This essay serves as both a response and embellishment of Marilyn Frye's now classic essay "Oppression." It is meant to pick up where this essay left off and to make connections between oppression, as Frye defines it, and the privileges that result from institutional structures. This essay tries to clarify one meaning of privilege that is lost in philosophical discussions of injustice. I develop a distinction between unearned privileges and earned advantages. Clarifying the meaning of privilege as unearned (...) structural advantage makes visible the role white privilege plays in maintaining complex systems of domination such as racism, sexism, heterosexism and classism. Using a critical reading of both Frye (1983) and Young's (1990) accounts of oppression as a springboard, I develop a definition of privilege as a particular class of unearned advantages. -/- I distinguish my account of privilege from standard legal and philosophical definitions of privilege. The general distinction I make between privileges and advantages rests on three interrelated claims: (a) that benefits granted by privilege are always unearned and conferred systemically to members of dominant social groups; (b) that privileges granted to members of dominant groups solely on the basis of their membership in these groups is never justifiable; and, (c) that privileges have an unconditional value that can be explained not only in terms of immunities, but also in terms of additional benefits. (shrink)
Providing patients with information is fundamental to respecting autonomy. However, there may be circumstances when information may be withheld to prevent serious harm to the patient, a concept referred to as therapeutic privilege. This paper provides an analysis of the ethical, legal and professional considerations which impact on a decision to withhold information that, in normal circumstances, would be given to the patient. It considers the status of the therapeutic privilege in English case law and concludes that, while (...) reference is made to circumstances when information (primarily in relation to risk disclosure) may be withheld, further clarification is required on the status of therapeutic privilege. I suggest there has been shift in English law relating to the standard of information disclosure towards one set by the test of the reasonable, prudent patient. It is this shift that necessitates the existence of a therapeutic privilege which enables doctors to withhold information that would usually be given to the patient in order to prevent serious harm. I then explore the professional guidance in relation to information disclosure and how this relates to the legal position. There are strong ethical arguments in favour of disclosure of information to patients. In light of these, further clarification is required to identify and define the grounds on which this exception exists, the information that could lawfully be withheld and how this exception extends to rest of the health care team, particularly nurses. As such, explicit ethical and legal scrutiny of therapeutic privilege is needed in order to consider how this concept might be articulated, constrained and regulated. (shrink)
I argue that Kotzee’s (Argumentation 24:265–281, 2010) model of meta-debate succeeds in identifying illegitimate or fallacious charges of bias but has the unintended consequence of classifying some legitimate and non-fallacious charges as fallacious. This makes the model, in some important cases, counter-productive. In particular, cases where the call for a meta-debate is prompted by the participant with epistemic privilege and a charge of bias is denied by the participant with social advantage, the impasse will put the epistemically advantaged at (...) far greater risk. Therefore, I propose treating epistemic privilege as a variety of expert opinion specifically in cases where meta-debate participants come to an impasse in deliberation. My proposal exposes the problem of interpreting debate contexts as both adversarial and free from social power differentials. (shrink)
In this paper, a challenge is outlined for Walton’s recent analysis of the fallacy of poisoning the well. An example of the fallacy in action during a debate on affirmative action on a South African campus is taken to raise the question of how Walton’s analysis squares with the idea that disadvantaged parties in debates about race may be epistemically privileged . It is asked when the background of a participant is relevant to a debate and it is proposed that (...) a proper analysis of the poisoning the well will outline conditions under which making one participant’s background an issue in a debate would be legitimate and illegitimate. Expanding Walton’s analysis to deal with the challenge, it is concluded that calling into question a participant’s suitability to take part in a debate is never legitimate when it is based simply on a broad fact about their background (like their race or gender). (shrink)
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Realists and anti-realists disagree about whether contemporary scientists are epistemically privileged. Because the issue of epistemic privilege figures in arguments in support of and against theoretical knowledge in science, it is worth examining whether or not there is any basis for assuming such privilege. I show that arguments that try to explain the success of science by appeal to some sort of epistemic privilege have, so far, failed. They have failed to give us reason to believe (i) (...) that scientists are prone to develop theories that are true, (ii) that our current theories are not apt to be replaced in the future, and (iii) that science is nearing its completion. (shrink)
I address the problem of how to locate "traitorous" subjects, or those who belong to dominant groups yet resist the usual assumptions and practices of those groups. I argue that Sandra Harding's description of traitors as insiders, who "become marginal" is misleading. Crafting a distinction between "privilege-cognizant" and "privilege-evasive" white scripts, I offer an alternative account of race traitors as privilege-cognizant whites who refuse to animate expected whitely scripts, and who are unfaithful to worldviews whites are expected (...) to hold. (shrink)
: How should socially privileged white feminists (and others) address their privilege? Often, individuals are urged to overcome their own personal racism through a politics of self-transformation. The paper argues that this strategy may be problematic, since it rests on an over-autonomous conception of the self. The paper turns to Simone de Beauvoir for an alternative account of the self, as "situated," and explores what this means for a politics of privilege.
Picking up where Peggy McKintosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” left off, this essay looks further into the ways that racial privilege manifests itself in the lives of white Americans. It explores some of the reasons that white privilege is hard for whites to see and it explores the question of how white people can act responsibly given the unavoidable realities of racial privilege.
: In this essay, Feigenbaum examines heterosexism as it functions politically and interpersonally in her own experience. She loosely traces her analysis along the current political climate of the bans on same-sex marriages, using this discussion to introduce and illustrate how heterosexual dominance functions. The author aims throughout to clarify what heterosexism looks like "in action," and she moves toward providing steps to recognize, name, interrupt, and counter heterosexist privilege.
Nations are understood to have a right to go to war, not only in defense of individual rights, but in defense of their own political standing in a given territory. This paper argues that the political defensive privilege cannot be satisfactorily explained, either on liberal cosmopolitan grounds or on pluralistic grounds. In particular, it is argued that pluralistic accounts require giving implausibly strong weight to the value of political communities, overwhelming the standing of individuals. Liberal cosmopolitans, it is argued, (...) underestimate the difficulties in disentangling a state’s role in upholding or threatening individual interests from its role in providing the social context that shapes and determines those very interests. The paper proposes an alternative theory, “prosaic statism”, which shares the individualistic assumptions of liberal cosmopolitanism, but avoids a form of fundamentalism about human rights, and is therefore less likely to recommend humanitarian intervention in non-liberal states. (shrink)
The ‘right to the truth’ involves disclosing all the pertinent facts to a patient so that an informed decision can be made. However, this concept of a ‘right to the truth’ entails certain ambiguities, especially since it is difficult to apply the concept in medical practice based mainly on current evidence-based data that are probabilistic in nature. Furthermore, in some situations, the doctor is confronted with a moral dilemma, caught between the necessity to inform the patient (principle of autonomy) and (...) the desire to ensure the patient's well-being by minimising suffering (principle of beneficence). To comply with the principle of beneficence as well as the principle of non-maleficence ‘to do no harm’, the doctor may then feel obliged to turn to ‘therapeutic privilege’, using lies or deception to preserve the patient's hope, and psychological and moral integrity, as well as his self-image and dignity. There is no easy answer to such a moral dilemma. This article will propose a process that can fit into reflective practice, allowing the doctor to decide if the use of therapeutic privilege is justified when he is faced with these kinds of conflicting circumstances. We will present the conflict arising in practice in the context of the various theoretical orientations in ethics, and then we will suggest an approach for a ‘practice of truth’. Last, we will situate this reflective method in the broader clinical context of medical practice viewed as a dialogic process. (shrink)
Parliamentary privilege immunises certain activities of legislative bodies and their members from the ordinary law and judicial scrutiny. The rule of law, on the other hand, insists that everyone - including public officials - is subject to the law. Moreover, the rule of law is usually understood to involve judicial review of executive rather than legislative action. Thus, parliamentary privilege seems to establish a public sphere that is beyond the rule of law. Notwithstanding the tension that appears between (...) these two ideas, I argue that parliamentary privilege and the rule of law, properly understood, support rather than oppose one another. However, the ideas can be reconciled only if we reject the jurisdictional and categorical approach to parliamentary privilege adopted recently by the Supreme Court of Canada in Canada (House of Commons) v. Vaid  1 S.C.R. 667, 2005 SCC 30. This approach should be rejected because it trades on an unsustainable distinction between review of the scope of an asserted privilege and review its actual exercise, with the Court finding that only issues of scope are subject to review, even if important human rights are at stake. (shrink)
Gerhard Lenski's classical work on stratification, "Power and Privilege", was an effort to reconcile and to synthesize different approaches to inequality incorporated into the grand theories of the day. It anticipated a variety of developments in the theoretical and empirical understanding of inequalities. These include recognition of the multiplicity of inequalities; emphasis on race, class, gender, and other sources and systems of domination and subordination; and the intersection of these factors in complex patterns to create different standpoints and life (...) consequences. The result was ground-breaking work that underscored the multidimensionality of stratification systems, the variability of their influences, and the notion that their intersection in itself has implications beyond the sum of component parts. In these ways his work foreshadowed the possibilities of finding common ground between modern and postmodern perspectives, to make Lenski the last grand theorist of modernity and a forerunner of postmodern theories of inequality. (shrink)
As researchers, we cannot be outside society and thus activities such as "science," or "objectivity" are striated with procedures for minimizing or celebrating the presence of the researcher in the research product. Our recognition of the situated character of scientific knowledge is the context in which questions about the researchers relation to the group she studies have arisen. The paper begins with a review of the Insider/Outsider debate which circles around the researcher''s relation to those she studies. Where the researcher (...) enters the research site as an Insider - someone whose biography (gender, race, class, sexual orientation and so on) gives her a lived familiarity with the group being researched - that tacit knowledge informs her research producing a different knowledge than that available to the Outsider - a researcher who does not have an intimate knowledge of the group being researched prior to their entry into the group. This paper describes the research issues that arise and the various strategies researchers have used to manage them. The argument then shifts to query the social boundaries implicit in the construction of research Insiders and Outsiders. Reflecting on research that explored mothering for schooling, the article shows that researchers are rarely Insiders or Outsiders. Rather, research is constructed in a relationship with many Others. The interaction of individual biography and social location shape the research relation in complex ways which undercut the common-sense translation of historical familiarity into epistemological privilege. (shrink)
In his essay 'The Pit and the Pyramid: Introduction to Hegel's Semiology', Jacques Derrida claims that there is a privilege of speech over writing inherent in Hegel's theory of signs. In this paper, I examine Derrida's criticism. While it is to Derrida's credit that he focusses on an area of Hegel's philosophy that has hardly been analysed, his reading is problematic in several regards. After presenting Derrida's main arguments, I pose three questions, the first of which belongs to the (...) realm of subjective spirit, the second to objective spirit, and the third to absolute spirit. I shall then show that Hegel makes several statements in favour of a privilege of writing over speech - statements that are not merely parenthetic or marginal. Moreover, those claims that Hegel makes toward any privilege of speech are in the wrong place, namely, subjective spirit, for them to represent his final point of view. (shrink)
In Power and Privilege, Gerhard Lenski's theory of the evolution of systems of inequality, he showed some recognition of gender inequality but, as universally accepted in sociology at the time, "social" stratification was conceptualized implicitly as inequality between male household heads. To move from this to explaining gender inequality requires consideration of constructs in addition to those developed by Lenski, but in terms of his typology of societies based on technology and size of economic surplus, the level of gender (...) stratification tracks that of "social" stratification and the basic variables he delineates remain centrally important. (shrink)
Feminists have urged women to take semantic authority. This article explains what such authority is, how it depends upon community recognition, and how it differs from privilege and from authority as usually conceived under patriarchy. Understanding its natures and limits is an important part of attaining it. Understanding the role of community explains why separatism is the logical conclusion of this project, and why separatism is valuable even to those who do not separate.
This article examines the standard of disclosure, set by law, of risks of treatment and alternative procedures that should normally be disclosed to patients. Therapeutic privilege has been recognized by the courts as an exception to this standard of disclosure. It provides a justification for withholding such information from competent patients in the interests of patient welfare. The article explores whether this justification is either legally or ethically defensible. In assessing patient welfare, the health care professional is required to (...) consider the patient's overall best interests - but this is not limited to an assessment of medical best interests. It is contended that the health care professional is neither qualified nor justified in making such a judgement, as the law recognizes that a competent adult patient determines her own best interests. This is not possible without sufficient information of risks to inform the decision. (shrink)
Given Kant's exceptionless moral prohibition on lying, one might suspect that he is committed to a similar prohibition on withholding diagnostic and prognostic information from patients. I confirm this suspicion by adapting arguments against therapeutic privilege from his arguments against lying. However, I show that all these arguments are importantly flawed and submit that they should be rejected. A more compelling Kantian take on informed consent and therapeutic privilege is achievable, I argue, by focusing on Kant's duty of (...) beneficence, which requires us to aim at furthering others’ ends. But I show that there are some cases in which furthering a patient's ends requires withholding material medical information from her. Although I concede that these cases are probably quite rare, I conclude that the best Kantian thinking agrees with that of therapeutic privilege's advocates. (shrink)
When people avow their present feelings, sensations, thoughts, etc., they enjoy what may be called "first-person privilege." If I now said: "I have a headache," or "I'm thinking about Venice," I would be taken at my word: I would normally not be challenged. According to one prominent approach, this privilege is due to a special epistemic access we have to our own present states of mind. On an alternative, deflationary approach the privilege merely reflects a socio-linguistic convention (...) governing avowals. We reject both approaches. On our proposed account, a full explanation of the privilege must recognize avowals as expressive performances, which can be taken to reveal directly the subject's present mental condition. We are able to improve on special access accounts and deflationary accounts, as well as familiar expressive accounts, by explaining both the asymmetries and the continuities between avowals and other pronouncements, and by locating a genuine though non-epistemic source for first-person privilege. (shrink)
The position I defend in this paper is that both prisoners and ex-prisoners, at least within present U.S. society, experience a form of oppression that can be distinguished from that inflicted upon other structurally disadvantaged groups. As a result of these U.S. conditions, I also argue that those who have not been or are not currently incarcerated may possess some unearned advantages, similar to but also different from other forms of privilege, such as those based upon race, class, gender, (...) sexuality, and ability. In the first section, I investigate three definitions of oppression to articulate my thesis of prisoner oppression, using the work of Marilyn Frye, Kenneth Clatterbaugh, and Ann E. Cudd. In the second section, I respond to three objections against my thesis. I conclude in the third section with some thoughts on how the preceding arguments should affect the dominant discourse regarding prison reform and abolition. (shrink)
This study explored relations between willingness to disclose in 5 psychotherapy scenarios and 2 independent variables (privilege condition and previous therapy experience). Scenarios involved suicidal, gravely disabled, physically abusive, and sexually abusive patients, and a police officer patient who shot a suspect. For each of the 5 scenarios, participants in the privilege condition had significantly higher willingness-to-disclose scores than participants in the no-privilege condition. There were no significant differences between willingness-to-disclose scores of participants with and without therapy (...) experience; neither was there a significant interaction between privilege condition and therapy experience. Privilege condition was more predictive of willingness to disclose than personal characteristics or therapy experience. Results provide empirical support for the U.S. Supreme Court's recognition of the psychotherapist-patient privilege in Jaffee v. Redmond (1996). (shrink)
This paper explores some complexities of moral learning by referencing personal and professional experiences that shape my moral ecology. Moral learning, like all forms of learning, is not merely accumulative but rather a recursive, adaptive and elaborative process. The multidimensional nature of this phenomenon can be captured by drawing on the language of complexity theory. Using original poetry as a vehicle for distilling thought, and personal experiences of living, learning and teaching inside and outside my home country (in Hawai?i and (...) Abu Dhabi, China, Korea, Iran) to provide context, I explore three interconnected processes that have been important for moral sense-making in my own life. These are: engaging with diversity, active deprovincialisation and confronting personal privilege. In this discussion I will make a distinction between variety and diversity. In sum, I hope to reveal the synergistic, non-linear and aesthetic dimensions of moral learning. (shrink)
Despite liberalism's considerable internal heterogeneity, liberal approaches to the management of ethno?cultural relations in diverse societies are unified in one respect: they revolve around the implicit assumption that there are three distinct approaches the state can take toward this issue, namely, domination by one cultural group, a politics of recognition, and state neutrality. This articles argues that in the context of an unequal distribution of societal power among ethno?cultural groups there are, in fact, only two basic state approaches to the (...) management of diversity: privilege and recognition. The liberal idea of state neutrality, instead of representing a third alternative, falls squarely within the privilege approach. State neutrality is a cornerstone of currently predominant strands of liberalism. However, drawing on Walzer's distinction between the two types of liberalism, the article demonstrates that a politics of recognition is not necessarily irreconcilable with liberal tenets. (shrink)
Over 45 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured. Those living in poverty exhibit the worst health status. Employment, education, income, and race are important factors in a person's ability to acquire healthcare access. Having established that there are people lacking healthcare access due to multi-factorial etiologies, the question arises as to whether the intervention necessary to assist them in obtaining such access should be considered a privilege, or a right. The right to healthcare access is examined from the perspective (...) of Western thought. Specifically through the works of Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Paine, Hannah Arendt, James Rawls, and Norman Daniels, which are accompanied by a contemporary example of intervention on behalf of the medically needy by the The Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute. (shrink)
The moral and philosophical interrogation of white privilege remains an imperative in post-apartheid South Africa. Whereas the critique of whiteness involves both philosophical and psychological scrutiny, subsequent calls for white political silence and withdrawal have yet to be subjected to adequate psychological analysis. This paper offers such an analysis by questioning, firstly, the idea of appropriate emotions for white South Africans (shame, guilt, regret), posing instead the problems of mimed affect and neurotic goodness. White approaches to guilt-alleviation and political (...) passivity are queried, secondly, via the claim that such agendas lead all too easily to types of white exceptionalism and condescension, respectively. The ethical problems of political silence and withdrawal – implied superiority, non-participation and an unequal ‘rights of silence’ – provide a third area of questioning. The paper ends by introducing the Lacanian ideas of subjective destitution and identification with the symptom. These concepts throw a critical light on disavowals of white privilege and provide a novel means of thinking how white narcissism might be relinquished. (shrink)
International law grants to legitimate combatants the right to kill enemy soldiers both in wars of aggression and defensive wars. A main argument in support of this “combatant’s privilege” is Michael Walzer’s doctrine of the “moral equality of soldiers.” The doctrine argues that soldiers fighting in wars of aggression and defensive wars have the same moral status because they both typically believe that justice is on their side, and their moral choices are equally severely restricted by the overwhelming coercive (...) powers of the state, including propaganda, conscription, and harsh penalties for the refusal to fight. Recently, this doctrine has been convincingly refuted, at least with regard to aggressor soldiers who are part of professional volunteer armies in democratic societies. However, Walzer’s critics have not challenged combatant’s privilege, primarily for a variety of pragmatic reasons. This paper examines these reasons, finds them not decisive, and articulates a modest proposal for denying, under some conditions, combatant’s privilege to aggressor soldiers, making their very participation in a war of aggression a war crime. It is concluded that unrestricted combatant’s privilege is in tension with the aim of the United Nations “to save succeeding generationsfrom the scourge of war.”. (shrink)
This paper examines the ‘doctrine of reportage’—a particular application of the Reynolds qualified privilege defence to defamation recognized by the House of Lords in Reynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd. The doctrine of reportage provides protection for the neutral reporting (republication) of defamatory allegations made by others in the context of a dispute or controversy of public interest. It is argued in this paper, however, that this emerging defence is doctrinally distinct from the privilege recognized in Reynolds and that (...) its jurisprudential basis needs to be reconsidered. Moreover, the development of the defence under the guise of Reynolds privilege has led to confusion, both by courts and by commentators, as to its potential breadth. It is suggested that the public interest justifications underpinning the reportage defence need to be explicitly re-examined by the courts in order to define its proper scope. Following an examination of these public interest justifications, it is argued that a broad interpretation of the defence should be rejected. (shrink)
While recognized in a large number of jurisdictions, the privilege against self-incrimination proves hard to justify. This article attempts to develop a rationale for the privilege which avoids the usual pitfalls. It argues that the most compelling rationale for the privilege is that it serves as a distancing mechanism, allowing defendants to disassociate themselves from prosecutions. The resulting account has implications for the scope of the privilege. First, it suggests that no distinction should be drawn between (...) requirements to speak and requirements to provide the authorities with documents, blood samples and the like. Second, it is argued that recognition of a privilege against self-incrimination implies that we should recognize a privilege against other incrimination which has similar force. Attention is also paid to exceptions to the privilege. (shrink)
Naomi Scheman argues that the concerns of philosophy emerge not from the universal human condition but from conditions of privilege. Her books represents a powerful challenge to the notion that gender makes no difference in the construction of philosophical reasoning. At the same time, it criticizes the narrow focus of most feminist theorizing and calls for a more inclusive form of inquiry.
Theodore Sider in his latest book provides a defense of the substantivity of the first-order ontological debates against recent deflationary attacks. He articulates and defends several realist theses: (a) nature has an objective structure, (b) there is an objectively privileged language to describe the structure, and (c) ontological debates are substantive. Sider’s defense of metaontological realism, (c), crucially depends on his realism about fundamental languages, (b). I argue that (b) is wrong. As a result, Sider’s metaontological realism fails to establish (...) the substantivity of certain ontological disputes. Nonetheless, I will argue denying metaontological realism does not require giving up on the realism about structure, (a), that most of us would like to preserve: namely the idea that there are objective similarities and differences in the world that we try to wrap our minds around. (shrink)
If women are not yet accorded the full rights of citizenship internationally and especially in the military context, a feminist position on just war may have to be provisional. Drawing on Virginia Woolf's argument referenced in the title, Eide suggests in this essay that feminist theory develop its principles from women's exclusion from national privileges and argues that jus post bellum or justice after war be central to feminist theories of just war.
Numerous theories posit that affectively salient stimuli are privileged in their capacity to capture attention and disrupt ongoing cognition. Two underlying assumptions in this theoretical position are that the potency of affective stimuli transcends task boundaries (i.e., emotional distracters do not have to belong to a current task-set to disrupt processing) and that there is an asymmetry between emotional and cognitive processing (i.e., emotional distracters disrupt cognitive processing, but not vice versa). These assumptions have remained largely untested, as common experimental (...) probes of emotion-cognition interaction rarely manipulate task-relevance and only examine one side of the presumed asymmetry of interference. To test these propositions directly, a face-word Stroop protocol was adapted to independently manipulate (a) the congruency between target and distracter stimulus features, (b) the affective salience of distracter features, and (c) the task-relevance of emotional compared to non-emotional target features. A three-way interaction revealed interdependent effects of distracter relevance, congruence, and affective salience. Compared to task-irrelevant distracters, task-relevant congruent distracters facilitated performance and task-relevant incongruent distracters impaired performance, but the latter effect depended on the nature of the target feature and task. Specifically, task-irrelevant emotional distracters resulted in equivalent performance costs as task-relevant non-emotional distracters, whereas task-irrelevant non-emotional distracters did not produce performance costs comparable to those generated by task-relevant emotional distracters. These results document asymmetric cross-task interference effects for affectively salient stimuli, supporting the notion of affective prioritization in human information processing. (shrink)
According to Eric Funkhouser, omnipotence and necessary moral perfection (what Funkhouser calls "impeccability") are not compatible. Funkhouser gives two arguments for this claim. In this paper, I argue that neither of Funkhouser's arguments is sound. The traditional theist can reasonably claim that, contra Funkhouser, (i) there is no possible being who possesses all of God's attributes sans impeccability, and (ii) the fact that there are things that God cannot do does not entail that God lacks omnipotence. Armed with (i) and (...) (ii), the theist has all that is needed to refute Funkhouser's arguments. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the distinction between epistemic privilege and epistemic authority is an important one for feminist epistemologists who are sympathetic to feminist standpoint theory. I argue that, while the first concept is elusive, the second is really the important one for a successful feminist standpoint project.