Liberal political theory is widely believed to be an inadequate source of civic commitment and thus of civic education primarily because of its commitment to what is perceived as a pervasive individualism. In this paper, I explore the possibility that John Rawls’s later political philosophy may provide a response to this belief. I first articulate a conception of liberal politics derived from Rawls’s idea of reflective equilibrium that generates an overlapping consensus about political principles among those who hold a wide (...) variety of cultural and personal conceptions of the good. Next I develop the aims for civic education in a society that employs such a politics. Then I suggest the elements of the public school curriculum appropriate for such a civic education, including a robust multicultural education, intellectual reflection on the society’s history, and philosophical training that enables children to understand the events and policies of their nation as following from general political principles. I also consider the kinds of classroom practice that seem necessary to provide the motivation to engage in the process of the emergence of an overlapping consensus, including opportunities to develop and to reflect on the principles that may be included in the current consensus and to understand the way in which those principles relate to children’s developing conceptions of the good. Finally, I compare this conception of civic education to those of other liberal theorists. (shrink)
Barry L. Gan's Violence and Nonviolence: An Introduction introduces readers to myths about the violence taken for granted in our daily lives, and advocates for more principled, nonviolent action on moral, ethical and philosophical grounds.
Scholars studying the ethical, legal, and social issues associated with emerging technologies maintain the importance of considering these issues throughout the research and development cycle, even during the earliest stages of basic research. Embedding these considerations within the scientific process requires communication between ELSI scholars and the community of physical scientists who are conducting that basic research. We posit that this communication can be effective on a broad scale only if it links societal issues directly to characteristics of the emerging (...) technology that are relevant to the physical and natural scientists involved in research and development. In this article, we examine nano-ELSI literature from 2003 to 2010 to discern the degree to which it makes these types of explicit connections. We find that, while the literature identifies a wide range of issues of societal concern, it generally does so in a non-specific manner. It neither links societal issues to particular forms or characteristics of widely divergent nanotechnologies nor to any of the many potential uses to which those nanotechnologies may be put. We believe that these kinds of specificity are essential to those engaged in nano-scale research. We also compare the literature-based findings to observations from interviews we conducted with nanoscientists and conclude that ELSI scholars should add technical- and application-related forms of specificity to their work and their writings to enhance effectiveness and impact in communicating with one important target audience—members of the nanoscale science community. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to consider whether standards-based school reform is an acceptable strategy for achieving a politically legitimate school system according to a principle of personal liberty. First, it briefly describes the purpose and implementation of standards-based school reform in the U.S. It then considers the ramifications of the principle of personal liberty for the conduct of public schooling, arguing that it requires children’s access to and appreciation of a variety of liberty-consistent cultures in their society coupled (...) with the development of children’s ability to think critically about those cultures and their meaning as possibilities for their own lives. Third, it considers whether some standards for public education might be consistent with this purpose of education and finds that certain outcome and process standards may be appropriate. Finally, it considers whether these kinds of standards are included in standards-based reform as it is currently practiced or proposed in the U.S. and concludes that they are not. (shrink)
The title of this book, Towards Perpetual Peace, invites comparison with the writings of Kant, and there is no doubt that the author intended such comparisons. Like Kant, Banerjee considers the possibility of reconciling two apparently irreconcilable claims about human being’s circumstances. Like Kant, Banerjee develops prescriptions for human behavior that take the form of general imperatives. Like Kant, Banerjee reveals a far-ranging familiarity with earlier thinkers from many fields. But unfortunately, there are other resemblances. Banerjee, like Kant, could have (...) written in less tortured language. And like Kant’s efforts, Banerjee’s will not satisfy everyone. (shrink)
A fundamental tenet of the process philosophy founded by alfred north whitehead and charles hartshorne is that god's causal agency in the world is solely "persuasive," in contradistinction to much of traditional christian theism which portrays a more "coercive" god. The article, However, Seeks to show that hartshorne's God would appear to be somewhat coercive, E.G., In the imposition of the natural laws which are the limits to creaturely freedom and in the "luring" of creaturely actualizations of novel possibilities within (...) those limits. Divine coercion seems to be both a fact and a necessity in hartshorne's metaphysics, Despite his explicit denials. (shrink)
After decades of service to The Acorn, editor Barry Gan--who received the journal from founding editor Ha Poong Kim--has passed the responsibility along. We are happy to announce that the editorial and business office of The Acorn has found a new home at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies of Texas State University. For more than a decade, The Acorn has been affiliated with a society that we have recently renamed the Gandhi, King, Chavez, Addams Society (GKCAS). The (...) new name adds Cesar Chavez and Jane Addams to the short list of role models that the society seeks to honor through scholarly study, but the short list is not intended to be exclusive. As a result of reorganization and transition we are adopting a new subtitle of the journal as follows, The Acorn: Philosophical Studies in Pacifism and Nonviolence. (shrink)
Since the global political events of the early 1990’s Marxian philosophy has faced significant challenges. This essay attempts to reinterpret Marx’s theory of alienation in light of contemporary social issues. In particular, Marx claims that labor is alienated because workers lose control over the process of production, its outcomes and effects. In order to support my argument that alienation of labor is still a relevant concept to post-modem, post-industrial social critique, I examine the contemporary proliferation of credit (especially in the (...) form of credit cards) in the United States. I demonstrate that the preponderance and reliance on credit in American culture serves as an excellent example of Marxian alienation. (shrink)
Thomas Merton wrote extensively on spiritual and social issues, and his theories have profound implications on many areas of life. This book focuses on the significance of his reflections on work, which seek to transcend the complexities of professional life.
Since Hartshorne rejects Whitehead's doctrine of eternal objects, this seems to deny Hartshorne's God any causal influence via providing initial subjective aims to the world's creatures. If there are no specific eternal objects as possibilities to be actualized by creatures, there can be no specific initial aims. Hartshorne's metaphysics, however, can be rendered coherent at this point by interpreting the initial aims as hierarchies of indeterminate possibilities which are not specific until rendered so by creatures. Such an interpretation is coherent (...) with his doctrine of possibility understood as a hierarchy of indeterminate potentiality. A further issue remains, nevertheless, in regard to Hartshorne's claim that the possibilities offered by God to creatures are both infinite and yet limited. It is difficult to see how they can be both. (shrink)
During the latter half of the twentieth century political realism dominated national and international landscapes. The twenty-first century has seen the rise of neo‐conservatism, what Charles Krauthammer has called “democratic realism” and what others see as a re-birth of Wilsonianism—making the world safe for democracy. Robert M. Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, in a speech on Sept. 17, 2007 in Williamsburg, VA, at the World Forum on the Future of Democracy, acknowledged these different strains of current U.S. policy, saying that (...) “once again [people are] talking about the competing impulses in U.S. foreign policy: realism versus idealism, freedom versus security, values versus interests.” These competing concerns—but especially fear about terrorism coupled with asense of retributive justice—have divided much of the world. Nonetheless, it is clear that no matter what terms one gives to domestic and foreign policies, they are all in one way or another mired in the attitude that the end justifies the means, an attitude that will remain both morally and politically bankrupt until such time as people, policies, and programs embrace the concept of principled nonviolence, if not principled nonviolence itself. (shrink)