The Monist

ISSN: 0026-9662

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  1.  4
    A Relational View of Homosexuality.Luís Cordeiro-Rodrigues - 2024 - The Monist 107 (3):251-263.
    Homosexuality is criminalised and socially condemned in many places in Africa. This fact seems to suggest that African moral philosophy would likely render homosexuality immoral. Indeed, some of the African philosophical literature tries to suggest that homosexuality is morally wrong. Contrasting with this view, in this article, I will show that Afro-communitarian ethics implies that homosexuality is morally permissible and, indeed, can be an excellent way to promote social harmony. I defend this theory by drawing out the implications of social (...)
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  2. Changing the Frame: New Epistemic Frameworks and Social Transformation in African Feminist Theory.Anke Graness & Martina Kopf - 2024 - The Monist 107 (3):279-293.
    This article discusses African feminist approaches to decolonization and social transformation. In recent years, there has been a significant shift in African feminist scholarship towards African concerns and Africa-centered solutions. Today’s turn to Indigenous knowledge, social structures, and gender relations is no longer just about shedding light on the precolonial past, but about fundamentally changing the epistemic framework in the sense of developing alternative epistemologies beyond the dominant ‘Western’ framework. But what is meant by ‘alternative epistemologies’? How do African feminist (...)
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  3.  2
    African Liveliness as a Secular Moral Theory: Problems and Prospects.Kirk Lougheed - 2024 - The Monist 107 (3):225-236.
    An important belief in African Traditional Religion holds that everything, both animate and inanimate objects, are imbued with an imperceptible energy known as life force. Since life force is the greatest value, it is the grounds of morality. However, it is undertheorized in contemporary African ethics, with work on personhood and harmonious relationships taking centerstage. I seek to fill this gap in the literature by further developing an entirely secular and naturalistic moral theory of life force that avoids metaphysical controversies (...)
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  4.  1
    The Nature of Contemporary African Moral and Political Philosophy: An Introduction.Kirk Lougheed - 2024 - The Monist 107 (3):207-210.
    While there has long been philosophical thinking on the African continent, it was not until the middle of the 20th century that professional philosophy emerged on the continent. Though traditional African cultures have rich oral histories that some contemporary philosophers explicitly draw upon, it was not until universities emerged that there was philosophy conducted by professional philosophers who published their findings in academic venues. To date, much of this work has been conducted in English. The emphasis this tradition places on (...)
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  5.  17
    A Relational Theory of Dignity and Human Rights: An Alternative to Autonomy.Thaddeus Metz - 2024 - The Monist 107 (3):211-224.
    In this article I draw on resources from the African philosophical tradition to construct a theory of human rights grounded on dignity that presents a challenge to the globally dominant, autonomy-based approach. Whereas the latter conceives of human rights violations as degradations of our rational nature, the former does so in terms of degradations of our relational nature, specifically, our capacity to be party to harmonious or friendly relationships. Although I have in the past presented the basics of the Afro-relational (...)
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  6.  1
    African, Black, and Western Conceptions of Human Dignity.Motsamai Molefe - 2024 - The Monist 107 (3):237-250.
    The article highlights the potential that African and Black Philosophy can contribute towards the debates on human dignity. It facilitates a three-way philosophical conversation among the Western, African, and Black conceptions of human dignity. It is motivated by the skepticism in the African and Black approaches to ethics that reject the view that some ontological capacity can ground intrinsic value, or human dignity. The article distinguishes the merit-based (the African and Black Philosophy) from the capacity-based approaches (the Western philosophy) to (...)
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  7.  3
    Decolonizing “Decolonization” and Knowledge Production beyond Eurocentrism.Michael Onyebuchi Eze - 2024 - The Monist 107 (3):264-278.
    I historicize decolonial theories within the context of epistemic contestations and knowledge production in Africa. I offer a critical appraisal of decolonization as simulated within Western academic institutions and argue that the current tempo of decolonization movements is by no means an accident of history; it is, in fact, a residual narrative of colonial epistemology. I offer internal critique and discuss the limitations of decolonization as an intellectual strategy, before addressing how Western academics have appropriated the discourse in a manner (...)
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  8.  3
    In the Shade of Power: The Sacred Art of Leveling up the Powerless.Ajume H. Wingo - 2024 - The Monist 107 (3):294-306.
    This paper examines a general political problem of how to balance the need for concentrated power in the hands of the state—which is needed for effective governance—against the egalitarian desire to equalize power. It distinguishes between ‘positive’ political power appropriately wielded by the state, and ‘negative’ power that individuals may use to protect their own activities and interests from excessive or illegitimate state action and argue for institutions and practices designed to equalize power by ‘leveling up’ the powerless to match (...)
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  9. Existential Risk, Astronomical Waste, and the Reasonableness of a Pure Time Preference for Well-Being.S. J. Beard & Patrick Kaczmarek - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):157-175.
    In this paper, we argue that our moral concern for future well-being should reduce over time due to important practical considerations about how humans interact with spacetime. After surveying several of these considerations (around equality, special duties, existential contingency, and overlapping moral concern) we develop a set of core principles that can both explain their moral significance and highlight why this is inherently bound up with our relationship with spacetime. These relate to the equitable distribution of (1) moral concern in (...)
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  10. ‘Humanity’: Constitution, Value, and Extinction.Elizabeth Finneron-Burns - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):99-108.
    When discussing the extinction of humanity, there does not seem to be any clear agreement about what ‘humanity’ really means. One aim of this paper is to show that it is a more slippery concept than it might at first seem. A second aim is to show the relationship between what constitutes or defines humanity and what gives it value. Often, whether and how we ought to prevent human extinction depends on what we take humanity to mean, which in turn (...)
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  11.  63
    Concepts of Existential Catastrophe.Hilary Greaves - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):109-129.
    The notion of existential catastrophe is increasingly appealed to in discussion of risk management around emerging technologies, but it is not completely clear what this notion amounts to. Here, I provide an opinionated survey of the space of plausibly useful definitions of existential catastrophe. Inter alia, I discuss: whether to define existential catastrophe in ex post or ex ante terms, whether an ex ante definition should be in terms of loss of expected value or loss of potential, and what kind (...)
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  12.  16
    Saved by the Dark Forest: How a Multitude of Extraterrestrial Civilizations Can Prevent a Hobbesian Trap.Karim Jebari & Andrea S. Asker - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):176-189.
    The possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) exists despite no observed evidence, and the risks and benefits of actively searching for ETI (Active SETI) have been debated. Active SETI has been criticized for potentially exposing humanity to existential risk, and a recent game-theoretical model highlights the Hobbesian trap that could occur following contact if mutual distrust leads to mutual destruction. We argue that observing a nearby ETI would suggest the existence of many unobserved ETI. This would expand the game and implies (...)
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  13. Risk, Non-Identity, and Extinction.Kacper Kowalczyk & Nikhil Venkatesh - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):146–156.
    This paper examines a recent argument in favour of strong precautionary action—possibly including working to hasten human extinction—on the basis of a decision-theoretic view that accommodates the risk-attitudes of all affected while giving more weight to the more risk-averse attitudes. First, we dispute the need to take into account other people’s attitudes towards risk at all. Second we argue that a version of the non-identity problem undermines the case for doing so in the context of future people. Lastly, we suggest (...)
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  14.  20
    Existential Risk, Climate Change, and Nonideal Justice.Alex McLaughlin - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):190-206.
    Climate change is often described as an existential risk to the human species, but this terminology has generally been avoided in the climate-justice literature in analytic philosophy. I investigate the source of this disconnect and explore the prospects for incorporating the idea of climate change as an existential risk into debates about climate justice. The concept of existential risk does not feature prominently in these discussions, I suggest, because assumptions that structure ‘ideal’ accounts of climate justice ensure that the prospect (...)
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  15. Should longtermists recommend hastening extinction rather than delaying it?Richard Pettigrew - 2024 - The Monist 107 (2):130-145.
    Longtermism is the view that the most urgent global priorities, and those to which we should devote the largest portion of our resources, are those that focus on (i) ensuring a long future for humanity, and perhaps sentient or intelligent life more generally, and (ii) improving the quality of the lives that inhabit that long future. While it is by no means the only one, the argument most commonly given for this conclusion is that these interventions have greater expected goodness (...)
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  16. Democracy’s Values and Ideals: A Duboisian Defence.Elvira Basevich - 2024 - The Monist 107 (1):13-25.
    This essay offers a Duboisian defense of democracy’s expressive and experimental values. It argues that the expressive value of democracy supports an ideal of inclusion, whereas the experimental value of democracy supports that of innovation. One appeals to the ideal of inclusion to extend to excluded groups codified constitutional protections and to condemn white hypocrisy. The ideal of innovation, in contrast, helps one reimagine what constitutional protections should be in the first place. Drawing on Du Bois’s writings, this essay argues (...)
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  17.  62
    Duboisian Leadership through Standpoint Epistemology.Liam Kofi Bright - 2024 - The Monist 107 (1):82-97.
    I outline a defence of a naive group-level standpoint epistemology. According to this view then under conditions often met in real situations of oppression, it is the majority view on questions of import to those marginalised by oppression that ought to be treated as deference worthy. I further argue that this view is inspired by and coheres well with various doctrines laid out and defended by W.E.B. Du Bois, making this a recognisably Duboisian vision of standpoint epistemology. The central conceptual (...)
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  18. The Faithfulness to Fact.Kimberly Ann Harris - 2024 - The Monist 107 (1):69-81.
    Du Bois regarded social reform as a legitimate object for the scientist. He gave a place to non-epistemic values in scientific reasoning and, to counter the effects of scientific racism, he constructed his approach around the belief that scientists must adopt an assumption or scientific hypothesis that African Americans are human. His engagement in scientific research was a way to reform the society in which he lived, which in turn, led him to defend the faithfulness to fact as his conception (...)
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  19.  21
    Du Bois on Government and Democratic Debate.Chike Jeffers - 2024 - The Monist 107 (1):1-12.
    I argue that the second chapter of W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk has been underappreciated as a work of political philosophy, as Du Bois offers us in it a way of understanding what a government is and how to evaluate when a government is good. I relate Du Bois’s account of governmental leadership in that chapter to his critique of Booker T. Washington as a nongovernmental leader in chapter 3 of Souls. While doing this, I also pay (...)
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  20. You Say I Want a Revolution.Wendy Salkin - 2024 - The Monist 107 (1):39-56.
    An underexamined insight of W. E. B. Du Bois’s John Brown is that John Brown worked for much of his life to cultivate democratic relationships with the Black Americans with and for whom he worked. Brown did so through practicing deference and deliberation, and by seeking authorization. However, Brown’s commitment to these practices faltered at a crucial moment in decision making: when he raided Harpers Ferry absent widespread support. Examining this aspect of John Brown brings into relief an overlooked tragic (...)
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