I begin by examining three factors which enable the term âpolitical correctnessâ (hereafter PC) itself to feed into the hands of its opponents: namely, the trivialization of the actual issues which are attributed to PC, the villainization of those involved in the PC movement, and the conferring of a sense of legitimacy on the opposition movement.
As the composition of university campuses becomes more diverse, campus journalists must become better at making decisions that avoid needlessly offending members of various ethnic and cultural groups. This examination explores the role of the campus media and includes incidents that illustrate campus journalists' problems with decision making when confronted with material regarding their diverse audiences. It explores the politicalcorrectness movement on campuses, notes the advantage of ethical reasoning, offers a philosophical foundation for decision making based on (...)respect, and proposes a Model of Respect. This model should enable novice journalists to better self-regulate content, precluding the need for campus administrators and judicial bodies to establish regulations and laws that "force" sensitivity into campus speech and newspapers. (shrink)
There is a current fashion among some prominent Japanologists to brand Kyoto School philosophers as mere fascist or imperialist ideologues. This essay examines these charges, and criticizes the critics, endeavoring thereby to encourage a more responsible evaluation of the relationship between philosophical and political discourse.
PC Wars: Politics and Theory in the Academy addresses the very issue of politicalcorrectness and the current skirmishes in the culture wars. It includes statements from many of our leading contemporary public intellectuals, including Joan Wallach Scott, Michael Be;rube;, Bruce Robbins, Henry Giroux, and Gerald Graff. The collection marks a watershed in the debate about "pc" in that it presents serious considerations and analyses of the factors, causes, and consequences of the culture wars. Carefully examining the construction (...) of "pc," PC Wars analyses politicalcorrectness by focusing on the mass media, class politics, and the ideology of managerial democracy. It places the disputes around "pc" in the context of contemporary developments in critical and cultural theory and the current backlash against theory, manifested in the recent attacks on Marxism, feminism and deconstruction. The book also scrutinizes the undercurrents of anti-intellectualism and anti-professionalism which have tended to create a fertile ground for the "pc" hysteria. Offering much more than slogans and slinging arrows, PC Wars provides a spirited and critical look at the reaction, ideology, and political forces that have coalesced around the term. Contributors: Michael Be;rube;, Reed Way Dasenbrock, Frank Farmer, Henry Giroux, Gerald Graff, Darlene Hantzis and Devoney Looser, John S. Howard and James M. Lang, Tom Lewis, James Neilson, Christopher Newfield, Richard Ohmann, Burce Robbins, Barry Sarchett, Joan W. Scott, Michael Sprinker, Jeffrey Williams. (shrink)
A set of routine academic controversies has recently been fanned into a cause célèbre. I call the controversies 'routine' because they concern the design of curricula and syllabi, the regulation of campus life, and the recruitment of faculty and students. These are important but ordinary affairs for a college or university. They call for choices that arise from fundamental convictions on the purpose of education, the nature of knowledge, the firmness of standards, the value of community, and the mission of (...) the institution. So dealing with these routine affairs is routinely attended with controversy. What is new is that the public is watching closely as academics thrash through these controversies nowadays. At least some journalists and politicians are watching closely and talking loudly about what they see. These conflicts would be what they ought to be, occasions for self-examination and growth, if they were not absolutized by observers who have raised the stakes by raising their voices and simplifying the issues. (shrink)
The paper presents several cases of feminism rejection from the part of influent Romanian intellectuals. The misconceptions and prejudices surrounding feminism are sometimes difficult to interpret, as long as there are not many individuals ready to accept the feminist label. The author analyses the reasons of this phenomena, establishing the correlations among the rejection of feminism and other Western ideologies, such as multiculturalism and politicalcorrectness. Finally, it attempts at sketching several solutions, by emphasizing the importance of support (...) groups where the feminist identity may be promoted and practiced. (shrink)
This chapter introduces debates about freedom of speech and argues that very few if any individuals support no restrictions whatsoever on freedom of speech. The question is therefore not should we restrict freedom of speech but rather what sorts of speech and how?
Feminist Amnesia is an important challenge to contemporary academic feminism. Jean Curthoys argues that the intellectual decline of university arts education and the loss of a deep moral commitment in feminism are related phenomena. The contradiction set up by the radical ideas of the 1960s, and institutionalised life of many of its protagonists in the academy, has produced a special kind of intellectual distortion. This book criticizes current trends in feminist theory from the perspective of forgotten and allegedly outdated feminist (...) ideas. (shrink)
Academic freedom does not refer to freedom to engage in any speech act, but to freedom to hold any belief and espouse it in an appropriately academic manner. This freedom belongs to certain institutions, rather than to individuals, because of their academic nature. Academic freedom should be absolute, regardless of any offence it may on occasion cause.
Las contradicciones y falacias en las ideas políticamente correctas, hegemónicas en nuestro tiempo, quedan denunciadas con una pincelada mordaz y un toque burlón. Con ingenio, humor y talante liberal destroza las supuestas verdades adoptadas dogmáticamente por los pseudoprogresistas. Un libro que no pretende hacer amigos, sino hacer pensar. Doctor en Ciencias Económicas y catedrático de Historia del Pensamiento Económico en la U. Complutense de Madrid, es columnista en prensa y radio.
Can political theory be action-guiding without relying on pre-political normative commitments? I answer that question affirmatively by unpacking two related tenets of Raymond Geuss’ political realism: the view that political philosophy should not be a branch of ethics, and the ensuing empirically-informed conception of legitimacy. I argue that the former idea can be made sense of by reference to Hobbes’ account of authorization, and that realist legitimacy can be normatively salient in so far as it stands (...) in the correct relation to a theory of justice and problematizes its sources of value through what Geuss terms ‘political imagination’. (shrink)
The relation between religion and politics is a legal-philosophical theme that has once again come to the foreground, due primarily to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the ensuing international debate on the nature of Islam. Yet every discussion of Islam encounters the resistance of politicalcorrectness, which exercises an enormous pressure on academic freedom, often resulting in self-censorship. Philosophy does not have as its primary goal the establishment of world peace. Instead, it begins by asking questions and (...) by analyzing reality, even if those questions and analyses turn out to be very painful to religious or political powers. Nietzsche.. (shrink)
This essay explores the relation between two perspectives on the nature of human rights. According to the "political" or "practical" perspective, human rights are claims that individuals have against certain institutional structures, in particular modern states, in virtue of interests they have in contexts that include them. According to the more traditional "humanist" or "naturalistic" perspective, human rights are pre-institutional claims that individuals have against all other individuals in virtue of interests characteristic of their common humanity. This essay argues (...) that once we identify the two perspectives in their best light, we can see that they are complementary and that in fact we need both to make good normative sense of the contemporary practice of human rights. It explains how humanist and political considerations can and should work in tandem to account for the concept, content, and justification of human rights. (shrink)
One of the main challenges faced by realists in political philosophy is that of offering an account of authority that is genuinely normative and yet does not consist of a moralistic application of general, abstract ethical principles to the practice of politics. Political moralists typically start by devising a conception of justice based on their pre-political moral commitments; authority would then be legitimate only if political power is exercised in accordance with justice. As an alternative to (...) that dominant approach I put forward the idea that upturning the relationship between justice and legitimacy affords a normative notion of authority that does not depend on a pre-political account of morality, and thus avoids some serious problems faced by mainstream theories of justice. I then argue that the appropriate purpose of justice is simply to specify the implementation of an independently grounded conception of legitimacy, which in turn rests on a context- and practice-sensitive understanding of the purpose of political power. (shrink)
The term “political” egalitarianism is used here, not to refer to equality within the political sphere, but rather in John Rawls’s sense, to refer to a conception of egalitarian distributive justice that is capable of serving as the object of an overlapping consensus in a pluralistic society.1 Thus “political” egalitarianism is political in the same way that Rawls’s “political” liberalism is political. The central task when it comes to developing such a conception of equality (...) is to determine what constraints a principle of equality must satisfy in order to qualify as “freestanding,” or to be justifiable in a way that does not presuppose the correctness of any one member of the set of reasonable yet incompatible “religious, philosophical and moral” doctrines that attract large numbers of adherents in our world.2 (Rawls uses the analogy of a “module” in order to describe the way that a properly political conception of justice “fits into and can be supported by various reasonable comprehensive doctrines that endure in the society regulated by it.”3 Political egalitarianism would be “modular” in this sense.) Rather than getting embroiled in the controversies that have arisen over Rawls’s formulation of this idea, I would like simply to accept the intuition, widespread among political philosophers, that equality is the sort of principle that – if given a proper formulation – could satisfy the requirements of a political conception of justice. After all, regardless of what peoples’ projects, values, or conceptions of the good life may be, it should be possible to design a set of arrangements that would provide equal opportunity to pursue these goals, or that would treat each conception of the good with equal respect, etc. From this perspective, the principle of equality resembles the principle of Pareto-efficiency, or certain formulations of the principle of liberty – it is one that everyone should be able to endorse, insofar as it does not privilege, or presuppose the correctness of, any particular set of projects, values.. (shrink)
The accusation that contemporary political philosophy is carried out in too ahistorical a fashion depends upon it being possible for historical facts to ground normative political principles. This they cannot do. Each of the seven ways in which it might be thought possible for them to do so fails for one or more of four reasons: (1) History yields no timeless set of universal moral values; (2) it displays no convergence upon such a set; (3) it reveals no (...) univocal moral or cultural context in the present; (4) the failure of an ethical tradition to successfully respond to criticism over a long period of time is no guarantee of its inability to do so. Because historical critiques of contemporary normative thought rely upon one or more of these things holding true, they are, as a class of arguments, to be rejected. (shrink)
Instrumentalism about moral compromise in politics appears inconsistent with accepting both the existence of non-instrumental or principled reasons for moral compromise in close personal friendships and a rich ideal of civic friendship. Using a robust conception of political reconciliation during democratic transitions as an example of civic friendship, I argue that all three claims are compatible. Spouses have principled reasons for compromise because they commit to sharing responsibility for their joint success as partners in life, and not because their (...) relationship involves strong affective attitudes of goodwill, solidarity, trust, and the like. Since shared responsibility for ends is an inappropriate element in the political relationship between citizens, the members of a divided society may manifest the constitutive attitudes of political reconciliation without any commitment to principled reasons for moral compromise. (shrink)
Timothy Michael Fowler has argued that, as a consequence of their commitment to neutrality in regard to comprehensive doctrines, political liberals face a dilemma. In essence, the dilemma for political liberals is that either they have to give up their commitment to neutrality (which is an indispensible part of their view), or they have to allow harm to children. Fowler’s case for this dilemma depends on ascribing to political liberals a view which grants parents a great degree (...) of freedom in deciding on the education of their children. I show that ascribing this view to political liberals rests upon a misinterpretation of political liberalism. Since political liberals have access to reasons based upon the interests of children, they need not yield to parent’s wishes about the education of their children. A correct understanding of political liberalism thus shows that political liberals do not face the dilemma envisaged by Fowler. (shrink)