Who's Messing With Your Mind?

In Robert Greene & Rachel Robison-Greene (eds.), Orange is the New Black and Philosophy. Open Court (2015)
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In this chapter, mixed with moral psychology and ethics, I explore the topic of manipulation by analyzing “Orange Is The New Black” season two antagonist, Yvonne “Vee” Parker. I claim that Vee is a master manipulator. I begin by laying out several definitions and features of manipulation. Definitions include covert influence, non-rational influence, the effect of non-rational influence, and intentionally making someone or altering a situation to make someone succumb to weaknesses. Features include trust, deception, emotion, false belief, and vulnerability. I argue that although philosophers (Anne Barnhill, Robert Noggle, and Colin McGinn) are divided on what manipulation is because not all definitions and features fit all cases, I claim that Vee’s actions fit them all. I then attempt to explore what is bad and possibly good about manipulation. I examine if excellence alone is what makes manipulation good or should we take into consideration the autonomy denied the listener, the vices employed, and the bad consequences that arise from manipulation. I conclude with offering up suggestions on how one can guard themselves against manipulators.



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Myisha Cherry
University of California, Riverside

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