StephanieMills presented the following as the keynote address at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the International Association for Environmental Philosophy in Chicago. Mills addresses the readers of this journal in her role as a bioregional author and social critic. Adopting a narrative style rather than the typical format of the “philosophical essay,” she raises questions that are always and still at the core of our philosophical dialogue: What is nature? How do we humans perceive our relationship (...) with nature? And how may the blind spots of academic philosophy be discerned in traditional approaches to issues such as “nature versus humans,” the wilderness debate, and the possibility and limits of technology? (shrink)
It is impossible to imagine contemporary critical theory without the work of Michel Foucault. His radical reworkings of the concepts of power, knowledge, discourse and identity have influenced the widest possible range of theories and impacted upon disciplinary fields from literary studies to anthropology. Aimed at students approaching Foucault's texts for the first time, this volume offers: * an examination of Foucault's contexts * a guide to his key ideas * an overview of responses to his work * practical hints (...) on 'using Foucault' * an annotated guide to his most influential works * suggestions for further reading. Challenging not just what we think but how we think, Foucault's work remains the subject of heated debate. Sara Mills' Michel Foucault offers an introduction to both the ideas and the debate, fully equipping student readers for an encounter with this most influential of thinkers. (shrink)
Sara Mills offers a trenchant analysis of the complexities of social relations--including notions of class, nationality and gender--and spatial relations, landscape, topography and travel, in post-colonial contexts.
The concept of "fitness" is a notion of central importance to evolutionary theory. Yet the interpretation of this concept and its role in explanations of evolutionary phenomena have remained obscure. We provide a propensity interpretation of fitness, which we argue captures the intended reference of this term as it is used by evolutionary theorists. Using the propensity interpretation of fitness, we provide a Hempelian reconstruction of explanations of evolutionary phenomena, and we show why charges of circularity which have been levelled (...) against explanations in evolutionary theory are mistaken. Finally, we provide a definition of natural selection which follows from the propensity interpretation of fitness, and which handles all the types of selection discussed by biologists, thus improving on extant definitions. (shrink)
Since its original 1996 publication,Jorge Garcia''s ``The Heart of Racism'''' has beenwidely reprinted, a testimony to its importanceas a distinctive and original analysis ofracism. Garcia shifts the standard framework ofdiscussion from the socio-political to theethical, and analyzes racism as essentially avice. He represents his account asnon-revisionist (capturing everyday usage),non-doxastic (not relying on belief),volitional (requiring ill-will), and moralized(racism is always wrong). In this paper, Icritique Garcia''s analysis, arguing that hedoes in fact revise everyday usage, that hisaccount does tacitly rely on belief, (...) thatill-will is not necessary for racism, and thata moralized account gets both the scope and thedynamic of racism wrong. While I do not offeran alternative positive account myself, Isuggest that traditional left-wing structuralanalyses are indeed superior. (shrink)
I argue that race -- the European Spectre of the title -- has received insufficient attention within Marxist theory. Liberal and Marxist accounts of modernity differ on various points, but agree in characterizing modern society/capitalism as marked by the collapse of ancient and medieval status distinctions and the corresponding emergence of moral and juridical egalitarianism. But this basically Eurocentric narrative ignores the new system of ascriptive hierarchy established by European expansionism: white supremacy. Particularly in the United States, I suggest, race (...) has been the primary social division, in that racial identity has generally trumped other kinds of group identity. Ironically, then, the Marxist model works better for race than class, and if the concept of a bourgeois revolution is expanded to mean the overturning of ascriptive hierarchy of all kinds, it has yet to be fully carried out. (shrink)
The idea of different folk psychologies is the idea that among the world's cultures there are those whose folk, or commonsense, psychologies differ in theoretically significant ways from each other and from western folk psychology. This challenges the claim that folk psychology is a 'cultural universal'. The paper looks first of all at what are called 'opulent' accounts of folk psychology, which employ a wide-ranging and more complex set of psychological concepts, and 'core' accounts, which employ a much more restricted (...) set of such concepts. With respect to both kinds of account it is argued that field studies of the folk-psychological concepts of a number of ethnic groups indicate significant differences between the concepts used by those groups and those of western folk psychology; and hence do not support the view that folk psychology is a cultural universal. (shrink)
The thesis that practical and epistemic justification can diverge-that it can be reasonable to believe something, all things considered, even when believing is epistemically unjustified, and the reverse-is widely accepted. I argue that this acceptance is unfounded. I show, first, that examples of the sort typically cited as straightforwardly illustrative of the "divergence thesis" do not, in fact, support it. The view to the contrary derives from conflating the assessment of acts which cause one to believe with the assessment of (...) believing itself. I argue, too, that the divergence thesis cannot be rescued by appeal to the possibility of doxastic voluntarism. Finally, I argue that the general acceptance of the divergence thesis rests on a conception of justification, both practical and epistemic, which is seriously flawed. (shrink)
An applicant to our graduate program in philosophy, accepted as well by one (but only one) other graduate program, wrestles with his decision. Finally he decides to attend the other program, but he thanks me for our offer, telling me, "I'm glad that at least I had a choice." I want to focus a bit on these two stories, for while the central conclusion in each -- something turning on the importance of choice -- is initially compelling, it is also, (...) on reflection, philosophically puzzling. It is compelling, because many of us in similar positions would share this response; phenomenologically, it feels right to us. We want to believe that the central facts of our lives -- whether or not we have children, where we are educated, what career we follow, with 1 whom we join as partners -- contain in them some fundamental element of our own selection and decision. We will be exploring below exactly what will turn out to be important here, and why, but for now, in our pre-reflective grasp of this phenomenon, we can say that it seems to have something to do with the value we place on autonomy, self-governance, self-authorship. We want, metaphorically speaking, to write the story of our own lives. But let me now begin to draw out why I find this insistence on the importance of choice, which so many of us would share, to be so puzzling. Both individuals, in both stories, want to be offered a certain additional option in order to have -- or at least to feel that they have? -- a choice about what they are going to do next. But, on the one hand, we could argue that, even with this added option, they still don't have a "real" choice -- they don't have the choice of doing what they most want to do; and on the other hand, one could argue that even without the added option, they always had some choice. Let me explain. In the first story, my friend certainly doesn't have open to her the option that would have been her first choice (and, in our society, what we might call the standard choice, the most frequently chosen option): to produce a biological child with her partner in a happy marriage.. (shrink)
Most of us spend much of our time trying to get other people to act as we would like them to act, trying to influence them in some way to further our purposes or advance our ends. In this enterprise, we make use of a wide array of motivational levers; we take advantage of various sources of others’ susceptibility to influence. Much of this, I submit, is morally unproblematic. There is no moral reason why we should eschew all attempts at (...) influence and pursue our projects unassisted or why we should in turn resent others’ efforts to shape our own beliefs, desires, and ends. To maintain otherwise is to insist on a peculiar kind of individualistic isolationism. Nonetheless, the details of exactly how we influence others matter morally— what motivational levers we pull and the ways in which we pull them. I maintain—although I cannot defend this claim here—that it is difficult to offer general guidelines for assessing various motivational strategies, beyond saying, of course, that one should try to motivate others toward good ends and in ways that are not proscribed by our other moral rules. For the rest, we shall need to look at each kind of motivational strategy individually, with close attention to the details of its own particularity, to appraise whether it can survive moral scrutiny. (shrink)
We construct a model of Peano arithmetic in an uncountable language which has no elementary end extension. This answers a question of Gaifman and contrasts with the well-known theorem of MacDowell and Specker which states that every model of Peano arithmetic in a countable language has an elementary end extension. The construction employs forcing in a nonstandard model.
This paper investigates the quantifier "there exist unboundedly many" in the context of first-order arithmetic. An alternative axiomatization is found for Peano arithmetic based on an axiom schema of regularity: The union of boundedly many bounded sets is bounded. We also obtain combinatorial equivalents of certain second-order theories associated with cuts in nonstandard models of arithmetic.
Suppose you and I are "human beings" in the sense of human animals, members of the genus Homo. Given this supposition, this article argues first and foremost that (it's at least very plausible that) we originated not at the moment of our biological conception but either before or after. For biological conception is most plausibly seen as a momentous event in the continuing life of a preexisting organism—the egg—rather than a cataclysmic event ending one life and creating another. This article (...) considers and rebuts the most likely challenges to this claim. This metaphysical point carries moral freight concerning abortion. This article surveys familiar "pro-life" principles and argues that if any of them raises moral qualms about the permissibility of aborting zygotic pregnancies, then these qualms apply equally (or at least almost equally) to the permissibility of contraception and abstinence. Hence no such principle provides a justification for condemning zygotic abortion while condoning abstinence or contraception. (shrink)
Several philosophers offer explanations of linguistic vagueness by appealing to the referential context-dependence of vague terms. Timothy Williamson argues pre-emptively that any such approach must fail, on the grounds that context-dependence is neither necessary nor sufficient for vagueness. He supports this claim, in turn, by example. This paper argues that his examples fail to show that context-dependence is either unnecessary or insufficient for vagueness, and hence that he has failed by his own lights to show that it cannot explain vagueness.
Objective: Ethical guidelines are designed to ensure benefits, protection and respect of participants in clinical research. Clinical trials must now be registered on open-access databases and provide details on ethical considerations. This systematic survey aimed to determine the extent to which recently registered clinical trials report the use of standard of care and post-trial obligations in trial registries, and whether trial characteristics vary according to setting. Methods: We selected global randomized trials registered on http://www.clinicaltrials.gov and http://www.controlled-trials.com. We searched for intervention (...) trials of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis from 9 October 2004, the date of the most recent version of the Helsinki Declaration, to 10 April 2007. Results: We collected data from 312 trials. Fifty-eight percent (58%, 95% CI = 53 to 64) of trial protocols report informed consent. Fifty-eight percent (58%, 95% CI = 53 to 64) of trials report active controls. Almost no trials (1%, 95% CI = 0.5 to 3) mention post-trial provisions. Most trials measure surrogate outcomes. Twenty percent (20%, 95% CI = 16 to 25) of trials measure patient-important outcomes, such as death; and the odds that these outcomes are in a low income country are five times greater than for a developed country (odds ratio (OR) 5.03, 95% CI = 2.70 to 9.35, p = < 0.001). Pharmaceutical companies are involved in 28% (CI = 23 to 33) of trials and measure surrogate outcomes more often than nonpharmaceutical companies (OR 2.45, 95% CI = 1.18 to 5.09, p = 0.31). Conclusion: We found a large discrepancy in the quality of reporting and approaches used in trials in developing settings compared to wealthier settings. (shrink)
First, two stories. A friend, after struggling with years of infertility, divorces her husband. Single now, and still grieving her childlessness, she begins to explore the option of single-parent adoption. She tells me that she thinks in the end she will probably decide against adoption, but, in her words, "At least I'll know that I'm childless by choice.".
A children's book frequently takes as its subject the moral growth of its protagonist. The Little House books of Laura Ingalls Wilder trace Laura's growth in moral awareness and moral development from early childhood through her first employment, courtship by Almanzo, and marriage. Laura's moral maturation is rich and multi-layered, but at the heart of the Little House books, and shaping their progression as one multi-volumed novel, is the theme of obedience giving way to autonomy, literally moral self-rule.
Suggestions made by Luce Irigaray in her book, An Ethics of Sexual Difference, may offer a solution to a problem in environmental ethics which has much in common with the gender problem: the tendency of the masculine to exploit the Other as “a-place-to-be-in.” If humans are to achieve the ethicality of mutually beneficial, sustainable relating with all beings, we need to initiate an economy of desire which has regard to a reciprocity of receptivity-activity, as a way of safeguarding a clear (...) space open to the kind of relating that makes possible a “permanent becoming” together of all beings. We need to live in a psychic No-Place, to experience our environment as the potentially infinite “Open” of “our-between.”. (shrink)
Abstract: This essay examines the impact of the imposition of businesses techniques, in particular, those associated with Total Quality Management, on the relationships of important components of the health care delivery system, including payers, managed care organizations, institutional and individual providers, enrollees, and patients. It examines structural anomalies within the delivery system and concludes that the use of Total Quality Management techniques within the health care system cannot prevent the shift of attention of other components away from the enrollee and (...) the patient, and may even contribute to it. It speculates that the organization ethics process may serve as a quality control mechanism to prevent this shift and so help eliminate some of the ethically problematic processes and outcomes within the health care delivery system. (shrink)
The framing question of Mills' important and thought-provoking paper is whether there is reason for political progressives and radicals to employ the notion of a social contract for either descriptive or normative purposes. In contrast to the common response that the social contract is a piece of "bourgeois mystification" he argues instead that a reformulated conception of the contract, one which he calls the..
, Stephanie Ross argues that four of Hume's five criteria for qualified critics in "Of the Standard of Taste’, namely practise, comparison, freedom from prejudice, and good sense, should be understood as conditions for improving the basic constituent of taste, namely delicacy of perception, in real critics whose judgments can be canonical or guiding for the rest of us, but that delicacy of perception needs to be supplemented by what she calls imaginative fluency and emotional responsiveness to provide a (...) fuller conception of the basic constituents of taste. I support Ross's approach by showing that Hume's immediate successors in Scottish aesthetics Alexander Gerard and James Beattie understood his conception of the qualifications of good critics and supplemented his conception of the basic constituents of taste in precisely the same way that Ross does. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Classical and quantum field theory provide not only realistic examples of extant notions of empirical equivalence, but also new notions of empirical equivalence, both modal and occurrent. A simple but modern gravitational case goes back to the 1890s, but there has been apparently total neglect of the simplest relativistic analog, with the result that an erroneous claim has taken root that Special Relativity could not have accommodated gravity even if there were no bending of light. The fairly recent acceptance of (...) nonzero neutrino masses shows that widely neglected possibilities for nonzero particle masses have sometimes been vindicated. In the electromagnetic case, there is permanent underdetermination at the classical and quantum levels between Maxwell's theory and the one-parameter family of Proca's electromagnetisms with massive photons, which approximate Maxwell's theory in the limit of zero photon mass. While Yang–Mills theories display similar approximate equivalence classically, quantization typically breaks this equivalence. A possible exception, including unified electroweak theory, might permit a mass term for the photons but not the Yang–Mills vector bosons. Underdetermination between massive and massless (Einstein) gravity even at the classical level is subject to contemporary controversy. (shrink)
The elucidation of the gauge principle ``is the most pressing problem in current philosophy of physics" Redhead. This paper argues two points that contribute to this elucidation in the context of Yang-Mills theories. 1) Yang-Mills theories, including quantum electrodynamics, form a class. They should be interpreted together. To focus on electrodynamics is a mistake. 2) The essential role of gauge and BRST surplus is to provide a local theory that can be quantized and would be equivalent to the (...) quantization of the non-local reduced theory. (shrink)
I want to explore strategic expressions of ignorance against the background of Charles W. Mills's account of epistemologies of ignorance in The Racial Contract (1997). My project has two interrelated goals. I want to show how Mills's discussion is restricted by his decision to frame ignorance within the language and logic of social contract theory. And, I want to explain why Maria Lugones's work on purity is useful in reframing ignorance in ways that both expand our understandings of (...) ignorance and reveal its strategic uses. I begin with Mills's account of the Racial Contract, and explain how it prescribes for its signatories an epistemology of ignorance, which Mills characterizes as an inverted epistemology. I briefly outline his program for undoing white ignorance and indicate that retooling white ignorance is more complex than his characterization suggests. Making this argument requires an abrupt shift from the white-created frameworks of social contract theory to Lugones's system of thinking rooted in the lives of people of color. So, the next section outlines Lugones's distinction between the logic of purity and the logic of curdling and explains its usefulness in addressing ignorance. With both accounts firmly in place the third section demonstrates how the Racial Contract produces at least two expressions of ignorance and explains how the logic of purity underlying the Contract shapes each expression in ways that limit possibilities for resistance. I don't mean to suggest that the social contract theory's love of purity invalidates Mills's work, only that this framework limits prospects for long-term change by neglecting the relationship between white ignorance and non-white resistance. The final sections explain how people of color use ignorance strategically to their advantage , and argue that examining ignorance through a curdled lens not only makes strategic ignorance visible, but also points to alternatives for retooling white ignorance. (shrink)
Essay review of Gauging What’s Real: The Conceptual Foundations of Contemporary Gauge Theories R. Healey. Oxford University Press (2007). To be published in the Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 39(3):687-693, 2008.