Contesting Conformity investigates the writings of Tocqueville, Mill, and Nietzsche in order to examine the relationship between non-conformity and modern democracy. JennieIkuta argues that non-conformity is an intractable issue for democracy while non-conformity is often important for cultivating a just polity, non-conformity can also undermine democracy. Democracy therefore needs non-conformity, but not in an unconditional way. This book examines this intractable relationship, and offers resources for navigating the relationship in contemporary democracies in ways that promote justice and (...) freedom. (shrink)
Mill’s status in the democratic family is contested. However, regardless of their conclusions, scholars have largely focused on and interpreted the tension between competence and participation in his thought as a way to determine Mill’s democratic credentials. This article argues for a different approach in thinking about Mill’s status as a democrat – that is, an approach that takes seriously his multifaceted conception of human flourishing – and it also argues that Mill is an ambivalent democrat because different dimensions of (...) democracy corrupt and cultivate different aspects of human flourishing. By taking seriously Mill’s multifaceted notion of human flourishing and connecting it to specific dimensions of democracy, I argue, we obtain a richer and more accurate depiction of the relationship between Mill’s ethics and his politics. (shrink)
Does the real difference between non-consequentialist and consequentialist theories lie in their approach to value? Non-consequentialist theories are thought either to allow a different kind of value (namely, agent-relative value) or to advocate a different response to value ('honouring' rather than 'promoting'). One objection to this idea implies that all normative theories are describable as consequentialist. But then the distinction between honouring and promoting collapses into the distinction between relative and neutral value. A proper description of non-consequentialist theories can only (...) be achieved by including a distinction between temporal relativity and neutrality in addition to the distinction between agent-relativity and agent-neutrality. (shrink)
The role of “craft language” in the process of teaching (learning) “Waza” (skill) will be discussed from the perspective of human intelligence.It may be said that the ultimate goal of learning “Waza” in any Japanese traditional performance is not the perfect reproduction of the teaching (learning) process of “Waza”. In fact, a special metaphorical language (“craft language”) is used, which has the effect of encouraging the learner to activate his creative imagination. It is through this activity that the he learns (...) his own “habitus” (“Kata”).It is suggested that, in considering the difference of function between natural human intelligence and artificial intelligence, attention should be paid to the imaginative activity of the learner as being an essential factor for mastering “Kata”. (shrink)
The link between alcohol consumption and cancer is well established, but public awareness of the risk remains low. Mandated warning labels have been suggested as a way of ensuring “informed choice” about alcohol consumption. In this article we explore various ethical issues that may arise in connection with cancer warning labels on alcoholic beverages; in particular we highlight the potentially questionable autonomy of alcohol consumption decisions and consider the implications if the autonomy of drinking behavior is substantially compromised. Our discussion (...) demonstrates the need for the various ethical issues to be considered and addressed in any decision to mandate cancer warning labels. (shrink)
This paper considers the question of whether predictions of wrongdoing are relevant to our moral obligations. After giving an analysis of ‘won’t’ claims (i.e., claims that an agent won’t Φ), the question is separated into two different issues: firstly, whether predictions of wrongdoing affect our objective moral obligations, and secondly, whether self-prediction of wrongdoing can be legitimately used in moral deliberation. I argue for an affirmative answer to both questions, although there are conditions that must be met for self-prediction to (...) be appropriate in deliberation. The discussion illuminates an interesting and significant tension between agency and prediction. (shrink)
In this paper I look at attempts to develop forms of consequentialism which do not have a feature considered problematic in Direct Consequentialist theories (that is, those consequentialist theories that apply the criterion of rightness directly in the evaluation of any set of options). The problematic feature in question (which I refer to as ‘evaluative conflict’) is the possibility that, for example, a right motive might lead an agent to perform a wrong act. Theories aiming to avoid this phenomenon must (...) argue that causal relationship entails motives and acts (for example) having the same moral status. I argue that attempts to ensure such ‘evaluative consistency’ are themselves deeply problematic, and that we must therefore accept evaluative conflict. (shrink)
This article aims to respond to recent calls for more material accounts of cosmopolitanism by considering the way the cosmopolitan sensibilities of flexibility, adaptability, tolerance and openness to difference are literally embodied by a specific group of mobile subjects. Drawing on a study of round-the-world travellers and the 'body stories' they publish in their online travelogues, this article explores the various ways travellers embody cosmopolitanism through the concept of 'fit'. Fit refers both to the physical condition required for long-haul travel (...) and to the ability to blend in and adapt to a variety of geographical and cultural environments. By focusing on the way cosmopolitanism is literally embodied, the empirical account offered here draws attention to the notion that cosmopolitanism is not just an abstract, materially iterated orientation to the world as a whole. (shrink)
This paper considers the question of whether predictions of wrongdoing are relevant to our moral obligations. After giving an analysis of 'won't' claims, the question is separated into two different issues: firstly, whether predictions of wrongdoing affect our objective moral obligations, and secondly, whether self-prediction of wrongdoing can be legitimately used in moral deliberation. I argue for an affirmative answer to both questions, although there are conditions that must be met for self-prediction to be appropriate in deliberation. The discussion illuminates (...) an interesting and significant tension between agency and prediction. (shrink)
The ‘Wrong Kind of Reason’ problem for buck-passing theories (theories which hold that the normative is explanatorily or conceptually prior to the evaluative) is to explain why the existence of pragmatic or strategic reasons for some response to an object does not suffice to ground evaluative claims about that object. The only workable reply seems to be to deny that there are reasons of the ‘wrong kind’ for responses, and to argue that these are really reasons for wanting, trying, or (...) intending to have that response. In support of this, it is pointed out that awareness of pragmatic or strategic considerations, unlike awareness of reasons of the ‘right kind’, are never sufficient by themselves to produce the responses for which they are reasons. I argue that this phenomenon cannot be used as a criterion for distinguishing reasons-for-a-response from reasons-for-wanting-to-have-a-response. I subsequently investigate the possibility of basing this distinction on a claim that the responses in question (e.g. admiration or desire) are themselves inherently normative; I conclude that this approach is also unsuccessful. Hence, the ‘direct response’ phenomenon cannot be used to rule out the possibility of pragmatic or strategic reasons for responses; and the rejection of such reasons therefore cannot be used to circumvent the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem. (shrink)
This target article presents a plausible evolutionary scenario for the emergence of the neural preconditions for language in the hominid lineage. In pleistocene primate lineages there was a paired evolutionary expansion of frontal and parietal neocortex (through certain well-documented adaptive changes associated with manipulative behaviors) resulting, in ancestral hominids, in an incipient Broca's region and in a configurationally unique junction of the parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes of the brain (the POT). On our view, the development of the POT in (...) our ancestors resulted in the neuroanatomical substrate consistent with the ability for representations in modality-neutral association cortex and, as a result of structure-imposing interaction with Broca's area, the hierarchically structured Evidence from paleoneurology and comparative primate neuroanatomy is used to argue that Homo habilis (2.5–2 million years ago) was the first hominid to have the appropriate gross neuroanatomical configuration to support conceptual structure. We thus suggest that the neural preconditions for language are met in H. habilis. Finally, we advocate a theory of language acquisition that uses conceptual structure as input to the learning procedures, thus bridging the gap between it and language. (shrink)
Ryan, Jennie A current search of reliable internet sources gives the present number of recognised major world religions as somewhere between twenty two and twenty five. These religions have approximately 6.9 billion adherents. Recent meta-analysis of a range of surveys into non-belief in 'God' has reported that between 7% and 10% of the world's population identifies as non-theistic . Out of the top fifty countries with the largest percentage of self-professed atheists, , close to 80% are developed, democratic, mostly (...) European countries, with high standards of public healthcare and accessible food, water and housing. (shrink)
Stuart, Jennie Review(s) of: Hands off not an option! The reminiscence museum mirror of a humanistic care philosophy, by Professor Dr Hans Marcel Becker assisted by Inez van den Dobbelsteen- Becker and Topsy Ros. Eburon Academic Publishers, Delft, 2011 272 pp.
Stuart, Jennie This is not intended to be a discussion about humanist art, its place in the history of art or a detailed coverage of work which might be described as such. I am not qualified to do so. However, I believe, it is a field which could be explored further by Australian Humanists.
This response to continuing commentary addresses brain-hand relationships in Cebus apella (as introduced in West-ergaard's commentary), the evolutionary and acquisition parallels between music and language (suggested by Lynch), and the potential behavioral linguistic consequences of the evolutionary neurobiology in Australopithecus africanus and Homo habilis (discussed by Tobias). Finally, we reiterate the importance of well informed, multidisciplinary approaches to the study of the emergence of human species-specific cognition, especially linguistic capacity.
By focusing on the caloric composition of hunted prey species, optimal foraging research has shown that hunters usually make economically rational prey choice decisions. However, research by meat scientists suggests that the gustatory appeal of wildlife meats may vary dramatically. In this study, behavioral research indicates that Mayangna and Miskito hunters in Nicaragua inconsistently pursue multiple prey types in the optimal diet set. We use cognitive methods, including unconstrained pile sorts and cultural consensus analysis, to investigate the hypothesis that these (...) partial preferences are influenced by considerations of meat flavor. Native informants exhibit high agreement on the relative appeal of different meats. Given the absence of other noteworthy differences between spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) and howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata), the unappealing flavor of howler monkeys seems to be a factor in the partial preference for this species. (shrink)
In feminist theology, the category of experience is given paramount importance. Here I examine this category and, specifically, what constitutes legitimate experience for theological reflection. Contending that both mainstream and feminist theologies dismiss too readily the individual’s quotidian experiences as a resource for exploring the Holy, I detail a methodological approach that combines the qualitative research practice of grounded theory with a Quaker practice of silent waiting, by giving prayerful attention to one-to-one interviews. I call this approach Grounded Theology. I (...) then describe the application of Grounded Theology to the study of quotidian experiences from interview data gathered for the purpose of theological reflection. (shrink)
The tale of Susanna in the Greek versions of the book of Daniel has its roots in allegorical readings of Hebrew Scripture, and the church has read the story of Susanna both as an allegory of the church and of Christ. The allegorical treatment of Susanna as the church is the most acceptable to modern criticism, since it preserves the narrative coherence of the book; but the more fragmentary, piecemeal allegory of Susanna as Christ was compelling in antiquity, especially in (...) visual interpretations. This essay explores how allegorical readings of Susanna as a Christ figure capture an essential part of the reader’s visual, non-sequential experience of the text and provides a satisfying and meaningful image for Christians. (shrink)
Private cord blood banking is the practice of paying to save cord blood for potential future use. Informed by the literature on corporeal commodification and feminist theories, this article analyses women’s work in banking cord blood. This article is based on in-depth interviews with 13 women who banked in a private bank in Canada. From learning about cord blood banking to collecting cord blood and transporting it to the private bank’s laboratory, women labour to ensure that cord blood is successfully (...) banked. Private cord blood banking involves the overlap or insertion of commercial practices, and relations with clinical practices and relations that may cause tensions and confusion for women and clinical practitioners. Moreover, private banking reinforces and is reinforced by an ‘intensive mothering’ ideology. This article shows that corporeal commodification is not confined to a laboratory and the work of experts but extends into women’s everyday lives. (shrink)