There is a growing movement advocating for using closed border policies as a tool for solving the climate crisis. On this view, which I call the green border argument, fighting climate change requires drastic reductions in the global population and/or per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, immigration into high-income countries—particularly from low-income countries—increases per capita emissions while leaving the population untouched. Therefore, the green border theorist argues, we should limit entry into high-income countries. I explain why this is a (...) mistake and why the political left should embrace a pro climate and pro migrant politic. -/- First, the argument significantly overstates the impact of immigration on global GHG emissions. Second, the progressive green border argument is normatively incoherent. It advocates for closing borders and eliminating poverty and other rights violations in sending countries. However, given the relationship between emissions and income, this argument would require rejecting all poverty reduction strategies—a conclusion the progressive theorist wants to avoid. Third, the argument is counterproductive. An open border politic better promotes climate justice. A key reason is that high-income countries perceive immigration to be one of the most serious short- and medium- term costs of climate change. Whereas closure allows them to avoid this “cost,” open borders would force them to eliminate push factors, incentivizing global adaptation and mitigation strategies. Moreover, a closed border politic creates divisions between those affected, undermining cross-border solidarity and contributing to the perception that environmentalism is a white, middle-class movement. (shrink)
This essay follows Fiala’s hopefulness and his analysis of the coordination of a trio of actors needed for tyranny to succeed with a suggestion that preventing tyranny requires also a collective understanding, and education, of the coordination of citizens needed to create and sustain a democracy. Just as no one person can succeed at becoming a tyrant on their own, no one can achieve democracy on their own. Democracy is group work, conducted through epistemic interdependence, trust, and political friendships.
A recent (2020) special issue in Critical Philosophy of Race dedicated to Maria Lugones illustrates and thematizes the continuing challenge of (re)constructing coalitions among Latina and Black feminists and their allies. As one proposed solution to this challenge, in their guest editors’ introduction to that special issue, Emma Velez and Nancy Tuana suggest an interpretive “dancing with” Lugones. Drawing on my own “dancing-with” interpretive method (which significantly predates that special issue), in the present article I choreograph an interpretive duet between (...) Lugones and Saidiya Hartman. My first section retraces Lugones’ essay on queering tango as a decolonizing practice, and how the latter echoes Marta Savigliano’s Tango and the Political Economy of Passion. My second section then utilizes Lugones’ queering of tango as a lens for interpreting her magnum opus, Pilgrimages/Peregrinajes, emphasizing the dance-resonance of its central concepts, including “playfulness” reinterpreted as a “dance-fulness” that empowers the peregrina’s “world-traveling.” My third section identifies this dancing peregrina’s world-traveling with the wayward young Black female chorus member, or “chorine,” at the center of Saidiya Hartman’s tour de force history, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments. And my conclusion names chorines of color in Afro-Latin social dance communities today as exemplary agents for empowering coalitions among Latina and Black feminists and allies. (shrink)
In Tyranny from Plato to Trump, Fiala mines the Western philosophical tradition to develop an understanding of the problem of tyranny and applies those insights to the age of Trump. Though I’m convinced by Fiala’s general account, in this paper I offer some critical comments, which I hope will invite him to further expand upon some of his views. In specific, I raise some questions about the nature of those who support tyrants and how to identify them. I also explore (...) the problem of polarization and how it and foolishness might stand in the way of improving the educational system. Finally, I offer some reasons to think that people are naturally disposed to support tyrants and so that democracy is always at risk. (shrink)
The Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World maintains a commitment to pluralism in philosophical discourse by encouraging original, unconventional research with regard to contemporary concerns. Often this original and unconventional approach enables urgent and timely discussions to come to the fore. In the special section of this issue, Andrew Fiala’s Tyranny from Plato to Trump (2022) is engaged, not merely as an abstract author-meets-critics discussion, but as a provocative meditation on the present and a call to philosophers to respond (...) to our political moment. (shrink)
These remarks consider Andrew Fiala’s Tyranny from Trump to Plato in the context of political apathy and climate pessimism. First, I raise the issue of whether or not some form of tyranny might be necessary in dealing with the crisis of climate change. Second, I express some skepticism about Fiala’s dual remedies of moral education (Ch 8) and constitutional wisdom (Ch 9) to face our present political challenges.
If we accept that at least some kinds of nonhuman animals are persons, a variety of paradoxes emerge in our ethical relations with them, involving apparently unavoidable disrespect of their personhood. We aim to show that these paradoxes are legitimate but can be illuminatingly resolved in the light of an adequate understanding of the nature of persons. Drawing on recent Western, Daoist, and Zen Buddhist thought, we argue that personhood is already paradoxical in the same way as these aspects of (...) our ethical relations with nonhuman animals, and in fact is the source of their paradoxical character. In both contexts, depth and shallowness turn out to be internal to or crucial parts of each other, with logically anomalous consequences. We try to show that the character of this paradoxical relation between depth and shallowness in the nature of personhood involves a crucial inflection in the case of nonhuman animal persons that allows us to make sense of and resolve these ethical paradoxes. (shrink)
By employing Peirce’s semiotics, Totalitarianism is distinguished indexically from forms of Dictatorship and Authoritarianism. The former can be cast, as Arendt argued, to initiate a project for world domination dispensing with any sense of Authoritarianism in forwarding some purely fictitious conception where violence is manifested in terror. Alternatively, distortion of intellectual activity may issue within Populism so that the rule of Demagogy emerges initiating Despotism or a form of Dictatorship – either Commissarial or Sovereign form – where lawless violence is (...) sustained by secret police inducing fear but not terror. In the case of Authoritarianism induced iconically in a populace, violence may be tolerated accompanying either lawmaking or lawpreserving, both to be separated from Benjamin’s sense of pure violence. The latter – whether humanistically or spiritually understood – transcends both utilitarianism and sheer arbitrariness. (shrink)
It has been urged that philosophers in the contemporary world should be able to engage with domains of practice and not just with each other. If that is the case, in what sense philosophy can become an ‘applied’ discipline, and with what consequences both for philosophy and for practice? As a preliminary I will rehearse some of the reasons why philosophical investigation is socially commendable. I will then show how philosophy in so called knowledge societies should interact with science and (...) the contexts where science is used. A suitably formulated idea of interdisciplinarity will suggest the necessary epistemic conditions to achieve this interaction. I will use two illustrations from the specific field of the philosophy of science to point out the kinds of readjustments required by philosophical analysis not so much to apply but to ‘engage’ with practice. (shrink)
This paper argues that cool is a virtue in a specific context: that of black Americans living under a specific modality of white supremacy. But cool is not merely a coping mechanism. A historical analysis of the term shows that cool is being unimpressed by, and calm in the face of, white supremacy. This is made manifest in a style, the “cool pose,” the sophistication of which is captured in the jazz of Lester Young and Miles Davis. Thus, cool is (...) both a virtue of character and a feature of black American aesthetics. But as a cultural phenomenon, it has been appropriated by white American culture. (shrink)