Introduction: is multiculturism good for anyone? -- Do people like their cultures? -- A philosophical prelude: what is multiculturalism? -- The costs of multiculturalism -- The diversity trap: why everybody wants to be an X -- White privilege and the asymmetry of choice -- Communities: respecting the establishment of religion -- Multiculturalism and the good life -- The cult of cultural self-affirmation -- Identity-making -- Identity politics: the making of a mystique -- Policy.
Nozick’s Experience Machine thought experiment is generally taken to make a compelling, if not conclusive, case against philosophical hedonism. I argue that it does not and, indeed, that regardless of the results, it cannot provide any reason to accept or reject either hedonism or any other philosophical account of wellbeing since it presupposes preferentism, the desire-satisfaction account of wellbeing. Preferentists cannot take any comfort from the results of such thought experiments because they assume preferentism and therefore cannot establish it. Neither (...) can anyone else, since only a preferentistshould accept the terms of the thought experiment. (shrink)
There appear to be at least two important disanalogies between the situation of women and that of racial and ethnic minorities whose members are generally regarded as paradigmatic victims of oppression. First, in the case of oppressed racial and ethnic minorities it is relatively easy to identify the oppressors and the policies which serve to keep the oppressed in their place; it is not so easy to determine who the oppressors of women are--surely men are not universally blameworthy--nor even to (...) ascertain which policies are oppressive. Secondly, unlike most members of disadvantaged racial and ethnic minorities, many women seem actively to support the very policies and institutions which contribute to their oppression. (shrink)
Currently a number of feminists in philosophy and religious studies as well as other academic disciplines have argued that policies, practices and doctrines assumed to be sexneutral are in fact male-biased. Thus, Rosemary Reuther, reflecting on the development of theology in the Judeo-Christian tradition suggests that the long-term exclusion of women from leadership and theological education has rendered the “official theological culture” repressive to women and dismissive of women’s experience: “To begin to take women seriously,” she notes, “will involve a (...) profound and radical transformation of our religions.”3 Such a project exists in tension with what is generally regarded as Christian orthodoxy and so, as Reuther suggests, challenges the assumptions and categories of traditional theology. (shrink)
The use of “inclusive language” in Christian discourse poses the question of whether gender is theologically salient in the sense of either revealing theologically significant differences between men and women or prescribing different roles for them.
I was an altar girl at St. Mary the Virgin, New York City–one of the first, in fact. In the mid‑70s, one of my friends approached the Rector and negotiated a deal: we women, who were interested in acolyting, would be allowed to serve at mass during the week, in street clothes, on the condition that we form and staff an altar guild.
There are two ways in which working parents reconcile the conflicting demands of job and family: (1) they may use their earnings to pay others to care for their children or (2) they may organize their work situations in ways designed to render them more compatible with the duties of childcare. Men have traditionally adopted the first strategy providing financial support for their wives in exchange for childcare and other services. Women, by and large, have adopted the second approach, sometimes (...) in combination with the first, thus women with young children have gone free-lance or entered into other arrangements to enable them to work from their homes, they have entered into job-sharing arrangements or otherwise curtailed their hours on the job and, most importantly, they have taken extended leave from the job in order to devote themselves exclusively to childcare, often under the rubric of "maternity leave.". (shrink)
Critics suggest that without some “objective” account of well-being we cannot explain why satisfying some preferences is, as we believe, better than satisfying others, why satisfying some preferences may leave us on net worse off or why, in a range of cases, we should reject life-adjustment in favor of life-improvement. I defend a subjective welfarist understanding of well-being against such objections by reconstructing the Amartya Sen’s capability approach as a preferentist account of well-being. According to the proposed account preference satisfaction (...) alone—possible as well as actual—is of value. States of affairs contribute to well-being because and to the extent that they satisfy actual or nearby possible preferences, and are fruitful, that is, compatible with a range states that satisfy further actual or nearby possible preferences. The proposed account solves the problem of adaptive preference. Individuals whose preferences are “deformed” are satisfied with fruitless states of affairs, which constrain their options so that they are incapable of satisfying a wide range of nearby possible preferences—preferences they “could easily have had.” Recognizing the value of capabilities as well as actual attainments allows us to explain why individuals who satisfy “deformed” or perverse preferences may not on net benefit from doing so. More fundamentally, it explains why some states are, as Sen suggests, bad, awful or gruesome while others are good, excellent or superb without appeal to any objective account of value. (shrink)
I argue on utilitarian grounds that while traditional constraints on heterosexual activity, including the prohibition of pre-marital sex and divorce may be justified by appeal to purely secular principles, no comparable prohibitions are justified as regards homosexual activity. Homosexuality is in this respect.
I argue that to be compelled to do routine work is to be gravely harmed. Indeed, that pink-collar work is a more serious harm to women (...) class='Hi'>than rape. My purpose is to urge politically active feminists and feminist organizations to arrange their priorities accordingly and devote most of their resources to working for the elimination of sex segregation in employment. (shrink)
It is difficult to reconcile claims about the Father's role as the progenitor of Trinitarian Persons with commitment to the equality of the persons, a problem that is especially acute for Social Trinitarians. I propose a metatheological account of the doctrine of the Trinity that facilitates the reconciliation of these two claims. On the proposed account, ‘Father’ is systematically ambiguous. Within economic contexts, those which characterize God's relation to the world, ‘Father’ refers to the First Person of the Trinity; within (...) theological contexts, which purport to describe intra-Trinitarian relations, it refers to the Trinity in toto-thus in holding that the Son and Holy Spirit proceed from the Father we affirm that the Trinity is the source and unifying principle of Trinitarian Persons. While this account is solves a nagging problem for Social Trinitarians it is theologically minimalist to the extent that it is compatible with both Social Trinitarianism and Latin Trinitarianism, and with heterodox Modalist and Tri-theist doctrines as well. Its only theological cost is incompatibility with the Filioque Clause, the doctrine that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son—and arguably that may be a benefit. (shrink)
Women in the labor force are at a disadvantage not only because of continuing discrimination in hiring and promotion, but because of factors extrinsic to the labor market hence adjusting conditions within the labor market will not completely eliminate women's disadvantage. Because, unlike most men, most women do not have spouses to take on the major responsibility of running their homes and caring for their children, the costs of working outside the home, particularly in a professional or managerial capacity, are (...) greater for women than they are for men. Thus, even if ongoing discrimination in the labor market were eliminated, through affirmative action policies or other such remedies, women would still be as a disadvantage relative to men.For women, the costs and benefits of behaving like men are different than they are for their male counterparts. To the extent that the costs and benefits of various policies of action are not the same for women as they are for men, men and women are not equal, therefore, arguably, it is not fair to treat them equally. (shrink)
I argue, first, that the deprived individuals whose predicaments Nussbaum cites as examples of "adaptive preference" do not in fact prefer the conditions of their lives to what we should regard as more desirable alternatives, indeed that we believe they are badly off precisely because they are not living the lives they would prefer to live if they had other options and were aware of them. Secondly, I argue that even where individuals in deprived circumstances acquire tastes for conditions that (...) we regard as bad, they are typically better off having their acquired preferences satisfied. If they are badly off it is because they cannot get what we and they, would regard as more desirable alternatives. Preference utilitarianism explains why individuals in such circumstances are badly off whether they have adapted to their deprived circumstances or not. Even if they prefer the conditions of their lives to all other available alternatives, most would prefer alternatives that are not available to them which would, on the preferentist account, make them better off. And that, on the preferentist account, is the basis for a radical critique of unjust institutions that limit people's options and prevent them from getting what they want. (shrink)
Ideologues of the American Dream doctrine assume that state intervention aimed at providing social safety nets for citizens and reducing economic inequality, restricts freedom and undermines individual opportunity. This assumption is the result of empirical misinformation and, more fundamentally, a conceptual mistake. Robust empirical data indicate that economic equality, far from stifling initiative or undermining opportunity, is conducive to social mobility.
Presence as ordinarily understood requires spatio-temporal proximity. If however Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is understood as spatio-temporal proximity it would take a miracle to secure multiple location and an additional miracle to cover it up so that the presence of Christ wherever the Eucharist was celebrated made no empirical difference. And, while multiple location is logically possible, such metaphysical miracles—miracles of distinction without difference, which have no empirical import—are problematic. I propose an account of Eucharist according to which Christ (...) is indeed really and objectively present in the religiously required sense, without benefit of metaphysical miracles. (shrink)
Preferentism is the doctrine that "in deciding what is good and what is bad for a given individual, the ultimate criterion can only be his own wants and his own preferences." If preferentism is true then it would seem to follow that modifying a person's preferences so that they are satisfied by what is on offer should be as good as improving the circumstances of her life to satisfy her preferences. Our intuitive response to stories of life-adjustment through brainwashing, psychosurgery (...) and the like suggests otherwise. I sketch a broadly preferentist account drawing upon Sen's (non-preferentist) capability approach that resists such putative counterexamples. (shrink)
members of minorities to divest themselves of features of their “identities” in order to approx- imate to a restrictive white male ideal which, they hold, should not be a requirement for fair treatment and social beneﬁts. I argue that this concern is unwarranted and that “Integration” with respect to gender, as I shall understand it, is overall more conducive to the happiness of both men and women than what I shall call “Diversity”.
Presence as ordinarily understood requires spatio-temporal proximity. If however Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is understood in this way it would take a miracle to secure multiple location and an additional miracle to cover it up so that the presence of Christ where the Eucharist was celebrated made no empirical difference. And, while multiple location is logically possible, such metaphysical miracles—miracles of distinction without difference, which have no empirical import—are problematic. I propose an account of Eucharist according to which Christ (...) is indeed really and objectively present in the religiously required sense, without benefit of metaphysical miracles. According to the proposed account, which draws upon Searle’s discussion of “social ontology” in The Construction of Social Reality and The Making of the Social World, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is an institutional fact. I argue that such an account satisfies the requirements for a real presence doctrine. (shrink)
The rise of chauvinist, bigoted and sectarian politics in India coincided with the critique and blanket dismissal of modern science by some Indian intellectuals. The elective affinities between these two developments and the larger global intellectual and politial context have been analyzed in great detail by Meera Nanda. This paper provides a critical examination and appreciation of the enormous intellectual and political significance of Nanda's work.
Nozick’s Experience Machine thought experiment is generally taken to make a compelling, if not conclusive, case against philosophical hedonism. I argue that it does not and, indeed, that regardless of the results, it cannot provide any reason to accept or reject either hedonism or any other philosophical account of wellbeing since it presupposes preferentism, the desire-satisfaction account ofwellbeing. Preferentists cannot take any comfort from the results of such thought experiments because they assume preferentism and therefore cannot establish it. Neither can (...) anyone else, since only a preferentistshould accept the terms of the thought experiment. (shrink)
In Ethics in the Sanctuary, Margaret Battin argues that traditional evangelism, directed to promoting religious belief, practice, and affiliation, that is proselytizing, is morally questionable to the extent that it involves unwarranted paternalism in the interests of securing other-worldly benefits for potential converts. I argue that Christian evangelism is justified in order to make the this-worldly benefits of religious belief and practice available to everyone, to bring about an increase in religious affiliation for the purpose of providing a more supportive (...) social environment for Christians, and to promote the survival of the institutional Church, which benefits Christians and nonChristians alike by maintaining church property, providing access to church buildings and doing liturgy visibly and publicly for the sake of all people. (shrink)
In Spring 2008 I went textbook-free. I linked all and only the readings for my Contemporary Analytic Philosophy course to the class website, along with powerpoints, handouts and external links to online resources.
The doctrine that Christ is really present in the Eucharist appears to entail that Christ's body is not only multiply located but present in different ways at different locations. Moreover, the doctrine poses an even more difficult meta-question: what makes a theological explanation of the Eucharist a account? Aquinas's defence of transubstantiation, perhaps the paradigmatic account, invokes Aristotelian metaphysics and the machinery of Scholastic philosophy. My aim is not to produce a of his analysis but rather to suggest a metaphysically (...) innocent alternative that will of religious belief and practice. (shrink)
Questions about the use of “inclusive language” in Christian discourse are trivial but the discussion which surrounds them raises an exceedingly important question, namely that of whether gender is theologically salient-whether Christian doctrine either reveals theologically significant differences between men and women or prescribes different roles for them. Arguably both conservative support for sex roles and allegedly progressive doctrines about the theological significance of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation are contrary to the radical teaching of the Gospel that in (...) Christ there is no male or female, Greek or Jew, slave or free man. (shrink)
: This essay considers the important role attributed to education in the writings of nineteenth-century feminist Harriet Taylor Mill. Taylor Mill connected ignorance to inequality between the sexes. She called up the specter of regression into lowness and ignorance when she associated feminism with progress. As she stressed the importance of education, she constructed an 'other' to feminism, variously associated with lowness, poverty, and the primitive. She made a case for the advantages of civilization (education, enfranchisement, equality) to be (...) opened up to women. Yet Taylor Mill's position that the ignorant poor, like all humans, should be in a position of so-called "perfect equality" drifted intermittently into the view that the elevation of women to perfect equality would refine and elevate the lower classes. (shrink)
A combination of social forces has thrown marriage into question in westernised societies at the end of the millennium. This uncertainty creates space for new ways of thinking about marriage. In this context, we examine the idea of marriage as friendship. We trace its genealogy in the work of Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor and then subject it to critical scrutiny using some of Michel de Montaigne’s ideas. We ask how applic- able the ideal of higher (...) friendship is to marriage and what might be gained and lost by a synthesis of marriage and friendship. Grounding the discussion in historical sources is valuable because the topic is so little explored in the contemporary philosophical literature. This approach also allows any enduring value in these historical texts to be elicited. (shrink)
Benner, Erica. Machiavelli’s Ethics. Princeton, 2009. 527p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780691141763, $75.00; ISBN 9780691141770 pbk, $35.00.
Reviewed in CHOICE, April 2010
This major new study of Machiavelli’s moral and political philosophy by Benner (Yale) argues that most readings of Machiavelli suffer from a failure to appreciate his debt to Greek sources, particularly the Socratic tradition of moral and political philosophy. Benner argues that when read in the light of his Greek sources, Machiavelli appears as much less the immoralist or (...) sophist he often is taken for and instead as a serious moral philosopher very much concerned with the republican ideals of justice and the rule of law. The author does not ignore Machiavelli’s more infamous dicta, but argues that a careful reading shows that they are expressions of views he ultimately rejects. Particularly noteworthy here is her careful attention to Machiavelli’s Florentine Histories. Benner’s reading of Machiavelli is far too complex and subtle for such a brief summary. Her research is meticulous and her arguments finely honed. This important contribution to both Machiavelli studies and the history of political philosophy will be indispensable for scholars. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and faculty/researchers. — B. T. Harding
"Machiavelli's Ethics is a superb scholarly book. Erica Benner does truly impressive work in analyzing Machiavelli's views on the most fundamental ethical issues--including necessity and virtue, justice and injustice, and ends and means. She shows, with very solid evidence, that Machiavelli did in fact worry a lot about justice and that he put it at the core of his republican theory."--Maurizio Viroli, author of Niccolò's Smile: A Biography of Machiavelli
"Machiavelli's Ethics is excellent--learned, subtle, highly original, and a constant pleasure to read. And, since it is really a study of Machiavelli's thought in its entirety, it is also the first book of its kind. Its originality lies in taking seriously the claim by some sixteenth- and seventeenth-century readers--notably Bacon, Spinoza, and Alberico Gentili--that Machiavelli was essentially a moral and political philosopher. Erica Benner does a brilliant job of resurrecting this neglected Machiavelli."--Giulia Sissa, University of California, Los Angeles
About the book, from the publisher: Machiavelli's Ethics challenges the most entrenched understandings of Machiavelli, arguing that he was a moral and political philosopher who consistently favored the rule of law over that of men, that he had a coherent theory of justice, and that he did not defend the "Machiavellian" maxim that the ends justify the means. By carefully reconstructing the principled foundations of his political theory, Erica Benner gives the most complete account yet of Machiavelli's thought. She argues that his difficult and puzzling style of writing owes far more to ancient Greek sources than is usually recognized, as does his chief aim: to teach readers not how to produce deceptive political appearances and rhetoric, but how to see through them. Drawing on a close reading of Greek authors--including Thucydides, Xenophon, Plato, and Plutarch--Benner identifies a powerful and neglected key to understanding Machiavelli.
This important new interpretation is based on the most comprehensive study of Machiavelli's writings to date, including a detailed examination of all of his major works: The Prince, The Discourses, The Art of War, and Florentine Histories. It helps explain why readers such as Bacon and Rousseau could see Machiavelli as a fellow moral philosopher, and how they could view The Prince as an ethical and republican text. By identifying a rigorous structure of principles behind Machiavelli's historical examples, the book should also open up fresh debates about his relationship to later philosophers, including Rousseau, Hobbes, and Kant. . (shrink)
Clinical Ethics and the Dynamics of Group Decision-Making: Applying the Psychological Data to Decisions Made by Ethics Committees Content Type Journal Article Pages 207-228 DOI 10.1007/s10730-009-9096-7 Authors Erica K. Rangel, Saint Louis University Department of Health Care Ethics 6333 North Rosebury Ave #3W St. Louis MO 63105 USA Journal HEC Forum Online ISSN 1572-8498 Print ISSN 0956-2737 Journal Volume Volume 21 Journal Issue Volume 21, Number 2.
We begin, in section 2, with a brief sketch of a cluster of assumptions about human desires, beliefs, actions, and motivation that are widely shared by historical and contemporary authors on both sides in the debate. With this as background, we’ll be able to offer a more sharply focused account of the debate. In section 3, our focus will be on links between evolutionary theory and the egoism/altruism debate. There is a substantial literature employing evolutionary theory on each side of (...) the issue. However, it is our contention that neither camp has offered a convincing case. We are much more sanguine about recent research on altruism in social psychology, which will be our topic in section 4. Though we don’t think this work has resolved the debate, we will argue that it has made illuminating progress – progress that philosophers interested in the question cannot afford to ignore. (shrink)
The approach to generative grammar originating with Chomsky (1957) has been enormously successful within linguistics. Seeing such success, one wonders whether a similar approach might help us understand other human domains besides language. One such domain is morality. Could there be universal generative moral grammar? More specifically, might it be useful to moral theory to develop an explicit generative account of parts of particular moralities in the way it has proved useful to linguistics to produce generative grammars for parts of (...) particular languages? Should moral theorists attempt to develop a theory of moral universals that is analogous to the theory of universal grammar in linguistics? Can moral theorists develop a “principles and parameters” account of possible moralities inspired by the principles and parameters approach to language in current linguistics? Could there be a “minimalist” program for moral theory inspired by the minimalist program in linguistics? In this chapter we offer a preliminary account of some analogies, focusing on clarifying issues, making distinctions, and considering how—in a general way—such analogies might yield a fruitful research program for moral theory. There are two main parts to our discussion, one focusing on an analogy between generative grammar and moral theory, the other focusing on analogies between universal grammar and theories of moral universals. In the first part, we say a little about the background and say how we are going to understand morality and moral theory. We describe certain aspects of generative grammar and how claims about generative grammars are tested, allowing for a distinction between “competence” and “performance”. We then try to say what a corresponding “generative moral grammar” would be and how it would be tested. We next discuss a number of objections to the analogy between moral theory and generative grammar and indicate possible responses. In the second part, we discuss certain universal constraints on grammars and consider whether there might be similar constraints on moralities. Then we discuss how linguists describe core aspects of languages in terms of principles and parameters and consider what aspects of moralities might be described in similar terms. After that we make some brief remarks about minimalism. (shrink)
We first describe recent empirical research on racial cognition, particularly work on implicit racial biases that suggests they are widespread, that they can coexist with explicitly avowed anti-racist and tolerant attitudes, and that they influence behavior in a variety of subtle but troubling ways. We then consider a cluster of questions that the existence and character of implicit racial biases raise for moral theory. First, is it morally condemnable to harbor an implicit racial bias? Second, ought each of us to (...) suspect ourselves of racial bias, and therefore correct for it in ordinary activity, such as grading student papers? (shrink)
The concept of valuing plays an important role in the way we think about people’s attitudes toward the things they care about most. We invoke this concept in sentences like: I value your friendship. We need to find a leader who truly values political equality. To live a good life, one must always return to the things one values most. Yet there also seem to be cases in which a person has a strong desire for a particular object but in (...) which we would not say that he or she ‘values’ this object. Thus, consider the typical heroin addict. It would sound wrong to say of such a person. (shrink)
Auguste Comte (1798–1857) is the founder of positivism, a philosophical and political movement which enjoyed a very wide diffusion in the second half of the nineteenth century. It sank into an almost complete oblivion during the twentieth, when it was eclipsed by neopositivism. However, Comte's decision to develop successively a philosophy of mathematics, a philosophy of physics, a philosophy of chemistry and a philosophy of biology, makes him the first philosopher of science in the modern sense, and his constant attention (...) to the social dimension of science resonates in many respects with current points of view. His political philosophy, on the other hand, is even less known, because it differs substantially from the classical political philosophy we have inherited. Comte's most important works are (1) the Course on Positive Philosophy (1830-1842, six volumes, translated and condensed by Harriet Martineau as The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte); (2) the System of Positive Polity, or Treatise on Sociology, Instituting the Religion of Humanity, (1851-1854, four volumes); and (3) the Early Writings (1820-1829), where one can see the influence of Saint-Simon, for whom Comte served as secretary from 1817 to 1824. The Early Writings are still the best introduction to Comte's thought. In the Course, Comte said, science was transformed into philosophy; in the System, philosophy was transformed into religion. The second transformation met with strong opposition; as a result, it has become customary to distinguish, with Mill, between a “good Comte” (the author of the Course) and a “bad Comte” (the author of the System). Today's common conception of positivism corresponds mainly to what can be found in the Course. (shrink)
Analogies are often theoretically useful. Important principles of electricity are suggested by an analogy between water current flowing through a pipe and electrical current “flowing” through a wire. A basic theory of sound is suggested by an analogy between waves caused by a stone being dropped into a still lake and “sound waves” caused by a disturbance in air.
The cheater-detection (CD) hypothesis suggests that people who otherwise perform poorly on the Wason selection task perform well when the task is couched in cheater-detection contexts. We report three studies with new selection problems that are similar to the originals but that question the CD hypothesis. The first two studies document a pattern heretofore attributed to CD mechanisms, namely good performance with “regular” rules and inferior performance with “switched” rules, all in problems that lack a cheater-detection context. The final study (...) finds an interaction: not only is good performance elicited on non-CD problems, but poor performance is found in the context of CD problems. Performance on the selection task cannot be predicted based on the presence or absence of cheater-detection contexts, which brings into question the need to invoke a specialised cheater-detection module. (shrink)
Recently Joshua Knobe and Erica Roedder found that folk attributions of valuing tend to vary according to the perceived moral goodness of the object of value. This is an interesting finding, but it remains unclear what, precisely, it means. Knobe and Roedder argue that it indicates that the concept MORAL GOODNESS is a feature of the concept VALUING. In this article, I present a study of folk attributions of desires and moral beliefs that undermines this conclusion. I then propose (...) the beginnings of an alternative interpretation of the data that appeals to intrinsic biases in our third-person mindreading mechanisms. (shrink)
According to Chomsky, creativity is a critical property of human language, particularly the aspect of ?the creative use of language? concerning the appropriateness to a situation. How language can be creative but appropriate to a situation is an unsolvable mystery from the Chomskyan point of view. We propose that language appropriateness can be explained by considering the role of the human capacity for Mental Time Travel at its foundation, together with social and ecological intelligences within a triadic language-grounding system. Our (...) proposal is based on the change of perspective from the analysis of individual sentences to the flux of speech in which the temporal dimension of language is much more relevant. (shrink)
Evidence-based medicine has beendefined as the conscientious and judicious useof current best evidence in making clinicaldecisions. This paper will attempt to explicatethe terms ``conscientious'''' and ``judicious''''within the evidence-based medicine definition.It will be argued that ``conscientious'''' and``judicious'''' represent virtue terms derived fromvirtue ethics and virtue epistemology. Theidentification of explicit virtue components inthe definition and therefore conception ofevidence-based medicine presents an importantstarting point in the connection between virtuetheories and medicine itself. In addition, aunification of virtue theories andevidence-based medicine will illustrate theneed for (...) future research in order to combinethe fields of virtue-based approaches andclinical practice. (shrink)
This article is a response to McLeod and Baylis (2007) who speculate on the dangers of requesting fresh ‘spare’ embryos from IVF patients for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, particularly when those embryos are good enough to be transferred back to the woman. They argue that these embryos should be frozen instead. We explore what is meant by ‘spare’ embryos. We then provide empirical evidence, from a study of embryo donation and of embryo donors' views, to substantiate some of (...) their speculations about the problems associated with requesting fresh embryos. However, we also question whether such problems are resolved by embryo freezing, since further empirical evidence suggests that this raises other social and ethical problems for patients. There is little evidence that the request for embryos for research, in itself, causes patients distress. We suggest, however, that no requests for fresh embryos should be made in the first cycle of IVF treatment. Deferring the request to a later cycle ensures that potential donors are better informed (by experience and reflection) about the possible destinations of their embryos and about the definition of ‘spare embryos’. Both this article, and that by McLeod and Baylis, emphasize the need to consider the views and experiences of embryo donors when evaluating the ethics of embryo donation for hESC research. (shrink)
The association between media literacy and media ethics is discussed in this essay, and data gathered from a media literacy study with 93 public school 6th-grade students are presented. The study details the introduction and evaluation of a media literacy program that was intended to encourage learning and critical thinking about media violence, using a selection of "high-risk" portrayal factors as a foundation. Statistical comparisons between preprogram and postprogram responses and between those participating and those in a control group show (...) some increases in the comprehension of key concepts used in the study of media violence and critical thinking about the topic. Open-ended responses also demonstrate enhanced sophistication in analyzing media violence after participating in the program. (shrink)
This paper charts the concepts of grip and the bodily auxiliary in Maurice Merleau-Ponty to consider how they find expression in disability narratives. Arguing against the notion of “maximal grip” that some commentators have used to explicate intentionality in Merleau-Ponty, I argue that grip in his texts functions instead as a compensatory effort to stave off uncertainty, lack of mastery, and ambiguity. Nearly without exception in Phenomenology of Perception, the mobilization of “grip” is a signal of impending loss, and is (...) offered as a strategy for managing failure rather than as an example of sure-footed mastery. I read Merleau-Ponty alongside Mary Felstiner's Out of Joint: A Public and Private Story of Arthritis to explore these other, attenuated dimensions of grip. Finally, the paper turns to Harriet McBryde Johnson's memoir Too Late to Die Young as an example of a way of thinking disabled embodiment otherwise. (shrink)
Central to Confucian teachings in the Analects is the ideal of self-cultivation—in particular that of the junzi 君子 (“gentleman” “nobleman”) ideal. At the same time that Confucius recommends that individuals follow such an ideal, he also places limits on who actually might attain it. By examining statements involving such terms as the junzi, the “petty man” ( xiao ren 小人), and the “masses” ( min 民, or zhong 眾), or common people, this essay highlights the sociopolitical and gender restrictions informing (...) one of the most basic, yet lofty, ethical goals of the text. A new means is also offered of discussing these socially delimited discrepancies in moral cultivation by referring to leading, or self-determining agency in association with junzi on the one hand, and to conformist agency for women and common people on the other. (shrink)
When the human understanding of beasts in the past is studied, what are revealed is not only the foundations of our own perception of animals, but humans contemplating their own status. This book argues that what is revealed in a wide range of writing from the early modern period is a recurring attempt to separate the human from the beast. Looking at the representation of the animal in the law, religious writings, literary representation, science and political ideas, what emerges is (...) a sense of the fragility of humanity, a sense of a species which always requires an external addition--property, civilization, education--to be fully human. (shrink)