Social commentators have long asked whether racial categories should be conserved or eliminated from our practices, discourse, institutions, and perhaps even private thoughts. In _A Theory of Race_, Joshua Glasgow argues that this set of choices unnecessarily presents us with too few options. Using both traditional philosophical tools and recent psychological research to investigate folk understandings of race, Glasgow argues that, as ordinarily conceived, race is an illusion. However, our pressing need to speak to and make sense of social life (...) requires that we employ something like racial discourse. These competing pressures, Glasgow maintains, ultimately require us to stop conceptualizing race as something biological, and instead understand it as an entirely social phenomenon. (shrink)
An analysis of 'racism' in terms of disrespect. This article argues against the views that racism should be understood in reductive ways as, variously, an attitude of ill-will (Jorge Garcia), a cognitive object such as ideology (Tommie Shelby), a behavior (Michael Philips), or some disjunctive hybrid (Lawrence Blum). In fact, it argues that racism should be conceptually released from having any one location. The disrespect analysis favored here can accommodate a variety of important desiderata for a theory of racism.
In the debate over the reality of race, a three-way dispute has become entrenched: race is biologically real, socially real, or simply not real. These three theses have each enjoyed increasingly sophisticated defenses over roughly the past thirty years, but we argue here that this debate contains a lacuna: there is a fourth, mostly neglected, position that we call ‘basic racial realism.’ Basic racial realism says that though race is neither biologically real nor socially real, it is real all the (...) same. Our goal is to establish this theory's credentials and provide it with initial support. It appears to be in a strong dialectical position and to nicely capture what many want from a theory of race. (shrink)
Expressivist theories of punishment received largely favorable treatment in the 1980s and 1990s. Perhaps predictably, the 2000s saw a slew of critical rejections of the view. It is now becoming evident that, while several objections to expressivism have found their way into print, three concerns are proving particularly popular. So the time is right for a big picture assessment. What follows is an attempt to show that these three dominant objections are not decisive reasons to give up the most plausible (...) forms of the view. Moreover, in addition to the three common objections, expressivism has an acknowledged question mark concerning whether the value of punitive expression outweighs its drawbacks. Here I also map out some promising avenues that the expressivist can take to answer this question. (shrink)
We ordinarily think that, keeping all else equal, a life that improves is better than one that declines. However, it has proven challenging to account for such value judgments: some, such as Fred Feldman and Daniel Kahneman, have simply denied that these judgments are rational, while others, such as Douglas Portmore, Michael Slote, and David Velleman, have proposed justifications for the judgments that appear to be incomplete or otherwise problematic. This article identifies problems with existing accounts and suggests a novel (...) alternative theory: what best accounts for our preference for an uphill over a downhill life (and many other episodes) is that losses of momentary value are themselves bad and gains in momentary value are themselves good. (shrink)
In this debate-format book, four philosophers--Joshua Glasgow, Sally Haslanger, Chike Jeffers, and Quayshawn Spencer--articulate contrasting views on race. Each author presents a distinct viewpoint on what race is, and then replies to the others, offering theories that are clear and accessible to undergraduates, lay readers, and non-specialists, as well as other philosophers of race.
Contemporary Kant scholarship generally takes 'humanity' in Kant's ethical writings to refer to beings with rational capacities. However, his claims that only the good will has unqualified goodness and that humanity is unconditionally valuable suggests that humanity might be the good will. This problem seems to have infiltrated some prominent scholarship, and Richard Dean has recently argued that, in fact, humanity is indeed the good will. This paper defends, and tries to make sense of, the more conventional view that humanity (...) and the good will are distinct. (shrink)
Supervenience has provided a way for nonreductive materialists to explain how the mental can be physically irreducible but still physically respectable. In recent years, doubts about this research program have emerged from a number of quarters. Consequently, Terence Horgan has argued that nonreductive materialists must appeal to an upgraded "superdupervenience," if supervenience is to do any materialist work. We argue that nonreductive materialism cannot meet this challenge. Superdupervenience is impossible.
Many hold that ordinary race-thinking in the USA is committed to the 'one-drop rule', that race is ordinarily represented in terms of essences, and that race is ordinarily represented as a biological (phenotype- and/or ancestry-based, non-social) kind. This study investigated the extent to which ordinary race-thinking subscribes to these commitments. It also investigated the relationship between different conceptions of race and racial attitudes. Participants included 449 USA adults who completed an Internet survey. Unlike previous research, conceptions of race were assessed (...) using concrete vignettes. Results indicate widespread rejection of the one-drop rule, as well as the use of a complex combination of ancestral, phenotypic, and social (and, therefore, non-essentialist) criteria for racial classification. No relationship was found between racial attitudes and essentialism, the one-drop rule, or social race-thinking; however, ancestry-based and phenotype-based classification criteria were associated with racial attitudes. These results suggest a complicated relationship between conceptions of race and racial attitudes. (shrink)
Despite all the attention given to Kants universalizability tests, one crucial aspect of Kants thought is often overlooked. Attention to this issue, I will argue, helps us resolve two serious problems for Kants ethics. Put briefly, the first problem is this: Kant, despite his stated intent to the contrary, doesnt seem to use universalization in arguing for duties to oneself, and, anyway, it is not at all clear why duties to oneself should be grounded on a procedure that envisions a (...) world in which everyone wills the contrary of those duties. The second, more global problem is that if we follow Barbara Herman in holding that Kantian ethics can provide a structure for moral deliberation, we need an interpretation of the universalization procedure that unproblematically allows it to generate something like prima facie duties to guide that deliberation; but it is not at all clear that we have such an interpretation. I argue here that if we expand our limited way of thinking about universalization, we can solve the first problem and work towards a solution to the second. We can begin by recalling that Kants Law of Nature formulation (FLN) of the Categorical Imperative obligates us to act as if the maxim of your action were to become by your will a universal law of nature (G, 421). (shrink)
Analyzing racial concepts has become an important task in the philosophy of race. Aside from any inherent interest that might be found in the meanings of racial terms, these meanings also can spell the doom or deliverance of competing ontological and normative theories about race. One of the most pressing questions about race at present is the normative question of whether race should be eliminated from, or conserved in, public discourse and practice. This normative question is often answered in part (...) by appealing to the ontological status of race: if race is an illusion, then it should be eliminated, and if it is real, then it can be conserved. 1 Thus, for.. (shrink)
Recently the idea that race is biologically real has gained more traction. One argument against this claim is that the populations identified by science do not sufficiently map onto the concept of race as deployed in the relevant racial discourse, namely folk racial discourse. Call that concept the concept of race-f. Robin Andreasen (2005) argues that this "mismatch" criticism fails, on a variety of grounds including: ordinary folk semantically defer to scientists; scientists can disagree about facts; historians disagree about the (...) origins of the term 'race'; 'race' has had a diversity of meanings; some of those meanings privileges geography over visible traits; and that the scientific definition of 'race' is autonomous from the folk definition of 'race.' It is argued here that all of these responses to the mismatch criticism do not succeed, and that the last in fact vindicates it. Similar arguments to the last, autonomy argument, are also examined. (shrink)
Social constructionists about race frequently hold that race does not travel, that race is socially constructed, and that racial passing is possible. Ron Mallon has argued that these three principles cannot be consistently held at once. This article argues otherwise.
In what follows, I shall first outline Broad's description of, and attitude to, psychological egoism. Then, I shall examine briefly the form which a defense against his criticisms might take. This raises the query whether such a defense is consistent with the doctrine's empirical character. It is suggested that the egoist could evade this difficulty by questioning an assumption which Broad (and others) make about psychological egoism. By abandoning this assumption, we can state the doctrine in a more adequate form-a (...) form which emphasizes the point that men, although psychological egoists, are also rational beings, capable of acting on principle! (shrink)
Moral phenomenology has enjoyed a resurgence lately, and within the field, a trend has emerged: uniform rejection of the idea that the experience of making ‘direct’ moral judgments has any phenomenal essence, that is, any phenomenal property or properties that are always present and that distinguish these experiences from experiences of making non-direct- moral judgments. This article examines existing arguments for this anti-essentialism and finds them wanting. While acknowledging that phenomenological reflection is an unstable pursuit, it is maintained here that (...) phenomenological essentialism about a certain domain of direct moral judgment, namely direct judgment of obligation and prohibition, is more credible than has been recognized. The positive proposal is to rehabilitate something close to Maurice Mandelbaum’s essentialism, specifically to maintain that direct moral judgment ’s phenomenal essence is arguably its felt categorical demand. The key to making this argument is to assume a ‘rich view’ of moral consciousness, the view that phenomenal features of moral judgment might be present even when they are not attended to. This assumption is controversial, but it is warranted by two considerations. First, though controversial, the rich view is intuitively plausible. Second, it reveals that the existing arguments against the kind of essentialism defended here appear to tacitly presuppose an equally controversial – and arguably less intuitive – rejection of the rich view. (shrink)
Constructivists holds that social facts are what make race. One prominent version of this view is historical: it claims that historical social facts make race. Famously, this view has been accused (by Appiah) of being circular or (as emphasized by Gooding-Williams) redundant. Recently historicalism has been defended against this view by Paul Taylor and Jorge Gracia. It is argued here that these defenses only work at the cost of making historicalism indeterminate.
The word “objective” is of course the trouble–maker here, Miss Smith assumes that if an aesthetic statement is held to be objective then it is the physical existence of the work of art that constitutes the objectivity: i.e. if a work of art is exteroceptively perceivable, then an aesthetic statement involving it is objective. Some writers, however have held that in genuine works of art there is manifested an ultimate spiritual Reality which we apprehend when we appreciate such works. On (...) this theory, an aesthetic statement has an objective reference if the subject of it succeeds in expressing or communicating such a supersensible Reality: if it fails to do so, then the statement is subjective, i.e. it can be analysed completely into a statement about our feelings or emotions. (shrink)
In a recent article In Mind , called A Religious Way of Knowing , Mr. C. B. Martin considers the claim made by some theologians to know the existence of God on the basis of direct experience of God. His paper is, he says, “an attempt to indicate how statements concerning a certain alleged religious way of knowing betray a logic extraordinarily like that of statements concerning introspective and subjective ways of knowing. It is not my wish to go from (...) a correct suggestion that the logic is very, very like to the incorrect suggestion that the logic is just like.”. (shrink)