Multiculturalism is, by this point, a well-worn topic in social and political philosophy. Still, in what follows, I hope to usefully contribute to the philosophical discussion of multiculturalism by asking and trying to answer some foundational questions about the practical significance of cultural membership. Specifically, I want to investigate the normative concerns associated with the goal of preserving culture. In the first part of this article, I raise questions about the ethics of cultural preservation. Is it a permissible or impermissible (...) goal? If it is permissible, is it obligatory or at least praiseworthy? Does it even make sense to treat the fact that something is part of your culture as the primary reason for valuing or doing it? To what extent should the idea of preserving your culture be seen as in conflict with the valuable orientation of being open to learning from all cultures?In the second part, I consider the politics of cultural preservation, a topic that political p .. (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.
This article critically evaluates the cosmopolitan writings of Kwame Anthony Appiah, investigating especially the extent to which he challenges or fails to challenge the problem of Eurocentrism in cosmopolitan discourse. I begin by discussing the way Appiah's construction of his cosmopolitan vision attempts to address criticisms of cosmopolitanism as unable to accommodate the partiality that is an inescapable aspect of human relationships. I relate this issue to Eurocentrism, arguing that the historical integration of the world through European imperialism gives people (...) of color added reason to uphold certain forms of group partiality. I then consider promising points in Appiah's work, in which he can be seen as helping to construct an anti-Eurocentric form of cosmopolitanism, as well as problematic points, in which he shows insufficient regard for the importance of cultural resistance. (shrink)
This article is an introduction to an ancient Egyptian text called The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant and an argument that it ought to be seen as a classic of political philosophy. After contextualizing the tale as part of a tradition of moral and political philosophy in ancient Egypt, I explore the methods by which the text defines the proper roles of political authority and contrast its approach to justifying political authority with the argument from the state of nature so (...) common in modern Western political philosophy. I claim that the tale's argument from dysfunction anticipates the move in contemporary Western political philosophy towards privileging non-ideal over ideal theory. I discuss challenges in translating the key term in the tale – ma'at – in light of the fact that it can be taken to mean ‘justice’ and/or ‘truth’. Finally, I discuss how the irony at the heart of its narrative can lead us to interpret the tale as having either conservative or revolutionary implications for the political system it depicts. (shrink)
In The Conservation of Races, Du Bois advocates that African Americans hold on to their distinctiveness as members of the black race because this enables them to participate in a cosmopolitan process of cultural exchange in which different races collectively advance human civilization by means of different contributions. Kwame Anthony Appiah and Tommie Shelby have criticized the position that Du Bois expresses in that essay as a problematic form of racial essentialism. This article investigates how Du Bois’ 1924 book The (...) Gift of Black Folk escapes or fails to escape that criticism. It is easy to worry that the diversity of what Du Bois in this book is willing to treat as a black contribution to the development of America pushes us from the problem of essentialism to the other extreme: a lack of any conceptual constraints whatsoever on what can count as a black gift. I will argue that recognizing the cultivation of historical memory as a form of cultural activity is key to understanding the concept's unity. (shrink)
I ask whether we need African Canadian philosophy and attempt to provide an answer by considering a series of other questions that can be understood as alternative versions of the initial question. I ask (1) whether we need African Canadian philosophers; (2) whether we need philosophy focused on the African Canadian experience; (3) whether we already have African Canadian philosophy; (4) whether anybody of any background can do African Canadian philosophy; and (5) what African Canadian philosophy will do for us. (...) I conclude that we do need African Canadian philosophy. (shrink)