This paper addresses two related topics: 1. The disanalogies between elective cosmetic practices and sex reassignment surgery. Why does it seem necessary for me – an aging professional woman – to ignore the blandishments of hairdressers wielding dyes and dermatologists wielding acids and scalpels? Why does it not seem equally necessary for a transgendered person to repudiate sex reassignment procedures? 2. The role of the body in identity and agency. How do phenomenological insights regarding the constitution of selfhood in relation (...) to the interplay between the body image and corporeal know-how contribute to an account of the agency of transgendered individuals? Studying several paintings by contemporary feminist artist Jenny Saville has advanced my thinking on these topics. Saville’s imagery is an invaluable aid to reflection on these issues because she uses her painterly technique, which critics often dub “virtuoso,” to represent lived human bodies. In her work, viewers encounter representations of subjectivized, agentic corporeity, as distinct from inert, objectified flesh. Moreover, her sympathetic engagement with nonconformist, devalued bodies helps to reconfigure the standard gestalts of the human body that viewers typically carry with them and thus to convert fear and/or disgust into appreciation and understanding. In this paper, I consider three of Saville’s paintings. Plan, Saville’s self-portrait as a nude female whose body has been prepped for liposuction, conveys the pathos of this procedure. Matrix is a nude portrait of self-described “gender variant visual artist” Del LaGrace Volcano. In the words of one critic Saville’s depiction of Volcano’s nude intersexed body “restores beauty to the primitive [female] genital organ.” Passage, another nude portrait of an intersexed individual, is an image of vibrant sexuality despite the presumptively jarring juxtaposition of breasts and a penis. I argue that conceiving the agentic subject as a rational deliberative capability that uses a conjoined body as the instrument of its will makes it impossible to theorize the agency of transgendered people. In contrast, when agentic subjects are understood as embodied subjects and embodiment is understood as a dimension of practical intelligence, the agency of transgendered individuals is intelligible. (shrink)
Stuart, Jennie Review(s) of: Hands off not an option! The reminiscence museum mirror of a humanistic care philosophy, by Professor Dr Hans Marcel Becker assisted by Inez van den Dobbelsteen- Becker and Topsy Ros. Eburon Academic Publishers, Delft, 2011 272 pp.
Ryan, Jennie A current search of reliable internet sources gives the present number of recognised major world religions as somewhere between twenty two and twenty five. These religions have approximately 6.9 billion adherents. Recent meta-analysis of a range of surveys into non-belief in 'God' has reported that between 7% and 10% of the world's population identifies as non-theistic (atheist/agnostic/nonbeliever). Out of the top fifty countries with the largest percentage of self-professed atheists, (ranging from 85% - 7%), close to 80% (...) are developed, democratic, mostly European countries, with high standards of public healthcare and accessible food, water and housing. (shrink)
: This essay examines an aesthetics of disgust through an analysis of the work of Scottish painter Jenny Saville. Saville's paintings suggest that there is something valuable in retaining and interrogating our immediate and seemingly unambivalent reactions of disgust. I contrast Saville's representations of disgust to the repudiation of disgust that characterizes contemporary corporeal politics. Drawing on the theoretical work of Elspeth Probyn and Julia Kristeva, I suggest that an aesthetics of disgust reveals the fundamental ambiguity of embodiment, allowing us (...) to critically attend to the aesthetic and cultural objectification of the female body. (shrink)
Jenny Saville is a leading contemporary painter of female nudes. This paper explores her work in light of theories of gender and embodied agency. Recent work on the phenomenology of embodiment draws a distinction between the body image and the body schema. The body image is your representation of your own body, including your visual image of it and your emotional attitudes towards it. The body schema is comprised of your proprioceptive knowledge, your corporeally encoded memories, and your corporeal proficiency (...) with respect to various environments and activities. Saville is concerned with body image issues, and I discuss how she reconfigures representational practices with respect to feminine body images. However, the most exciting potential for feminist analysis of the state of the female nude derives from the concept of the body schema, for this concept endows the human body with subjectivity and agency. My key question, then, is by what pictorial means and to what extent Saville succeeds in representing agentic womanhood. I argue that interpreting Saville’s paintings from the standpoint of the body schema demonstrates the radicality of her remaking of the female nude and the rapport between her imagery and feminist values. (shrink)
“Ockham never wrote a commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics,” Jenny Pelletier tells us at the beginning of this monograph, “but the absence of such a commentary does not allow us to infer that he was uninterested in or skeptical of metaphysics” (1–2). Her central contention is that Ockham had a robust conception of metaphysics as a distinct branch of scientific knowledge concerning being and God. It is an argument worth making insofar as many scholars in recent years have held that Ockham (...) lacks a metaphysics or rejects the possibility of one. In opposing these claims, Pelletier also has much to say about what Ockham’s metaphysics includes and how it relates to other sciences. As the study of being, it considers .. (shrink)
Does the real difference between non-consequentialist and consequentialist theories lie in their approach to value? Non-consequentialist theories are thought either to allow a different kind of value (namely, agent-relative value) or to advocate a different response to value ('honouring' rather than 'promoting'). One objection to this idea implies that all normative theories are describable as consequentialist. But then the distinction between honouring and promoting collapses into the distinction between relative and neutral value. A proper description of non-consequentialist theories can only (...) be achieved by including a distinction between temporal relativity and neutrality in addition to the distinction between agent-relativity and agent-neutrality. (shrink)
This paper considers the question of whether predictions of wrongdoing are relevant to our moral obligations. After giving an analysis of ‘won’t’ claims (i.e., claims that an agent won’t Φ), the question is separated into two different issues: firstly, whether predictions of wrongdoing affect our objective moral obligations, and secondly, whether self-prediction of wrongdoing can be legitimately used in moral deliberation. I argue for an affirmative answer to both questions, although there are conditions that must be met for self-prediction to (...) be appropriate in deliberation. The discussion illuminates an interesting and significant tension between agency and prediction. (shrink)
The ‘Wrong Kind of Reason’ problem for buck-passing theories (theories which hold that the normative is explanatorily or conceptually prior to the evaluative) is to explain why the existence of pragmatic or strategic reasons for some response to an object does not suffice to ground evaluative claims about that object. The only workable reply seems to be to deny that there are reasons of the ‘wrong kind’ for responses, and to argue that these are really reasons for wanting, trying, or (...) intending to have that response. In support of this, it is pointed out that awareness of pragmatic or strategic considerations, unlike awareness of reasons of the ‘right kind’, are never sufficient by themselves to produce the responses for which they are reasons. I argue that this phenomenon cannot be used as a criterion for distinguishing reasons-for-a-response from reasons-for-wanting-to-have-a-response. I subsequently investigate the possibility of basing this distinction on a claim that the responses in question (e.g. admiration or desire) are themselves inherently normative; I conclude that this approach is also unsuccessful. Hence, the ‘direct response’ phenomenon cannot be used to rule out the possibility of pragmatic or strategic reasons for responses; and the rejection of such reasons therefore cannot be used to circumvent the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem. (shrink)
In this paper I look at attempts to develop forms of consequentialism which do not have a feature considered problematic in Direct Consequentialist theories (that is, those consequentialist theories that apply the criterion of rightness directly in the evaluation of any set of options). The problematic feature in question (which I refer to as ‘evaluative conflict’) is the possibility that, for example, a right motive might lead an agent to perform a wrong act. Theories aiming to avoid this phenomenon must (...) argue that causal relationship entails motives and acts (for example) having the same moral status. I argue that attempts to ensure such ‘evaluative consistency’ are themselves deeply problematic, and that we must therefore accept evaluative conflict. (shrink)
The problem of extreme demands is one of the most intractable in contemporary moral theory. On the one hand, it seems that a failure to prevent great suffering at little cost to ourselves is morally wrong; given the amount of suffering in the world and the comparatively trivial nature of the requisite sacrifices, this intuition demands that we give up quite a lot. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem to us that we act wrongly in living lives characterised by (...) only moderate sacrifice, in which our time and resources are disproportionately used to benefit ourselves and those close to us. These two intuitions are extremely difficult to reconcile within any moral theory that recognises a duty to promote the general good. In this paper, however, I will suggest one possible way of doing so. My suggestion requires taking a closer look at the way in which the demand to the promote the good is derived: specifically, at the way our option set is characterised and the information that we take into account in weighing these options. I will suggest that there are certain assumptions it is plausible to make regarding the relevance of information about our own and other agents’ actions, and that once these assumptions are made, we can see how permissions may be derived within the framework of good-promotion. (shrink)
Wars have been entered into as a means of gaining property, taking slaves and dominating and controlling peoples. The pacifist claims that no form of war can ever be justified. By contrast, just war theory holds that it is possible for a war to be morally justified, an idea that underlies much international law, as can be seen in the Geneva Conventions. Teichman introduces us to such thinkers as Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Hugo Grotius, John Rawls and Elizabeth Anscombe on (...) the very idea of a just war. (shrink)
Retrospective rule-making has few supporters and many opponents. Defenders of retrospective laws generally do so on the basis that they are a necessary evil in specific or limited circumstances, for example to close tax loopholes, to deal with terrorists or to prosecute fallen tyrants. Yet the reality of retrospective rule making is far more widespread than this, and ranges from ’corrective’ legislation to ’interpretive regulations’ to judicial decision making. The search for a rational justification for retrospective rule-making necessitates a (...) reconsideration of the very nature of the rule of law and the kind of law that can rule, and will provide new insights into the nature of law and the parameters of societal order. This book examines the various ways in which laws may be seen as retrospective and analyses the problems in defining retrospectivity. In his analysis Dr Charles Sampford asserts that the definitive argument against retrospective rule-making is the expectation of individuals that, if their actions today are considered by a future court, the applicable law was discoverable at the time the action was performed. The book goes on to suggest that although the strength of this ’rule of law’ argument should prevail in general, exceptions are sometimes necessary, and that there may even be occasions when analysis of the rule of law may provide the foundation for the application of retrospective laws. (shrink)
By focusing on the caloric composition of hunted prey species, optimal foraging research has shown that hunters usually make economically rational prey choice decisions. However, research by meat scientists suggests that the gustatory appeal of wildlife meats may vary dramatically. In this study, behavioral research indicates that Mayangna and Miskito hunters in Nicaragua inconsistently pursue multiple prey types in the optimal diet set. We use cognitive methods, including unconstrained pile sorts and cultural consensus analysis, to investigate the hypothesis that these (...) partial preferences are influenced by considerations of meat flavor. Native informants exhibit high agreement on the relative appeal of different meats. Given the absence of other noteworthy differences between spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) and howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata), the unappealing flavor of howler monkeys seems to be a factor in the partial preference for this species. (shrink)
This target article presents a plausible evolutionary scenario for the emergence of the neural preconditions for language in the hominid lineage. In pleistocene primate lineages there was a paired evolutionary expansion of frontal and parietal neocortex (through certain well-documented adaptive changes associated with manipulative behaviors) resulting, in ancestral hominids, in an incipient Broca's region and in a configurationally unique junction of the parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes of the brain (the POT). On our view, the development of the POT in (...) our ancestors resulted in the neuroanatomical substrate consistent with the ability for representations in modality-neutral association cortex and, as a result of structure-imposing interaction with Broca's area, the hierarchically structured Evidence from paleoneurology and comparative primate neuroanatomy is used to argue that Homo habilis (2.5–2 million years ago) was the first hominid to have the appropriate gross neuroanatomical configuration to support conceptual structure. We thus suggest that the neural preconditions for language are met in H. habilis. Finally, we advocate a theory of language acquisition that uses conceptual structure as input to the learning procedures, thus bridging the gap between it and language. (shrink)
This response to continuing commentary addresses brain-hand relationships in Cebus apella (as introduced in West-ergaard's commentary), the evolutionary and acquisition parallels between music and language (suggested by Lynch), and the potential behavioral linguistic consequences of the evolutionary neurobiology in Australopithecus africanus and Homo habilis (discussed by Tobias). Finally, we reiterate the importance of well informed, multidisciplinary approaches to the study of the emergence of human species-specific cognition, especially linguistic capacity.
This response clarifies the nature of reappropriation and the definition of language. It explicates the relationship between neural systems and language and between homology and evolutionary gradualism. Through a review of ape capacities in the realms of language and tool use, it distinguishes human language acquisition from nonhuman learning. Finally, it suggests the appropriate sorts of evidence on which to base further evolutionary arguments relevant to the origins of language.
In William Ockham on Metaphysics, Jenny E. Pelletier gives an account of Ockham's concept of metaphysics as the science of being and God as it emerges sporadically throughout his philosophical and theological work.
David Stove's essay “The intellectual capacity of women” was first published in 1990, in the Proceedings of a Sydney philosophical society. It has been re-published twice since his death. It seems though that during his lifetime Stove himself refused to agree to its being re-printed. This raises two questions: Did Stove believe his essay on women contains mistakes? And: does it contain mistakes? The main flaws in the essay stem from a rash adoption of simplistic ideas about probability coupled with (...) a question-begging definition of capacity. The work also contains contradictions and exaggerations and some unwise forays into social history. Stove was an intelligent man so it seems likely that he would have recognised those flaws. (shrink)
I identify two mutually exclusive notions of formalism in Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement: a thin concept of aesthetic formalism and a thick concept of aesthetic formalism. Arguably there is textual support for both concepts in Kant’s third critique. I offer interpretations of three key elements in the Critique of Aesthetic Judgement which support a thick formalism. The three key elements are: Harmony of the Faculties, Aesthetic Ideas and Sensus Communis. I interpret these concepts in relation to the conditions for (...) theoretical Reason, the conditions for moral motivation and the conditions for intersubjectivity, respectively. I conclude that there is no support for a thin concept of aesthetic formalism when the key elements of Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement are understood in the context of his broader critical aims. (shrink)
: The social model of disability gives us the tools not only to challenge the discrimination and prejudice we face, but also to articulate the personal experience of impairment. Recognition of difference is therefore a key part of the assertion of our common humanity and of an ethics of care that promotes our human rights.