In this paper, I present an outline of the oppression account of cultural appropriation and argue that it offers the best explanation for the wrongfulness of the varied and complex cases of appropriation to which people often object. I then compare the oppression account with the intimacy account defended by C. Thi Nguyen and Matt Strohl. Though I believe that Nguyen and Strohl’s account offers important insight into an essential dimension of the cultural appropriation debate, I argue that justified objections (...) to cultural appropriation must ultimately be grounded in considerations of oppression as opposed to group intimacy. I present three primary objections to the intimacy account. First, I suggest that in its effort to explain expressive appropriation claims (those that purportedly lack an independent ground), the intimacy account doubles down on the boundary problem. Second, I question whether group intimacy possess the kind of bare normativity that Nguyen and Strohl claim for it. Finally, I argue that these objections give us reason to accept the importance of group intimacy to the cultural appropriation debate, but question the source of its significance as identified by Nguyen and Strohl. (shrink)
Is there something morally wrong with cultural appropriation in the arts? I argue that the little philosophical work on this topic has been overly dismissive of moral objections to cultural appropriation. Nevertheless, I argue that philosophers working on epistemic injustice have developed powerful conceptual tools that can aid in our understanding of objections that have been levied by other scholars and artists. I then consider the relationship between these objections and the harms of cultural essentialism. I argue that focusing on (...) the systematic nature of appropriative harms may allow us to sidestep the problem of essentialism, but not without cost. (shrink)
Can we still watch Woody Allen's movies? Can we still laugh at Bill Cosby's jokes? Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, Dave Chappelle, Louis C. K., J.K. Rowling, Michael Jackson, Roseanne Barr. Recent years have proven rife with revelations about the misdeeds, objectional views, and, in some instances, crimes of popular artists.
It is often assumed that there is a necessary relationship between historical value and irreplaceability, and that this is an essential feature of historical value’s distinctive character. Contrary to this assumption, I argue that it is a merely contingent fact that some historically valuable things are irreplaceable, and that irreplaceability is not a distinctive feature of historical value at all. Rather, historically significant objects, from heirlooms to artifacts, offer us an otherwise impossible connection with the past, a value that persists (...) even in the face of suitable replacements. (shrink)
‘Heritage’ is a concept that often carries significant normative weight in moral and political argument. In this article, I present and critique a prevalent conception according to which heritage must have a positive valence. I argue that this view of heritage leads to two moral problems: Disowning Injustice and Embracing Injustice. In response, I argue for an alternative conception of heritage that promises superior moral and political consequences. In particular, this alternative jettisons the traditional focus on heritage as a primarily (...) positive relationship to the past, and thus offers resources for coming to terms with histories of injustice. (shrink)
Philosophers have used the terms 'impersonal' and 'personal value' to refer to, among others things, whether something's value is universal or particular to an individual. In this paper, I propose an account of impersonal value that, I argue, better captures the intuitive distinction than potential alternatives, while providing conceptual resources for moving beyond the traditional stark dichotomy. I illustrate the practical importance of my theoretical account with reference to debate over the evaluative scope of cultural heritage.
This chapter offers an overview of issues posed by the problem of immoral artists, artists who in word or deed violate commonly held moral principles. I briefly consider the question of whether the immorality of an artist can render their work aesthetically worse (making connections to chapters in the Theory section of the handbook), and then turn to questions about what the audience should do and feel in response to knowledge of these moral failings. I discuss questions such as whether (...) audiences have reason not to purchase or consume work by these artists, whether their shows and exhibitions should be canceled, and how fans might grapple with the emotional turmoil they feel when artists whom they love act or speak in ways that are morally condemnable. (shrink)
Museums are home to millions of artworks and cultural artifacts, some of which have made their way to these institutions through unjust means. Some argue that these objects should be repatriated (i.e. returned to their country or culture of origin). However, these arguments face a series of philosophical challenges. In particular, repatriation, even if justified, is often portrayed as contrary to the aims and values of museums. However, in this paper, I argue that some of the very considerations museums appeal (...) to in order to oppose repatriation claims can be turned on their heads and marshaled in favor of the practice. In addition to defending against objections to repatriation, this argument yields the surprising conclusion that the redistribution of cultural goods should be much more radical than is typically supposed. (shrink)
This article draws together research from various sub-disciplines of philosophy to offer an overview of recent philosophical work on the ethics of historic preservation. I discuss how philosophers writing about art, culture, and the environment have appealed to historical significance in crafting arguments about the preservation of objects, practices, and places. By demonstrating how it relates to core themes in moral and political philosophy, I argue that historic preservation is essentially concerned with ethical issues.
Consider two commonly cited requirements of love. The first is that we should love people for who they are. The second is that loving people should involve concern for their well-being. But what happens when an aspect of someone’s identity conflicts with her well-being? In examining this question, I develop an account of loving someone in spite of something. Although there are cases where loving in spite of is merited, I argue that we generally do wrong to love people in (...) spite of who they are, even where it appears that some aspect of their identity is in tension with their well-being. (shrink)
Do members of cultural groups have special claims to own or control the products of the cultures to which they belong? Is there something morally wrong with employing artistic styles that are distinctive of a culture to which you do not belong? What is the relationship between cultural heritage and group identity? Is there a coherent and morally acceptable sense of cultural group membership in the first place? Is there a universal human heritage to which everyone has a claim? Questions (...) such as these concern the ethics of cultural heritage (or heritage ethics, for short). This entry seeks to provide an overview of the philosophical work on topics in heritage ethics, as well as introduce readers to some of the most philosophically relevant literature from other disciplines. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that norms of artistic and aesthetic authenticity that prioritize material origins foreclose on broader opportunities for aesthetic experience: particularly, for the aesthetic experience of history. I focus on Carolyn Korsmeyer’s recent articles in defense of the aesthetic value of genuineness and argue that her rejection of the aesthetic significance of historical value is mistaken. Rather, I argue that recognizing the aesthetic significance of historical value points the way towards rethinking the dominance of the very norms (...) of authenticity that Korsmeyer endeavors to defend and explain. (shrink)
In discussion surrounding the destruction of cultural heritage in armed conflict, one often hears two important claims in support of intervention to safeguard heritage. The first is that the protection of people and the protection of heritage are two sides of the same coin. The second is that the cultural heritage of any people is part of the common heritage of all humankind. In this article, I examine both of these claims, and consider the extent to which they align with (...) the current practices that they are intended to justify. (shrink)
This essay discusses Mary Beth Willard's _Why It's OK to Enjoy the Work of Immoral Artists_ and puts it into dialogue with my book _Drawing the Line._ In particular, I focus on the role of aesthetic projects in thinking about artistic immorality, and develop further thoughts on the public/private and individual/social distinctions with respect to our engagement with the arts.
In this essay, I respond to Mary Beth Willard's commentary on Drawing the Line. I focus on responding to a number of questions and objections that Willard poses concerning the role of arts institutions in addressing the problem of immoral artists. Focusing on the case of museums in particular, I defend the idea that they can exercise their power to play a productive and important role in societal conversations about moral criticism of artists.
We offer an overview of both the empirical literature on food waste and philosophical work on the concept of waste. We use this background to argue that an overemphasis on the reduction of individual food waste is misleading at best, and pernicious at worst, in combatting the substantial problems that global food waste creates. Rather, we argue that civic engagement and political activism aimed at institutional reform will be essential in addressing these problems.
Art is saturated with cultural significance. Considering the full spectrum of ways in which art is colored by cultural associations raises a variety of difficult and fascinating philosophical questions. This curriculum guide focuses in particular on questions that arise when we consider art as a form of cultural heritage. Organized into four modules, readings explore core questions about art and ethics, aesthetic value, museum practice, and art practice. They are designed to be suitable for use in an introduction to philosophy (...) of art, as well as in more topically focused courses, particularly on topics concerning the ethics and politics of art. (shrink)
We now have good reason to worry that many coastal cities will be flooded by the end of the century. How should we confront this possibility (or inevitability)? What attitudes should we adopt to impending inundation of such magnitude? In the case of place-loss due to anthropogenic climate change, I argue that there may ultimately be something fitting about letting go, both thinking prospectively, when the likelihood of preservation is bleak, and retrospectively, when we reflect on our inability to prevent (...) destruction. I then explore some of the ethical complications of this response. (shrink)
Portraits are defined in part by their aim to reveal and represent the inner ‘character’ of a person. Because landscapes are typically viewed as lacking such an ‘inner life,’ one might assume that landscapes cannot be the subject of portraiture. However, the notion of landscape character plays an important role in landscape aesthetics and preservation. In this essay, I argue that landscape artworks can thus share in portraiture’s goal of capturing character, and in doing so present us with essential tools (...) for revealing the often ineffable character of place. I explain the implications of this view for debates about scientific cognitivism in environmental aesthetics, representing the narrative dimension of landscape character and integrity, and appeals to the character of place in historic and environmental preservation. (shrink)
In her paper "(White) Tyranny and the Democratic Value of Distrust," Meena Krishnamurthy argues that distrust has a political value that has often been overlooked by democratic theorists. She pursues this argument by developing an account of distrust from Martin Luther King Jr. and exploring the role that King's distrust played in the Black Civil Rights Movement. In this discussion note, I argue that an alternative account of distrust from recent work by Katherine Hawley can better capture distrust 's democratic (...) value, and moreover might reveal how that value is noninstrumental, in contrast with the contingent and instrumental value granted to distrust on Krishnamurthy's account. (shrink)