Refiguring Critical Theory offers some thoughts about the nature of democracy and the possibilities of individual and collective self-determination. The text traces theories of the relationship between being and consciousness from Marx through Lukacs and the Frankfurt School to Habermas' recent work The Theory of Communicative Action.
In this essay we argue that attempts to justify the value of the liberal arts in narrowly instrumental ways are a mistake, one that is likely to miss the central importance of a liberal arts education. Of course, we do not claim here that such instrumental justifications are completely wrong, but that in so far as liberal education is defended primarily in terms of enhanced practical outcomes (better paying jobs, saleable professional skills, higher scores on graduate and professional admissions exams, (...) and so on) advocates will fail to articulate one of the most important reasons for study in the liberal arts. We will characterizeliberal education as a practice of reflecting on, discussing, and evaluating the question of what sort of lives I we should lead. Based on this, we then offer whatwe believe is a more promising, more consistent way of justifying liberal education. (shrink)
Bioethicists, like many other academics, have a tendency to try to make things general and simpler by eliminating context. Particulars, such as race, economic class, and gender, often seem to be lost in this ocean of generality and abstraction. But in losing them, we are neglecting the analysis of serious moral problems and, with it, the possibility of offering some kind of solution to such problems. This article argues that particulars do matter very much. We will focus ourattention here on (...) gender. We will argue that ignoring questions of gender when evaluating genetic technologies is seriously problematic because it might lead to further injustices against women. Proceeding with a noncontextual understanding of genetic technologies will likely disregard the unjust ways in which the health care system treats women, as well as the ways in which genetic technologies impose extra burdens on them. (shrink)