In The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt claims that liberals have a narrower moral outlook than conservatives?they are concerned with fairness and relief of suffering, which Haidt sees as individualistic values, while conservatives care about authority and loyalty too, values concerned with holding society together. I question Haidt?s methodology, which does not permit liberals to express concerns with social bonds that do not fit within an ?authority? or ?loyalty? framework and discounts people who support liberal positions but do not self-ascribe as (...) liberals. I also argue that of the six ?moral foundations?, fairness and relief of suffering are more fundamental values than authority and loyalty, which are virtues only if their objects are worthy. Moral education programs must also encourage students to recognize some values as more urgent than others, and permit inquiry into the actual reasons for political behavior other than professed value commitments. (shrink)
In the past decade, debates about the status and character of ‘race’ within philosophy have been dominated by philosophers of language, of biology, and of science, and metaphysicians. I here propose a viewpoint on the race debate arising from within social philosophy and the sociohistorical study of race.
Although Almond argues that the contemporary West has lost touch with the value of tolerance, I argue that that value applied to those of different religions and sexual orientations is too minimal a standard for a pluralistic society. I suggest, in the spirit of the work of Charles Taylor and Tariq Modood, the more robust standard of respect and acceptance. In addition, I have criticised Almond?s privileging of parental values over school values, seeing in that privileging a failure to recognise (...) both the civic function of schooling in a pluralistic society and the professional responsibilities of teachers to provide a safe and stigma?free environment of learning (a goal both educational and civic in character). I argue that Almond?s briefly presented rejection of same?sex marriage and privileging of ?biological? families is insufficiently defended. Moreover within the philosophical framework of her own concerns about the weakening of a commitment to marriage in Western society in the past several decades, I argue that she should be more supportive of same?sex marriage. Finally, I argue that her account of the problems occasioned by new immigrant groups, especially Muslims, in the West is very sketchy and fails to connect with her critique of secularism. (shrink)
Stereotypes are false or misleading generalizations about groups held in a manner that renders them largely, though not entirely, immune to counterevidence. In doing so, stereotypes powerfully shape the stereotyper's perception of stereotyped groups, seeing the stereotypic characteristics when they are not present, failing to see the contrary of those characteristics when they are, and generally homogenizing the group. A stereotyper associates a certain characteristic with the stereotyped group?for example Blacks with being athletic?but may do so with a form of (...) cognitive investment in that association that does not rise to the level of a belief in the generalization that Blacks are athletic. (shrink)
The words `racist' and `racism' have become so overused that they nowconstitute obstacles to understanding and interracial dialogue aboutracial matters. Instead of the current practice of referring tovirtually anything that goes wrong or amiss with respect to race as`racism,' we should recognize a much broader moral vocabulary forcharacterizing racial ills â racial insensitivity, racial ignorance,racial injustice, racial discomfort, racial exclusion. At the sametime, we should fix on a definition of `racism' that is continuouswith its historical usage, and avoids conceptual inflation. (...) Isuggest two basic, and distinct, forms of racism that meet thiscondition â antipathy racism and inferiorizing racism. We should alsorecognize that not all racially objectionable actions are done froma racist motive, and that not all racial stereotypes are racist. (shrink)
Literature on moral education has contributed surprisingly little to our understanding of issues of race and education. The creation of inter-racial communities in schools is a particularly vital antiracist educational goal, one for which public support in the United States has weakened since the 1970s. As contexts for antiracist moral education, such communities should involve racially plural groups of students learning about, and engaging in, common aims, some of which must be distinctly antiracist: an explicit concern to institute racially just (...) norms within the community (reflecting, yet going beyond, Kohlberg's own communitarian justice focus in his Just Community schools) and to foster social justice in society generally; and an appreciation of distinct cultural and racial identities within a community. Popular culture has an important role to play in providing salient cultural imagery of inter-racial co-operation and antiracist activity. In this regard, several films of Stephen Spielberg, a film-maker who takes his responsibilities as moral educator seriously, are promising yet ultimately disappointing. (shrink)
In The Sovereignty of Good Iris Murdoch suggests that the central task of the moral agent involves a true and loving perception of an- other individual, who is seen as a particular reality external to the agent. Writing in the 1960s she claimed that this dimension of morality had been "theorized away" in contemporary ethics. I will argue today that 20 years later, this charge still holds true of much contemporary ethical theory.