This paper defends a desire-based understanding of pleasurable and unpleasant experiences. More specifically, the thesis is that what makes an experience pleasant/unpleasant is the subject having a certain kind of desire about that experience. I begin by introducing the ‘Desire Account’ in more detail, and then go on to explain and refute a prominent set of contemporary counter-examples, based on subjects who might have ‘Reflective Blindness’, looking particularly at the example of subjects with depression. I aim to make the Desire (...) Account more persuasive, but also to clear up more widespread misunderstandings about depression in metaethics. For example, mistakes that are made by conflating two of depression’s most prominent symptoms: depressed mood and anhedonia. (shrink)
This paper argues against a kind of 'overall ought'. The main argument is a version of the paradox of supererogation. The problem is this: obligating an agent to do what’s overall best will, when that differs from what’s morally best, obligate the agent not to do what’s morally best. This, the paper will argue, is implausible. For each of four possible interpretations of this overall ought concept, it will either come across a form of this paradox or no longer look (...) like the targeted ‘overall ought’ concept. (shrink)
Many problems of inequality in developing countries resist treatment by formal egalitarian policies. To deal with these problems, we must shift from a distributive to a relational conception of equality, founded on opposition to social hierarchy. Yet the production of many goods requires the coordination of wills by means of commands. In these cases, egalitarians must seek to tame rather than abolish hierarchy. I argue that bureaucracy offers important constraints on command hierarchies that help promote the equality of workers in (...) bureaucratic organizations. Bureaucracy thus constitutes a vital if limited egalitarian tool applicable to developing and developed countries alike. (shrink)
In his article ‘Saints and Heroes’, Urmson argues that traditional moral theories allow at most for a threefold classification of actions in terms of their worth, and that they are therefore unsatisfactory. Since the conclusion of his argument has led to the widespread use of the term ‘acts of supererogation’, and since I do not believe that such acts exist, I propose to argue that the actions with which he is concerned not only can, but should, be contained within the (...) traditional classification. (shrink)
This article is an interview with Elizabeth Povinelli, by Mathew Coleman and Kathryn Yusoff. It addresses Povinelli’s approaches to ‘geontologies’ and ‘geontopower’, and the discussion encompasses an exploration of her ideas on biopolitics, her retheorization of power in the current conditions of late liberalism, and the situation of the inhuman within philosophical and anthropological economies. Povinelli describes a mode of power that she calls geontopower, which operates through the governance of Life and Nonlife. The interview is accompanied by a (...) brief contextualizing introduction. (shrink)
This article is an interview with Elizabeth Grosz by Kathryn Yusoff and Nigel Clark. It primarily addresses Grosz’s approaches to ‘geopower’, and the discussion encompasses an exploration of her ideas on biopolitics, inhuman forces and material experimentation. Grosz describes geopower as a force that subtends the possibility of politics. The interview is accompanied by a brief contextualizing introduction examining the themes of geophilosophy and the inhumanities in Grosz’s work.
What is the proper role of politics in higher education? Many policies and reforms in the academy, from affirmative action and a multicultural curriculum to racial and sexual harassment codes and movements to change pedagogical styles, seek justice for oppressed groups in society. They understand justice to require a comprehensive equality of membership: individuals belonging to different groups should have equal access to educational opportunities; their interests and cultures should be taken equally seriously as worthy subjects of study, their persons (...) treated with equal respect and concern in communicative interaction. Conservative critics of these egalitarian movements represent them as dangerous political meddling into the disinterested pursuit of knowledge. They cast the pursuit of equality as a threat to freedom of speech and academic standards. In response, some radical advocates of such programs agree that the quest for equality clashes with free speech, but view this as an argument for sacrificing freedom of speech. (shrink)
A common justification for retributive views of punishment is the idea that injustice is intolerable and must be answered. For instance F. H. Bradley writes: Why … do I merit punishment? It is because I have been guilty. I have done ‘wrong’… Now the plain man may not know what he means by ‘wrong’, but he is sure that, whatever it is, it ‘ought’ not to exist, that it calls and cries for obliteration; that, if he can remove it, it (...) rests also upon him, and that the destruction of guilt, whatever be the consequences, and even if there be no consequences at all, is still a good in itself; and this, not because a mere negation is a good, but because the denial of wrong is the assertion of right. A wrong is something that ought not to exist and calls to be obliterated. If anyone is able to remove it, he is obligated to do so or the wrong will also be partly his. To deny or obliterate a wrong is to assert right, Bradley says—as if the two things were counterpoised, one able to cancel the other. It reminds us of the balance held by the figure of Justice, and of debts and credits in accounts. Paying a debt erases it; the debt no longer exists. In a similar way punishment is supposed to erase wrong. (shrink)
A misleading and apparently addictive practice is now prevalent in discussions of philosophy in general, and moral philosophy in particular. This is the habit of dichotomizing. We are led to believe that we have to choose between reason and sentiment as the basis of morality, that facts and values are to be found on either side of an unbridgeable gulf, and so on. This practice is harmful because it leads philosophers to take sides in unnecessary conflicts which cannot be won (...) by either side, and thus prevents progress in the discussion of extremely important issues. (shrink)
"The location of the author’s investigations, the body itself rather than the sphere of subjective representations of self and of function in cultures, is wholly new.... I believe this work will be a landmark in future feminist thinking." —Alphonso Lingis "This is a text of rare erudition and intellectual force. It will not only introduce feminists to an enriching set of theoretical perspectives but sets a high critical standard for feminist dialogues on the status of the body." —Judith Butler Volatile (...) Bodies demonstrates that the sexually specific body is socially constructed: biology or nature is not opposed to or in conflict with culture. Human biology is inherently social and has no pure or natural "origin" outside of culture. Being the raw material of social and cultural organization, it is "incomplete" and thus subject to the endless rewriting and social inscription that constitute all sign systems. Examining the theories of Freud, Lacan, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida, etc. on the subject of the body, Elizabeth Grosz concludes that the body they theorize is male. These thinkers are not providing an account of "human" corporeality but of male corporeality. Grosz then turns to corporeal experiences unique to women—menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, menopause. Her examination of female experience lays the groundwork for developing theories of sexed corporeality rather than merely rectifying flawed models of male theorists. (shrink)
Although the theme of these papers is ‘Contemporary Moral Problems’ my paper is partly about Aristotelian ideas. I had originally intended to apologize for this, but I find there is no need: many other contributors have found Aristotle to be timelessly relevant, as I myself have.
Psychology's fascination with memory and its imperfections dates back further than we can remember. The first careful experimental studies of memory were published in 1885 by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, and tens of thousands of memory studies have been conducted since. What has been learned, and what might the future of memory be?
More than forty years have passed since Congress, in response to the Civil Rights Movement, enacted sweeping antidiscrimination laws in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. As a signal achievement of that legacy, in 2008, Americans elected their first African American president. Some would argue that we have finally arrived at a postracial America, butThe Imperative of Integration indicates otherwise. Elizabeth Anderson demonstrates that, despite progress toward (...) racial equality, African Americans remain disadvantaged on virtually all measures of well-being. Segregation remains a key cause of these problems, and Anderson skillfully shows why racial integration is needed to address these issues. Weaving together extensive social science findings--in economics, sociology, and psychology--with political theory, this book provides a compelling argument for reviving the ideal of racial integration to overcome injustice and inequality, and to build a better democracy. -/- Considering the effects of segregation and integration across multiple social arenas, Anderson exposes the deficiencies of racial views on both the right and the left. She reveals the limitations of conservative explanations for black disadvantage in terms of cultural pathology within the black community and explains why color blindness is morally misguided. Multicultural celebrations of group differences are also not enough to solve our racial problems. Anderson provides a distinctive rationale for affirmative action as a tool for promoting integration, and explores how integration can be practiced beyond affirmative action. -/- Offering an expansive model for practicing political philosophy in close collaboration with the social sciences, this book is a trenchant examination of how racial integration can lead to a more robust and responsive democracy. (shrink)
It surely would lighten the tasks of feminism tremendously if we could cut to the quick of women's lives by focusing on some essential "woman- ness." However, though all women are women, no woman is only a woman. Those of us who have ...
Marking a ground-breaking moment in the debate surrounding bodies and "body politics," Elizabeth Grosz's Space, Time and Perversion contends that only by resituating and rethinking the body will feminism and cultural analysis effect and unsettle the knowledges, disciplines and institutions which have controlled, regulated and managed the body both ideologically and materially. Exploring the fields of architecture, philosophy, and--in a controversial way--queer theory, Grosz shows how these fields have conceptually stripped bodies of their specificity, their corporeality, and the vestigal (...) traces of their production as bodies. Her tour de corpe investigates the work of Michel Foucault, Teresa de Lauretis, Gilles Deleuze, Judith Butler and Alphonso Lingis. Grosz considers their work by examining the ways in which the functioning of bodies transforms understandings of space and time, knowledge and desire. Begining with an exposition of the epistemological implications of bodily and sexual difference, Grosz examines the effects such knowledge have on the reception of meaning. She looks at the relationship between the knowledge of difference and the way that knowledge validates, affirms, avows and valorizes subjects. Grosz then extends this analysis to an investigation of the relationship between space, time, bodies and the spatial "arts" such as architecuture, urban planning and geography. In the last section, Grosz moves toward a radical consideration of bodies and their relationship to transgression and perversity. Controversially showing the ways in which "queer" theory fails to offer a truly transformative conception of bodies and their politics, Grosz finds "queer" a reactive category "which sees itself in opposition to a straight norm and thus defines itself in terms of this norm." Consequentially, "queer" theory inherits the acceptance of an entire range of sexual practices, without "asking what they share and without taking into account the profound tension that may exist among these practices." Grosz's Space, Time and Perversity is a diverse and incisive collection of essays from a renowned feminist philosopher. (shrink)
Instead of treating art as a unique creation that requires reason and refined taste to appreciate, Elizabeth Grosz argues that art-especially architecture, music, and painting-is born from the disruptive forces of sexual selection.
Complex cognitive skills such as reading and calculation and complex cognitive achievements such as formal science and mathematics may depend on a set of building block systems that emerge early in human ontogeny and phylogeny. These core knowledge systems show characteristic limits of domain and task specificity: Each serves to represent a particular class of entities for a particular set of purposes. By combining representations from these systems, however human cognition may achieve extraordinary flexibility. Studies of cognition in human infants (...) and in nonhuman primates therefore may contribute to understanding unique features of human knowledge. 2020 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
In this brief interview, Jordan B. Kinder discusses Thunderbird Strike with Anishinaabe, Métis, and settler-Irish media theorist and artist Elizabeth LaPensée. Thunderbird Strike is a multiplatform, two-dimensional sidescrolling video game created by LaPensée in collaboration with Adrian Cheater and Aubrey Jane Scott, NÀHGĄ a.k.a. Casey Koyczan, and Kaitlin Rose Lenhard. The conversation is centred on the inspiration for Thunderbird Strike, its reception, and its possibilities as a pedagogical medium.
The Dynamics of Social Practice -- Introducing Theories of Practice -- Materials and Resources -- Sequence and Structure -- Making and Breaking Links -- Material, Competence and Meaning -- Car-Driving: Elements and Linkages Making Links -- Breaking Links -- Elements Between Practices -- Standardization and Diversity -- Individual and Collective Careers -- The Life of Elements -- Modes of Circulation -- Transportation and Access: Material -- Abstraction, Reversal and Migration: Competence -- Association and Classification: Meaning -- Packing and Unpacking -- (...) Emergence, Disappearance and Persistence -- Recruitment, Defection and Reproduction -- First Encounters: Networks and Communities -- Capture and Commitment: Careers and Carriers -- Collapse and Transformation: The Dynamics of Defection -- Daily Paths, Life Paths and Dominant Projects -- Connections Between Practices -- Bundles and Complexes -- Collaboration and Competition -- Selection and Integration -- Coordinating Daily Life -- Circuits of Reproduction -- Monitoring Practices-as-Performances -- Monitoring Practices-as-Entities -- Cross-Referencing Practices-as-Performances -- Cross-Referencing Practices-as-Entities -- Aggregation -- Elements of Coordination -- Intersecting Circuits -- Representing the Dynamics of Social Practice -- Representing Elements and Practices -- Characterizing Circulation -- Competition, Transformation and Convergence -- Reproducing Elements, Practices and Relations between Them -- Time and Practice -- Space and Practice -- Dominant Projects and Power -- Promoting Transitions in Practice -- Climate Change and Behaviour Change -- Basis of Action -- Processes of Change -- Positioning Policy -- Transferable Lessons -- Practice Theory and Climate Change Policy -- Configuring Elements of Practice -- Configuring Relations between Practices -- Configuring Careers: Carriers and Practices -- Configuring Connections -- Practice Oriented Policy Making. (shrink)
Darwinian matters : life, force and change -- Biological difference -- The evolution of sex and race -- Nietzsche's Darwin -- History and the untimely -- The eternal return and the overman -- Bergsonian differences -- The philosophy of life -- Intuition and the virtual -- The future.
Much recent literature in metaphysics attempts to answer the question, ‘What is metaphysics?’ In this paper I argue that many of the most influential contemporary answers to this question yield the result that feminist metaphysics is not metaphysics. I further argue this result is problematic.
Medical interventions such as methadone treatment for drug addicts or “chemical castration” for sex offenders have been used in several jurisdictions alongside or as an alternative to traditional punishments, such as incarceration. As our understanding of the biological basis for human behaviour develops, our criminal justice system may make increasing use of such medical techniques and may become less reliant on incarceration. Academic debate on this topic has largely focused on whether offenders can validly consent to medical interventions, given the (...) coercive environment of the criminal justice system. Both sides in this debate share the assumption that administering medical interventions to offenders without their valid consent would be unethical. Recently, Thomas Douglas has mounted a formidable challenge to this “consent requirement”. Essentially, his argument rests on a comparison between prison and medical interventions. Douglas asks: if the state is entitled to impose a prison sentence on a criminal without the criminal’s consent, why is consent required for the imposition of a medical intervention? The most obvious way of defending the consent requirement against Douglas’s challenge appeals to the fact that incarceration merely interferes with the right to free movement, but medical interventions interfere with the right to bodily integrity. This argument rests on what Douglas calls the “robustness claim”—the claim that the right to bodily integrity is more robust than the right to freedom of movement. In other words, the right to freedom of movement loses its protective force in a wider range of circumstances than the right to bodily integrity. Douglas’s article seeks to undermine the robustness claim, by arguing that neither case-based intuitions, nor theoretical considerations support this claim. In this article, I will attempt to raise some doubts about Douglas’s challenge to the consent requirement and the robustness claim. (shrink)
Elizabeth Schechter explores the implications of the experience of people who have had the pathway between the two hemispheres of their brain severed, and argues that there are in fact two minds, subjects of experience, and intentional agents inside each split-brain human being: right and left. But each split-brain subject is still one of us.
This book addresses fundamental questions about marriage in moral and political philosophy. It examines promise, commitment, care, and contract to argue that marriage is not morally transformative. It argues that marriage discriminates against other forms of caring relationships and that, legally, restrictions on entry should be minimized.
Neural Geographies draws together recent feminist and deconstructive theories, early Freudian neurology and contemporary connectionist theories of cognition. In this original work, Elizabeth A. Wilson explores the convergence between Derrida, Freud and recent cognitive theory to pursue two important issues: the nature of cognition and neurology, and the politics of feminist and critical interventions into contemporary scientific psychology. This book seeks to reorient the usual presumptions of critical studies of the sciences by addressing the divisions between the static and (...) the changeable; the natural and the political; the neuro-cognitive and the cultural that have been traditional to both scientific and critical accounts of neurology and cognition. (shrink)
This new and important study of semantic change examines how new meanings arise through language use, especially the various ways in which speakers and writers experiment with uses of words and constructions in the flow of strategic interaction with addressees. In the last few decades there has been growing interest in exploring systemicities in semantic change from a number of perspectives including theories of metaphor, pragmatic inferencing, and grammaticalization. Like earlier studies, these have for the most part been based on (...) data taken out of context. This book is the first detailed examination of semantic change from the perspective of historical pragmatics and discourse analysis. Drawing on extensive corpus data from over a thousand years of English and Japanese textual history, Traugott and Dasher show that most changes in meaning originate in and are motivated by the associative flow of speech and conceptual metonymy. (shrink)