations for future inquiry in the field of environmental ethics. (shrink)
I much appreciated Elizabeth Schier's paper on Frank Jackson's knowledge argument, published in the January 2008 issue of Journal of Consciousness Studies (Schier, 2008) -- in part, I confess, because of resonances with my gestalt argument for free will (Hodgson, 2001; 2002; 2005; 2007a,b). I would like to offer two comments on this paper.
Extracts This article introduces an issue of Christian bioethics which examines the significance of Elizabeth Anscombe's classic article, “Modern Moral Philosophy”, on the 50th anniversary of its publication. The manifold influences of this article are explored in some detail and the current status of the three famous theses put forward by Anscombe in the article is assessed. This article also briefly introduces the other articles in this issue and loactes them within the general framework of contemporary discussions of Anscombe's (...) work. (shrink)
Theodore Roszak's compelling parable, The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein, provides an (eco)-feminist view of the “Night of the Living Dead Model” and suggests that only the equal union of “masculine” and “feminine” energies will help us resolve the current eco-crisis. This article further explores the consequences of the highly masculinized post-Enlightenment rationalism as demonstrated in Roszak's novel. Although this article agrees that there is a dangerous imbalance between natural/spiritual and scientific/rational viewpoints, it also stresses that the extreme genderification of (...) these energies is potentially problematic. (shrink)
Psychology's fascination with memory and its imperfections dates back further than we can remember. The first careful experimental studies of memory were published in 1885 by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, and tens of thousands of memory studies have been conducted since. What has been learned, and what might the future of memory be?
Elizabeth Corey suggests that in order to understand Michael Oakeshott's worldview one should pay special attention to two subjects, religion and aesthetics, and analyze the connection between these two realms and the idea of practical life in general and of politics in particular. Her book provides a sympathetic but also critical conversation with Oakeshott's ideas, ultimately offering us a coherent picture of the place of the religious, poetical, and political in the totality of his thought. Corey persuasively shows that (...) the major ideas of the mature Oakeshott originated in his earlier religious convictions and that his philosophy of aesthetics, contrary to what his critics claimed, fit nicely in the general framework of his thought. (shrink)
Cornell realists claim, among other things, that moral knowledge can be acquired in the same basic way that scientific knowledge is acquired. Recently in this journal Elizabeth Tropman has presented two arguments against this claim. In the present article, I attempt to show that the first argument attacks a straw man and the second mischaracterizes the Cornell realists' epistemology and ends up begging the question. I close by suggesting that, given Tropman's own apparent views, her objections are also probably (...) misplaced. (shrink)
Few disputes in the annals of US environmentalism enjoy the pedigree of the conservation-preservation debate. Yet, although many scholars have written extensively on the meaning and history of conservation and preservation in American environmental thought and practice, the resonance of these concepts outside the academic literature has not been sufficiently examined. Given the significance of the ideals of conservation and preservation in the justification of environmental policy and management, however, we believe that a more detailed analysis of the real-world use (...) and understanding of these ideas is needed. In this paper, we describe the results of a qualitative, semantic study of the concepts of conservation and preservation undertaken in the context of the Chattahoochee National Forest (CNF), located in northern Georgia (USA). Thirty in-depth interviews were conducted with scientists and north Georgia residents either interested or involved in the future management of the forest. Respondents were asked to define conservation and preservation in their own words and to indicate which approach they felt was more appropriate for the management of the CNF. Qualitative content analysis was used to elicit a set of recurring themes for each foundational concept. Taken together, these themes help to flesh out the meaning of conservation and preservation for citizens and scientists today, and illustrate the evolving nature of two of the more significant and venerable ideas animating US environmental policy and management. (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 African Americans and their supporters created through the civil rights 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)
This is a reply to H. Ben-Yami, 'Generalized quantifiers, and beyond' (this journal, 2009), where he argues that standard GQ theory does not explain why natural language quantifiers have a restricted domain of quantification. I argue, on the other hand, that although GQ theory gives no deep explanation of this fact, it does give a sort of explanation, whereas Ben-Yami's suggested alternative is no improvement.
This paper explores the way that Elizabeth Presa's artworks respond to Jacques Derrida's thought. By examining how the particularity (the beside) and its supplements (the besides) operate in Presa's works, it is shown how this movement between beside and besides is also central to Derrida's thought.
It has long been considered that Arabic algebra scarcely left any traces in mathematical literature of Hebrew expression. Thanks to the unpublished sources we have discovered, and to an attentive examination of already-known texts, one can no longer subscribe to such a judgement. The evidence we examine in this first article sheds light on the circulation, in erudite Jewish circles, of Arabic algebraic knowledge in Spain, Italy, Provence, and Sicily, between the 12th and the 14th centuries. The Epistle on number (...) by the Castillian astronomer Isaac ben Salomon al-A[hudot]dab was written in Sicily at the end of the 14th century, and based on the Talkhi[sudot] a'mal al-[hudot]isab of Ibn al-Banna' (1256-1321). That part of the Epistle that is devoted to algebra follows the tradition of al-Karaji. It offers, for the first time in Hebrew, a rational presentation of arithmetical operations extended to algebraic expressions. (shrink)
Dr Hillel Steiner in this reply to Elizabeth Telfer takes each of her arguments for different arrangements of a health service and examines them--'four positions which can be located on a linear ideological spectrum'--and adds a fifth which could have the effect of 'turning the alleged linear spectrum into a circle'. Underlying both Elizabeth Telfer's article and Dr Steiner's reply, the base is inescapably a 'political' one, but cannot be abandoned in favour of purely philosophical concepts. Whatever the (...) attitude of mind of the reader of these two papers to the provision of a health service, the stimulus to more careful assessments of our own National Health Service and its problems can only be good. (shrink)
This paper is a philosophical reconstruction of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese's thinking about women and feminism, and an inquiry into whether there is a conservative form of feminism. The paper argues that Fox-Genovese's endorsement of conventional social forms (like traditional marriage, motherhood, and sexual morality) contrasts strongly with feminism's criticism of these forms, and feminism's claim that they should be transformed. The paper concludes, however, that one need not call Fox-Genovese's thought "feminist" to recognize it as serious advocacy on behalf of (...) women and to include it in discussions about what is good for women. (shrink)
Ben Zoma's mishnah is astounding from a number of different but interrelated perspectives. He indirectly addresses four of the most central, vexing questions emerging out of human experience—What is wisdom, knowledge, truth? What is strength, power, courage? What is wealth, exalted status? What is honor, reputation?—and manages to turn the questions on their head and resist answering them. His first move in this strategy of resistance is to transform inquiry into these various qualities and attributes into an investigation of the (...) person claiming or aspiring to possess them. This displacement is momentous. Instead of there being a known, finite, delimited…. (shrink)
Victorian poets Elizabeth Barrett (1806-1861) and Robert Browning (1812-1889) first fell in love through letters, which they began to write to each other in 1845 (Figures 1 and 2). Their growing relationship, slowly progressing from letter to first encounter and eventual secret marriage in 1846, is documented in two volumes of letters, with a plot that unfolds as warmly and compellingly as the best page-turner invented by a novelist. Both were master wordsmiths, so the beauty of their letters is (...) no surprise. But one reason Barrett Browning was such a prolific correspondent is that she spent much of her life housebound, due to an illness whose nature was never truly explained when she was alive and that has been .. (shrink)
The Estrogen Elixir: A History of Hormone Replacement Therapy in America by Elizabeth Siegel Watkins is a thoroughly documented cautionary tale of the information and advice offered to women in the perimenopausal period of their life, and the consequences of exposure to sexual hormones on their health and wellbeing.
Ben Rich, J.D., Ph.D., presents a scholarly, passionate view of the ethics of the His manuscript is detailed, analytical, and compassionate. No reasonable sensitive person, especially a physician committed to caring for patients, can disagree with the proposal that human beings should have their physical, emotional, and spiritual pain tended to aggressively, meticulously, and compassionately. Similarly, the same individuals advocating for such pain management would agree that no one should go to jail unless he or she is guilty of a (...) serious crime, that decent people should not be robbed or murdered, that children should not be hungry or homeless, and that all citizens of the United States deserve healthcare. Our society attempts to achieve these goals. Laws are written, discussed, and approved by state and federal congresses, voted on by citizens, and theoretically upheld by the courts, churches, and decent individuals. But, unless the world suddenly becomes inhabited by virtuous, ethical humans who can unfailingly differentiate from then, in spite of an abundance of laws and lawyers, doctors, and nurses, this world will continue to have pain and suffering. And, although we want to hold our doctors, politicians, educators, champion athletes, and others to than the average citizen, it is best to remind ourselves frequently that all humans can be weak and are bound to make imprecise judgments, that there is not a homogenous definition of that values and religious beliefs are variable. (shrink)
This memorial tribute reflects on the personal and intellectual qualities of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (1941–2007), who was the author's teacher. Higginbotham says that her first impressions of Fox-Genovese, formed in a graduate seminar in European history at the University of Rochester in the mid-1970s, have been lasting impressions. The seminar introduced patterns of thought and behavior that proved consistent over the years, despite Fox-Genovese's several shifts in the past three decades—from Marxist to non-Marxist, historian of France to historian of antebellum (...) Southern women, feminist to nonfeminist, and religious agnostic to devout Catholic. Higginbotham discusses political theorist C. B. McPherson's idea of “possessive individualism” and its influence on Fox-Genovese's steadfast belief that individual rights derive from society (rather than innate nature) and that the concept of individualism maintains a contradictory and fraught relationship between individual and community. Her analysis and political positions often distanced her from her colleagues. But in this meditation on a brilliant mind and complex life, Higginbotham observes that Fox-Genovese never abandoned the tendency to speak openly and candidly, and thus to present herself vulnerable to the criticism of onlookers. (shrink)
To contribute to contemporary debates about the human self, historical constitutedness and capacity for critical agency, I turn to Niccolo Machiavelli's account of human virtuosity. There I retrieve a vision of political action that centres on a critically conscious intelligence or 'I' engaged in the continual fracturing and manipulation of identity. Machiavelli shows this critical intelligence to be something developed by way of a mental standpoint I call critical in-betweenness -- a disposition that imperfectly enables positive political innovation. To account (...) for what proves to be a non-modernist Machiavellian view of a multiplicitous and capacious self, I turn to one of Machiavelli's ancient influences, Cicero, and his theory of four personae. I then further illuminate such virtuoso capacities for political innovation by way of a case study, Elizabeth Tudor of England. Finally, I briefly link this discussion to late/post-modern political and social theory, and to issues of democratic citizenship and education. (shrink)
This article critically discusses of Ben Berger’s , making two main claims. First, I argue that his conceptual distinctions ought to be further developed in order to be able to distinguish between, on the one hand, politically legitimate moral ends (i.e., ones that are suitable objects of political engagement) and, on the other hand, other moral ends that ought to be pursued only through social engagement. To help with this task I consider the significance of the difference between what I (...) refer to as ethical reasoning and justice reasoning, and I sketch a fourfold distinction between types of justice. Second, I argue that Berger does not give adequate emphasis to the government side of the task of making political engagement more efficacious. In addition to his worthwhile recommendations for increasing the social capital of the many, we should also be concerned to determine how best to limit, or, better, remove, the now massive political influence of the financial capital of America’s wealthiest. (shrink)